1) What is an accomplishment you are proud of during your tenure as Chair of the Taub Center’s Board?
The strategic plan recently adopted by the Center brought the entire Taub Center family together to set five-year goals for the organization with help from many outside stakeholders. That such a large of group of people is devoted to the continued success of the Center, and was willing to bring insights to the table in a constructive fashion, reflects the importance of the Center to the future of the State of Israel.
2) How did you get involved with the Taub Center?
I was fortunate to have a family connection to the Center through my uncle, Jonathan Kolker, who served as President of the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC) from 1996-2000 and served on the Taub Center’s board for many years. JDC created the Center 36 years ago and during Jon’s tenure with JDC, he identified the Center as a key contributor to Israel’s future success. His interest was contagious and I followed the Center’s work from afar for about 10 years before joining the Board of Directors.
3) What do you think the role of research is in the policymaking process? What is your vision for the Taub Center in the future?
Evidence based research and a practical approach to developing policy options create a firm foundation for good policymaking. The Taub Center already excels in these areas and, given its organizational strength and superb professional leadership, I expect the Center’s impact to expand with time.
4) What piece or area of research over the past few years has most spoken to you and why do you feel that it is so important?
I have been excited by the Center’s groundbreaking research in the areas of productivity and prices. It feeds into many different areas that directly affect the quality of life – workforce development, prices of consumer goods, food security, etc. When I think about the factors in today’s economy that most dramatically affect the future of the State of Israel, I see this as a critical area.
5) Why do you think it is important for Jews living outside of Israel to be aware of the economic and social trends in the country?
I see strong and healthy relationships with Israel as a key factor in strengthening Jewish identity worldwide. For those relationships to flourish, Israel needs to show Jews around the world that it successfully supports and creates opportunities for all its citizens – in short, that it’s an Israel they can and should be proud of.