LimmudFest 2021 LimmudFest 2021
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Jewish Leadership in Turbulent Times


Aaron Ahlquist
Anti-Defamation League (ADL), Regional Director

Aaron Ahlquist is the regional director of ADL's South Central Region. He is tasked with combatting Antisemitism and all forms of hatred and bigotry in Louisiana, Arkansas and Mississippi. He also co-chairs the Jewish Federation of Greater New Orleans' security committee. He was previously a lawyer with Herman, Herman & Katz, LLC in New Orleans, and before that, Aaron worked on Capitol Hill. Aaron, his wife and children, have been in New Orleans since 2004 and love their adopted home.

Arnie Fielkow
Jewish Federation of Greater New Orleans, CEO

Before coming to the Jewish Federation, Arnie Fielkow served as President and CEO of the National Basketball Retired Players Association. Twice elected to the New Orleans City Council, he helped rebuild New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina. He also served as Executive Vice President of the New Orleans Saints from 2000-2005. In 2017, he became CEO of the Jewish Federation of Greater New Orleans. He has focused on building and strengthening of relationships with synagogues and other community partners, as well as expanding the big tent under which the Federation operates, by creating: JNEXT, a program for Gen-X Jewish New Orleanians; LGBTQ outreach through JP NOLA; a professional mentoring program designed to retain top talent in New Orleans; and two landmark external relations centers: the Goldring Family Foundation Center for Jewish-Multicultural Affairs, and the Sherry and Alan Leventhal Center for Interfaith Families.

Joe Giarrusso was elected District A Councilmember in October 2017. Joe grew up and went to high school in District A. He graduated with a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Texas with high honors. Joe went on to earn an LSU law degree in 2001 where he was a member of the Louisiana Law Review and finished in the top five percent of his law school class. Joe has practiced law for nearly 20 years.

He has spent a large portion of his career in public service as past Chair of the Young Leadership Council; Executive Committee and Board Member of the Bureau of Governmental Research; President of KIPP New Orleans Schools; president of his neighborhood association, Lakeview Civic Association; and a commissioner on the Lakeview Crime Prevention District. Joe serves on a number of Council Committees and chairs the Public Works and newly formed Quality of Life Committee.

Joe is married to Cassie Giarrusso and they have two young daughters who attend a local public school.


Join ADL Regional Director Aaron Ahlquist and Jewish Federation of Greater New Orleans CEO Arnie Fielkow for a discussion moderated by New Orleans Councilman Joe Giarrusso about meeting the challenges facing the Jewish community in an environment of polarization, rising Antisemitism, pandemic, and fraying Jewish unity and identity. The conversation will frame the challenges, and discuss the work being done to navigate the troubled waters.

This session is generously sponsored by the Goldring Family Foundation Center for Jewish-Multicultural Affairs.