Abraham Foxman To Step Down as Anti-Defamation League Chief

Ends Half Century of Jewish Communal Service in 2015

getty images

By Forward Staff

Published February 10, 2014.
  • Print
  • Share Share

Abraham H. Foxman announced he will step down from his position as national director of the Anti-Defamation League on July 20, 2015, ending a 50-year career in Jewish communal service.

“ADL offered me the perfect vehicle to live a life of purpose both in standing up on behalf of the Jewish people to ensure that what happened during World War II would never happen again and in fighting bigotry and all forms of oppression,” Foxman said in a statement. “My years at ADL, particularly the 27 spent as National Director, could not have been more rewarding.”

Foxman, a Holocaust survivor who was hidden as a child during the war, began his career with the ADL in 1965 after graduating from the City College of the City University of New York and New York University School of Law. He rose through the ranks and, in 1987, was tapped as national director.

During his tenure, the ADL continued to grow as the premier organization fighting anti-Semitism bigotry and discrimination with 30 regional offices across the United States and an office in Israel. It celebrated its centennial year in 2013.

Foxman has a leading voice confronting the forces of anti-Semitism and intolerance of all types. He has become a familiar face worldwide for his embrace of global leaders who see eye-to-eye with the ADL’s mission of standing up to intolerance.

“Abe Foxman is a unique leader in American Jewish life. No one brings the combination of passion, experience, insight and courage to the Jewish community like Abe,” Barry Curtiss-Lusher, ADL national chair, said.

Foxman announced his retirement at the ADL’s annual National Executive Committee meeting in Palm Beach, Fla. The organization said its search for Foxman’s successor will be conducted by the executive search firm BoardWalk Consulting and will be guided by ADL leadership.

In 2011, the last year for which data is available, the ADL reported nearly $54 million in revenue. The organization monitors anti-Semitic activity, offers discrimination-sensitivity training and runs anti-bigotry programs.

But it is Foxman’s personage for which the ADL may best be known. Seen as a spokesman for the Jewish people, Foxman has used his position as a bully pulpit to advocate for Israel, warn against discrimination and, perhaps most often, issue declamations of what does or does not constitute anti-Semitism.

Whether they be condemnations of foreign leaders or pardons of celebrities who have made ill-considered utterances, Foxman’s has been the authoritative voice on what is or is not acceptable to Jews.

After he steps down, Foxman will serve as a part-time consultant to ADL and sit on the organization’s national commission and national executive committee, the organization said.

With JTA


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!
  • “The Black community was resistant to the Jewish community coming into the neighborhood — at first.” Watch this video about how a group of gardeners is rebuilding trust between African-Americans and Jews in Detroit.
  • "I am a Jewish woman married to a non-Jewish man who was raised Catholic, but now considers himself a “common-law Jew.” We are raising our two young children as Jews. My husband's parents are still semi-practicing Catholics. When we go over to either of their homes, they bow their heads, often hold hands, and say grace before meals. This is an especially awkward time for me, as I'm uncomfortable participating in a non-Jewish religious ritual, but don't want his family to think I'm ungrateful. It's becoming especially vexing to me now that my oldest son is 7. What's the best way to handle this situation?" http://jd.fo/b4ucX What would you do?
  • Maybe he was trying to give her a "schtickle of fluoride"...
  • It's all fun, fun, fun, until her dad takes the T-Bird away for Shabbos.
  • "Like many Jewish people around the world, I observed Shabbat this weekend. I didn’t light candles or recite Hebrew prayers; I didn’t eat challah or matzoh ball soup or brisket. I spent my Shabbat marching for justice for Eric Garner of Staten Island, Michael Brown of Ferguson, and all victims of police brutality."
  • Happy #NationalDogDay! To celebrate, here's a little something from our archives:
  • A Jewish couple was attacked on Monday night in New York City's Upper East Side. According to police, the attackers flew Palestinian flags.
  • "If the only thing viewers knew about the Jews was what they saw on The Simpsons they — and we — would be well served." What's your favorite Simpsons' moment?
  • "One uncle of mine said, 'I came to America after World War II and I hitchhiked.' And Robin said, 'I waited until there was a 747 and a kosher meal.'" Watch Billy Crystal's moving tribute to Robin Williams at last night's #Emmys:
  • "Americans are much more focused on the long term and on the end goal which is ending the violence, and peace. It’s a matter of zooming out rather than debating the day to day.”
  • "I feel great sorrow about the fact that you decided to return the honor and recognition that you so greatly deserve." Rivka Ben-Pazi, who got Dutchman Henk Zanoli recognized as a "Righteous Gentile," has written him an open letter.
  • Is there a right way to criticize Israel?
  • From The Daily Show to Lizzy Caplan, here's your Who's Jew guide to the 2014 #Emmys. Who are you rooting for?
  • “People at archives like Yad Vashem used to consider genealogists old ladies in tennis shoes. But they have been impressed with our work on indexing documents. Now they are lining up to work with us." This year's Jewish Genealogical Societies conference took place in Utah. We got a behind-the-scenes look:
  • What would Maimonides say about Warby Parker's buy-one, give-one charity model?
  • 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.