Jewish Community Relations Councilof San Francisco, the Peninsula, Marin, Sonoma, Alameda and Contra Costa Counties


#Justice15 with JCPA

November 4, 2015
Posted by: Jeremy Russell, Communications Manager

JCRC staff joined in the Jewish Council for Public Affairs (JCPA) meeting in Washington, DC, last month. The nation’s largest gathering of Jewish community relations leaders, JCPA’s annual event brought representatives from numerous Jewish organizations together to generate an advocacy template. This year going under its new moniker as the “Jewish Community Town Hall,” the event’s overarching theme was “Our Goal is Justice,” and it was broadcast by participants on social media with the hashtag #Justice15.

Attendees included interfaith leaders, advocates, Jewish elected officials, state and local leaders, public policy experts, and community activists, all working together to provide guidance and form to the united voice of the organized Jewish community. Participants from the San Francisco-based JCRC included Executive Director Rabbi Doug Kahn, Associate Executive Director Abby Porth, East Bay PACE Director Ilana Kaufman, Community Engagement Manager Aimee Ellis, and Outreach and Engagement Coordinator Michael Benesch. JCRC Past President David Steirman also attended and moderated a discussion on “Income Inequality” with representatives from The Hamilton Project and 30 Point Strategies.

Another key session, “Continuing the Conversation: Defining and Differentiating,” delved into the nature and definition of anti-Semitism, and how to differentiate it from legitimate political discourse about Israel. Discussion was led by Rabbi Doug Kahn and Dr. Linda Maizels, JCPA’s director of Israel and international concerns, and included a review of the University of California regents controversial intolerance statement.

JCRC’s Ilana Kaufman contributed to a captivating dialogue about the “Jewish Role in Civil Rights Work in the 21st Century,” which was led by speakers from the Anti-Defamation League and Human Rights Campaign. Advancing civil rights and building a pluralistic and open American society has been a key priority for the Jewish community for more than 50 years, and we continue to confront some of the same challenges.

The movement to delegitimize Israel has made significant inroads, and a particularly pertinent session during the event was on the topic of “Innovative Solutions to Confront New Frontiers for BDS.” this session explored new core BDS strategies including the cultural boycott efforts and the co-opting of unions. Speakers included JCRC’s Aimee Ellis, alongside representatives from JLens and Creative Community for Peace.

As a result of discussions at #Justice15, JCPA adopted new policy resolutions on anti-Semitism, the Syrian refugee crisis, race relations, criminal justice reform, early childhood education, family and medical leave, and commemorating the Armenian genocide. “During the Jewish Community Town Hall, in addressing many of the key issues of our time, JCPA was at its best and most relevant,” said JCPA Board Chair Susan W. Turnbull.  

The next JCPA national Town Hall will be held in Cleveland in May 2016.

PHOTO: Ilana Kaufman speaking during the “Jewish Role in Civil Rights Work in the 21st Century” session on Monday, October 12, 2015, at JCPA's Jewish Community Town Hall.