Rabbi Steve Gutow is stepping down after leading the Jewish Council for Public Affairs for 10 years.
Gutow, the JCPA president and CEO, will stay in place while the public policy umbrella searches for a new leader, but will focus on interfaith and environmental projects and will leave day-to-day management to Ethan Felson, the body’s senior vice president, according to a JCPA statement released Thursday.
"It's been a hard, wonderful ten years," said Gutow, who described his work as exhausting but important. "The time has just come for me to move on."
Reflecting on his years at CEO, Gutow said the organization's embracement of activism and community dialogue stand out.
"During my time at JCPA, we became deeply engaged in affecting change in the community, not just issuing statements," he said. "Activism has been one of the most important philosophical tenets underlying what we do."
In addition to the environment and interfaith dialogue, the JCPA has under Gutow focused on advocating for poverty relief in the United States and on protecting minorities in Sudan.
Gutow, a Reconstructionist rabbi, has also sought to address increasing polarization within the Jewish community, reflective of the broader tensions in the U.S. political discourse. He has advocated for a code of civility in political exchanges in the Jewish community.
"We've worked to embrace differences, between individuals and between organizations," he said. "It's helped us grow towards the center."
According to Susan Turnbull, JCPA chairwoman, his leadership will be missed.
“During his ten years of dedicated service he has distinguished himself in efforts to promote a secure Israel, to combat poverty and to protect our environment,” said Turnbull in a statement. “The JCPA’s efforts to restore civility to our national discourse have flourished under his leadership, and he has been tireless in his work on interfaith relations.”