American Jewish Committee (AJC), the leading global Jewish advocacy organization, has appointed Richard S. Hirschhaut as Director of its Los Angeles Region.

“We are thrilled to welcome Rick as our Los Angeles Director. He is a transformational leader who has served both the Jewish community and the broader American public with passion and integrity for over three decades,” said Scott Edelman, President of AJC Los Angeles. “In these challenging times, the AJC Los Angeles mission to build strong alliances among diverse ethnic and religious groups to advance our common concerns is more important than ever. We look forward to Rick guiding these initiatives and helping to grow our family of supporters across Southern California.”

Hirschhaut has previously served in senior executive roles with the Anti-Defamation League, Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education Center, American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, and American Friends of Rambam Medical Center.

“We are excited that Rick Hirschhaut will be bringing his depth of experience and passion for the well-being of the Jewish people and Israel to AJC,” said David Harris, AJC CEO. “A strong and vibrant AJC Los Angeles is crucial to advancing our global mission and we look forward to Rick’s leadership in achieving these important objectives.”

Hirschhaut has worked to advance human rights and democratic values and promote the security and well-being of Jews and other vulnerable communities in the United States, Israel and around the world. His work with NGOs has included efforts to advance humanitarian medical aid and peaceful coexistence in Israel and neighboring countries. He has led missions to Ukraine, Ethiopia, Cuba and Israel, and spearheaded international efforts to mark the 20th Commemoration of the Genocide Against the Tutsi in Rwanda.

Hirschhaut led the creation of the Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education Center as its founding executive director from 2004-14. The museum opened in 2009 to international acclaim with the participation of President Bill Clinton, Nobel Laureate Elie Wiesel, and an audience of 13,000. In 2013, Hirschhaut received an Emmy Award as Co-Executive Producer of the nationally-broadcast documentary Skokie: Invaded but Not Conquered.

During his 21 years at the ADL, he served as Midwest regional director in Chicago for a decade. His work included building bridges between the African American and Jewish communities, and close cooperation with law enforcement on combating antisemitism and extremism.

“I am humbled by the trust that has been placed in me to lead AJC Los Angeles,” said Hirschhaut. “We are reminded of the urgency of AJC’s mission every day. With dedicated leadership and talented professional staff, we will confront the incivility of our times by standing with communities facing the sting of intolerance. Our focus will be upon the issues that matter most – combating rising antisemitism and extremism, defending Israel’s place in the world, and safeguarding the rights and freedoms of all people. I am excited for the opportunity to build greater support for AJC’s informed advocacy.”

Hirschhaut and his wife Susan, a native of Los Angeles, are the proud parents of two adult children. He holds a bachelor’s degree in international relations and Judaic studies from Tulane University, and studied at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. He grew up in upstate New York and Knoxville, Tennessee.

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