Gerald Kraft, an Indianapolis business executive, was elected president of B’nai B’rith International at the closing session last Thursday of the organization’s six day biennial convention. He defeated Murray Shusterman, a Philadelphia attorney, after a year-long campaign during which time they frequently flew together to cities and towns across the continent to debate issues of concern to B’nai B’rith members.
Kraft, who is 50 years old, is executive vice president of Melvin Simon and Associates, one of the largest shopping center development management companies in America. He succeeds Jack Spitzer of Seattle. A retired banker, Spitzer had served two two-year terms and was not eligible for reelection.
Kraft has been active in B’nai B’rith since he was a teenager. A member of the B’nai B’rith Youth Organization, he climbed up through local, district, and national leadership ranks. Later, as on adult, he again rose through the ranks. For the last two years, he has served as one of four senior vice presidents of B’nai B’rith.
At the same time, he was a member of the organization’s Finainball (Financial) Management and Administrative Committees, chairman of the B’nai B’rith-Council of Jewish Federation Planning Committee on Hillel, liaison to the Anti-Defamation League of B’nai B’rith and chairman of a fund-raising cabinet division and trustee of the B’nai B’rith retirement plan.
Kraft is a past president of B’nai B’rith District 2, a region that ranges from Ohio to Wyoming, and former chairman of the organization’s personnel, and planning and research committees and the membership joint cabinet.
ACTIVE IN MANY COMMUNAL ORGANIZATIONS
A native of Indianapolis, Kraft is also active in other communal organizations. He is a member of the Board of Directors of the Council of Jewish Federations, a member of the Board of Overseers of the Jewish Theological Seminary of America, vice president of the Jewish Welfare Federation of Indianapolis, chairman of the Indianapolis Federation’s 1982 fund-raising campaign, and past president of both the Jewish Community Center Association of Indianapolis and Congregation Beth El Zedeck.
Kraft served as a member of the Indiana Governor’s Youth Council and in 1960 was a delegate to the White House Conference on Children and Youth. Kraft and his wife Adele have three children, two of whom were leaders in the B’nai B’rith Youth Organization. His father has been a member of B’nai B’rith for 49 years.
The Archive of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency includes articles published from 1923 to 2008. Archive stories reflect the journalistic standards and practices of the time they were published.