(JTA) — Rabbi Steve Gutow, a longtime Jewish communal activist who guided the Jewish Council for Public Affairs for a decade, will serve as a senior political adviser for the political arm of J Street.
In his newly announced position for the 2016 election cycle, Gutow will work with congressional candidates endorsed by JStreetPAC to guide them in outreach to the Jewish community and other like-minded constituencies, J Street announced Thursday. He also will help the candidates tap into the backing that exists within the Jewish community for diplomacy-first policies toward the Middle East.
“This will be an extremely important election cycle in determining the future direction of American foreign policy,” Jeremy Ben-Ami, J Street’s president and founder, said in a statement. “Bringing decades of experience with progressive politics and the Jewish community, Rabbi Gutow will help JStreetPAC to demonstrate that support for American diplomatic leadership isn’t just good policy — it’s also a major political asset.”
Gutow served as president and CEO of the Jewish Council for Public Affairs from 2005 to 2015, during which time his work focused on fostering alliances among the organized Jewish, Christian and Muslim communities. He was appointed recently to the President’s Council on Faith Based and Neighborhood Partnerships.
Gutow has been chosen as one of the 50 most influential American rabbis three times by Newsweek and the 50 most influential American Jews by The Forward. He was a Democratic Party activist and the founding executive director of the National Jewish Democratic Council.
JStreetPAC has endorsed over 100 candidates for the House and Senate in the November elections and said it plans to raise over $3 million for them.