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2005 Annual Report - PDF - PDF by jcpainfo

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									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

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

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

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
and is a partner of, 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
  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

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
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.

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