Gann Academy is a private, plural faith, Jewish high school in Waltham MA, which promotes student trips to Israel and encourages Zionist viewpoints amongst its students. Gann also hosts Zionist events on its campus which are open to parents and students from broader Boston area communities.
Gann Academy offers a study abroad program in Israel called "myIsrael," open to its high school students after their freshman year. Gann Academy highlights myIsrael as a cornerstone of its curriculum, and tuition for the program is heavily subsidized by Boston Area donors, making the program accessible to students and parents regardless of financial barriers. Gann Academy also has welcomed Israeli delegations into its classrooms to encourage Gann students to enroll in the program. Gann's myIsrael program serves to encourage the impressionable young people who participate in it to understand their Jewish identities as being inextricably linked to the state of Israel.
Gann's myIsrael trips include efforts to "Pinkwash" Israel, encouraging Gann students to interact with LGBTQ+ Israelis in order to promote the false idea that Israel is friendly to LGBTQ people, in order to whitewash over the realities of Israel's colonial domination of Palestinians and theft of Palestinian land and resources. Similarly, Gann's myIsrael trips include efforts to "Greenwash" Israel, falsely depicting Israel as environmentally conscientious by having students participate in wildfire clean-ups. In fact, the wildfires Gann students help clean up are caused by Israel's arrogant introduction of non-native pine forests into the ecosystems of the Naqab Desert, as part of an effort to prevent Palestinians from returning to expropriated land atop which the forests have been planted. Indigenous to Northern Europe, these pine trees fare incredibly poorly in the desert climate of the Naqab, causing them to catch fire hundreds of times a year.
Gann Academy also hosts public events on school premises for Boston-area parents and students outside of Gann's student body, in which students are encouraged to travel to Israel through an array of Zionist programs. In November 2019, for example, Gann hosted an event entitled "Israel Gap Year Fair," sponsored by Masa Israel. Founded by the Israeli Prime Minister's Office in collaboration with The Jewish Agency for Israel, Masa Israel uses its gap year programs to foster identification with Israel and Zionism amongst Jewish diaspora youth.
Gann Academy has a student club called "Heifers for Israel," which hosts guest speakers and "helps the Gann community...to develop a stance on Israel, and be inspired to take action."
In 2009, Gann Academy received an anonymous donation of $12.5 million from several families. From fiscal years 2007-2020, the pro-Israel donor advised fund Combined Jewish Philanthropies (CJP) anonymously funneled $8,350,349 from its donors to Gann Academy. Fidelity Charitable similarly funnels funds from its donors into the Gann Academy. Anonymous funding obscures the identities of those who hold power and how they wield it.
Gann Academy has also received publicly disclosed donations from foundations run by Boston area Zioinst donors, including: $4,779,000 from the Joseph and Rae Gann Foundation from FY03-present; hundreds of thousands USD from the Ruderman Family Foundation from FY10-21; $160,000 from Kraft Family Philanthropies from FY06-FY07; and $875,000 from the Klarman Family Foundation from FY16-FY19 (with the Klarmans' FY16 & F17 donations specifically earmarked to "support the pilot of My Israel: A four-year integrated approach to Israel education," and their FY18 & FY19 donations earmarked to "support the myIsrael program for fiscal years 2019 and 2020").
|Michelle Black||Vice President|
Danielle Remis Hackel
|Lisa Popik Coll||Trustee|
|Nicole Lieberman Gann||Trustee|
|George Krupp||Honorary Trustee|
|Joshua Katzen||Honorary Trustee|
|Elizabeth Jick||Honorary Trustee|
|Bonnie Hausman||Honorary Trustee|
|Linda Greenseid||Honorary Trustee|
|Josh Elkin||Honorary Trustee|
|Solomon Eisenberg||Honorary Trustee|
|Alan Crane||Honorary Trustee|
|Sidney Swartz||Honorary Trustee|
|Leo Sprecher||Honorary Trustee|
|Jonathan Sarna||Honorary Trustee|
|Shari Redstone||Honorary Trustee|
|Shira Ruderman||Honorary Trustee|
|Cynthia Marcus||Honorary Trustee|
|Alan Lobovits||Honorary Trustee|
From fiscal years 2007-2020, Combined Jewish Philanthropies funneled $8,350,349 from its donors to Gann Academy.
Specifically, Combined Jewish Philanthropies helps financially sustain Gann Academy's myIsrael program, a heavily subsidized study abroad trip to Israel for high schoolers at Gann which aims to convince participants that their Jewish identities are intrinsically tied to the state of Israel and which Gann Academy characterizes as a cornerstone of the educational experience it provides to its students. Moreover, according to Gann Academy's website, CJP’s "Boston-Haifa Partnership," which brings Israelis from Haifa to Gann Academy to encourage Gann students to attend the myIsrael program, "has been a leader in fostering connections between young Jews in the Boston area and Israel" and "has been an important partner in making [the myIsrael] program a reality."
Current President and CEO of Combined Jewish Philanthropies Marc Baker spent 11 years as the "Head of School" at Gann Academy prior to assuming his position at CJP. Current Chair of the Board of Directors of CJP Shira Goodman served as Vice President of the Gann Academy Board prior to assuming her position in CJP. Current Senior Vice President of Philanthropy at CJP Jennifer Weinstock spent six years as the Associate Head of School at Gann Academy prior to assuming her position at CJP.
In fiscal year 2020 alone, Fidelity Charitable funneled $951,370 from its donors into Gann Academy.
Shira Ruderman who serves on the Regional Council of IAC Boston is listed as an Honorary Trustee of Gann Academy.
Tufts University hosted Gann Academy to present to students at Tufts' 2020 Engineering Alumni-Student Panel and Networking Industry Night.
In 2021, Gann Academy co-sponsored an event hosted by the Consulate General of Israel to New England to mark the anniversary of the death of Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin. A Gann student group called the "ShenaniGanns" gave a "musical performance" as part of the event.
Yitzhak Rabin played a central role in the 1948 Nakba, through which Zionist militias violently expelled 750,000 Palestinians from their homes and land in order to open up space for Jewish settlement and to ensure the "demographic character" (ie more Jewish people and less Palestinian people) of the soon to be formed Zionist state. As reported in the Electronic Intifada:
He personally signed off on Zionist leader David Ben-Gurion’s order to expel some 70,000 Palestinians from the cities of Lydda and nearby Ramle in what is now central Israel. Rabin issued a written order to the Yiftach Brigade, a Zionist militia: “The inhabitants of Lydda must be expelled quickly, without regard to age.” As Rabin’s thugs worked to carry out that order, Palestinian civilians took refuge in Lydda’s Dahmash mosque, where Zionists massacred some 120 people.
Electronic Intifada further recounts Yitzhak Rabin's central role in the brutality of Israel's response to the first Palestinian Intifada:
[I]n December 1987 an unarmed popular uprising broke out in the West Bank and Gaza against Israel’s brutal military occupation. As defense minister and effective military dictator over millions of Palestinians, Rabin embraced his task of crushing the intifada. He publicly ordered Israel’s army to use “force, might and beatings” – as well as live ammunition that took the lives of young Palestinians almost daily for years. This video from Al Jazeera includes one of the most notorious scenes from the first intifada, broadcast all over the world at the time ... It shows Israeli soldiers methodically beating two Palestinian youths using rocks, trying to break their bones. The two boys, both 17, were cousins Wael and Osama Jawdeh.
From 2003 to the present, the Joseph and Rae Gann Foundation has donated over $4,779,000 to Gann Academy.
Kraft Family Philanthropies donated $160,000 to Gann Academy from FY06-FY07.
The Ruderman Family Foundation has provided substantial funding to Gann Academy. Gann Academy recognized The Ruderman Family Foundation for donating $50,000-$99,999 to Gann in FY2021, and also recognized Jay and Shira Ruderman for privately donating $10,000-$17,999 in FY21. The Ruderman Family Foundation's financials indicate that they have made the following donations to Gann Academy in previous years:
Jay Ruderman is also listed as a Trustee of Gann Academy, and Shira Ruderman is listed as an Honorary Trustee.
The Klarman Family Foundation has provided significant support to Gann Academy's myIsrael program, a study abroad program in Israel which Gann describes as a cornerstone of their curriculum. The Klarman Family Foundation donated $875,000 to Gann Academy from FY16-19, underwriting the trial years of Gann's myIsrael program. (The Klarman Family Foundation's FY16 & F17 donations to Gann Academy were specifically earmarked to "support the pilot of My Israel: A four-year integrated approach to Israel education," and the Foundation's FY18 & FY19 donations to Gann were earmarked to "support the myIsrael program for fiscal years 2019 and 2020.") Programs like Gann's myIsrael program are successful in part because "philanthropic" gifts such as those made by the Klarman Family Foundation underwrite the expenses of sending as many students as possible on the trips, regardless of financial barriers, and help procure expensive accommodations and glamorous experiences for the students during their visits. The goal of Gann's myIsrael program and others like it is foremost indoctrination, convincing impressionable young people that their Jewish identities are inextricably linked to the state of Israel.