Howard Charish has been appointed vice president of major gifts of the American Friends of Bar-Ilan University.

Charish brings 40 years of experience as a Jewish communal professional to the position. During the past eight years he served as executive vice president of UJA Federation of Northern New Jersey. In this capacity, he effected the merger of two federations to create UJA-NNJ and developed the Berrie Fellows Leadership Initiative, a national model for engaging the next generation through a community-based leadership program. (See related story, Berrie Fellows Leadership Program casts a wide net for leaders.)

Among his earlier posts, he was the director of Leadership Initiatives North America of the Mandel Foundation, president of the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia, and executive vice president of United Jewish Federation of MetroWest NJ.

AFBIU Executive Vice President Michael Abidor said, “We are fortunate to have a professional leader of Howard Charish’s high caliber at this important time in Bar-Ilan University’s history – as it embarks on opening a new medical school in the Galilee and completes the laboratories in the recently opened Nanotechnology Triplex. Howard is a greatly respected professional in the Jewish community, and his superb record of achievement especially in the field of major gifts fund-raising for numerous Jewish organizations will help to bring our organization up to the next level of excellence.”

During his career, Charish has received numerous awards. These include the Saul Schwarz Distinguished Service Award, 2007, from the New Jersey Association of Jewish Communal Service and the degree of doctor of Jewish Communal Service from Hebrew Union College.

Charish has been a teacher at the Wexner Graduate Fellows Program for 20 years and taught at Brandeis University’s Sherman/Kaplan Seminar for Emerging Professionals from 1992 to 2006.

“It is my great privilege to join the AFBIU team, which is being remarkably proactive in raising the dollars that are needed to support the continued growth of Israel’s only university where the confluence of scientific inquiry and Jewish knowledge is fully integrated. I look forward to putting my fund-raising and outreach skills to work to further bolster this great institution of higher learning, which is playing a central role in building a stronger Israel,” said Charish.