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Philadelphia Federation’s COO, subject of employee complaints, announces resignation

A top official of the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia is resigning three months after complaints that he bullied employees appeared in a Forward article about financial and other struggles at the federation.

In an email obtained by the Forward, Chief Operating Officer Steven Rosenberg wrote to federation staff last week that he will step down at the end of the calendar year.

The “time has come for me to move on to both work on another opportunity and equally, give room for the Jewish Federation to transition forward with a new management team,” he wrote.

That new team is led by Chief Executive Officer Michael Balaban, who, when he took the helm of the federation in June, was heralded by its board as a figure who could transform the organization, a non-profit charged to serve the region’s more than 280,000 Jews and the larger community.

In the Forward’s July article, several people who worked with Rosenberg anonymously said he was known to scream at subordinates. One described a “frightening culture” where “people would be vaporized” at his behest.

He was also criticized for meddling in editorial decision-making at the Jewish Exponent, a news outlet funded by the federation. Former Exponent employees complained that Rosenberg had steered coverage to align with his and donors’ conservative politics.

Balaban told the Forward in July that he had heard no complaints about Rosenberg.

Rosenberg in the email does not provide specifics as to what he will do next. Balaban also sent an email to staff, thanking Rosenberg for his service. “His commitment to the community, where he has left many indelible marks, is deeply appreciated,” wrote Balaban.

CORRECTION: The original version of this article incorrectly identified the day on which Rosenberg and Balaban emailed staff about Rosenberg’s resignation.

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