At its annual meeting Nov. 15, the North American Conference on Ethiopian Jewry elected Evely Laser Shlensky of Santa Barbara as its new national president.

Shlensky has a long history of leadership in the Jewish community, including service as chairwoman of the Commission on Social Action of Reform Judaism for six years. She is a member of the board of the Union for Reform Judaism, having served previously as a vice chairwoman of that body.

She is vice chairwoman of MAZON: A Jewish Response to Hunger, whose Grants Committee she chaired for seven years. She is also a member of the Board of Governors of Hebrew Union College, Jewish Institute of Religion.

Shlensky has written widely on the interface between social justice and Judaism, and is the author of Lirdof Tzedek: A Guide to Synagogue Social Action. Her articles have been published in the CCAR Journal, Sh’ma and Reform Judaism as well as in numerous newspapers.

Shlensky became involved with NACOEJ after a trip to Ethiopia in 2004, during which she visited the Jewish community. She has served on the board of NACOEJ since.

NACOEJ is a 28-year-old nonprofit, humanitarian organization with 60,000 donors worldwide. It was established with four mandates: to help Ethiopian Jews survive in Ethiopia, to assist them in reaching Israel, to aid in their absorption into Israeli society, and to preserve their unique and ancient culture.

— Caroline Barg is the director of communications for the North American Conference on Ethiopian Jewry.