The Rautenberg New Leaders Project (NLP), The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles’ premier civic leadership training program, seeks to foster the next generation of Jewish leaders here in Los Angeles. Founded over 25 years ago, NLP provides a range of diverse learning opportunities that expose participants to the complexity and diversity of Los Angeles civic life.
One example of this taste of civic engagement NLP participants gain during their yearlong experience is JPAC (Jewish Public Affairs Committee) Advocacy Day, which took place on May 9th.
An annual event organized by JPAC of California, Advocacy Day brings together Jewish individuals and organizations to advocate for issues of communal importance. At the beginning of May, the NLP cohort gathered in Sacramento for the first time for immersive civic organizing, lobbying, and learning, as part of the statewide coalition.
This year’s focus was on advocating for grants for nonprofits that protect vulnerable communities, combat child poverty, and ensure due process during immigration proceedings.
“In Sacramento, I was moved by the power of our Jewish community’s history and moral vocabulary to make change. When we told our story to advocate for immigrants and religious minorities, lawmakers leaned in and listened a little more closely,” said Adam Sieff, a 2017 NLP participant.
“Being there to explain how we experience bomb threats to community centers and synagogues, or how we feel when a minority group is singled out for disparate treatment, humanized the legislation we were pushing and placed parents, students, and worshippers above talking points,” he added.
The opportunity to advocate for important community issues is just one example of NLP’s multifaceted educational approach. NLP sessions also include workshops and lectures by prominent political and civic figures and site visits to L.A. neighborhoods and organizations.
The program approaches leadership and social responsibility through a Jewish lens, bringing the cohort together for Shabbat gatherings, Jewish learning, and tailored skill building and self-exploration.
“The goal of NLP is to provide L.A.’s emerging Jewish civic leaders with the skills they need to be effective advocates on behalf of our community,” said Aubrey Farkas, the Federation’s Director of Civic Engagement. “To do so, NLP presents participants with an opportunity to identify and address the needs of the community by weaving together civic education, leadership skill building, Jewish education, and hands-on community service.”
NLP alumni have leveraged this education in a multitude of ways — they have successfully run for office, led high-profile nonprofit organizations, and are incredibly influential in Los Angeles in general.
Through continued opportunities to actively practice civic leadership like JPAC Advocacy Day, that success is sure to continue.
To learn more about NLP or our Federation, please contact Aubrey Farkas at (323) 761-8163 or AFarkas@JewishLA.org.