Posts by: Haya

September 2, 2014: Why is Alan Gross still in Cuba?

by JCPA

Can you imagine spending five years in a Cuban prison?  We can't - and we need your help to end Alan Gross's nightmare.  Please join the Jewish community and our friends to ask President Obama why Alan Gross is still held in Cuba, almost five years after he was imprisoned for his role in a U.S. government project to help Cuba’s tiny Jewish community access the internet.
 
Alan is an American citizen who worked as a subcontractor on a project by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).  Alan was arrested and convicted on charges that his USAID work undermined the Cuban government.  He has languished in jail since 2009.  His sentence is 15 years.

Read more

Exploring Violent Movements

by JCPA
Prof. Peter Krause lecutring at Harvard University.

In hopes of better understanding extremists that undermine peace, JCPA, along with JFNA and IAN, convened the fifth of its interfaith calls illuminating important aspects of the Gaza conflict. The national conference call focused on violent insurgent movements—their causes, organizational structures, effectiveness, and how to defeat them.

On a day that brought an end to a fragile cease-fire, Professor Peter Krause laid out the background and then compared Hamas and ISIS. He explained that the reason groups like Hamas succeed with violent tactics is that there is no evidence of other tactics yielding significant progress toward goals of the group of a Palestinian state.

Krause is an assistant professor of political science at Boston College, a Research Fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School, and a research affiliate with the MIT Security Studies Program. His research and writing focuses on international security, Middle East politics, political violence, and national movements. Krause has conducted extensive fieldwork throughout the Middle East over the past decade. He has published articles on the effectiveness of national movements and political violence, U.S. intervention in the Syrian civil war, the politics of division within the Palestinian national movement, the war of ideas in the Middle East, and a reassessment of U.S. operations at Tora Bora in 2001.

Read more

JCPA visits Israeli Embassy

by JCPA

Minister Ilan Sztulman, Susan W. Turnbull, Rabbi Neil Borovitz, Stuart Brown

The leadership of the Task force on Israel, World Jewry, and International Human Rights met with Israel's incoming Minister for Public Diplomacy Ilan Sztulman. In a lengthy and wide-ranging meeting, the delegation informed the Minister about the work of JCPA, and discussed ways in which JCPA can be supportive of Israel’s needs. Minister Sztulman shared his history of growing up in Brazil, making Aliyah at age 17, serving in the Israeli Army, and embarking on a diplomatic career. His most recent posting was as Consul General in Sao Paulo, Brazil. He is married and has three children. In his new post, he is charged with the challenging task of improving relations between Israel and the American public. In attendance from JCPA were lay leaders Rabbi Neal Borovitz,  Chair Susan Turnbull, and Stuart Brown, along with Israel Action Network Managing Director Geri Palast, VP and General Counsel Ethan Felson, Deputy Washington Director Michelle Sternthal, and Senior Policy Fellow/Director of Legal Affairs Hanna Dershowitz.

Read more

Ferguson Protests

by JCPA
Protests in Ferguson, Missouri

As protests continue in Ferguson, Mo., the Jewish Council for Public Affairs (JCPA) applauds the Jewish community’s sentiments put forth in a statement by the Jewish Federation and Community Relations Council of St. Louis and actively supports the continuance of efforts to combat racism, poverty and economic inequality.
 
“We join with the St. Louis Jewish community in their sorrow for the death of Michael Brown, an unarmed 18 year old man, and the pain his family has endured,” said JCPA President Rabbi Steve Gutow. “We stand with the St. Louis Jewish community, ready to provide the community support through JCPA’s national network across the American Jewish community. We share in the community's admiration for the public servants who have tried to maintain peace in their community - and the countless non-violent protesters who have stood for a just and peaceful response to the tragic events in Ferguson. The situation in Ferguson represents many larger issues - particularly the issue of racism - issues deeply rooted in the social structure of our society that must be addressed. There are no quick solutions. As Jews, our commitment to tikkun olam, repairing the world, includes working toward eradicating racism, poverty and economic inequality,” Rabbi Gutow said.

Read more

Susan Penn, JCPA Vice Chair

by JCPA

JCPA is proud to congratulate JCPA Vice Chair Susan Penn of Northern New Jersey who will be among the recipients of  The Kipnis-Wilson/Friedland Award presented at the upcoming International Lion of Judah conference. The award, which named for Lion of Judah founders Norma Kipnis-Wilson and Toby Friedland z”l, honors the most inspiring women in our communities. Susan brings tremendous creativity, intelligence and drive to each project she undertakes for Northern New Jersey’s Jewish community. A Ruby Lion of Judah, Susan serves on the boards of the Jewish Federation of Northern New Jersey and National Women’s Philanthropy (JFNA) and is vice president of the New Jersey State Association of Jewish Federations. Susan has served as a vice chair of the JCPA since 2008, as chair of the 2008 and 2009 JCPA Annual Plenums, and previously as chair of the JCPA’s Task Force on Israel, World Jewry and International Human Rights. Mazel Tov, Susan!

Read more

Leibel Fein z"l

by JCPA

Leibel Fein speaks at the JCPA Plenum

The Jewish Council for Public Affairs (JCPA) joins mourners worldwide today in grieving the loss of Leonard “Leibel” Fein, founder of the National Jewish Coalition for Literacy and MAZON: A Jewish Response to Hunger and co-founder and editor of Moment Magazine.

“The world has lost one of its great lights. Leonard “Leibel” Fein was a rare human being – a visionary, a thinker, a teacher, and a doer,” said JCPA President Rabbi Steve Gutow.  “A giant of justice has passed to wherever giants go. “He was a dear personal friend and an important part of the JCPA family, a vibrant presence at our annual Plenum.  It was heartening to be with him last month at his 80th birthday when many of the leaders of the Jewish world came together to show our love and admiration for someone who has given so much to so many. While his earthly presence will no longer grace our dinners and our conversations, his consistent drive to do all we can to make the world better than it is will linger in our minds and hearts as we continue to pursue the dreams he dreamed.”

Read more

August Recess Toolkit

by JCPA

During the month of August, Congress adjourns and Senators and Representatives return to their district offices. Take advantage of this opportunity by reaching out to your Members of Congress on issues that matter to the Jewish community.

JCPA has released its 2014 August Recess Toolkit, which will assist you in planning your August programming.  The toolkit includes information on in-district visits with legislators or their staff, visits to town halls, and media outreach.  The toolkit also includes background information and talking points on Operation Protective Edge, child hunger, unaccompanied minor migrants, and voting rights.

click here to download the August Recess Toolkit

Read more

August 14, 2014: JCPA Mourns the Death of Leonard "Leibel" Fein

NEW YORK - The Jewish Council for Public Affairs (JCPA) joins mourners worldwide today in grieving the loss of Leonard “Leibel” Fein, founder of the National Jewish Coalition for Literacy and MAZON: A Jewish Response to Hunger and co-founder and editor of Moment Magazine.

“The world has lost one of its great lights. Leonard“Leibel” Fein was a rare human being – a visionary, a thinker, a teacher, and a doer,” said JCPA President Rabbi Steve Gutow.  “A giant of justice has passed to wherever giants go. “He was a dear personal friend and an important part of the JCPA familya vibrant presence at our annual Plenum.  It was heartening to be with him last month at his 80th birthday when many of the leaders of the Jewish world came together to show our love and admiration for someone who has given so much to so many. While his earthly presence will no longer grace our dinners and our conversations, his consistent drive to do all we can to make the world better than it is will linger in our minds and hearts as we continue to pursue the dreams he dreamed.”

Read more

Make a Difference: Environmental Action for your Home & House of Worship

 

Pictured: Rev. Dr. Gerald Durley, St. Louis JEI Chair Susan Mlynarczyk, St. Louis JCRC Domestic Issues Director Gail Wechsler and Jared Bierbach of the JCPA. Photo by Philip Deitch.

On Thursday evening July 31, close to 140 people attended the event “Make a Difference: Environmental Action for your Home & House of Worship” at St. Louis Community College at Forest Park. The event, co-sponsored by JCRC’s Jewish Environmental Initiative (JEI), the US Green Buildings Council, Missouri Gateway Chapter (USGBC) and Missouri Interfaith Power & Light (MO IPL) featured keynote speakers meteorologist Mike Roberts and civil rights and environmental leader Rev. Gerald Durley. Both speakers emphasized the importance of acting now to reduce the impact of climate change by reducing carbon pollution. After the keynote addresses, participants attended two concurrent breakout sessions to learn about specific ways to Green their homes and houses of worship. This event was supported by the Jewish Council for Public Affairs and the Coalition on the Environment and Jewish Life.

Read more (1 comment)

Interfaith Calls

In the third in a series of interfaith calls designed to provide perspectives to non-Jewish leaders on aspects of the current conflict in Gaza, participants heard a frank assessment of the situation from Yossi Alpher on July 30, 2014.

Alpher outlined the regional backdrop against which the current operations are unfolding, and the current goals of both actors in the conflict. He noted that neither side in the Gaza conflict has had a decisive victory. The Israeli public is united in support of Operation Protective Edge, even as a growing humanitarian dimension is causing a segment in the international community to question some of the Israel’s military decisions. Alpher warned of a host of dangers occasioned by the current “ugly, asymmetric war” and hoped for an outcome that would be an improvement over the status quo ante. 

Read more (1 comment)