Erev Shabbat Service - Fighting BDS, Pursuing Justice and Peace | Congregation Beth Am

Erev Shabbat Service - Fighting BDS, Pursuing Justice and Peace

Beth Am Welcomes Abby Michelson Porth, JCRC Executive Director

The Jewish Community Relations Council has developed a research-based political campaign designed to shift public opinion in the Bay Area against efforts to isolate and demonize Israel, and those who support Israel's existence. This is part of JCRC's larger goal of actively engaging with the broader and diverse community on issues of mutual concern, safeguarding democracy, ensuring a cohesive civil society, and advocating for social justice and security for all vulnerable populations. Abby Porth, JCRC Executive Director, will discuss these efforts, including "Invest in Peace," founded by JCRC and designed to support Israeli and Palestinian organizations that are moving these societies towards a shared future and coexistence. Don't miss this opportunity to learn about how the work of the JCRC helps our community effectively champion Jewish and universal social values -- from racial equality and economic justice to immigration reform and a two-state solution.

*This service will be live video streamed. By entering the Sanctuary, you give Beth Am permission to record you.

Abigail Michelson Porth is Executive Director of the San Francisco-based Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC), where she has been a member of the team for 18 years. She is a public affairs veteran, managing complex and sensitive community relations issues, and developing effective strategies to advance JCRC’s mission of pursuing a just society and a secure Jewish future. Among Abby’s favorite efforts have been the 2016 launch of an innovative public affairs strategy – never before tried in the nation - to shift the discourse in the Bay Area away from the BDS movement and toward the Jewish community’s aspirations for a two state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. She is also proud of spearheading JCRC’s successful legal challenge and public education campaign to defeat a San Francisco ballot measure that would have criminalized male infant circumcision. In 2010, she pioneered JCRC's "Year of Civil Discourse Initiative," which provided skills training and programming for more than 1,000 Jewish community members, aimed at elevating and making more meaningful intra-community discussions about controversial issues.

Abby was appointed by Mayor Edwin Lee to serve on the San Francisco Human Rights Commission in 2015. She also serves as a member of the Boards of Congregation Emanu-El (San Francisco) and Scattered Among the Nations, which documents and assists politically and geographically marginalized Jewish communities in South America, Africa and Southeast Asia. She is a former officer of the Board of the San Francisco Interfaith Council, and previously served on the Board of San Francisco Head Start.

Before coming to JCRC in 1999, Abby managed a Boston-based juvenile hate crime offender program that diverted children out of the criminal justice system and into an educational rehabilitative setting. She earned a Master of Management degree from the Heller School for Social Policy, and a Bachelor of Arts in African American Studies, African Studies and Sociology at Brandeis University.

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We strive to live as a holy community whose study and practice of Judaism inspires and challenges us to "do justice, to love kindness and to walk humbly with our God" (Micah 6:8).