Joy Sisisky meets with Israeli President in Jerusalem to discuss Judicial overhaul

San Francisco, CA -- On March 15, Joy Sisisky, CEO of the Jewish Community Federation and Endowment Fund (the Federation) accompanied by Federation board member Susie Sorkin, held meetings with Israeli President Isaac Herzog, as well as key Knesset members from both the coalition and opposition and business leaders to advance a compromise on controversial judicial reforms.

Sisisky and Sorkin joined a group representing over 30 Jewish communities across North America Tuesday as part of a 24-hour fly-in to Israel to engage in open dialogue with Israeli leaders on concerns relating to the proposed judicial reforms and to convey issues of importance to the North American Jewish community.

Sisisky said, “The Bay Area Jewish community has always enjoyed a strong and special relationship with Israel—a testament to our shared history, values, and cultural heritage. Today, as Israel faces unprecedented threats to core values, the pillars of democracy and human rights that are foundational to a democratic and Jewish state of Israel, it is our responsibility to stand up for those beliefs. I am honored to be here in this pivotal moment in history to show our support with deep and abiding love for Israel.”

Sorkin added, “In 24 hours, we met with Israeli leaders from politics and high-tech industry, expressing our views, concerns, and love. They appreciated our presence and were thoughtful in our discussions. Representing our community's voices was a privilege, and I'm cautiously hopeful as I return home.”

The Federation leaders expressed their concerns over the proposal that would allow a majority of just 61 Knesset votes to override a decision of the Supreme Court, and the threats this proposal could have on Israel’s checks and balances and in safeguarding minority rights. They also voiced concerns over the implications that this reform may have on support for Israel in North America. The leaders urged the government representatives on both sides to negotiate a compromise based on the outline presented by President Herzog.

Last month, Jewish Federations of North America (JFNA) sent a letter to Prime Minister Netanyahu and Opposition Leader Yair Lapid expressing their concerns over aspects of the reforms and urging the two sides to accept President Herzog’s proposal.

The Federation co-signed that letter and, on February 27, issued a joint statement with the Jewish Community Relations Council Bay Area. The statement noted that “the most right-wing governing coalition in Israel’s 75-year history” has provoked reactions of alarm and anxiety “about the coalition’s more extreme members, whose track records of homophobia, transphobia, misogyny, and anti-Arab racism stand in stark contrast to our beliefs and values.”

“First and foremost, we are here in Israel to show our unconditional and eternal support for the Jewish state, and to emphasize how important the preservation of Israel's democratic institutions are to the North American Jewish community,” said Eric Fingerhut, President & CEO of JFNA. “We believe in the importance of holding open dialogue with those who hold positions that we agree and disagree with, and in conveying the far-reaching consequences that a dramatic change to the Israeli system of governance will have on the North American Jewish community and in broader society.”

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The Jewish Community Federation and Endowment Fund mobilizes innovation, collaboration, and investment to shape diverse and dynamic Bay Area Jewish communities where people find a meaningful connection to Judaism and each other; and where we work together to better lives and communities locally, in Israel, and around the world. Learn more at

For immediate release

March 15, 2023