Philly Federation Taps United Way Executive As First Female CEO


Philadelphia’s Jewish federation has named a United Way executive as its new chief executive officer, according to the Philadelphia Jewish Exponent.

The appointment of 47-year-old Naomi Adler as the leader of the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia marks the first woman who will lead the Jewish community’s central fundraising organization, the Exponent said, and the second time in recent weeks that a major Jewish federation has gone outside the Jewish communal ranks to fill a top position.

UJA-Federation of New York last week named Wall Street attorney Eric Goldstein as executive vice president John Ruskay’s successor.

Adler, also an attorney, left the practice of law for a career in nonprofit fundraising and management, spending the last 13 years with United Way, the last six as president of United Way in Westchester and Putnam counties. She will replace Alex Stroker, who has served as interim CEO since Ira Schwartz resigned from that post in May, according to the Exponent.

“She seemed to have everything we wanted for our Federation – she’s a visionary, a great communicator, a spiritual person imbued in Judaism,” Sherrie Savett, president of the Philadelphia federation, told the Exponent. She called herself “particularly pleased that Naomi is the first woman to lead our Federation in its 112-year history.”

When she becomes CEO in May, she will be the only woman to head a major-city Jewish federation; Jennifer Gorovitz is leaving her post at the San Francisco federation after five years.

In a similar development, the Abraham Joshua Heschel School in Manhattan has appointed someone outside the Jewish educational field – Columbia law professor Ariela Dubler – as the new Head of School. She now serves as vice president of the day school’s board.