The America-Israel Friendship League Announces Its New Leadership

By AIFL - Feb 11, 2019

[caption id="attachment_63594" align="aligncenter" width="472"] Left to right: Cassia Romano-Anthony, Dalia Zur, Wayne Firestone, Jonathan Barsade, Ruby Shamir, Eric Gertler, Hon. Robert Abrams, Raquel Veras, O’mer Koren[/caption]

The America-Israel Friendship League (AIFL) is pleased to announce that, on Tuesday, January 29th at a Special Board Meeting of its US Board of Directors, a new slate of professional and lay leadership was approved in a meeting presided by AIFL Vice President, Board Member and Former NY Attorney General, Hon. Robert Abrams.

Succession of Accomplished Media and Technology Business Leaders

The AIFL Board unanimously elected current board member, Eric J. Gertler as its new Chairman and Jonathan Barsade, as President. Mr. Gertler currently serves as Chairman of U.S. News & World Report and as Chief Executive Officer of Ulysses Ventures and is a trustee of the Zuckerman Family Foundation with offices in Tel Aviv and New York. Mr. Barsade’s involvement with the AIFL has come full circle as an alumnus of the inaugural Youth Ambassador Student Exchange (YASE) in 1977. Mr. Barsade is an Israeli and U.S. attorney, and a serial entrepreneur, having been the founder of several successful start-ups, most recently serving as Founder and CEO of Philadelphia based EXACTOR INC, a provider of sales tax compliance services recently acquired by Intuit Inc.

Innovative Communal Leader to Oversee Strategy and Operations

Gertler and Barsade introduced their organizational vision with the new Executive Director who will guide this succession and lead the professional team - veteran communal leader Wayne L. Firestone. Firestone, who previously lived with his family and studied in Israel brings expertise as an innovative global communal leader dedicated to strengthening Israel and the Jewish people. He held national and international leadership positions at Hillel International, The Israel on Campus Coalition, The Genesis Prize Foundation, the Anti-Defamation League and the Technion Israel Institute of Technology. The vision of the new leadership team includes enhancing the involvement of members of the Board of Directors; promoting outreach to include internal and external community activities; and working with other organizations that promote activities aligned with the AIFL’s mission.

Saluting the Past and Looking forward to the Future

Honorary Chair Role Celebrates the Bialkin Legacy

One highlight of the meeting was the appointment of Kenneth J. Bialkin as Honorary Chairman of the organization. As Honorary Chairman, Mr. Bialkin vowed to continue to support the League in its future endeavors and the vision of its new leadership. After 23 years of leading the organization Bialkin leaves behind a legacy of extraordinary leadership and service which manifested in so many ways over the years and we are happy and very thankful that he will remain active with the AIFL.

“It gives me great pleasure to know that AIFL has recruited such a strong leadership team.” – Kenneth J. Bialkin, Honorary Chairman, AIFL
“I salute Ken Bialkin for his total commitment to the AIFL and his leadership over the years. I and the Israeli Board of the AIFL look forward to working closely with this great new leadership team and pledge our total support and cooperation."- Amb. Dan Gillerman, Chairman of Board, AIFL-Israel [caption id="attachment_63597" align="aligncenter" width="1024"] Left to right: Members of the AIFL’s lay leaders and professional staff; Malcolm Hoenlein, Wayne Firestone, Doron Cohen, Eric Gertler, Daniela Rilov, Jonathan Barsade, Hon. Robert Abrams, Dr. Charlotte Frank, Paul Kaplan, Ruby Shamir, Rabbi Joseph Potasnik, Dalia Zur, Peter Halasz[/caption]

“I am humbled to follow in the footsteps of Ken Bialkin and have great admiration for his commitment to the America-Israel Friendship League. As a longstanding board member, I know the America-Israel Friendship League plays a critical role by fostering greater understanding and new points of connection between the United States and Israel and I am excited to lead those efforts to fulfill the America-Israel Friendship League’s mission.” Eric Gertler, New Chairman, AIFL “It is a thrill to join the America-Israel Friendship League as its President, having participated in the its inaugural youth ambassador student exchange. The AIFL’s mission remains as important today as when it was founded in 1971; and I am excited to focus on strengthening the bonds between the United States and Israel.” - Jonathan Barsade, President, AIFL