Gordon Haas was elected to serve as president of the NJ State Association of Jewish Federations at its Annual Meeting of the JCC of Central NJ in Scotch Plains. Haas, a resident of Elizabeth, NJ, succeeds Mark Levenson and will serve a two-year term.
The State Association is the government affairs arm for the state’s Jewish federations, interacting with the governor’s office, members of the state Legislature and Congress and with state government officials on behalf of the Jewish federations and their beneficiary agencies.
Haas is president and CEO of the Greater Elizabeth Chamber of Commerce and executive director of the Elizabeth Destination Marketing Organization, a tourism agency for the City of Elizabeth. He is on the board of the Jewish Federation of Greater MetroWest NJ and served for three years as chairman of the federation’s community relations committee.
“Now I face the next challenge, continuing the work of the State Association and helping to secure Jewish community interests for all Jews in our state,” stated Haas. “I will do my best to work with my fellow State Association officers, federation lay and professional staff leadership and community partners to build consensus on issues of importance in the coming year,” Haas added.
“Gordon has gone from holy task to holy task in our community, giving us wise counsel, guidance, leadership and friendship,” stated Dov Ben-Shimon, executive vice-president/CEO of the Jewish Federation of Greater MetroWest NJ. “We are lending Gordon to the State Association for a short amount of time so that, through his wisdom and ability, he can serve for the benefit of us all, as he has done with our federation,” Ben-Shimon noted.
The Annual Meeting agenda included a keynote address by U.S. Attorney for New Jersey Paul Fishman. Dr. Christopher Rodriguez, director of the NJ Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness provided security briefing and news of an increase in funding for New Jersey through the federal Nonprofit Security Grant Program. $4.2 million was allocated for the state for the 2016 grants targeting security-hardening initiative of houses of worship, community centers, schools and other non-profits.
The State Association presented recognition awards to Mark Levenson and Melanie Roth Gorelick, immediate past director the CRC of the Jewish Federation of Greater MetroWest NJ.
“I want to thank Mark Levenson and the Association for their leadership in working for closer ties between New Jersey and Israel, his advocacy on behalf of New Jersey’s vibrant Jewish community and his dedication to building the strength and unity of the state’s Jewish community,” stated Lt. Governor Kim Guadagno, who presented Levenson with the award.
In finishing his tenure as president, Levenson stated, “The State Association will be in excellent hands going forward with Gordon Haas. I look forward to continuing my participation as an officer and joining with my colleagues to make certain that the State Association moves from strength to strength.”
Roth Gorelick, who currently serves as vice president of the Jewish Council for Public Affairs in New York City, received recognition for her partnership in advocacy on behalf of the state’s Jewish community. “Melanie is a dedicated Jewish communal professional who embodies the best of our values,” stated Ben-Shimon in making the presentation to Roth.
“I look forward to partnering with Gordon to move the agenda of our community forward,” stated Jacob Toporek, executive director of the State Association. “Working with a new slate of officers with so much federation leadership experience will strengthen our advocacy efforts on important matters such as support for Holocaust survivors; better services for seniors and persons with disabilities; the fight against rising anti-Semitism, intolerance and religious-based hatred; and maintaining a strong New Jersey-Israel relationship,” emphasized Toporek.