Forty delegates from Tidewater boarded a bus on the morning of February 6, making their way to Richmond for Virginia’s annual Jewish Advocacy Day with the Community Relations Council of the United Jewish Federation of Tidewater. Nearly 200 delegates from Tidewater, the Peninsula, Richmond, and Northern Virginia gathered to hear from Senator Adam Ebbin and Minority Leader of the House of Delegates, Eileen Filler-Corn before heading to the offices of the Delegates and Senators.
Everyone divided into small groups where they engaged in lively discussions with various representatives in the House of Delegates and Senate discussing issues that are important to the Tidewater Jewish community. The issues included thanking the Senators and Delegates for their continued support of the Virginia Israel Advisory Board and programs supported by Jewish Family Service, as well as asking them to expand eligibility requirements relating to Education Improvement Scholarship Tax Credits which help local Jewish day schools, signing onto a letter commemorating the 80th anniversary of Kristallnacht asking them to never forget the atrocities of the Holocaust, and finally, requesting their support for a bill which adds clergy to a list of mandatory reporters of child abuse and neglect, supported by the Board of Rabbis and Cantors of Hampton Roads.
This whirlwind day of policy talk instantly created bonds within the lobbying teams as they worked together to determine how to best communicate their messages. Feelings of pride in being Jewish were felt throughout the day, as many people from across Virginia took the time to travel to Richmond to unite and speak their minds about making Virginia a more tolerant place—not just for Jews, but for everyone.
By Melissa Eichelbaum
For more information about how to get involved with the Community Relations Council, contact Melissa Eichelbaum, assistant CRC director, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 757-965-6107.