JSPAN Annual Meeting, Thursday June 16, 2011, featuring Guest Speaker Joe Sestak

On Thursday, June 16 the Jewish Social Policy Action Network (JSPAN) held its Annual Meeting in the Justice Roberts Room at the law firm of Montgomery McCracken, in the Wells Fargo Building, 123 South Broad Street, in Center City Philadelphia.

The event began with an orientation for new board members and the June Board meeting, including an induction of the new Board members.  The new members who have joined the JSPAN Board are:  David Boonin, David Gutin, Raechel Hammer, Rabbi Elliot Holin, Joanna Klein, Nathan Kleinman, Marlena Kleit, Jay Meadway, Ilene Wasserman, Rabbi Joshua Waxman and Gail Zukerman.  The entire JSPAN Board welcomed the new members for a year of activism and action in advancing JSPAN’s progressive social policy agenda.  The early portion of the evening wrapped up with a buffet dinner for the Board.

The public portion of the evening’s program commenced at 7:30 pm in the Justice Roberts Room with the featured guest speaker, Joe Sestak.  JSPAN President Brian Gralnick welcomed a full house for the event.  Then, founding JSPAN Board Member Ted Mann gave an historical context for the evening’s program by speaking briefly about the role of Supreme Court Justice Owen Roberts, for whom the Justice Roberts Room is named and who was also a founding partner of the Montgomery McCracken law firm.  As Ted Mann addressed the subject in his remarks, Justice Roberts played an important and pivotal role on the Supreme Court in the 1930s in a contentious period in politics and social policy, not unlike the one in which we are now living.

Next, incoming First Vice President Lynn Zeitlin introduced the guest speaker for the Annual Meeting, Joe Sestak.  Joe’s topic for the evening, “An Outsider’s View of Washington:  Policy without Trust,”  was a thought-provoking one, in which he addressed the current climate in politics and public life in which trust in our public officials and accountability are being severely tested.  At the conclusion of his formal remarks, Joe took questions from the audience, including long-time JSPAN members and guests.  JSPAN Board Chair Jeff Pasek concluded the formal portion of the program with a brief discussion of JSPAN, what its mission is as an organization, the impact it has already had, and how it plans to expand its reach in the future.

The evening wrapped up with a reception in the Justice Roberts Room.  Joe Sestak remained to answer questions and speak informally with the group.  It was also a good opportunity for JSPAN members and those learning about JSPAN for the first time to renew old friendships and to get acquainted.  Please see the sequence of photographs to catch a glimpse of the evening’s program.