Monday, August 18, 2014

Mr. Berman Goes to Sacramento

by Joseph Berman, Senior Development Manager, Jewish Federation of San Diego County

This summer I was honored to be chosen to participate in inaugural Jewish Advocacy Fellowship sponsored by Jewish Family Service, the Jewish Community Foundation, as well as the Jewish Federation’s NextGen and Jewish Community Relations Council . The Fellowship is tackling pressing issues facing Californians including bullying, human trafficking, and challenges facing. In our first meeting, we decided as a group to focus on issues related to senior welfare.

Over the course of the summer, the Fellowship met several to develop our advocacy skills and learn more about the legislation we would be advocating for. We were very fortunate to have dedicated professionals from all three sponsoring organizations who designed innovative workshops and provided experts in these areas .

These workshops were extremely informative, but nothing compares with the trip we took to Sacramento to meet with California lawmakers on Monday. Braving a 4:00am wake-up call, we assembled at the San Diego airport for our 6:30am flight to Sacramento. Once in the Capital we hit the ground running with a meeting with the Governor’s office. After the briefing we divided into two groups to lobby various Assembly members and Senators on legislation related to residential care facilities for the elderly. We were thrilled to be recognized from the floor by Jewish Caucus Chairman State Senator Marty Block, and had the opportunity to take pictures with him just outside the Senate chambers.

All of the participants agreed that our presence made a difference, and helped move the policy needle in the right direction. We also realized that there is more work to be done, and will follow up with the Jewish Caucus shortly to garner support for increased Social Security benefits for seniors.

On behalf of the 12 inaugural Jewish Advocacy Fellows I want to thank the Federation, the Jewish Community Foundation, Jewish Family Service and all the generous donors who support these most worthy programs and for providing us with this amazing opportunity to improve ourselves while making a difference in our community.

San Diego 2014 Jewish Advocacy Fellows - (see if you can spot Joe!)


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