Friday, 14 December 2012


About the WJC

The World Jewish Congress is an international organization whose mission is to address the interests and needs of Jews and Jewish communities throughout the world.
Founded in Geneva in 1936 to unite the Jewish people and mobilize the world against the Nazi onslaught, the WJC is the representative body of Jewish communities and organizations in nearly 100 countries from Argentina to Zimbabwe, across six continents. It seeks to foster the unity and creative survival of the Jewish people while maintaining its spiritual, cultural and social heritage.
Towards these ends, the World Jewish Congress works to
  • Secure the rights and safety Jews and Jewish communities around the world;
  • Intensify the bonds of world Jewry and strengthen the ties of solidarity among Jewish communities everywhere;
  • Act in coordination with and on behalf of Jewish communities before governmental, intergovernmental and other international authorities on matters concerning the Jewish people, and;
  • Cooperate with all peoples on the basis of universal ideas of peace, freedom and justice.
Membership in the WJC is open to all representative Jewish groups or communities, irrespective of the social, political or economic ideology of the community's host country. The World Jewish Congress is supported by those communities and individual members who as concerned Jewish citizens want their voices to be heard on matters of concern to the Jewish people.
With headquarters in New York, the WJC has offices around the world including Brussels, Buenos Aires, Geneva, Moscow, Paris and Jerusalem, where the WJC's research institute is located.
The core principle of the World Jewish Congress is that all Jews are responsible for one another. We seek to achieve this by governing with consensus and celebrating unity in our vast diversity. As we have been for nearly three quarters of a century, the World Jewish Congress continues to be the permanent address of the Jewish people.


The World Jewish Congress consists primarily of national Jewish representative organizations or communal bodies. With headquarters in New York, the WJC and its affiliates has offices around the world, including in Brussels, Budapest, Buenos Aires, Geneva, Johannesburg, Moscow, Ottawa, Paris, Sydney and in Jerusalem, where the WJC's research institute is located.

The principal bodies of the World Jewish Congress are:

The Plenary Assembly meets every four years and is the supreme body of the World Jewish Congress to which WJC members send delegates according to the strength of their community. Delegates of other affiliated Jewish organizations are also members of the Plenary Assembly. The Plenary Assembly elects the WJC President and other officers and sets out the main policies of the World Jewish Congress. The last Plenary Assembly was held in Jerusalem in January 2009, at which Ronald S. Lauder was confirmed as WJC president (he was elected by the Governing Board in June 2007 as acting WJC president), and Eduardo Elsztain became the new chairman of the Governing Board.

The Governing Board meets at least once a year and is the main body of the WJC between the meetings of the Plenary Assembly. It is also responsible for electing the WJC secretary-general (upon recommendation of the Executive) and reviewing the WJC budget.

The Executive Committee conducts the affairs and act on behalf of the World Jewish Congress, in accordance with the decisions of the Plenary Assembly and the Governing Board, between meetings of the Governing Board. The Executive Committee is comprised of the WJC president, the chairman of the Governing Board, the treasurer, the vice-presidents, and the chairmen of the five regional WJC affiliates. At the 13th WJC Plenary Assembly in Jerusalem in January 2009, the 400 delegates elected the following WJC vice-presidents: Yaakov Bleich (Ukraine), Helena Glaser (Israel), Robert Goot (Australia), Flo Kaufmann (Great Britain), Charlotte Knobloch (Germany), Tomas Kraus (Czech Republic), Tamar Shchory (Israel), Marc Schneier (USA), and Mervyn Smith (South Africa). Other WJC vice-presidents appointed by the WJC’s regional affiliates are: Roger Cukierman, France (for the European Jewish Congress), Moshe Ronen, Canada (for the WJC North America), Eduard Shifrin, Russia (for the Euro-Asian Jewish Congress), and Sara Winkowski, Uruguay (for the Latin American Jewish Congress). Ex-officio members of the WJC Executive are currently: Alexander Machkevitch (president of the Euro-Asian Jewish Congress), Moshe Kantor (president of the European Jewish Congress), Evelyn Sommer (president of WJC North America), Jack Terpins (president of the Latin American Jewish Congress), and Shai Hermesh (chairman of WJC Israel). Other members of the Executive Committee are Menachem Z. Rosensaft (WJC General Counsel) and Lior Herman.

A smaller Steering Committee runs the day-to-day activities of the World Jewish Congress. It is composed of the president, the chairman of the WJC Governing Board, the treasurer and the chairmen of the five regional affiliates. Other members may be appointed by the Executive Committee.

WJC & Best Practices

Over the last years, the WJC has put in place a number of new governance procedures and “best practice” policies. On 31 January 2006, the Office of the New York State Attorney General closed an investigation of the WJC and subsequently indicated that the WJC had implemented all the recommendations made. In November 2010 the WJC submitted its final Annual Report to the New York State Attorney General.

As a result of new procedures and guidelines put in place since 2004 the WJC has received “clean” opinion letters by independent auditors, the highest level of assurance. In addition, management letters from its independent certified auditors have indicated that there are no matters of material weaknesses or deficiencies.

A new constitution was adopted by the World Jewish Congress Plenary Assembly in 2009, and the following policies have been formalized and put in place: Code of Conduct Policy, Conflict of Interest Policy, Whistleblower Policy, Personnel Policies, Accounting Policies, Documentation Retention Policy, Gift Acceptance Policy, and Audit Committee Charter.

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