Jewish Council for Public Affairs (JCPA)’s Annual Conference brought together nearly 200 of the top Jewish community relations lay leaders and professionals to discuss and debate a path forward on important issues at a time when our community and our nation are divided. We also focused on strengthening the power of the community relations network at a time it needs to be the most effective.
As one of the last remaining forums that convenes members from the left and the right, Orthodox and Reform, lively disagreements about politics and engaging with new Administration abounded. But one sentiment that all seemed to agree on was the necessity of reaching out to a diverse array of ethnic and religious groups..
Click here for Cheryl Fishbein’s Opening remarks
Packed sessions grappled with the bread-and-butter issues of community relations, like how to advocate for criminal justice reform in your community or build meaningful relationships between Muslims and Jews. We are particularly proud that for the first time in years, JCPA hosted a leadership training for 20 “new(ish)” JCRC directors from across the country.
In policy-driven sessions, participants not only learned from experts, but also from their peers, who showcased their successful models for local community engagement on civil rights, immigration and refugee policy, policing and criminal justice reform, and advancing a two-state solution.
A major focus of the conference was on civil rights and criminal justice reform. See our session podcasts to learn first hands from national experts:
Click here for JCPA’s Tool Kit on criminal justice reform. (LINK)
JCPA’s policy workshops addressed issues that have become priority concerns since the 2016 elections. See our podcasts on:
Background information included JCPA’s 2017 Policy Policy Positions (LINK)
The attendees focused on how to be an effective network – strong, innovative, timely, and relevant.
After a rousing debate, JCPA approved resolutions on domestic and sexual violence, voting rights, and on the 50th anniversary of the unification of Jerusalem in the wake of Israel’s 1967 Six Day War. To read the resolutions click below:
The Israel sessions focused on countering BDS and achieving a two-state solution:
The Conference ended with two powerful plenary sessions that you can view:
Overall, our goal was to grapple with the major challenges facing our volunteer leaders and professionals. We built on our strong foundation of national policy setting and our expertise in community outreach with legislators, civil, interfaith, and ethnic leaders, to strategize on how to meet the challenges of today as an effective network locally at the grassroots level and in synch at the national level. So many of us arrived at JCPA2017 on the brink of exhaustion, but left energized.