Briefs: Solomonov, Security, KleinLife and More

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Several Local Jewish Institutions Receive Security Grants Worth Nearly $800K in Total
The Federal Emergency Management Agency announced the Pennsylvania recipients of funding from its Nonprofit Security Grant Program — including several area Jewish institutions.
In all, $1.97 million was awarded to 27 different organizations statewide; 10 Philadelphia-area Jewish organizations received a combined $785,828.

Jewish organizations receiving funding included Beth David Reform Congregation in Gladwyne ($60,000), Beth Sholom Congregation in Elkins Park ($26,675), Lubavitch of Bucks County in Newtown ($100,000), Congregation Ahavas Torah in Philadelphia ($100,000), Congregation Beth Or in Ambler ($63,622), Congregation Ohev Shalom in Wallingford ($75,531), Friends of Historic Congregation B’nai Abraham in Philadelphia ($100,000) and the Raymond and Ruth Perelman Jewish Day School Stern Center in Wynnewood ($100,000).

“The grants are designed for nonprofits that feel like they’re at the risk of terrorism,” said Robin Schatz, director of government affairs for the Jewish Community Relations Council of the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia.

Schatz said interest in the grant program has risen in tandem with increasing anti-Semitic threats and incidents.

Grant money typically is used for measures such as bollards, locks, lighting, cameras and personnel training, planning and exercises, according to Rob Goldberg, senior director of legislative affairs for the Jewish Federations of North America.

Goldberg noted that there is a funding gap — somewhere between 2,000 and 3,000 nonprofits nationwide applied for grants, but only about 1,200 were funded — but he’s hopeful that will diminish. Funding has climbed in the last few years from about $25 million annually to $90 million in fiscal 2020. And a federal House of Representatives subcommittee is pushing for a $360 million appropriation for fiscal 2021.

“It’s unfortunate this program needs to expand,” he said, citing growing anti-Semitism and other forms of terrorism.

The grant program, which was originally promoted by the late U.S. Sen Arlen Specter and former U.S. Sen. Barbara Mikulski of Maryland, dates back about 15 years, but efforts by JFNA (then still known as United Jewish Communities) began shortly after 9/11 in 2001, Goldberg said.

Michael Solomonov and Steve Cook
From left: Michael Solomonov
and Steve Cook
(Photo by Michael Persico)
Jewish Federation Hosts Webinar Dinner and Discussion with Michael Solomonov
Noted Philadelphia chef, restaurant owner and author Michael Solomonov was the main attraction July 8 at a dinner and discussion webinar hosted by the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia.

Several hundred people tuned into the hour-long webinar, as the Israeli-born Solomonov described his upbringing, noting his first cooking job was at a Subway restaurant his father owned. He also explained how he ended up in Philadelphia after attending a Florida culinary school.

“I moved to Philly because it was on the way to New York,” he said.

Israel’s multicultural cuisine sparked his interest in Diaspora-influenced food.

“You could tell the story of Israel through food,” he said.

He also spoke about struggles involving the death of his brother David, who died in 2003 while serving in the Israel Defense Force, his stint in rehab and the conundrum of his home country.

“As a good Jew, I like to argue and I like to be critical, and as a good Israeli, I like to be self-critical and expect more,” he said.

Solomonov detailed the difficulties of running restaurants as well.

“We have to obsess and assess the needs of like 300 customers a night that we’ve never met before and try to exceed their expectations using things as subjective as food, right? It’s impossible,” he said.

And he noted that at home, since he has kids, he does sometimes just heat up nuggets.

Penn State Holocaust Initiative Lands $250K
Penn State announced that its Holocaust, Genocide and Human Rights Education Initiative received $250,000 in funding.

The initiative received an anonymous $180,000 gift allocated over three years, plus $70,000 in matching funds.

Harrisburg-based Jewish Community Foundation of Central Pennsylvania is facilitating the disbursement.

The initiative, which launched last fall, has partnered with the Pennsylvania Department of Education, the Holocaust Center of Pittsburgh and the University of Southern California Shoah Foundation, “to provide educators with the professional development and teaching tools to tackle difficult topics in their schools,” according to a news release.

The multidisciplinary program brings together Penn State’s Donald P. Bellisario College of Communications, College of Education, College of the Liberal Arts, Penn State Law, Humanities Institute, Jewish Studies Program and Center for Immersive Experiences.

KleinLife Receives $25K for Child Care Support Through PA CARES Act
KleinLife announced today that it received a $25,000 grant from the Pennsylvania Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Security Act.

The funding is part of $51 million being distributed by Gov. Tom Wolf to support child care providers. CARES Act funds are being distributed to eligible child care providers through Early Learning Resource Centers (ELRCs) and was made available in June.

“The grant will be most helpful in funding our summer camp enrichment program this year,” KleinLife President and CEO Andre Krug said.

PICC Hosts Online Farewell Party for Outgoing Consul General Dani Dayan
The Philadelphia-Israel Chamber of Commerce hosted a farewell party on July 15 for Dani Dayan, consul general of Israel in New York, who is returning to Israel after four years in the United States.

The Israeli consulate in New York provides services to residents of Pennsylvania, Delaware, New Jersey, New York and Ohio.

Dayan previously chaired the Council of Jewish Communities in Judea and Samaria from 2007 until 2013. He also founded Elad Systems, which specializes in the development, integration and maintenance of information systems, outsourcing and facility for large governmental, public and private organizations.

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