State & Local Advocacy

A Voice for Our Community

Washington State Capital Building, Washington-USA

“A Jew is asked to take a leap of action rather than a leap of faith.” – Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel

The Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle’s Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC) serves as a voice and champion of community priorities by educating and advocating at the local, state, and national levels to advance Jewish concerns in the public arena. Our guiding principles (prioritized through our annual public policy survey) include:

  • Combating antisemitism and hate crimes
  • Fighting attacks on human and civil rights
  • Protecting immigrants and refugees
  • Improving community safety and security
  • Strengthening assistance for the most vulnerable and disadvantaged

The Federation also advocates for the priorities of and secures resources for our local Jewish agencies—allowing them to most effectively serve their clients, strengthen their programs, and deepen their impact.

Our work includes legislative advocacy, grassroots organizing, community education, and coalition building. Join us by signing up for action alerts here!

2024 Legislative Session Results

The short 2024 Washington State legislative session went by in a flash.  During the 60-day session, our JCRC team welcomed almost 80 participants at Jewish Community Lobby Day, shared over 10 action alerts to catalyze community support for critical needs, and collaborated with and supported the Anti-Defamation League PNW, Holocaust Center for Humanity, Jewish Coalition for Immigrant Justice NW, Jewish Family Service, and Washington State Jewish Historical Society’s legislative efforts. See a summary of our efforts below.

Thank you to all the community members who joined us for a productive and engaging Jewish Community Lobby Day on February 15!

Priorities from our legislative agenda that passed or were funded:

  • Combat Antisemitism, Hate Crimes, and Bias
    1. Hate and Bias Incident Hotline, SB 5427, will create a centralized place where people who have been targeted by hate crimes and bias incidents can receive immediate support and services.
    2. $1.5 million additional funding for the State Nonprofit Security Grant Program to help ensure our communities are safe. The grants are for at-risk nonprofits and houses of worship for security hardening, training, and repairs.
    3. $320,000 for the Washington State Jewish Historical Society’s Oral History Program to ensure the stories, histories, and lived experiences of Washington State’s Jewish community are captured and shared with the broader community.
    4. Bias-Motivated Defacement, SB 5917, modifies the elements of a hate crime to close a loophole and ensure that defacing public property to target a protected class is considered a hate crime.


  • Protect and Support Immigrants and Refugees
    1. $28.4 million in additional funding for Health Equity for Immigrants to ensure every Washingtonian has access to health care, regardless of immigration status.
    2. $25.25 million to the Office of Refugee and Immigrant Assistance at DSHS for services for newly arrived immigrants who do not qualify for federal resettlement programs.


What didn’t pass?

  • Holocaust and Genocide Education in Public Schools, HB 2037 and SB 5851 would have required Holocaust and genocide education.
  • Compensation for Victims of Hate Incidents – Would have funded a compensation program of up to $2,000 for victims of hate incidents.
  • Unemployment Benefits for Undocumented Workers, HB 1095 and SB 5109 would have provided unemployment benefits to workers excluded from state unemployment insurance benefits due to immigration status.

Our 2023 Legislative Wins

Learn about our accomplishments in the Washington State Legislature’s 2023 session.