DALLAS — Rabbi Mordechai Harris has been named the interim chief operating officer (COO) for the Jewish Federation of Greater Dallas (JFGD). Former COO Gary Wolff resigned his position with the Federation to pursue a career in the private sector, one that was right for both his professional career and his family.
Rabbi Harris, a seasoned professional with more than 15 years of leadership experience, joined the Federation team in August 2019 as the rabbi in residence and as the executive director for the Federation’s Center for Jewish Education. A consensus builder by nature, Harris also played a key role during the inception of the community’s Crisis Management Team, a group of interagency Jewish communal professionals that continues to meet and run point whenever circumstances risk disruption to essential services, as they did following recent natural disasters and the global pandemic.
As interim COO, Harris will lead the operational and programmatic side of the organization including Human Resources, Information Systems, Donor Services, Jewish Community Relations Council, Planning & Allocations, Local & Global Impact, Community Security Initiative and the Center for Jewish Education.
“I am enthusiastic about Rabbi Harris taking on this added responsibility for the Federation,” said Bill Finkelstein, board chair, JFGD. “He has proven to be a resilient leader in our community, and I am confident he will make vast strides in the overall processes and efficiencies in the operations of the organization,” Finkelstein added.
Rabbi Harris’ unique personal history, which includes formative time spent in each of the major Jewish movements, professional roles in most of the institution types classically associated with Jewish community and well-honed pastoral skills, allow him to anticipate points of friction that sometimes arise from the diversity of our community, returning focus to the core that we all have in common.
“I am honored to be entrusted in the role as interim COO, co-leading the staff and organization as we strive to help ensure the continuity of a strong and vibrant Jewish community in Dallas, Israel and throughout the world,” said Harris. “Our professional team is strong, resilient and motivated, as is our lay leadership, and while change is one of the greatest constants in life, after more than two years with the organization and community, I am humbled to help co-lead this dynamic group of people in any way that I can,” he added.
Harris will lead the operational side of the organization while Donna Ostrower, chief development officer, continues to drive the fundraising and marketing initiatives.
Federation leadership is confident that with the appointment of Rabbi Harris as interim COO and rabbi in residence, the talented and dedicated management and professional team will continue to build upon the successes of the 100+ year old institution. For more information on the Federation, visit jewishdallas.org.