Eric Goldstein Named New York Federation Head, Sources Say

Lawyer Will Replace John Ruskay at $220M Charity

New Man: Eric Goldstein, right, receives award from American Friends of Hebrew University. Sources say the lawyer has been picked to lead the New York UJA-Federation.
New Man: Eric Goldstein, right, receives award from American Friends of Hebrew University. Sources say the lawyer has been picked to lead the New York UJA-Federation.

By Nathan Guttman

Published January 22, 2014.
  • Print
  • Share Share

Eric Goldstein, a financial litigation lawyer and communal lay leader, has been chosen to head the UJA-Federation of New York, the nation’s largest Jewish federation, sources say.

READ: Wall St. Lawyer Unveiled as New N.Y. Federation Chief

The federation’s board is expected to formally approve the choice later this week, which will make Goldstein the new CEO of the $220 million New York philanthropy. He replaces John Ruskay who has held the position since 1999 and announced last year that he would retire this June.

Two informed sourced confirmed to the Forward that Goldstein has been picked by the federation’s search committee to succeed Ruskay, but the federation has yet to formally announce the choice and would not confirm to the Forward that he will serve as the next CEO.

Goldstein, who could not be reached for comment, is a partner at Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton and Garrison LLP, a law firm in New York, specializing in litigation involving financial institutions, securities and white collar crime.

According to his professional resume he has represented many high profile Wall Street clients, including JPMorgan Chase, which he defended from class action suits after the 2008 collapse of Bear Stearns. Goldstein represented junk bond billionaire Michael Milken who, in a plea deal, was convicted of securities fraud in 1990. Goldstein also defended Milken against numerous civil cases and a class action suit filed against him in connection with this case.

Goldstein has been involved in Jewish communal activity for years. He has served since July 2013 as vice chair of the New York federation and prior to that chaired the federation’s Commission on Jewish Identity and Renewal. In addition to his federation activity, Goldstein also chaired the board of the Manhattan Day School, was president of the Beth Din of America and was a founding board member of Yeshiva University’s Azrieli Graduate School of Jewish Education & Administration.

Goldstein, who is expected to take over at the helm of the federation in mid-2014, will head an organization that serves a Jewish community of more than 4.5 million and is the largest community-based philanthropic organization in the world. In 2012 the federation raised $212 million and spent the same amount on program services.

During his tenure, Ruskay has raised $2.7 billion, mostly for the federation’s endowment fund. He also succeeded in keeping the federation afloat during and after the 2008 economic downturn, when other charities experienced a plunge in donations.

Though he has served as a charity lay leader, Goldstein does not come from the not-for-profit world, based on his public resume. Nor does he have prior experience in managing charitable organizations. He will be entering at a time when the entire federation system is undergoing a generational shift, with several long-serving CEO’s retiring and with federations facing increasing difficulties in raising funds.

The New York federation’s choice of Goldstein continues to leave the federation system nationwide with no women heading a major federation. Jennifer Gorovitz, who was appointed CEO of the Jewish Community Federation of San Francisco in 2010 — making her the first such woman — resigned her post in January.


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!
  • PHOTOS: Hundreds of protesters marched through lower Manhattan yesterday demanding an end to American support for Israel’s operation in #Gaza.
  • Does #Hamas have to lose for there to be peace? Read the latest analysis by J.J. Goldberg.
  • This is what the rockets over Israel and Gaza look like from space:
  • "Israel should not let captives languish or corpses rot. It should do everything in its power to recover people and bodies. Jewish law places a premium on pidyon shvuyim, “the redemption of captives,” and proper burial. But not when the price will lead to more death and more kidnappings." Do you agree?
  • Slate.com's Allison Benedikt wrote that Taglit-Birthright Israel is partly to blame for the death of American IDF volunteer Max Steinberg. This is why she's wrong:
  • Israeli soldiers want you to buy them socks. And snacks. And backpacks. And underwear. And pizza. So claim dozens of fundraising campaigns launched by American Jewish and Israeli charities since the start of the current wave of crisis and conflict in Israel and Gaza.
  • The sign reads: “Dogs are allowed in this establishment but Zionists are not under any circumstances.”
  • Is Twitter Israel's new worst enemy?
  • More than 50 former Israeli soldiers have refused to serve in the current ground operation in #Gaza.
  • "My wife and I are both half-Jewish. Both of us very much felt and feel American first and Jewish second. We are currently debating whether we should send our daughter to a Jewish pre-K and kindergarten program or to a public one. Pros? Give her a Jewish community and identity that she could build on throughout her life. Cons? Costs a lot of money; She will enter school with the idea that being Jewish makes her different somehow instead of something that you do after or in addition to regular school. Maybe a Shabbat sing-along would be enough?"
  • Undeterred by the conflict, 24 Jews participated in the first ever Jewish National Fund— JDate singles trip to Israel. Translation: Jews age 30 to 45 travelled to Israel to get it on in the sun, with a side of hummus.
  • "It pains and shocks me to say this, but here goes: My father was right all along. He always told me, as I spouted liberal talking points at the Shabbos table and challenged his hawkish views on Israel and the Palestinians to his unending chagrin, that I would one day change my tune." Have you had a similar experience?
  • "'What’s this, mommy?' she asked, while pulling at the purple sleeve to unwrap this mysterious little gift mom keeps hidden in the inside pocket of her bag. Oh boy, how do I answer?"
  • "I fear that we are witnessing the end of politics in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. I see no possibility for resolution right now. I look into the future and see only a void." What do you think?
  • Not a gazillionaire? Take the "poor door."
  • 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.