Philadelphia federation taps Naomi Adler as CEO

PHILADELPHIA (Jewish Exponent) — The Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia has selected Naomi Adler, a United Way official in New York, to be its new CEO, the Jewish Exponent reported.

Adler, a 47-year-old former attorney, has spent the past 13 years as a top executive with the United Way. She is currently president and CEO of United Way in New York’s Westchester and Putnam counties, a post she has held since 2008.

Adler will be the first woman to lead Philadelphia’s federation since the 1950s, when Frances Harrison was the top professional at one of the present-day federation’s precursor organizations, the Federation of Jewish Charities.

When Adler takes the helm in May, she likely will be the only woman to head a large-city American Jewish federation. The only other woman leading a major federation, Jennifer Gorovitz, is slated to leave her post at the San Francisco federation at the end of March.

Adler is replacing Ira Schwartz, who abruptly left the CEO position last May. Since then, the agency has been led by interim CEO Alex Stroker.

Adler says she is excited about combining her passion for Judaism and fundraising. A cantorial soloist, she is the daughter of renowned Jewish composer Samuel Adler and is married to Rabbi Brian Beal of Temple Beth Torah, a Reform congregation in Upper Nyack, N.Y.

Adler’s appointment comes at a time when leadership is shifting in many Jewish federations. North America’s largest Jewish federation, UJA-Federation of New York, announced its new CEO last month, and several other federations are conducting CEO searches.

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