Published On: Thu, Jul 22nd, 2021

Boca Resident Returns from DC after Advocating against Antisemitism

Hundreds of the Jewish community’s most committed philanthropists and concerned lay leaders flew to DC from 50 communities across the U.S. on July 20 for a full day of concrete work and meetings in an effort to combat domestic antisemitism. Current members and alumni of JFNA’s National Young Leadership Cabinet, including Boca Raton resident Bryan Drowos, met with government officials and participated in panel discussions on solutions to combatting antisemitism

Boca Raton, FL – Boca Raton resident Bryan Drowos just returned from a one-day fly-in to Washington, DC on July 20 where he and 250 other concerned Jewish leaders from 50 communities around the country held productive meetings with elected officials, government representatives, and thought-leaders to help fight antisemitism in the United States.

The intensive Cabinet Activation Against Antisemitism fly-in was organized by the Jewish Federations of North America (JFNA) representing 300 Jewish communities and 146 Jewish Federations and a wide network of smaller communities. JFNA has played a longtime leading role in combatting antisemitism, safeguarding Jewish institutions, and sustaining flourishing Jewish communities across North America.

“We met with several Congressmen and Senators who are fighting an amazing fight against antisemitism in our country and really giving hate speech and hateful actions against Jews no quarter whatsoever,” said Bryan Drowos who is actively involved with the local Jewish Federation of South Palm Beach County and a member of JFNA’s National Young Leadership Cabinet.

In recent months, the surge in domestic antisemitism reached record highs prompting rallies and condemnation, but this fly-in had a laser-focused goal: to galvanize JFNA’s National Young Leadership Cabinet. to shape policy and change history in the critical fight to protect North American Jews from the wrath of abhorrent antisemitism.

Addressing the young leaders yesterday, Melissa Rogers, the Executive Director of the White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships, made a commitment that President Biden will nominate a State Department Ambassador at large to Combat and Monitor Antisemitism in the coming weeks, one of the central goals of the Cabinet gathering.

“Our JFNA leadership has been calling for the appointment of a State Department Ambassador at large to Combat and Monitor Antisemitism, and we commend the Biden Administration’s commitment to us today to announce the official appointee in the coming weeks,” stated Mark Wilf, owner of the Minnesota Vikings and JFNA chair of the Board of Trustees. “JFNA’s fly-in to DC is a critical first step marking the launch of our reimagined strategy to prevent antisemitism in today’s toxic climate,” Wilf continued.

JFNA is advocating for increased funding for the Ambassador’s office to help them fulfill their crucial mission.

JFNA CEO Eric Fingerhut announced at the Cabinet Activation Against Antisemitism that JFNA expects a 92% increase in 2021 Nonprofit Security Grants (NPSG) awarded to Jewish communities across the country through a competitive risk-based bidding process, indicating a growing level of security needs. JFNA advocated tirelessly to increase the annual appropriation for the NPSG, which Congress doubled from $90 million in the 2020 fiscal year to $180 million in the current year.

“We are grateful to both Congress and the Executive branch for their roles in providing crucial funds to help secure the Jewish community and our interfaith partners, who also face increased threats from violent extremists targeting racial and ethnic minorities,” said Fingerhut.

“The increased demand for security funding is proof of the growing need for protection as we face an alarming spike in antisemitic rhetoric, recruitment, and violence,” he added.

JFNA continues to advocate for Congress to further increase funding to $360 million in fiscal year 2022, and is committed to continuing our role as a central coordinating body, helping communities navigate the program.

As part of JFNA’s National Young Leadership Cabinet, Bryan Drowos had the chance to discuss the increasingly dire threat of antisemitism, including the worrying political environment on college campuses and the role of social media in amplifying hatred toward minorities and ethnic groups. Participants met with various government leaders including Sen. Jacky Rosen (D-NV), Sen. James Lankford (R-OK), Rep. Ted Deutch (D-FL), Rep. Brian Mast (R-FL), Rep. Kathy Manning (D-NC), Rep. Bill Johnson (R-OH), Rep. Brad Schneider (D-IL), Troy Balderson (R-OH), and Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL) to discuss specific and actionable solutions to preventing antisemitic activity.

JFNA’s “Cabinet Activation” is the precursor to setting the stage for JFNA’s General Assembly (GA) coming up on October 3-5, to lay out a strategic plan for a communal response to antisemitism, including the recent launch of JFNA’s LiveSecure initiative to broaden and deepen the security umbrella for the 146 Jewish communities it serves.

About JFNA

The Jewish Federations, collectively among the top 10 charities on the continent, protects and enhances the well-being of Jews worldwide through the values of tikkun olam (repairing the world), tzedakah (charity and social justice) and Torah (Jewish learning).

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