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Shake-up at top of Jewish Agency continues

NEW YORK (JTA) — The Jewish Agency for Israel continued the shake-up of its top professionals with the naming of a new director-general.

Alan Hoffman, director-general of the agency’s education department since 2000, will become the first non-Israel native to become the director-general, according to a Jewish Agency news release.

He takes over as the agency’s second-in-command for Moshe Vigdor, who announced in December that he was resigning to become the director-general of Israel’s Council for Higher Education.

Hoffman, who moved to Israel from South Africa in 1967, oversaw the Jewish Agency’s operations in the former Soviet Union and helped develop its MASA program.

He essentially will serve as the first lieutenant to former Soviet dissident Natan Sharansky, who took over last summer as the chairman of the agency’s executive. Sharansky is the organization’s face and thought leader; Hoffman will run the organization’s day-to-day operations. 

As Hoffman comes in, the organization is losing one its top financial officers. Chief fund-raiser Jeff Kaye is leaving to become the chief development officer for World ORT.

Both moves follow the forced resignation of Maxyne Finkelstein, the head of JAFI North America. Finkelstein is being replaced by Misha Galperin, the current CEO of the Jewish Federation of Greater Washington.

The moves follow Sharansky’s recent announcement that he would be shifting the focus of the organization away from spurring immigration to Israel and more toward global Jewish identity building.

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