JCRC Director's Note

Lobby Day: A Look Back and a Leap Forward

Max Patashnik Headshot

February 11, 2022

Jewish Community Lobby Day will be here next week – Thursday, February 17! It’s hard to believe, but this will be the sixth year we’re bringing citizen advocates together to speak to legislators about Jewish Puget Sound’s priorities. I thought it would be a good time to reflect on how our collective advocacy work builds community.

On Lobby Day, a joint effort of the Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle and of Federation’s Jewish Community Relations Council, we hear from members of the Jewish Legislative Caucus about their Jewish journeys. We meet with lawmakers to ask for their support on selected priorities from our legislative agenda—legislation to ensure families in need receive vital human services, measures to prevent gun violence, bills to strengthen civil liberties, and budget line items that help the Jewish agencies that provide so many valuable services in our region. 

Our list of  “asks” varies year to year as needs and priorities change. What doesn’t change is the opportunity that Lobby Day provides for us to learn, connect, and act. No matter where advocates come from, whether or not they wear a kippah or a Magen David, we can build community to voice support of issues and values that are core to the Jewish people. 

One day that comes to mind is Lobby Day three years ago, March 26, 2019. We had scheduled Lobby Day weeks before, but as it happened, a key decision had been teed up for March 26: a critical vote on a budget amendment to provide much needed funding for the Anti-Defamation League and the Holocaust Center for Humanity to help combat antisemitism and hate. If we had not been in Olympia to meet with legislators that day, I doubt the budget amendment would have been approved. In 2019, thanks to advocates like you, we helped the ADL and the Holocaust Center for Humanity each secure $100,000 to expand their programs educating about the Holocaust and fighting antisemitism. 

Over the years, Lobby Day advocates have helped secure almost one million dollars in funding to endow a Jewish Studies professorship at Western Washington University, support infrastructure improvements at Jewish organizations, and teach about the Jewish people. You have helped pass dozens of bills to combat hate crimes, improve religious accommodation in higher education, protect affordable housing, and much more. 

By participating you strengthen and protect our community. Good relationships and deepening understanding are strong antidotes to bias. By showing your legislators who Jews are, the issues that matter most to us, and the values that are foundational to our people, you will make a substantive contribution to the fight against growing antisemitism.

This year, our theme is, “Supporting Our Local Jewish Organizations.” We’ve selected bills and budget requests that are priorities for Jewish Family Service, the ADL, Jewish Prisoner Services International, the Washington State Jewish Historical Society, Camp Solomon Schechter, and the Jewish Coalition for Immigrant Justice NW. Please join us on February 17 to  create a vibrant future for Jewish Puget Sound!

Kol tuv,

Max Patashnik
Director of JCRC and Government Affairs