Pittsburgh leaders attend policy briefing

Pittsburgh leaders attend policy briefing

Two Jewish Pittsburgh leaders were among 170 Jewish organizational representatives who took part in a policy briefing last week at the White House on housing, health care, food justice and education.
Christine Stone, of Squirrel Hill, a national board member of the National Council of Jewish Women, and Susan Friedberg Kalson, director of the Squirrel Hill Health Center, joined other participants of the Jewish Social Justice Roundtable, a group of 21 nonprofit organizations promoting economic and social justice as a core tenet of Jewish life.
The White House program, which took place Friday, July 29, included a session with Valerie Jarrett, a senior advisor to President Barak Obama.
“Many people think the Jewish community has only one message to bring to Washington and it’s about Israel,” Stone said in a prepared statement. “In reality, the Jewish community is deeply involved in issues of social justice here and around the globe. We are so pleased to have been invited to discuss these issues with the White House staff as we work to create a more just world.”
Kalson, who actually participated as a member of the Commission on Social Action, which oversees the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, said the atmosphere in Washington was “chaotic” due to the debt ceiling talks, and she expressed concern for the impact those talks will have on at-risk groups of Americans.
“I’m afraid it’s a time with a great deal of uncertainty,” she said.
Nevertheless, Kalson said the JSJR achieved its immediate goal of introducing itself to lawmakers. In fact, U.S. Reps. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, (D-Fla.) and Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) personally met with the delegates Thursday during a session on Capitol Hill.