WASHINGTON (JTA) — President Obama named a top American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee lay leader as chairwoman of his faith-based council, as well as a top Conservative rabbi to the council.
Susan Stern, the government affairs adviser to the JDC, will chair the President’s Advisory Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships, a Feb. 4 White House announcement said.
"We are incredibly proud that Susie has been recognized by President Obama for her unparalleled leadership and lifelong devotion to repairing the world, contributing to America’s future, and improving Jewish lives around the globe," JDC CEO Steven Schwager said in a statement.
Another of the 12 appointees is Rabbi Julie Schonfeld, the executive vice president of the Conservative movement’s Rabbinical Assembly.
One of the appointees, Lynne Hybels, has been active in Middle East peace advocacy through the Willow Creek Community Church.
The advisory council is the outcome of White House-led sessions last year with an array of religious leaders, including from the Jewish community.
Obama sought to continue President George W. Bush’s efforts to devolve community assistance to faith-based groups while reinforcing constitutional separations between church and state.