Gutow stepping down as JCPA president

Ron Kampeas

(JTA) — Rabbi Steve Gutow is stepping down after leading the Jewish Council for Public Affairs for ten years.

Gutow, the JCPA president and CEO, will stay in place while the public policy umbrella searches for a new leader, but will focus on interfaith and environmental projects and will leave day to day management to Ethan Felson, the body’s senior vice president, according to a JCPA statement released Thursday.

In addition to the environment and interfaith dialogue, the JCPA has under Gutow focused on advocating for poverty relief in the United States and on protecting minorities in Sudan.

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Gutow, a Reconstructionist rabbi, also sought to address increasing polarization within the Jewish community, reflective of the broader tensions in the U.S. political discourse. He advocated for a code of civility in political exchanges in the Jewish community.

“During his ten years of dedicated service he has distinguished himself in efforts to promote a secure Israel, to combat poverty and to protect our environment,” Susan Turnbull, the JCPA chairwoman, said in a statement. “The JCPA’s efforts to restore civility to our national discourse have flourished under his leadership, and he has been tireless in his work on interfaith relations.”

The JCPA is the mechanism for Jewish community consensus on issues ranging from Israel to combating anti-Semitism in the United States and abroad.

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