Joseph Kanfer of Akron, Ohio is taking over the reins of the United Jewish Communities (UJC), following a vote by the organization at the conclusion of the General Assembly in Los Angeles this week.
Kanfer will be replacing outgoing board of trustees chairman Robert Goldberg of Cleveland, who was the subject of a special tribute at the GA.
Kanfer told the federations that they should reinvent their traditional consensus building, and referred to them as "thought leaders" and "conveners."
"Think about how to build the future," he said, according to a UJC communiqu , which defined the federations' major upcoming challenges as demography, Jewish peoplehood and collective responsibility, and financial resource development.
The UJC is the umbrella organization for North America's 155 Jewish federations.
Kanfer played a leading role in the Ohio federation system, serving as the president of the Akron Federation. He chaired the 2005 General Assembly and is the immediate past chair of the UJC Nominating Committee. He has been active in Democratic politics in Akron, and is a past vice chair of the University of Akron Board of Trustees.