After nearly three decades serving the Jewish community in various roles for the UJA Federation of Greater Toronto, Jeff Springer will step in as executive director of Jewish National Fund Toronto (JNF) in September.
In a statement, JNF said its search committee decided that what sets Springer apart from other “truly exceptional candidates,” was his “work ethic, education, experience and attributes.”
Springer, a Brandeis University graduate with a master’s degree in Jewish communal service, said he served UJA Federation in various roles for about 28 years. Before being hired by JNF, Springer served as UJA Federation’s senior vice-president of corporate affairs.
“He is a professional in every sense of the word and will help bring us to new great heights. Jeff is a dedicated and passionate Zionist. He is deeply committed to the land and people of Israel,” the statement said.
The search for a new leader began after Lance Davis, who was then JNF Toronto’s executive director, was hired as JNF’s CEO in April, to replace Josh Copper, who now serves as the Baycrest Foundation’s president and CEO.
“I think it’s a great shidduch,” said Springer, who applied for the role at JNF after he lost his job when UJA Federation underwent restructuring.
Although Springer said the end of his career at UJA Federation was “a very difficult time in his life,” he is looking forward to a new challenge.
“When I left, a lot of people were saying, ‘when one door closes, another door opens,’ and it’s so true. I had a lot of time to reflect and look forward, instead of look(ing) backwards, and I’m really excited about a new chapter in my professional career,” he said.
“I think JNF really fits the bill because I’m a strong supporter of Israel, I love Israel … so to work with an organization that is ‘100 per cent Israel,’ is very exciting for me. The reason I entered Jewish communal service was to make a difference, to build the community and support Israel, so what could be better?”
Springer said his goal in his new role is to continue to build on JNF’s successes.
“It’s grown tremendously over the last five to 10 years and I think it has the potential to grow even further,” Springer said.
“I think under my leadership in Toronto, my colleagues across the country, and with Lance as CEO, we can continue to grow the organization and, more importantly, continue to build the land for the people of Israel, and that is really what it’s all about.”