(Sacramento, CA) – The California Department of Social Services awarded $3.6 million in grants to six Jewish Family Service agencies across California to provide support for elderly Holocaust Survivors struggling to live out their days in dignity. Last year, the California Legislative Jewish Caucus, led by then-Chair Assemblymember Marc Levine and then-Vice Chair Senator Ben Allen, was instrumental in securing the funding requested by the Jewish Public Affairs Committee of California (JPAC) in the 2018-2019 State Budget.
Los Angeles, CA – On a unanimous vote, Senator Ben Allen (D – Santa Monica) was elected as the Chair of the California Legislative Jewish Caucus at a gathering of Caucus members in Los Angeles today. Allen is beginning his second term representing the Westside, Hollywood and South Bay of Los Angeles in the California State Senate.
The California Legislative Jewish Caucus stands united with the Tree of Life synagogue and with all communities imperiled by the cancer of anti-Semitism and hate. We will mourn for the victims and pray for their families and the congregation. What we will not do, however, is give in to fear.
Places of worship should be safe and filled with faith, family, and peace.
BY ELISSA EINHORN
Protests over a controversial new nation-state law. The denial of surrogacy rights to same-sex couples. Firebomb kites from Gaza. The shooting down of a Syrian jet.
Just another week in Israel.
However, all of the above happened to occur when nine California lawmakers — most of them first-time visitors — toured the Jewish state as part of a special delegation led by Assemblymember Marc Levine of San Rafael.
Funded by the American Jewish Committee’s Project Interchange, the legislators traveled the country from north to the south from July 21 to 27. Stops included Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and Herzliya.
Back for his first visit in 18 years, Levine said, “Israel is a country that I feel a strong connection to. Creating a delegation of state lawmakers would create a meaningful, safe way to learn about issues and to ask questions about Israel and the Middle East.”
The group arrived at time when several high-profile issues hit the Israeli — and global Jewish — public sphere.
“These issues,” Levine noted, alluding mainly to the nation-state law and the denial of surrogacy rights for same-sex couples, “raise questions about what it means for Israel to be a democracy. This is a country on the forefront of civil rights for the LGBT community. Is this a step backward?”
July 24, 2018 – (Jerusalem, Israel) – With the goals of fostering technological innovation and boosting bilateral opportunities, a diverse, bipartisan delegation of California state legislators is visiting Israel for intensive dialogue and briefings with AJC (American Jewish Committee) Project Interchange.