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Roundtable with Gov. Scott

Roundtable with Gov. Scott

Discussion with the governor (from left): Rhonda Forest, JFGO Acting Executive Director; JCRC Co-chair Michelle Zaltsberg; JFGO President Brad Jacobs; Keith Dvorchik, CEO of The Roth Family JCC; Gov. Rick Scott; Jeff Imber, Rosen JCC Immediate Past President; Eric Lightman. Rosen JCC Executive Director; and JCRC Director Ben Friedman.

JCRC organized a small roundtable discussion with Florida Gov. Rick Scott at the Rosen JCC in Southwest Orlando. We engaged with the governor on a wide range of issues of concern to our community, including security funding, education, healthcare and gun violence. 

Meet the candidates

The Federation’s Jewish Community Relations Council serves as the political advocacy arm of our Jewish community, creating relationships and access to our elected officials and those who are running for public office at all levels.

Last week, our JCRC organized a small roundtable discussion with Florida Gov. (and Republican U.S. Senate candidate) Rick Scott at the Rosen JCC in Southwest Orlando. During our discussion, we had the opportunity to engage with the governor on a wide range of issues of concern to our community, including security funding, education, healthcare and gun violence.

This afternoon, we welcomed Democratic Commissioner of Agriculture candidate Nicole “Nikki” Fried to the Maitland Jewish Community Campus. Fried shared her thoughts and heard from community members about many of the areas the ag commissioner deals with every day, including consumer protection regulations throughout the state.

We are entering a critical period of engagement with candidates for office. With the primary coming up on Aug. 28 and the general election on Nov. 6, Florida will once again be a hotbed for political activity. It is vitally important that we demonstrate our mutual commitment to advocacy during this period so that those who are elected on Nov. 6 take office with the knowledge that the Central Florida Jewish community is serious about public policy.

We have extended invitations to many candidates, including all the major candidates for governor of Florida, and I am excited to announce that three of those candidates have already committed to visiting with the Greater Orlando Jewish community:

Jeff Greene (D), candidate for governor of Florida
9 a.m. Thursday, Aug. 16
The Roth Family JCC Youth Lounge

 

Chris King (D), candidate for governor of Florida
1:30 p.m. Monday, Aug. 20
The Roth Family JCC Auditorium

 

John Mina, candidate for Orange County sheriff
6 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 30
The Roth Family JCC Auditorium

We expect that these will be just some of many such events with candidates across the political spectrum, for many political offices. Remember: The more we interact with our candidates of all parties and levels of government, the more responsive they will be to our community needs after taking office. I hope that you will join me for each of these substantive discussions over the next few weeks. Bring questions, concerns and, most importantly, a commitment to civility.

Keep an eye out for announcements as we schedule more opportunities to meet with candidates, and as always, stay in touch!

 

JCRC backs Trump on Jerusalem

The Jewish Community Relations Council of the Jewish Federation of Greater Orlando fully supports President Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

We continue to encourage all parties to work toward a path to peace through a two-state solution, and we strongly believe that these are not contradictory goals. Recognizing Israel’s right to choose its own capital while also promoting a peaceful future are not mutually exclusive, and we reject the idea that this move necessitates a violent response.

We hope that both Israelis and Palestinians will work together to realize the dream of a Jerusalem open and safe to all people.

Statement on immigration executive order

The Jewish Community Relations Council of the Jewish Federation of Greater Orlando expresses great concern over the current and potential impact of the Executive Order Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States signed by President Trump on January 27, 2017.

While we respect the need to protect the safety and security of our nation’s citizens, we strongly believe that this can and must be accomplished without abandoning the historic commitment shared by the Jewish community and all Americans to welcoming immigrants and treating refugees with compassion.

This commitment is deeply rooted in the Jewish tradition and the Jewish experience.  We are a people of immigrants. Throughout our history we have been treated as “strangers in a strange land” and as targets of religious persecution. 

Because of that experience, which for many of us was all too recent, we empathize with groups who are similarly cast out. We are guided by that experience and the Torah-based mandates to welcome the stranger and care for the weak. It is not only our religious values that speak to welcoming those who seek shelter and safety, but it is also a pillar of free, democratic nations.

We wish to make clear our deep concern over this action which appears to define policy for individuals based upon their religion. It is our hope that this Administration implement policy that remains true to the values of diversity, liberty and religious tolerance deeply rooted and centrally regarded in both Jewish tradition and the American experience as a whole.