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Federation Names New Head, as Goldman Retires

April 27, 2006 By:
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Ira M. Schwartz
The Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia has named Ira M. Schwartz, currently provost at Temple University, as its next president and CEO. On July 1, the 61-year-old will succeed current president Harold S. Goldman, 64, who has served as Federation's professional leader since 2000.

"It's pretty big shoes to fill," replied Schwartz, of Newtown Square. "I think Harold has built a very solid base upon which to build further."

Goldman, a Memphis native who had lived in Philadelphia since 1984 before relocating to New York last fall, is planning to retire.

"It has been my privilege to work with an extraordinary team of lay leaders and professionals who have inspired me, and made me proud to be a part of Federation," stated Goldman in a press release. "With Ira Schwartz as Federation's new president and CEO, the success of our organization and community will be in the best of hands, and the community will benefit from a well-planned transition."

Schwartz, a native of Minneapolis, has served as Temple's provost for the past five years.

David Adamany, president of Temple, credited Schwartz with recruiting new faculty, strengthening the school's Honors Program, and building a new general-education requirement.

Prior to that, Schwartz headed up the University of Pennsylvania's School of Social Work. He pointed out that a number of graduates from that very program now work at Federation.

Focused on Child Welfare

Schwartz earned a master's degree in social work from the University of Washington in 1968. His academic career focused on juvenile justice, child welfare and mental health.

During the Carter administration, Schwartz headed up the U.S. Justice Department's Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.

He's also been involved with Haifa University for a number of years, serving on the institution's Board of Governors. In addition, he serves on Federation's Policy Strategy and Funding Committee, and is a board member of the Jewish Family and Children's Service.

Beryl D. Simonson, Federation's board chair, said Schwartz brings a number of important skills to Federation. Chief among them is his proven effectiveness as a fundraiser.

"He has an ability to build the strength of the board and the organization by bringing in new people who can be major contributors," attested Simonson. "And he has a vision of what the Jewish Federation should be, and where it should be going."

Leonard Barrack, vice chair of Federation as well as chair of Temple's Academic Affairs Committee, described Schwartz as a talented leader: "He has done a wonderful job as provost at Temple, and I feel confident that he will do a wonderful job as president of Federation."

For his part, Schwartz said that his top priority will be to increase the "volume of funds" that are raised by the organization.

"The needs in this area and in Israel are great - they are not diminishing," he said. "There is a desperate need to do more."

Schwartz, the father of two grown children and a grandfather of one (with another on the way), revealed that several times in his career, he'd thought about making a change and working for the Jewish community, but that the time was never right.

Fast-forward to the present, and Schwartz indicated that now that he's made the switch to the Jewish communal world, he'll miss working in an academic setting. Still, he affirmed that he's upbeat about his new role.

"The primary difference is in the mission," he explained. "Our primary mission at Temple is the education of students - conducting research and advancing knowledge.

"The primary mission at Federation," he continued, "is to develop resources and meet vital community needs as it is broadly defined. There are serious issues regarding the future of the Jewish community, social and educational needs, and the well-being of the State of Israel."

Goldman, who was previously the director of JFCS, added that Federation will continue to strengthen what he called "gateway institutions" to Jewish identity, which include synagogues, the Jewish Community Centers, day schools and camps.

"We as a Federation," he said, "have made great strides to rethink how we do business."

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