For the full list of this year’s 36 to Watch — which honors leaders, entrepreneurs and changemakers who are making a difference in New York’s Jewish community — click here.
With a Harvard education and a last name synonymous with New York City business success and Jewish philanthropy, Jessica Tisch, 42, could have chosen any career. The one she did choose was public service, and as New York City sanitation commissioner, her job is to make sure that 24 million pounds of residential trash gets cleared from the city streets — every single day. In October, she went viral when she announced new rules to reduce the time trash sits on the streets, saying, “The rats are going to hate this announcement. But the rats don’t run this city. We do.”
Tisch’s father, James, is the president and co-C.E.O. of the Loews Corporation; her mother, Merryl Tisch, is the former chair of the New York State Board of Regents and chairperson emeritus of the Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty. The family has a stake in the New York Giants and a hand in many of the city’s top Jewish nonprofts.
After attending Harvard Law School and Harvard Business School, she began her public service career in 2008, when she joined the NYPD as deputy commissioner of information technology. “I’ve told people before that going to work in city government was certainly at the time not the most thoughtful decision I’ve ever made,” she told an interviewer earlier this year. “But it is one of the great blessings of my life.”
Earlier this year, the city announced that it was rolling out universal curbside composting service for all 8.5 million residents, and is considering an ambitious program to replace trash bags with curbside trash containers. You almost feel sorry for the rats.