Strong Federation Advocacy at the 2024 JPAC Capitol Summit

With over 500 people in attendance, including our CEO Joy Sisisky and a 20-member Federation contingent, this year’s Jewish Public Affairs Committee of California (JPAC) Capitol Summit was the largest and most energized yet. The two-day gathering in Sacramento focused on addressing rising antisemitism, enhancing security, and maintaining funding for the humanitarian crisis at the San Diego border. I was heartened by the turnout. As board member Natasha Kehimkar remarked, “It was really exciting to have the Federation represented.”

As the summit kicked off, we mingled with legislators and fellow attendees at a cocktail hour and then a seated dinner. Members of the Jewish Caucus — filling the stage! —gave brief speeches on their commitment to representing Jewish values in Sacramento.

On day two, in a special prerecorded video, Governor Newsom presented his first public announcement of the Golden State Plan to Counter Antisemitism. As part of the executive board of JPAC, we are so proud of the months of work and partnership leading up to this historic roadmap modeled after President Biden’s plan. Superintendent of Schools Tony Thurman and Attorney General Rob Bonta both declared it vital to operationalize the plan.

Joy Sisisky chatting with Eleni Kounalakis

Also, during the morning plenary, Joy led a more personal fireside chat with Lieutenant Governor Eleni Kounalakis. During their conversation, the LG put the current rise in antisemitism in broader context, sharing her experiences as former ambassador to Hungary and how the country still deals with the painful legacy of the Holocaust. Her commitment to fighting antisemitism is part of her family history as well, with her relatives taking part in the Greek resistance during WWII. She gave her thoughts on how to respond to the growing threats to our community, particularly on campuses throughout the state. As an influential member of all three higher education boards, she believes it is urgent for the system to rein in dangers and misconduct — ending both illegal encampments and direct negotiations between school administrators and protesters. She emphasized the need to get ahead of these issues and was optimistic about getting plans in place prior to the start of the next academic year.

During lobbying prep, I was pleased to speak on the importance of funding the Nonprofit Security Grant Program, which provides critical, enhanced security for synagogues and other nonprofits across the state at risk for hate-motivated crimes. In a recent message to staff, Joy underscored the importance of this initiative, saying, “This is core for our Federation’s Community Security program, and why it was especially important for us to be there and lobby directly for this critical addition to the budget.”

Joy Sisisky at JPAC Summit

On the final afternoon of the summit, we attendees had the opportunity to meet with legislators directly. 105 meetings took place, and Joy and I personally met with 10 members of the Governor’s cabinet. Lynn Bunin, a longtime Federation donor and former JPAC board chair expressed the importance of these meetings: “It's the personal connection and the power and the buzz that happened all around the capitol when we were there.” Well said.

Please stay tuned for ongoing advocacy announcements, and join us next year!

In  partnership with local and national organizations, community leaders, and elected officials, we strengthen networks and advocate to address the issues most important to the community.   For more information, please contact Amy Spade, Senior Director, Community Impact.


June 05, 2024


Amy Spade