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Shelley Rood

AJFCA Washington Director

                        Tuesday, October 23, 2012 

2012 BaltimoGA Baltimore 2012re General Assembly
The North American Jewish event is right around the corner. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is creating a special message for the GA community, which will be featured at the conference. Stay tuned for breaking news and updates. Don't forget to tell your friends and colleagues to register as well, so that your entire community can benefit from all the GA has to offer. Lee Sherman, AJFCA CEO/President, Shelley Rood, AJFCA Washington Director, and Jennie Gates Beckman, AJFCA Manager of Civic Engagement & Repair the World Programming will be on site. Email Sandy to let AJFCA know if you're coming. 
  • Review the program schedule to begin to choose which sessions and receptions you'll be attending.  
  • Discover the top 11 things to do in Baltimore other than the GA.
  • Continue checking www.GeneralAssembly.org daily for program and speaker updates like the Jewish Book Council Author Series which will feature Ruth Andrew Ellenson, Rabbi Daniel Gordis and Professor Jonathan Sarna, among others.
  • Tweet about the #JFNAGA via Twitter.
  • Look for the GA app, which will be available October 25th in the iTunes Store.
  • Make sure to read the GA Daily, once you're on site as it is filled with important information about room changes, new opportunities and fun facts. Remember to visit the JFNA booth, and attend workshops and the Baltimore Community Event!
Opening Abraham's Tent: The Disability Inclusion Initiative
The Jewish Federations of North America, the Mizrahi Family Charitable Fund, the Jewish Funders Network, and the Jewish Foundation for Group Homes are pleased to announce the creation of a conference dedicated to a discussion of how to build Jewish communities that are more inclusive of individuals with disabilities and their families.

Opening Abraham's Tent: The Disability Inclusion Initiative
Tuesday, November 13th, 6:45pm-10:00pm
Wednesday, November 14th, 7:45am-3:00pm
Baltimore Marriott Inner Harbor at Camden Yards
Baltimore, Maryland

Featuring Keynote Address by Governor Jack Markell of Delaware Chair, National Governors Association sharing his vision for improving employment outcomes for the disability community as well as sessions focusing on
  • the difficult concepts and questions communities must address in order to develop a culture of inclusion
  • how to develop the tools that allow a community to make an immediate impact on inclusion for individuals with disabilities, their loved ones and caregivers
  • the issue of inclusion from the perspective of funders
  • a look at innovative best practices addressing individual issues within the broader context of inclusion   
This conjfna logoference will feature leaders with experience in helping communities to promote a culture of inclusion and will provide an opportunity for federation professionals, family service agency professionals, educators, planners and lay leaders to develop the tools necessary to begin the effort to accomplish this important goal.  
Please join JFNA as they gather to discuss how we can work together to achieve the goal of building accessible, accepting, accommodating and welcoming Jewish communities for individuals with disabilities and their families.

Registration for the Disability Inclusion Initiative
Click here if you plan to attend the 2012 General Assembly and the Disability Inclusion Initiative - $82
Click here if you only plan to attend the Disability Inclusion Initiative - $118
For more information about this conference, visit http://jfeds.org/inclusionGA or contact Shelley Rood.
Update on U.S. Elections
Presidential elections will take place in two weeks. We do not know who will triumph as polls have tightened.
  • In the Presidential race, the final margin will be close. As has been known for months, the final decision will be based on the swing states with this year's nominees really focused on nine battlegrounds:  Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, Virginia and Wisconsin. Certainly, in many of these states, significant Jewish populations could have an impact.
  • In the House, Republicans are likely to retain control, although by a narrower margin than their current 50 seat majority.  
  • The Senate is up for grabs. The Democrats, currently hold 53 seats (including two independents who vote with them) but 23 of these seats are up this year, compared to 10 for the Republicans. Many of these states remain competitive. We don't know who will win a majority (and as you know with the Senate filibuster rules a majority in the Senate does not translate into total control), but the most likely outcome now is that whichever party wins the Presidential contest will also win control of the Senate by a narrow margin. 
As you understand, which party controls the Presidency and the two chambers of Congress has consequences for AJFCA's public policy priorities for next year and beyond.

Following the elections, Congress will convene for a "lame duck" session as Members of the current Congress return for a few days or weeks to attempt to resolve some of the many issues that were left unresolved. Several crucial economic happenings take place on January 1, 2013. These include:
  • the automatic invocation of sequestrations to make cuts in significant chunks of discretionary spending in both the defense and non-defense arenas (a legacy of the Budget Control Act of 2011 which is supposed to cut $109 billion in 2013)
  • expiration of the 2001 and 2003 Bush tax cuts
  • the extension of the reach of the Alternative Minimum Tax which would apply to significantly lower amounts of income  
  • lower rates in Medicare payments to physicians  
  • increases in the payroll tax and 
  • the elimination of extensions to unemployment benefits.  
All of these issues must be addressed by Congress or our economy could go over a "fiscal cliff." Six weeks later in mid-February, the U.S. national debt ceiling limit will be reached, and you may recall that the last time Congress handled this matter, the U.S. bond rating was downgraded.  In addition, Congress must complete its work on the FY 2013 Appropriations process after only extending the bills for six months through March, 2013. It seems unlikely that Congress will be able to address these issues during a lame duck session although forward movement could take place if this becomes a "status quo" election with the current party in control of the Presidency, the Senate, and the House retaining that control.

We are engaging in scenario planning to figure out how our goals will be impacted by the victors come January as they maneuver around different components of the debt and deficit crisis. As the elections approach, please continue to be mindful of electoral activity on the part of your federation (and you may wish to consult our annual memo on Election Year Advocacy). Also, this list of questions may be of use to you in community-sponsored candidate forums.

We look forward to communicating with you after the results return on Election Day. If you would like to discuss these issues further please contact Shelley.
NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- As they struggle to save for retirement, a growing number of middle-class Americans plan to postpone their golden years until they are in their 80's.
Nearly one-third, or 30%, now plan to work until they are 80 or older -- up from 25% a year ago, according to a Wells Fargo survey of 1,000 adults with income less than $100,000.

AJFCA Members:  Are you noticing that mature worker/senior employment is an issue cropping up in your community? How are you responding? Are there specific resources that you are utilizing? We are doing a quick community scan to see how pressing the issue is, level of interest and how active the system is in engaging and fostering mature worker and senior employment. Once we hear back, we will be in touch to learn more completely what programs or tools you are using or creating. Please send a quick short description (2-3 sentences or a paragraph) to Shelley Rood.
JWI's Domestic Violence Survey 
We are writing today with an important request. Can you take a few minutes of your time to complete Jewish Women International's annual survey of Jewish domestic violence organizations?

Each year, the results of this survey play a key role in guiding our work as we develop new resources to address domestic violence in our community. We also use this crucial information as we work closely with Members of Congress, their staffs, and other national organizations to advocate for the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) and funding for VAWA programs.

We would greatly appreciate if you could complete this short survey by Friday, November 2nd so we can better understand and advocate for programs that serve the Jewish community.


In these difficult financial times, when the demand for lifesaving services increases, it is more important than ever that we urge our lawmakers to allocate funding to VAWA programs and educate Members of Congress about the needs of Jewish domestic violence programs. Last year's survey results were distributed widely within our community and used in meetings with Congressional staffers, the Administration, and key federal agency contacts. This year's survey will allow us to continue to advocate for vital funding for domestic violence and stay connected with each other's work.   

Please forward this survey to your colleagues in other domestic violence agencies that serve the Jewish community. Link: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/KNC9ZPY.


Thank you for your time and commitment. If you have questions or concerns about this survey or our advocacy work, please contact Miri Cypers, JWI's Senior Policy and Advocacy Specialist.