2016-10-12 / Voice at the Shore

JStreet senior political advisor to speak to community

BY KIRK WISEMAYER, Executive Director
Jewish Federation of Atlantic & Cape May Counties


RABBI STEPHEN GUTOW RABBI STEPHEN GUTOW Jewish Federation and its Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC) are pleased to announce that Rabbi Stephen Gutow, who served for ten years as the CEO of Jewish Council for Public Affairs (JCPA), will speak at the JCRC’s Civility Symposium on Thursday, October 20, at the Milton & Betty Katz Jewish Community Center in Margate.

Under Gutows’s leadership, the JCPA became the national umbrella agency representing 125 Jewish Federations and JCRCs, and fourteen national organizations, in matters relating to civility, interfaith relations, hunger and poverty, legislative affairs, and Israel advocacy. His commitment to building interfaith bridges has helped create many important milestones, such as a joint prayer issued with the leaders of the Christian and Muslim faiths.

Gutow is both an attorney and rabbi. He practiced law in his native Texas, where he also served as chair of the Dallas JCRC. Ordained by the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College in 2003, he served as a pulpit rabbi in St. Louis, and taught a seminar on Jewish law at St. Louis University Law School.

Currently serving as a senior political advisor with JStreetPAC, Rabbi Gutow works with candidates for Congress, to guide them in discussing support for pro- Israel, pro-peace principles in outreach to the Jewish community and other groups.

In workshops, speeches, and articles, Rabbi Gutow addresses subjects such as racial harmony, religious pluralism and civil liberties, the safety and security of Israel, poverty, and healthcare. Among his many honors, Rabbi Gutow has been named among the fifty most influential American rabbis on numerous occasions, and has also been ranked among the fifty most influential American Jews.

Vigorous debate about pressing issues is vital and essential in a pluralistic society, including within our diverse Jewish community. While deep divisions are to be expected over how to address many issues of the issues we face as a society, a frank and civil exchange of ideas helps to inform and distill consensus.

As with the JCPA, Gutow cannot understate the importance of civility in ensuring the exchange of ideas and opposing views without allowing them to spill over into hateful rhetoric, racism, anti-Semitism, and other forms of prejudice. Without civil discourse, he believes, it becomes difficult if not impossible to find common ground. As Jews, he has said, our shared past, present, and future requires we find ways to work for a common good, namely our sacred obligation to heal our broken world.

To register for the Civility Symposium with Rabbi Gutow, please call Jewish Federation at (609) 822-4404 or e-mail becky@jewishbytheshore.org.

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