May 7, 2020

During the COVID-19 crisis, JCPA has been working around the clock to ensure the safety and health of the Jewish community by supporting our Jewish community relations councils (JCRCs) and national Jewish agencies on the frontlines of engagement with legislators and partners, increasing our educational webinar offerings, and intensifying our advocacy with diverse partners across our issue-based coalitions. 


JCPA Advances Emergency COVID-19 Policy to Help Those at Risk at Delegates Assembly Special Session on COVID-19 — JCPA convened a Delegates Assembly Special Session on COVID-19 to determine whether JCPA needed new policy to respond to critical issues raised by our intergroup coalition partners in response to COVID-19. More than 180 representatives from its member agencies attended. Participants heard from experts on elections and voting rights, immigration, prisons and jails, and the social safety net before breaking into working groups to discuss where JCPA had gaps in its policy. The Delegates Assembly determined that JCPA should adopt new policies at a voting session on May 8. JCPA will share the policies once adopted. To watch the Delegates Assembly presentations, click here.



Chinese Community Returns Solidarity: Donates Masks and Other PPE to Jewish Organizations – David Bernstein joined with the United Chinese Americans (UCA) for a drop off of thousands of donated surgical masks to the Jewish Social Service Agency of Greater Washington (pictured below). This and numerous other generous donations from Chinese American organizations came in the wake of a JCPA-led solidarity campaign that included national Jewish agencies, JCRCs, and Jewish federations expressing support for Chinese and Asian communities in America amid rising hate and discrimination. Our Chinese friends have shown incredible generosity in return: Chinese-American groups have sent thousands of much-needed protective items to Jewish social service agencies in the Washington, D.C., Boston, New York City, Cleveland, Buffalo, and San Francisco, and more is on the way. This is the power of the network in action. 


Elections and Voting Rights

Take Action: Urge Congress to Provide Critical Elections Funding in Response to COVID-19 — JCPA believes that voting is the foundation of our democracy, and we are increasing advocacy on elections and voting rights as a major priority of the community relations network. Our aim is to ensure safe, fair and accessible elections during and after the pandemic. It is imperative that Congress provide at least $4 billion in funding to states and counties to administer the 2020 elections during the COVID-19 crisis. Make your voice heard now as Congress negotiates the next coronavirus response package. Click here to take action.

Faithful Democracy Town Hall — As a member of the Faithful Democracy Coalition, a national interfaith coalition, JCPA cosponsored a town hall on how the faith community is ensuring the 2020 elections are safe and fair despite COVID-19 and what people of faith can do to help. Click here to watch.

May 19: Every Voice, Every Vote: The Reform Movement's 2020 Civic Engagement Campaign Virtual Town Hall — The Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism is hosting a program on how you can mobilize your community around the upcoming elections. Register here.

May 20: #VoteSafe Digital Lobby Day — JCPA is cosponsoring a National Council of Jewish Women and AEPhi Digital Lobby Day to urge federal lawmakers to provide $4 billion in state elections assistance. Join us for exciting programs, videos, a tweet storm, and a toolkit. Register here.

JCRC of St. Louis Raises Awareness of Voting Access Issues Amid COVID-19 — The JCRC of St Louis launched an effort to raise awareness of the need for greater voting access during this public health crisis. Missouri is among 17 states that require voters to provide an excuse for voting by absentee ballot. The Governor has already stated that COVID-19 is not considered a valid excuse. However, in Missouri, religious belief is a valid excuse. The JCRC brought together rabbis to issue a letter stating that it is their religious belief to preserve life and thus vote absentee. The letter was featured in JTADailyKos and Huffington Post

Criminal Justice Reform

Take Action: Address the Emergency Situation in Prison and Jails — COVID-19 has created a health and safety emergency in prison and jails around the country. To mitigate this crisis and ensure a strong Jewish voice in this effort, JCPA and the community relations network is advocating with Congress, producing webinars and action alerts, and joint programs with our partners. JCPA encourages you to urge your state officials to decarcerate prisons and ensure the safety of those working or remaining inside. Click here to take action.

A COVID-19 Emergency Virtual Town Hall — JCPA cosponsored a virtual town hall on May 7 in partnership with the Ending Mass Incarceration (EMI) national strategy team, Ebenezer Church, and the Auburn Seminary. Click here to watch the program.

Criminal Justice Webinar Series During COVID-19 — Click the links below to watch the videos.

JCPA and HIAS Send Letter to Congress Signed by Almost 200 Jewish Organizations on Protecting Asylum Seekers and Refugees During COVID-19 — JCPA and HIAS teamed up to organize a Jewish organizational sign-on letter urging legislators to ensure that our country’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic includes resettled refugees, Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) recipients, asylum seekers, and asylees. In addition, the letter also urges the Administration to restart the U.S. refugee resettlement program as soon as public health experts deem it safe and that it reverse recent policies that deny people access to our asylum system.

JCPA Highlights the Impact of COVID-19 on Women — Women are on the frontlines of the #COVID-19 response as they make-up the majority of health care workers and others most affected. Many face specific challenges during this period such as domestic violence and access to reproductive healthcare. In response to these concerns, JCPA supported actions from the National Council of Jewish Women (NCJW) and Jewish Women International (JWI) to amplify important actions during the pandemic response.



Webinar Series on Advocacy During the Pandemic — JCPA is producing a webinar series with high-level speakers on important issues that need attention during this pandemic period, such as criminal justice reform, immigration, voting rights, Israel, and human needs related to COVID-19. In Case You Missed It: To watch recordings of past webinars in this series, click here.

May 13 at 12:30 PM EDT — Democracy in Israel: An Analysis of the Current Political Situation

At the start of the pandemic, Israel was in the midst of elections. How Israel is handing the post-pandemic period? With a new unity government in place, what can we expect in the coming in year? Join us for a snapshot briefing on the current political situation in Israel. Featuring Michael Koplow, Israel Policy Forum and Tal Shalev, Walla! News. Cosponsored by JCPA, the Israel Action Network, JCRC of Greater Washington, and Israel Policy Forum. Click here to register.

May 14 at 3:00 PM EDT — Briefing Call on Jewish Community Advocacy During COVID-19

The webinar will focus on the Jewish community’s policy and advocacy response to the COVID-19 crisis related to increased food insecurity, evolving threats to the refugee and asylum systems, and the emergency in prisons and jails. Featuring Naomi Steinburg, HIAS, Tammy Gilden, JCPA, and Josh Protas, MAZON: A Jewish Response to Hunger. Click here to register.

May 20 at 2:00 PM EDT — Israel’s Race for the Cure: A Conversation on Public Health Policy, Testing, and Vaccine

After bringing new cases of COVID-19 to near zero, Israel is reopening its economy. What did Israel do right (or wrong) in managing the spread of the disease? Israeli institutions are also said to be on the cutting edge of developing both vaccines and anti-virals. What breakthroughs might we see in the months ahead? Featuring Dr. Yoram Weiss, Hadassah Ein Kerem Medical Center and Dr. Janice Weinman Shorenstein, Hadassah. Click here to register.

JCPA Launches a JCPA/JCRC Strategic Partnership Series on COVID-19's Impacts on Minority Communities — Every Tuesday in May, JCPA Is bringing together the JCRC network with leaders of other communities to learn firsthand how the pandemic has impacted their them and the role the Jewish community should play post-pandemic. What are their current priorities during this time? How can the Jewish community nationally and locally connect with their networks? Presenters include Claudia Ruiz, UnidosUS; Yen Marshall, Asian Pacific Islander American Public Affairs; Haipei Shue, United Chinese Americans (UCA); Wael Alzayat, Emgage; and Derrick Johnson, NAACP. The program is invite only. Please contact Haya Luftig at if you are interested in participating.

JCPA Briefs Local Communities on COVID-19 on Ways to Support Intergroup Partners — In April, Tammy Gilden, JCPA Senior Policy Associate, gave presentations on JCPA policy and advocacy issues and actions related to COVID-19 at the Jewish Federations of Miami and Seattle. JCPA staff is available to brief your community, please send us an email if you are interested. 



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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