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JCPA Insider
Volume 14, Number 03
January 18, 2011

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In This Issue
Insider Says Goodbye
Iran Initiative
Israel Advocacy Initiative
Civility Campaign
This Week in Washington
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.  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 Andi Milens at 212.684.7044 or amilens@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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Insider Says Goodbye

“Insider” Says Goodbye.  This will be our final issue of the Insider.  Through over 14 volumes, the JCPA has been proud to share with you the latest news and updates from New York, Washington, Israel, and our communities and members.  But just as we are always looking for the best ways to advance the goals of the Jewish community, so are we looking for the best ways to share that news.  Next week, you will begin to receive “JCPActs”, the first of our 2 new newsletters that will replace “Insider.”

In weekly articles on the events of the day, JCPActs will focus on the work of the JCPA and our responses to the most pressing events in our community with links for readers to join in the action.  In the “Happening Now” section we’ll share the news and resources that we’re following to prepare you and us for the events ahead, and in “In the News,” you can read our latest statements and reporting of our work from local and national papers. This format is designed to let you know about what we are working on and just as importantly, how you can get involved.  In March we will launch “Connects,” our second newsletter which will focus on the amazing work happening at the local level by Community Relations Councils throughout the country.  You can catch a preview of JCPActs here. If you have any questions, please feel free to e-mail us at jcpainfo@thejcpa.org

Iran Initiative
Who’s Behind the Stuxnet Worm? Over the weekend, the New York Times reported that the Stuxnet worm, which caused complications to Iran’s nuclear program, was an American-Israeli  collaboration.  “Over the past two years, according to intelligence and military experts familiar with its operations, Dimona has taken on a new, equally secret role — as a critical testing ground in a joint American and Israeli effort to undermine Iran’s efforts to make a bomb of its own.” Not everyone agrees with their assessment.  Jeffrey Carr, at Forbes, stated that “unfortunately for their millions of readers, they provided almost no verifiable evidence to back up their claims, and even worse, excluded evidence that didn’t support their theory."  To read the New York Times story click here.  To read the response in Forbes click here.

Iran on an Execution Binge.  The International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran stated that “Iranian authorities have unleashed an ‘execution binge’ with an average rate of one person hanged every eight hours since the beginning of the year…A statement by the New York-based group said at least 47 prisoners have been hanged since Jan. 1, including a reported Kurdish activist accused of fighting against the state.”  To read the complete article from the Associated Press click here.
JCPA/Jewish Federations
Israel Advocacy Initiative
Egyptian Scientist Calls for Collaboration. An Egyptian scientist who conducted research in Israel believes in encouraging his colleagues to separate politics and science, and give Israel a try.  “When Dr. Ahmed Moustafa announced his intention to conduct medical research in Israel during the summer of 2008, his family feared for his life and his friends feared for his sanity.” Moustafa explains that “for many in Egypt, setting foot in Israel is unthinkable. But the Palestinian professors whom I consulted did not voice such criticism; they encouraged me to visit Israel.”  To read Moustafa’s complete story from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs click here.

Ehud Barak Creates New Knesset Party. 
“Israel’s defense minister, Ehud Barak, broke away Monday from the left-leaning Labor Party he had led and formed a smaller centrist faction that will stay in the governing coalition under a new name. The surprise move shook up Israeli politics but was expected to have little impact on its policies.”  To read the complete story in the New York Times click here.

Chicago JCRC Writes to Secretary Clinton and Congressional Leaders.  The Jewish United Fund/Jewish Federation of Metropolitan JCRC sent a letter to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and to the Illinois congressional delegation urging the US to veto a UN Security Council resolution initiated by the Palestinians, calling it "counter-productive and detrimental to a resumption of peace talks."   To read the letter click here.
Civility campaign
Orthodox Union Adopts Resolution on Civility.   The Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of American adopted a resolution on civility this weekend at their annual convention. The resolution notes that public debate has been “cheapened by the polarization, demonization, half truths and raised voices that all  too often characterize contemporary public discourse.”  The resolution calls for the OU to continue to educate about the “paramount importance of civility in public and communal discourse; to set an example for others by eschewing language that polarizes;” and to publicize the JCPA Civility Campaign.   The resolution was adopted at the OU’s 112th anniversary convention in New Jersey.  Resolutions were also adopted on a range of other topics including Bullying, Boycotts, Divestment and Sanctions, and Social Justice.  The resolutions can be viewed here.

Rabbi Steve Gutow discusses Arizona Tragedy on Fox News. JCPA President Rabbi Steve Gutow appeared on Fox News on January 10 to address the tragic shooting in Arizona.  Calling the shootings “a tragedy for all the people that were killed or injured,” and “any kind of religious bias…a horror,” Rabbi Gutow highlighted one of the JCPA’s key initiatives: “to create a more civil culture.”  “When we see things like this, we know we have to stand up and say ‘It’s not okay.’”
You can view the video here.
To view and sign the JCPA’s Statement on Civility click here.

Rabbi Steve Gutow among religious leaders calling for civility after Arizona Shootings. On January 13, Rabbi Steve Gutow joined 49 other Jewish, Christian, and Muslim leaders in an open letter to Congress in light of the Arizona tragedy. The letter noted, “This tragedy has spurred a sorely needed time of soul searching and national public dialogue about violent and vitriolic political rhetoric. We strongly support this reflection, as we are deeply troubled that rancor, threats and incivility have become commonplace in our public debates.” The letter was quoted in Virtual Jerusalem and other news sites.  
You can view the article here.
You can view the full letter with a list of signatories here.
This Week in Washington
This Week in Washington. The House returns to normal legislative business this week.  The first major vote of the 112th Congress, repeal of last year’s health care reform, is expected on Wednesday. The Senate is still in recess this week. The President is in Washington this week where he will be meeting with Chinese President Hu. The White House is also preparing for the new Chief of Staff, William Daley, who will be taking over for interim Chief of Staff Pete Rouse in the coming weeks.  The Supreme Court is in session this week and is hearing oral argument.  

Child Nutrition. On January 13th, the U.S. Department of Agriculture released a proposed rule that will update the nutrition standards for meals served through the National School Lunch and School Breakfast programs. These changes are being made as part of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010, signed into law by President Obama in December. The new proposed meal requirements will raise standards for the first time in fifteen years.  Each child that participates in these nutrition programs will be offered fruits, vegetables, whole grains, fat-free and low-fat milk. More than 32 million children participate in school meal programs every day.
The full text of the rule can be found here. For an example of how the proposed nutrition standards could change school meals, go here.

Jobs. The faith community, lead by the JCPA, sent a letter to Congress today reflecting Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King’s commitment to economic justice and good jobs. Along with the letter was a Statement of Principles on the focus and criteria future jobs legislation in the 112th Congress should fulfill.

Poverty. Representative Pete Stark (CA-13) is circulating a “Dear Colleague” letter to the President, Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Director Jacob Lew, and the Chairman and Ranking Member of the House Budget Committee concentrating on balancing the deficit while still protecting anti-poverty programs, especially those affecting children. The JCPA signed on to this letter as a national organization. We urge you to reach out to your Representative and urge him or her to sign on to this letter. A copy of the letter can be found here.
Eco-Farming In Israel – Applications Due. Do you know any young people who care about the environment?  Eco-Israel offers English-speaking young adults, ages 18-30, the opportunity to explore environmental issues while living 5 months on an organic farm in central Israel through intensive hands-on course work and experience.  We still have spots left for the upcoming Spring semester which begins February 21st.  If you know someone let them know today before they miss out on this great opportunity.  Applications for the Spring semester must be in by February 1, 2011.  Details are on the Eco-Israel website here.

New Jewish Environmentalist Video up for Jewcology.
Jewish environmentalists from around the world, including COEJL Director Sybil Sanchez, share their commitment to the environment, and how Jewcology.com is supporting their efforts. To watch the video, click here.
JCPA Programs
Micro-Matching Grants.  Is your JCRC looking for additional resources for your poverty programs?  Does your JCRC have a great idea for a new poverty-related program? Apply for a 2011 Micro-Matching grant. Download the application here. Micro-Matching grants provide communities with up to $3,500 for anti-poverty programming and advocacy.  They are a program of the JCPA's Confronting Poverty campaign, which addresses Jewish community engagement in anti-poverty service, activism and advocacy.  Applications are due by January 31, 2011.  If you have questions or comments, please contact Elana Fox at efox@thejcpa.org, 202-212-6037.

Poverty Clusters Call TOMORROW, Wednesday, January 19 at 3pm ET.  This conference call will feature Ellen Nissenbaum, Legislative Director of the Center on Budget & Policy Priorities.  She will preview the upcoming budget battles and how the new federal budget will likely bring a greater risk of poverty and hardship, especially related to healthcare implementation, SNAP reauthorization and affordable housing programs.

The call-in number for this Cluster Call is: 1-218-936-4700, Access Code: 379527#.  If you are interested in participating in the call, please RSVP to Elana Fox (efox@thejcpa.org, 202-212-6037) with your name and e-mail by 9am on Wednesday morning.

Program Templates. Share your programming success, and build on the successes of others using the JCPA’s "BEST PRACTICES PROGRAM BANK," a resource bank of best practices and programs to serve as a reference for others.  

The new JCPA Best Practices Program Bank will be available on the JCPA website in the next few weeks; today, help us strengthen this resource by completing a "Best Practices Program Template" for projects you believe will serve as inspiration and a source of useful information for others in our field.  The "Best Practices Program Template" is available here.  You can also request a Word copy of the Template by emailing Elana Fox, at efox@thejcpa.org.
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. 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 Andi Milens at 212.684.7044 or amilens@thejcpa.org.

We thank you for your generous support!

Contribute Now!

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