John Ruskay, CEO of UJA-Federation of New York, looked back on ten years of dedication
to the Jewish community. "We are the architects of the Jewish future," he said.
December 20, 2009 / 3 Tevet 5770
The UJA-Federation of New York toasted the 10th anniversary of Executive Vice President and CEO John Ruskay in a gala celebration on December 8, 2009.
The event featured a panel discussion looked back at UJA-Federation's challenges and accomplishments during the past decade under his leadership. Panelists included Arnold Eisen, Chancellor Jewish Theological Seminary of America, Larry Moses, President Wexner Foundation, and Jodi Schwartz, Partner, Wachtell, Liption, Rosen & Katz and Chair of UJA-Federation's Women's Philanthropy. Larry Zicklin, Past President of UJA-Federation (2001-2004) gave the welcoming remarks and the Jewish Agency's Director-General of the Education Department, Alan Hoffman, acted as moderator.
Ruskay's address, "Living Lives of Sacred Responsibility," covered many themes, including the "the crisis of affordability of Jewish life."
"We must address the affordability issue or we will deny growing segments of our people the opportunity to join our ranks and experience what we have learned to be the most powerful Jewish experiences," said Ruskay, citing programs such as Jewish summer camps, Birthright, MASA, and Jewish day schools. He said that early next year, a high-level study, "Priorities and Philanthropy for the Jewish People in the 21st Century," will research and suggest changes aimed at increasing access.
Other issues presented by Ruskay include a re-evaluation of UJA-Federation's partnership with Israel to take on the new challenges facing Israeli citizens.
Despite the challenges ahead, Ruskay remains optimistic. "I remain confident that we can seize this historic opportunity to continue to renew and revitalize Jewish life," concluded Ruskay. "Together, I believe we will. We are architects of the Jewish future."