On April 11, 2022, The Jewish Council for Public Affairs (JCPA) convened 300+ Jewish professionals and civic lay leaders (virtually) at the #JCPA2022 National Conference, the theme of which was “What Does It Mean to Be Free?”

This year, JCPA’s annual conference took place on the cusp of Passover – perfect timing as we addressed today’s social ills that have been exacerbated during COVID-19. JCPA2022 confronted today’s plagues: antisemitism, racial disparities, voting restrictions and threats to our democracy, and mass incarceration.

The Conference served as a Call to Action for the Jewish community, to systematically work for justice hand in hand with other diverse communities. We were all inspired by the presentation of the JCPA Albert D. Chernin Award to Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer, and by our speakers and presenters including Stacey Abrams, Former, Georgia House Majority State Leader; Hon. Michael Herzog, Israel’s Ambassador to the United States; Lt. Col. Alexander Vinman Former Director for European Affairs, US NSC; Christine Todd Whitman, Co-Chair, States United for Democracy; Bianna Golodryga, CNN, Senior Global Affairs Analyst; Hon Shaikh Abdullah bin Rashid Al Khalifa, Bahrain’s Ambassador to the United States and more…

Lee Jason Goldberg and Susan Abravanel
JCPA2022 Co-Chairs


JCPA2022 Plenary Sessions

What Does It Mean to be free?

Defending Democracy

Stacey Abrams, Former Georgia House Minority Leader
Christine Todd Whitman, States United Democracy Center
Hon. Kristen Clarke, United States Assistant Attorney General

Click here to watch.

Presentation of JCPA Albert Chernin D. Chernin Award

Recipient: Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer
Introductions: Karen Dunn, Paul|Weiss; Neal Katyal, Hogan Lovells; Dahlia Litwick, Slate Magazine

The Fight for Global Democracy
Bianna Gologdryga, CNN Senior Global Analysis and Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman

Click here to watch.

Israel and the Middle East Plenary

The Honorable Michael Herzog, Israeli Ambassador to the United States

Advancing the Abraham Accords

The Honorable Shaikh Bin Rashid Al Khalifa, Ambassador of Bahrain to the U.S.

Building People to People Engagement

The Honorable George R. Salem, Chair, Partnership for Peace Fund (PPF) Advisory Board and Kari Reid, U.S. Director, ALLMEP

Haggadot of Freedom

Speakers: Rabbi Amy Eilberg, Rabbinical Assembly; Rabbi Zev Eleff, Gratz College; Rabbi Jonah Pesner, Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism; Rabbi Mira Rivera, Romemu. 

Click here to watch.

Who We Are: A Chronicle of Racism in America Talk Back

A post-movie conversation on how we as American Jews can work to end racism in our society.
Sarah Kunstler, Producer/Director; Jeffery Robinson, Producer/Writer.

Click here to watch.


Voting Rights in America: Ensuring Fair, Free and Accessible Elections

The safety and success of Jews and other minorities is directly linked to the strength of our democratic institutions. After record-breaking voter turnout in 2020, state legislatures across the nation launched a systematic assault on the freedom to vote. As we prepare for the 2022 midterm elections, local organizing will be more important than ever to ensure that our elections remain fair, free, and accessible.
Moderator: Aaron Dorfman, The Jewish Partnership for Democracy. Speakers: Charlie Bronner, MOVE Texas; Rachel Brown, Project Over Zero; Dominik Whitehead, NAACP; Elise Wirkus, Issue One.

Click here to watch.

Community Relations in the Age of Disinformation

Rampant dis/misinformation across social media platforms has radically altered our information landscape, polarizing, and dividing communities. These platforms are designed to elevate the most incendiary content and reinforce silos. How can the community relations field counter false information and hold these platforms accountable?
Moderator: Joel Rubin, Democracy Partners. Speakers: Vanessa Cardenas, America’s Voice; Nicole Gill, Accountable Tech.

Click here to watch.

The Rise of Local Extremism

Political polarization and ideological extremism in our country is taking root at the state and local levels. The coordinated assault on school curricula, COVID-19 heath mandates, and local government proceedings through disruptive tactics and intimidation is eroding our social fabric. Extremists are successfully advancing their agenda through laws and policy at the state level. This panel will focus on what these trends mean for the Jewish community and our democracy and how to push back.
Moderator: Diane Fisher, Silicon Valley JCRC. Speakers: Hon. Dan Frankel, Member, PA House of Representatives; Dr. Tarece Johnson, Board of Education, Gwinnett County Public Schools; Emily Kaufman, Anti-Defamation League; Shannon Saul, Community Mobilization Manager, Keshet; Hon. Andy Schwartz, Member, WY House of Representatives.

Click here to watch.

Building a Multiracial Jewish Community Relations Field

While community relations organizations are ambassadors of the Jewish community in the public square, they often do not represent the diversity of the multiracial Jewish community as a whole. With a commitment to be inclusive and welcoming, at all levels, how can we develop access points into Jewish leadership and diversified engagement strategies to open our doors for communal belonging and social change?
Moderator: Helen Kim, Whitman College. Speakers: Arya Marvazy, Jews of Color Initiative; Kai Yael Mishlove, Milwaukee JCRC; Rabbi Isaiah Rothstein, Jewish Federations of North America; Ashira Solomon, Detroit JCRC/AJC.

Click here to watch.

Caught in the Crosshairs: Rising Crime and Criminal Justice Reform

As violent crime rates are rising, hard-won criminal justice reforms are on the chopping block, with elected officials searching for a quick fix to allay growing public backlash. Reforms to some of the most inequitable aspects of the justice system, such as policing, sentencing, incarceration, and bail are facing roadblocks and rollbacks. In this climate, how can we, as advocates, address violence, disinformation and advance reforms that make our system–and society–more just, safe, and secure for all people?
Moderator: Rabbi Hilly Haber, Central Synagogue. Speakers: Thomas Abt, Council on Criminal Justice; Dr. Richard Rosenfeld, University of Missouri-St. Louis; Dr. Faye Taxman, JCPA Task Force on Criminal Justice Reform; Dr. Chico Tillman, University of Chicago.

Click here to watch.

Israel and the Apartheid Label

The charge of apartheid against Israel is starting to take hold nationally and globally as a tool to delegitimize Israel. Despite the gaps in the conceptual and legal evidence, the UN Committee Of Inquiry (COI), the International Criminal Court (ICC), and the recent Amnesty International report have put this issue squarely on the international agenda. Learn the facts of why this is an abuse of apartheid charge, and it undermines peace efforts and effective ways to counter it.
Moderator: William Daroff, Conference of Presidents. Speakers: Irwin Cotler, Raoul Wallenberg Centre for Human Rights; Anne Herzberg, NGO Monitor; Michael Koplow, Israel Policy Forum.

Click here to watch.


Moderator: Rabbi David Saperstein. Speakers: Ruth Cohen-Dar, Israeli Delegation to the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA); Tyler Gregory, JCRC of San Francisco; Dr. Sarah Yael Hirschorn, Israel Studies at Northwestern University; Rabbi Jill Jacobs, T’ruah, the Rabbinic Call for Human Rights; Sheila Katz, National Council of Jewish Women; Kiyomi Kowalski, Project Shema; Jo-Ann Mort, ChangeCommunications; Maharat Rori Picker Neiss, JCRC of St. Louis

This was a closed session for Delegates Assembly representatives of JCPA member agencies. The Delegates assembly members are representatives of 125 Jewish Community Relations Councils and 16 National Jewish Organizations.


Next Up:

JCPA Congratulates Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson on Historic Confirmation to U.S. Supreme Court

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