N.Y. federation taps Wall Street lawyer for CEO

NEW YORK (JTA) — The largest Jewish federation in North America is expected to announce Eric Goldstein, a financial litigation lawyer and vice chair of the federation, as its new CEO.

UJA-Federation of New York’s board will vote on the appointment Thursday; the vote was postponed from Tuesday due to a snowstorm. Federation officials declined to confirm the information, which was first reported in the Forward.


The new CEO will replace John Ruskay, who has headed the federation since 1999 and will retire in June.

According to his biography on the Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP website, Goldstein has represented many Wall Street clients, including JPMorgan Chase and junk bond billionaire Michael Milken.

While the new position at UJA-Federation will be his first paid job in the Jewish community or nonprofit sector, he has served as a lay leader at various Jewish organizations, including UJA-Federation, Manhattan Day School, The Ramaz School, the Beth Din of America and Yeshiva University’s Azrieli Graduate School of Jewish Education.

EJewishPhilanthropy, an online publication read by many Jewish communal professionals, wrote that the appointment of Goldstein, “a lay leader with no known professional work experience in the nonprofit world,” is being described as a “tsunami for communal professionals — particularly the up and coming working in the North American federation system.”

“For decades younger professionals have moved to other communities all the while being groomed for more senior roles. Taken together with recent choices at other federations to hire ‘outside’ CEO’s, many are concerned about their own career trajectories,” eJewishPhilanthropy wrote.