Jennifer Gorovitz Steps Down as San Francisco Jewish Federation Chief

Only Woman To Lead Big Federation Will Leave in March

Void at the Top: Jennifer Gorovitz will be stepping down as head of the San Francisco Jewish federation. She was the only woman leading a major federation in the U.S.
jewish community federation
Void at the Top: Jennifer Gorovitz will be stepping down as head of the San Francisco Jewish federation. She was the only woman leading a major federation in the U.S.

By Josh Nathan-Kazis

Published January 03, 2014.
  • Print
  • Share Share

Jennifer Gorovitz, the chief executive officer of San Francisco’s Jewish federation and the only woman to head a large Jewish federation in the United States, announced that she will resign from her position at the end of March.

Gorovitz announced her resignation in a letter circulated by the Jewish Community Federation of San Francisco, the Peninsula, Marin and Sonoma Counties on January 3, saying that she hoped to spend more time with her family and to practice law. She became the organization’s acting CEO in 2009 and has been with the organization since 2004.

“This decision was not easy,” Gorovitz wrote in her letter. “I am still as passionate and committed to the work of the Federation and the Endowment Fund as I was nearly a decade ago.”

When the federation made Gorovitz its CEO in 2010, she was the first woman to be the CEO of a large Jewish federation. She remains the only woman to have such a position in the United States. The Montreal federation, also among the large North American federations, is also headed by a woman.

The San Francisco federation drew $88 million in contributions in 2012 and $115 million in 2011. In her letter, Gorovitz said she was particularly proud of a handful of new programs aimed at engaging younger Jews, including a local post-Birthright initiative. She said that she would focus on trust and estate planning when she returns to the law.

According to an independent analysis of the Forward’s 2013 survey of Jewish communal salaries, Gorovitz was vastly underpaid relative to other leaders of Jewish organizations. Her 2012 salary of $311,044 was less than that of 31 Jewish organizational leaders on the Forward’s survey.

Gorovitz’s impending departure makes the San Francisco federation the fifth large or large-intermediate sized federation to be seeking a new CEO in 2014.


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • "My dear Penelope, when you accuse Israel of committing 'genocide,' do you actually know what you are talking about?"
  • What's for #Shabbat dinner? Try Molly Yeh's coconut quinoa with dates and nuts. Recipe here:
  • Can animals suffer from PTSD?
  • Is anti-Zionism the new anti-Semitism?
  • "I thought I was the only Jew on a Harley Davidson, but I was wrong." — Gil Paul, member of the Hillel's Angels. http://jd.fo/g4cjH
  • “This is a dangerous region, even for people who don’t live there and say, merely express the mildest of concern about the humanitarian tragedy of civilians who have nothing to do with the warring factions, only to catch a rash of *** (bleeped) from everyone who went to your bar mitzvah! Statute of limitations! Look, a $50 savings bond does not buy you a lifetime of criticism.”
  • That sound you hear? That's your childhood going up in smoke.
  • "My husband has been offered a terrific new job in a decent-sized Midwestern city. This is mostly great, except for the fact that we will have to leave our beloved NYC, where one can feel Jewish without trying very hard. He is half-Jewish and was raised with a fair amount of Judaism and respect for our tradition though ultimately he doesn’t feel Jewish in that Larry David sort of way like I do. So, he thinks I am nuts for hesitating to move to this new essentially Jew-less city. Oh, did I mention I am pregnant? Seesaw, this concern of mine is real, right? There is something to being surrounded by Jews, no? What should we do?"
  • "Orwell described the cliches of politics as 'packets of aspirin ready at the elbow.' Israel's 'right to defense' is a harder narcotic."
  • From Gene Simmons to Pink — Meet the Jews who rock:
  • The images, which have since been deleted, were captioned: “Israel is the last frontier of the free world."
  • As J Street backs Israel's operation in Gaza, does it risk losing grassroots support?
  • What Thomas Aquinas might say about #Hamas' tunnels:
  • The Jewish bachelorette has spoken.
  • "When it comes to Brenda Turtle, I ask you: What do you expect of a woman repressed all her life who suddenly finds herself free to explore? We can sit and pass judgment, especially when many of us just simply “got over” own sexual repression. But we are obliged to at least acknowledge that this problem is very, very real, and that complete gender segregation breeds sexual repression and unhealthy attitudes toward female sexuality."
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.