NEW YORK (JTA) — Irving Kessler, a longtime lay leader of the Jewish federation system and its overseas partners, has died.
Kessler, the executive vice chairman emeritus of the United Israel Appeal, died Saturday. He was 88 and lived in Newport, R.I.
Kessler served the UIA from 1974 to 1988 before becoming the senior adviser to the chairman of the Jewish Agency for Israel.
Prior to his work at the UIA, he was the executive director of the Jewish Federation of Greater Hartford, Conn., after serving as a staff member there, according to the UIA.
Kessler helped secure U.S. government funding to help immigrants settle in Israel, as well as a line of credit from the government in 1984 to help Israel begin Operation Moses, which brought thousands of Ethiopian Jews to the Jewish state.
He was a World War II veteran of the Army Air Corps.