Leaders from Jewish Philanthropies of Southern Arizona (JPSA) joined over 1,200 Jewish communal leaders in Chicago at Jewish Federations’ three-day General Assembly, where they set the shared Jewish communal agenda for the year ahead and heard from a diverse array of voices on critical issues facing the North American Jewish community. First held 90 years ago, The General Assembly is the most consequential gathering of the leadership of the North American Jewish community, and brings together Jewish leaders of diverse backgrounds in a space that fosters productive dialogue and debate.
“The General Assembly is always an inspiring experience that affords community leaders throughout our diverse national Jewish community to join together to address the challenges we are confronting,” said Emily Richman, JPSA Interim CEO. “Community challenges including security, antisemitism, Jewish education, and engagement, amongst others, are issues facing all U.S. Jewish communities including Southern Arizona. While there is much to be concerned with, I have great hope for what’s ahead for our community with the dedication of our staff, volunteer leadership, and community support.”
This year’s General Assembly focused on responses to the geopolitical challenges and global events impacting the Jewish community, and challenges and opportunities towards building flourishing Jewish communities.
Global figures, activists, public officials and communal leaders addressed the audience. Noteworthy names included President of Israel Isaac Herzog, U.S. Ambassador to Germany Amy Gutmann, Israel’s Ambassador to the U.S. Michael Herzog, journalist and news anchor Andrea Mitchell, Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Antisemitism Ambassador Dr. Deborah Lipstadt, philosopher and author and filmmaker Bernard Henry Levy, among many others.
The agenda also included a special reception to mark the 60th anniversary of National Young Leadership Cabinet and the 50th anniversary of Lions of Judah, which represent models of leadership for the Jewish world.
During the opening plenary of The General Assembly, Jewish Federations of North America (JFNA) Board Chair Julie Platt announced that since the launch of LiveSecure last year, the number of Jewish communities in North America that have security programs has increased by 42%. LiveSecure is a $130 million investment in Jewish communal security that aims to protect every single Jewish community in the U.S. and Canada through a grant issued by JFNA, matched locally by JPSA.
Also announced at The General Assembly was an agreement made between the leadership of major Jewish organizations and financial ratings powerhouse Morningstar on a new set of commitments regarding anti-Israel bias in its ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance) ratings. The agreement follows months of deliberations between the parties.
“We are living in complex times when antisemitic incidents are increasing at an alarming rate, anti-Israel rhetoric is rampant, millions of people are displaced by war and our communities are overwhelmed by a mental health crisis,” said Jewish Federations of North America Board Chair Julie Platt. “These extreme challenges we face require bold solutions and broad collaborations, so that we can effectively strengthen our communities and ensure that they are safe, compassionate, inclusive and vibrant. The General Assembly is a unique opportunity that comes around once-per-year for our communal leaders to come together to tackle these complex challenges, discuss practical steps towards building flourishing Jewish communities and return to our communities invigorated to implement these strategies.”