After several months of a comprehensive and board-driven search process, JEWISHcolorado has named Rabbi Jay Strear as president and CEO of the organization, beginning July 9.
He succeeds Doug Seserman, who headed the organizatoin for 15 years before leaving last year for the American Associates of Ben-Gurion University.
Rabbi Strear joins JEWISHcolorado after a 23-year career at American Jewish University in Los Angeles, where he served in several capacities, including special assistant to the president, director of development, chief advancement officer and, most recently, senior vice president.
In these roles, Rabbi Strear worked closely with the university’s board of directors and board of regents, led solicitations of gifts including annual, capital, endowment, foundation and testamentary gifts, facilitated the merger and acquisitions of other organizations, and advised the university president on strategic and political issues.
He has also taught at several Jewish education organizations, and in a lay rabbinic capacity.
Rabbi Strear is to return to Colorado with his family, where he grew up as part of a fourth-generation Denver family. He attended Thomas Jefferson High School, was active in BBYO and led IST in 1992, 1994 and 1995.
He received his undergraduate degree from CU-Boulder where he founded the Jewish Student Union and received the Sara Lee Shaper Award from what was then the Allied Jewish Federation.
Upon completion of his undergraduate degree, he worked at Federation,1992-93, and then went on to get his MBA at the University of Judaism with a focus in non-profit management.
He continued with rabbinical ordination and served in a congregation for a year in Detroit before beginning his career with the American Jewish University.
In his various roles, he has overseen more than $170 million in fundraising, including capital campaigns and building coalitions.
“Rabbi Strear brings the skills, experience and background we’ve been looking for in JEWISHcolorado’s next CEO,” said JEWISHcolorado Board Chair Diana Zeff Anderson.
“He is a dedicated Jewish community professional who is passionate and excited about his work. He leads with kindness, and brings his wealth of Jewish knowledge, as well as his rich experience in fundraising and management, to everything he does,”
“His qualifications, knowledge and goals are the right match for this organization.”
In his letter of acceptance, Rabbi Strear noted, “JEWISHcolorado (‘Allied’ as I knew it) was a significant institution in my upbringing. Super Sunday’s, GA’s and Young Leadership conferences were, for me, seminal events.
“As participant and staff, there were few programs and agencies in Denver’s Jewish community that I didn’t experience, including BBYO, Hillel, Ranch Camp, IST, the Allied Apartments, JFS Group Home, Beth Joseph/BMH, HEA and more.
“I am deeply committed to Klal Yisrael, to the entirety of Israel; a commitment shaped by my Jewish upbringing in Denver that encouraged experiences beyond denominational boundaries.
“I understand how critical it has been to find someone to build upon the existing credibility and trust of donors, partnering agencies and the community.
“I take great pride in my long record of loyalty and integrity, an unwavering commitment to ethical leadership, and a deeply felt sense of connection with, and historical ties to, the Denver Jewish community.
“I am humbled to partner with you and JEWISHcolorado in honoring its history, while leading the community into its dynamic future.”
JEWISHcolorado acknowledged interim president & CEO, Marsha Hurwitz, saying that “she has worked over the past 10 months to engage the entire Jewish community and to support active relationships with donors, community partners and staff.”
Hurwitz will continue in her interim position through the end of June.