Ira Forman retires as NJDC CEO — but not exactly from NJDC


Ira Forman, whose outspoken leadership of the National Jewish Democratic Council has insinuated itself into much JTA copy, is stepping down as CEO — and stepping up to the board.

The book he’s referring to in the release below, of course, is this classic, Jews In American Politics.

Here’s the release:

After leading the National Jewish Democratic Council (NJDC) since January of 1996, CEO Ira N. Forman announced his resignation, effective today. NJDC’s leadership has appointed NJDC President David A. Harris – who has been serving with Forman in a co-executive leadership team – to serve as President and CEO.

"After nearly 15 years leading the NJDC, I have decided to leave my position as CEO to pursue a number of related passions," Forman said. "Those aspirations include writing a second book on Jews in American politics as well as engaging in the debate over the debasement of our public discourse. Working with organizations like NJDC’s sister organization, the Solomon Project, I am excited to further contribute to the public policy process," Forman added.

NJDC Chair Marc R. Stanley noted, "The National Jewish Democratic Council owes a great debt of gratitude to Ira for everything he’s done over these many years; we are tremendously proud of his strong leadership and the resulting success, and we are sad to see him leave this position. Ira has helped build NJDC into a recognized brand in American politics, as well as a valued resource for the Democratic Party, Democratic office holders, candidates and presidents alike. We so value Ira’s contributions to the NJDC that I am immediately appointing him to our Board of Directors and Executive Committee. I am gratified that he has accepted these appointments and is excited about joining our lay leadership."

During Forman’s tenure at the helm of the National Jewish Democratic Council, the organization moved from strength to strength. Forman and NJDC are widely represented in the media as never before, both Jewish and secular alike; NJDC has played an increasingly central role in each federal campaign cycle as NJDC works to educate Jewish voters about the issues at stake; and the organization works more and more closely with key Jewish members of Congress, and with the White House and Democratic National Committee as well. Overall, NJDC’s profile has grown dramatically under Forman’s guidance.

NJDC’s leadership expressed great optimism as they looked to the future of the organization under leadership that is new, yet experienced. "In turning to David, we are turning to someone with 17 years of professional experience in the organized Jewish community, including eight years of leadership experience here at NJDC – most recently in the role of President, leading this organization with Ira in a unique co-executive leadership arrangement," said Immediate Past Chair Michael M. Adler. "David has shown strong leadership and innovative organization-building skills during his career, both at NJDC and elsewhere, and we’re glad he is at the helm now. We have a great deal of important work ahead of us as we pursue our mission, and we have strong leadership and a great team in place as we continue to grow our organization," Adler added.

"I am deeply grateful for everything that Ira has done to powerfully build NJDC over the past decade and a half, and the way he has served as a mentor to me throughout the time we’ve worked together means the world to me," said Harris. "I am also humbled by the trust that NJDC’s officers and Board of Directors have placed in me, and I look forward to fulfilling our mission and building upon Ira’s achievements. I know that I have some big shoes to fill, even if we’ve been sharing those shoes over the past year," Harris added.

UPDATE: Man, William Daroff, the Jewish Federations of North America’s Washington director, gives me nothing but grief when I refer to his previous incarnation as the Republican Jewish Coalition’s former deputy director — and then he sends me this nice little note that’s all about him being ex-RJC!

Clearly, we’ve got to hash this out at Eli’s.


Even though my relationship with Ira Forman started as political opponents, he had always been a good friend and someone whom I have respected as a conscientious and devoted Jewish leader. In my time with the Jewish Federations of North America, Ira has always been available to provide guidance and advice as we have worked to move forward the agenda the Jewish Federations. I am certain that he will continue to be of service to the Jewish community as he moves to the next chapter of his life. On a more personal note, I am intensely jealous of his newfound ability to attend games of our beloved Cleveland Indians.

I am confident that NJDC will not miss a beat under David Harris’ leadership. David and I began our friendship by debating each other in front of Jewish crowds – in total probably two dozen times. He is among the brightest lights in the Jewish communal world, devoted to the Jewish ethic of tikkun olam – repairing the world.

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