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July 7, 2017

The Jewish Federations of North America shares in the deep sadness of the entire Jewish community at the loss of our dear friend and colleague, Dr. Jonathan Woocher, z”l, who succumbed to cancer this morning. 

A visionary and extraordinary builder and teacher, Jon worked for 27 years at JESNA, the Jewish educational arm of the Federation system, as president and then as chief ideas officer, during which he headed the Lippman Kanfer Institute, an action-oriented think tank for innovation in Jewish learning and engagement. He was a senior fellow of the Lippman Kanfer Foundation for Living Torah, which he joined in 2013 as its first president. 

His advice and counsel was sought out by institutions, organizations, and individuals across the spectrum of Jewish communal activity. He served on several boards and advisory councils, including that of Bikkurim: Advancing New Jewish Ideas, here at JFNA. Jon served on the faculties of Carleton College in Minnesota and Brandeis University, where he taught in the Benjamin S. Hornstein Program in Jewish Communal Service. He was the author of Sacred Survival: The Civil Religion of American Jews and numerous articles on Jewish education, community, and religious life.

Jon’s family was dear to him, and our hearts go out to his wife, children, grandchild, and all his loved ones. We pray that they will find comfort and strength in the knowledge that Jon’s legacy in the Jewish community — his extraordinary impact on Jewish life and learning — will be everlasting. May they be comforted among the mourners of Zion and Jerusalem, and may Jon’s memory be a blessing.

The funeral will be on Sunday, July 9, at 1:15 pm at Bernheim Apter Kreitzman Funeral Home, 68 Old Short Hills Road, Livingston, NJ. Shiva will be at the home of Sherry Woocher, 227 Thornden Street, South Orange, NJ, immediately following interment and through Wednesday, July 12.

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