I’m proud that in 2015 our Federation, led by the hard work of our Community Relations Committee leadership, made a real impact on government affairs.

At the state level, in partnership with our State Association of Jewish Federations, we:

  • secured State Assembly approval for NJ Senate and Assembly resolutions condemning the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) attacks on Israel;
  • introduced legislation mandating that the State Investment Council divest from companies engaging in the boycott of Israel;
  • advocated for the successful passage of a new law that exempts Holocaust reparations from legal process and from estate recovery under Medicaid; and
  • helped achieve unanimous legislative approval for the Achieving Better Life Experience (ABLE) Accounts legislation, which is now on the governor’s desk. The legislation will allow families with individuals with disabilities to set aside funds to help with their care.

On the federal level, our advocacy helped secure congressional support to:

  • increase funding for the Federal Non-profit Security Grant Program (NSGP) from $13 million to $20 million for FFY 2016;
  • raise $2.5 million for Holocaust survivor assistance and $120 million for the Emergency Food and Shelter Program in the 2016 budget, which provides funding for Jewish community programs for families that are hunger insecure and are at-risk for becoming homeless; and
  • enact the Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes Act of 2015, which included a provision making the IRA Charitable Rollover permanent.

Locally, to continue to engage with Jewish community organizations to keep us safe and secure, we:

  • distributed information and security alerts to community agencies and congregations from the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) and the Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness (OHSP);
  • launched an Anti-Hunger Campaign in Greater MetroWest, partnering with the NJ Anti-Hunger Coalition and MAZON, that included a press conference on the impact of hunger on seniors and mobilizing congregational leaders to form a coalition for policy change in New Jersey; and
  • championed an Anti-Human Trafficking Resolution at the NJ League of Municipalities meeting.

I’m grateful to our CRC, our NJ State Association of Jewish Federations, and our national Washington D.C. office, which helped us achieve so much to help so many.
Let’s look forward to an even more successful year of activity and achievement in 2016.

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