OUR MISSION & History

Jewish Council for Public Affairs (JCPA) is the national hub of the community relations network, representing 125 local Jewish community relations councils and 16 national Jewish agencies, including the four main denominations of American Judaism (Orthodox, Conservative, Reform and Reconstructionist). JCPA convenes, coordinates, builds consensus, and mobilizes our network on key issues. JCPA represents the network nationally, working in common cause with other civic, racial, ethnic, and faith communities. Together, we advocate for a just and pluralistic American society, peace and security in Israel, and human rights around the world.

JCPA has been the organized national Jewish community’s convener, intergroup connector, and policy advocate since 1944. Our motto is educate, advocate, and mobilize.

Watch our our history video and read our story & timeline to learn more about how JCPA’s work has impacted our society!

InDEPENDENT Initiatives

Throughout its history, JCPA has incubated and piloted important initiatives to address priority concerns to the Jewish community that needed in-depth attention to make positive societal changes. A number of these initiatives have rolled out to be independent programs and organizations.vPrograms/Initiatives incubated by JCPA include:

Israel Action Network (IAN)  -The Israel Action Network (IAN) is a strategic initiative created to counter assaults made on Israel’s legitimacy. Israel today faces an intensive and increasingly sophisticated assault on its right to exist as a sovereign democratic Jewish state.  The IAN was created to educate, organize and mobilize the organized North American Jewish community to develop strategic approaches to countering these assaults and develop innovative efforts to change the conversation about Israel and achieving peace and security for two states for two peoples. IAN was created as a joint project of JCPA and the Jewish Federation of North America.

The Coalition on the Environment and Jewish Life (COEJL) – The Coalition on the Environment and Jewish Life (COEJL) deepens and broadens the Jewish community’s commitment to stewardship and protection of the Earth through outreach, activism and Jewish learning.   Through a network of Jewish leaders, institutions and individuals, COEJL is mobilizing the Jewish community to conserve energy, increase sustainability, and advocate for policies that increase energy efficiency and security while building core Jewish environmental knowledge and serving as a Jewish voice in the broader interfaith community.

Resetting the Table – Resetting the Table collaborates with strategic partners to build important communication across political silos in American life. Our work ranges from one-off forums to intensive year-long programs for institutional and community transformation that replace long-standing distrust or avoidance with a culture of healthy dialogue and deliberation. 

Institute for Curriculum Services (ICS) – ICS is dedicated to promoting accurate instructional materials and instruction on Jews, Judaism, and Israel for American K-12 students. Its work impacts the millions of public and private school students who learn about Jews, Judaism, and Israel in social studies classes each year.