When Isaac “Bougie” Herzog was elected to be the next Chairman of the Executive of The Jewish Agency for Israel in 2018, I knew he’d be a remarkable leader for our organization, but I could have never predicted the extent of his profound impact. One of Isaac’s early decisions, together with the Executive Search Committee, was to appoint me as the first-ever woman CEO in The Jewish Agency’s more than 90-year history. This groundbreaking stride was just one of many that President Herzog motivated, a true testament to his commitment to organizational diversity, and a value he and I made sure to continue to prioritize over the last three years
As a vocal and passionate Chairman, President Herzog brought The Jewish Agency into prominent international conversations around global Jewry, antisemitism and Israel. His fearlessness in calling out and addressing the issue of rising antisemitism in political and educational spheres is inspiring. In focusing our strategy, Bougie and I, as Chairman and CEO respectively, continued to build on The Jewish Agency’s strong foundation as the “global glue” and convener of the Jewish People.
As a man of the people, President Herzog dedicated himself to strengthening close connections within Jewish communities around the globe. Under his leadership, we increased the number of Shlichim (Israeli emissaries) serving in Jewish communities globally to create personal relationships between world Jewry and the Jewish state. I know the bridges The Jewish Agency created during this period will flourish and expand for countless years to come.
As a man of vision and action, Bougie led the charge in initiating important collaborations with Israeli ministries, new foundations and other strategic partners, emphasizing the need for them to come together on behalf of the Jewish People and to boost resilience within Israeli society to ensure a strong, united Jewish future. In these complex times both in Israel and abroad, I’m confident in President Herzog’s commitment to be a unifying force for all the people of Israel and Jewish communities around the world.
Even when the COVID-19 pandemic threw the world into chaos, The Jewish Agency’s management, with Bougie’s support, remained steadfast to our mission, launching a variety of emergency measures to aid Jewish communities in peril and Israeli nonprofits at risk of collapse. With his concern for Jews everywhere always evident, President Herzog wholeheartedly encouraged our efforts to stay active and find new ways to help Jews connect virtually and support one another, no matter the distance.
On behalf of The Jewish Agency family, I want to thank our former Chairman of the Executive for his tireless devotion to the Jewish nation and to us. He has left an indelible mark on our renowned organization and brought us to even greater heights at a time when the Jewish world needs us more than ever. We will miss him at our helm, but this is not goodbye, only “l’hitraot” (see you soon), as we look forward to continuing to work together throughout his term as President of Israel.