(JNS.org) The American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC), a humanitarian group working in more than 70 countries, on Thursday announced that its new CEO will be David Schizer, the dean emeritus of Columbia Law School and a noted Jewish community leader. Schizer will assume the role in January 2017, pending the approval of the JDC board of directors.
Schizer will replace current JDC CEO Alan H. Gill, who is retiring.
“We are extremely proud of David Schizer’s appointment as JDC’s next CEO, confident that his vast professional accomplishments and boundless passion for the Jewish people and Israel will be critical components of his leadership of an organization at the vanguard of Jewish life for more than a century,” JDC President Stanley Rabin said in a statement. “In a world facing many challenges, JDC remains steadfast in its protection of the most vulnerable Jews and its efforts to foster strong, resilient Jewish communities and leaders. David will surely take up that historic mantle and deploy his wide-ranging talents and innovative vantage to bring a new energy and vision to JDC’s timeless mission and to building the Jewish future.”
Schizer was the youngest dean in the history of Columbia Law School, and has been a leader in the Jewish community for many years, including by serving as a board member of the 92nd Street Y and Ramaz School (both in New York City), president of America's Voices in Israel, and co-director of Columbia University’s Center for Israeli Legal Studies.
“Although I am part of an incredibly fortunate generation of American Jews, I am named for a grandfather who fled pogroms and political upheaval in Ukraine. Every Jewish family has a history of poverty, religious persecution, or violence—the only difference is how long ago it was. So for me personally, it is profoundly meaningful to be appointed CEO of an extraordinary organization that has been a lifeline to Jews in their hour of need, and that renews Jewish life throughout the world, including in places where my own family once lived,” said Schizer. “In these difficult times, JDC’s work has never been more important, and I am proud to be a part of it.”
“[Schizer] represents the enormous accomplishment and talent among rising Jewish leadership in action today—bright, passionate, and committed to innovating and strengthening the Jewish world and Israel,” said Gill.