Foxman to retire from ADL effective July 15
Date marks 50th anniversary of his hiring at defense agency
February 10, 2014
Abraham Foxman, the national director of the Anti-Defamation League, and one of the longest-serving and highest-profile American Jewish organizational leaders, is retiring from his post.
Foxman will step down on July 20, 2015, according to an announcement Monday by the ADL.
“For almost five decades, ADL offered me the perfect vehicle to live a life of purpose both in standing up on behalf of the Jewish people to ensure that what happened during World War II would never happen again and in fighting bigotry and all forms of oppression,” Foxman, 73, said in an ADL news release. “My years at ADL, particularly the 27 spent as National Director, could not have been more rewarding.”
Foxman announced his retirement at the ADL’s annual National Executive Committee meeting in Palm Beach, Fla. The organization said its search for Foxman’s successor will be conducted by the executive search firm BoardWalk Consulting and will be guided by ADL leadership.
A lawyer by training, Foxman, a child survivor of the Holocaust, started at the ADL in 1965 and became its national director in 1987. Under his leadership, ADL has expanded to 30 regional offices across the United States and an office in Israel.
In 2011, the last year for which data is available, the ADL reported nearly $54 million in revenue. The organization monitors anti-Semitic activity, offers discrimination-sensitivity training and runs anti-bigotry programs.
But it is Foxman’s personage for which the ADL may best be known. Seen as a spokesman for the Jewish people, Foxman has used his position as a bully pulpit to advocate for Israel, warn against discrimination and, perhaps most often, issue declamations of what does or does not constitute anti-Semitism.
Whether they be condemnations of foreign leaders or pardons of celebrities who have made ill-considered utterances, Foxman’s has been the authoritative voice on what is or is not acceptable to Jews.
After he steps down, Foxman will serve as a part-time consultant to ADL and sit on the organization’s national commission and national executive committee, the organization said.
Letter from ADL’s Abraham Foxman Announcing his Retirement
It is with much gratitude and appreciation for the many opportunities the Anti-Defamation League has given me as well as with personal gratification for what I have been able to contribute to the League that I am writing to inform you of my plans to step down as the National Director of the ADL on July 20, 2015. This date will mark a significant milestone in my career…the 50th Anniversary of my hiring at ADL fresh out of law school.
An executive recruitment effort led by our National Chair, Barry Curtiss-Lusher is now in place to search for my successor. I am confident they will steer our organization forward as ADL embarks on its second century of leadership.
You have heard the story many times of my surviving the Holocaust thanks to the courageous actions of my Nanny. Those experiences of long ago coupled with the lessons my parents taught me stayed with me my entire adult life and to this very day fuel my passion to fight for the safety and security of the Jewish people. I have also been blessed to have the enduring love and support of my own immediate family, my wife Golda, our daughter Michelle and our son Ariel.
For almost five decades, the Anti-Defamation League offered me the perfect vehicle to live a life of purpose both in standing up on behalf of the Jewish people to insure that what happened during World War II would never happen again and in fighting bigotry and all forms of oppression.
My years at ADL, particularly the 27 spent as National Director, could not have been more rewarding. ADL continued its growth as a highly respected and influential organization both here in the United States and across the globe. We have never lost sight of the fact that we are an organization whose first priority is to fight anti-Semitism and protect the Jewish people.
The unparalleled excellence of ADL's professional staff has made the world a better place.
They are a most caring, knowledgeable and dedicated staff and I am proud to work alongside them. I am equally proud of the strong partnerships we fostered with a devoted and committed lay leadership.
It is precisely because of these individuals and their efforts that I remain confident that the League will continue to be that vital organization well into the future.
We have accomplished much but there is still work to be done as ADL embarks on its second 100 years. I thank each of you for your inspiration, encouragement, support and friendship.
As Director Emeritus, effective July 2015 I will look forward to continue my participation in advancing our mission by serving on both the National Commission and National Executive Committee as well as serving in a part time consultancy for the League.