On the last day of January, four Jewish Arizonans were in Washington, D.C., to speak directly with lawmakers about three issues of concern to many in the Jewish community. Over the course of five hours on Wednesday, Jan. 31, Rachel Hoffer, Richard Kasper, Danielle Breslow Gross and Alan Zeichick met briefly with several congressional leaders — Democrats, Republicans and Independents — to discuss legislation regarding military assistance for Israel, increased security funding for nonprofits and defining antisemitism.

At the behest of the Jewish Federations of North America (JFNA), Hoffer, Kasper, Gross and Zeichick joined more than 400 Jewish advocates representing 65 communities around the country in the nation’s capital.

“Seeing 400 people from throughout the country ready to speak to the elected officials from their communities was incredible,” Center for Jewish Philanthropy of Greater Phoenix (CJP) Board Chair Rachel Hoffer told Jewish News in an email.

“It’s hard to overestimate the importance of this work in advancing our legislative interests. Elected representatives keep track of emails and phone calls, but nothing is more effective than face-to-face meetings with their constituents,” said Kasper, CJP CEO.

“It all happened in 48 hours,” Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Phoenix Board Chair Zeichick told Jewish News. “We flew in on Tuesday morning, and had a kick-off session with JFNA, where we met and talked with a lot of people. Next day was lobby, lobby, lobby.”

Gross, co-chair of JFNA’s National Young Leadership Cabinet, went with advocacy experience on Capitol Hill already under her belt. In fact, this was her third trip to D.C. since June. She led the local cohort and helped JFNA coordinate some of the meetings with officials, she said.

“It was incredible,” she told Jewish News. “In the Jewish community we have a lot of concerns and it’s important to have a direct line of communication to members of Congress so they understand our needs, both in terms of resolutions and voting.”

This article originally appeared on the Jewish News. To read more, please click HERE.

This article incorporates reporting from Jewish Telegraphic Agency.

Jewish News is published by the Jewish Community Foundation of Greater Phoenix, a component of the Center for Jewish Philanthropy of Greater Phoenix.

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