Shmuley Boteach’s Org Pulls in $2.5M Grant for Improvement of Black-Jewish Relations; Honors BLM Leader at Gala Event

The World Values Network (WVN), (founded by Rabbi Shmuley Boteach), announced on February 16th that it will launch a global multi-media project, funded by Hope and Robert F. Smith. Photo Credit: AP

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The World Values Network (WVN), (founded by Rabbi Shmuley Boteach), announced on February 16th that it will launch a global multi-media project, funded by Hope and Robert F. Smith. The project will involve short-form videos featuring world leaders, influencers, celebrities and sports heroes, who will discuss the core values that have motivated their work. The videos will be distributed initially via social media platforms.

With initial funding through a grant of $2.5 million from mega-philanthropists Hope and Robert F. Smith – whose global commitment to education, African-American entrepreneurship, and social and economic justice has become legend. The Global Values initiative will partner with African-American and minority-owned businesses to produce inspirational content that unites healthy families, promotes strong communities and inspires selfless giving. The initiative rests on the premise that an American values renaissance will lead to national unity and renewal.

It was announced on February 1st that the World Values Network (WVN) will honor the following people at their February 18th gala. Included will be:  Black Lives Matter co-founder Alicia Garza, television personality Steve Harvey, Motown legend Dionne Warwick, President and CEO of the National Association for Investment Companies Robert L. Greene, personal health guru Dr. Mehmet Oz and Urban Technology Center founder Patricia Bransford. Carnegie Hall Chairman and philanthropist Robert Smith will co-host the event. Five-time Emmy nominee and Broadway actor Tituss Burgess and world-renowned pianist Evgeny Kissin are set to perform.

The decision to honor Alicia Garza has drawn criticism from some in the Jewish community due to the controversial nature of the Black Lives Matter movement. The movement has had clear anti-Israel overtones since its inception and boasts a plank in its platform in which it supports the Hamas terror organization.   Moreover, Marxist elements play a prominent role in the BLM movement and hatred towards Jews, capitalism,  and traditional American values is a recurring theme in their teachings.

Writing for the Israelycool web site recently, author David Lange said, “It is one thing to honor someone who actually builds bridges with the Jewish community or at least has expressed an interest in doing so; but to honor someone who has done the exact opposite is embarrassing and seems like a vanity project and an exercise in tuchus-kissing.”

Smith’s The Fund II Foundation has supported education organizations including NAF and UNCF. The Foundation’s support of the National Park Foundation allowed the organization to buy Martin Luther King Jr.’s home for preservation in 2019, as was reported by the Jewish Journal.

“The idea is to get the world’s most influential people to zero in on the core value or set of values that have animated their actions, that have inspired their courage because we believe we have to return to our values,” Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, executive director of WVN, said, according to the Jewish Journal story.

“If you look at the friendship and collaboration between Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel and Martin Luther King Jr., it was very values focused. Ending segregation, violence and Jim Crow, it was all based on shared values,” Boteach said. “We are trying to crystalize our values mission with short-form technologically advanced videos that are compelling and that can God-willing help hundreds of millions of people.”