Good Wednesday morning!
Anti-Israel organizing on college campuses was not deterred by the limitations of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a new Anti-Defamation League report.
The ADL noted that 17 campaigns supporting the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement against Israel were introduced on college campuses during the 2020-2021 academic year, and 11 of them passed.
The group found that “much of the anti-Israel activist movement on campus continued to vilify Israel and Zionism and ostracize pro-Israel and Zionist students. This action disproportionately impacts large percentages of Jewish students, for whom a connection with Israel is an integral component of their religious, social, or cultural lives and identities. Many Jewish students reported feeling compelled to hide aspects of their identities.”
Alan Zekelman and Zekelman Industries provided a $15 million gift to the Holocaust Memorial Center in Farmington Hills, Mich. The gift brings Zekelman’s support of the center to $25 million and represents the lead gift towards the memorial’s $100 million campaign.
FOOD FOR THOUGHT
A new cooking app has roots in Upper West Side Jewish cuisine
For people with dietary restrictions looking for suitable recipes online, finding the right ones is like manna from culinary — and swipe-and-click — heaven. A close-knit group of Jewish day school alums-turned-startup founders say they have the solution for this problem and others with Manna Cooking, a new app that launched on the iOS app store on Tuesday. In a Zoom interview with Jewish Insider’s Gabby Deutch from their separate Brooklyn apartments, Manna co-founders Josh and Rachel Abady — wearing matching Manna sweatshirts — shared an ambitious vision for their new startup, hoping to become something like the Goodreads or Spotify of food.
Day school connection: “The goal of Manna is to make food easy for real people,” said Josh Abady, the company’s CEO. His sister, Rachel Abady, is the chief marketing officer, and Josh’s childhood best friend from Solomon Schechter of Westchester (now the Leffell School), Guy Greenstein, is Manna’s chief technology officer. The trio has spent the past several months in an incubator program run by Interplay Ventures, a VC firm that has invested in successful companies including Coinbase and Warby Parker. They raised $400,000 to launch the app, which they began working on in 2019, and they aim to raise $3 million in a seed round in the spring.
Swipe right: The main interface of the app is based on dating apps like Tinder, with users able to swipe through recipe cards as one does for potential romantic partners. “People love swiping on stuff. It’s fun, it’s addictive. It’s like food porn; even if you’re not looking for something to actually cook, you just want to look at something that looks delicious,” said Josh. “Half the battle with recipes is, like, ‘What the hell do I cook tonight?’ You need some beautiful, passive inspiration.”
Family of foodies: For Rachel, 32, and Josh, 27, “food was a big part of our lives because of all the Jewish holidays,” recalled Rachel. The family always had Shabbat dinner together, and also enjoyed the thriving food scene in their Manhattan neighborhood. “Outside our doors on the Upper West Side, beyond Jews being strong in numbers, you have every deli, every bodega, every restaurant you could possibly want. And so it was just like always integral [to us].”
Stay away: Manna users can input foods they are allergic or sensitive to or simply want to avoid, and those ingredients will then be highlighted in recipes so users know to avoid them. Down the road, the app’s creators plan to add a feature to search by a specific type of diet or restriction — kosher, Keto, vegan, gluten-free, halal, etc.
The job multiverse: How similarly do CEOs and employees experience work?
“For people in the workplace, being in a different role from someone else is one of many factors that can lead to having vastly different experiences — living in different realities. What about CEOs and employees at Jewish organizations? How are our experiences the same or different?” writes Alena Akselrod, senior program director at Leading Edge, in an opinion piece for eJewishPhilanthropy.
Annual survey: “Every year (with the exception of 2020), Leading Edge conducts an Employee Experience Survey. Our primary purpose for the survey is to provide an analytics tool that helps Jewish nonprofit leaders and managers better understand their workplace culture. With questions ranging from mission alignment to internal communications and from management practices to psychological safety, the survey gives an in-depth look into the world of work. With more and more organizations opting to take part in the survey every year, Leading Edge is able to glean insights into Jewish nonprofit professionals’ experiences.”
New survey: “This year, however — for the first time — we piloted an additional CEO survey just for top-most professionals: CEOs, executive directors and other equivalent titles. (For the sake of brevity, I’ll refer to them simply as CEOs.) Since the CEO’s experience leading their organization is notably different from the rest of the professional team’s experience, this survey focused on the CEO experience only.”
Top leaders’ experiences: “Understanding how top leaders experience their work is vital for boards, funders, CEOs themselves and the field at large. We have seen consistently over time that trusted leadership, and high leadership performance, are factors that are both variable and strongly correlated with organizational success. Leadership really matters! That’s why we wanted to take this deep dive into how CEOs in Jewish nonprofits experience their work, their relationships with their senior teams, their board relationships and their perspectives of their most common strengths and struggles. [N]ow that we have both surveys, we can ask, and answer, this question: What’s different, and what’s the same, about how CEOs and their employees are experiencing work in our sector? And what does that mean for our field?”
Why the JCC movement is putting talent and culture at the fore
“We read with great interest the Leading Edge report ‘The Gender Gap in Jewish Nonprofit Leadership: An Ecosystem View.’ Although the narrative indicates that progress has been made in closing the gender gap, it also recognizes that far more action is needed on both the local and continental levels. That observation mirrors the experience at the JCCs of North America, which, prior to the pandemic, employed roughly 37,000 full- and part-time staff, not including approximately 17,000 seasonal staff. This figure represents the largest pool of professionals in the Jewish communal network, making the JCCs of North America ideally suited to address the leadership gender gap and alter the landscape of the field for generations to come,” write Sue Gelsey, chief program and talent officer at JCC Association of North America, and Brian Schreiber, president & CEO of the JCC of Greater Pittsburgh, in an opinion piece for eJewishPhilanthropy.
Local focus: “At the same time, the breadth and scope of the JCC movement and its inherently local focus makes the path forward daunting, requiring us to be resolute, consistent and intentional in our practices, as well as develop a platform to educate our professionals around these issues. Nonetheless, we were drawn to two specific keystones of the report in which meaningful advances can be realized even within the complexity and scope of our movement: Lack of a talent strategy to promote diversity, equity and inclusion; and insufficient advocacy from men in top leadership.”
Communal Support: In Tablet, Eliyahu Stern argues that the Jewish community should invest resources in assisting individuals who have chosen to leave Haredi communities, but require basic assistance such as English-language instruction and job interviewing skills. “The organized Jewish community should once again embrace a model of philanthropy that assists those from less-well-off Orthodox backgrounds gain greater social freedoms and labor opportunities. The organized Jewish community has forgotten that the very drama at the center of the popular books and movies of young people from Orthodox homes seeking out social freedoms and economic opportunities was lived by millions of their ancestors. Currently, there is no set model or path for those looking to leave Orthodoxy. This is largely the failure of the organized Jewish community to invest in the very projects that defined Jewish philanthropy and the narrative of modern Jewry for nearly two centuries.” [Tablet]
Staffing Strategy: In The Conversation, Brad Fulton, an associate professor of nonprofit management at Indiana University, highlights the benefits of hiring employees from diverse backgrounds. “Pressure to increase diversity is coming from funders, advocacy organizations and many communities. This is a response to the heightened attention focused on racial injustices, growing economic inequality, sustained gender inequities and increasing religious pluralism… Becoming more diverse, however, is not an end in itself. My research suggests nonprofits need to learn to understand, value and utilize their diverse perspectives to become more equitable and effective.” [TheConversation]
Word on the Street
A new initiative sponsored by the American Jewish Committee and the Mimouna Association is, for the first time, bringing together a group of young Americans, Israelis and Moroccans to deepen understanding and build cooperative relationships… California passed amendments to its charitable solicitation registration act to cover what it calls “charitable fundraising platforms” and “platform charities” and to bring them under regulation by the state attorney general beginning in 2023… The state of Pennsylvania is pledging $6.6 million in funding toward the redevelopment of the Tree of Life synagogue campus in Pittsburgh… The Bezos Earth Fund is providing grants of $443 million in support of nonprofits working to advance climate justice, nature conservation and restoration and the tracking of critical climate goals… Marking the fifth anniversary of the launch of the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative’s science program, Dr. Priscilla Chan and Mark Zuckerberg announced a 10-year commitment focused on accelerating biomedical science and advancing human health… Alphabet’s Google Pay launched in Israel yesterday…
Pic of the Day
Danielle Ames Spivak, CEO of the American Friends of the Israel Philharmonic, presents philanthropist Harold Grinspoon with a lifetime achievement award at the organization’s benefit concert in Miami last week.
Israeli folk singer and lyricist, winner of the Kinor David Prize, Chava Alberstein …
Founder and CEO of Las Vegas boxing promotion company Top Rank, Bob Arum… Actor, composer and son of concert pianist Arthur Rubinstein, John Rubinstein… Astrophysicist and senior scientist at the Harvard-Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory, Margaret Geller… Film director and screenwriter, including box office successes such as “The Parent Trap” (1998) and “What Women Want” (2000), Nancy Meyers… Professor of human development at Cornell University, Robert J. Sternberg… Founder of the Honey Sharp Gallery and Ganesh Café in the Berkshires, Honey Sharp… Bedford, Texas, resident, Doug Bohannon… Senior executive producer of special events at ABC News, Marc Burstein… Emmy Award-winning sports commentator and journalist, Roy Firestone… Chairman of a nationwide insurance brokerage, Bruce P. Gendelman… Author of Toward a Meaningful Life, and chairman of The Algemeiner Journal, Rabbi Simon Jacobson… Retired administrative law judge at the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Nadine Lewis… Rabbi, speaker and musician known as Rav Shmuel, he is the head of the Yeshiva program run by the IDT Corporation in Newark, N.J., Shmuel Skaist… Co-founder of Office Tiger, CloudBlue and Xometry, Randy Altschuler… Co-founder of TheLi.st, Rachel Sklar… EVP of Dow Jones and general manager of The Wall Street Journal, Aaron Kissel… Founder of the Popular Information newsletter, Judd Legum… Actress, comedian and television writer, Joanna “Jo” Firestone… Venture capitalist in Israel, Alex Oppenheimer… Senior associate at Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer, Ali Krimmer…
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