Middle-aged men still rule US Jewish groups

Jewish execs saw wages rise in 2010; top earner made $848,176.

December 11, 2011 04:00
2 minute read.
An Israeli official seen walking on AIPAC's stage.

AIPAC_521. (photo credit: JASON EED / REUTERS)

The typical leader of a Jewish organization in the US is male, middle-aged and earns hundreds of thousands of dollars a year, according to a survey published by The Forward on Friday.

Yeshiva University President Richard Joel topped the list of earners in the Jewish sphere, making $848,176, followed by Rabbi Marvin Hier of the Simon Wiesenthal Center at $721,714 and Stephen Hoffman, the president of the Jewish Federation of Cleveland, who took home $644,518.

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The male-female ratio remained tilted toward the former, with men making up 88 percent of the top leadership.

The highest-paid woman was Jennifer Gorovitz, CEO of the Jewish Community Federation of San Francisco, who earns $305,000 – considerably less than males in similar positions.

It was the third time the storied New York-based publication issued an annual list based on publicly available tax returns. The Forward also revealed the salary of its own publisher and executive director, Samuel Norich – $207,975 – a slight decrease from the previous year.

The data exposed some interesting parallels in the Jewish world.

Howard Kohr, president of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, made $472,500 while Jeremy Ben-Ami, president of J Street, its leftleaning competitor, earned $200,225.

AIPAC’s overall spending in 2010 was $64,397,446 and it employed 341 people as opposed to J Street’s $1,900,000 annual budget that paid for seven staffers (in 2009).

The biggest employer in the Jewish Federations by far was the UJA-Federation of Jewish Philanthropies of New York, which had 531 people on its payroll and a budget of $218,276,000.

The Jewish United Fund/Jewish Federation of Metro Chicago came in second, spending $154,275,896 and employing 376 people.

Since the 2009 market crash and the subsequent financial woes, raising money for Jewish charities has become more difficult. Some 30% of leaders on the list saw their salaries decrease between 2009 and 2010. Jay Sanderson, president of the Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles, took a pay cut of 14.25% from his predecessor’s salary, earning $346,500 in 2010.

But 50% of the leaders received a raise.

Robert Aronson, president of the rapidly growing Birthright Israel Foundation, which brings young Jewish adults on free trips to Israel, saw his salary rise by $26.46 in 2010, to $353,173.

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