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Negative Take On Foxman Successor?

Negative Take On Foxman Successor?

Near the end of your front-page article last week about Jonathan Greenblatt being named
as successor to Abe Foxman at Anti-Defamation League (“Questions Over ADL’s Direction In Wake Of Top Pick”), you quote one observer as calling the
appointment “a sign that American Jewry is not grooming young leaders to
take top professional positions.”
Here’s a suggestion: Stop nitpicking and second-guessing emerging new
leaders before they even have their first day on the job.

From the headline through most of the third-party quotes, Jewish Week coverage of this
important event was decidedly negative. Greenblatt is alleged to be too
close to the Obama administration, lacking sufficient experience with ADL,
“not a superstar … a younger Abe,” and symptomatic of a general lack
of a strong next-generation Jewish leaders.

Finding a new leader is never easy for any organization, especially so when
it comes to choosing a successor for a legendary, highly effective leader
like Abe Foxman, who served in that role for more than a quarter-century. So
it is especially commendable that the ADL board took the bold step of hiring
someone who is a generation younger and whose career path does not make him
the obvious choice. In choosing Mr. Greenblatt, the ADL has demonstrated
that it recognizes that it operates in a new world and that his experience in
Washington, his prior experience at the cutting edge of a new age of
communication, and his record in mobilizing people and leveraging the private
sector for social good all make him an inspired choice.

As a leader in the Jewish community (past president of the Village Temple in
Greenwich Village) and a former journalist and media executive (New York
Times, Wall Street Journal, ABC News), I encourage Jewish Week to be more
constructive in its coverage. And those critics who were so skeptical about
Mr. Greenblatt need to have more vision. We should encourage more people
like Jonathan Greenblatt to step forward to become the next generation of
Jewish leadership.


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