The Conspiracy

Hillel president on his salary and number of Facebook friends

While reporting on the Union for Reform Judaism Biennial near Washington, D.C. a while back, I had the opportunity to sit down with Wayne Firestone, the president of the Hillel Foundation. After giving a speech to a crowded ballroom filled with 5,000+ people (embedded above), Firestone and I chatted about the future of Hillel and Reform Judaisim, which I delve into in my recent look at the URJ Campaign for Youth Engagement. We also talked about Firestone’s salary, which increased by 2.18 percent according to the Forward’s annual salary survey. When asked about his salary, Firestone said:

The economy hit the Jewish community hard over the past few years. We made cutbacks that required us to make tradeoffs and choices, and I think that almost all Jewish organizations went through this and looked for different ways to make adjustments. Some of those included salaries … I certainly feel well-compensated and certainly feel that it’s a priority to be able to have cost of living raises for salaries of others. We were able to do that this year for our staff. In prior years we weren’t. So I think we’re getting back on track. I measure myself as much by the number of Facebook friends I have as anything else and that’s going up, and that’s been on a steep rise.

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