Building Interfaith Coalitions Is Topic of Leadership Tribute


At a recent program, the Jewish Community Relations Council highlighted interfaith projects, introduced new chair Daniel Segal and honored outgoing chair Rabbi David Straus.

The Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC) of the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia honored its outgoing chair, Rabbi David Straus, for his distinguished service during a Jan. 15 reception at Main Line Reform Temple in Wynnewood. The program was well attended by leadership of the JCRC and Federation, friends from the interfaith community, as well as congregants of the synagogue, where Straus serves as spiritual leader.
Straus is involved in both the Jewish and secular communities. He is a past president of the VAAD: The Philadelphia Board of Rabbis; the co-convener of the Religious Leaders Council of Greater Philadelphia; and is also a member of the board of JSPAN-The Jewish Social Policy Action Network.
Locally, Straus also serves on the board of the Institute for Jewish-Catholic Relations and the Interfaith Center of Greater Philadelphia. Nationally, he serves as chair of the National Council for Synagogues, an umbrella organization that meets regularly with the U.S. Catholic Conference of Bishops and the national Council of Churches.
The evening also served as the public debut of the JCRC’s new chair, Daniel Segal. Segal is a partner at Hangley Aronchick Segal Pudlin and Schiller, where he chairs the firm’s Litigation Department. He is active in the Philadelphia Bar Association, where he currently serves as Settlement Master for the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas and as Master of the Bench for the University of Pennsylvania Law School American Inn of Court. 
Segal’s Jewish communal involvement is equally impressive. He currently serves as vice president of Hillel of Greater Philadelphia and as president of the Board of Overseers of the University of Pennsylvania Hillel Foundation. Segal also is a member of the International Board of the New Israel Fund. 
Rabbi Steve Gutow, president and CEO of the Jewish Council for Public Affairs, served as keynote speaker for the program, which focused on “Interfaith Coalition Building and Social Action: The Role of the Faith Community in Public Policy.” Straus participated in a lively panel discussion on this topic along with the Rev. Jay Broadnax, pastor of Mount Pisgah African Methodist Episcopal Church and vice president of the Black Clergy of Philadelphia; Bishop Claire Burkat, bishop of the Southeastern Pennsylvania Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America; and the Rev. Ruth Santana Grace, Executive Presbyter of the Presbytery of Philadelphia.
JCRC serves the needs of the Jewish community through community relations, government affairs, social action and advocacy. Each year, government, civic and religious leaders of all faith communities are invited to participate in a leadership mission to Israel, which is subsidized by the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia. These trips allow participants to experience first-hand Israel’s history, diversity and commitment to democratic values. All of the program panelists have participated in this mission and have shared their experiences with their congregants.
For more information about the Jewish Community Relations Council, call Adam Kessler, director, at 215-832-0651 or email:


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