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About the JCPA Plenum

In 1944, the National Community Relations Advisory Council was formed upon action by the General Assembly of the Council of Jewish Federations. The agency was charged with “formulating policy in civic protective work in the United States. The first Plenary was held at the Commodore Hotel in New York City. Among the agency’s early leaders were Pittsburgh department store owner Edgar Kaufman, its first chair, Judge Joseph Proskauer, Rabbi Stephen Wise, and kosher baker Beryl Maniscewitz.

Originally a network of four
national bodies and fourteen communities, the agency now known as the Jewish Council for Public Affairs has grown to include 14 national and 125 local Jewish community relations agencies.

The Plenum is the highest decision making body of the Jewish Council for Public Affairs.  The Plenum brings together hundreds of Jewish leaders to study and debate the key issues of the day.  In recent years, delegates have heard from such luminaries as:


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Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren   

Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer 

Then Senator Hillary Clinton  Hillary Clinton

Governor Howard Dean

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg

Vice President Al Gore

Senator Chuck Hagel  listen

Attorney General Eric Holder    listen

Senator Amy Klobuchar  listen

Representative John Lewis

Senator John McCain

Ken Mehlman, Former Chair, Republican National Committee

Benyamin Netanyahu, Former Israeli Prime Minister

Rabbi David Saperstein

The Most Reverand Katharine Jefferts Schori

Professor Laurence Tribe  listen

The JCPA Plenum has adopted policies on Darfur, Freedom of Expression/ Defamation of Religion,Muslim Jewish Relations, Criminal Justice Reform, Reform of the Federal Poverty Measure, Alleviating Hunger and Food Insufficiency, Comprehensive Early Childhood Care and Education Programs, Challenges in Coalition Building, Comprehensive Energy Policy.  Click Here for the JCPA Policy Compendium.