FIDF National Director and CEO Maj. Gen. (Res.) Meir Klifi-Amir (third from left), FIDF National Chairman Arthur Stark (fourth from left), FIDF National President Peter Weintraub (fifth from left), and former Israeli Air Force chief Maj. Gen. Amir Eshel (sixth from left) with IDF soldiers at the FID.
(photo credit: SHAHAR AZRAN)
NEW YORK – The Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations announced on Monday that it has elected a new president to head its operations.
In a unanimous vote, the umbrella organization said that Arthur Stark, chairman of the board of Friends of the IDF, was elected to serve as leader, effective June 1.
“Having served as national president of Friends of the IDF, Mr. Stark has long been active in Jewish communal affairs at the local, national and international levels,” reads a statement from the group.
“He has served on the AIPAC [American Israel Public Affairs Committee] national council, the Jewish Federation of Central New Jersey board, the board of trustees of the Rabbinical College of America, and the board of trustees of the Joseph Kushner Hebrew Academy, where his four children were educated,” the statement added.
Born in Budapest, Hungary to Holocaust-survivor parents, Stark is well-known to both high-power players in the US and Israel, including members of the Knesset from all political parties.
The Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations
is a non-profit umbrella group based in New York City and addresses issues “of critical concern to the Jewish community.”
Founded in 1956, it is comprised of 51 individual Jewish organization who work to build “consensus policy, collective action, and maximizing the resources of the American Jewish community,” especially “when events in the US, Israel and elsewhere affect the American Jewish community.”
“I am delighted that Arthur Stark will serve as the next chairman of the conference. His depth of knowledge, level of commitment and outstanding judgment regarding matters of importance to the American Jewish community, Israel and the Jewish people make him the ideal choice for this critical leadership position,” said nominating committee chairman Robert Sugarman.
Outgoing conference chairman Stephen Greenberg praised Stark’s vast experience and expressed confidence that the 62-year-old will help guide the organization through “accelerating changes in the American Jewish community, in Israel and around the globe.”
“The intellect, judgment, experience and dedication he brings to the conference chairmanship exemplify the depth of extraordinary talent available to help guide the Jewish community into the future,” said Greenberg
“He has demonstrated great skill in leading the growth of a complex national Jewish organization, has extensive experience in dealing with international issues, and his deep love and concern for Israel and the Jewish people – shared by the diverse constituency of the conference – will be a source of great strength for the conference,” he added.
Escaping to America from communist Hungary in 1956, Stark rose to become president of retail giant Bed, Bath and Beyond, overseeing 150 stores across North America.
“At this critical time, we are once again privileged to be led by an outstanding leader who brings to the conference chairmanship decades of distinguished service, exemplary personal qualities and broad leadership experience,” said conference executive vice chairman and CEO Malcolm Hoenlein, who announced his retirement from the organization earlier this year.
Hoenlein, who has served in his role since 1986, said that he will remain in his position until a suitable successor can be found.
Stark has been married for more than 30 years to his wife, Sylvia – who immigrated to the US from Morocco in 1967 – and has four grown children: Michelle, Adam, Danielle and Jordan. Both Adam and Jordan are IDF veterans who “served with distinction” during their time in the military.
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