The mission of the Council is to serve as the representative voice of the organized American Jewish community in addressing the principal mandate of the Jewish community relations field, expressed in three interrelated goals:
To safeguard the rights of Jews here and around the world;
To dedicate ourselves to the safety and security of the state of Israel;
To protect, preserve and promote a just American society, one that is democratic and pluralistic, one that furthers harmonious interreligious, inter ethnic interracial and other intergroup relations.
These goals are informed by Jewish values. History teaches us that Jewish security is linked inexorably to the strength of democratic institutions. Thus the Jewish community has a direct stake and an ethical imperative to assure that America remains a country wedded to the Bill of Rights and committed to the rule of law, a nation whose institutions continue to function as a public trust.
The JCPA reflects a unique and inclusive partnership of national member agencies, local community relations councils and committees, and the federations of which they are a component part or affiliated agency. It convenes the "common table" around which member agencies, through an open, representative, inclusive and consensus-driven process, meet to identify issues, articulate positions, and develop strategies, programs, and approaches designed to advance the public affairs goals and objectives of the organized Jewish community.
The work of the JCPA, especially in matters relating to democratic pluralism and social justice, reflects the profound Jewish commitment to tikkun olam, the repair of the world. It expresses the conviction of the organized Jewish community that it must be active in the effort to build a just society. The JCPA has the responsibility to enhance the capacity of member agencies to effectively pursue the public affairs agenda. This responsibility requires the JCPA to provide coordination, support, and guidance for public affairs initiatives undertaken by national and local member agencies, to advocate on behalf of the public affairs policies of the organized Jewish community, and to respond to those member-identified needs which strengthen their individual and collaborative capacity to advance the communal public affairs agenda.
The Jewish Council for Public Affairs (JCPA), the united voice of the organized Jewish community, was formally established in 1944 by the Council of Jewish Federations, the forerunner of the Jewish Federations of North America (JFNA). The JCPA was known for many years as the National Jewish Community Relations Advisory Council (NJCRAC). The name was changed to the Jewish Council for Public Affairs in 1997 to reflect more accurately the agency's mission.
For over half a century, the JCPA has served as an effective mechanism to identify issues, formulate policy, develop strategies and programs, and has given expression to a strongly united Jewish communal voice. By virtue of the JCPA's unique position and structure, our ability to reach out and motivate Jews and non-Jews alike to action is unparalleled. Through our network of 14 national and 125 local independent partner 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.