Jewish Council for Public Affairs

What Yitzhak Rabin Understood About Israel’s Future

11/02/2015 - 19:00

It is hard to believe that 20 years have gone by since that awful day in 1995 when, sitting in a car dealership waiting to fill out papers for our family’s new minivan, my wife grimly walked in to inform me of the news bulletin reporting Yitzhak Rabin’s assassination.  After the initial shock and disbelief, which came like a blow to my solar plexus, I cried off and on for the next 24 hours. 

Martin J. Raffel

A Would-Be Unifier Steps Down

10/20/2015 - 20:00

After 10 years in his post, Rabbi Steve Gutow is stepping down at year’s end as president of the Jewish Council for Public Affairs, the national umbrella group for Jewish community relations councils and synagogue groups. (See story on page 26.) He will be sorely missed by those who valued his caring and commitment in helping to develop and put in place public policy issues based on seeking consensus within an increasingly divided community. JCPA is rare in that it takes so many different parts of the community into its deliberations, and makes decisions that reflect a real give-and-take rather than top-down mandates. Key issues have included energy independence, hate crimes legislation, interfaith relations, anti-poverty and hunger initiatives, immigration policy, and Iran sanctions.

JCPA Head Steps Down Amid Corrosive Dialogue

Steve Gutow’s 10-year crusade for Jewish civility ending on bitter note.

10/19/2015 - 20:00

Washington — For the past 10 years, Rabbi Steve Gutow has been trying to get American Jews to be more civil to each other, especially in debates about political issues.

Rabbi Steve Gutow, right, with Michele Jawando of the Center for American Progress, and her husband. Louis. JCPA

How Jews Are Trying To Make Things Better After Baltimore

05/05/2015 - 20:00

Washington – From roundtable discussions to protests and prayers to candid talk with law enforcement officials, American Jewish communities are joining in the debate about community policing in the wake of several high-profile deaths of unarmed black men while in police custody.

A man makes a heart shape with his hands during a protest in Baltimore, Maryland. Getty Images

Survey: A Third Of Rabbis Afraid To Speak Honestly About Israel

10/15/2013 - 20:00
Staff Writer

A survey of 552 rabbis found that a third of them hesitate to speak honestly to their congregations regarding their feelings about Israel.

With Deal Struck, Pro-Israel Groups Suspend Lobbying For Syria Strike

09/16/2013 - 20:00

Pro-Israel groups suspended their high-profile lobbying effort for a strike on Syria now that the United States and Russia have struck a deal to strip the Assad regime of its chemical weapons.

Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov speak during a Sept. 12 press conference. Getty Images

‘It’s Always Better To Have Dialogue’

After shakeout over Israel, Jewish and liberal Protestant groups plan summit.
12/03/2012 - 19:00
Staff Writer

The latest breach between some leaders of the U.S. Jewish community and a major sector of American Christianity remains open, two months after liberal Protestant participants in the Christian-Jewish Roundtable dialogue group urged Congress to reconsider aid to Israel because of the Jewish state’s “widespread human rights violations committed against Palestinians.”

Jewish-Presbyterian Split Widens Over Israel Letter

10/17/2012 - 20:00


Jewish groups pulled out of an upcoming meeting with Protestant colleagues over a letter from Christian leaders to congressmen calling for a possible suspension of U.S. aid to Israel.

JCPA Statement Looks AT Benefits And Drawbacks Of Fracking

05/16/2012 - 20:00

The Jewish Council for Public Affairs announced its qualified support for "fracking," a technique used to extract underground deposits of natural gas.

The JCPA statement issued Tuesday noted that last week's annual plenum of the consensus-driven public policy umbrella approved a resolution highlighting the potential benefits and drawbacks of the process known as “hydrofracking,” which extracts “vast amounts of natural gas from previously inaccessible underground deposits.”

Jewish Groups Worry Over Domestic Budget Cuts

02/14/2011 - 19:00

WASHINGTON (JTA) -- Jewish groups expressed concerns about proposed Obama administration cuts in poverty assistance, but praised the U.S. budget for preserving aid to Israel.

The White House's proposed budget, released Monday, projects cuts in programs such as heating for the poor and in blocs of money funneled to the states for social programs, and increases funding for education and for "clean energy" development.

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