Holocaust Center director resigns, takes animal welfare position

Holocaust Center director resigns, takes animal welfare position

Joy Braunstein (Photo provided)
Joy Braunstein (Photo provided)

Joy Braunstein is pursuing greener pastures. Within days, Braunstein will officially resign as director of the Holocaust Center of the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh and become executive director of the

Western Pennsylvania Humane Society. Braunstein’s departure for WPHS enables her to lead on an issue — animal protection — near and dear to her.

Braunstein began at the Holocaust Center in December 2011. Under her leadership, the Holocaust Center developed several new partnerships and programs.

According to Samantha Chilton, senior associate of the Holocaust Center, Braunstein expanded the center’s network by working with local entities, including the August Wilson Center, Pittsburgh Arts and Lectures and the Andy Warhol Museum.

Chilton noted that although some collaborations were initially surprising, they ultimately proved fruitful.

“They maybe weren’t normal, but once the partnerships began that made perfect sense,” she said.

One example included the Holocaust Center’s recent teaming with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra. Last February, both collaborated on a “Music for the Spirit” concert, which featured works by Schubert, Dvorák, Schmidt and Ullmann. Months later, the two groups again partnered on the Yom Hashoah/Holocaust Remembrance Day program.

“She launched a lot of very new outside of the box initiatives,” said Chilton.

Adam Hertzman, director of marketing at the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh, praised Braunstein’s work.

“Joy did a lot of terrific things during her time at the Holocaust Center,” he said.

Hertzman noted that Braunstein improved the handling of sensitive artifacts and materials owned by the Holocaust Center.

“The Holocaust Center of Pittsburgh’s budget increased by over 40 percent during Joy’s tenure with revenue and contributions increasing similarly,” he added, “and the volume of programs and activities doubled during that period.”

Plans are already underway for a successor.

Chilton indicated that the Jewish Federation is working with Holocaust Center leadership on searching for a new director.

Hertzman hopes that the search will be “relatively quick.”

“I assume it will be a nationwide search,” he said, “[though] there will be people within the organization and community who may be qualified.”

Until a new director is appointed, Chilton will oversee day-to-day operations.

As executive director of WPHS, Braunstein will return to familiar causes. Prior to leading the Holocaust Center, Braunstein served as interim executive director of the Rachel Carson Homestead Association in Springdale, Pa., and CEO of the Carolina Raptor Center in Huntersville, N.C.

“Joy has a background in animal welfare,” explained Hertzman. “She has a passion for that work. We’re excited for her to move back to an area that she’s so passionate about.”

Adam Reinherz can be reached at adamr@thejewishchronicle.net.