January 7, 2020


JCPA was proud to be a cosponsor of the "No Hate, No Fear" Solidarity March, organized by the JCRC of New York, UJA-Federation of New York, NY Board of Rabbis, ADL, and AJC Global. The day was a meaningful and important show of unity to rally against growing antisemitic hate crimes and violence. More than 25,000 people from across the U.S. attended. Antisemitism must to be included in the fight against hate, bigotry and racism by our entire societynot just the Jewish community. At this march, we stood together, Jews and non-Jews, minority and civic leaders, to say no to hate and no to fear. Click here to watch the live stream.

Op-Eds from the Community Relations Field


JCPA Led Interfaith Amicus Brief in Support of the U.S. Refugee Resettlement Program — JCPA filed an amicus brief with 28 interfaith partners in a lawsuit challenging an Executive Order permitting state governors and county executives to veto refugee resettlement within their borders. The brief supports a motion for preliminary injunction, which would halt the Executive Order’s implementation while the case proceeds. The Executive Order would force the nine U.S. resettlement agencies, including HIAS to obtain written consent from the states and localities in which they plan to resettle refugees. Without that consent, resettlement will cease, preventing refugees from reuniting with friends and family, and undermining resettlement infrastructure. The lawsuit was filed by HIAS, Church World Service, and Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service. Click here for JCPA's press release.

JCPA Filed a Lawsuit Challenging Public Charge Rule JCPA filed a lawsuit with co-plantiff JCRC of Greater Washington challenging the Department of Homeland Security's new rule penalizing low-income immigrants and greatly expanding the criteria for determining who is likely to become a "public charge," which is a ground for denying a visa or green card. Federal courts temporarily blocked the rule, but legal immigrants are already choosing between risking their legal status and meeting their family’s basic needs. The Justice Department will file motions to dismiss, to which JCPA will respond, in early February. JCPA thanks Harvey Reiter and his law firm, Stinson LLP, for their pro bono representation. Click here to read JCPA's complaint.

JCPA Submitted Comments Opposing Proposed Rules that Would Harm the Most Vulnerable:

  • The Health and Human Services Department (HHS) Proposed Rule Overturning Nondiscrimination Protections would allow HHS grant recipients to discriminate on the basis of religion, sex, gender identity, and sexual orientation across a range of important programs—such as foster and adoption services, health care, and social service programs for food, shelter, elder care, and violence prevention—that assist millions of vulnerable people. Click here to read the full comment.
  • The Proposed Rule on Citizenship and Immigration Fee Schedule Changes would significantly increase fees on legal immigrants for naturalization, work authorization, and permanent residence applications, and, for the first time, impose application fees on asylum seekers. It would also eliminate fee waivers for those unable to pay. If enacted, these barriers will undermine access to legal status for millions of qualified immigrants. Click here to read the full comment.

JCPA joined The Jewish Federations of North America and the Network of Jewish Human Service Agencies in submitting comments on three poverty-related proposals:

  • The Proposed Rule on SNAP Standardization of State Heating and Cooling Standard Utility Allowances would cut SNAP (formerly "food stamps") benefits by $4.5 billion over five years, exacerbating food insecurity for one in five SNAP households and forcing many low-income people to choose between paying for food or utilities. Click here to read the full comment.
  • The Proposed Rule on Categorical Eligibility in SNAP would reduce states’ flexibility in administering SNAP, making it more difficult for millions of hungry Americans to access the food through the program and leaving 3.1 million SNAP recipients, including an estimated 1 million children, at risk of hunger. Click here to read the full comment.
  • The Proposal to Change the Poverty Threshold Calculation would lower the poverty threshold used to determine eligibility for Health and Human Services (HHS) programs like Medicaid, Medicare, SNAP, and subsidized school meals, ultimately reducing or eliminating assistance for millions of low- and moderate-income Americans. Click here to read the full comment.

JCPA Signed "Faithful Democracy 2020: Restoring the Voters Covenant" —  The Faithful Democracy Coalition, of which JCPA is a member, released a comprehensive platform,"Faithful Democracy: Restoring the Voters Covenant," to coincide with the one-year-out mark until the 2020 elections. The Covenant outlines concerns about campaigns and voting rights, as well as the reforms needed to ensure free and fair elections. Click here to read the Covenant.


2019 Israel Mission Recap — JCPA’s December Leadership Mission to Israel brought a 30-person delegation of JCPA board members, JCRC professionals, emerging leaders, and elected officials on a fact-finding trip. The group held more than 30 meetings with representatives from all segments of Israeli society to take the temperature of peace efforts by Israeli’s and Palestinians, civil society, pluralism within the Jewish communities and with other faith and ethnic leaders, and inclusivity. Through this trip, the community relations field can better translate what is happening in Israel for the wider non-Jewish community with whom we work, and educate our local and national boards and communities on current events.


Reflections from Our Mission Participants:

JCRC Chairs Initiative — JCPA launched the 2019-2020 Chairs Initiative with a three-part virtual retreat attended by 25 JCRC Chairs from around the country. The Chairs Initiative aims to provide Chairs with the support and network needed to build a strong relationship between professionals and lay leaders and with JCPA. JCPA recognizes and values the important role that JCRC Chairs play with professionals and other lay leadership in setting the local agenda. Chairs provide vision and leadership, advocate for, and protect the JCRCs' resources and actions, and handle challenges—which is especially critical during this period of hyper-polarization. If you are a JCRC Chair and would like to participate in the next session, please contact Haya Luftig at


Action Alert: Counting Down to JUST MERCY’s Opening Weekend! The nationwide release of JUST MERCY is now only a few days away. JCPA staff had the opportunity to attend an advanced screening, and we encourage you and your community to see JUST MERCY together and have a conversation about how criminal justice impacts your communities and how you can take action to address systemic issues of injustice, poverty, and racism. Spread the word across social media using the toolkit at and click here sign up to bring your community to see the film, in theaters January 10.

JCPA and Auburn Seminary Join Forces on Criminal Justice Reform — The Auburn Seminary's Ending Mass Incarceration Network and JCPA have partnered to offer bimonthly briefings on federal criminal justice legislation and advocacy initiatives, along with several sessions that will feature expert speakers who will delve deeper into specific areas of criminal justice reform. The new initiative launched in November with a first legislative briefing featuring Tammy Gilden, JCPA Senior Policy Associate, and Bruce Turnbull, Chair of the JCPA Criminal Justice Reform Initiative.

JCPA2020 National Conference

Register for the JCPA2020 National Conference (February 8-11)! Register today for JCPA's upcoming National Conference at the Omni Shoreham Hotel in Washington, D.C. The Delegates Assembly will be considering resolutions on the following topics: antisemitism, gun violence prevention, marijuana legalization, restorative justice, federal judicial nominations, and federal unions. Please contact your local JCRC to ensure that they provide their input by Wednesday, January 8. Click here to register.

Featured Speakers

Rep. Brenda Lawrence (D-MI)
Congressional Caucus on Black-Jewish Relations

Dr. Tal Becker
Senior Fellow, Shalom Hartman Institute
Israeli Legal Expert, Peace Negotiator

Dr. Deborah Lipstadt
Professor, Emory University
Antisemitism Here and Now

Rev. John Vaughn
Executive Director, Auburn Seminary
Cofounder, Ending Mass Incarceration Multi-Faith Advocacy Campaign

Evie Litwok
Founder, Suitcase Project

Rabbi Justus Baird
Courageous Leadership, Shalom Hartman Institute



New Yorkers are Invited to the Marlene Meyerson Manhattan JCC's Social Justice NY Film Festival (January 16-20) — The NY Social Justice Film Festival, cosponsored by JCPA and the JCRC of NY, will present impactful films that engage the community toward a more democratic, inclusive, and just society. Through films, special events, and conversations, the festival aims to inspire participants to reflect and take action in order to create a community of civic-minded individuals eager to make positive change in our society and beyond. Enter discount code JCPACINEMATTERS2020 for 20% off tickets. Click here for the full lineup. 

In Case You Missed It... Watch on our YouTube channel at your convenience.

Ambassador Dennis Ross and David Makovsky


How Israel’s Founding Leaders Shaped the Jewish State

Two of JCPA's most trusted advisors and renowned thought leaders on Israel and the Middle East share their insights on how Israel's past can inspire its present and future. Ambassador Dennis Ross and David Makovsky discuss their new book, “Be Strong and of Good Courage: How Israel's Most Important Leaders Shaped Its Destiny,” and present novel ideas that can be realistically implemented over time to ensure separation and preserve Israel’s character—the character that Israel’s founders fought for and that guided their actions.

Rabbi Menachim Creditor
Pearl and Ira Meyer Scholar-in-Residence
UJA-Federation of New York

Gun Violence Through a Jewish Lens

On October 27, 2018, a domestic terrorist murdered 11 Jews during Shabbat services at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh. This was both the worst antisemitic attack in America's history and the 12th shooting massacre at an American house of worship in three years. Too much blood has spilled, killing over 40,000 Americans every year. Rabbi Menachem Creditor, the founder of Rabbis Against Gun Violence, discusses gun violence through a Jewish textual lens and reflects on the particular Jewish experience of hatred in the context of a nationwide gun violence epidemic that violates both sanctuary and street.



Jewish Council for Public Affairs (JCPA), a network of 125 local Jewish community relations councils and 17 national Jewish agencies, advocates for a just and pluralistic America, Israel's quest for peace and security, and global human rights.

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