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JCPA E-Update


Dear JCPA Board Members,

With all the political tumult and policy challenges, 2017 was, well, an interesting year for JCPA and its network. But it’s also been a banner year for the organization as it continues to go through an important strategic shift. 

We couldn’t be more excited by what’s to come:

  • African American-Jewish Relations and Criminal Justice Reform- JCPA recently received a major matching grant for our work in African American-Jewish relations and criminal justice reform. We are actively hiring a specialist who will begin in early 2018. We believe that by building strong ties to national African American leaders, particularly a younger generation of emerging figures, and in partnering with local JCRCs, we can move the needle on both a critical relationship and a critical issue. We prepared and launched our criminal justice toolkit, which has been very well received in both the Jewish and larger Civil Rights community. If you haven’t reviewed it yet, please click here. JCPA lay leadership also held high level meetings with leaders of national African American organizations during a trip to DC.
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  • JCRC Leadership Institute- JCPA instituted a new training program for JCRCs around the country, which provides vital onboarding support, training materials and strategic planning guidance for the many new JCRCs professionals. We have produced a JCRC Starter Kit for new directors and other professional materials for the field. JCPA held a three-part virtual retreat for Board chairs this Fall, which was attended by more than 40 communities. This retreat serves as a model for how we will develop lay leadership and professional staff in the future. Indeed, there are more than 10 JCRCs coming into existence, and they require our support. Please see this article David co-wrote with Doug Kahn published recently in eJewish Philanthropy.
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  • Blue Ribbon Task Force on Community Relations- JCPA, in collaboration with the JFNA, has assembled a very high level Blue Ribbon Task Force on Community Relations with heavy hitters, both lay and staff, in the Federation and JCRC worlds. It will meet for the next six months and issue recommendations late Spring 2018. The Task Force understands that today’s world requires Jewish communities to be externally leveraged. More to come.
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  • Public Policy Advocacy- This year has brought numerous policy challenges. JCPA drafted and initiated two letters with dozens of signatories. The first letter calls upon Congress to pass the the Dream Act, which creates a pathway of success and eventual citizenship for those who came to the country as kids. The second calls upon policy makers to oppose efforts to weaken the Johnson Amendment, which prevents faith based institutions from getting involved in electioneering. JCPA also played a leading role in advocating against cuts to Medicaid by developing and distributing action alerts, petitions, and organizing hills visits. Such efforts work to ensure that Medicaid cuts would not harm seniors, service providers (including Jewish institutions,) and the most vulnerable in our society.
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  • JCPA Israel Mission- Twenty-nine people participated in our week-long mission to Israel, which included high level meetings with Knesset members, the prime minister’s office, faith leaders, and Palestinians. We took the temperature on peace efforts, explored issues such as asylum-seekers, egalitarian prayer, gender representation in government, and much more.  This trip helps us guide the field in providing nuanced advocacy for Israel.
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  • JCPA Frank Fellowship- Our JCPA Frank Family Leadership Institute received a record number of applications, allowing us to select 13 new Frank Fellows, our largest cohort yet. They have participated in monthly educational webinars, and have just returned from participating in a mission to Poland and the JCPA Leadership Mission to Israel. They will continue to with monthly trainings and a special track at JCPA2018.
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  • Governance Change- The JCPA Board of Directors overwhelmingly approved a new governance structure that revises the role and size of the Board of Directors and its Executive Board. It also creates a Delegates Assembly that will be the main deliberative body on domestic and international policy priorities.
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  • Educational Webinars- Technology is providing new avenues for doing our work. We have held nearly 40 webcasts with our field in the past three months alone. This has allowed us to organize people in new and creative ways, highlight best practices in the field, provide online education and training, and position JCPA as a vital network hub. For example, our CRCast has been watched live by thousands of people, and more view the program online. We have a new season that will begin in January. Click here to watch.   Our educational programs include a five-part web-based series examining the future of a two-state outcome and settlements, and a four-part series beginning in January to educate our field on Muslim-Jewish Relations. And of course, we continue to hold special webinars and calls as the need arises.

We hope you are enjoying our JCPA Update, and encourage you to read it to keep apprised on our work and opportunities for engagement.  We can’t wait to share more successes with you in the New Year, and look forward to seeing you at JCPA2018 in April! As always we welcome your feedback.
 
Best Wishes for a Happy New Year,

Cheryl Fishbein
JCPA Chair
David Bernstein
JCPA President and CEO


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