Laura Shaw Frank has been named Associate Director of the American Jewish Committee’s (AJC) William Petschek Contemporary Jewish Life Department. She will begin working at AJC headquarters in January.

“The relationship between American Jews and Israel, vital to each community, is more critical today than ever for the future of the Jewish people,” said AJC CEO David Harris. “Laura Frank’s experience and passion will enable us to expand our pioneering work, under the decades-long leadership of Steven Bayme, to deepen and enhance American Jewish-Israel ties.” Dr. Bayme is scheduled to retire as director of the Contemporary Jewish Life Department in June 2020.

Frank comes to AJC after a career in Jewish education, with a focus on engaging Israel and strengthening American Jewish-Israel understanding and ties.

For the past five years, she has worked at the SAR High School in New York, most recently as Director of Israel Guidance. She previously served as Director of Admissions, Placement and Alumnae Support at Yeshivat Maharat in New York, and chair of the Jewish History Department at Beth Tfiloh Dahan Community High School in Baltimore.

“I am honored to be joining AJC’s Contemporary Jewish Life Department to continue and expand its work in the ever-more critical areas of Israel education, Israel-Diaspora relations, and Jewish religious equality in Israel,” said Frank. “As an historian, I have long admired AJC’s storied history of passionate and informed advocacy supporting Jews and Israel as well as safeguarding the rights of all people. It is incredibly exciting to take a role in an organization that, for over a century, has been out front, addressing the central issues of the Jewish present in order to build a vibrant Jewish future.”

Frank received a J.D. from Columbia University School of Law, and a B.A. from Columbia in History. She is completing a Ph.D. in American Jewish History at the University of Maryland.

Welcoming Frank’s appointment to serve as his deputy, Bayme said, “Over the past four decades that I have been privileged to work at AJC, we have sought to articulate distinctive Jewish messages and be a voice in the national Jewish discussion. “

“Looking ahead, our major challenges involve bridging the growing divide between American Jews and Israeli society, enhancing intra-Jewish relations, enriching the quality and meaning of leading a Jewish life, and raising the knowledge level of Jews concerning the treasures of Judaic heritage,” Bayme continued. “Laura’s background as scholar and educator, combined with her deep commitment to strengthening the Jewish people, will enable her to function as a thought leader and will take the work AJC has done for decades and raise it to new heights.”

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