“JCPA2016” Delegates Elect Cheryl Fishbein Chair and Engage in Critical Skill Building and Policy Sessions to “Move Forward Together”

by jgilad

Washington, May 25, 2016 – Last week hundreds of delegates attended the Jewish Council for Public Affairs (JCPA) “JCPA2016” in Cleveland Ohio. They gathered to set a vision for the future of the Jewish community relations field, study pressing policy issues, sharpen their advocacy skills, honor distinguished colleagues and leaders, and elect a new national chair, Cheryl Fishbein.


The theme, “Let’s Move Forward Together,” called upon participants to strengthen the community relations network and redouble efforts to improve our nation’s political discourse and commitment to solving real problems. The conference addressed topics such as polarization in the political system, Israel’s increasing isolation and the new civil rights frontier.


Delegates also participated in JCPA’s first–ever “unconference” in which they proposed, developed, and lead their own sessions on innovation in Jewish community relations.   “Our goal for the Unconference was to find new ways to engage with our communities, discuss the issues that matter to them, and find better ways to build relationships across our network.  It was a remarkable success. It sparked wonderful discussions ranging from new forms of engagement to how to best utilize new technology,” said David Bernstein, JCPA President and CEO. “This conference was about taking action.  With over a dozen skill building sessions, we sharpened our advocacy, focused on how to build genuine and meaningful relationships, and learned new ways to use technology and data to harness the power of our network and make a measurable impact,” continued Bernstein.


At the annual JCPA Chair’s Tikkun Olam Awards Dinner, attendees paid tribute to their colleague, Joyce Garver Keller, z”l, who passed away two weeks before receiving the award. Joyce was a tireless advocate for the Jewish community of Ohio and a mentor to many within the organized Jewish community. In her honor, the JCPA has established the Joyce Garver Keller Staff Development Institute to provide advanced training to Jewish community relations professionals across the country. Attendees also honored longtime Cleveland Jewish advocate Warren “Renny” Wolfson with the Tikkun Olam Award.  Renny’s dedication to social justice and Jewish engagement demonstrates how each of us can make a lasting impact in our communities.

JCPA2016 also marked the conclusion of Susan W. Turnbull’s term as JCPA Chair. Susan, who previously served as Chair of Jewish Women International (JWI) and as a former Vice Chair of the Democratic National Committee, helped steer the JCPA through major shifts including an executive transition, an initiation of a comprehensive strategic planning process, and a focus on online engagement that includes an integrated web presence and a new website.  “Susie’s efforts and work will be felt in the organization for many years to come. Without her vision and drive, we would not be where we are today, ’ said Bernstein.


“It has been a great honor to serve as chair of the JCPA and to work with such a thoughtful and inspiring network of lay leaders and professionals across the country. JCPA embodies the values of Tikkun Olam and proves daily that the organized Jewish community can work together to solve problems. I am grateful for the opportunity that I had to chair this remarkable organization, and I know that Cheryl Fishbein will be a strong and effective leader,” said Susan W. Turnbull, immediate past chair of the JCPA.


Cheryl Fishbein, who lives in New York City and has been a leader in Jewish Community Relations Council of New York and in numerous other Jewish causes in the U.S. and internationally, was elected to succeed Turnbull as the new chair of JCPA.

JCPA, the public affairs arm of the organized Jewish community, serves as the national coordinating and advisory body for the 17 national and 125 local agencies comprising the field of Jewish community relations.

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