The Forward 50

Jay Sanderson

Jay Sanderson

Community

Jay Sanderson is shaking up America’s second-largest Jewish federation in important ways. This year, on the 100th anniversary of the Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles, Sanderson gave out the first grant in his Next Big Jewish Idea competition, which invited new philanthropies that have never received federation funding to make their pitch for a $100,000 cash prize. The competition — won in July by LaunchBox, an initiative to involve more Jewish families in Jewish traditions and rituals — underlined his belief that federations must find new paradigms for identifying and funding worthy causes.

In another departure, Sanderson, in his second year as president, has been seeking to address the needs of Jews affected by the national economic

crisis by assigning social workers to work directly on the staffs of L.A.-area synagogues. “After 2008, we realized that the economic downturn was impacting Jews in profound ways,” he told the Forward. “The existing social network wasn’t equipped to help people with their immediate needs.”

Sanderson, 54, came to his job from outside the federation system, serving previously as CEO and executive producer of the Jewish Television Network. He is part of a wave of new federation leaders who are replacing an older leadership cohort now heading toward retirement. “Will the communities in this country have [the] courage to try someone who hasn’t worked in the federation system for 25 years?” he asked rhetorically in an interview earlier this year. “Not that they aren’t good people, but sometimes I think good thinking comes from people who weren’t born and bred in the federations.”

Plus One

The 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 Forward requires 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, the Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • What does the Israel-Hamas war look like through Haredi eyes?
  • Was Israel really shocked to find there are networks of tunnels under Gaza?
  • “Going to Berlin, I had a sense of something waiting there for me. I was searching for something and felt I could unlock it by walking the streets where my grandfather walked and where my father grew up.”
  • How can 3 contradictory theories of Yiddish co-exist? Share this with Yiddish lovers!
  • "We must answer truthfully: Has a drop of all this bloodshed really helped bring us to a better place?”
  • "There are two roads. We have repeatedly taken the one more traveled, and that has made all the difference." Dahlia Scheindlin looks at the roots of Israel's conflict with Gaza.
  • Shalom, Cooperstown! Cooperstown Jewish mayor Jeff Katz and Jeff Idelson, director of the National Baseball Hall of Fame, work together to oversee induction weekend.
  • A boost for morale, if not morals.
  • Mixed marriages in Israel are tough in times of peace. So, how do you maintain a family bubble in the midst of war? http://jd.fo/f4VeG
  • Despite the escalating violence in Israel, more and more Jews are leaving their homes in Alaska to make aliyah: http://jd.fo/g4SIa
  • The Workmen's Circle is hosting New York’s first Jewish street fair on Sunday. Bring on the nouveau deli!
  • Novelist Sayed Kashua finds it hard to write about the heartbreak of Gaza from the plush confines of Debra Winger's Manhattan pad. Tough to argue with that, whichever side of the conflict you are on.
  • "I’ve never bought illegal drugs, but I imagine a small-time drug deal to feel a bit like buying hummus underground in Brooklyn."
  • We try to show things that get less exposed to the public here. We don’t look to document things that are nice or that people would like. We don’t try to show this place as a beautiful place.”
  • A new Gallup poll shows that only 25% of Americans under 35 support the war in #Gaza. Does this statistic worry you?
  • 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.