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For Immediate Release:  October 2, 2015

Contact: Jonathan Gilad, Jewish Council for Public Affairs
jgilad@thejcpa.org; 202-212-6031

**Media Advisory**

National Jewish Leaders to Meet in Washington D.C. to Discuss, Debate, and Decide American Jewish Community Relations Policy

Washington, D.C., - Representatives from the Jewish Council for Public Affairs' 125 Jewish Community Relations Councils (JCRC’s) and 16 national Jewish advocacy organizations will meet with interfaith leaders, advocates, Jewish elected officials, state and local leaders, public policy experts, and community activists at the JCPA  annual Town Hall in Washington, DC, October 11 – 13. The theme of this year’s Town Hall meeting, the largest gathering of Jewish community relations leaders, is “Our Goal is Justice.” 

Town Hall attendees will discuss and debate contemporary challenges facing their communities, including US-Israel relations, Race Relations, and Anti-Semitism with policy experts, leaders, and each other before developing policy positions.  Attendees will also join the JCPA in honoring community leaders and join workshops that will help them be more effective advocates back home.

JCPA President Rabbi Steve Gutow will deliver a keynote address entitled “Where We Should be Going and What Stands in Our Way.” Rabbi David Saperstein, United States Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom will also address attendees on Sunday, October 11.

Among the other speakers are Rabbi Susan Talve, a constant presence trying to heal divides in Ferguson, Missouri this past year; US Ambassador-at-Large on Anti-Semitism Ira Forman who has shaped American response to rising anti-Jewish violence around the globe, Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh, and scholars Dov Waxman, Jonathan Rynhold, and Diane Schanzenbach among many other thought leaders.

All programs and events take place at the Capitol Hilton unless otherwise noted. The JCPA Town Hall is open to media and coverage is invited for all programs except those listed as “off the record.” For additional details please contact Jonathan Gilad, JCPA Communications Manager, (202) 212–6031, by cell at (914) 500-3146, or jgilad@thejcpa.org.

To find out more information about the Town Hall schedule and for full speaker bios please visit www.jcpaplenum.org.


Featured Events:

Sunday, October 11, 2015

11:20 am – Rabbi Steve Gutow will deliver his address: “Where We Should be Going and What Stands in Our Way.”

2:15pm – Breakout sessions on Israel

Social Justice in Israel: This session will Take an in-depth look at one of Israel’s most pressing social problems, including the difficulties experienced by Arab citizens of Israel; a review of women’s issues in Israel today; and a closer examination of the plight of asylum seekers from Africa in the Jewish State. Speakers: Prof. Salman ElbedourMark Hetfield, and Nancy Kaufman. 

Israeli-Palestinian Peace Building: Speakers on this panel will share what they’ve done to work with Israel and Palestinian partners, to build peace between Israelis and Palestinians along with their American partners. Then they will open up the discussion to our delegates. What have your experiences been? How do you work with your partners, and what have been your challenges and successes? Speakers: Lior Frankiensztajn, Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts-Schori, and Father Josh Thomas.

Iran, Israel and the American Jewish Community: This panel will discuss one of our biggest challenges of today: the Iran deal and its aftermath.  Speaker will talk about the issues that have been raised by the deal, the impact of the polarized debate surrounding it, and we will examine “next steps” that delegates can to take back to their communities. Speakers: Jeremy BurtonJessica Cohen, and Dov Waxman. 

4:45 pm –David Luchinsof the Orthodox Union will be honored  with the Albert D. Chernin Award for his lifetime of dedication to Tikkun Olam  and social justice.

5:15 pm – Rabbi David Saperstein, United States Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom will speak to delegates at the JCPA Town Hall.

7:00 pm – JCPA and Delegates will honor Rabbi Steve Gutow, outgoing JCPA President, Vivian Bass, advocate for disability rights, and Stuart Kurlander, local federation leader and philanthropist. 


Monday, October 12, 2015

9:10 am – Community Conversation: Income Inequality: In this session we will explore wealth and income inequality, its impacts, and policy proposals. How can we live up to our most ambitious national aspirations and provide opportunity for Americans? Speaker: Professor Diane Schanzenbach.

1:30 pm – Community Conversation: Race Relations after Ferguson and Baltimore: Hear insights on how we can chart a path forward to address critical questions of race relations, policing, and civil rights today. Speakers: Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh and Rabbi Susan Talve.

2:34 pm – Breakout sessions on Race Relations: 

Drug Policy Reform – The Next Major Civil Rights issue:Learn more about the harmful effects of criminalization of drug use, the racially disproportionate impacts on our communities, and the fast-changing landscape of policy reform in this area. We will hear from two top experts in the field: Ethan Nadelmann, executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance; and Jasmine L. Tyler, senior policy analyst for global health and drug policy at the Open Society Foundations. 

Jewish Role in Civil Rights Work in the 21st Century For decades, advancing civil rights and building a pluralistic and open American society has been a key priority for the Jewish community.  Now, fifty years after the landmark legislation of the 19060’s -- including Civil Rights Act and Voting Rights Acts—we confront both some of the same challenges and emerging issues.  Join us to discuss the Jewish community’s role in civil rights advocacy in the 21st century.  Speakers: Michael Leiberman, ADL; David Stacy, Human Rights Campaign

4:30 pm – Community Conversation: Anti-Semitism: We have witnessed attacks on Jews in Israel, Paris and here in America and deepening challenges on campuses across America. This session will look closely at the trends, both global and domestic with a keen eye toward what the community relations system can do to address the threat of anti-Semitism. Speakers: Ira Forman, Ken Jacobson and Linda Maizels

Tuesday, October 12

10:15 am – Resolutions: Delegates will discuss issues including Anti-Semitism, Drug Policy, and Paid Sick Leave - followed by debate on resolutions addressing those topics.      

JCPA, the public affairs arm of the organized Jewish community, serves as the national coordinating and advisory body for the 16 national and 125 local agencies comprising the field of Jewish community relations.


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