Robert Kraft, the chairman and CEO of the Kraft Group, announced today the hiring of Dr. Rachel Fish as the founding executive director of the Foundation to Combat Anti-Semitism. Fish will begin in her new role on Monday, Oct. 7.
Kraft established this new foundation in response to the growing rise in anti-Semitism in the U.S. and abroad, particularly in light of the spread of hateful rhetoric online and the initiation of hate crimes against the Jewish people through social media. He announced the foundation when he was awarded the Genesis Prize in June 2019 in Jerusalem, along with his own $20 million founding investment and the generous donations of others.
“I am thrilled to have Rachel lead this new and important effort,” Kraft said. “Rachel’s education, experience, and most importantly, her commitment make her the right person for this role. She is equipped to face the growing epidemic of anti-Semitism with tenacity and a proven track record of progress through a lifetime of work in this arena. Our family is honored and privileged to have Rachel lead this new foundation, which is so close to our hearts.”
Fish brings with her a thorough background and history in the fight against anti-Semitism, including a strong academic understanding of the issues and varied experience in advocacy work. Most recently, Rachel was Senior Advisor and Resident Scholar of Jewish/Israel Philanthropy at The Paul E. Singer Foundation in New York City, where she helped develop the strategic approach for the foundation’s giving and worked directly with practitioners to implement their missions and initiatives.
“It is an honor to work with the Kraft family, and I am both humbled by and eager for this opportunity,” Fish said. “My entire life I’ve sought to educate against ignorance and fight hatred, and this role is the culmination of academic pursuits and advocacy efforts. We live in a time in which we imagined the horrors of anti-Semitism would no longer persist, yet it does. It is incumbent upon all of us to fight anti-Semitism and educate our communities so as to eradicate hatred toward Judaism, the Jewish people and the Jewish State.”
Before her time with the Singer Foundation, Fish was the executive director of the Schusterman Center for Israel Studies at Brandeis University. During her tenure at Brandeis, she initiated educational workshops about the modern nation state of Israel for public school high school educators. She was also a professor in the Hornstein Program for Jewish Professional Leadership at Brandeis where she taught the Myra Kraft Seminar in Israel Studies. Fish has taught at Brandeis University, Harvard University, UMass Amherst, and in adult Jewish education programs.
Fish has earned multiple degrees, including a bachelor of arts in Middle Eastern and Judaic Studies from George Washington University, a Master of Theological Studies in Contemporary Thought in Judaism and Islam from Harvard University, and a doctorate degree in the Near Eastern and Judaic Studies department at Brandeis University. Her resume also includes significant honors and awards. Fish has twice been named to the “Forward Fifty,” a list of the 50 most influential American Jewish leaders. In 2015, she held the Rohr Visiting Professorship at Harvard University, where she lectured on modern Israel and received the Derek Bok Certificate of Teaching Excellence. She is co-editor of the book “Essential Israel: Essays for the Twenty-First Century” and a nationally sought-after speaker for her expertise on Israel and the modern Jewish landscape.
As executive director, Fish will be responsible for strategic vision and planning, fundraising and leading the operations of the foundation. She will also be tasked with hiring and managing the foundation’s staff which will specialize in social media, education, and effective response to anti-Semitic incidents and rhetoric.