New York— The Jewish Council for Public Affairs (JCPA), which represents 125 Jewish community relations councils across the country and serves as an umbrella for the Jewish advocacy community in the US, has completed its extensive national search for its next President and CEO. Long-time Jewish advocacy professional and Washington DC-area resident David Bernstein has been appointed to the post.
“We are delighted that David will come aboard as our next President and CEO,” stated Larry Gold, chair of the executive search committee and immediate past Chairman of the Board. “David brings a wealth of experience in the community relations field, tremendous advocacy experience, and a proven track record in building and transforming organizations.”
For the last year, David has traveled across the U.S. working with Jewish Federations and national foundations as the President of CultureSolutionsLLC which offers a range of services designed to help organizations adjust to the demands of a 21st century economy.
From 2010-2014, Bernstein was the Executive Director of The David Project, which works to improve Israel’s image on college campuses across the country. Bernstein transformed the organization from what was widely considered an ideologically-charged, right-of-center operation to a more nuanced, centrist group focusing on relationship-based advocacy.
Prior to his time at The David Project, Bernstein held a series of senior roles at the American Jewish Committee and as the director of the organization’s Washington regional office. Bernstein also spent more than three years working at the Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Washington, where he did community and government relations on behalf of the 60,000 Jews living in Northern Virginia.
“This is a very exciting time for the JCPA,” said Susan W. Turnbull, chair of the Board. “Given all of the challenges the Jewish community faces, from efforts to isolate and de-legitimize Israel to efforts to undermine American pluralism, we needed an experienced executive with a fresh and creative approach. We are convinced that we have found just that.”
“David is an experienced change leader and manager,” Turnbull continued. “He will help us navigate the vast changes taking place in the Jewish world and American society.”
“I couldn’t be more honored,” stated Bernstein. “This is the culmination of decades of work advancing Jewish interests and values, and a more inclusive American society.”
He continued, “The Jewish community relations movement must rise to the challenge of de-legitimization of Israel. This means not only stopping BDS, which we will continue to do, but also doubling down on our ties to key, emerging demographic constituencies. We need to do less crisis management, and more preventative medicine in our support for Israel. With changes in technology and communications, we need to embrace 21st century methods that allow us to scale our impact.”
“I hope to bring a very focused approach to choosing policy priorities and serving and leveraging the 125 JCRCs from around the country,” he said. “My first order of business will be to go on a listening tour, and hear from JCRCs, Federations and partner organizations on how JCPA can make the maximum impact.”
“David is a transformative leader, a visionary, an intellectual and is very effective,” said Ron Halber, Executive Director of the Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Washington. “He will do wonders for the organization.”
Bernstein will assume the post in early January.