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Brit Tzedek v'Shalom

Jewish Alliance for Justice and Peace



Brit Tzedek at the General Assembly

Marcia Freedman, Cherie Brown, Aliza Becker, Steve Masters, and Rabbi Sue Elwell respectively the president, vice president, acting director, board member/co-chair of the Advocacy and Public Policy Committee, and board member of Brit Tzedek v'Shalom, the Jewish Alliance for Justice and Peace, represented our organization at the 2002 General Assembly (GA) of the United Jewish Communities which met in Philadelphia, November 20-22.

The object of our participation in the General Assembly was to introduce the mainstream organized Jewish community to Brit Tzedek. Our visible participation in the General Assembly was the first step in our Inclusivity Initiative, a campaign to reclaim the Jewish communal tradition of welcoming and providing space for a multitude of voices and opinions about community concerns, including those about the situation in the Middle East and Israeli government policy.

To that end, Brit Tzedek published a half-page ad (click here to read the ad) in the Philadelphia Jewish Exponent, a newspaper widely distributed to the 5,000 delegates present at the General Assembly and distributed flyers to the delegates as well. The ad and the flyers invited delegates to visit Brit Tzedeks hospitality suite, open during the day and evening for two of the three days of the conference, to get acquainted with the organization and its leadership. The ad and flyers also invited delegates to attend a special reception held on the first night of the conference, November 20.

The reception was well attended, and the hospitality suite was visited by a small but steady stream of delegates including many representatives of the Jewish press present at the conference. Presentations were followed by a lively Q&A with members of the press.

Brit Tzedek's Media Committee worked hard to prepare a professional media presence for Brit Tzedek and not insured the presence of the media at our press briefing, but also arranged a series of meetings between Marcia and Cherie with individual members of the press who were unable to come or wanted a deeper background perspective. (click here to read press release.) An immediate result of this activity was the publication of an op-ed by Marcia Freedman in the important Jewish publication, the New York Jewish Week on December 6, 2002. (click here to read article.)

In addition, we circulated among the delegates, introduced ourselves at sessions and raised our organization's profile. Both in terms of visibility in the external environment as well as an internal statement to members and prospective members of Brit Tzedek, attendance at the GA was an important marker of Brit Tzedek's determination to both belong to and be a part of the mainstream Jewish community as well as to take an alternative position to the one currently dominating communal discourse. The message, "There is more than one way to be pro-Israel," was heard.

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