Assembly Program

April 6-9, 2024
Washington, DC

Schedule At A Glance

This is a draft schedule and is subject to change All times are Eastern


Saturday, April 6

All Day

Arrive in Washington, DC and enjoy all the city has to offer!

Recommendations on how to fill your day in the nation’s capital can be provided upon request.


Registration Open


Student Welcome Dinner & Reception
J Street U students from across the country will gather for an opening program hosted by the J Street U National Student Board. We will discuss the important stakes of this weekend and our strategy as a national student movement to bring pro-peace policies to our campuses.


Leadership & Friends Welcome Dinner & Reception
J Street will be hosting a Welcome Reception to kick off the J Street Leadership & Friends Spring Assembly on Saturday, April 6 at 6:30pm. A full reception-style dinner will be served.


Havdalah (Open to all)
Join us for a meaningful, musical J Street Community Havdalah led by J Street Rabbinic and Cantorial Cabinet clergy, featuring talented musicians Cantor Julie Newman and Rabbi Yosef Goldman. Through this immersive experience, we’ll close Shabbat and enter the week ready to embrace the challenges of the week ahead, and bring our whole selves to our collective mission of building a world grounded in justice, equality, peace and democracy.

Sunday, April 7


Registration Open


RPAN Meeting
Open to RPAN members only. Light breakfast will be served.


RAC Meeting
Open to RAC members only. Lunch will be served.


Student Only Breakfast & Session: Leading Intentional Dialogue
This session will provide J Street U students with tools to facilitate difficult conversations back on their campuses. Taught by an experienced conflict resolution guide, students will leave this session with a greater understanding of how to foster productive dialogue on campus. This session is open to students only.

Tarek Maassarani, Facilitator, New Story Leadership
Rhonda Fitzgerald, Executive Director, Sustained Dialogue Institute


Coffee, Doughnuts & Partner Organization Roundtables
Join peace and human rights organizations for informal roundtable conversations about their work. Network with like-minded organizations and have the opportunity to ask questions about their work, vision and challenges. We will be joined by the following organizations: Abraham Initiatives, American Friends of Combatants for Peace, Americans for Peace Now, Breaking the Silence, New Israel Fund, Palestinian Peace Coalition, Partners for Progressive Israel, Project Didi, The Geneva Initiative, ROPES, and T’ruah.


Welcome Lunch

1-3 pm

Opening Plenary – The War, 2024 and the Pathway out of a Policy and Political Quagmire
The October 7 Hamas attack and the subsequent war in Gaza have proven to be one of the most significant challenges facing President Biden’s foreign policy, national security and political teams. The crisis has multiple dimensions – straining US relations with key allies, American credibility globally and the president’s politics domestically. Two key figures from President Biden’s first-term team join J Street for discussions in this plenary about the crisis, the policy options the President has and the political considerations at play in a crucial election year. Ambassador Tom Nides served as US Ambassador to Israel for much of President Biden’s term. Ambassador Wendy Sherman recently left her post as Deputy Secretary of State. J Street leaders will remember that Ambassador Sherman was also the lead American negotiator of the Iran nuclear agreement during the Obama Administration. Winding up this afternoon’s plenary, J Street President Jeremy Ben-Ami will outline the organization’s current policy agenda and its parallel political priorities for 2024.

3:15 – 4:30pm

Antisemitism, Israel, and the Current Campus Climate
Featuring J Street U students and experts in the field, this panel will dive deep into the dynamics happening on college campuses, in our Jewish communities and in Congress in regard to the rise of antisemitic and Islamophobic incidents.

Aharon Dardik, J Street U at Columbia Co-Chair

Zach Schaffer, Co-Founder and VP of Community Engagement, Project Shema
Barak Sella, Harvard Kennedy School
Rachel Burnett, J Street U National Communications VP
Gabriella Fine, J Street U at Brandeis Chair

Navigating J Street
J Street has a clear mission, a defined strategy and a structure built to achieve its goals. Do you have questions about what those are? Join Jeremy Ben-Ami for a presentation and discussion focused specifically on the opportunities leaders have to get involved in the organization and contribute to its success. Those new to J Street are strongly encouraged to attend.

Jeremy Ben-Ami, President, J Street

Rebuilding Gaza and Creating a Political Horizon for Israel-Palestine
While we are focused on and concerned by the immense and ongoing suffering of the Israel-Hamas war and the urgent situation in the West Bank, it is also crucial to plan for the “day after” the fighting in Gaza ends. In February, the J Street Policy Center held a symposium that brought together experts to identify a path and specific steps out of the horrific cycle of violence and toward a political horizon that can bring peace, self-determination, security, justice and hope for Israelis and Palestinians. In this session, we will feature participants from the symposium to address the key questions: What will be needed to rebuild Gaza and create a political horizon? How can the United States help to lead this effort, along with key allies in the region and beyond, and how can J Street play a supportive role?

Dr. Debra Shushan, Director of Policy, J Street

Nidal Foqaha, Director General, Palestinian Peace Coalition
Gil Murciano, CEO, Mitvim

Pursuing Peace in the Shadow of War
In the shadow of the horrific attacks on Israel on October 7, the devastating war in Gaza and the ongoing hostage crisis, working for a peaceful and just future could not be more important. Yet, in these moments when peace work is the most vital, it is also the most difficult to meet face to face, to be hopeful and to feel inspired. Hear from Israeli peace leaders about challenges they face in their work at this moment and what inspires them to pursue peace.

Gili Getz, President, American Friends of Combatants For Peace

Libby Lenkinski, Vice President for Public Engagement, New Israel Fund
Gadi Baltiansky, Director General, Geneva Initiative
Ron Gerlitz, CEO, aChord


PAC Event: Challengers Reception in Support of Kirsten Engel (AZ-06) & Mondaire Jones (NY-17)
(Seperately Ticketed Event)


Student Only Session: Representative Jamie Raskin in Conversation with J Street U
Congressman Jamie Raskin has been a leading pro-Israel, pro-Peace, pro-Democracy champion in Congress for years. We are honored to host the Congressman in a private conversation with our J Street U National President, Lauren Haines. The two will have a discussion about congressional dynamics since October 7, the college campus climate and the impact that young activists can have on this issue.

Representative Jamie Raskin (MD-08)
Lauren Haines, J Street U National President




Performance by the Jerusalem Youth Chorus


Regional Meet-Ups
Open to all attendees and JSU students who wish to attend

Monday, April 8


Registration Open


Breakfast with Senior Staff Roundtables
Come together in community with J Street senior staff at our optional roundtables during breakfast.


Day Two Plenary – Standing for a Better Future
Israelis and Palestinians are living through one of the hardest tragedies of our time. Israeli society has not moved past the grief and trauma of the horrific attacks of October 7 and the ongoing hostage crisis. Palestinians in Gaza are experiencing devastating losses and are trying to survive in an extreme humanitarian crisis. As both sides contend with their separate traumas, they struggle to find the path toward peace, diplomacy and a better future. This plenary will feature voices from the ground that shed light onto the complex realities in Israel and Gaza today.



Finance Committee Lunch
Open to Finance Committee members only.
The Finance Committee is invited to an exclusive lunch featuring intimate roundtable-style conversations with speakers featured in other sessions throughout the course of the day.


J Street U as Bridge Builders: Navigating the Israel/Palestine Conversation on College Campuses
J Street U student leaders from across the country will share their personal experiences on how they have been building community and campus partnerships since the start of the Israel/Hamas war. They will speak to the challenges they have faced and also the progress they have made.

Daniel Wittenberg, J Street U West Coast VP

Meirav Solomon, J Street U at Tufts Chair
Rachel Rothenberg, J Street U Cap/South VP
Henry Sears, J Street U at Columbia Co-Chair

The Israel-Hamas War: Coming Together in Divisive Times
In the immediate aftermath of the October 7 massacre, American Jews were jolted by the shocking displays of justification for the attack or outright support for Hamas by some in progressive circles and on college campuses. As Israel’s response ramped up, so did antisemitic incidents, with Jewish students harassed and synagogues and businesses threatened and vandalized. With the war raging on, with the death toll and conditions in Gaza becoming increasingly unbearable and with over 100 hostages remaining in captivity, the American Jewish community has seen social ties – both outside and within itself – stretched to their limits and in some cases sadly severed. As we wrestle with the barbarism inflicted on fellow Jews, Israel’s right to self-defense and the ugliness of war,organizations and community leaders are facing the challenge of acknowledging individual convictions across the spectrum while charting a path forward and crafting some semblance of group consensus. How do we navigate this landscape of such strongly held views in such a heated and volatile moment in history? How do we stay true to our values as we lead the way to better days of progress and perhaps even peace without isolating ourselves or alienating others? Join this panel of Jewish communal leaders as we search for answers together.

Sam Berkman, National Director of Communal Relations, J Street

Zach Schaffer, Co-Founder and VP of Community Engagement, Project Shema
Rachel Faulkner, National Director of Campaigns and Partnerships, National Council of Jewish Women
Rabba Rori Picker Neiss, SVP for Community Relations, Jewish Council for Public Affairs

NIF Presents: Jewish-Arab Partnership after Oct 7
After Hamas’ October 7 attack on Israel and Israel’s subsequent bombardment of Gaza, it felt like there was a real possibility that Jewish and Palestinian citizens of Israel might clash violently in the streets. Yet Jewish-Arab relations in Israel have not come to the kind of violent crossroads that they did in May of 2021, despite vicious incitement by far-right actors, including government officials. How do Palestinian and Jewish Israelis view one another in this moment of grief and trauma? How are Jewish and Palestinian Israelis showing solidarity with one another, and what pitfalls must be avoided to prevent Israeli society from fracturing along these fault lines? Join organizations in the NIF family for a conversation about Jewish-Arab solidarity and political partnership at this moment and where we go from here.

Libby Lenkinski, Vice President for Public Engagement, New Israel Fund

Shir Nosatzki, Co-Founder & Director, Have You Seen The Horizon Lately
Ron Gerlitz, CEO, aChord
Shahira Shalaby, Co-Deputy CEO, The Abraham Initiatives

Iran and the Drivers of Regional Instability in the Middle East
In the aftermath of the October 7 Hamas massacre, violence has spilled over from the Israel-Hamas war in the Gaza Strip to the Israel-Lebanon border, the Red Sea, Iraq, Syria, Iran and the West Bank, destabilizing the region and increasing the chances of a wider regional war. Such a war would further pit Israel against groups linked to and supported by Iran, with increased impact on the US and countries in the region that are already drawn into the conflict. What are the interests and motivations of the key players involved? What is the likelihood of a wider regional war? How can such a catastrophic development be avoided? If war is not averted, what would the likely consequences be?

Dr. Debra Shushan, Director of Policy, J Street

Gil Murciano, CEO, Mitvim
Dr. Ali Vaez, Iran Project Director and Senior Adviser to the President, Crisis Group
Mona Yacoubian, President of the Middle East and North Africa, United States Institute of Peace

Path to Victory: The Strategic Blueprint for the Final 6 Months of the 2024 Election
As the 2024 election looms, numerous open and competitive seats across the nation hold the potential to reshape Congress’s stance on critical issues. Join political experts in a discussion focused on pivotal races, offering insights into our strategic roadmap for House takeover, Senate victory and keeping Trump out of office. With just six months remaining until the general election, now is the prime moment to delve into the electoral landscape. Explore key questions on House pick-up opportunities for both Democrats and Republicans, the viability of Democratic Senate retention, prevalent campaign themes and races poised to spotlight our priority issues.


Tikkun Olam Department of the WZO Presents: The Israeli Homefront During the War
Since the October 7 attacks and the outbreak of the Israel-Hamas war, Israeli civil society initiatives have stepped up to take care of Israelis impacted by the war. The Department for Social Activism and Tikkun Olam at the World Zionist Organization has been at the forefront of this effort – from coordinating donations and aid for Israeli citizens and IDF soldiers and providing impromptu educational services for displaced families, to advocating for gender violence awareness at the United Nations and establishing a Circular Philanthropic Fund to Invest in ‘Seed’ Initiatives to Promote Women and Gender Equality. Hear directly from the leaders of these initiatives and gain insight into the impact of these activities and the resilience and dedication of Israeli civil society during times of turmoil.

Dror Morag, Head of the Department for Social Activism and Tikkun Olam, World Zionist Organization

Ayelet Razin Bet Or,  Former Director General for the Advancement of Women’s Status, The Ministry for Social Equality.
Lev Littman, Co-executive director, Tzedek Centers
Tomer Shemesh, Founder & CEO, Social Delivery

Escalating Settler Violence in the West Bank and US Policy
While the world’s attention has been fixed on Gaza, extremist settlers have seized the opportunity to further their goal of driving Palestinians off their land and cementing permanent, undemocratic control over the West Bank. Their heightened campaign of violent attacks against Palestinians has been encouraged by far-right Israeli ministers and, in some cases, enabled and even supported by Israeli soldiers. Hundreds of Palestinians have been killed in the West Bank since October 7, and entire Palestinian communities have been forced to uproot themselves. This panel will examine what is happening on the ground and the impact of settler violence. It will also examine steps the Biden Administration has taken against perpetrators of settler violence – including the Executive Order issued by the president in February – and further steps Congress and the Administration can take.

Hannah Green, Northwest Regional Director, J Street

Dr. Lina Qassem-Hassan, Chairperson of Board of Directors, Physicians for Human Rights Israel
Tal Sagi, Israeli Education Director, Breaking the Silence
Brian Finucane, Senior Adviser to the U.S. Program, International Crisis Group

Money Problems: The Impact of Outside Groups on the 2024 Election
It’s no secret that the influence of money in politics plays a major role in both campaigns and policy making. Pro-Israel groups, in particular, are a major force in this space. For the last few election cycles (and particularly after October 7), Israel-Palestine has been a major flashpoint in American Politics, and pressure from outside groups has only ratcheted up in intensity and tempo. In 2022, AIPAC officially launched a PAC (AIPAC PAC) and an affiliated Super PAC (the United Democracy Project, or UDP). Emboldened after that first cycle, the group has publicly pledged to spend $100 million to oust progressives from Congress and has already raised $40 million towards their efforts. In this session, we’ll explore a few key questions — what tangible impact do outside groups have in shaping a candidate’s policies? How does Israel-Palestine play out on the campaign trail? How can J Street help candidates craft smart, morally sound policy at this highly charged moment?

Josh Binderman, Assistant PAC Manager, J Street

Elena Schneider, National Political Reporter, POLITICO
Kevin Rachlin, Washington Director, Nexus Leadership Project

Navigating Tough Conversations about the Israel-Hamas War
In this troubling moment, it is more important than ever that our movement projects our priorities and policy prescriptions loudly and clearly, giving voice to our values of shared humanity and a better future for Israelis and Palestinians. Join J Street President Jeremy Ben-Ami for a how-to workshop on navigating difficult conversations about the Israel-Hamas war and delve into our messaging of nuance, empathy and conflict resolution. This session will include a Q&A with Jeremy as well as breakout opportunities for leaders to practice answering and responding to challenging questions of the moment.

Jeremy Ben-Ami, President, J Street

Inside the Congressional Cloakroom
Congress is in gridlock at a moment when American leadership is vital for Israelis, Palestinians and the greater region. Polarization and dysfunction have paralyzed legislators in the House and Senate while the humanitarian crisis in Gaza has deepened and Netanyahu and his far-right coalition have failed to articulate a viable vision to achieve peace. In this off-the-record conversation with top J Street allies with unique insights into the workings of Capitol Hill, we’ll discuss how Members of Congress have evolved since October 7, our biggest legislative opportunities and what role J Street has to play in helping the Biden Administration, the House and the Senate navigate some of the most challenging questions they have ever faced. This session will include reflections from a panel with special insights into Capitol Hill and an open Q&A.

Hannah Morris, Director of Government Affairs, J Street

Stacy Burdett, Antisemitism Expert
Reva Price, Senior Advisor, The Raben Group
Amy Rutkin, Rutkin Strategies


Advocacy Day Training
Mandatory for all Ad Day Participants.

5:45-6:45pm PAC Event: Frontliners Reception in Support of Andrea Salinas (OR-06) & Emilia Sykes (OH-13)
(Separately Ticketed Event)

Student Only Closing Programming: Breaking the Silence – Stories from the Front Lines
This session will feature Breaking the Silence members who will shed light on the realities of serving in the Israeli Defense Forces and the true cost of Israel’s military occupation.

Luiz Aberbuj, Jewish Diaspora Educational Coordinator, Breaking the Silence
Tal Sagi, Israeli Education Director, Breaking the Silence


Closing Dinner & Dessert Reception

Tuesday, April 9


Grab & Go Breakfast
Set out to Capitol Hill on the right foot after picking up to-go coffee & a granola


Advocacy Day
Meetings Offsite

Advocacy Day Luggage Storage
United Methodist Building, 100 Maryland Ave NE
During Advocacy Day, J Street staff will be on hand to facilitate luggage storage at the United Methodist Building (100 Maryland Ave NE), right on the Capitol campus, from 8am- 4pm. Please note that Advocacy Day participants are responsible for dropping off and picking up their luggage. Luggage must be picked up by 4pm.

Partner Organizations