Getting to know you: Advocating for Jewish community in Richmond

by | Jan 24, 2014 | What’s Happening

Date with the State 2013

Date with the State 2013

Virginia Jewish Advocacy Day at the Richmond General Assembly
Wednesday, Feb. 5, 8:45 am–6 pm

The Tidewater area has new General Assembly leaders representing it in Richmond this year, in addition to a new Virginia Governor, Lieutenant Governor and Attorney General.

Members of the Community Relations Council of the United Jewish Federation of Tidewater feel this is an important and opportune time to let these elected officials know that the Tidewater Jewish community and those it helps are aware, informed, and can vocally express their concerns.

As it has in years past, the CRC is chartering a bus to take community representatives to Richmond for face-to-face meetings with State Delegates and Senators on a day set aside for the entire Jewish community of the state. Known as Virginia Jewish Advocacy Day, the meetings held that day can make a significant difference to the Jewish agencies in the area.

“Many members of the Jewish community assume that issues important to us are only decided in Washington. Not true,” says Jeff Brooke, co-chair of CRC Legislative committee with Jeff Cooper.

“In fact, a better case can be made that the closer the level of government, the more directly it affects us in our daily lives. In this light, I urge you to consider coming with me and many other members of our community to “Date With the State”/ Jewish Advocacy Day in Richmond this February 5,” says Brooke.

“As a member of the Governor’s Virginia Israel Advisory Board, I can tell you that members of General Assembly and Executive Branch are keenly interested in our views. Our General Assembly only meets for a short period of time each year, and many important decisions will be made which directly affect our rights and interests. Whether the issue is funding for the VIAB, Medicaid, gun control, or free speech issues, many key matters will be considered and decided. If we don’t advocate for ourselves, there are certainly other groups who will show up and argue opposing points of view.

CRC member Brad Lerner, who has attended Date with the State in the past, feels a good show of community representatives makes a difference.

“Spending time in Israel with thoughtful and intelligent policy advocates from across the United States has further energized my commitment to DWTS issues.” says Lerner, who is a participant in the Jewish Council for Public Affair’s (the CRC national umbrella organization) Frank Family Leadership Institute. “Moreover, spending time visiting Auschwitz and Yad Vashem painfully reminds one to speak out against issues that might slowly decay a Jewish person’s freedoms in the state of Virginia, i.e., opposing bills this session that encroach on freedom of religion in public schools.

“It is the community’s responsibility to live by the adage “never again” and being proactive and voicing concerns over ill-conceived Bills or advocating for the Jewish voice in general will help ensure the strength of Jewish people locally, statewide and nationally.”

It is not too late to be a part of this memorable day. RSVP now. Cost is $36 and includes a kosher lunch and helps defray the cost of transportation. Visit for more information, and to RSVP.

Those going on the trip are encouraged to attend an Insiders’ Briefing, Thursday, Jan. 30, at 6 pm at the Sandler Family Campus. The CRC will provide all attendees with detailed talking points and lobbying tips.

by Laine Mednick Rutherford