Dr. William Recant

Assistant Executive Vice President, International Development Program, JDC

Will Recant is the assistant executive vice-president of the JDC International Development Program. Among his responsibilities is the development and coordination of projects relating to the rescue, relief, and renewal of Jewish communities worldwide.

Before joining JDC, Will served as the executive director of the American Association for Ethiopian Jews, where he established the Congressional Caucus for Ethiopian Jews and advocated on behalf of the Ethiopian Jewry movement.  The end result of his efforts was Operation Solomon, one of the largest resettlement operations of the 20th century.

Once the airlift of Ethiopian Jews to Israel was complete, AAEJ closed its doors, and Will went on to represent JDC in Washington, DC.  During his tenure there, Cuba’s government began the process of revising its constitution, paving the way for JDC to secure a license to initiate community development and renewal within the country’s Jewish communities. 

Will was subsequently named the JDC desk director for Latin America.  In this capacity, he played a key role in the international effort to shore up the Argentinian Jewish community during that country’s economic crisis.  as desk director for Europe, he was instrumental in developing Jewish renewal programs in the former Soviet bloc countries that eventually entered the sphere of Western Europe, including Hungary and the Baltic States.  Will was a catalyst in forming twinning programs between North American Jewish Federations and communities in the Baltics, where the Jewish communities have long suffered from economic deprivation.  There, the JDC’s work focuses mainly on social service programs, employment assistance, and support for the elderly poor. 

Will’s doctoral dissertation focused on the difference between Soviet Jews who made aliyah to Israel and those who emigrated to North America and Europe. 

Sessions:

The Reality of Jews at Risk Around the World

See full schedule