Saturday, February 8
7:30 PM – 10:00 PM
Movie Screening, and Program
Co-sponsored by JCRC of Greater Washington DC and World Jewish Congress
Movie Screening of Who Will Write Our History
In November 1940, days after the Nazis sealed 450,000 Jews in the Warsaw Ghetto, a secret band of journalists, scholars and community leaders decided to fight back. Led by historian Emanuel Ringelblum and known by the code name Oyneg Shabes, this clandestine group vowed to defeat Nazi lies and propaganda not with guns or fists but with pen and paper. Now, for the first time, their story is told as a feature documentary. Written, produced, and directed by Roberta Grossman and executive produced by Nancy Spielberg, Who Will Write Our History mixes the writings of the Oyneg Shabes archive with new interviews, rarely seen footage and stunning dramatizations to transport us inside the Ghetto and the lives of these courageous resistance fighters. They defied their murderous enemy with the ultimate weapon – the truth – and risked everything so that their archive would survive the war, even if they did not. Today, with the advent of social media, we are all our own journalists. What is our role and responsibility in ensuring we document the truth of what is happening in our communities and on issues we care about.
Moderator: Ron Halber, Executive Director, JCRC of Greater Washington; Speakers: Karen Paikin Barall, Director, Hadassah, Washington D.C.; Roberta Grossman, Writer, Director, Producer, Who Will Write Our History; Courtney C. Radsch, Advocacy Director, Committee to Protect Journalists
Sunday, February 9
9:00 AM – 9:45 AM
New Delegate Orientation
10:00 AM – 10:15 AM
10:15 AM – 11:10 AM
Opening Plenary Session
Leveraging Community Relations to Fight Antisemitism
Antisemitism and hate crimes have risen significantly in the U.S., sending shock waves through the Jewish community. Over the past two years, antisemites have committed massacres in Pittsburgh, Poway, and most recently, in Jersey City. Antisemitism permeates both the left and right extremes of society, though in different ways and requiring different responses. In this session, high-level experts and allies will discuss their firsthand experiences, provide best practices, and share strategies to bolster community relations efforts to combat antisemitism at the local and national levels.
Panelists: Deborah E. Lipstadt (author, Antisemitism Here and Now; Professor of Holocaust Studies, Emory University) | Eric Ward (Executive Director, Western States Center) | Dove Kent (Senior Strategy Officer, Bend the Arc: Jewish Action)
11:15 AM – 12:30 PM
From the Frontlines: Building a Roadmap to Combat Antisemitism and Hate
The community relations field is rich with experience and expertise on how best to fight antisemitism. This panel will highlight innovative efforts from JCRCs and national agencies to counter hate and antisemitism. Participants will engage in an interactive discussion on developing a roadmap for the field to fight the latest iterations of the world’s oldest hatred.
12:30 PM – 1:30 PM
Lunch/Networking in Exhibit Hall
1:45 PM – 2:45 PM
Welcoming the Stranger: The Case for Ending Criminalization, Detention, and Deportation
The humanitarian crisis at the border is the result of decades of bipartisan immigration policies. Changes to U.S. immigration policy over the last three years have placed tens of thousands more immigrants—including asylum seekers and children—into detention facilities and unlicensed shelters. This Administration has cut off avenues for legal immigration, undermined due process, separated families, forced asylum seekers to remain in Mexico, and invested unprecedented resources in detention and deportation. Eyewitnesses detail appalling conditions and denial of medical care, shelter, food, clean water, and basic sanitation. Rampant physical, sexual, and emotional abuse are well documented. In this session, experts will discuss the impact of these changes and delve into the case for ending detention. Participants will learn about successful strategies for mobilizing their communities and supporting local efforts to aid immigrants, rooted in our Jewish values.
Moderator: Naomi Steinberg, Vice President, Policy and Advocacy, HIAS | Speakers: Alyssa Banford, Director of Civic Engagement, St. Louis JCRC; Emem Maurus Tijuana-based Attorney, Transgender Law Center
Policing, Bail, and Sentencing: The Key to Ending Mass Incarceration
Animosity between law enforcement and communities of color has reached crisis levels. Police shootings of unarmed people of color have ignited a national conversation about how we police society. Meanwhile, court dockets are overloaded, the public defender system is underfunded, and racial and economic disparities permeate the system, especially in bail and sentencing. The inadequacy of the current system results too often in justice delayed and denied. Learn from experts and activists about different reform efforts under consideration and ways the Jewish community—which often has strong, positive relationships with law enforcement and policymakers—can play a bridging role and join in this movement.
Speakers: Chief Chris Burbank (Ret.), Vice President of Strategic Partnerships Center for Policing Equity; Zachary Katznelson, Policy Director Independent Commission on New York City Criminal Justice and Incarceration Reform; Insha Rahman, Director of Strategy & New Initiatives Vera Institute
If Not Now, Then What? The Present and Future of Climate Change
According to the U.N., climate change caused by humans is the defining issue of our time and we must address this existential threat. Climate change is already increasing the intensity and frequency extreme weather events like wildfires, hurricanes, droughts, and floods; exacerbating armed conflict and unprecedented global migration; and threatening the biodiversity on which humans depend. Despite the U.S.’s decision to leave the Paris Agreement, young people around the world leading the charge to cut CO2 emissions and solve this crisis. Join this session to learn more about climate change’s current and future environmental and socioeconomic implications, as well as the international efforts underway to fight it, and the growing climate activism in the U.S. Participants will also find out how faith communities can support this global movement.
Moderator: Rabbi Fred Dobb, Chair, Coalition on the Environment and Jewish Life (COEJL) | Speakers: Cassandra Carmichael, Executive Director, National Religious Partnership for the Environment ; Nigel Savage, Executive Director, Hazon
Religious Liberty and Anti-Discrimination Protections
Join experts for a discussion on the increasingly complex and fraught relationship between civil rights and religious liberty. From this panel, audience members will gain new understanding of how the intersection between religious liberty and anti-discrimination protections affects different groups of people, particularly women, the LGBTQ+ community, and religious minorities—including Jews.
Moderator: David Bohm, JCPA Policy Advisory Committee Chair; Nathan Diament Executive Director Orthodox Union Advocacy Center; Richard B. Katskee, Legal Director, Americans United for Separation of Church and State; Ronna Greff Schneider, Constitutional Law Professor, University of Cincinnati
Gun Violence: The Advocacy Landscape
In 2019, we witnessed more than 400 mass shootings and nearly 40,000 deaths across the nation due to firearms. NOW is the time for action at the federal and state level to protect our houses of worship, our schools, and every American. In this workshop, leaders in the gun violence prevention field will present an overview of gun violence prevention advocacy efforts at the national and state levels, and suggest how you can take action and build support for legislation in your own state and community.
Moderator: Lori Weinstein, CEO Emerita, Jewish Women International | Speakers: Lori Haas, Senior Director of Advocacy, Coalition to Stop Gun Violence; Rabbi Susan Shankman, Washington Hebrew Congregation; Rob Wilcox, Deputy Director of Policy and Strategy, Everytown for Gun Safety
3:00 PM – 4:00 PM
Breakout Sessions Repeat
4:00 PM – 4:30 PM
Networking in Exhibit Hall
4:30 – 5:30 PM
The Faith Voice in the Movement to End Mass Incarceration
The inequities people of color suffer at the hands of the justice system constitute one of the most pressing civil rights issues in the U.S. Beginning in the 1970s, the U.S. prison population exploded, contributing to poverty, income inequality, and family instability. Today, the U.S. incarcerates a full quarter of the world’s total prison population, with state prisons housing over 85% of those incarcerated, which is why local mobilization is critical. Throughout the nation, ascending leaders of diverse communities are working together on reform. Learn about efforts and the significant influence the faith community, including the Jewish community, can have on transformative change.
Speakers: Sakira Cook, Director, Justice Reform Program, The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights; Jason Flom, Lava Records; Reverend John Vaughn, Executive Director, Auburn Seminary, Co-founder, Ending Mass Incarceration Multi-Faith Advocacy Campaign
5:30 PM – 6:00 PM
6:00 PM – 7:30 PM
Cocktail Reception and JCPA 2020 Awards Presentation
Monday, February 10
8:30 AM – 10:00 AM
Leaders in the JCPA network strive to build consensus around the pursuit of justice and shared goals locally and nationally. But American society has become so politically polarized – and Jewish American communities have followed – making this work extremely difficult. How can staff and lay leaders lead courageously in this moment? By analyzing the current context and looking at a case study, we will explore ways to be strong advocates, take risks wisely, and support those who face backlash. The session will be grounded in Jewish language, values, and material from the Shalom Hartman Institute’s Civic Engagement initiative and Courageous Leadership white paper.
Speakers: Rabbi Justus Baird, Shalom Hartman Institute; Jennifer Raskas, Shalom Hartman Institute of North America
10:00 AM – 10:45 AM
Israel and Peace in an Age of Polarization: Getting Beyond Zero Sum
If Israel was once a great unifying force in the American Jewish community, it seems today to be increasingly a source of division. As politics in America becomes ever more polarized, the discussion over Israel and the pursuit of peace becomes yet another partisan issue pulling communities apart. Is it possible for Israel to be a bipartisan issue moving forward? What does peace activism look like when the prospect of peace seems so far away? And what is the future of U.S.-Israel relations when both communities are so divided.
Tal Becker, Shalom Hartmann Institute
11:00 AM – 11:45 PM
Workshop Sessions (5)
Speaking About Israel in Progressive Circles
While considerable attention is paid to researching, analyzing, and opining about the Israel conversation in progressive circles, precious little time is spent actually engaging constructively with the left on Israel. What works and doesn’t work? What do we need to do to reach the right audiences with the right messages? What strategies and best practices have been effective?
Speakers: Ethan Felson, Executive Director, JFNA/JCPA Israel Action Network; Geri Palast, JFNA/JCPA Israel Action Network
Restoring Civility – the JCRC Role
Today no Jewish institution is immune from the growing polarization and incivility that affects both the broader society and Jewish community. This workshop will utilize case studies to provide specific skills to enhance JCRC’s role in minimizing, managing and mitigating polarization.
Speaker: Rabbi Doug Kahn, Broad Tent Consulting
Campus Climate: Israel, Antisemitism and the Challenges they Pose
How are members of the college ecosystem handling the crucial issues of antisemitism and anti-Zionism? In this session, you will hear from a student, a professor, an administrator, and a Hillel professional about their approaches to these topics, as well as how different universities are handling them. Learn the importance of taking a cross-disciplinary approach to managing these campus issues.
Changing Communities: Black-Jewish Relations in a Time of Growing Antisemitism and Racism
Over the past year, there have been rising tensions–with tragic consequences–between local African and Caribbean American communities and their Jewish neighbors in New York and New Jersey. These incidents highlight the need for the Jewish community relations field to reexamine our work in building a shared society and effectively combating antisemitism. Demographic changes and gentrification throughout America and globally are generating intergroup tensions and resentment. Such resentment, combined with decades of unresolved racial and religious conflict, have produced a pronounced uptick in hate, violence and antisemitic acts. We can no longer rely on fond memories of civil rights era collaboration to maintain peaceful relations. What do our intergroup alliances really look like? What are the best ways of both building good will and opposing bigotry in today’s world? What are Some of the evolving best practices in meeting these challenges?Speakers: Rabbi Bob Kaplan, JCRC New York; Rabbi Shais Rishon, Kehilat Ir Chadash
12:00 PM – 1:00 PM
1:15 PM – 2:00 PM
Workshop Sessions Repeated (5)
2:30 PM – 3:15 PM
Current Events in Israel: Unpacking the Headlines
Join policy and academic experts as they discuss recent events in Israel: A deadlocked political process bringing Israel to an unprecedented third election in one year, calls for West Bank annexation, security threats from the north and south, a still yet to be released Trump administration peace plan and, most recently, elevated tensions with Tehran following the death of Quds Force Commander Qassem Suleimani.
Panelists: Dr. Michael Koplow, Policy Director, Israel Policy Forum; Dr. Kenneth W. Stein, Founding Director, Institute for the Study of Modern Israel, Emory University; Dr. Tamara Cofman Wittes, Senior Fellow, Center for Mideast Policy, Brookings Institution
3:20 PM – 4:05 PM
Rebuilding the Black-Jewish Alliance to Fight For a Better Country
Hear from one of today’s courageous leaders, Representative Brenda Lawrence (D-MI), founder of the newly-created, bipartisan Congressional Caucus on Black-Jewish Relations. The Caucus aims to bring together politicians from both communities and both sides of the aisle to learn from each other and advocate for joint concerns. At this session, participants will learn about Representative Lawrence’s vision for rebuilding trust, relationships, and alliances to fight for justice and against antisemitism. She will also discuss ways to support and amplify this initiative locally.
Speakers: Representative Brenda Lawrence, (D-MI); Rabbi Asher Lopatin, Jewish Community Relations Council/AJC
4:10 PM – 5:00 PM
4:30 PM – 6:00 PM
Dinner on Own
8:00 – 10:00 PM
Delegate Assembly and Resolutions
Tuesday, February 11
8:30 AM – 9:15 AM
The Power of Faith Voices
Interfaith coalitions have an important role to play in the American policy landscape. At the national level, JCPA partners with Washington based faith organizations in common cause on priority issues including immigration, social safety net, criminal justice reform and fighting racism, and more. In this session, attendees will hear from faith leaders on current legislative and advocacy priorities.
Speakers: Katie Adams, United Church of Christ; Aundreia Alexander, National Council of Churches; Simone Campbell, NETWORK Lobby for Catholic Social Justice; Amelia Kegan, Friends Committee on National Legislation; Martin Shupack, Church World Service
9:15 AM – 10:00 AM
Elevating Jewish Values on Poverty and Human Needs
Under the community relations umbrella, Jewish organizations come together to elevate the Jewish voice on policy concerns that reflect our values of justice and fairness. Hear from Jewish organizations advocating for the most vulnerable, on issues such as poverty, federal budget, and food insecurity, and reproductive care and disability rights.
Speakers: Darcy Hirsh, JFNA and Network of Jewish Human Service Agencies; Dorian Karp, JWI; Liza Lieberman, Mazon; Jennifer Laszlo Mizrahi, Respectability
10:00 AM – 10:30 AM
Vision for a Jewish World
Eric Fingerhut, President and CEO, Jewish Federations of North America
10:30 AM – 11:45 AM
Antisemitism: Building a Roadmap
JCRC Delegation Hill Visits (Optional)