Press Releases

Jewish Philanthropist, Dr. Irving Smokler Elected as New President of American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC)

Overseas Humanitarian Organization Names New Lay Leader


Michael Geller / JDC Telephone: (212) 885-0838

Jamie Epstein / JDC Telephone: (212) 885-0849

For Immediate Release

Dr. Irving Smokler of Boca Raton, Florida, has been elected as 15th President of JDC, a 94-year-old overseas humanitarian aid organization. Smokler, an active board member since 1991, has held several principal roles at JDC, including Treasurer of JDC, Chair, Budget & Finance Committee, Chair of the Board of the Myers-JDC-Brookdale Institute, and a member of JDC’s Executive Committee. He will succeed Judge Ellen M. Heller, of Baltimore, Maryland. Dr. Smokler was confirmed at JDC’s recent Board Meeting, attended by over 120 Directors from the Jewish philanthropic community from the U.S. and abroad.

“As we face the humanitarian and financial issues that lie ahead, Dr. Smokler’s experience and understanding of Jewish needs worldwide and JDC’s mission to provide rescue, relief, renewal, and support Israel will prove invaluable. We look forward to working with him as our 15th President” said Steve Schwager, JDC’s Chief Executive Officer.

Dr. Smokler is a graduate of the Johns Hopkins University, where he received an A.B. and of the University of Michigan, where he earned his Ph.D in Philosophy and a Ph.D in Clinical Psychology. He has taught at the University of Michigan, where he also worked as the Dean of Students in the medical school and maintained a private psychotherapy practice. Currently a real estate investor and philanthropist, Dr. Smokler is the founder and president of the Nephcure Foundation, which supports research and advocacy for glomerular (kidney) disease.

“I am honored to have the opportunity to serve in this critical role as JDC’s president. Together, with the Board of Directors and JDC’s professional staff, we have accepted the obligation to do whatever we can, in whatever manner we can—but not for JDC. This obligation is to our clients—the needy and vulnerable Jews of the world.” said Dr. Smokler.

About JDC

The American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC) is the world’s leading Jewish humanitarian assistance organization. JDC works in more than 70 countries and in Israel to alleviate hunger and hardship, rescue Jews in danger, create lasting connections to Jewish life, and provide immediate relief and long-term development support for victims of natural and man-made disasters.

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