New Leadership at Contemporary Jewish Museum

. March 13, 2010

David Levine to Succeed Longtime Board Chair Roselyne Chroman Swig

San Francisco, CA, – At the March 11, 2010 meeting of the Board of Trustees of the Contemporary Jewish Museum, a story of continuity and change will unfold as 40-year-old David Levine officially steps into his new role as Chair of the Board, succeeding one of San Francisco’s most prominent leaders and longtime Museum Chair, Roselyne “Cissie” Swig.

Swig has held this position over 6 1/2 years, fearlessly leading the Museum through its recent capital campaign and the opening of its award-winning new facility in 2008. “I am so honored to have had the opportunity to serve with such a distinguished and committed group of Trustees and to help launch the new building and subsequent expanded programs for the community,” says Swig. “It is such an exciting moment in the Museum’s history, and it is important to keep it moving forward with fresh leadership, ideas, and perspectives. David is absolutely the right person at this time to serve as the CJM’s new chairperson. He brings with him deep commitment, a strong personal value system, and professional leadership skills that are motivating and engaging.”

Since its founding, the CJM has had distinguished individuals serving as the Chair of the Board, beginning with Alfred Fromm in 1982 and including Bernard Osher, Phyllis Moldaw, Richard Swig, Claude Ganz, Joyce Linker, Fred Levinson, Stephen Leavitt, and Warren Hellman. Roselyne Chroman Swig is the tenth individual to serve as the Chair. Five of the former Chairs – Moldaw, Linker, Leavitt, Hellman, and Swig – continue to serve as Trustees of the CJM.

Born in Chicago in 1930, Swig moved to the Bay Area in 1948 to attend the University of California at Berkeley and has been deeply involved in Bay Area and Jewish community life ever since. From her first endeavor making root beer floats for visitors at the coffee shop at Mt. Zion Hospital as part of the Women’s Auxiliary, to her leadership of cutting-edge art institutions like the San Francisco Art Institute, SFMOMA, the Berkeley Art Museum/PFA, and the Contemporary Jewish Museum, Swig has volunteered her time and resources to over 30 non-profit social service, education, and cultural organizations, including National Public Radio Foundation, Mills College, Partners Ending Domestice Abuse, and KQED.

Swig, along with her late husband Richard Lewis Swig, has been a tireless leader in the Jewish community for decades, serving as President of the Women’s Division of the Jewish Community Federation, President of the Jewish Community Federation of San Francisco, Peninsula, Marin and Sonoma Counties, President of the Jewish Vocational Service, Congregation Emanu-El, and joining the boards of numerous national and international Jewish organizations such as the American Israel Public Affairs Committee and the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee.

Her interest in art and international affairs merged when she was appointed to a State Department position as Director of Art in Embassies under the Clinton Administration.

Swig will continue to serve on the Museum’s Board and is extremely encouraging of Levine. “We are so fortunate to have David stepping into this role,” says Swig. “He brings important perspectives of the next generation. David is passionate about the Museum and has been a champion of its programs for all the right reasons. He recognizes what the Museum can provide for his family, friends, and colleagues, and for all of the families in the broader community.”

Levine, Senior Vice President of PNC, joined the Contemporary Jewish Museum Board in 2000 after his wife Julie became involved in one of the Museum’s Invitational exhibitions, a signature exhibition series in which contemporary artists interpret a traditional, ritual Jewish object. “We initially fell in love with the Museum through that experience. The art, the ideas, the community – we found a new home at the Museum,” he says.

A member of Congregation Emanu-El and a former Trustee of the Jewish Community Center of San Francisco, Levine has been active in the Jewish community since his childhood in Los Angeles. He brings to his leadership of the Museum a commitment to building community in new and innovative ways.

“How do we keep people connected? How do we educate our children? These are the fundamental questions my wife and I are concerned with, and the Museum has compelling answers,” Levine says. “This past fall when the Museum launched its first Annual Family Gala, I recognized the unique role the Museum plays in our community. Families of multiple generations were engaged and were having a great time. It’s precisely this kind of very special community and family building experience that makes the Museum so relevant and important.

Levine and his wife Julie visit the Museum often with their two children, who also like to bring their friends. “They think it’s a very cool place,” he says. “They are very proud of it.”

Levine’s goals for the Museum as he takes the helm from Swig are about continuity. “Cissie, the Trustees, and the staff have done a phenomenal job creating a Museum that provides a welcoming and educational environment. As the Chair of the Board, I am excited to build on the many successes of the Museum, while strengthening and expanding our role in the community. I also am committed to ensuring that the Museum is an enduring resource for audiences of all ages and backgrounds who can engage with our dynamic exhibitions and programming.”

A graduate of Skidmore College, Levine has had a 20-year career in commercial real estate finance and is currently Senior Vice President of PNC. He has been a regular contributing columnist on commercial property financing for the Bay Area’s Commercial Property Guide, and his articles have appeared in national magazines such as Urban Land, the respected monthly publication of the Urban Land Institute.

About the Contemporary Jewish Museum

With the opening of its new building on June 8, 2008, the Contemporary Jewish Museum (CJM) ushered in a new chapter in its twenty-plus year history of engaging audiences and artists in exploring contemporary perspectives on Jewish culture, history, art, and ideas. The new facility, designed by internationally renowned architect Daniel Libeskind, is a lively center where people of all ages and backgrounds can gather to experience art, share diverse perspectives, and engage in hands-on activities. Inspired by the Hebrew phrase “L’Chaim” (To Life), the building is a physical embodiment of the CJM’s mission to bring together tradition and innovation in an exploration of the Jewish experience in the 21st century.

Major support for the Contemporary Jewish Museum comes from the Koret and Taube Foundations who are the lead supporters of the 2009/2010 exhibition season. Additional major support comes from the Jim Joseph Foundation; The Wallace Foundation; Grants for the Arts/San Francisco Hotel Tax Fund; Institute of Museum and Library Services; Richard and Rhoda Goldman Fund; Alexander M. and June L. Maisin Foundation; Jewish Community Endowment Fund: Terra Foundation for American Art; Bank of America; Pacific Gas and Electric Company; The Skirball Foundation; and Target. The Museum is supported by the Jewish Community Federation of San Francisco, the Peninsula, Marin and Sonoma Counties.

For more information about the Contemporary Jewish Museum, visit the Museum’s website

Category: Museum News

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