Solow appears to be Presidents Conf. front-runner


WASHINGTON (JTA) — A confidante of Barack Obama has emerged as a front-runner to lead the U.S. Jewish foreign policy umbrella.

Alan Solow, a Chicago lawyer who has backed the president-elect since his first run for state Senate in 1996, is among at least five Jewish leaders in interviews this week with a selection committee that will name the next chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations. The selection should be known by Friday, insiders said.

Solow’s Chicago Jewish activism, his recent leadership of the Jewish Community Centers Association and his closeness to Obama make him the front-runner, the insiders have said.

Others known to be seeking the post include Ed Robin, the immediate past chairman of NCSJ: Advocates on behalf of Jews in Russia, Ukraine, the Baltic States and Eurasia; Moishe Smith, the president of B’nai B’rith International; Stephen Wolnek, the president of Mercaz, the Zionist arm of the Conservative movement; and Stanley Chesley, the president of the Jewish National Fund.

The Presidents Conference, which comprises more than 50 national organizations, makes representations to the U.S. president on foreign policy issues.

Its most recent chairwoman, June Walker, formerly the Hadassah president, died in June. Harold Tanner, a past chairman, has been filling in as interim chairman, but has said he is not interested in reassuming the role.

Recommended from JTA