A Response to Louis Feldstein

To the Editor:

I have never met Louis Feldstein or Andrew Rehfeld, but I can tell that Feldstein is way off base just from the words he uses. I cannot even find the right word myself to describe someone who would suggest that a distinguished professor and federation volunteer who has the courage and commitment to accept a position as chief executive officer of a federation “may” be committed as a Jew and a Zionist. What nonsense. Of course he is.

Those of us who have moved from the lay leader role to that of Jewish professional have certainly not done so for the money. I think I can probably speak for all when I say we have done it out of abiding love and a belief that our experience can benefit the community. I think I can equally speak for all by saying there is great respect for those who have devoted a full career to communal work and a realization that their expertise is enormously important.

Many years ago, when l was mid-career, l was approached by a head hunter and, eventually, was one of three of four on a panel for a senior federation world position. I was warned at the time not to expect much as there was almost no chance someone from outside of the system would have a chance, even though the recruiter felt it important to present a strong candidate with business world experience. I think it terrific we have moved beyond that.

Only time will tell how well each of these executive assignments will work, but Feldsteln’s diatribe is a silly one.

As for me, I consider it a blessing that I am able to conclude my own professional career by serving in a position where I might make a difference.


David H. Lissy
Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer
Masorti Foundation for Conservative Judaism in lsrael