The man who’s run Chicago’s Jewish community for almost 40 years is stepping down
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The man who’s run Chicago’s Jewish community for almost 40 years is stepping down

(JTA) — Steven Nasatir, the longtime CEO of Chicago’s Jewish federation, will be moving into another role next year after four decades on the job.

Nasatir, 73, is the longest-serving CEO of any Jewish federation. His organization, called the Jewish United Fund, has distributed nearly $7 billion to charitable causes since he took the job in 1979. According to Bloomberg, it is the largest social service agency in Illinois. It serves some 300,000 Jews in the Chicago area.

JUF also reports that its fundraising has increased in recent years even as other federations have seen declining numbers. Last year it raised a total of $300 million that it, like other Jewish federations, then distributed to charitable causes locally, nationally, in Israel and elsewhere.

“We, who have dedicated ourselves to JUF/Jewish Federation and who continue to devote our lives to serving our community, are privileged,” Nasatir wrote in a letter Monday announcing the move. “We helped create a Jewish community whose strength and impact are unprecedented.”

Nasatir wrote that he was most proud of the federation’s resettling Jewish refugees from the Soviet Union and elsewhere, as well as its work funding institutions locally and financial support of Israel. In 2004, during the second intifada, JUF raised more money for Israeli per capita than any other Jewish federation.

JUF will convene a yearlong search for its new CEO, with the aim of replacing Nasatir in June 2019. He began working for the organization in 1971, and will continue to work there as executive vice chairman, with a reduced portfolio. According to Haaretz, as of 2015 he was one of the highest-paid federation executives in the country.

“He’s really unparalleled in his accomplishments and his leadership, and we’re just very happy he’ll continue with us in a new role,” JUF Chairman Michael Zaransky said. “He is an extraordinarily rare individual that’s had an extraordinary career, and he’s affected not just the Chicago Jewish community but the broader philanthropic world.”