Our Speakers

John Ruskay

John S. Ruskay, Ph.D. is the executive vice president & CEO of UJA-Federation of New York. John is currently in his fourth decade of professional leadership of the North American Jewish community and is in his twelfth year of leading UJA-Federation of New York, the largest community-based philanthropy in the world. He has called for Federations to become powerful resources to create “inspired and caring communities,” which can engage Jews on the basis of providing meaning, purpose, and community. In his present position, John has created widely-recognized community initiatives to actualize this vision. He served in several positions on UJA-Federation’s professional staff prior to being appointed CEO.

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Ruth Messinger

Ruth W. Messinger is president of American Jewish World Service (AJWS), an international development organization that supports human rights for marginalized people around the world. In addition to its grantmaking to over 375 grassroots organizations around the world, AJWS works within the American Jewish community to promote global citizenship and social justice through activism, volunteer service and education.

Ms. Messinger assumed this role in 1998 following a 20-year career in public service in New York City, where she served for 12 years on the New York City Council and eight as Manhattan borough president. She was the first woman to secure the Democratic Party’s nomination for mayor in 1997. Ms. Messinger is continuing her lifelong pursuit of social justice at AJWS, helping people around the world improve the quality of their lives and their communities.

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Mayor David Bing

It’s not often, if at all, that one can claim success in three distinct areas—professional sports, business and politics. Yet, Dave Bing did just that when he was elected the 62nd Mayor of the City of Detroit in May 2009 as part of a special election. A native of Washington, D.C., Bing is a graduate of Syracuse University where he earned his Bachelor of Arts in Economics, and was later bestowed an honorary Doctorate of Laws in 2006. He was also a standout basketball player and an All American in both high school and college.

Dave Bing came to Detroit in 1966 when he was drafted by the Detroit Pistons as their #1 pick, and the #2 overall pick in the National Association of Basketball (NBA) draft that year. Bing played nine of his twelve years in the NBA with the Pistons, and was named to the All-Star Team eight times during his career.  Bing and his family made Detroit their permanent home, returning in the off-season even after he was traded to the Washington Bullets in 1975.  After retiring in 1978, his number (#21) was the first retired by the Detroit Pistons.  Voted one of the top 50 basketball players of all time, Bing was inducted into the Michigan Hall of Fame in 1984, and into the Naismith Hall of Fame in 1990.

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