Natan Sharansky has served as Chairman of the Executive since June 2009. A former Prisoner of Zion, Mr. Sharansky spent nine years in a Soviet prison due to his human rights activism and his desire to make Aliyah. Upon his release in 1986, he immediately traveled to Jerusalem, where he lives to this day. Mr. Sharansky served as Deputy Prime Minister of Israel in several Israeli cabinets and was the founder of the political party Yisra'el B'Aliyah. He is the author of three books, Fear No Evil, The Case for Democracy and Defending Identity: Its Indispensable Role in Protecting Democracy. Mr. Sharansky was awarded the Congressional Gold Medal in 1986 and the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2006.
Charles Horowitz Ratner, Chairman
Charles (Chuck) Horowitz Ratner serves as the Chair of the Board of Governors of the Jewish Agency since July 2014. He is currently chairman of the board of Forest City Enterprises, Inc, a national owner and developer of real estate headquartered in Cleveland, Ohio. He served as President and CEO of the company from 1995 to 2011. Mr. Ratner served as the chair of the Jewish Agency Budget and Finance Committee. Previously, he served as chair of the Education Committee and has served on the JAFI board since 2002. He is on the board of the Jewish Community Federation (JCF) of Cleveland, where he served as chairman of the board. He is on the board of the Jewish Federations of North America. In addition, Mr. Ratner was the founding chair of the Jewish Education Center of Cleveland (JECC). He serves as a trustee of The Mandel Associated Foundations and The David and Inez Myers Foundation.
Alan Hoffmann assumed the position of CEO and Director General of the Jewish Agency in March 2010. Since his Aliyah from South Africa in 1967, Alan’s professional life has been dedicated to promoting Jewish community and Jewish Education. He began his career as a professional in the field as the director of The Young Judea Year Course. After three years of doctoral study at the Harvard School of Education, he spent 13 years at the Melton Centre for Jewish Education at the Hebrew University, including six years as its Director. Subsequently, Alan served as the Executive Director of the Council for Initiatives in Jewish Education (CIJE) in New York and in 1997 was named the head of the Mandel Center for Jewish Continuity at Hebrew University. In February of 2000, he became the Director General of the Education Department of the Jewish Agency. Under his leadership, the Agency’s Education Department developed such groundbreaking initiatives as Masa Israel Journey and MAKOM – a think-practice tank focused on re-imagining the place of Israel in Jewish life. He led the department to play a central role in training inspiring educators. The focus is on developing compelling content, and promoting transformative Israel experiences that together encourage Jewish identity and a connection to the Jewish People and to Israel. As CEO and Director General of the Jewish Agency for Israel, Alan has led the strategic refocusing of the work of the Agency whose mission is securing the Jewish future for generations.
The Jewish Agency in Action
Connect Israel: Young Urban Networks
Whether you are a tourist or new immigrant, Connect Israel has great opportunities for social networking and guidance on employment and housing.
Emergency Assistance Fund
The Emergency Assistance Fund provides security details to Jewish schools, synagogues, and community centers around the world, so Jewish communal life can thrive even in the unfriendliest of places.
Young AliyahNativ: Jewish Heritage Education for Immigrant Soldiers
Nativ is a warm Jewish educational experience for immigrant soldiers in the Israel Defense Forces (IDF).
Nitzana Educational Eco-Village
A cutting-edge desert community and educational center that fosters environmentalism, tolerance, and self-confidence. Nitzana is home to many Jewish Agency Social Activism projects.