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:
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
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.