“I truly loved my position and my time at the ADL; however, it is time to transition from a wonderful job that is 24/7 to a time that is reserved for family, friends, adventures and volunteering,” Baron-Baer said. “I would like to travel more extensively, starting with New Zealand in January.”
She and her husband, Stephen Baer, have plans to travel to Iceland, Japan and South America. Baron-Baer, 66, also looks forward to spending time with her two grandchildren who live in the area.
Baron-Baer took her position in Philadelphia in 2014, and was the first woman to hold the top post locally.
“The ADL is the 911 for the Jewish community when it comes to anti-Semitism, bias and discrimination,” Baron-Baer said. “After the tragic events in Pittsburgh and Poway, ADL was able to provide law enforcement information about the shooter, and educational resources to synagogues and schools on how to cope after such tragedy — we were a resource and a voice within the community.”
Baron-Baer’s achievements include growing the No Place for Hate program, which now exists in more than 225 schools and community groups in the region. The program aims to reduce bias and bullying, increase appreciation for diversity and respect and is tailored to fit the needs of the individual school or organization.
During Baron-Baer’s tenure, the Philadelphia ADL established the Black-Jewish Alliance in 2017, which has strengthened relations between the two communities in the Philadelphia area, and worked to combat biases that affect both blacks and Jews.
In addition, the ADL provides training to law enforcement agencies nationally on combating extremism, terrorism and hate crimes, including monitoring social media accounts for potential threats.
“I am proud of our regional work with law enforcement. For example, since 2008 the Philadelphia ADL has taken every new police recruit in the city to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C.,” Baron-Baer said.
The ADL is actively seeking a new regional director, hoping to find someone before Baron-Baer’s departure.
Founded in 1913, the ADL fights anti-Semitism and all forms of bigotry, defends democratic ideals and protects civil rights for all. ADL Philadelphia works to accomplish this mission in eastern Pennsylvania, southern New Jersey and Delaware.
“Nancy Baron-Baer’s retirement leaves us with exceptionally large shoes to fill,” said Frederic Bloch, ADL’s senior vice president of growth. “We will seek to hire another exceptional leader who is passionate about ADL’s work, who exemplifies ADL’s values, who raises up and brings out the best in others and who will be a unifying force for positive change in the community.”
Better outreach to the community is more important than ever to combat the hate and bigotry that is more prevalent today, Baron-Baer said.
“The person who assumes this position must be ready to face challenges we have not seen in a long time, from increased anti-Semitism and racism, to protecting immigrants’ rights and voting rights,” she said.