A Time of Need

James Besser writing in The New York Jewish Week:

Hard Times Meet JCPA: Jewish Group Braces for Deeper Recession

Reports from the field will be grim when delegates to this year’s Jewish Council for Public Affairs plenum gather in Washington on Sunday – the first major Jewish meeting since the economic furies hit full force and the first since the inauguration of President Barack Obama.

The economic emergency that is changing Jewish communal realities across the country has also transformed the JCPA plenum, an annual event that sometimes seems more like a Jewish debating society but which this year will be shadowed by an economic crisis and a collective craving for on-the-ground responses.

Rabbi Steve Gutow, the JCPA president and CEO, acknowledged the desire for practical, immediate help, but also suggested the unique circumstances surrounding this year’s meeting could lead to a broader discussion.

“There is a real fear that we are seeing a fundamental change in our world,” Rabbi Gutow said, “that this is a problem that isn’t going to turn around next year.”