Joint Distribution Committee Head to Retire

Steven Schwager, head of the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, says he will retire this year from the organization.

Chana Ya'ar,

Ethiopian aliyah
Ethiopian aliyah
Israel news photo: Flash 90

The head of the venerable American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee is set to retire this year from the organization. The "Joint" as the organization has been known for decades, is one of the most prominent American Jewish groups in the world.

Executive vice president and CEO Steven Schwager has headed the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC) since 2002, but has worked for the organization since 1989, including as its CFO and COO. He will formally step down as CEO on June 30 and formally retire on January 31, 2013.

"It's been my very great privilege to have helped JDC address some of the most pressing challenges facing the Jewish people,” Schwager said in an announcement released over the weekend.  “It [is] time for me to retire... I do this with the deepest of pride, knowing that the work we have done together has helped ensure that Jews around the world face their future a little less hungry, with deeper connections to their Jewish identity, and with the profound hope to build a better tomorrow.”

During Schwager's tenure, the JDC participated in the Operation Solomon airlift of Ethiopian Jewry, and the establishment of the organization's welfare program for Jews in the Soviet Union.

The JDC received the prestigious Israel Prize, and founded a program serving 30,000 needy Jewish children and their families in a partnership with the International Fellow of Christians and Jews. The organization under Schwager also created one of North America's leading programs for Jewish young to engage in global Jewish issues through service and learning, and provided a program of humanitarian aid and development assistance to disaster victims in Haiti and South Asia.