Brian Abrahams, is the senior vice president of financial resources development at the Jewish Federations of North America. Previously, Brian served for 12 years as director of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC)’s Midwest region, where, under his leadership, annual fundraising significantly increased. Brian is a former director of National Young Leadership Cabinet (YLC) for the United Jewish Appeal (UJA).
Brian likes to say he “grew up” in Federation, having served in both lay and professional roles since his college days as a volunteer fundraiser for UJA. Two years after he graduated, he got a job in UJA’s Washington office. On his first day, he was assigned to work with the group that ultimately brought 250,000 people to the National Mall for the 1987 march and rally for Soviet Jewry.
Less than four years later, he joined Federation leadership to witness the historicOperation Solomon, which brought 14,500 Ethiopian Jews to Israel—what Brian calls “a powerful example of what the collective can achieve.”
From there, Brian moved to Chicago and became UJA’s Midwest regional director. Later, as YLC director, Brian remembers chartering a plane of Soviet Jews from Moscow to Warsaw so that young leaders on a mission to Poland could accompany them on the final leg of their aliyah to Israel. He also recruited and trained emerging leaders from around the country, including some who have gone on to hold top national leadership positions.
As a volunteer leader for the JUF/Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago, Brian started its high-tech committee and was on the volunteer organization committee when Chicago hosted the General Assembly. He also served on the board of Jewish Child & Family Services, a local Federation agency.
Risk and Reality: Anti-Semitism in Europe