Charles Kaufman of Austin Elected President of B’nai B’rith International
Austinite Charles Kaufman named B'nai B'rith International president. Photo courtesy of B'nai B'rith.
Charles Kaufman of Austin was elected the 32nd president of B’nai B’rith International by the organization’s Board of Governors at its annual meeting in New York, in conjunction with the organization’s 175th anniversary.
Kaufman immediately begins a three-year term leading the world’s oldest and most widely known Jewish humanitarian, human rights and advocacy organization. Recently, Kaufman served as the chairman of the B’nai B’rith International Center for Human Rights and Public Policy and as a senior vice president.
“Organizations that celebrate 175 years—and there aren’t that many of them—have a strong mission, great resolve for success and an impressive ability to innovate,” Kaufman said. “B’nai B’rith has built a proud history because we’ve shown that being nimble, bold and committed are keys to longevity.”
Kaufman, a Dallas native, is the third generation of his family active in B’nai B’rith. He has been a leader in the organization since 1980 and has served at the local, national and international levels, starting as the president of a B’nai B’rith district composed of seven Southern states.
Kaufman has represented B’nai B’rith around the world at the United Nations in New York, at the Human Rights Council in Geneva and at UNESCO in Paris; and in Texas at the state Legislature, testifying on behalf of anti-BDS legislation, which overwhelmingly passed both houses and was signed into law.
Kaufman has spearheaded B’nai B’rith disaster relief efforts across Texas in recent years from hurricanes, tornadoes and floods that devastated various communities. In 1992, he initiated and promoted a petition that generated more than 10,000 signatures calling for the freedom of Syrian Jews under the rule of Hafez Assad. B’nai B’rith subsequently worked through its office at the United Nations and with other groups to secure the emigration of thousands of Syrian Jews.
In his professional career, Kaufman is currently a senior faculty member in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Texas State University. He also consults as a public relations executive and media strategist. The author of two books, Kaufman was a former business editor, reporter and newspaper columnist. His wife, Vonne, is a retired audiologist. Their son, Brian lives in New York City; and daughter Heather and her husband, Avi Rasowsky live in Houston with their three children. Kaufman has degrees from Northwestern University and the University of Texas at Austin.
Kaufman has also worked on behalf of the Jewish community in various capacities, from religious organizations to Maccabi USA/Sports for Israel, AIPAC and the Levi Hospital of Hot Springs, Arkansas.
B’nai B’rith International has advocated for global Jewry and championed the cause of human rights since 1843. B’nai B’rith is recognized as a vital voice in promoting Jewish unity and continuity, a staunch defender of the state of Israel, a tireless advocate on behalf of senior citizens and a leader in disaster relief. ■
For more information, visit bnaibrith.org.