Hillel and Israel from the perspective of Eric Fingerhut, group’s next CEO

Please Share Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Share on StumbleUponDigg thisEmail this to someonePrint this page
Click photo to download. Credit: Eric Fingerhut, Hillel's next president and CEO. Credit: Shahar Azran for Hillel.

By Jacob Kamaras/JNS.org

Among the discussions that led to the hiring of former Ohio congressman Eric
Fingerhut as the next president and CEO of Hillel: The Foundation for Jewish
Campus Life, an item Fingerhut says was non-negotiable for both parties was
Hillel’s usage of its staff, resources, and reach to fulfill its stated commitment
to the support
of Israel.

Click photo to download. Credit: Eric Fingerhut, Hillel’s next president and CEO. Credit: Shahar Azran for Hillel.

The “Israel Policy” within Hillel’s “Israel Guidelines” states that the
organization is “steadfastly committed to the support of Israel as a Jewish and
democratic state with secure and recognized borders as a member of the family
of nations.” Furthermore, Hillel’s “Vision for Israel” states that
it “seeks to provide every Jewish student with the opportunity to explore and
build an enduring relationship with Israel.”

Fingerhut told JNS.org that
during the interview process, members of Hillel’s board of directors “made
absolutely clear” that they were looking for a CEO who would ensure that “we
live up to that mission every day in our work on every campus.”

“And I will tell you that in my own thinking about this job, the clarity
that the board had on that question is an important thing that persuaded me to
take the job, because I am personally in my life deeply committed to Israel and
would only be part of an organization that is not only pro-Israel in its own
behavior, but is helping to instill the love of Israel in the people we serve,
the young adults that we serve,” Fingerhut said in a phone interview on Monday,
the day his hiring was announced.

The 54-year-old Fingerhut—who will succeed Wayne Firestone as Hillel’s
chief executive later this summer—represented Ohio’s 19th
district in the U.S. House of Representatives from January 1993 to January
1995, and was chancellor of the Ohio Board of Regents from March 2007 to
February 2011, a role in which he provided higher education policy advice to
the state’s governor and legislature.

Click photo to download. Caption: Eric Fingerhut, Hillel's next president and CEO, speaks with student board member JoHanna Rothseid. Credit: Shahar Azran for Hillel.

Click photo to download. Caption: Eric Fingerhut, Hillel’s next president and CEO, speaks with student board member JoHanna Rothseid. Credit: Shahar Azran for Hillel.

Asked about how Hillel should defend Jewish and pro-Israel
students on campus when they are faced with challenges such as the Boycott,
Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement against the Jewish state, Firestone
said he is “certainly aware” that Hillel’s commitment to Israel “is challenged from
time to time on campuses,” but that the organization needs to “be strong and
not just resolute, but also committed to living up to our standards and our
commitment [to Israel], and I can assure you we will do that, and certainly
work with those who I need to work with to make sure we have the right
strategies in place to implement that commitment.”

Hillel’s
Israel Guidelines address the BDS movement in the “Standards of Partnership” section,
which states that the organization “will not partner with, house, or host
organizations, groups, or speakers that as a matter of policy or …read more
Source: JNS.org

Please Share Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Share on StumbleUponDigg thisEmail this to someonePrint this page