NECHAMA – Jewish Response to Disaster has named Stephan Kline as its new Chief Executive Officer.  Kline served for more than 15 years as Deputy Director of the Jewish Federations of North America’s (JFNA’s) large policy, planning and human services delivery office in Washington DC.  In that role, while developing deep connections throughout the national Jewish community, Kline represented and communicated  the vision of this major national system to Congress and the Administration.  He was also responsible for internal operations, fundraising, grants management and program development for the Public Affairs Division.  Kline regularly partnered with NECHAMA as JFNA’s coordinator for the National Federation/Agency Alliance, a construct through which JFNA and local federations steered funding to national Jewish agencies and helped with strategic planning.  Beginning in 2017 he also directed JFNA’s national emergency committee and natural disaster portfolio.

“NECHAMA’s historical and continued contributions to disaster response efforts throughout the United States are necessary and inspiring,” said Stephen Matloff, Chair of NECHAMA’s Board.  “What makes NECHAMA unique is that it is Jewish.  It represents Jews, Judaism and Jewish ideals out in the field as we engage in the guiding principle of tikkun olam (“repairing the world”).  And it offers a powerful platform for Jewish identity exploration and discovery.  Our goal is to be the on-the-ground partner of every Jewish organization – and many non-Jewish organizations – when disaster strikes and their constituencies want and need to help.  Stephan gets us.  With his strong commitment to social justice, values that align with NECHAMA and its Board, broad managerial and strategic planning skills, experience with disaster relief, deep connectivity as a professional and volunteer leader to the organized Jewish community, he has the motivation and skill set to help NECHAMA achieve its full potential.”

Referencing his motivation, Kline said “Recently it hit 80 degrees here in Washington, DC, the highest recorded temperature for any January day since record keeping began in 1872.  This trend will accelerate in the coming years and decades with increasingly destructive impact.  NECHAMA mobilizes volunteers and equipment, mitigating storm and other damage left behind by catastrophic weather events.  NECHAMA helps communities heal from trauma not because they are Jewish, but because we are.  This construct so appeals to me.  Climate change guarantees that NECHAMA’s essential work will never be done.  I am really excited to get started, to help suffering communities, engage in literal tikkun olam through NECHAMA, and lead this wonderful team of committed lay and professional leaders.”

William Daroff, Chief Executive Officer of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, applauded NECHAMA’s selection.  “I am very familiar with NECHAMA – having previously participated in a deployment in Oklahoma.  I also know Stephan Kline very well as he served as my Deputy for fourteen years at JFNA.  In fact, my success there was due, to a great degree, to Stephan’s wise counsel and leadership.  Stephan’s judgment is sound, his character is beyond reproach, and his skill set is superb.  He will be a tremendous asset to NECHAMA as CEO.”

Kline earned his Bachelor of Arts from Wesleyan University and his Juris Doctor, magna cum laude, and a Masters in Law and Government, both from The American University, Washington College of Law.  He will assume the CEO role on February 12.  He can be reached at stephan.kline@nechama.org.