Obama names JCPA chief to faith advisory council


WASHINGTON (JTA) — The outgoing president of the national Jewish public policy umbrella was named to an advisory council on faith and government.

Steve Gutow, a Reconstructionist rabbi who is stepping down at the end of the year after leading the Jewish Council on Public Affairs for 10 years, was among 18 members tapped last week by President Barack Obama for his third Advisory Council on Faith Based and Community Partnerships.

The White House announcement noted Gutow’s involvement in his JCPA capacity in leading the Save Darfur coalition and organizing anti-hunger Passover seders at the U.S. Capitol.

The faith advisory councils issue reports on public policy. One such report helped shape White House policy that allowed some exemptions for religious-affiliated groups from extending contraceptive coverage to staff.

In a statement congratulating Gutow, the JCPA said the third council will address poverty.

“Steve’s work is Tikkun Olam (‘repairing the world’), and we are grateful that President Obama recognizes his passion, talent, and selflessness,” said the JCPA statement released. “On every great issue of our time, Steve has been a Jewish leader with reach well beyond the Jewish community.”

Also named to the third advisory council were Aziza Hasan, a Muslim community activist who directs New Ground: Muslim Jewish Partnership for Change, and Deborah Weinstein, who leads the Coalition on Human Needs, an anti-poverty group.

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