JCPA2019 Annual Conference: Recap

JCPA convened over 250 Jewish professionals and civic leaders February 9-12 in Washington D.C. for our JCPA2019 National Conference and 75th Anniversary Gala. Participants tackled today’s most challenging issues in a series of powerful plenaries and workshops, and left with the skills, training and network they need to be successful in their crucial community relations work nationwide. 75th Anniversary Celebration (click here for recap).

Programs and topics included:

  • A strategic path forward for community relations
  • A 4-part series on criminal justice reform
  • Workshops on anti-Semitism and countering BDS
  • Immigration reform and social safety net advocacy sessions.
  • Civic engagement training
  • Congressional luncheon on Capitol Hill
  • + more

JCPA2019 in the Press & Social Media:

Cheryl Fishbein
Chair, JCPA

David Bernstein
President/CEO, JCPA

Shelley Nicely Groff
Co-Chair JCPA2019 Conference

Karen Kasner
Co-Chair JCPA2019 Conference


Plenary: JCPA Launches a Path Forward for the Community Relations Network

This session launched two new independent studies, the JFNA/JCPA Blue Ribbon Task Force on Jewish Community Relations (BRTF) Report and The Reut Group’s “The New Frontiers of Community Relations” and “Strategic Framework for the Jewish Community Network field.” Together they provide a roadmap for the organized Jewish community, recommending significant investment in augmenting the community relations field’s resources and capacity, as well as expanding the network at the national and local levels.

Moderator: Gidi Grinstein (Reut Group) Speakers: Vicki Zell & David T. Brown (BRTF Co-Chairs); Jeremy Burton (JCRC, Boston); Rep. Jamie Raskin (MD); Marissa Shorenstein, (AT&T)

Click here to watch video

To read an overview of the community relations reports, click here.

To read the JFNA/JCPA Blue Ribbon Task Force on Community Relations Report, click here.

To read the New Frontiers of Community Relations Conceptual Framework by Reut Group, click here.

Hear more about the reports in JewishWeekJTAWashington Jewish Week, and on JBS TV.

Screening: How Incarceration Impacts Children & Families
(Co-sponsored by the JCRC of Greater Washington)

The Conference opened with a special session and reception on Saturday evening. Attendees were moved by The Sentence (HBO Documentary Films) exploring the devastating consequences of mass incarceration and mandatory minimum drug sentencing through the story of Cindy Shank, a mother of three young children who received a 15-year sentence in federal prison for her tangential involvement in a Michigan drug ring years before.

We were honored to present Cindy in discussion with Chris Gordon (NBC); Glenn Ivey (Price Benowitz LLP); and Roy Waterman, JCPA’s Criminal Justice Reform Manager

 Click here to watch panel video

Plenary: Jewish Advocacy and Criminal Justice Reform

The session highlighted Jewish leaders who are working to reform the justice system through advocacy and innovative programming. It also featured Valentino Dixon who was recently found innocent and released from prison after 27 years in prison. Watch to learn what you can do at the national, state, and local level to help those who have been unfairly impacted in the system.

Performance: Paine the Poet Moderator: Paul Fishman (Former US Attorney for District of NJ) Speakers: Valentino Dixon; Marc Howard (Georgetown University); Robin Steinberg (The Bail Project)

Click here to watch video

Workshop: Jumpstart Your Criminal Justice Advocacy (Part 1)

National experts discussed solutions and best practices for how to engage your local community in helping those who have been directly impacted by the justice system as well as how to remain centered in dignity and compassion in this work.

Moderator: Roy Waterman (JCPA) Speakers: Shae Harris (D.C. Deputy Mayor’s Office for Public Safety and Justice); Bridgette Simpson (BRIJECTS); LaTonya Tate (Fresh Start Reentry Program).

Click here to watch video

Workshop: Jumpstart Your Criminal Justice Advocacy (Part 2)

Learn directly from your peers in the Jewish community about effective strategies, best practices, and tools you need to jumpstart your JCRC criminal justice reform engagement.

Moderator: Roy Waterman (JCPA) Speakers: Jessica Cohen (CRC of the Jewish Federation of Cleveland; Allison Grossman ( Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism); Ariel Levinson-Waldman (Tzedek DC)

Click here to watch video

Featured Programs

NCJW’s Nancy Kaufman Receives JCPA Albert Chernin Award 

Lois Frank, JCRC Atlanta VP, and former JCPA Chair presented the JCPA Albert D. Chernin Award to Nancy K. Kaufman, CEO of National Council of Jewish Women (NCJW).

Named after JCPA’s Executive Vice Chair Emeritus Albert D. Chernin, the Award is given to Jewish leaders whose life work best exemplifies a commitment to freedom and the protection of the U.S. Bill of Rights. Past recipients include Senator Ronald Wyden, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Rabbi David Saperstein, Professor Lawrence Tribe, and Alan Dershowitz. This year we are honored to present the Award to Nancy K. Kaufman.

Click here to read the press release
Click here to watch video

Plenary: When Hate Goes Mainstream

The panel discussion explored traditional and new tools to counter hate through the courts, policymaking, and coalitions.

Moderator: Doron Ezickson (ADL – Anti-Defamation League)
Speakers: Cynthia Deitle (Matthew Shepard Foundation); Amy Spitalnick (Integrity First for America)

Click here to watch video

Plenary: Dispatch from the Border

Hear from people working on the ground with asylum seekers, discussing border facts and reality, particularly around enforcement, criminalization, and militarization.

Moderator: Mark Hetfield (HIAS) Speakers: Michelle Brane (Women’s Refugee Commission); Chiara Cardoletti-Carol (UNHCR); Scott Shuchart (Former Senior Advisor, DHS)

Click here to watch video

Plenary: Post Women’s March–Where Do We Go From Here

The outlook for 2019 on hunger, health care, Medicaid, and reproductive health coverage—and how local communities can get involved.

Moderator: Nancy Kaufman, (National Council of Jewish Women)
: April Baskin (Jewish Social Round Table, Women’s March Steering Committee); Ann Lewis (Democratic Majority for Israel); Abby Stein (Columbia University, Women’s March Steering Committee)

[This session was off-the-record]

Plenary: Waging Democracy

Our political system – like many liberal democracies around the world – is experiencing a turbulent moment. With civic engagement and active participation, activists can protect and strengthen our democracy. Hear from national experts and coalition partners about priorities of the 116th Congress.

Moderator: Michael Fromm (JCPA First Vice Chair); Presenters: Vanita Gupta (The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights); Benjamin Wittes (The Brookings Institution)

[This session was off-the-record]

Workshop: Immigration–How Local Jewish Communities Can Get Involved

The workshop explored actions communities can take to advocate alongside immigrants, refugees, and asylum seekers what we can expect from Congress and the Administration

Moderator: Naomi Steinberg (HIAS) Speakers: Hannah Graf Evans (Interfaith Immigration Coalition); Michael Hopkins (Jewish Family Service of SD); Rabbi Jonathan Roos (Temple Sinai)

Click here to watch video

Workshop: Civic Engagement Training

The session focused on how to develop and deploy public awareness efforts, issue advocacy and electoral programs to help create a more just and pluralistic society.

Trainer: Laurie Moskowitz (CAMPAIGNLORE Consulting) Speakers: Jeremy Burton (JCRC Greater Boston); Diane Fisher (Jewish Federation of Silicon Valley; and Batya Glazer, JCRC of Philadelphia

Click here to watch video

Workshop: The Social Safety Net

The outlook for 2019 on hunger, health care, Medicaid, and reproductive health coverage—and how local communities can get involved.

Moderator: Reuben Rotman (Network of Jewish Human Service Agencies) Speakers: Josh Protas (MAZON); Jody Rabhan (NCJW); Jonathan S. Westin (JFNA)

Click here to watch video

Panel: A Conversation with JCPA CEOs Past and Present

Moderator: JCPA Chair Cheryl Fishbein Speakers: JCPA President & CEO David Bernstein, and former JCPA CEOs Rabbi Steve Gutow and Lawrence Rubin

Click here to watch video

Countering Anti-Semitism and Delegizimation of Israel

Workshop: Exploring Anti-Semitism/Anti-Zionism on Campus

What are the tools and strategies to best counter BDS and anti-Semitism on campus?

Moderator: William Daroff (JFNA) Speakers: Emily Briskman (Jewish United Front); Alyza Lewin (Brandeis Center for Human Rights Under Law); Geri Palast (Israel Action Network)

Click here to watch video

Workshop: How Can We Spread The Word About People-to-People work between Israelis and Palestinians?

Moderator: Elana Kahn (JCRC Milwaukee Jewish Federation)
Speakers: Shadi Abu Awwad (Roots); Kenneth Bob (Project Rozana); Rav Hanan Schlesinger (Roots)

Click here to watch video

JCPA 75th Anniversary Celebration

The 75th Anniversary Gala celebrated the success and impact of the community relations field and honored JCPA’s past Chairs and CEOs, and Founding Organizations.
Click to watch Tribute to Past Chairs & CEOs
Click for full Gala recap & photos
Click below to read our story & timeline booklet

JCPA Delegates Assembly: 2019 Resolutions

The Conference Resolution session voted to adopt four new resolutions (links below) that are now policy for the community relations field.

Resolution Condemning the Genocide of the Rohingya People
denounces  the genocide being perpetrated against the Rohingya people calls on the U.S. government and the international community to take immediate action.

Resolution on Holocaust and Genocide Education
calls for the Jewish community to support federal legislation that strongly encourages Holocaust and genocide education and at the state level, to advocate for mandatory Holocaust and genocide education..

Amendment to the 2010 Civility Resolution
This amends the 2010 Civility Resolution, which urges American Jews and the broader American society to practice civility in all our affairs, to include a call for civil and honest discourse in the American Jewish-Israeli conversation on sensitive topics.

Amendment to the 2014 Minimum Wage Resolution
Issued from the floor of the Delegates Assembly, this amendment revises the 2014 Minimum Wage Resolution to update the statistics and call for a $15 minimum wage.

Congressional Luncheon

At the close of every JCPA annual conference, participants head to Capitol Hill to meet with members of U.S. Congress. This year we had the honor and pleasure of speaking to and hearing from Congressmen Ted Deutch, Max Rose, Eliot Engel, Jamie Raskin about several priority issues to the community relations field such as criminal justice reform, immigration, Israel, religious liberty, securing the safety net, and civic engagement.

Photos by Risdon Photo