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Volume 13, Number 48
December 13, 2010

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In This Issue
Iran Initiative
Israel Advocacy Initiative
Civility Campaign
This Week in Washington
COEJL
JCPA Programs

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About JCPA

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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
Ahmadinejad Abruptly Fires Iranian Foreign Minister.  Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad abruptly fired Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki, without any explanation.  “The fired diplomat, Manouchehr Mottaki, is seen as close to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. And the president may be aiming to install a figure more personally loyal to himself as Tehran resumes critical talks with world powers over the nuclear program that has brought four rounds of U.N. sanctions on Iran.”  To read the complete story from the Associated Press click here.

Take Action Against Iranian Human Rights Abuses. On December 20th, the United Nations General Assembly will vote on a resolution to demand action on the horrendous human rights abuses currently being perpetrated by the Islamic Republic of Iran.  Iran180 is starting a critical petition drive in support of this resolution which they will deliver to the UN. You can find the petition online at www.iran180.org. Please make a point of adding your name to this essential effort, and be sure to share it with all of your friends.
JCPA/Jewish Federations
Israel Advocacy Initiative
Netanyahu Welcomes Talks on Core Issues.  Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu welcomed a recent announcement from Secretary of State Clinton that the U.S. will push for both parties to address core issues.  “Netanyahu cited issues such as his demand that Palestinians recognize Israel as a Jewish state, security arrangements and the future of Palestinian refugees.”  To read the complete story from Haaretz click here.

Israeli Invention Featured on National Television.  The hit TV show Glee recently featured an Israeli invention that helps paralyzed individuals walk.  The device, called ReWalk, helped the show's wheel-chair bound character, Artie, stand on his own two feet.  To see the video clip from Glee click here.  To read more about ReWalk in Newsweek click here.
Civility campaign
View “Toward Civility: A Community Conversation.” The November 1 panel moderated by Noam Neusner is now on Shalom TV’s website. Nationally recognized Jewish leaders discussed what the Jewish community should be doing to encourage civil and reasonable dialogue about the issues most important to the Jewish community. Panelists included: Blu Greenberg, Louise Greilsheimer, Rabbi Steve Gutow, Rabbi Doug Kahn, Geoffrey Lewis, Jane Schiff, Dr. Carl Sheingold, Rabbi Joseph Telushkin, and Rabbi Melissa Weintraub. The panel was moderated by Noam Neusner and chaired by Robert Siskin. You can view the video here

“Don’t Treat Conservatives like Apostates.”
Noam Neusner discusses the importance of community-wide civil dialogues and debates about public policy issues in an article published in The Jewish Daily Forward. Neusner writes that while the Jewish community tolerates religious observance diversity, it is much less accepting of differences in political opinions. This mindset towards politics, Neusner claims, “doesn’t leave much room for Jews who arrive at opposite conclusions on public policy questions.” In his call for civil discussions, Neusner maintains that civility is not only “hushed voices and respectful listening,” but also creates “a simple expectation that whatever divides us for a moment of time, we are ultimately all Jews, and have to treat each other as Jews, and not apostates.” You can view the article here.
This Week in Washington

This Week in Washington.  This week, Congress continues the “lame duck” session, the President is in Washington, and the Supreme Court is in session but not hearing oral argument. 


Child Nutrition. Today the President signed the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 into law. The JCPA was among a handful of organizations and advocates represented at a ceremony held at a local DC elementary school. First Lady Michelle Obama attended the signing ceremony and gave a speech discussing her involvement in the bill and her hope to put an end to childhood hunger. Also in attendance were Secretary of Agriculture Vilsack, Secretary of Health and Human Services Sebelius, Secretary of Education Duncan, Members of Congress including Speaker Nancy Pelosi, local school children, and faith and anti-hunger advocates.  At the bill signing President Obama committed to working with Congress to restore the SNAP (formerly known as food stamps) funds that were used to pay for the child nutrition reauthorization bill. The JCPA sent this letter to Congress this afternoon, asking for the House and the Senate to restore the SNAP cuts before the end of the year.

DREAM Act.  The Senate is expected to vote on the DREAM Act later this week following the bill’s passage in the House last Wednesday. The DREAM Act puts children of undocumented immigrants, brought into the country before the age of 16, and who go to college or join the military, onto a path to citizenship.    To urge your Senator to vote for this bill which rewards the hard work of our young immigrants, click here.

Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.  A procedural vote to begin debate on the Defense Reauthorization Bill, including a repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”, failed in the Senate late last week by a vote of 57-40.  In September, the Defense Reauthorization bill and repeal of the law banning gays from openly serving in the military, failed a similar vote.  However, proponents of the repeal remain optimistic.  Senators Joe Lieberman (I-CT) and Susan Collins (R-ME) have introduced a stand alone bill to end “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”, though no date for a vote is set yet.  

COEJL

Cancun Improves on Copenhagen. International negotiations on climate change concluded in Cancun, Mexico late Friday night with an agreement reached and a standing ovation by all delegates except that of Bolivia. The Cancun Agreements commit all major economies to greenhouse gas emission cuts and launch a fund to help vulnerable countries while sidestepping heavier political commitments like the future of the Kyoto Protocol, which creates specific targets for greenhouse gas emission reductions.  Contrary to the big disappointment at last year’s Copenhagen conference, countries agreed for the first time in U.N. history to keep temperature rise below two degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, acknowledging that the emission cut pledges that America, China, and others made previously are just a start. The new Green Climate Fund will seek to raise $100 billion per year through 2020 for measures to help the world’s poor adapt to climate change, protect forests, and share clean technologies. While a step in the right direction, many expressed concern that the conference didn’t go far enough and much remains to be seen in terms of implementation and securing future goals.  In Reuters, COEJL Campaign Committee member David Waskow of Oxfam called for an increase in financial support for climate adaptation, stating, “There are going to have to be many tough choices made. We need, in the near term, to build communities to face the climate changes.” Recently, COEJL Governance Committee member, Rabbi David Saperstein chimed in on the issue signing an open letter to President Obama calling for the United States to meet its commitment to reduce the impacts of climate change on the poorest and most vulnerable communities at home and abroad.


Jews on Cancun.
Here are some recent Jewish environmental articles related to the Cancun conference and otherwise :  COEJL Director Sybil Sanchez wrote about conservation in the Jewish Exponent:  “Turn Up the Heat, and Support Land and Water Conservation”; Rabbi Warren Stone wrote in his blog, Greening Reform Judaism: “Remembering Kiribati - the World's First Climate Victim”; Mirele Goldsmith published a Jewish Week article “Women and Climate Change: What You Don’t Know”; Green Prophet conducted an interview with an Israeli delegate to Cancun; and, the Green Zionist Alliance posted reports from their joint GZA/KKL/JNF delegate to Cancun.

JCPA Programs

2011 JCPA Plenum Registration is now OPEN
Destination Justice: Framing the Future for America and for Israel
Visit www.jcpaplenum.org to register at the early Plenum rate.

Rabbi David Saperstein, Director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, will speak at a plenary session on energy security.   This plenary will examine the importance of green energy and how breaking our addition to Middle East oil benefits U.S. national security and security for the state of Israel.  Rabbi Saperstein will address this issue through the lens of Jewish values and discuss how the faith community has been at the heart the renewable energy movement.

Dr. Michael B. Oren, Ambassador of Israel to the United will provide his insights into building a strong US-Israel relationship.  JCPA member agencies are on the front lines of the battle over the hearts and minds of Americans in communities across the country. Plenum delegates will be challenged to advocate in the year ahead on an array of vitally important issues, including efforts to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons and the Israeli-Palestinian peace process.


JCPA also plans to offer sessions on:

•    The labor movement
•    Education reform
•    Civility in our national political dialogue
•    Countering the delegitimization of Israel campaign
•    Preventing a nuclear-armed Iran
•    …and much more.  
Remember to keep checking the website for updates on topics and confirmed speakers.

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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