April 2006 To: Friends of JCPA From: Steve Gutow, Executive Director Re: 2005 Year End report (July – December) The enclosed reports have been compiled by JCPA staff to summarize the stunning spectrum of activities that the JCPA was engaged in during 2005. They range from coordinating responses to anti-Semitism, divestment, disengagement, and anti-Israel activities, to advancing the Jewish community’s social justice agenda and mobilizing the Jewish community to speak out against genocide in Darfur. Our efforts are possible only because of the agencies and supporters that sustain the JCPA. Thus, while reading the materials provided by our dedicated staff, I hope you recognize your part in every venture. In the end, JCPA’s work on behalf of the Jewish community is nothing more, and nothing less, than your work. For the privilege of participating with you in this challenging moment of Jewish history, the lay and professional leadership of the JCPA is most grateful. For more details on any of these reports, please visit our ever-improving website. All JCPA resolutions, press releases, Middle East Briefings, Confronting Poverty weekly reports, legislative alerts and statements can be found at www.jewishpublicaffairs.org. The entire professional staff of the Jewish Council for Public Affairs contributed to this report: Steve Gutow, Executive Director Martin J. Raffel, Senior Associate Executive Director Ethan Felson, Associate Executive Director Andi Milens, Assistant Executive Director Rachel Lerner, Director, UJC/JCPA Israel Advocacy Initiative Hadar Susskind, Washington Director Sarina Fogel, Program Associate Alyson Grant, Program Associate Sigurd Neubauer, Program Associate Jesse Greenberg, UJC/JCPA Israel Advocacy Initiative Advocacy Outreach Coordinator Max Mulcahy, Public Policy Fellow JCPA Administrative Staff Haya Luftig, Director of Administration Barbara Malament, Executive Assistant Simcha Shapiro, Comptroller Teddy Wallace, Office Manager JCPA Executive Director Steve Gutow The work of the JCPA is the work of an excellent professional staff and an equally excellent and involved lay leadership. The year-end review of JCPA activities coincides with the initial five months of my tenure. The period has been eventful, to say the least. The last months of Marie Abrams’ term as chair have been a whirlwind of activity. Lois Frank of Atlanta was chosen to be chair for 2006 and 2007 from amongst a plethora of capable leaders who together will lead the organization in the coming years. The JCPA has addressed significant political and administrative issues over the course of the year, while continuing to manage all of the regular issues that make the JCPA all that it is. The work of the lay leadership and the staff on these matters has been exemplary, and the value of our work to the federation system has been quite significant. All of the staff of the JCPA, led by the management team of Martin Raffel, Ethan Felson, Andi Milens, Hadar Susskind and Rachel Lerner, have had outstanding years as they have fulfilled their significant responsibilities regarding the workings of the JCPA. Four issues have dominated the JCPA scene: disengagement of Israel from the Gaza, the efforts to prevent various Protestant denominations from divesting their pension funds of investments in companies that do business with Israel, coordination of and assistance with the response to Hurricanes Katrina, Rita and Wilma, and mobilizing the Jewish community to work toward ending the genocide in Darfur. The reports that follow this report will discuss in-depth the remarkable work done in trying to come up with solutions to the problems the community is facing around these issues. Yet, the work on these issues was just the tip of a rather large iceberg. Consistent effort in the areas of Israel advocacy, Equal Opportunity and Social Justice, Jewish Security and The Bill of Rights, and Israel and Other International Concerns and a host of administrative issues filled out the rest of the JCPA effort. Transitioning to a new executive, finding new office space, hiring a director of the JCPA Washington office as well as planning the October meetings, the leadership mission to Israel, and the 2006 Plenum also occupied much of the time of the staff during this period. Probably most exciting was the JCPA’s decision to focus its future energy on recruiting thousands of new Jewish activists, involving new young leaders and diversifying its funding sources in the years ahead. There is an excitement around the JCPA as it engages its lay and professional leadership in the hard work of helping American Jewry be all that it can be in its relations with other groups that make up the political mosaic of the American political landscape. More on that is forthcoming. In the meantime, as you read these reports, I know you will join me in taking pride in the work of the JCPA. Community Consulting Staff: Andi Milens Consulting with communities of all sizes remains a high priority for the JCPA. Monthly calls for CRC directors provide the field with important information on issues such as divestment; developments in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the peace process; developments following Ariel Sharon’s stroke; local and national anti-Israel activities; and federal legislative issues. JCPA’s professional staff continue to provide high quality consulting services to communities on issues ranging from Israel advocacy and interfaith relations to domestic legislative advocacy to organizational structure. The JCPA continues to touch close to 100 communities ranging from small to large and including Federations that are not member agencies of the JCPA. Communities continue to seek JCPA’s expertise on reconfiguring or beginning a new community relations committee. JCPA staff traveled to 20 communities during the second half of 2005 and met in-person with additional communities in New York and at the UJC General Assembly. Hurricane Katrina Staff: Andi Milens In the hours after Hurricane Katrina’s devastation of Louisiana and Mississippi became clear, the JCPA, working closely with UJC, sprang into action, spearheading national efforts and supporting local Jewish officials on the ground in the crisis area. By ensuring that the Jewish community’s local community relations and social service agencies, national agencies and religious movements, and local community leaders were connected and working together, the specific needs of evacuees and the communities helping them were met. Working closely with the UJC Disaster Task Force, the JCPA represented the Jewish community to the national voluntary agency response network. The JCPA served as the conduit of information between the national response network and local Jewish communities, authoring a daily memorandum under the letterhead of seven national Jewish agencies. The JCPA, in its role as convener, brought together the Orthodox, Conservative, Reform, Reconstructionist and Chabad movements to connect them to nationally-coordinated relief efforts. The efforts of the JCPA, working in concert with national and local Jewish agencies, enabled thousands of victims of Hurricane Katrina, Jews and non-Jews alike, to receive immediate emergency assistance and to begin to rebuild their lives. The impact of Hurricane Katrina on New Orleans and the Gulf Coast and the tremendous mobilization of the Jewish community led to the passage of two related resolutions at the 2006 Plenum – one addressing redevelopment and rebuilding issues, the other addressing the overall issues of poverty and race that became so abundantly clear. Task Force on Equal Opportunity and Social Justice Chairs: Donna Beyer, Tucson and Ruth Cole, Hadassah/Northern New Jersey Staff: Andi Milens Confronting Poverty The Task Force on Equal Opportunity and Social Justice (EOSJ) continues to focus the bulk of its energy on JCPA’s Confronting Poverty Initiative, which just concluded its second year. The Confronting Poverty weekly briefing, distributed to 2,200 people, covered a variety of topics including: the federal budget; hunger and homelessness; Supplemental Security Income for refugees; the minimum wage; Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF); the Earned Income Tax Credit; health care coverage and Medicaid; the Violence Against Women Act; housing; food stamps; low-income heating assistance; and the Family and Medical Leave Act. JCPA has received a great deal of positive feedback on Confronting Poverty, which is further distributed by many communities and organizations. JCPA has consulted with WorldManna.org and is a partner of SocialAction.com, which frequently features Confronting Poverty and other EOSJ issues on its website. Benefit Bank The Benefit Bank, a project begun in early 2005 in partnership with the National Council of Churches and Solutions for Progress and funded by a federal appropriation, continued its work in Washington, D.C., Baltimore and Philadelphia. The Benefit Bank, based on internet software that helps low- and moderate-income individuals and families apply for a range of tax and public benefits, including the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), Food Stamps and the Low Income Heating Assistance Program (LIHEAP), is expected to improve access to key federal non-TANF programs serving low-income families, including the Food Stamp program, childcare subsidies through the Child Care Development Block Grant, LIHEAP, Sections 8 and 202 housing, as well as Head Start, WIC and welfare. According to Solutions for Progress, there are $30 billion available for low-income families and individuals that are not being accessed. The Benefit Bank connects those families and individuals to programs for which they are eligible. Progress on the Benefit Bank is furthest along in Philadelphia, where funding provided through the JCPA enabled the Philadelphia JCRC to hire an outreach coordinator to work with agencies that will identify the client base. Clients will go to locations affiliated with the Benefit Bank to, with the help of a case worker or volunteer, input their information and learn about the programs for which they are eligible. The Baltimore Jewish Council is developing its plan for outreach in Baltimore, and in Washington, D.C. the effort is being coordinated through the National Council of Churches. Making Health Care Work for All Campaign The JCPA was selected as a national partner in the Making Health Care Work for All campaign. The campaign affirms the 2004 recommendations of the Institute of Medicine, requesting that the federal government develop a strategy to achieve universal health care coverage by 2010. The Making Health Care Work for All campaign seeks to maximize the voices advocating for affordable health care for all through education and empowering local, state and national health care justice organizations to effectively engage their members, allies and the public-at-large in the working group’s progress. Task Force on Israel and Other International Concerns Chairs: Lois Frank, Atlanta and Chuck Kriser, Chicago Staff: Martin Raffel The JCPA provided analysis and guidance to the field following Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s serious stroke, through interpretive materials on how his absence from the Israeli political stage affected his newly-formed Kadima Party and the Israeli elections in March 2006. The JCPA and IAI (see below) provided background materials, talking points, an dmodel op-ed pieces related to the participation of Hamas in the Palestinian parliamentary elections held in January 2006. The JCPA and the community relations field have fought for years for international recognition of the Magen David Adom and its inclusion into the Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies. The efforts began to bear fruit in the second half of 2005 as the signatory states of the 1949 Geneva Conventions approved creation of a Third Protocol that would pave the way for MDA recognition and membership in the movement. The field’s advocacy with certain key countries provided the necessary support for this achievement. The final step toward MDA’s acceptance is expected to take place in the first half of 2006. The JCPA guided the field’s response to Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s call for Israel to be “wiped off the map” and his Holocaust denial statements. Congressional resolutions were passed and statements condemning the Iranian leader came in from national and local coalition partners in the general community, largely generated through the field’s community relations initiatives. The JCPA continued to urge a robust international effort to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons capability. The JCPA intensified its efforts – in partnership with the American Jewish World Service and within the broad interfaith Save Darfur Coalition – to mobilize the Jewish community’s response to the genocide taking place in the Darfur region of the Sudan. The JCPA took a leadership role in the September 21, 2005 “National Day of Action for Darfur” in Washington, D.C. in which coalition representatives met with members of Congress and senior administration representatives. In October 2050, a national Congressional call-in day was organized to encourage support for “The Darfur Peace and Accountability Act.” In late 2005, plans were coming together for a massive campaign to collect one million postcards urging President Bush to use the power of his office to organize a multinational force to stop the genocide. A large public rally was also being planned for April 30, 2006. The JCPA assist the coalition “Justice for Jews from Arab Countries” in developing a community-based support system through the federations and CRCs. This initiative is intended to raise awareness about the 850,000 Jewish refugees from the Arab world and Iran. The global problem of human trafficking also became a priority issue for the JCPA and the field. UJC/JCPA Israel Advocacy Initiative Chairs: Michael Bohnen, Boston and Conrad Giles, Detroit Staff: Rachel Lerner In the second half of 2005, the UJC/JCPA Israel Advocacy Initiative (IAI), which seeks to enhance the capacity of federations and CRCs to meet Israel advocacy challenges in their local communities within a nationally-coordinated and strategic framework, continue to achieve important success. The IAI: Organized two UJC/JCPA Israel Institute programs in Israel -- a Mainline Protestant Leaders Institute in September and a Hispanic-American Leaders Institute in December. Commissioned Professor Ken Goldstein to conduct in-depth research into the attitudes of Hispanic-Americans toward Israel, the Palestinians and the Middle East – the results of which were reported at the 2006 JCPA Plenum; a second seminar was held to discuss the implications of new research for community-based advocacy conducted by other groups such as Brand Israel and The Israel Project. Continued the America’s Voices program, taking radio talk show hosts to Israel for a week of live broadcasting from a studio in Jerusalem. Worked with the JCRC of Washington, D.C., the Jewish Federation of Greater Washington, the Washington office of the American Jewish Committee and other national organizations to assist in coordination of the community’s response to the Palestine Solidarity Conference at Georgetown University Worked with national agencies to combat an academic boycott movement against Israel within the Association of American University Professors. Continue coordination of a national campaign including six national Jewish agencies and more than 100 local communities to fight anti-Israel divestment in Protestant churches, resulting in hundreds of meetings with church leaders. Kept communities informed on the ever-changing events in Israel and the Middle East through a steady stream of analysis by hosting national “Israel Perspectives” conference calls, and providing background materials. Enhanced community activist advocacy efforts with influentials and the media through on- going development of talking points and model op-ed pieces analyzing events in Israel and the Middle East. Task Force on Jewish Security and the Bill of Rights Chairs: David Bohm, St. Louis and David Luchins, Orthodox Union Staff: Ethan Felson Interfaith -- Mainline Protestants Utilizing a multipart strategy, the JCPA has helped the community relations field respond to divestment efforts in Mainline Protestant Churches. As a result, more than 100 local communities are reaching out to interfaith partners. Supported by the UJC/JCPA Israel Advocacy Initiative, these efforts included research, policy development, on site and conference call consultations, talking points and other educational materials and a very successful Israel Institute for Mainline Protestant Leaders. In all these efforts, the JCPA has continued to work in partnership with our national member agencies including the American Jewish Committee, American Jewish Congress, Anti-Defamation League and the Reform, Conservative, and Orthodox movements. In 2005: The Episcopal Church removed anti-Israel divestment as an option from its socially responsible investing process. The Lutheran church (ELCA) rejected a divestment resolution. The United Church of Christ (UCC) adopted a policy that included an expression of support for divestment, but not a process to implement it. Its leaders specifically stated that no such process is intended. The Methodist Church (UMC) has not taken any steps regarding anti-Israel divestment. The Presbyterian Church (PCUSA) remains the only American church with a process that includes divestment. This is not the only controversial stand of the PCUSA, as the JCPA and Chicago JCRC once again responded to a church delegation that met with and offered praise to the terrorist group Hezbollah. Interfaith -- Evangelical Protestants Mindful of the evolving relationships between the American Jewish community and Evangelical Christians, the task force heard from several speakers at task force meetings and on conference calls. Consultations were provided to several communities to help to navigate issues related to mobilizing Evangelical Christian support for Israel, while setting boundaries including the issue of proselytization. Interfaith -- Catholic Recognizing the significance of the legacy of Pope John Paul II, the JCPA helped the community relations field respond to his passing by providing action recommendations, sample statements and ads for local Catholic papers, background on the Pope, and contact information for local dioceses. Most communities reported receiving at least one press call for which they used the JCPA materials and said they used the materials to send communications. Fifteen communities used the JCPA sample ad, many of whom were told they were the first to place such an ad. Across the board, communities said the local Catholic community responded very favorably to these efforts. Separation of Religion and State The Task Force concluded a year-long study of the separation of religion and state. Prior consultations on Religion and Politics, Religion and Public Education, and Government Funding of Religious Institutions were capped with a session at the 2005 Plenum moderated by journalist Frank Sesno and four outstanding experts on religion and state. At the Plenum, the JCPA passed a comprehensive policy on separation of religion and state, the first broad study and statement on the topic in more than thirty years. The JCPA also studied the role of the federal judiciary, threats to the independence of the judicial branch, and the shifting ideologies of the courts. These programs were supported by the Justice Initiative (see below). The JCPA also passed policy opposing court stripping-legislation and the “Jones Bill” which would remove the important restrictions against houses of worship intervening in electoral campaigns. The JCPA policy on therapeutic cloning research including stem cell research was modified to clarify the scientific content of this timely issue. Civil Rights and Individual Liberties The JCPA continued to play an active role in the debate about Homeland Security and Civil Liberties, penning a letter to Congress regarding the renewal of the USA PATRIOT Act. The letter addressed Section 215, the so-called “library records” provision, ‘sneak and peak’ searches, and other elements of the act where JCPA policy has called for additional judicial oversight or modifications to standards or practices. In preparation for the 2006 JCPA Plenum, the task force studied the Voting Rights Act, Nonprofit Reform, and legislation that would restrict the use of torture by United States forces. Justice Initiative With the support of a major grant from the Open Society Institute, the JCPA has augmented the resources of the community relations field on matters related to our judiciary and its role protecting individual liberties. Plenum forums addressed topics including the role of the judiciary, the federal marriage amendment, church-state separation, and related topics. A policy on court-stripping legislation was developed. A consultation sponsored by the Initiative was held in conjunction with the June 2005 Task Force and Board of Directors meetings. Three panels explored the evolving role and uses of science in the public affairs arena, including the intersection of science with economics, the environment, biomedical ethics, public education, and personal faith. Micro-grants were given to five communities to foster local programming on the role of our courts, social justice, responding to religious extremists in the political arena, and immigration reform. The communities receiving grants were Baltimore, Cleveland, Kansas City, Pittsburgh, and Tucson. Legal Affairs The JCPA joined several Supreme and Circuit Court briefs on cases involving: Religious liberties, including the constitutionality of the Religious Land Use and Incarcerated Persons Act and the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (Gonzales v. O Centro Espirita Beneficiente Uniao do Vegetal, et al.) Juvenile Death Penalty (Roper v Simmons) Public Displays of the Ten Commandments (Van Orden v Perry, McCreary Country v ACLU) Intelligent Design (Kitzmiller v Dover)- - drafted by the Jewish Social Policy Action Network (JSPAN) based in Philadelphia. Washington Office Staff: Hadar Susskind The activities of the JCPA Washington office are coordinated closely with the JCPA’s three task forces. In 2005 the Washington staff continued to monitor Congressional actions on issues of interest to the Jewish community, working in coordination with JCPA’s national member agencies and communities, engaging interfaith partners and participating in coalition efforts with a diverse array of issue-oriented advocacy organizations. The Washington office has advanced the JCPA agenda by activities that include but are not limited to: Working to secure adequate funding for critical human needs programs in the federal budget. Supporting a strong policy of neither dealing with nor providing assistance to a Palestinian Authority run by Hamas representatives or whose policies are guided by Hamas. Advocating for Comprehensive Immigration Reform legislation that would address national security concerns while also offering an economically sound and morally just approach to difficult immigration questions. Assisting in the mobilization of the Jewish community to action on the crisis of genocide in Darfur. The JCPA has continued its role as convener of the Washington Representatives of Jewish organizations as part of ongoing efforts to help agencies stay in contact and share information on organizational agenda items. JCPA Washington staff organizes or participates in interactions with embassies and representatives of international agencies, such as the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and the Organization of American States (OAS). The Washington office also acts as liaison for the JCPA to the White House and other Executive Branch agencies and attends meetings and conferences on the agency’s behalf. The Washington office also assisted several communities with missions to Washington, connecting them with experts, members of Congress, administration officials and the like. The Washington staff continue to provide technical assistance to communities and assist national agency partners with programs and planning for national gatherings.
Pages to are hidden for
"2005 Annual Report - PDF - PDF"Please download to view full document