"The most important political office is that of private citizen."
For decades, Jewish voters have taken to heart Brandeis's point by engaging vigorously in civic life. This engagement, whether as advocates or volunteers, donors or door-knockers, has benefited our country and our community.
The Jewish Council for Education & Research (JCER), a federal political action committee, was created to develop and disseminate information to voters in the United States around issues of concern to the Jewish community. JCER is motivated by a deep love for the Jewish community and by a desire to ensure that Jews have access to all the information they need as they engage in the electoral process. Its premiere initiative is JewsVote.org, a campaign to help Jews take responsibility for identifying and communicating about the election with voters in our own communities -- among our friends and families -- and in key swing states. JewsVote.org will work with people from across the Jewish denominational spectrum to engage, inform and activate our community members.
In 2008, JewsVote.org is supporting Sen. Barack Obama for president and six other Congressional candidates who share the American Jewish community's core public values: a robust First Amendment, equal rights for all, broad-based economic and educational opportunity, cultural liberalism, vigilance in the face of oppression, respect for the natural world, a strong but not belligerent foreign policy, and support for Israel.
Recognizing that the Jewish community is not one-size fits all, and that inter-generational discourse is a key to disseminating information among Jews, JewsVote.org will soon launch a cross-platform initiative called TheGreatSchlep.com. TheGreatSchlep will target, engage and activate the facebook generation, connecting them with relatives and friends in the state of Florida and other key states.
The co-Executive Directors of JCER are Mik Moore and Ari Wallach.
Mik has fourteen years of experience working in the often overlapping worlds of communications, politics, and the Jewish community. He is currently on leave from Jewish Funds for Justice, where he serves as Chief Communications Officer. Mik serves on the board of The Jewish Week and is board chair of the Jewish Student Press Service. He studied at Hebrew University of Jerusalem, spent a year in Israel with the Zionist youth movement Young Judaea, and holds a B.A. from Vassar College and a J.D. from Georgetown Law.
Ari has been working at the intersection of business, politics and communications for over 12 years. He is currently on leave from the consulting firm of studioBenZion (sBZ) and was formerly VP of Corporate Development at Seed Media Group, where he was responsible for strategic alliances and business development. He serves on the board of the American Jewish Committee's ACCESS program and has been a past participant of the Hillel Spitzer Forum, The Bronfman Reboot initiative and The Jewish Week's "The Conversation." He was born in Guadalajara, Mexico and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area by the artist Susan Wallach and the late Raul Wallach. Ari's father, a Polish-born partisan with the Jewish underground in W.W. II, was hailed by Sen. Henry Reid as "a national treasure" upon his passing. He holds a B.A. from the University Of California, Berkeley.
Sara Kaplan-Levenson - National Outreach Coordinator
Sara has been working in the fields of health, mental health and health-related research for several years. Her current interests focus on the intersection of health, media, and policy. She holds a B.A. in Psychology from Wesleyan University and is pursuing a dual Masters in Public Health and Social Work from Columbia University.