We Want Answers: Naomi Adler, the First Female CEO of the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia

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Photography by Stefan Radtke

You’re moving here from Westchester County, New York, to take this job. Philly can be frosty to outsiders. Are you worried? Oh no, I’ve already received hundreds of emails, phone calls, letters of welcome.

I guess you don’t need a neighborhood recommendation, then. I think we’re going to end up taking a poll. You can follow up with me in a year and I’ll tell you what happened.

Federation is still the leading Jewish philanthropic organization in the region, but has switched leaders four times since the 1990s. And your predecessor was not exactly beloved by everyone. How do you correct the turnover problem? Well, this is the third time, maybe fourth time, I’ve come into an area where I was a newbie. I’ve learned you need to be listening to all perspectives and be very attuned to building relationships. I think that you become a part of the fabric of the community if you listen and respond to what people need. I can’t comment on Ira Schwartz or the other predecessors. All I can say is that my style is to incorporate the best management practices with really loving what you do.

Given the turmoil in Federation ranks, do you think your selection as the first female CEO was a statement that it’s starting fresh in some way? The fact that I’m a woman was not really a focus. I’m not blind to the fact that I’m blazing a trail in this community. However, it’s not the reason they hired me.

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The Time Brian Sims Confronted the Man He Accused of Talking to Plants

Photo | Jon Geeting

Babette Josephs (standing) chastising Brian Sims, seated in a bumper car. Photo | Jon Geeting

The words “Harrisburg” and “intrigue” are pretty much antithetical these days. Philadelphia’s relationship to the yawning capital consists mostly of being outraged at the governor, while taking occasional breaks to cackle mirthfully when he makes a gaffe. He is an evil buffoon, we are Rachel Maddow, and the show is on perpetual repeat.

Enter the Chimera of state politics, the three-headed monster that threatens to devour itself in its quest for Philadelphia delegation supremacy. The cast of characters: superstar 35-year-old Center City representative Brian Sims; his former boss, felled opponent, and now, primary challenger Babette Josephs; his colleague and recent antagonist, Northeast Philadelphia stalwart Mark Cohen.

The plot: Sims turns against several fellow House Democrats, including Cohen, endorsing their primary opponents. Shortly thereafter, Babette Josephs, the sweet 73-year-old lady you see walking her doggie in Fitler Square who lost a bitter political cage match to Sims two years ago, announces she’s coming out of retirement to challenge him in the primary. Amidst all this, Sims goes on an epic, unfiltered Facebook rant against Cohen in which he accuses the 64-year-old of having performance-crippling dementia.

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The Official Wiz Wit Man T-Shirt Is Here

Last week, we presented Wiz Wit Man, Philly’s “official” superhero. His angry dishwasher persona basically makes no sense, and his name apparently has more to do with his acerbic humor than with cheesesteaks. Still, there’s something magical about him. So half-jokingly, I asked someone to deliver a bunch of Wiz Wit Man t-shirts to our office. Two days later, Philly-based Rush Order Tees dropped off a dozen of them in our lobby, unprompted and free of charge. Here’s your humble narrator, looking his most heroic.

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Somebody Actually Got Killed by a Snowplow This Week

As we chuckle over Fox 29′s reporter Steve Keeley’s slapstick brush with snowbank tragedy, let’s take a moment to realize that snowplows actually can be quite deadly. The AP reports that a 72-year-old Reading man was struck by a plow Monday at 11:30 a.m. This just weeks after a pregnant lady was killed by a snowplow in Brooklyn. (The baby survived.) No GIFs of either incident is available. [AP]

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