The American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC) announced Ariel Zwang as its next CEO, the first woman to hold this position in the organization’s history.

Zwang currently serves as CEO of Safe Horizon, one of America’s leading social-service agencies. A noted Jewish leader, she will take the helm of JDC on Jan. 2, 2021.

“We know that her dynamic skillset and lifelong dedication to improving lives and building Jewish life—at the heart of JDC’s mission—will be critical to her success in leading an organization that’s played a key role in the history of the Jewish people for more than a century,” said JDC President Mark Sisisky and interim CEO Darrell Friedman. “Our world faces unprecedented challenges, and JDC’s support of Jews, Jewish communities, Israelis and others in dire need is more critical than ever before.”

The JDC was founded in 1914 to provide assistance to Jews living in Palestine under Turkish rule.

Ariel Zwang. Credit: JDC.

“I’ve spent my career working on behalf of those who don’t have all the basics that every human being deserves. And I have also lived my life knowing that we Jews are all responsible for each other, no matter the circumstances,” said Zwang.

“So it is a tremendous privilege to join JDC, which has saved countless lives over the past century, and unite my professional and personal passions,” she explained. “Today’s work—building the future of the Jewish people; support for those in economic distress, including the elderly and Holocaust survivors; and working with Israel to provide opportunities for its vulnerable—is profoundly meaningful to me.”

Zwang holds an undergraduate degree from Harvard College and an MBA from Harvard Business School. She lives in New York City with her husband, Gordon Mehler, and their young adult daughters.

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