(New York Jewish Week) – Gideon Taylor announced Thursday that he would be stepping down at the end of August from his position as executive vice president and CEO of the Jewish Community Relations Council-New York, after just two years in the job.
The announcement means that the JCRC, one of the largest Jewish organizations in the city and a main liaison between elected officials and the organized Jewish community, will again be searching for a leader after its longtime chief, Rabbi Michael Miller, stepped aside following more than 35 years on the job. The transition comes as the city’s Jewish community contends with antisemitic attacks and waning support for Israel among progressive city officials.
Noam Gilboord, the organization’s current chief operating officer, will lead the organization as it searches for Taylor’s replacement. The formal search process has yet to begin.
Taylor to focus on Claims Conference work
Taylor told the New York Jewish Week that he is “not worried at all” about the stability of the JCRC as he leaves the role. He said he made the decision so he could focus on addressing the property claims of Holocaust survivors, and will be joining the World Jewish Restitution Organization, which focuses on that issue, in a leading role, according to a press release.
Taylor also serves as president of the Claims Conference, which negotiates reparations payments for Holocaust survivors.
“There’s only a few years left to make a difference for Holocaust survivors. I believe that securing a measure of justice for Holocaust survivors and making sure that the lessons that they still have to impart reach a younger generation is a critical priority for the Jewish people,” Taylor told the New York Jewish Week. “I think the opportunity to do that is compelling. We just don’t have long left to have an opportunity to make that difference.”.
Regarding his short tenure, Taylor told the New York Jewish Week, “I started in the middle of COVID. I think it was an important time and an opportunity, and the goal was to navigate JCRC out of COVID, back into the critical central role it had to play.”
Taylor focused on building relationships with young leaders in New York City, and organized four study tours to Israel for government officials, community leaders and campus administrators. The organization has six more planned in the year ahead. He also restarted the Celebrate Israel Parade after it was canceled in 2020 and 2021 due to COVID. This year, it drew tens of thousands of marchers and saw Israeli-led protests of Israel’s right-wing government as it returned to Fifth Avenue.
“He maintained JCRC-NY’s critical role as an organization dedicated to the concept of ‘klal yisrael’ — Jewish peoplehood,” Bennett W. Golub and Cheryl Fishbein, respectively the president and chair of the JCRC, said in a statement announcing his departure.
Prior to becoming CEO, Taylor, who was raised in Ireland, served as a member of the JCRC Board of Directors for five years. He also served as executive vice president of the Claims Conference and as assistant executive vice president of the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee.
“JCRC is an incredibly strong organization, with outstanding staff and leadership. Community relations is a critical priority for the city and JCRC’s role is strong both within the Jewish community and with the many partners the JCRC has,” Taylor said.
“It’s been a huge honor to have held the role,” Taylor told the New York Jewish Week. He said that he has been asked to remain on as a consultant to the JCRC to help navigate the transition process while a successor is selected.