Tuesday, November 30, 2010

CJPAC going 'Pro'

The Canadian Jewish Political Affairs Committee (CJPAC) - a grassroots, non-partisan organization whose aim is to engage Canadian Jewish youth in the political process - is stepping up its activities this year to try and increase membership by young professionals in the community.

CJPAC recently launched its "ACTION Leadership" program with the express goal of exposing young, Jewish professionals to political affairs in the hope they will take a more active role.

"The ACTION Leadership program takes into account the unique interests and obstacles to political  engagement for Young Professionals," Tomer Chervinsky, CJPAC's Marketing Communications Coordinator told Heebonics.

"In particular, each of the events is designed to slowly ease participants into political engagement, making it an easy and natural evolution," he said.

By way of example, the organization held a night out at Toronto's Air Canada Centre recently, where 50 young professionals had the opportunity to watch a Toronto Maple Leafs game and hobnob with former Montreal Canadiens' legendary goaltender-turned-Liberal Member of Parliament, Ken Dryden.

Ken Dryden, in his playing days, effecting a stop on a Maple Leaf in 1971.

"This specific event provided a social and entertainment incentive to participating, but attendees left having spent some time actually getting to know and relating to a politician on a one-on-one level. This reduces the psychological barrier to engagement which says that 'politics are too complicated, and not for people like me'.  Future events will build on this, with the aim of ultimately having participants volunteer with a campaign," Chervinsky said.

One of the participants, Isaac Apter, wrote an exclusive brief to Heebonics about his experience at the event last month and what it meant to him. Here's what he had to say:
I have a healthy love of hockey, Canada, and the Jewish community. So when I heard about CJPAC’s ACTION Leadership Launch, I knew this event was tailor-made for me.

The sold-out evening, which targeted young professionals from the Jewish and pro-Israel community, was an easy introduction to political engagement. In addition to enjoying a private box at a Toronto Maple Leafs game, we had the opportunity to meet and speak with Ken Dryden, a hockey legend and a prominent Member of Parliament, while the CJPAC team chatted with us about the various ways to we could become engaged.
The positive atmosphere (including a great Leafs victory!) and offered a fun and easy way for each of us to make a difference. I know that following the event, my own dedication to politics was renewed. It was great to see how excited my friends were to be there and to see that they were motivated to get involved.  - Isaac Apter.
 Isaac Apter, left, at the CJPAC ACTION event with co-participant Brian Sweigman

CJPAC is a pretty cool org. Canadian Jewish youth, whether politically inclined or not, would be well-advised to check them out. 

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