As far as David Eisner is concerned, JTA can be more than just the global news service of the Jewish people.
“I would like to see JTA become the digital town square where Jews of all religious, political and cultural stripes can come together, debate and learn about one another,” he said.
It’s his job, in part, to make that happen.
Eisner is the new president of the 50-member JTA board of directors. He began his one-year term last month, but presidents of that board have historically served two to three terms.
Eisner, a Squirrel Hill native and a son of Milton and Sarita Eisner, becomes the second Pittsburgher in the recent years to be president of the JTA board. Daniel Krifcher, also from Squirrel Hill, held the position as well.
“Not only is it a Pittsburgh connection, it’s a Beth Shalom connection,” Eisner noted. “Beth Shalom has provided two of the last four presidents of JTA.”
In addition to turning JTA into a digital town square, Eisner also would like to see the number of readers engaging with JTA content online “double or triple over the next few years.”
He added, “Among those numbers I’d like to see that we’re able to attract an increasingly young group of people, that we generate content that is engaging and attractive to younger and less affiliated Jews.”
The board will not achieve these goals by micromanaging, he said, but by oversight.
“We will set goals for JTA management in terms of how we want to see the number and diversity of visits to the JTA Web properties increase,” Eisner said. “We’re not necessarily telling the staff how to do that, but … the policy of the board is more to set goals and hold the management team accountable.”
He said the JTA board does not get involved in editorial issues.
A graduate of the American University and the Boston University School of Law, Eisner is a private investor and active angel investor in New York City. He serves on the boards of several growth companies, and is a senior advisor to East Wind Advisors, a boutique investment banking firm.
In addition to the JTA board, he serves on boards of several charitable and civic organizations, including the Jewish Education Project, which he chairs, and Israel Sci-Tech Schools. He has previously sat on the boards of American University, BBYO and the Prostate Cancer Foundation.
His father, Milton, serves on the Chronicle Board of Trustees.
Eisner lectures regularly on the subject of business ethics; he has spoken several times at Yale and Princeton.
Eisner and his wife, Karen, live in New York City and Westport, Conn. They have two sons, Josh and Jason.
(Lee Chottiner can be reached at email@example.com.)