New York City Mayor Eric Adams forms first-ever Jewish Advisory Council


(New York Jewish Week) –  Mayor Eric Adams has launched an inaugural Jewish Advisory Council which will be composed of 37 prominent leaders of the city’s Jewish diverse community. 

Announced Monday, the first meeting of the council will take place Monday evening at City Hall. 

The cohort includes members from each borough and represent various denominations and Jewish organizations, including synagogues, non-profits, schools and community centers. 

“Members of the newly-formed council will focus on all issues affecting Jewish New Yorkers, including public safety, quality of life, and education, and will ensure Jewish communities across New York City are connected with all of the city’s resources and services available,” said the mayor’s office in a press release. 

The council – which, according to the mayor’s office, is the first of its kind to be called together by the city — comes after a period in which reports of antisemitism appeared to be on the rise. According to the Anti-Defamation League, antisemitic hate crimes in the city rose 39% from 2021 to 2022, though they are lower so far through the same period in 2023. Nationally, the ADL reported a 36% increase in antisemitic hate crimes from 2021 to 2022.

Residents of largely Orthodox neighborhoods have complained of street attacks that appear to be motivated by antisemitism, and critics of the City University of New York system have complained about anti-Israel activity on its various campuses that they say has crossed the line into anti-Jewish harassment

“The mayor’s advisory council demonstrates a commitment by the city to understand the needs of the Jewish community and how to amplify the various Jewish communities within the larger Jewish community and, of course, to speak out when there are issues around antisemitism,” Rachel Ain, senior rabbi at Sutton Place Synagogue, told the New York Jewish Week while in transit to the first meeting of the council.

“I see it as an opportunity to amplify the positive and respond to the negative,” said the Conservative rabbi. “It’s important that both pieces are there, and that the council is representative of so many different parts of the Jewish community. That so many of us have been invited to the seat to have a seat at the table is crucial.”

The council will be chaired by Joel Eisdorfer, a senior advisor to Adams and the first Hasidic Jew on the administration’s senior staff. (Eisdorfer was named to the New York Jewish Week’s “36 to Watch” list in 2022.

Other members include Rabbi Elliot Cosgrove of Park Avenue Synagogue; Rabbi Joshua Davidson of Temple Emanu-El; Rabbi Chaim Steinmetz of Kehilath Jeshurun; political activist Devorah Halberstam and Rabbi Danielle Ellman, the CEO of Commonpoint Queens, a social service agency. Also on the council are Alexander Rapaport, CEO of Masbia Food Pantry; David Greenfield, CEO of the Met Council on Jewish Poverty; Rabbi Joseph Beyda, head of school at Yeshiva of Flatbush; Hindy Poupko, deputy chief planning officer at UJA-Federation; and Jack Kliger, CEO of the Museum of Jewish Heritage.

“As a proud communal leader and proud New Yorker, I look forward to partnering with my colleagues to ensure that the diverse Jewish community of our city has a seat at the table when important decisions are made,” Rabbi Joanna Samuels, CEO of the Marlene Meyerson JCC Manhattan, said in the press release.

Also in the press release, Rabbi Joseph Potasnik, executive vice president of the New York Board of Rabbis, noted his eagerness to work together as a unified community. “We can best confront the challenges today if we work collectively as one community,” he said. “We believe that unity of spirit and diversity of thought are essential as we write a new chapter in our great city.”

“Our Jewish community — the largest in the world outside of Israel — is a critical part of New York City,” Adams said in the press release. “From the top of the Bronx to the bottom of Staten Island, the work and contributions of our Jewish brothers and sisters are felt across all five boroughs. With antisemitic crimes up across the nation, our newly-formed Jewish Advisory Council will ensure that Jewish New Yorkers in every community have a seat at the table and have access to the support and resources the city offers.”

One year ago, Adams met with 55 women rabbis and cantors who were concerned that the Adams administration wasn’t consulting with Jewish groups and leaders outside of the Orthodox community.