Arthur Stark of Bed Bath & Beyond to chair top Jewish policy group


(JTA) — Arthur Stark, chairman of the board of Friends of the Israel Defense Forces, is the likely next chairman of the Conference of Presidents of  Major American Jewish Organizations.

Stark’s name will be put to a vote at a meeting of the umbrella policymaking body April 30 following the unanimous recommendation of the conference nominating committee, according to a statement. He would succeed Stephen Greenberg, who was chairman of the National Coalition Supporting Eurasian Jewry.

The conference is made up of the top lay leaders of over 50 Jewish organizations, and is meant to coordinate policy on Jewish issues, especially in representing Jewish interests to the White House.

Stark is the top lay leader at what has emerged in recent years as one of the most successful “Friends of” groups supporting an institution in Israel, in this case the Israeli military. It provides financial relief and recreational programming for Israeli soldiers from disadvantaged backgrounds or who are living in Israel without close family. At a Beverly Hills gala in November, FIDF raised $53.8 million, including a $16.6 million gift from Oracle co-founder Larry Ellison.

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Stark, 63, who lives in Livingston, New Jersey, is the president and chief merchandising officer for Bed Bath & Beyond Inc. He has been active in the Jewish Federation of Central New Jersey and the American Israel Public Affairs Committee. He became national president of FIDF in 2005 .

The chairmanship of the Presidents Conference, a volunteer position, passes by design to new candidates every few years. Greenberg has been chair since April 2015.

In February, the top professional leader of the organization, Malcolm Hoenlein, said he would begin the process of stepping aside after more than three decades in the role. He will remain with the conference in an as yet undetermined capacity.

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