Peter Wang, an attorney who has served on The Jewish Week board of directors for 10 years, has been elected president of the organization. He succeeds Richard Hirsch, an entrepreneur and philanthropist from Manhattan, who has served in the position since 1994.
At the December board meeting, Hirsch was honored for his decade of leadership, during which he organized a major dinner to honor the founders of the newspaper; supported such ventures as Fresh Ink and Write On For Israel, two journalism programs for high school students; oversaw the recruitment of new leadership for the paper’s board, and helped establish “operational improvements” in the publication’s financial structure.
“The foundation that has been built by Richard Hirsch and [board chairman] Lawrence Kobrin has been terrific,” said Wang, who most recently served as the board’s vice president. “Our future course will be built on that foundation.”
Wang, 56, a Scarsdale resident, is managing partner of the Foley & Lardner law firm’s New York office, with a specialty in litigation.
A graduate of Yale University and Harvard Law School, he is vice president of the Westchester Reform Temple, has served on the board of UJA-Federation and is co-chair of the Westchester UJA task force on synagogues. He also served as a member of the Anti-Defamation League’s lawyer’s division executive committee.
“I had always been interested in journalism,” said Wang, who worked on a variety of publications in high school and college.
Recipient of a fellowship from the Wexner Heritage Foundation in 1992, Wang spent a year studying various aspects of Jewish tradition in this country and Israel. “It deeply broadened my substantive knowledge of Judaism,” he said.
Board chairman Kobrin, a partner at the law firm of Cahill Gordon, credited Hirsch with guiding The Jewish Week through “several difficult financial periods,” continuing a “productive relationship” with the leadership of UJA-Federation of New York and broad segments of the Jewish community, and “establishing and expanding charitable funds to support communal and educational efforts outside the mission of most newspapers — but well within the communal role The Jewish Week seeks to play.”
In addition to Wang and Kobrin, the executive committee of the board includes Samuel Perelson, vice chairman; Billie Gold and Stuart Himmelfarb, vice presidents; Perry Galler, secretary; and Mark Charendoff and Mark Lefkowitz, members at large.
The Jewish Week board, whose members are listed in the paper’s masthead on page 2 each week, oversees the operations of the publication. It seeks to sensitize the newspaper staff to the concerns of the community, offer advice and expertise on matters including circulation and advertising, and support educational programs such as the public forums sponsored by the newspaper periodically during the year.
Looking to the future, Wang said The Jewish Week will be exploring other media opportunities and increasing its regional coverage, focusing first on Westchester and Long Island. “The Jewish Week is the information agency for the people of New York,” he said. “I want to help extend the reach of the paper [through] new connections with different Jewish groups. We don’t have a political or religious agenda,” Wang said. “Our agenda is one of community building, and we see our newspaper as a table around which various elements of the community can meet and discuss.”
Hirsch, 63, who serves as investments portfolio manager and director of two philanthropic foundations, called his tenure as president of the board “a labor of love,” and took pride in the fact that “we never missed an issue, from 9-11 to bad weather conditions.” He will continue his involvement as president emeritus.
Gary Rosenblatt, editor and publisher of the newspaper, said he and the staff were indebted to Hirsch for his strong and innovative leadership, and looked forward to Wang’s tenure.