NEW YORK – The Religious Zionists of America (RZA), the U.S.-based branch of World Mizrachi and umbrella organization for the American Religious Zionist movement, has turned to a well-regarded Jewish communal leader, Rabbi Ari Rockoff of West Hempstead, N.Y. as its executive vice president.
In this role, Rockoff will help to inspire a new generation of American Jews to share in the responsibility for Israel’s future. He will also utilize his experience in organizational strategy to develop the national infrastructure of the RZA and leverage its reach and impact in the North American Jewish community.
Rockoff spent the last seven years developing new programs for the Orthodox Union (OU). Most recently, he was its founding director of leadership development and strategic partnerships working with foundations and major funding partners. Earlier this year, Rockoff led the World Mizrachi’s Orthodox Israel Coalition, a partnership of Orthodox and religious Zionist groups running as a combined slate in the World Zionist Congress elections. His team helped the coalition nearly double that of the previous election and for the first time, put the coalition in a strategic second place position in the overall vote count.
Earlier in his OU career, he was director of the OU’s leadership development program where he created a highly successful professional talent system designed to identify, train and mentor advisors and executives.
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Before joining the OU, Rockoff spent more than a decade at Yeshiva University, where he was on the founding team of the Center for the Jewish Future and the lead designer of ChampionsGate, a leadership conference that brought together hundreds of Jewish lay leaders and professionals from around the country.
“Rabbi Rockoff is one of the country’s most dynamic Jewish communal leaders, possessing a world-class knowledge of organizational strategy and management and is recognized throughout the community for his work with many of the largest national Jewish institutions,” said RZA Co-President Martin Oliner. “We are excited that he has joined the RZA and with his vision, we will continue to new heights.”
“With the success of the Orthodox Israel Coalition slate in the World Zionist Congress election earlier this year, it’s clear that there are many American supporters of the religious Zionist movement looking to actively engage with our brethren in Israel,” said RZA Co-President Rabbi Leonard Matanky. “As Rabbi Rockoff’s joins our professional team, we hope to harness a great opportunity for our organization as we look forward to building upon the solid foundation that it has developed over the many decades.”
“Religious Zionism is on the rise in America and there is no greater institution than the RZA to use its resources and infrastructure to deliver dynamic programs and services for our community,” said Rockoff. “The challenges that face our community – like BDS and anti-Semitism – only strengthen our ties with the State of Israel and we need to help fan those flames with Jews of all ages. I am excited to play a leadership role in helping to shape the next chapter for this historic organization to more effectively reach and inspire our community.”
Rockoff is a graduate of Yeshiva University’s Sy Syms School of Business and received his rabbinical ordination from RIETS, a master’s degree in education from the Azrieli Graduate School of Jewish Education and Administration, and a master’s of business administration degree from Baruch College, where his studies focused on organizational behavior.
He resides in West Hempstead with his wife, Deborah, and their five children.