Other job experience: Four other Jewish federations, including former CEO at Jewish Federation of New Orleans.
Other community posts: Member of Beth Torah, Tamarac; Kol Ami Emanu-El, Plantation, and Ramat Shalom, Plantation.
Education: Degree in economics and government, Clark University, Worcester, Mass.; master's degree in modern Jewish history, Baltimore Hebrew University; master's degree in social work, specializing in social administration and community organizing, University of Maryland, Baltimore.
Personal: Age 43. Born in Pontiac, Mich.
Family: Married to Jayne, a stay-at-home mother. Children: Zachary, 14; Jacob, 12.
How do you manage to negotiate among several denominations?
I believe in bringing people together by talking about what's true in Judaism and other monotheistic faiths. When I speak on shared values, dialogue is easier.
Has your experience with Hurricane Katrina¿ in New Orleans shaped your work now?
Absolutely. I saw how we united across denominational lines into a coordinated response. The Jewish Federation represented the Jewish community and worked for the whole community. I hope some day to achieve that in a non-emergency situation.
Favorite part of your work?
The relationships with people. It enriches my life and my professional practice tremendously.
Struggling to decide which needs are met when we don't have enough resources.
Some people are concerned about the future of Judaism in South Florida. What's your take?
I'm very optimistic. In the fundamentals of Judaism, the community is actually doing well. The economy is deteriorating, but that's cyclical. The long-term future is positive.
What book have you been recommending lately?
The Earth is Flat, by Thomas Friedman. He has an interesting perspective on broad issues of the world and the United States.
A Stranger Among Us, with Melanie Griffith going undercover in the Hasidic community to catch a killer. It was a balanced depiction of the community.
Do you have a hero?
Abraham. On the High Holy Days, we're reminded of the story of the binding of his son Isaac for a sacrifice. It was a level of faith and acceptance that I marvel at. I'd like a chance to learn how he reached that place.
Do you have a treasured possession?
A silver kiddush cup. It's a spiritual as well as a physical object. It's a nexus between spiritual beliefs and family.
If you could ask God one question, what would it be?
"Why is injustice permitted?" I understand free will and God's relationship to humans. But I still wonder why he didn't set some parameters.
Is there one thing you can't stand?
I have a difficult time with people who let politics and power get in the way of helping people in need.
What would you do if you had a year off?
Go to Israel with my family, to live, study and explore. I'll go for my 13th time in November.
Do you know someone we should profile? Tell Religion Editor James D. Davis at 954-356-4730 or jdavis@SunSentinel.com.¿