Skip To Content
Get Our Newsletter

Support the Forward

Funded by readers like you DonateSubscribe
Fast Forward

The Man Who Ran Chicago’s Jewish Community For Almost 40 Years Is Stepping Down

(JTA) — Steven Nasatir, the longtime CEO of Chicago’s Jewish federation, will be moving into another role next year after four decades on the job.

Nasatir, 73, is the longest-serving CEO of any Jewish federation. His organization, called the Jewish United Fund, has distributed almost $7 billion to charitable causes since he took the job in 1979. According to Bloomberg, it is the largest social service agency in Illinois. It serves roughly 300,000 Jews in the Chicago area.

JUF also reports that its fundraising has increased in recent years even as other federations have seen declining numbers. Last year, it raised a total of $300 million that it, like other Jewish federations, then distributed to charitable causes locally, nationally, in Israel and elsewhere.

“We, who have dedicated ourselves to JUF/Jewish Federation and who continue to devote our lives to serving our community, are privileged,” Nasatir wrote in a letter Monday announcing the move. “We helped create a Jewish community whose strength and impact are unprecedented.”

Nasatir wrote that he was most proud of the federation’s resettling Jewish refugees from the Soviet Union and elsewhere, as well as the organization’s work funding institutions locally and its financial support of Israel. In 2004, during the second intifada, JUF raised more money for Israeli per-capita than any other Jewish federation.

JUF will convene a year-long search for its new CEO, with the aim of replacing Nasatir in June 2019. He began working for the organization in 1971, and will continue to work there as executive vice chairman, with a reduced portfolio. According to Haaretz, as of 2015 he was one of the highest-paid federation executives in the country.

“He’s really unparalleled in his accomplishments and his leadership, and we’re just very happy he’ll continue with us in a new role,” said JUF Chairman Michael Zaransky. “He is an extraordinarily rare individual that’s had an extraordinary career, and he’s affected not just the Chicago Jewish community but the broader philanthropic world.”

Contact Aiden Pink at or on Twitter, @aidenpink




    NY-12 Candidate Forum


    Aug 10, 2022

    7 pm ET · 

    Will the last Jew left in New York’s congressional delegation be reelected? Will New York’s senior congresswoman receive another term? Or will one of the newcomers upend Manhattan politics?

Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free under an Attribution-Non Commercial-No Derivatives Creative Commons license as long as you follow our republishing guidelines, which require that you credit Foward and retain our pixel. See our full guidelines for more information.

To republish, copy the HTML, which includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline, and credit to the Foward. Have questions? Please email us at

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.