We are excited to introduce you to our new Executive Director, Atara Solow.

The Board and I are confident that once you’ve read the below Q&A, you will feel Atara's passion and dedication to Migdal Ohr and be as excited about her leadership of The American Friends as we are.

Tony Fromer
President,
on behalf of the AFMO Board of Directors

Please tell us about your professional background, including most recent positions that you have held…

I spent the last two years at the Shalom Hartman Institute in Israel where I led communications and development. I was responsible for crafting and executing a strategic plan for resource development, working closely with the Board of Directors, philanthropists and foundations. In addition, I spearheaded the design and implementation of a communications strategy, expanding the institute’s presence in the media and the public sphere.

Previously, at Nefesh B’Nefesh, the organization that stewards the immigration process for Americans, I served as Senior Advisor to the CEO, developing and cultivating strategic partnerships to create and implement a successful marketing strategy and facilitate organizational growth.

I bring the experience of managing multidisciplinary teams and growing output to my new role as Executive Director of American Friends of Migdal Ohr. I feel strongly that these abilities will help the organization flourish and grow.

Now tell us a little about yourself …

I was born in Boston and raised in New Jersey. My family and I made Aliyah to Jerusalem when I was in high school. My success along the paths I have chosen has been guided by who I am- a strong American with an Israeli foundation. I was privileged to carry out national service both in Israel (at a vocational high school for underprivileged teens) and in the U.S. (as a “young ambassador” for the Jewish Agency stationed in L.A.). I earned a degree in social work at Bar Ilan University and quickly plunged into the non-profit world with both Israeli and North American populations.

I quickly discovered my enthusiasm for organizations which make an impact on our societies, and I have been blessed to work for two meaningful and influential causes. I have grown in my personal and professional life while endeavoring to make a significant contribution to the contemporary Jewish world.

As such, I am in awe of the amazing work that Migdal Ohr and Rav Grossman do to help at-risk Israeli children reach their potential and contribute to Israeli society.

I feel privileged to to channel my drive and creativity to paths that benefit this extraordinary organization.

How do you see your new role as Migdal Ohr's Executive Director?

I see my role as that of an ambassador for Migdal Ohr. Like every emissary with a great mission, mine is to extend the reach of our organization and introduce our work to new audiences. Migdal Ohr’s goal is clear, and we are unique in this- the support we offer is not a handout- it’s a framework for a holistic vision; providing thousands of children with the tools they need to change their destiny for the better and achieve sustainable progress. I have already seen how Migdal Ohr treats these children as their own, creating community, supporting them, empowering them and helping them cope with challenging realities. Migdal Ohr is bridging the gaps within Israeli society and cultivating productive, engaged and active citizens of Israel.

I feel very strongly that through the prism of the great work that Migdal Ohr is undertaking that I can gain a better understanding, not just of Israel’s challenges regarding poverty and its causes and symptoms, but also some of its solutions. Migdal Ohr has literally been a “Tower of Light” through five decades in being able to change the lives of so many on a modest budget.

I wrote recently in an op-ed in The Jerusalem Post that poverty needs to be at the forefront of Israel’s national and political agenda.

It is my firm belief that Migdal Ohr can and should stand as a strong moral voice; working with the decision-makers and opinion-shapers to influence new strategies toward narrowing the gaps and improving the lives of impoverished Israelis, who make up around a quarter of the population.

I believe that the words of the Book of Proverbs should inspire us all in our work: “Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy.”

What are your immediate priorities as Executive Director?

I am tremendously excited to build and strengthen the connections between Migdal Ohr (the organization), the disadvantaged youth we service, and the American Friends of Migdal Ohr, which provides a strong foundation for this vital work.

Getting to know our friends and donors who share our hopes and desires to help our disadvantaged youth in particular and Israeli society in general, is a key focus for me, and for successfully supporting our activity in Israel. I look forward to learning of each individual’s passion, direction and priorities and incorporating them into our new vision. I believe that any organization is the sum of its parts.

I hope you will answer the call and join me to create this new vision.

What do you see as the major impacts that Migdal Ohr has had since its inception almost 50 years ago?

I sincerely believe that few organizations have made as much of an impact as Migdal Ohr in five decades, it has positively influenced so many people in such life-affirming and changing ways. The organization and its’ staff are dedicated to making a difference in the future of Israel, by creating engaged citizenship, community building and empowering the less fortunate. The students are the change-makers, and we just provide the tools.

What’s one thing you do to every week that helps you stay positive and focused?

Sometimes being in an office can distance yourself from the projects you are working on and the people you are working for. Whenever I have an opportunity, I like to get out there to see for myself the impact my day to day work has.

I have already been to the Migdal Ohr campus several times and met many of its wonderful students. The smiles on their faces, and their commitment to turning their lives around have energized me and my commitment to this position.

In my most recent visit I was particularly moved by the special connection the children have with the Migdal Ohr staff, who themselves are alumni and are now giving back to the very place that gave them a future. From generation to generation (M’dor L’dor).

It is truly a great honor for me to serve as Executive Director of American Friends of Migdal Ohr and I am confident that we can do great things together.