“Nobody else in the Jewish world does the radical work of building consensus, bringing together the wide range of Jewish voices and communities to speak together as one community.”
—Elana Kahn, Milwaukee JCRC Director
“This was one of the finest conferences I have ever attended. The topics and speakers were outstanding. I have already marked my calendar for next year.”
—Stephen Rabb, JCRC Lay Leader
JCPA2018 brought together more than 250 Jewish professionals and lay leaders for an impactful three-day conference, April 22-24 in New York. Participants tackled pressing issues, celebrated outstanding leaders in the field, and debated and adopted new public policy positions.
Michael Fromm & Shelley Nicely Groff
“Our job at JCPA is to be a catalyst. To help equip you with all that you need to be effective Jewish community relations leaders at the local and national level,” said JCPA Chair Cheryl Fishbein, who was joined by Conference Co-Chair Michael Fromm, JCPA President David Bernstein, and National Association of Jewish Legislators Co-President David Weprin in opening the conference.
Chair's Awards Dinner
Over 300 people attended the Chair’s Awards Dinner, a banquet held annually in honor of outstanding leaders in the Jewish communal world and the field of public affairs.
Springfield Illinois won the 2018 Program Award for the Springfield Rosenwald Initiative
The 2017-2018 Frank Fellows pose with Lois Frank, who makes the emerging leaders program possible
Plenaries, Breakouts, and Workshops
JCPA2018’s sessions focused on strengthening the Jewish community’s civic engagement work to promote a more just society and protect our democratic institutions. These sessions touched on today’s most pressing policy issues and provided tools for civic engagement, education, and advocacy.
Watch videos of JCPA’s plenaries and breakout sessions. Click here to see full conference schedule.
Civic Engagement and Protecting Our Democracy
Attendees participated in breakout sessions on criminal justice reform, immigration (Undocumented in America), voting rights and the 2020 Census, strategic intergroup relations, and shareholder advocacy, as well as political theater highlighting #MeToo in the Jewish community.
Criminal justice reform is a key element of ensuring a just and fair society. JCPA is making this issue a priority through its Criminal Justice Initiative, which mobilizes the Jewish community to engage in reform efforts around the country in partnership with local advocates. Watch our inspiring plenary “Movements to End Mass Incarceration.”
JCPA2018 also celebrated Israel@70 with a plenary featuring Israeli Ambassador Dani Dayan; Malcolm Hoenlein, Conference of Presidents; and Marlene Post, Hadassah; and facilitated by Susan Heller Pinto from ADL. JCPA2018 also included a plenary on civil society efforts to foster peace in Israel, as well as breakouts on coexistence, preparing high schoolers for Israel advocacy, and efforts to create shared society within Israel, organized by the Israel Action Network.
The final day of the Conference featured “Polarized America, Polarized Jewish Community: Strategies for Dialogue and Engagement,” a plenary with Rabbi Melissa Weintraub of Resetting the Table and Robert Fersh of Convergence, followed by three interactive workshops.
Business Session: Bylaws and Resolutions
To streamline and strengthen JCPA’s management structure, the Business Session adopted new bylaws that reduce the size of the Board of Directors and establish a new Delegates Assembly that will serve as the representative body that deliberates public policy matters.
At the session, which was facilitated by Policy Committee Co-Chair David Bohm, JCPA also adopted three new resolutions by consensus:
– Resolution on White Supremacy. JCPA rejects white supremacy and all other forms of bigotry, affirms the importance of exposing and rejecting the hateful message of white supremacists , and our obligation to protect and support all targets of white supremacist harassment and attacks.
– Resolution Reaffirming Commitment to Racial Justice Within the Jewish Community. In the current climate of emboldened discrimination and significant challenges to racial equity in society, we reaffirm and recommit to the pursuit of racial equity and justice.
– Resolution on Israeli-Palestinian Coexistence. JCPA supports and promotes “contact, cooperation, dialogue, shared community building, peaceful coexistence, joint economic development, and reconciliation between Israelis and Palestinians” through civil society projects, economic development and other such strategies that can bring about a peaceful future for Israelis and Palestinians alike.
In Closing: A Call to Action
The Conference closed with a call to action for the Jewish community to strengthen civic engagement and work in coalition with diverse community partners in common causes to build a strong democracy and counter discrimination. The community relations field should convene shared tables to work across difference in the Jewish community of diverse opinions to heal relationships and reaffirm shared goals and mission.
“We know this conference is just the beginning,” said Shelley Nicely Groff, Conference Co-Chair, in her closing remarks. “When we go home is when the work starts.”