Big Wins in Olympia for the Jewish Community

The Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle is thrilled to report that in the 2016 Legislative Session our advocacy delivered big wins for the Puget Sound Jewish community! The Federation, working collaboratively with dedicated legislators and coalition partners, won significant victories in both funding and policy that will help create Jewish Connections for Life across our state for decades to come.

Here are a few highlights: 

  • $200,000 secured in the Capital Budget for the Holocaust Center for Humanity to complete its permanent exhibit. 
  • $250,000 secured in the Operating Budget for Western Washington University to endow the Jaffe Professorship of Jewish History and Holocaust Studies.
  • Protected over $500,000 in state funding for Jewish Family Service to support its vital human services programs, including treatment for domestic violence victims, refugee resettlement and funding for the food bank.
  • Reformed our state’s nursing home reimbursement rates, ensuring Kline Galland is more fairly compensated for the high-quality care they provide for our families.

This funding will help thousands more teachers and students learn about the Holocaust and our shared values of justice and tolerance each year; allow JFS to continue resettling refugees, feed the hungry and treat domestic violence victims; and clear the path for Kline Galland to carry on providing excellent care to our loved ones and the most vulnerable.

Securing funding would not have been possible without the generous support and tenacious efforts of key legislative champions in the state House and Senate, including:

  • Senator Reuven Carlyle
  • Senator David Frockt                                     
  • Senator Kevin Ranker
  • Representative Noel Frame
  • Representative Larry Haler
  • Representative Eric Pettigrew
  • Representative Gerry Pollet
  •  Representative Tana Senn

We are filled with gratitude and respect for the work you do on behalf of both the Jewish community and the people of Washington State. Thank you!

Read on to learn, in the words of our partners, the impact these wins will have on the Jewish community across our state:

Holocaust Center for Humanity

“Last summer, I traveled with Jewish leaders from our state and with Mayor Ed Murray to Israel. After experiencing Yad Vashem, I was more thankful than ever that our community had created the Holocaust Center for Humanity right here in the Northwest to ensure that those who will never be able to visit Israel can understand the lessons of inclusion, tolerance and social justice that must always be remembered - especially given the current political environment. It was an honor to join Tana in shepherding this funding through the Legislature. I know that young people throughout our state will benefit enormously from the Holocaust Center’s educational mission that we, in the Jewish Community, must always support.”
State Senator David Frockt, 46th Legislative District

"By including funding in the capital budget for the Holocaust Center, we are reiterating our state's commitment to the values of inclusion, equality and tolerance. This investment is especially critical at a time when discrimination, xenophobic sentiments and anti-Semitism appear to be on the rise at home and abroad. By teaching tolerance and understanding through the lens of the Holocaust and other atrocities, we can help ensure they never happen again." 
State Representative Tana Senn, 41st Legislative District

“How can something that happened over 70 years ago still be relevant? The answer is simple: our work is not done. When our state’s elected officials voted to include funding in the capital budget to support Phase II of the Holocaust Center’s exhibit, they understood that communities throughout Washington struggle with issues of inclusion, equality and prejudice. They knew that thousands of students from throughout our state visit our museum to learn how to be more engaged citizens through lessons of the Holocaust.

“We are grateful to Senator Frockt, who visited our museum, met with our lay leaders and encouraged us to push forward. He made this his capital priority in the Senate. We are humbled by the ongoing commitment of Representative Tana Senn, who championed this project in the House and at every turn, to Representative Noel Frame, who backed the museum in her district, and to Senator Reuven Carlyle, who supported and helped negotiate our request. This could not have happened without the Federation’s Government Relations Manager, Max Patashnik, who worked with the legislators to make sure our message was heard. We will be forever grateful that our Jewish elected officials and leaders understand the importance of a commitment to Jewish values and Holocaust education.”
Dee Simon, Executive Director of the Holocaust Center for Humanity

Jaffe Professorship of Jewish History and Holocaust Studies

"The passion and spirit of education about Jewish History, the Holocaust and today's civic engagement and civility spans time and place and generation. It's a profound honor - as a legislator, higher education advocate and friend of Western originally from Bellingham - to help enhance the successful and impressive private sector fundraising efforts with an investment of public resources for this vital program."
State Senator Reuven Carlyle, 36th Legislative District

“Thank you to everyone who is working to make this program and endowed professorship a reality. We can now ensure that teachers across the state will be trained to teach Holocaust and Genocide studies. Western will now be able to meet the high demand from students seeking to enroll in Jewish studies and history. With this commitment by the State, we hope that additional donors will be encouraged to fully fund the Jaffe Chair.”
State Representative Gerry Pollet, 46th Legislative District

"We are tremendously excited about the budget proviso to support the Jaffe Professorship in Jewish History at Western Washington University. The Jaffe Professorship will secure the future of Jewish History and Holocaust Studies at Western for generations to come. This will have a tremendous influence both on our campus and across the state. Western is the preeminent destination for social studies education in Washington. The Jaffe Professor will not only be teaching the students at Western, but she/he will have an impact on classrooms across our state and region as these students become the next generation of secondary school teachers. We greatly appreciate the crucial support we have received from donors and allies across the state, including the Seattle Jewish Federation."
Steven Garfinkle, Professor of History, Western Washington University

Jewish Family Service

“We are grateful for Max’s work on government relations through the Jewish Federation. She has helped us protect critical funding in Olympia that is vital to ensuring the vulnerable members of our community have a chance at attaining stability in their lives. She is our voice and our guide and has always been there to advocate for the needs of our clients.”
Will Berkovitz, CEO, Jewish Family Service

Kline Galland and Associates

“We are grateful for the work of the Jewish Federation's advocacy team in helping pass reforms to nursing home reimbursement rates. With these reforms, Kline Galland will be able to lessen the Medicaid deficit we experience on each of our Medicaid residents. Considering we have not had a Medicaid rate increase in many years, the additional funds will also minimize the impact of increasing wages in Seattle, and to help enable Kline Galland to continue to provide exceptional senior care.”
Jeff Cohen, CEO, Kline Galland & Associates