JCPA convened over 500 Jewish professionals and civic lay leaders virtually April 25th and 26th for the JCPA2021 National Conference. Participants tackled today’s most challenging issues in a series of powerful plenaries and workshops, and left with the skills, training, and networks they need to be successful in their community relations work all across the country.


JCPA2021 Exhibit Materials

JCPA2021 Media Coverage

JCPA2021 Plenary Sessions

Resilience During COVID and The State of Black America: Pathways toward Racial Justice

Resilience During COVID
Speaker: Dr. Dean Bell, President & CEO, Spertus Institute

The State of Black America: Pathways toward Racial Justice
Hear from the leaders of Black organizations about the impact of COVID-19, the Black Lives Matter movement and their priorities for achieving racial justice in America. This plenary examines how can we work to strengthen our partnerships to achieve our goals of achieving equity and justice for all people, and communities where everyone is safe and supported.

Speakers: Derrick Johnson, President and CEO, NAACP; Marc Morial, President &CEO, National Urban League. Moderator: Cheryl Wills, Veteran Anchor, Spectrum News NY1.

Click here to watch.

Remarks from the Israeli Ambassador to the United States and the United Nations Gilad Erdan

Athletes Against Antisemitism
In the summer of 2020, Zach Banner, offensive tackle for the Pittsburgh Steelers, made headlines with a viral Twitter video, where he called for a stop to the Antisemitic rhetoric and for unity between the Black and Jewish communities. Since then, Zach has formed numerous relationships within the Pittsburgh nonprofit community, building bridges to strengthen understanding and partnerships in his newfound role as activist. The history of athlete activism is rich with bold champions of racial justice, LGBTQIA+ rights, and advocates against antisemitism, and athletes across sport have courageously fought against the status quo, often risking their careers to fight for what is right. This plenary will highlight the important work of these activists and those working within local communities to champion change.

Speakers: Zach Banner, Pittsburgh Steelers, NFL; Alysha Clark, Washington Mystics, WNBA; Yael Averbuch West, Techne Futbol. Moderator: Dr. Lauren Apter Bairnsfather, Director of the Holocaust Center of Pittsburgh.

Click here to watch.

Shared Legacies: The African American – Jewish Civil Rights Alliance

About the Movie: The crucial historical lessons of Black-Jewish cooperation are revisited and revived in this utterly fascinating urgent call to action. With divisive seeds of hate taking root anew in the American landscape, this potent, inspiring story of unity, empathy, and partnership validates the ubiquity of the human experience, and how freedom and equality for all can be achieved only when people come together.

Hear from our esteemed panel about the Black-Jewish Alliance that worked together during the civil rights movement — its impact, best practices, and what steps can be taken to reignite our partnership.

Speakers: Sherry Frank, Founder, Black Jewish Coalition of Atlanta; Shari Rogers Director, Writer, Producer, Shared Legacies: The African-American Jewish Civil Rights Alliance; Honorable Andrew Young, Former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations. Moderator: Yolanda Savage Narva, Director, Racial Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion, Union for Reform Judaism.

Click here to watch.

Presentation of Albert D. Chernin Award
Co-sponsored by The Touro College and University System
Recipient: Honorable Charles E. “Chuck” Schumer, U.S. Senate Majority Leader (NY-D)

100 Days of the Biden Administration
Dr. Rachel L. Levine, Assistant Secretary for Health for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)

Click here to watch.

JCPA2021 Workshop Sessions

The Great Pivot: Israel’s COVID19 Efforts and Lessons Learned

Israel’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic showcased the country’s ability to take concrete action to protect all of its people. Learn best practices for how society can respond to unknown circumstances, and how Israel brought together diverse faith and ethnic communities to work together to combat this emergency situation.

Speakers: Dr. Hadil Alsana, Internal Ward, Soroka Hospital; Dr. Nadav Davidovitch, Director of the School of Public Health, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev; Dianne Gottlieb, Hadassah; Dr. Asher Yeshaihu Salmon, Head of the International Relations Department, Israel Ministry of Health. Moderator: Karen Paikin Barall, Government Relations Director, Hadassah.

Click here to watch.

Stories from the Field: Criminal Justice Reform at the State and Local Level

The recent social protests have pushed criminal justice reform to the top of the country’s agenda. Since the vast majority of criminal justice policy is set at the state and local levels, local engagement in reform has never been more important. Join with leading advocates for impacted people across the country to learn about successes, struggles, and effective strategies for engaging in local advocacy to reimagine community safety.

Speakers: Chesa Boudin, District Attorney, San Francisco District Attorney’s Office; Lisa Foster, Co-Director, Fines & Fees Justice Center; Javon Gregoire, Deputy Director, Heartland Alliance; Desmond Meade, President & Executive Director, Florida Rights Restoration Coalition. Moderator: Eric Seligman, JCPA Criminal Justice Reform Fellow.

Click here to watch.

Charlottesville to the Capitol: The Threat of Violent White Extremism

The growth of white nationalism and violent extremism is a threat to our personal safety and our democratic institutions. From the Unite the Right Rally in Charlottesville to the insurrection on Capitol Hill, it is clear white supremacists are organized and emboldened. Hear from leading Jewish and civil rights organizations about the threats we’re facing and strategic ways to fight them.

Speakers: Oren Segal, Vice President, Center on Extremism, Anti-Defamation League; Amy Spitalnick, Executive Director, Integrity First for America; Jamal Watkins, Senior Vice President of Strategy & Advancement, NAACP. Moderator: Susan W. Turnbull, JCPA Past Chair; IFA Board Member.

Click here to watch.

Black Lives Matter and the Jewish Community: Re-establishing Multiracial Jewish and Black Alliances

With a strong history as civil rights advocates in America, the Jewish community can support the renewed and reinvigorated racial movement. Explore how to engage your community in the movement and navigate the obstacles and opportunities it presents. Learn from leaders in the JCPA Task Force on Strengthening Jewish Communal Engagement with Black Communities on the state of the community relations field on racial justice and where we go from here.

Speakers: Brandon Fish, Community Outreach Coordinator, Director, Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Charleston; Rabbi Bob Kaplan, Director, The Center for Community Leadership, Jewish Community Relations Council of New York; Lindsey Mintz, Executive Director, Indianapolis Jewish Community Relations Council; Leslie Dannin Rosenthal, Co-Chair, JCPA Task Force on Strengthening Jewish Communal Engagement with Black Communities; Eric K. Ward, Executive Director, Western States Center. Moderator: Megan Black, Common Good Program Director, Western States Center.

Click here to watch.

Rebuilding Abraham’s Tent: The Realignment of the Middle East

Alongside leaders from the UAE, Bahrain, and Israel explore from the ground up the forming of unprecedented regional normalization with Israel in the Middle East. Attendees will hear about this quickly developing new regional alliance with common interests in defense and business, the role of women leading this transformation, and their vision for the future.

Speakers: Alia Al Suwaidi, Head of Political Affairs, UAE Embassy, Washington DC; Ahdeya Ahmed Al-Sayed, president of the Bahraini Journalists Association; Fleur Hassan Nahoum, Co-Founder, UAE-Israel Business Council, Deputy Mayor, Municipality of Jerusalem. Moderator: William Daroff, CEO, Conference of Presidents.

Click here to watch.

Disinformation and the Role of Big Tech in Democracy

Disinformation and misinformation are at an all-time high in our country. From Holocaust denial to climate change to Covid 19 to the elections, the genuine fake news on social media is resulting in a rise in hate and polarization. What are the implications for our democracy? Hear from groups working to combat mis/disinformation and how can we work to make sure true information is being shared.

Speakers: Caroline Chambers, Disinfo Defense Project; Jacob Davey, Head of Research & Policy of Far-right and Hate Movements, Institute for Strategic Dialogue Jessica Gonzalez, Co-CEO, Free Press; Ann Ravel, Digital Deception Project Director, MapLight. Moderator: Laurie Moskowitz, Principal, LOREstrategies.

Click here to watch.

Israel Elections: What’s Next?

On March 23rd Israelis went to the polls for the fourth time in two years in a hotly contested election with unexpected results. What does this mean for Israel’s political priorities? What government is likely to emerge? What does this mean for U.S.-Israel ties? Join us for a post-election analysis.

Speakers: Tamar Hermann, Senior Fellow, Israel Democracy Institute; David Makovsky Ziegler Distinguished Fellow, Washington Institute for Near East Policy. Moderator: Jordan Weiss, JCPA Board Member.

Click here to watch.

Voting Rights Advocacy: All Politics is Local

The Jewish community has a long history of fighting for voting rights. During the COVID-19 pandemic voting rights took center stage, as the need for increased access to voting locations became critical to avoid unnecessary exposure to the virus. This year we have already seen efforts at the state level to restrict voting access while at the federal level there has been efforts to expand access to the ballot and make the positive changes permanent. This panel will discuss the current status of both the state and federal legislative proposals, as well as how your community can better advocate for voting rights.

Speakers: Cheryl Adelstein, Deputy Director, JCRC of St. Louis; Hillary Holley, Organizing Director, Fair Fight and Fair Fight Action; Andrea Miller, Executive Director, People Demanding Action; Jana Morgan, Director, Declaration for American Democracy. Moderator: Corey Shapiro, JCPA Board Member.

Click here to watch.

A Call to Action: Jewish Frameworks for Ending Mass Incarceration
Co-sponsored with the National Jewish Network on Criminal Justice Reform

Our Jewish values oblige us to speak out and seek justice when there are wrongs in our society. This workshop will provide a framework for strengthening advocacy to end mass incarceration through a Jewish lens. It will examine the application of Jewish values, history, and textual sources to the transformation of our society into one that engages a preventive, rehabilitative, and restorative approach to criminal justice reform.

Speakers: Rabbi Robert Barr, Congregation Beth Adam; Rabbi Rachel Gartner, T’ruah; Rabbi Bob Kaplan, JCRC of New York; Rabbi Sholom Lipskar; Founder, The Aleph Institute. Moderator: Faye Taxman, Co-Chair, JCPA Criminal Justice Reform Initiative.

Click here to watch.

Laying the Groundwork for Racial Equity

Through interactive activities and discussion, attendees will leave this workshop with a shared understanding of racial equity, its importance for us as advocates and change makers, and gain tools to address barriers when implementing this work. Learn tangible steps for engaging in racial equity in advocacy and policy, and skills for identifying and dismantling racism.

Trainer: Marlysa Gamblin, Founder, GamblinConsults.

Off the record.

Meeting the Urgency of the Moment: A Jewish Response to the Climate Crisis

From the deadly wildfires in the West, to the destructive storms on the Atlantic and Gulf Coasts, to the deep freeze in the South, the past year has forced us to confront the realities of the climate crisis with renewed urgency. The good news is that the solutions are at-hand: clean, affordable energy, electrified transportation and transit, regenerative agriculture, and much more. What’s lacking is the political will to change. And while the stakes could not be higher, the Jewish community can help turn the tide of the crisis. This session will explore what you can do to ensure a just and sustainable future for generations to come.

Speakers: Diane Fisher, JCRC Director, Jewish Silicon Valley; Robert Horenstein, Community Relations Director, Jewish Federation of Greater Portland; Rabbi Jennie Rosenn, Founder & CEO, Dayenu: A Jewish Call to Climate Action. Moderator: Nigel Savage, President & CEO, Hazon.

Click here to watch.

Advancing Federal Criminal Justice Reform: Reimagining Safety and Security

The United States is currently the lead incarcerator in the world, home to a massive criminal justice system that disproportionately impacts people of color. The Biden-Harris administration’s stated commitment to racial justice and substantive reform may present an important opportunity for advancing the movement to transform justice in the U.S. Learn from leading advocates and coalition partners about policy priorities in areas ranging from policing to reentry, as well as effective strategies for achieving meaningful federal reforms.

Speakers: Kanya Bennett, Senior Policy Counsel & Legislative Coalition Manager, The Bail Project; Lauren-Brooke Eisen, Director, Justice Program, Brennan Center for Justice; Christopher Scott, Senior Policy Advisor, Open Society Policy Center; José Santos Woss, Legislative Manager for Criminal Justice and Election Integrity, Friends Committee On National Legislation. Moderator: Bruce Turnbull, Co-Chair, JCPA Criminal Justice Reform Initiative.

Click here to watch.

Never Again: The Jewish Fight Against Genocide

For the Jewish community, “never again” is not a slogan, but a firm, moral commitment not to remain silent in the face of unspeakable atrocities. The ongoing genocides of the Uyghur and Rohingya people is an urgent crisis that demands action. Join human rights leaders for a conversation on the U.S. government’s role in fighting genocide and how Jews, nationally and locally, can use our unique voice to help end these and other genocides and atrocities around the world.

Speakers: Lawrence Woocher, Research Director, Simon-Skjodt Center for the Prevention of Genocide at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum; Amber Maze, Holocaust Educator & Human Rights Associate, Indianapolis JCRC; D. Wes Rist, Elie Wiesel Act Implementation co-chair, Prevention and Protection Working Group; Amanda Van Dort, Senior Advisor, U.S. Department of State. Moderator: Tammy Gilden, Associate Director, Policy, Advocacy, and Communications Jewish Council for Public Affairs.

Click here to watch.

What Could Racial Equity in Jewish Communal Life Look Like and How Do We Get There?

As the nation grapples with creating a more racially just society, Jewish communal organizations, particularly those in the community relations field, are also grappling with the need for systemic changes to make these spaces welcoming, inclusive, and reflective of our diverse, multiracial, multiethnic Jewish communities. Hear from Jews of Color working within the Jewish community on on challenges and opportunities, strategies for moving this critical work forward, and best practices for a range of needs, from facilitating difficult conversations to devising new organizational policy

Speakers: Brina Chu, Community Strategy Manager, Jewish Federations of North America; Dr. Buffie Longmire-Avital, Associate Professor of Psychology, Elon University; Nate Looney, Manager of Racial Justice Initiatives, Avodah; Moderator: Rabbi Isaiah Rothstein, Rabbinic Scholar and Public Affairs Advisor, Jewish Federations of North America.

Click here to watch.

Adoption of Policy

JCPA’s Delegates Assembly voted to adopt four new policy resolutions covering on voter access, genocide against the Uyghur people, climate change, and the Abraham Accords. Click here for the press release.

Resolution on Expanding Voter Access
Expresses the belief that recent voter suppression efforts are a disservice to democracy with particularly negative impacts on Black, Indigenous, Latinx, disabled, transgender, low-income, young, and elderly voters. The resolution calls on the Jewish community to advocate for legislation to make voting more accessible and to oppose efforts to suppress the vote.

Resolution Condemning the Genocide of the Uyghur People
Condemns the Chinese Communist Party’s ongoing genocide against the Uyghur people, a Turkic ethnic and religious minority residing in the Xinjiang region. The resolution calls for additional sanctions, as well as an expansion of the targeted ban on products produced in or imported from the region.

Resolution on Renewing Our Commitment to Combatting Climate Change
Elevates the urgency of the climate change crisis and calls on Jewish communities to take action, building on JCPA’s extensive body of climate and environmental justice policy. The resolution calls on the Jewish community to educate itself and demand that our leaders be guided by the best available science and work together towards achieving climate justice.

Resolution on Supporting the Abraham Accords
Commends all of the individuals and governments whose work resulted in the signing of the Abraham Accords, including the United States, Israel, and Arab nations. The resolution urges the Biden Administration to seize upon the progress made in the Middle East, as evidenced by the Abraham Accords which the Trump Administration helped to bring about, and use its voice and leverage to expand the relationships between Israel and Muslim countries, and as another means for encouraging the Palestinians to forge a lasting peace with Israel.


Next Up:

JCPA Network Adopts Four New Resolutions at 2021 National Virtual Conference

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