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JCPA Insider
Volume 13, Number 14
April 19, 2010

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In This Issue
Insider Survey
Iran Initiative
Israel Advocacy Initiative
Interfaith Encounter
This Week in Washington
COEJL
Take Action
JCPA Programs

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The JCPA Needs you!  With a nationwide network of JCRCs and Federations and the strength of 14 national Jewish organizations, the JCPA is the Jewish community's most effective advocate for the issues that matter most.  Our annual Leadership Appeal campaign seeks to raise $200,000 in 2010.  We know you care about the JCPA and the work that we do on behalf of the Jewish community here, in Israel and around the world.  Your support is crucial to our success.  To make a gift to the JCPA, please click here.  If you can multiply your gift by planing a parlor meeting in your home for friends and colleagues, contact Dana Hartman, Development Associate at 212.684.6953 or dhartman@thejcpa.org.

We thank you for your generous support!


About Us

The Jewish Council for Public Affairs (JCPA) is the united voice of the organized Jewish community.

For more than sixty years, the JCPA has identified issues, formulated policy, developed strategies and programs, and given expression to a strongly united Jewish communal voice. JCPA's has an unparalleled capacity to mobilize grassroots activism, through our network of 14 national and 125 local member agencies. The JCPA serves as a catalyst that heightens community awareness, encourages civic and social involvement, and deliberates key issues of importance to the Jewish community.


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Tell Us About Insider.  The JCPA is in the process of reevaluating our e-newsletters and web presence.  But first, we want to hear from you.  Tell us what you think about Insider.  Please take this short survey.  Thank you for your input.
Iran Initiative
Iran Says to Start Work on New Enrichment Plant. Iran will start work on a new uranium enrichment nuclear plant, a senior official said on Monday, part of a big expansion of its nuclear program which has contributed to fears in the West it aims to build a bomb. Defying Western pressure to curb its sensitive nuclear work, Iran announced in November it planned to expand its enrichment activities by building 10 new sites. The announcement was condemned by the United States and its European allies. "The president has confirmed the designated location of a new nuclear site and on his order the building process will begin," Mojtaba Samareh-Hashemi, a senior adviser to President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, told the semi-official ILNA news agency. Read more from the Washington Post here.
JCPA/Jewish Federations
Israel Advocacy Initiative

Israel Celebrates 62nd Independence Day. Independence Day celebrations kick off Monday night in Israel with the lighting of beacons at the official ceremony at Mount Herzl national cemetery in Jerusalem, which also marks the conclusion of Memorial Day. The theme of this year's ceremony, for Israel's 62nd Independence day, will be Herzl's adage "If you will it, it is not a dream." People lighting the torches include retired Supreme Court Justice Dalia Dorner, who is president of the Israel Press Council, and Yossi Feldman, director general of the Society for the Preservation of Israel Heritage Sites.  Read more from Haaretz here.

A Peaceful Strategy for Palestinian Independence. Palestinians have recently been developing a peaceful multilevel strategy to achieve their national goals of a negotiated peace agreement with Israel, an end to the occupation, and the creation of a Palestinian state based on the 1967 borders. In the past, Palestinians relied first exclusively on armed struggle, then on armed struggle mixed with diplomacy, and then strictly on diplomacy disrupted by two uprisings in the occupied territories. The present Palestinian leadership, headed by President Mahmoud Abbas and the prime minister, Salam Fayyad, is committed to preventing any return to violence and continuing to seek a negotiated peace agreement. However, Palestinians are also adding a series of bottom-up tactics to augment top-down negotiations and diplomacy. This strategy is being developed in the West Bank, while Hamas continues to cling to the ideology and rhetoric of armed resistance - although there is a clear disconnect between what it says and what it does - with tragic consequences for the people of Gaza and the Palestinian national interest.  Please click here for the entire article from the Guardian. 

Interfaith Encounter
CCAR Passes Resolution on Kairos Document. On April 15, the Central Conference of American Rabbis, the rabbinic arm of the Reform Movement, adopted a resolution on the 2009 Kairos document.  "A close reading of Kairos reveals that it is anything but a document based on truth. Careful consideration of what it says and what it does not say, of the history it paints and the history it obfuscates, and of the moral yardstick it applies to Israel yet compromises in the face of Palestinian violence, reveals a morally inconsistent and theologically suspect document that speaks only part of the truth, and not always that."  To read the full resolution, click here.
This Week in Washington

This Week in Washington.  This week, Congress is in session and will continue its work on several important pieces of legislation including the Iran sanctions and DC voting rights.  President Obama will travel to New York to deliver to a major speech on financial regulation.  The Supreme Court is in session and will be hearing several cases including the Christian Legal Society v. Martinez

Religious Discrimination Case Heard by High Court.  Today, the Supreme Court heard the case of Christian Legal Society v. Martinez.  This case considers whether a public university law school may deny school funding and other benefits to a religious student organization because the group requires its officers and voting members to agree with its core religious viewpoints.  The law school, UC Hastings in San Francisco, recognizes dozens of student groups and provides them with access to funds and the use meeting space and bulletin boards.  Hastings has a policy that forbids discrimination on various grounds, including religion and sexual orientation, for student group membership. The school withdrew recognition from a chapter of the Christian Legal Society after it refused to comply with the policy.  JCPA joined coalition partners Anti-Defamation League, Human Rights Campaign, People of the American Way Foundation, American Association of University Women, and National Council of Jewish Women in filing an Amicus Brief before the Supreme Court on this case.

House of Representatives to select conferees for Iran sanctions legislation.   This week, the House will formally appoint and instruct its representatives to reconcile the House and Senate versions of the Iran sanctions legislation.  The House approved the Comprehensive Iran Sanctions, Accountability, and Divestment Act of 2009 in December.  The Senate passed a similar bill in January of this year.  The House and Senate Conferees will negotiate the legislative language of the final bill.  This final version, after being approved by the House of Representatives and the Senate, will be sent to President Obama for his signature.  To see the original House bill, click here. To see the original Senate Bill, click here.

Unemployment Insurance.  On April 15th, Congress passed a two month extension of unemployment insurance and COBRA (Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act, which provides jobless workers with health benefits). The Senate passed the bill 59-38, the House of Representatives 289-112. Unemployment insurance will be extended to June 2nd and COBRA will expire May 31st. Congress is also considering a bill that will extend both programs through the end of 2010.

DC Voting Rights.  This week the House of Representatives will consider DC Voting Rights legislation.  This bill would expand the House of Representatives by two seats giving one seat to the District of Columbia and the other to Utah, the next state to receive a seat in accordance with the reapportionment after the 2000 census.  The legislation was approved by the Senate early last year.  At the time, the Senate added a provision that would strip the DC City Council of the ability to regulate firearms in the District.

76 Senators Send Letter to Secretary Clinton regarding Israel.  The bipartisan letter, circulated by Senators Barbara Boxer and Johnny Isakson, was sent to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton calling on the Administration not to allow tensions with Israel to harm relations or the prospects of a return to Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.  To see view the full list of signatories, click here.  To read the full letter, click here. A similar letter garnered 333 signatures in the House.

Congress urges "Crippling Sanctions" against Iran.  Congress sent out a bipartisan letter last week to President Obama urging him to impose "crippling sanctions" on Iran.  The letter, which was signed by 366 members of Congress, recognizes the Administration's efforts to resolving the issue diplomatically, but also states that time is not on our side.  Similarly, the letter urges President Obama to sign and act on a bill passed overwhelmingly by both chambers that would limit the federal government's ability to do business with companies that contribute to Iran's development of petroleum resources. To see a full list of signatures, click here.  To read the full letter, click here. In the Senate, Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Senator Charles E. Schumer of New York are preparing a similar letter to send President Obama.

Financial Reform.  On Thursday, President Obama will give a speech on Wall Street reform at Cooper Union in New York City. The President is expected to highlight his expectations for a financial reform package. The Senate is expected to spend the next week debating Senator Chris Dodd's (CT-D) financial regulation bill, S. 3217.
 

COEJL
Celebrate Fortieth Anniversary of Earth Day by Joining COEJL's Jewish Energy Covenant Campaign. Forty years ago this week, activists came together to advocate for the protection of our planet. Since that first day and week, which was launched by U.S. Senator Gaylord Nelson of Wisconsin in Philadelphia and across the country, Earth Day has become an international movement. More than 1 billion people participate in Earth Day activities, making it the largest secular civic event in the world. Click here to read why Earth Day is also a Jewish holiday and here for Jewish programming around Earth Day and counting the Omer.  Upon the heels of Earth Day we are expecting the introduction of major legislation on energy and global climate change. Please join us in celebrating Earth Day and responding as Jews to the energy crisis by signing onto COEJL's Jewish Energy Covenant Campaign here.
Take Action
Ensure Child Nutrition Programs are Sufficiently Funded.  The House Education and Labor Committee is expected to mark up its version of the child nutrition reauthorization bill in the coming month. Representatives Jo Ann Emerson (R-MO) and James McGovern (D-MA) are circulating a bipartisan Dear Colleague letter to members of Congress that calls on Speaker Pelosi and the Education and Labor Committee to fund the child nutrition reauthorization bill at the original level that President Obama requested, an addition $1 billion each year over the next five years. Help is needed to garner support. Please take action by writing your Member of Congress today and ask your Representative to sign this important letter.
JCPA Programs

The JCPA is pleased to announce its 3rd annual African-American/Jewish Community Leaders Mission.  This year's Mission will be taking place in Birmingham, Alabama and will include a tour of sites made historic by the Civil Rights Movement.  It should serve as an ideal setting for community leaders to discuss the past, present, and future of race and poverty in the United States.  The mission will take place from Sunday, June 20th to Wednesday, June 23rd.  This program is open to one JCRC staff member or lay leader from your community, along with a counterpart African-American leader.  We hope that the participants will reflect a wide array of community perspectives and we invite JCRCs across the country to reach out to African-American leaders in their communities to form a delegation.  To apply for this mission, please click here and fill out the simple, one-page application.  The application must be returned to jwojciechowski@thejcpa.org by Friday, May 7.

Invitation to Attend the 2010 June Task Force and Board Meetings

Sunday June 6 & Monday June 7, 2010


UJA Federation of New York
130 East 59th Street
New York, NY 10022
 
Click Here to Register for the Meetings!

Join us for the 2010 June Task Force and Board of Directors meetings.  The JCPA is excited to convene friends and professionals from the community relations umbrella to hear from experts on issues important to the JCPA field and Jewish community at large.  Be sure to join us on Monday, June 7 to hear from Gerrald (Jerry) Silverman, Jewish Federations of North America (JFNA)'s newly named President and Chief Executive Officer.  Jerry will share with us his vision for the JFNA, the Federation system, and how Federations can continue a strong, mutually beneficial relationship with the CRC field.  CRC professionals are encouraged to attend Monday's Board meeting.  Click Here to read Jerry's full bio.

Hotel Reservations

A limited block of hotel rooms is available at the Radisson Lexington Hotel, 511 Lexington Avenue, New York (at 48th Street).  Rates are $169, single/double occupancy for Saturday, June 5th and $129 single/double occupancy for Sunday, June 6th.  For reservations, please call (212) 755-4400 or (800) 333-3333 and ask for the "Jewish Council for Public Affairs" room block. 

The reservation deadline is Friday May 7 - after that date all rooms will be released for general sale, and reservations will be based on availability.  If you plan to arrive early, we suggest that you request an early check in or give your arrival time to the hotel.

Contribute to JCPA

The JCPA Needs you!  With a nationwide network of JCRCs and Federations and the strength of 14 national Jewish organizations, the JCPA is the Jewish community's most effective advocate for the issues that matter most.  Our annual Leadership Appeal campaign seeks to raise $200,000 in 2010.  We know you care about the JCPA and the work that we do on behalf of the Jewish community here, in Israel and around the world.  Your support is crucial to our success.  To make a gift to the JCPA, please click here.  If you can multiply your gift by planing a parlor meeting in your home for friends and colleagues, contact Dana Hartman, Development Associate at 212.684.6953 or dhartman@thejcpa.org.

We thank you for your generous support!

Contribute Now!

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