New Executive Vice President Ralph Grunewald
Ralph Grunewald, a veteran leader in public policy and Jewish communal affairs, will join Hillel as executive vice president on October 1, and will have oversight responsibility for strategy, program, and capacity-building of Hillel in fulfilment of the recently completed Strategic Plan.
"Ralph and I will work together in partnership as we move forward to implement the recommendations of our five-year Strategic Plan," added Hillel President-Elect Wayne Firestone, who will take office in September.
"Ralph brings immense depth of experience to the Hillel enterprise," said outgoing Hillel President Avraham Infeld. "Hillel will benefit from his administrative, legal, fundraising, and public-policy skills."
"I am proud to join Hillel and look forward to working with my new colleagues and leaders to take Hillel to new heights. Together we will touch the lives of hundreds of thousands of Jewish college students. My goal is for Hillel to become the central address on hundreds of campuses to promote Jewish life, identity, and culture,” said Grunewald.
Grunewald has been a leader and activist in several Jewish agencies and pro-Israel organizations for more than a quarter-century. “I am passionate about the future health and vitality of the American Jewish community and Israel, and believe it is imperative to dedicate oneself to the Jewish people for the sake of our children and our children’s children. That is why I am thrilled to be joining Hillel,” said Grunewald.
Grunewald joins Hillel from the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL), the leading organization in the United States advancing the mission of the nation's criminal defense lawyers, where he served as executive director since 2001. Prior to NACDL, Grunewald was the assistant executive director for public policy and program of the American Jewish Committee, where he coordinated the programmatic and policy elements of the agency in the United States and abroad. Grunewald worked from 1988-1999 at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, where he served as director of external affairs following a successful stint as deputy director and counsel of its original capital fundraising campaign. Grunewald was also founding director of the United Jewish Appeal's Washington Office and served as assistant to the deputy special advisor to President Jimmy Carter.
Grunewald earned a law degree from George Washington University (GWU), a master's in Public Affairs from the Graduate School of Public and International Affairs at GWU, and a bachelor's degree in Political Science from the University of California at San Diego, where he was chair of the Union of Jewish Students.
Born in Guayaquil, Ecuador, and raised in San Diego, Grunewald’s parents were refugees from Nazi Germany. He is married to Marilyn Grunewald, associate director of the Jewish Chaplaincy Services of Greater Washington. They have two children, Emily, a sophomore at New York University, and Jonathan, a 10th grader at the Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School, in Rockville, MD.