Category: Politics

A Successful Advocacy Day

JPAC’s 2015 Advocacy Day was a huge success.  With over 95 advocates in attendance, we lobbied more than 45 legislators on bills and issues that impact the overall health and well being of the State of California.

The event kicked off Monday night with state legislators and their staff joining JPAC advocates at a reception at the Citizen Hotel in downtown Sacramento. At the reception, JPAC honored Senator Marty Block (D-39), chair of the California Legislative Jewish Caucus, with the Legislator of the Year Award.  JPAC has a very close and productive working relationship with the Jewish Caucus and we were overjoyed to award Senator Block with this well deserved award.

On day two, we held two panel discussions, the first of which was about what the State can do to improve economic justice for all. To attain economic justice for ALL residents of California, we need a broad perspective and multi-pronged approach that will address the many underlying issues impacted by a lack of equity.  Among the key components are health, education and workforce/income issues.  This panel presented an opportunity to briefly highlight each of those areas. Advocates heard from Assemblymember Kevin McCarty (D-7), Assemblymember Sebastian Ridley-Thomas (D-54), and Mike Herald of the Western Center on Law and Poverty.

The second panel was about campus climate from the perspective of students, directly addressing the issue of anti-Semitism on college campuses. Advocates heard from Ollie Ben, Executive Director, San Francisco Hillel; Avinoam Baral, President of the Undergraduate Students Association Council, UCLA; Avi Oved, UC Student Regent; Julia Reifkind, President of Aggies for Israel, UC Davis; and Lauren Rogers, Chief of Staff to the UC Student Regent, UCLA.  This panel was moderated by Dan Gold of the Los Angeles Jewish Federation.  Those in attendance were overwhelmingly impressed by these articulate students who are making a huge difference on their campuses to improve relations with campus administrators in addressing anti-Semitic incidents on campus.

Our keynote speaker was former UC Regents President Mark Yudof, who spoke about the role of the UC Regents in dealing with issues that include free speech on campus and dealing with prejudice.  During lunch, Jon Levinson was honored with the Earl Raab award.  Earl Raab is one of the Jewish community’s most widely recognized and respected community leaders and intellectuals. As the co-founder of JPAC, he recognized the importance of having a strong, unified voice in Sacramento to better the lives of those in our community.  The Earl Raab Award is awarded annually to a community activist who best exemplifies Mr. Raab’s high standard of communal activism and advocacy for residents of our state. Mr. Levinson was nominated for this award based on his communal service within the Jewish community. 

Advocates then met with 45 members of the Legislature and lobbied on a slate of issues including:

  1. Restoring Funding for Programs that serve Older Californians, Disabled Adults and Those Who Care for Them
  2. Non-profit Security Grant Budget Allocation Request
  3. Assembly Bill 47 (McCarty): Preschool For All
  4. Hunger Bills Package:

JPAC’s Legislative Agenda is Announced

On May 12, JPAC’s Advocacy Day will be in full swing! Advocates will lobby on three main issues: budget cut restoration for programs for needy seniors, a hunger bill package, and preschool for all. 

We are also pleased to announce our support for several other bills of interest and importance to our members, including Atkins’ affordable housing bill package, several immigration bills, and an ADL-sponsored by (AB 1267).

Details can be found here.  Register today!

California’s Insurance Commissioner on Iran Divestment

Commissioner Dave Jones recently updated the California Department of Insurance’s website to detail the work that his office has accomplished on Iran divestment.  The website can be viewed here.

An excerpt from the website is below:

The Department has developed a list of companies doing business with the Iranian oil and natural gas, nuclear, and military sectors. Select the link below to view the list of companies.

The Department may in the future revise the list by adding companies found to be doing business with the Iranian oil and natural gas, nuclear, and military sectors; removing companies that cease doing business with those sectors; or making changes based on other risk-related considerations.

JPAC’s Lobbying Efforts Pay Off in Sacramento

On May 13, over 85 advocates from across the State represented JPAC in meetings with 53 legislators.  We lobbied our representatives to support SB 840 (Lara) on anti-bullying efforts in schools, SB 1165 (Mitchell, Block) on anti human trafficking programs and SB 1388 (Lieu) on increasing penalties for human trafficking, and requesting support for increasing funding for food banks and the SSI/SSP grants for the Stat’es most vulnerable.  Our efforts paid off.  As a result of JPAC,  the SSI/SSP COLA was restored and is next going to be heard in conference committee; Governor Brown restored funding for the State Emergency Food Assistance Program (SEFAP) to $5 million; SB 1388 (human trafficking) was determined to have no fiscal impact and is sitting on the senate floor and is expected to pass and SB 1165 (human trafficking) passed out of the senate appropriations suspense file today and is expected to pass.  Our only regret is that SB 840 did not pass out of appropriations suspense because it was deemed too expensive.

These issues are so important to the Jewish community and the community at large and we hope that our conversations and relationships hep make these bills move ahead to protect the most vulnerable in our State.

JPAC’s 2014 Legislative Agenda Announced

JPAC’s 2014 Legislative Agenda is:

1. The social service safety net cuts and the restoration of those cuts

2. Bullying

3. Human Trafficking

Stay tuned for details on the specific bills that JPAC will be lobbying on May 13th.

JPAC thanks CSU and UC Presidents for opposing ASA Boycott

In December 2013, the American Studies Association issued an academic boycott of Israeli colleges and universities because it contends that Israeli policies have deprived Palestinian scholars and students of their academic freedoms.  While we know this is absolutely false and Israeli universities are open to all, many American universities and professors shamefully signed onto this boycott.

JPAC applauds those colleges and universities across the country that oppose this boycott, particularlythe California State University system and the University of California Regents.

CSU Chancellor White commented: “Academic boycotts violate the basic tenets of higher education including academic freedom and scholarly dialog.  Boycotts attempt to limit the unfettered creation, discovery and dissemination of knowledge vital to our tripartite mission of research, teaching and service.  These characteristics are essential to preparing students with the analytical and critical thinking skills to lead in business, community, educational and civic organizations.” UC Regents President Janet Napolitano commented: ‘Such a boycott threatens free speech and the free exchange of ideas and that an academic boycott goes against the spirit of the University of California, which has long championed open dialogue and collaboration with international scholars.”

Save the Date: JPAC’s Advocacy Day 2014




May 12th – May 13th

Join Jewish community members from across the State to influence decision-makers in Sacramento on issues of concern to the broader Jewish Community.

Citizen Hotel, 926 J Street Sacramento 95814

Monday, May 12: 6:00 to 7:30 p.m. – Legislators’ Reception

Tuesday, May 13: 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. – Program & Legislative Appointments

General Registration is $85.  Students are $45.

Visit to register online.

 Questions? Contact Julie Zeisler, JPAC Association Director at


State Legislators Oppose Divestment on UC campuses

June 17, 2013– On June 7, 2013, 36 members of the State Legislature, led by Senate president pro tem Darrell Steinberg and Assembly Budget Chair Bob Blumenfield, signed onto a letter to the UC Regents congratulating them on their stance against efforts by some UC student governments to urge University of California to divest from U.S. companies doing business with Israel.  Read the Legislative Letter to UC Regents.

These legislators share the Jewish Public Affairs Committee of California (JPAC’s­) concern that the Boycott, Divest, and Sanctions (BDS) movement on UC campuses is a divisive and harmful tactic to antagonize and alienate Jewish students on campus, and serves to create further divisiveness rather than a solution that benefits both sides.

The list of signatories includes Senate Minority Leader Bob Huff, Senate Appropriations Chair Kevin De Leon, Senate Republican Caucus Chair Ted Gaines, Senate Budget and Fiscal Review Committee Chair Mark Leno, Assembly Democratic Caucus chair Philip Ting, Assembly Minority Leader Connie Conway, and Assembly Assistant majority floor leader Anthony Rendon.

Anti-Israel divestment resolutions – calling on the university system to divest from multinational companies that allegedly help Israel maintain its occupation in the West Bank – have been debated by student governments at more than a dozen universities across the country in the past few years. The tactic, however, gained traction this past year following the successful passage of resolutions on several University of California campuses.

Two of the successful resolutions, at UC Irvine and UC Riverside, were introduced surreptitiously. Pro-Israel students did not have the opportunity to express opposition to the resolutions at public discussions prior to the student government’s vote. In general, however, divestment resolutions considered elsewhere have been vigorously opposed by pro-Israel students on campus, Hillel representatives, community members and Jewish organizations.

Because these resolutions are non-binding, the university administration is not obligated to make financial decisions based on their recommendations. In addition, the University of California Board of Regents has an explicit policy against divestment. In each case where divestment resolutions succeeded, the university’s chancellor issued a statement reiterating the university’s anti-BDS stance and the UC system’s policy against BDS.

On May 21, 2013, JPAC held its annual Advocacy Day in Sacramento and discussed this important issue with the legislators we met with.

About JPAC
The Jewish Public Affairs Committee of California (JPAC) is the largest single-state coalition of Jewish organizations in the nation. Comprised of local Jewish Federations, Jewish Community Relations Committees and Councils, and other Jewish community advocacy groups from throughout California we advocate on behalf of Jewish social service agencies, traditional community concerns, and broadly shared values that affect the citizens of our State.

Advocacy Day 2013 Press Release

May 21, 2013

For immediate release:

On May 20 and 21, over 60 representatives from 13 Jewish organizations across California came to Sacramento to participate in the 2013 Jewish Public Affairs Committee of California (JPAC) Advocacy Day in Sacramento. Advocates heard from high-ranking public officials including State Treasurer Bill Lockyer, Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, and Assembly Speaker John Perez who received JPAC’s 2013 Legislator of the Year Award.

JPAC Advocacy Day is an annual mission to Sacramento that brings together lay leaders and staff from Jewish organizations all over California, including Jewish Federations, Jewish Community Relations Councils, and Jewish Family and Children’s Services, as well as nationally known organizations including the Ant-Defamation League, Hadassah, and the National Council of Jewish Women.   It is an opportunity to come together in Sacramento and strengthen relationships, discuss policy, and represent the greater Jewish community statewide to our legislators.

The event kicked off Monday night as over 20 legislators joined JPAC advocates at a reception at the Citizen Hotel in downtown Sacramento to mingle and schmooze, including Sen. Mark Leno (D-San Francisco), Asm. Bob Blumenfield,  Asm. Achadjian, Asm. Fox, Asm. Adrin Nazarian, and Asm Mark Levine.  They mingled with Rabbi Doug Kahn, executive director of the Bay Area’s Jewish Community Relations Council, Anita Friedman, JFCS executive director, and multiple heads of local JCRC’s and Federations.  At the reception, JPAC also honored Assembly Speaker John Perez with the Jerry Sampson Award, which recognizes and honors a California State Legislator who embodies the spirit and dedication to good civic government and whose leadership and advocacy on behalf of the organized Jewish community’s priority concerns have been exemplary.   Speaker Perez regaled the crowd with stories of conversations with the likes of Governor Jerry Brown and Senate President Pro tem about Jewish values and the definition of Yiddish terms.

On Tuesday May 21, JPAC hosted two panel discussions: the first on the intersection of gun violence and mental health and the second on the Israel/CA trade relationship.  The first panel featured State Senator Kevin De Leon, Assembly member Nancy Skinner, and Executive Director of the Mental Health Association of CA, Rusty Selix.  The second panel featured Assembly member Bob Blumenfield, Abigail Browning of the Governor’s Office of Economic Development, and Israeli Consul General of the Pacific Northwest, Dr. Andy David.  The lively discussion on both panels educated and informed JPAC advocates and were useful during their legislative meetings that afternoon.

Additionally, with a strong and united voice, advocates met with over 50 senators and assembly members at the capitol and advocated on three issues.  The first is the Life Act, a package of eight senate bills addressing gun safety and gun violence prevention and which closes loopholes to many existing gun safety laws.  The second was AB 518, which establishes the Community-Based Adult Services (CBAS) program as a Medi-Cal eligible benefit and codifies the program in State law.  The third was not a bill, but asks that law makers sign onto a letter to the UC Regents thanking them for their stance against divestment from companies that do business with Israel.  This letter came about in light of the divestment activities taking place in the halls of student government on many University of California campuses.   During our legislative appointments, JPAC advocates reported practically a rate of 100% support from legislators on our policy priorities for this year, and all of the advocates ended the day with a great deal of satisfaction that their voices were not only heard, but welcomed and respected by our California law makers.

Contact Julie Zeisler for more information on how to get involved with JPAC at


About JPAC:

The Jewish Public Affairs Committee of California (JPAC) is the largest single-state coalition of Jewish organizations in the nation. Comprised of local Jewish Federations, Jewish Community Relations Committees and Councils, and other Jewish community advocacy groups from throughout California we advocate on behalf of Jewish social service agencies, traditional community concerns, and broadly shared values that affect the citizens of our State. Click here for more information.



JPAC’s 2013 Advocacy Day Agenda is Confirmed!

JPAC’s Advocacy Day agenda is a full day and half of exciting speakers and lobbying.

Advocacy Day highlights include:

*Legislators’ Reception honoring Assembly Speaker John Perez

*Welcome address from Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg

*Panel discussion on The Intersection of Gun Safety & Adequate Mental Health Resources, with Senator Kevin De Leon, Assembly Member Nancy Skinner, and Rusty Selix, Mental Health Association of CA

*Panel Discussion on California/Israel Trade, with Assembly Member Bob Blumenfield, Dr. Andy David, Israeli Consul General, San Francisco, and Brook Taylor, Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development

*Keynote address from CA State Treasurer Bill Lockyer