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JCPA Insider
Volume 13, Number 36
September 20, 2010

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In This Issue
Iran Initiative
Israel Advocacy Initiative
Civility Campaign
This Week in Washington
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 an effective advocate for the issues that matter.  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.  For more information, contact Max Mulcahy at 212.684.9815 or mmulcahy@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.

Our Supporters

Iran Initiative
Iranian Human Rights Activist Sentenced to Six Years in Prison.  Shiva Nazar Ahari, 26, was sentenced to six years in Iranian prison for protesting last year's presidential elections in the country.  "She was convicted of gathering and plotting to commit crime (against the state), propaganda against the establishment and 'moharebe' or waging war against God… In addition to the jail term she has to pay a $400 fine as an alternative punishment to 74 lashes."  To read the complete article from Reuters, click here.

Secretary of State Clinton: U.S. is Committed to Iran Sanctions.  In an interview, Secretary of State Hilary Clinton reiterated the U.S. commitment to implementing comprehensive Iran sanctions, while providing Iran with the opportunity for engagement.  Clinton stated "that increased U.S. sanctions on Iran are affecting the state more deeply than its leaders have allowed…the information we're getting is that the Iranian regime is quite worried about the impact on their banking system, on their economic growth because they've already encountered some tough times."  To read the complete article from The Hill, click here. For a list of things that you can do to prevent a nuclear armed Iran, click here.
JCPA/Jewish Federations
Israel Advocacy Initiative
Eight U.S. Colleges Join in Promoting Israel for Study Abroad Programs.  Masa Israel Journey will provide $400,000 in grants to eight American universities in order to make Israel a more lucrative destination for study abroad programs. "Avi Rubel, director of Masa's North American operations, said that it was too early to know how many students would participate in the new programs, but that he hoped to propel Israel into the top 15 study-abroad destinations in the coming years."  To read the complete article from the Chronicle of Higher Education, click here.

Why Israelis Care About Peace. In response to a Time magazine report, titled "Why Israel Doesn't Care About Peace," Ambassador Michael Oren writes, "Imagine that you're a parent who sends her children off to school in the morning worrying whether their bus will become a target of suicide bombers. Imagine that, instead of going off to college, your children become soldiers at age 18, serve for three years and remain in the active reserves into their 40s…Picture all of that and you'll begin to understand what it is to be an Israeli. And you'll know why all Israelis desperately want peace."  To read the complete op-ed in the LA Times, click here

Campaigns to Hurt Israeli Economy Really Hurt Middle East Peace.  The movement to delegitimize Israel through boycotts, divestment and sanctions does not share the international pursuit of a peaceful solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. "Those who are truly interested in working toward peace might find a better home with the many organizations committed to peace and understanding between Jews and Arabs in a part of the world needing more cooperation, not less."  To read the complete op-ed in Christian Science Monitor, click here
Civility campaign
JCPA Launches New Civility Website. The JCPA Civility Campaign was launched in February 2010. Building on a resolution adopted at the JCPA Plenum, the campaign calls for Jewish institutions and leaders to engender mutual respect, shared listening, and learning, and to become powerful bridge builders who can assist our people to navigate sensitive community relations challenges. The campaign's Civility Resources website is now online. The site content includes articles, resources, study materials, and best practices on civility.  We invite you to view the site at http://www.jewishpublicaffairs.org/Civility
New York Faith Leaders Call for Civility.
Last week, the Christian, Jewish, and Muslim leaders in New York City released a joint statement decrying religious bias and calling for civil conversations about contentious issues such as the building of the proposed Islamic Center downtown. Joining the statement were Catholic Archbishop Timothy Dolan and Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio, Rev. AR Bernard of the Council of Churches, Rabbis Joseph Potasnik and Yaakov Kermaier from the New York Board of Rabbis, and Imams Shamsi Ali and Izak-EL M. Pasha. The leaders shared their concerns about the issue's divisiveness: "All of us must ensure that our conversations on this matter remain civil, that our approaches to each other are marked with respect, and that our hearts stay free of bitterness." They called for "a new and deeper understanding among us all."   The statement is available here.

Cover Story on San Francisco Year of Civil Discourse.
J, the San Francisco Jewish weekly, touted the San Francisco JCRC's broad program, which has already produced a statement by 140 Rabbis and conducted workshops that have helped area agencies address contentious issues. The initiative also sets up the Rabbis' Circle, which will provide programs for clergy on how to lead discussions about Israel, and intensive work with select institutions that promote respect between those with opposing viewpoints.  You can view the article here.
This Week in Washington

This Week in Washington. Congress is in session this week where the Senate is expected to begin debate over the Don't Ask, Don't Tell repeal included in the Defense Department Reauthorization bill.  The President is in Washington this week.  

Defense Authorization Bill.  This week, the Senate will begin consideration of the Defense Department Reauthorization bill.  This legislation includes a provision that would repeal the military's "Don't Ask, Don't Policy" and allow gay and lesbian service members to serve in the military openly.  At the 2010 JCPA Plenum in Dallas, JCPA formally called for the repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell.

Additionally, Senator Reid announced that the Dream Act will be offered as an amendment to the Defense Department legislation.  The Dream Act would provide a pathway to citizenship for undocumented children that were brought to the United States when they were young, but have since graduated from high school and committed to attending college or serving in the military. 

The House of Representatives adopted its version of the Defense Authorization bill earlier this year. 

Poverty Statistics. 
On September 16th the Census Bureau released their 2009 poverty statistics, finding that the number of Americans living in poverty has risen to 43.6 million, from 39.8 million in 2008. The number of people living in poverty in 2009 is the highest in the 51 year. In addition child poverty rose to 2009 to 20.7% (compared to 19% in 2008).

The report also finds that the number of people without health insurance coverage rose from 46.3 million in 2008 to 50.7 million in 2009. In large part, this increase can be attributed to people losing employer-provided health insurance during the recession. To read the full report please go here.

Child Nutrition.  Congress has less than two weeks to improve and pass a child nutrition bill before the programs expire September 30th. The Senate passed their version of the bill at the beginning of August. While the Senate bill made significant improvements to nutritional quality, more could be done to provide low-income children can access the programs.  In addition, part of the bill was paid for with future benefit cuts to SNAP (previously known as food stamps) participants.

The House is now considering their version of the bill, Improving Nutrition for America's Children Act (H.R. 5502). As the days become numbered the JCPA and other advocates are encouraging the House to bring their version of the bill to the floor for a vote. Representatives should support increased access to programs and support a bill that doesn't make cuts to SNAP.

The JCPA is urging you to call your Representative this week. Please see our action alert here. If you would like to get more involved with this bill, please contact Elyssa Koidin (ekoidin@thejcpa.org).

In light of these startling statistics, the JCPA released a press statement.  The JCPA is encouraging local CRCs and individuals to take action against poverty through our October Fighting Poverty with Faith mobilization. For more information please contact the Fighting Poverty with Faith Website.

Conference Call on Healthcare With President Obama. Join President Obama and faith leaders, including JCPA President Rabbi Steve Gutow, for a conference call to discuss key new benefits under the Affordable Care Act.  President Obama will speak about how consumers and communities are already benefiting from the new law. HHS officials will provide an update on how the Affordable Care Act is being implemented, highlight new outreach resources, and answer questions from community and faith leaders. Community and faith leaders will also share their efforts to bring the benefits of health care reform home to communities.

Date: Tuesday, September 21, 2010
Time: 4PM Eastern, 3PM Central, 2PM Mountain, 1PM Pacific

Dial in information:
For those with internet access, please join the call online at: http://hhs.granicus.com/live
For those without internet access, please dial: 1-888-455-6860 or 1-866-844-9416

The Blown-out BP well Pronounced Dead on Yom Kippur. While the holiday of Yom Kippur was being observed by Jews around the globe this past Saturday, the cement injected into the bottom of BP's blown-out well in the Gulf of Mexico was being pressure tested. U.S. officials formally declared an end to the worst oil spill in U.S. history on Sunday, a milestone that followed nearly five months of dashed hopes and blistering criticism of BP leadership and many others involved. The disaster began April 20, when an explosion killed 11 workers and sank the drilling rig leading to the oil spill, and environmental and economic devastation. (CNN)

Shabbat Noach Flooded with Programs and Resources. October 7th Webinar: "The Story of Noah and its Relationship to Climate Change." October 7th at 10:30 AM EST. (Check www.coejl.org soon for more details.) By focusing on the Torah portion and story of Noah as a parable, we will seek to reach out to Jews about how we can be active as a community in responding to climate change by having an engaging discussion on the issues with experts on climate policy and science, as well as Jewish life. Shabbat Noach Resource Guide. COEJL has compiled a resource guide around Shabbat Noach with information from a network of leading Jewish environmental organizations including: Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, Canfei Nesharim, Hazon, the Shalom Center, and the Jewish Reconstructionist Federation. (Visit the resource page here.). Learn more and share it with your community.

October 10th Global Day of Action! Pitch in as COEJL and Hazon team up with StopOil! and 350.org to paint school roofs in Harlem. White rooftops reflect more sunlight than black rooftops do, reducing roof temperatures by 60 degrees and indoor temperatures by 10 to 20 degrees. This saves the need for energy-wasting air-conditioning. Mayor Bloomberg jumpstarted the "NYC Cool Roofs" program in 2009, in order to help NYC achieve its goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 30% by 2030. Join a day of climate change action, education, and community-building. Write to climate@hazon.org to rsvp or receive more details.
JCPA Programs

JCPA is lining up a roster of top speakers on the most important and timely issues for the Jewish community.  

Click here to Register for the October Meetings

JCPA Board of Directors Meeting - Monday, November 1

Join us for JCPA's Board of Directors meeting.  JCPA will cover a variety of topics important to the Jewish community including a panel discussion Muslim-Jewish Relations and U.S. policy with the Muslim world.  JCPA will also host a segment about Israel's approach to peace negotiations with Palestinian leaders as well as how Israel plans to meet the challenges it faces from radical regimes.  

JCPA Task Force Meetings - Sunday, October 31

Jewish Security & The Bill of Rights

The JSBOR task force will look at issues pursued by the rising Tea Party Movement.  Additionally, members of the JSBOR and Israel, World Jewry, and International Human Rights task force will hear from Rev. Dr. William Harter of Presbyterians Concerned For Jewish Christian Relations on the upcoming Presbyterian General Assembly.

Equal Opportunity & Social Justice
Scheduled to speak at a session on senior poverty issues is William Rapfogel, CEO of Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty.  The EOSJ task force will continue discussions on paid sick leave, immigration reforms, and energy policy.  Task force members will also hear from Jan Resseger with the United Church of Christ who will also focus on education reform policy and join the JSBOR task force on Tea Party Movement

Israel, World Jewry & International Human Rights

The IWJIHR task force will be exploring many issues including Iran and Middle East Peace, issues related to Israeli minorities, and countering the campaign to delegitimize Israel.  Task Force members will hear from Stephen Kuperberg of the Israel on Campus Coalition about Israel advocacy on U.S. campuses.

Date & Location
Sunday, October 31 & Monday, November 1, 2010

UJA Federation of New York
130 East 59th Street
New York, NY 10022

Click here to Register for the October Meetings

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 an effective advocate for the issues that matter. 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.  For more information, contact Max Mulcahy at 212.684.9815 or mmulcahy@thejcpa.org.

We thank you for your generous support!

Contribute Now!

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