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September 27, 2016

As we approach the holiday season and prepare to blow the shofar for what we hope will be a sweet new year, we know that there are many challenges before us. The JCPA has already gotten off to an amazing start. We had an excellent Fall Meeting launching our work on the new civil rights frontier and helping us become more effective advocates on the issues we care about. We also opened applications for our Israel Leadership Mission. Participants will discuss the big questions with the country’s foremost political, cultural and religious leaders and learn to be more thoughtful, nuanced advocates for Israel. We also took an active stand at the UN Summit on Refugees.  


What we can learn from Hillel today – I've always been a big fan of the Jewish sage Hillel. Lately, I have been reflecting on his most famous saying, "If I am not for myself, who will be for me? If I am not for others, what am I? And if not now, when?" Though the questions are thousands of years old, they help us think through our role as Jewish advocates. In my latest blog post, I’ll explain why.


National Voter Registration Day and get out the vote –  Today is National Voter Registration Day. Volunteers, celebrities, and organizations from all over the country are planning to launch a series of efforts between now and the election to get out the vote. To assist you in your efforts, we have compiled the following:

Sign-Up for JCPA's Israel Advocacy Mission –  You are invited to join us on our 2016 Israel leadership mission. Our goal is to ensure that JCPA and JCRC leaders are well-equipped to help the community relations field be effective and nuanced advocates for Israel. Participants can expect:
  • High-level meetings with political, civic and religious leaders
  • In-person encounters with Palestinian leaders and with those working with Syrian refugees on the border
  • Explorations of the key questions facing Israel today 

Click here to learn more

To receive an application, email Steve Jeannot at sjeannot@thejcpa.org

JFNA Government Affairs Survey – The JFNA’s annual survey helps set public policy priorities which are ultimately adopted by the JFNA Board of Trustees. These priorities drive the JFNA agenda and directly correlate to what Jewish Federations are supporting and opposing on Capitol Hill. Input from the community is critically important, and we hope you’ll take some time to fill it out.

  • Click here to take the survey – you have until October 31
  • Click here to see JFNA’s priorities for the current year


Taking on gun violence – Since 2000, the JCPA has been out front in gun violence prevention. In the wake of a spate of horrific mass shootings in recent years, the JCPA issued a resolution in 2013 calling for legislation to limit access to high capacity firearms, and rolling back concealed carry laws where they have been enacted. The JCPA has worked with the JCRC in Miami to compile a summary of the actions taken by the community relations field on gun-related programs and policies. 

  • Click here to see the JCPA’s 2013 resolution on a comprehensive approach to ending mass violence
  • Click here to see what JCRCs around the country are doing to address the issue  
UN Summit on Refugees – Last week, two historic summits took place in New York: The United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) High Level Meeting to Address Large-Scale Movements of Refugees and Migrants (September 19) and President Obama’s Leaders’ Summit on Refugees (September 20). The UN passed the New York Declaration on Refugees and Migrants—over the next two years, the UN refugee agency (UNHCR) will work to create a framework to address the refugee crisis based on the Declaration and the commitments made by member states during the summits.
  • Click here to read President Obama’s full remarks on refugee resettlement during the summit
  • Click here to sign HIAS’s “Open the Gates to Refugees“ petition

UN General Assembly – President Obama also addressed the United Nations General Assembly. In his last remarks as president to the international body, Obama confronted the Israel-Palestinian conflict head-on, stating that “Israelis and Palestinians will be better off if Palestinians reject incitement and recognize the legitimacy of Israel, but Israel recognizes that it cannot permanently occupy and settle Palestinian land.”  

  • Click here to read President Obama’s speech to the UN General Assembly
  • Click here to watch Prime Minister Netanyahu’s speech to the General Assembly
The president also met with Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on the sidelines of the General Assembly. The two leaders reaffirmed the U.S. – Israel relationships and offered mutual praise. 



Fall Meeting – The JCPA Fall Meeting concluded Friday, September 16. More than 85 people attended, representing communities from around the country. At the meeting, the JCPA Board and community relations leaders grappled with the future of Jewish activism. What role will Jews play in the new civil rights movement? How can college BDS be defeated? And more!

Didn’t make the meeting? No problem.

  • Click here to see JCPA President David Bernstein’s remarks about how to strengthen JCRCs
  • Click here to see JFNA President Jerry Silverman talk about the future of the JCPA and federation system
  • Click here to see a panel about how BDS can be countered on college campuses
  • Click here to see a panel on new directions in Jewish community advocacy
  • Click here to see a panel on Jews and the new Civil Rights frontier

We will share additional meeting information soon.  

Social Good Summit – JCPA Senior Policy Associate, Tammy Gilden, recently attended the 2016 Social Good Summit, an annual two-day conference examining technology’s impact on social good initiatives around the world. This year’s summit brought together UN agency heads, global leaders, and grassroots activists, including Vice President Joe Biden, Ambassador Samantha Power and Black Lives Matter activists Brittany Packnett and Luvvie Ajayi. The conference focused a spotlight on the Sustainable Development Goals, 17 interconnected goals designed to end poverty, fight inequalities, and tackle climate change by 2030. You can incorporate these goals into your local programming. For more information, educational resources, and toolkits for taking action, click here.

Please consider donating to JCPA

For months now, JCPA President, David Bernstein has been on a listening tour visiting with JCRCs around the country. Over the last few weeks he’s been in Boston, Hartford, Indianapolis, and Detroit, and will soon head to Atlanta and San Francisco. It’s all being done to learn more about what local communities need from us and how we can better represent the voice of the organized Jewish community amd serve JCRCs. 

It’s hard work and its important work, but it’s not work we can do alone. To help ensure our success going forward, we hope you will consider taking some time this holiday season to make a donation to the JCPA. Your passion and energy is what enables us to perform the important work that we do.


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