OP-ED: The Fielkow Era beckons

The news this week is very good. Good for the Jewish community. Good for the New Orleans community. And especially good for the future of the Jewish Federation of Greater New Orleans.

After an exhaustive nationwide search, the committee charged with finding the replacement for the retiring executive director of Federation, Michael Weil, has finished its work. They announced the news on Wednesday. Arnie (as in former NFL Saints franchise executive vice president, former New Orleans City Council president and National Basketball Retired Players Association CEO) Fielkow is coming home to New Orleans.

We can’t be more overjoyed or optimistic about what this means for Federation and in particular what it will mean for the way Federation could potentially interface with the outside community.

What Arnie has done all of his career is build bridges rather than erect walls. He is a masterful organizer and a charismatic leader who considers all sides of an issue rather than be arbitrary or capricious. His work on the City Council was exemplary.

We believe this is a change that will bode well for New Orleans and will enhance the position of the Jewish community for some time to come.

While the term of his office doesn’t begin for another few months (mid-August), we were pleased to hear that he will be arriving in New Orleans next month to begin the laborious process of getting up to speed prior to Weil’s eventual departure for Israel in September.

The CCJN pledges all of its resources to help make this transition bright, easy and transparent. We know that Arnie Fielkow and his wife Susan, a renowned pedatrician, will once again enhance the New Orleans landscape with their presence. We can’t wait.

Welcome home, Arnie and Susan.

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