Jarrod Neal Bernstein is a public servant, attorney, and seasoned executive with over a decade of experience counseling a wide range of institutions with complex organizational structures. Previously White House Jewish Liaison under President Barack Obama, Jarrod was recently named Of Counsel at the New York City-based international law firm of Morrison Cohen LLP, and he continues to serve as Managing Director of First Due Advisory. He is also a founding co-host of Jewish Insider’s acclaimed Limited Liability podcast. Jarrod regularly advises clients in communications, government relations, disaster management, and combating bias.
Jarrod served in the administration of President Barack Obama in both counter-terrorism and community outreach roles, notably as the Associate Director of the White House Office of Public Engagement, where he was responsible for outreach to the American Jewish community (a role colloquially known as the White House Jewish Liaison). In this capacity, Jarrod liaised with senior public and private sector officials focusing on major domestic and international public policy issues including healthcare, budget, and foreign policy. He was charged with clearly identifying and articulating Administration objectives and seeking to build consensus among the diverse segments of the American Jewish community, including through the development of targeted communications plans for outreach to American Jews and the governments of Israel and other Middle Eastern states.
Prior to joining the Obama Administration, Jarrod served as Deputy Commissioner for Community Affairs in the administration of New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, where he was responsible for community crisis management and outreach to diverse constituencies throughout the five boroughs around mayoral programs. As Chief Spokesman for the New York City Office of Emergency Management, Jarrod was charged with managing the City’s Joint Information Center (JIC), the central clearinghouse for all emergency-related public information during times of crisis.
Jarrod was named a Senior Aide to Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Janet Napolitano, serving first as the Director of Local Affairs and then as Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary and Acting Assistant Secretary, responsible for managing a team of 50 and coordinating DHS outreach to mayors and governors around key policy initiatives and during periods of crisis. Because of his experience and leadership on both federal and citywide emergency management, in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, Jarrod was dispatched by the White House to New York City to help coordinate the federal government’s response, serving as a liaison between the White House, FEMA, the Mayor of the New York and other elected officials.
Jarrod has also served as Senior Counsel to Bloomberg co-founder Thomas F. Secunda and the Secunda Family Foundation (SFF), which invests in a variety of causes including the arts, cultural institutions, national parks, and disaster response and resiliency. In that role, Jarrod was head of disaster response and recovery for Mayor Michael Bloomberg in the U.S. Virgin Islands, supervising a multimillion dollar effort to both provide direct relief to the people of the territory and senior counsel to the government of the USVI during its recovery from Hurricanes Irma and Maria.
Jarrod cherishes his role as the Assistant Chief of the Saltaire Volunteer Fire Company, and holds or has previously held a variety of leadership, advisory and board roles including at Zioness, the Jewish Community Relations Council of New York (JCRC-NY), Love City Strong (a nonprofit founded after hurricanes Irma and Maria), Johns Hopkins University Second Decade Society and Johns Hopkins University Hillel, and Urban Light (an organization fighting male sex-trafficking in Thailand). Jarrod is a member of the Bar of the Supreme Court of the United States and the Bar of the State of New York, as well as a former term member at the Council on Foreign Relations.
A New York native, Jarrod received his undergraduate education from Johns Hopkins University, his Juris Doctor from Fordham University School of Law, and a Certificate from the National Preparedness Leadership Initiative at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. He currently lives in New York City with his wife, Hildy Kuryk, son Jake, and daughter Lily.