June 21, 2014 at 11:50 PM
FANWOOD, NJ -- Dov Ben-Shimon of Fanwood has been named CEO of the Jewish Federation of Greater MetroWest NJ, the eighth largest Jewish federation in the country. In September, he will succeed Max L. Kleinman, who is retiring after 19 years. Currently, Ben-Shimon is executive director for strategic partnerships for the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC).
“In Dov, we have found someone who not only knows us, but clearly sees Greater MetroWest’s mission for success,” said search committee chair Gary Aidekman, who conducted the search with the assistance of the JFNA Mandel Center for Leadership Excellence.
“This is clearly an historic time for our Federation. We have a strategic plan poised for implementation and a new CEO standing in the wings ready to guide us into the future,” noted Lori Klinghoffer, Federation president. “Dov Ben-Shimon has exactly what we need to drive us forward. His passion, commitment, and energy will inspire and motivate us all.”
The Jewish Federation of Greater MetroWest NJ is at the center of a network of 27 partner agencies that provide comprehensive social services and meet the educational, vocational, and recreational needs of Jews locally, in Israel, and in 70 countries. The organization also responds to emergency and disaster situations around the world.
Dov Ben-Shimon was born in England and moved to Israel at age 18. He was an Air Force rescue medic and infantry combat medic in the Israel Defense Forces, and saw active duty in both the Gaza and Lebanon fronts, with the rank of staff sergeant. He has a BA and MA in international relations from Hebrew University of Jerusalem and served as assistant spokesman to Foreign Minister Shimon Peres.
After several years in Jerusalem as the director of resources for the Israeli Reform Movement, he served as major gifts officer at the Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles. He later served JDC in a variety of roles, most recently as executive director for strategic partnerships.
“I am very excited and humbled by this opportunity offered by Greater MetroWest. I have lived here for several years now and see the vibrancy not only of the local Jewish community, but also the community at large,” Ben-Shimon said in a phone interview. “In the coming months I will be in conversations with leadership and community to understand priorities and develop strategic path to move us forward.”
One program Ben-Shimon is particularly proud of MetroPass, which gives free High Holiday tickets for Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur services to those who are new to the Greater MetroWest community and who aren't synagogue members.
“Last year we had 43 participating synagogues in our community and nearly a hundred families who took advantage of this offer and who were able to attend a synagogue of their choice," he said.