Tune in to JCPA’s CRCast series, in which we tackle the issues of the day. In each webcast, JCPA’s David Bernstein interviews a special guest expert or practitioner about the most pressing topics that are affecting the Jewish community and the Community Relations field. From the rise of anti-Semitism worldwide to the U.S. Administration to the challenges facing Israel, we will provide insight into not just complex issues, but practical solutions.
The CRCast airs every other Wednesday when you can watch it live or on our YouTube channel at your convenience. Hope you find it useful and share it far and wide.
The positions and viewpoints presented by guests do not necessarily reflect the positions of JCPA.
October 17 at 1:00 P.M. What is the Role of Progressive Zionists in the Social Issues of Our Time?
Zioness was recently launched to ensure that women who openly support Israel are welcome in progressive movements. Should support for Israel and Zionism be part of domestic issue-based advocacy? What are the challenges and opportunities of this approach? What gains have been made? How does this resonate with younger women?
Amanda Berman is the Executive Director of the Zioness Movement, a new initiative empowering and activating Zionists on the progressive left to stand proudly in social justice spaces as Jews and Zionists.
October 3 at 1:00 P.M. Creating a Culture of Security in the Jewish community
What are the current security challenges facing the American Jewish community? What is SCN’s role in addressing them? How can local Jewish communities create a culture of security? What is the role of JCRCs and Jewish advocacy organizations?
Michael G. Masters is the National Director and CEO of the Secure Community Network, the national homeland security initiative of the Jewish Federations of North America and Conference of Presidents of Major American
Jewish Organizations. Mr. Masters serves on the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security’s Foreign Fighter Task Force, the Faith Based Security and Communications Committee and supported the Department’s Countering Violent Extremism Subcommittee as well as served as the Vice-Chair of the Grants Review Task Force.
September 25 at 1:00 P.M. IsraAID: How Israel Supports People Affected by Humanitarian Crises
How has IsraAID intervened during humanitarian crises in other countries? How has this work raised goodwill with outside communities? What role can the American Jewish community play in amplifying Israel’s humanitarian work in the world?
Yotam Polizer, IsraAID Co-Chief Executive Officer. Yotam has been a social activist from a young age, and today boasts a dozen years of experience in humanitarian projects around the world. His achievements include launching a ground-breaking program to pair Israeli army volunteers with special-needs children, as well as a youth leadership and community development project in Bedouin villages of Israel’s Negev desert. In 2007, Yotam joined Tevel B’Tzedek’s development project in Nepal, where he spent three and a half years as a Project Coordinator. During this time, he was also employed by the Israeli Embassy as Consular Assistant. He joined IsraAID following the 2011 Earthquake and Tsunami in Japan, where he served as Japan Country Director for 3 years. Following 2 years as Asia Regional Director, Yotam is now the Co-Chief Executive Officer, overseeing all of IsraAID’s fundraising and strategic partnerships around the world.
September 20 at 12:00 P.M. How to Fight Antisemitism
How does Antisemitism manifest itself on both sides of the political spectrum? How serious a threat is each form? What are the best strategies for countering them?
Bari Weiss is an Op-Ed staff editor and writer. She writes about culture and politics. Bari was an op-ed and book review editor at The Wall Street Journal before joining the Times in 2017. She has also worked at Tablet, the online magazine of Jewish politics and culture. She is a native of Pittsburgh and graduated from Columbia University in 2007. Ms. Weiss’s first book, How to Fight Anti-Semitism, was published in September and is available by clicking here.
September 18 at 1:00 P.M. LGBTQ Equality in Israel and for Israel
Israel has the most progressive laws in the Middle East protecting the LGBTQ community. What is the Jewish community’s role in advancing understanding of Israel’s record of LGBTQ rights? What efforts are being made at home and in Israel to continue to make strides on this front?
Tyler (Tye) Gregory Tye serves as the Executive Director of A Wider Bridge, the LGBTQ organization advancing equality in Israel, and equality for Israel. In his capacity at AWB, Tye partners with his talented team and dedicated board to advance the LGBTQ Israel movement.
August 21 at 1:00 P.M. The U.S. Role in Combating Global Antisemitism
The US State Department has played a critical role in combating global Antisemitism through its office of the Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Antisemitism. Elan Carr, newly appointed to the post, has already made a significant impact in the fight against the world’s oldest hatred. How does the US currently see the problem of global Antisemitism? What are we doing to address it?
Elan S. Carr serves as the Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Antisemitism. As Special Envoy, he advises the Secretary of State and is responsible for directing U.S. policies and projects aimed at countering Antisemitism throughout the world.
July 10 at 4:00 P.M. Jewish Federations Then and Now
Jerry Silverman has served as the professional head of the Jewish Federation movement for ten years and is stepping down later this summer. How have Jewish Federations evolved in the past decade? What direction are they going? Where does Jewish advocacy and community relations fit in?
Gerrald (Jerry) Silverman serves as president and CEO of The Jewish Federations of North America. An outspoken advocate for Jewish Peoplehood, Mr. Silverman is widely known for his views on enhancing religious pluralism in Israel and strengthening Jewish communities worldwide. Under Mr. Silverman’s leadership, JFNA has realigned its priorities and organizational culture with focus on its 147 Federation and 300 Network communities. Jewish Federations collectively raise $2 billion annually and manage $20 billion in assets and endowments to protect and enhance the well-being of Jews throughout the globe.
June 5 at 1:00 P.M. Are Jews Being Excluded From Social Justice Coalitions?
Jewish social justice activists on and off campus have reported that they have been required to “check their Zionism at the door.” Two JCRC directors—one who infamously had been asked to leave the Chicago Dyke March in March 2017, and another with experience in ensuring Jewish participation in intersectional circles—share their stories and strategies
Jackie Congedo is the Director of the Jewish Community Relations Council of the Jewish Federation of Cincinnati. She brings a decade of strategic communications, public relations, current affairs, and journalism experience to the JCRC, which works to protect Jewish security, recognizing that Jewish security depends on a just society for all. Congedo received a BA in journalism from the University of Maryland’s Philip Merrill College of Journalism, where she graduated summa cum laude. After graduation, she worked the next nine years as an award-winning reporter at television news stations in Washington, DC; Lexington, KY; and Cincinnati, OH. Most recently, Congedo led public relations efforts for the Jewish Federation of Cincinnati and directed and implemented marketing and communications strategy for the JCRC and the Federation’s Israel Center. Congedo is also a graduate of the Jewish Nonprofit Leadership Institute.
Laurel Grauer is the Director of Community Relations and Israel Affairs at the Jewish Federation of Greater Charlotte.
May 22 at 1:00 P.M. Managing Ideological Polarization Inside the Jewish Community
Discourse among American Jews has become more polarized in recent years. Issues ranging from the Iran deal, to Israel, to how to define and respond to anti-Semitism have divided our community. How can we manage these tensions and keep people together amid differences.
Rabbi David Stern is Senior Rabbi of Temple Emanu-El, Dallas, Texas. He joined Temple Emanu-El in June of 1989, serving as Assistant and then Associate Rabbi until his appointment as Senior Rabbi in August, 1996. Rabbi Stern is a social justice advocate on local, national and international issues. In 2005, he participated in a study mission to the Darfuri refugee camps on the Chad-Sudan border. In the summer of 2013, he served as rabbi-in-residence for an American Jewish World Service Study Mission to Nicaragua. Locally, Rabbi Stern is on the Advisory Board of the Budd Center at SMU, which is committed to helping build strong communities with high-quality neighborhood schools in West Dallas.
May 15 at 10:00 A.M. State of Religious Pluralism in Israel
Religious pluralism has been a sticking point in Israel-Diaspora relations. Disagreements over the status of the Kotel, recognizing non-Orthodox rabbis, and the status of converts are constantly in play. What is the current status of these issues? What are the threats and opportunities moving forward?
Orly Erez-Likhovski, Director of the Legal Department for the Israel Religious Action Center, holds a bachelor’s degree in law from Tel Aviv University. After interning in the Supreme Court, she got a master’s degree in law at Columbia University in New York, with a focus on Human Rights law. Orly is a member of the Bar Association in Israel and New York. Orly has served as an attorney at IRAC since 2004, and as Director of the Legal Department since 2014. In this position, Orly has brought about significant legal achievements such as making gender segregation on public transportation illegal, ending the Orthodox monopoly on state-funded salaries to rabbis, and receiving state funding for the construction of non-Orthodox synagogues. Sign up for IRAC’s newsletter by clicking here.
April 24 at 1:00 P.M. Navigating the Progressive Conversation
Jewish community relations leaders must increasingly engage in intersectional spaces, addressing challenging topics such as the Palestinian-Israel conflict, anti-Semitism, and complicated power dynamics among community groups. In such spaces how can we represent both our particular interests and the broader set of issues we care about?
Nancy K. Kaufman is the chief executive officer of the National Council of Jewish Women (NCJW), a grassroots organization of volunteers and advocates who turn progressive ideals into action. Inspired by Jewish values, NCJW strives for social justice by improving the quality of life for women, children, and families and by safeguarding individual rights and freedoms.
October 31 at 1:00 P.M. Changes in the Arab Media and New Challenges for American Jews
How has the popular media in the Arab world shifted, if at all, in its attitudes toward Israel and Jews? How should American Jews react to anti-Semitism in the Arab and Muslim world, Europe, the U.S., and in the press? Join us for a frank conversation with Yigal Carmon, President of the Middle East Media Research Institute ( @MEMRIReports )
MEMRI bridges the language gap between the West and the Middle East and South Asia, providing timely translations of Arabic, Farsi, Urdu, Pashtu, Dari and Turkish media, as well as original analysis of political, ideological, intellectual, social, cultural, and religious trends.
October 17 at 1:00 P.M. The Future of America’s Immigration System
Over the past year, the Administration has instituted a number of significant changes to U.S. asylum and refugee policies. What is the future of immigration policy in the United States and how we can we ensure sensible reform?
SEPTEMBER 26 at 1:00 P.M. Mainline Protestants and the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict: Where Do We Go From Here?
The Mainline Protestant churches have been a focus of Boycotts, Divestments, and Sanctions (BDS) activity for almost two decades. What are the lessons from the conventions in Presbyterian and Episcopal churches this past summer – and what are the next steps for the community relations field?
Ethan Felson is Executive Director of the Israel Action Network (IAN), which works with Federations, JCRCs, and other allies to build a broad base of support for Israel and to counter anti-Israel activity. Prior to joining IAN, Ethan was Senior Vice President and General Counsel of JCPA and before that was Director of the Harford JCRC. He regularly attends church conventions were BDS is debated – and has formed several national dialogues with Christian leaders. He is also the founder of Interfaith Partners for Peace.
SEPTEMBER 20 at 4:00 P.M. The Jewish Role in Ending Mass Incarceration
Ending mass incarceration, which inequitably impacts people of color, is the civil rights issue of our times. How can the Jewish community be a significant voice in the movement to change this system?
Roy Waterman III is the Jewish Council for Public Affair’s Criminal Justice Project Manager. Roy is an advocate for equal justice for all and challenges the moral fabric of incarceration and other human rights violations. He is educating and mobilizing the Jewish community on a national scale against the modern day civil rights violation of mass incarceration, endeavoring to put an end to it.
JULY 25 at 1:00 P.M. Jews of Color and the American Jewish Community
Be’chol Lashon fosters positive, pluralistic, multicultural expressions of Judaism that embrace the ethnic, racial, and cultural diversity that has characterized the Jewish people throughout history up to the present. Learn more about the challenges facing Jews of Color, and how we can work to make our community more inclusive.
Lacey Schwartz is the Director of Outreach North America for Be’chol Lashon, and CEO of the production company Truth Aid, which produces multi-media content to affect social change. Lacey directed, wrote, and produced Little White Lie, an award-winning and critically acclaimed documentary about dual identity and family secrets, available on iTunes and Amazon.
JULY 11 at 1:00 P.M. Evangelical Christianity and its Relationship to the Jewish Community
Who is the Evangelical community today? What are its priority issues? What are its attitudes toward Jews and Israel? Discuss these questions and more with leading Evangelical thinker and magazine editor David Neff.
David Neff was editor in chief of Christianity Today, where he worked from 1985 until his retirement in 2013. He is also the former editor in chief of Christian History magazine, and continues to explore the intersection of history and current events in his bimonthly column, “Past Imperfect.” His earlier column, “Editor’s Bookshelf,” ran from 2002 to 2004 and paired Neff’s reviews of thought-provoking books and interviews with the authors.
JUNE 6 at 1:00 P.M. EDT The Chinese American Community Today
The Chinese American community has grown in both numbers and influence in the past decade. It has a history of engaging American Jews. What are its priorities? What opportunities are there for engagement both locally and nationally?
Fred Teng is the President of America China Public Affairs Institute. He also is the Senior U.S. Representative of the China United States Exchange Foundation and Council Member of the China Foundation for Peace and Development.
MARCH 28 at 4:00 P.M. Overcoming Political Polarization: Dialogue Across Differences
Today’s politics are more divisive than ever. What are the root causes of this problem? How can we create a political culture that allows for dialogue across differences and the potential to find common ground?
Rob Fersh is the President and Founder of Convergence Center for Policy Resolution, a non-profit organization founded in 2009 to promote consensus solutions to issues of domestic and international importance. Immediately prior, Rob served as the United States country director for Search for Common Ground, an international conflict resolution organization. While at SFCG, he directed national policy consensus projects on health care coverage for the uninsured and U.S.-Muslim relations.
In the 1986-98 period, Rob served as president of the Food Research and Action Center (FRAC), a leading NGO working to alleviate hunger in the United States. Rob also served on the staffs of three Congressional committees, working for U.S. Representative Leon Panetta and for Senators Patrick Leahy and Edmund Muskie. While a Congressional staff member and at FRAC, he was deeply involved in shepherding passage of bipartisan legislation to reduce hunger in the United States.
Rob has held additional positions in the federal executive branch and non-profit sector. He was a 1994 recipient of the Prudential Foundation Prize for Non-Profit Leadership. Rob holds a law degree from Boston University and a bachelor’s degree in Industrial and Labor Relations from Cornell University, where he has served as a guest lecturer and co-instructor of a course on collaborative decision making and public policy. He is married, has four children, and one grandchild.
MARCH 14 at 2:00 P.M. The Global Jewish Advocacy Agenda
What role do American Jews play in global affairs? How can we make a difference in how other countries relate to Israel, view anti-Semitism, and pursue human rights?
David Harris is the CEO of AJC: Global Jewish Advocacy, and has led them since 1990. Described by the late Israeli President Shimon Peres as the “foreign minister of the Jewish people,” he has been invited to speak at some of the world’s most prestigious forums. He has been honored a total of 15 times by governments around the world for his international efforts in defense of human rights, advancement of the transatlantic partnership, and dedication to the Jewish people.
FEBRUARY 28 at 2:00 P.M. What’s at Stake with the Census? Literally Everything!
The U.S. Census is just around the corner, yet it is already riveted with controversy. It’s not just a matter of numbers, it’s a matter of the future political map, and which groups get fair and accurate representation.
Terri Ann Lowenthal is a nationally recognized expert and frequent speaker on the U.S. census and policy issues affecting federal statistics. During a 14-year career as a congressional aide, she was staff director of the House census oversight subcommittee from 1987-94, and later covered the Census Bureau and broader federal statistical activities for the 2008 Obama Presidential Transition Team. Terri advises FCCP’s Funders Census Initiative (FCI 2020), The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, state and local governments, and business and industry data users. Previously, she was a co-director of The Census Project (and its predecessor, the Census 2000 Initiative) and frequently posted on the Census Project Blog.
FEBRUARY 14 at 4:00 p.m. Encountering Palestinian Narratives
Encounter was formed in 2007 to expose American Jewish leaders to Palestinian narratives. To this date a number of JCRC leaders have participated. Why is it important for Jewish leaders to understand the Palestinian experience? What does Encounter hope to accomplish in this work?
Yona Shem-Tov has worked as a Jewish educator for over 20 years. Prior to joining Encounter in 2011, Yona pursued graduate studies at The Hebrew University and doctoral research in Education and Jewish Studies at New York University as a Wexner Graduate Fellow.
NOVEMBER 27 at 4:00 P.M. The Atmosphere on College Campuses: Michigan as a Case Study
A discussion with University of Michigan Hillel Executive Director Tilly Shames. Michigan has been one of the most popular schools for Jewish students. After many failed attempts, however, student government recently passed a BDS resolution. What was the atmosphere on campus before and after this resolution? What can be done to ensure that Michigan remains a hospitable environment for all its students?
Tilly Shames is the Executive Director of University of Michigan Hillel. Tilly has worked with Hillels in Toronto and Michigan for 14 years in various positions, including Director of Israel Affairs and Associate Director, before becoming Executive Director at the University of Michigan in 2012.
OCTOBER 11 at 4:00 P.M. Ongoing Iranian Nuclear Threat
Mark Dubowitz is the CEO of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD), a Washington, D.C.-based nonpartisan policy institute, where he leads projects on Iran, sanctions, countering threat finance, and nonproliferation. He is an expert on Iran’s global network including the regime’s nuclear, terrorist, missile and cyber threats to the United States and other allies, and is widely recognized as one of the key influencers in shaping sanctions policies to counter the threats emanating from Iran and its surrogates.
SEPTEMBER 27 at 4:00 P.M. Understanding and Responding to the White Supremacist Threat
Joseph Levin is co-founder of the Southern Poverty Law Center. From 1971 until 2004, he served the Center in various capacities, including Legal Director, Chair of the Board, President & CEO, and General Counsel, retiring in 2016. The Southern Poverty Law Center monitors hate groups and other extremists throughout the U.S. and exposes their activities to law enforcement agencies, the media and the public.
JULY 17 at 2:00 P.M. Slashing $10 billion in Jewish social services: What’s at stake for your community?
William Daroff is the Senior Vice President for Public Policy and Director of the Washington Office of JFNA. Daroff guides the Jewish community’s advocacy efforts on the Federation movement’s key domestic policy issues, principally on health and human services, such as Medicare and Medicaid, long-term care, and policies affecting older Americans, homeland security programs and strengthening the capacity of charities to care for those in need.
JULY 5 at 4:00 P.M. What is the Alt-Right (and What Should we do About Them)?
Marilyn Mayo is the Research Fellow at the Anti-Defamation League’s (ADL) Center on Extremism. Marilyn is an expert on right-wing extremists in the United States, ranging from white supremacists to academic racists to anti-immigrant groups. She has been with the ADL for 20 years, having previously served as the Associate Director of Investigative Research.
JUNE 21 at 4:00 P.M. Strategic Framework for Battling the Delegitimization of Israel
Gidi Grinstein is the founder of the Reut Institute, a non-profit organization, designed to be an effective force of change in Israel and the Jewish World. He is also the author of Flexigidity: Secret of Jewish Adaptability, a recent best-seller in Israel, and believes that a vibrant Diaspora is a Zionist imperative. Click here to read more.
JUNE 7 at 4:00 P.M. Lessons Learned 50 Years After the Six-Day War
Dr. Michael Oren is the Deputy Minister for Diplomacy and Special Envoy in the Israeli Prime Minister’s Office and served as Israel’s Ambassador to the United States from 2009-2013. He is a world-renowned historian and author and wrote a publication on Six Days of War which was a New York Times Bestseller. Click here to read more.
MAY 17 at 4:00 P.M. The Socially Responsible Investing Movements Influence
on Israel/BDS and Other Communal Concerns
Julie Hammerman is the Executive Director of JLens, an organization that serves as the bridge between the Jewish community and the increasingly influential responsible investing movement. JLens provides guidance on investing through a Jewish lens, and conducts shareholder advocacy with public companies on communal concerns (social, environmental, and support for Israel/combat BDS). Click here to read more.
MAY 3 at 4:00 P.M. Illegal: Reflections of an Undocumented Immigrant
Jose Angel N., author and advocate or writes about his experience as an
undocumented immigrant in the U.S. over the past 17 years.
A day after José Ángel N. first crossed the U.S. border from Mexico, he was caught and then released onto the streets of Tijuana. Undeterred, N. crawled back through a tunnel to San Diego, where he entered the United States to stay. Illegal: Reflections of an Undocumented Immigrant is his timely and compelling memoir of building a new life in America.Click Here to read more.