Changes at ADL
10/15/2010 - 15:07
James Besser

Today brought the news that Jess Hordes is retiring after more than two decades of service as ADL's Washington director.

I've always felt a special affinity for Jess; he took up his position about the time I started writing a Washington column for Jewish newspapers, and he was more than helpful to a rookie trying to make sense of  the convoluted world of Jewish politics.

And over the years Jess was always a level-headed voice in a community of activists increasingly dominated by those speaking in a hyperbolic style more suited to tabloid newspapers, not serious activism.

Many times, Jess was the one I'd call when I wanted to penetrate dense layers of spin. He will be missed, but his replacement – assistant director Stacy Burdett – is more than a worthy successor.

Speaking of ADL, the impossible has happened; PR director Myrna Schinbaum is calling it quits, as well. Myrna has been more than a flack; there always seemed to be an organic connection between her and ADL national director Abe Foxman. Myrna always played it straight with reporters and she never tried to limit access.

She'll be succeeded by  Todd Gutnick, her longtime deputy.

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I hear ADL has hired an outside consultant to "help with the transition" for Jess's replacement. Doesn't sound very encouraging.