Refugee, Immigrant Policy Expert Elected HIAS President

Posted on Mon, Feb 27, 2006 at 14:35 pm

(New York City)- Jerome S. Teller, Chair of the Board of HIAS (Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society) announced today that Gideon Aronoff has been elected by the Board of Trustees to serve as president and chief executive officer. Aronoff joined HIAS in 2000 and has served with distinction as its vice president for governmental relations and public policy and director of the organization's Washington, D.C. office.

HIAS, the country's oldest refugee, rescue and resettlement agency currently celebrating its 125th anniversary, is delighted to have Aronoff in this leadership role, said Teller. Teller stated that Aronoff has a keen and insightful knowledge of government relations and refugee issues in Washington, D.C. and brings a strong sense of traditional core Jewish values to drive the timeless mission of HIAS.

Aronoff has been a respected voice of the American Jewish community in Washington, D.C. on refugee and immigration issues and has earned the admiration of those in the immigration advocacy field. He has been an integral force behind a number of key legislative successes with Congress and the White House. "Gideon has been a strong coalition-builder in the Jewish community," says Teller. "He has taken a leadership role bringing about joint collaboration in the community. It's what we as an organization need more than ever in a leader,” continues Teller.

Aronoff earned a JD from Cornell Law School and a BA in History from Brandeis University. He is a member of the board of directors of the National Immigration Forum and has brought to the fore his knowledge of Jewish community institutions, interests and community relations concerns throughout his career. Before joining HIAS to lead the Washington, D.C. office, he worked for nearly a dozen years in Boston and Washington in policy, advocacy and leadership positions in the Soviet Jewry movement. Aronoff and his wife, Victoria, have one daughter, Dalia.

Immediately following his election, Aronoff stated that he and HIAS owe a debt of gratitude to Neil Greenbaum, a Chicago attorney, former HIAS board chair, and the man who shepherded the organization through its recent months of transition. "Neil came through for us - he took time away from his firm in Chicago, traveled regularly to New York and saw to it that the important work of the organization continued during the months long search process. We all owe him our humblest thanks," stated Aronoff.