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From Our CEO

On Suffering and Celebration

April 11th, 2014

One of the great joys of Passover is being guided by an ordered framework — the seder — that is enriched with new learnings each year. Like so many of us, I seek new interpretations to bring to the seder, new insights into this ancient epic of deliverance from the bondage of slavery in Egypt. As is often the case,…

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Our Advocacy Matters

March 28th, 2014

$127. For many of us, that’s dinner out for two or a ticket to a Broadway show. But when you’re one of the 25 percent of New Yorkers who are living at or very close to poverty levels, the possibility of losing $127 a month in government food benefits is alarming. And scary. Thankfully, the 300,000 households that depend on…

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On the Ground in Crimea

March 21st, 2014

In recent weeks, many of us have had deep concerns about the Russian annexation of Crimea and its possible implications far beyond. There are questions about the future stability of Ukraine and other Eastern European nations that were once part of the Soviet Union. There are worries about the tension in U.S.-Russian relations and, by extension, negotiations with Iran, the American effort…

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Israel and World Jewry: The Shifting Paradigm

February 21st, 2014

On Tuesday evening, 35 New York Jewish communal leaders gathered in our conference center. With volunteers, professionals, and rabbis from each of the streams sitting at our tables, from a distance it may have looked like any of the dozens of meetings that take place every day at UJA-Federation. But appearances can be deceiving. For what was happening reflects a significant paradigm…

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Welcoming Our New CEO

January 23rd, 2014

I write to share important news. I am pleased to report that this afternoon, UJA-Federation’s Board of Directors elected Eric S. Goldstein as UJA-Federation’s new chief executive officer (CEO). After an exhaustive national search described in the attached message from President Alisa Doctoroff, the search committee recommended first to the Executive Committee and today to the Board of Directors that…

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Witness to Renewal in Russia

January 17th, 2014

I returned last week from a whirlwind trip to Moscow with 10 New York congregational rabbis. The trip was exhilarating, as was spending intense time with passionate and thoughtful rabbis from across the denominational spectrum. While we often emphasize the differences among us — the different ways we understand Jewish law and obligation; the different ways we pray and observe…

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Ariel Sharon’s Legacy

January 13th, 2014

On the day in which Ariel Sharon will be laid to his final rest, we extend condolences to the Sharon family, to the people of Israel, and to all who mourn this great loss. Much has and will be written about Sharon’s prodigious military and political career. While both successes and disappointments will be closely analyzed, Sharon was clearly a…

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JDC at 100: A Century of Achievement

December 13th, 2013

“For 100 years, there has been one address for Jews in danger, or in desperate need, or seeking Jewish connections, or looking to build a strong Israel, or who want to provide a Jewish response to disaster and war. And that address is JDC: to the hungry, we give food. In the face of destruction, we rebuild. To the suffering,…

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Increasing the Light

December 6th, 2013

As I was preparing a message about the Wall Street Dinner, word reached us of the passing of Nelson Mandela. As one who had the honor of meeting Mandela and visiting his prison cell on Robben Island, I — like countless others — was touched by his extraordinary story and unwavering courage. Under the most harrowing of circumstances, Mandela showed…

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Gratitude and Lights

November 27th, 2013

There are moments when one knows with certainty — this is a singular event. Never to be repeated during one’s life. The convergence of Thanksgiving and Hanukkah this week is such a moment. I have always loved Thanksgiving, for it is the quintessential American Jewish holiday. At its core is the expression of gratitude, which, from my perch, is the…