The board of directors of Jewish Neighborhood Development Council of Chicago (JNDCC) announced on June 5 at its annual meeting that David “Azi” Lifsics, 36, of Skokie has assumed the presidency of the organization.
Lifsics, an attorney in private practice, worked for six years in government relations for Agudath Israel of America, Midwest Region. Previously, he served as legislative counsel to Chicago Ald. Debra Silverstein (50th Ward).
Lifsics succeeds Howard Rieger, Ph.D., who served at the helm of the organization, formerly known as Jewish Community Council of West Rogers Park, for the past five years and now assumes the title of president emeritus.
Jewish Neighborhood Development Council of Chicago is dedicated to strengthening and preserving Chicago-area Jewish neighborhoods. JNDCC helps local communities respond proactively to challenges that threaten community viability as well as to opportunities for improved community relations.
During Rieger’s tenure, the organization spurred major improvements to infrastructure, parks and commercial spaces in West Rogers Park, including a new state-of-the-art Chicago Public Library branch at Pratt and Western, the Magenta Stores at Pratt and California, and a new park and other amenities at the long-blighted southeast corner of Devon and McCormick.
Jewish community leaders established Jewish Community Council of West Rogers Park in 1975 to respond to anti-Semitic vandalism against area synagogues that threatened the stability of the neighborhood. In 2011, Rieger, a native Chicagoan who served as past president/CEO of Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh and Jewish Federations of North America, moved back to Chicago. Concerned about the appearance of commercial streets and public spaces and the potentially destructive impact on Jewish community resources, he reinvigorated JCCWRP to help stabilize the Jewish community in West Rogers Park for generations to come.