Wexler, William Abe

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WEXLER, WILLIAM ABE (1913–2000), U.S. communal leader. Wexler, born in Toledo, Ohio, was an optometrist practicing in Savannah, Georgia, from 1938. He served a term as alderman in Savannah in 1946–47. He first took on a national leadership position as chairman of the United Jewish Appeal from 1951 to 1956 and led the Israel Bond drive from 1957 to 1963. Wexler was president of B'nai B'rith from 1965 until 1971. Under his aegis B'nai B'rith maintained an action policy that encouraged participation by young people through Hillel Foundations and the Young Adult groups, despite turbulence and disaffection among students; solidified the Jewish community's efforts to support Israel, through B'nai B'rith and through the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, which Wexler chaired from 1968 to 1972; and aided in the campaign in support of Soviet Jewry. In 1971 he succeeded Nahum *Goldmann as president of the *World Conference of Jewish Organizations.