From TimesOfIsrael.com (cited below)
An Orthodox Jewish woman whose parents were among the hostages
rescued by Israeli commandos from Entebbe Airport has been tapped to head
the United States National Security Agency's new Cybersecurity Directorate.
Anne/Chani Neuberger, currently of Baltimore, has worked at the
NSA for the past decade. She helped establish the US Cyber Command and
worked as chief risk officer, where she led the agency's election security
efforts for the 2018 midterms.
Neuberger said her family's harrowing escapes, first from the Holocaust
and then from the hostage situation in Uganda after the Air France flight
her parents were on was hijacked by Palestinian terrorists in 1976, had
helped shape her worldview. Though her parents are not Israeli, they were
held by the hijackers for a week along with Israeli passengers because
they were Jewish.
"My parents had American passports, but because my father wore a
kippah they knew he was Jewish and decided to keep him, too," she
told the Forward in an interview. In Yiddish he told my mom to go, but
she refused. The famous Israeli military operation brought my parents
"Sometimes the military is the only option," Neuberger continued.
"Threats from those that want to cause us harm are real and not going
away. We have a commitment to defending our nation in lawful ways. Our
nation needs to remain vigilant when it comes to cybersecurity. The NSA
makes critical contributions to protect the USA," she said.
Neuberger, currently an assistant deputy director at the agency, will
be one of the highest-ranking women at the NSA since Ann Caracristi was
named deputy director in 1980, according to the Wall Street Journal. Neuberger
will report to the agency's head, Gen. Paul Nakasone.
She previously was the deputy chief management officer at the US Navy
and worked for the secretary of defense.
Neuberger, 43, also known as Chani, is from the heavily Jewish Brooklyn,
New York, neighborhood of Borough Park. She spoke Yiddish at home and
attended the Bais Yaakov Jewish day school for girls, according to the
Yeshiva World News, where half the day was devoted to religious instruction.
Subsequently, she graduated from Touro College in New York and Columbia
Business School, and has worked in the White House Fellows program. One
the side, she runs a charitable organization, called "Sister to Sister,"
which helps divorced single mothers in the Orthodox communities.
She married an Orthodox man, a lawyer, whom she met on a parent-arranged
date, she told NPR in a 2015 interview. They eat only kosher food. Neuberger
leaves the NSA every Friday in time to observe the Jewish Sabbath, before
sunset. She remains close to her religious communities.
From the Forward (cited below):
The 9/11 terrorist attacks were a turning point for Neuberger, informing
her long-term ambition to move into government and away from the family
business. She understood the potential roadblocks she faced as a married
woman who at that time was pregnant with her first child.
Neuberger is well versed in the business world, having worked for many
years in her family's companies in an array of financial and online capacities.
In fact, she was told this was a main factor in the Department of Defense
choosing her over many other applicants.
She admits she's constantly straddling the line between concerns over
national security on the one hand and civil liberty violations on the
other. It's an issue that has resonance for Neuberger. Given her family
history, she sees both sides of this complex netherworld all too vividly.
To this day her father fears authority figures, even cops who pull him
over for minor traffic infractions. She says it's a consequence of his
experiences growing up in communist Hungary; in the 1950s, he arrived
in the States as a refugee.
All of Neuberger's grandparents are Auschwitz survivors. Seven of her
eight great-grandparents did not make it out. The one who survived (a
great-grandfather) jumped off a train carrying him to the death camp,
she said, adding that her whole family was part of the mass deportation
of Hungarian Jews in 1944.
Neuberger's family is wealthy and philanthropic. When her uncle Michael
Karfunkel died in 2017, the Forward described him and his brother, George
Karfunkel (Neuberger's father), as billionaires. They are among the 100
wealthiest families in America yet virtually unknown outside the Orthodox
community. Members of Neuberger's family have doled out hundreds of millions
of dollars in grants through their foundations (one is named in honor
of her and her husband, Yehuda Neuberger) to, most pointedly, their favored
religious and educational institutions within their community.
Neuberger said that she had encountered few problems related to her
religion at the NSA and that she was extremely happy to be seen as a role
model for Orthodox women. She admits that early on, the holidays she celebrated
and the kosher food she ate were alien to her colleagues, but she came
to understand that if you are professional in your job and comfortable
in adhering to your traditions, everyone will be fine with it.
"All my coworkers understand that I don't go out with them for drinks
on Friday night and that I observe the Sabbath. In fact, I have assistants
who keep their eye on the clock for me Friday afternoons, letting me know
that I had better get moving."
From an NPR interview (cited below):
Neuberger insists that religious practices like hers can actually be
helpful in dealing with workplace challenges. "The discipline and
rigor, the restrictions on what one can eat, the restrictions on how one
behaves, I hope I bring that in values, living true to one's values, trying
to bring that integrity into the way you approach your job each day and
how you interact with people, every single day," she says.
Neuberger's point: Her professional achievements have come not in spite
of her faith. They've come because of it.
SOURCES: Compiled and adapted by Yerachmiel Tilles (managing editor of
An article on her new appointment on Times
A detailed interview from 2018 in the Jewish
A detailed interview from 2015 on NPR
(National Public Radio);
A first person article she wrote in 2012 for Jewish