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2015-08-14 digital edition

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The Jewish Press of Tampa and the Jewish Press of Pinellas County are Independently- owned biweekly Jewish community newspapers published in cooperation with and supported by the Tampa JCC & Federation and the Jewish Federation of Pinellas & Pasco Counties, respectively. Copyright © 2009-2018 The Jewish Press Group of Tampa Bay, Inc., All Rights Reserved.


August 14, 2015  RSS feed
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Tampa Bay chosen for Israel advocacy training

The Jewish Federation of Pinellas and Pasco Counties together with the Tampa JCC & Federation were among 10 communities nationwide selected to train community members to counter the assault on Israel’s legitimacy and positively change the conversation on Israel.

The program is sponsored by the Israel Action Network’s Community Impact Partnership and will launch an in-depth training program in December.

“We’re tremendously excited to bring this opportunity to our region, and to serve as the lead partner across Tampa Bay in an effort that will really solidify our ability to combat the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel,” noted Steve Schwersky, co-chair of the Federation’s Jewish Community Relations Council.

In general, the BDS Movement aims to isolate Israel politically, economically and culturally. The overall objective is to challenge Israel’s right to exist as the Jewish homeland, while claiming its intention is to help the Palestinians. One of its main strategies has been calls for academic and economic boycotts along with divestment of investment in Israel by colleges, religious organizations, labor unions, etc.

The Community Impact Partnership program will allow the Federation to offer two, three-hour sessions on Dec. 9 and 16, which will train advocates to counter the assault on Israel’s legitimacy and positively change the discourse on Israel.The training will enroll at least 20 individuals from both the Pinellas/ Pasco area as well as Tampa.

The first training session entitled, “Messaging and Organizing,” will help participants understand exactly what BDS is and how the Jewish community can organize to use strategic communication techniques to effectively counter them.

The second session, entitled, “Strategic Planning and Relationship Building,” will focus on denoting existing BDS threats and listing potentially vulnerable groups. Action committees will be formed and charged with creating a strategic plan.

At the conclusion of the training program, participants will develop local projects and carry them out. A $5,000 grant from CIP will be used to support these projects.

Participating federations include Nashville; Miami; Delaware; Cleveland; Lehigh Valley, PA; Pinellas/Pasco/Tampa, Dallas, New Haven, CT; Worcester, MA; San Gabriel/ Pomona Valley, CA.

“This will be a course taught by experts, targeting the average concerned citizen in our region who cares about Israel but may not know where or how to start in speaking up. We’re eager to share the knowledge and techniques of the Israel Action Network with our community members, and we’re hoping for a full house,” said Stuart Berger, co-chair of the Federation’s Jewish Community Relations Council.

“CIP’s overarching goal is to enrich the community relations capabilities of local Federations and CRCs by creating an enduring framework that will support action, engagement and outreach on Israel,” according to the Israel Action Network’s website. “By positively changing and leading the conversation about Israel, we not only strengthen our network, but empower it.”

The Israel Action Network operates in joint cooperation with the Jewish Council for Public Affairs and the Jewish Federations of North America.

Those interested in participating in the CIP program should contact Rod Margolis at (727) 333-3104 or by email at

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