Dear Community Members-
In the midst of the challenges all of us are facing, I write with a bit of good news. I am pleased to inform you that the Jewish Federation of St. Joseph Valley has hired a new Executive Director, Mark (Moshe) Kruger. Moshe’s first day will be this Monday, March 23.
Moshe has lived and worked in the Chicago area for the past few decades. However, he is not a stranger to our area, as his wife, Karen Richman, is a professor at Notre Dame, and he has spent considerable time at their home in Sawyer, Michigan. Moshe has significant experience in positions involving community relations, and we believe that he has the skills, personality and enthusiasm to bring continued success to the executive director position and the Federation. He met with a broad range of community members during the search process, and Terry Feldbaum (the search committee chair) and I received extensive positive feedback from those who had the opportunity to talk with Moshe.
Moshe has already done a remarkable amount of legwork in getting up to speed on the Federation, including its many past achievements and its opportunities and challenges regarding its future success. He had hoped to spend much of his first few months meeting face-to-face with a broad range of community members, both to let them get to know him and to better understand their thoughts and ideas regarding the Federation. Unfortunately, given the current COVID-19 situation, much of that activity will need to be placed on temporary hold (although some aspects of it might occur virtually). In the meantime, Moshe is eager to get started and begin working with our dedicated staff to plan for the future.
Our current director, Ben Davis, will continue in his position until next Friday, March 27 (there will be one week of overlap between Ben and Moshe so that Ben can help Moshe get oriented). I can’t thank Ben enough for his help during this transition (and I also want to thank our Director of Operations, Emily Benedix, who will be heavily involved in getting Moshe up to speed during his first few months). We all were sorry when Ben informed us last November that he intended to step down at the end of March, but we are very grateful for the 6+ years that he has spent as our executive director, and are happy to know that he, Francie, and their daughters plan to stay in the area and remain involved as Federation community members (we plan to say thank you to Ben as a community at some future event).
I also want to thank Terry for her leadership of the search committee, as well as the dedicated work of those who served on the search committee: Marsha Brook, Abbie Davis, Lisa Gerber, Bill Gitlin, Craig Kapson, Sarah Nerenberg, Megan New, Jennifer Schwartz, Yehuda Seligson, and Simon Springer.
While it might be a while until you can do so in person, please join me in welcoming Moshe Kruger to our Federation. Once the circumstances permit, I anticipate that we will have the opportunity to give him a proper welcome as a community.