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The California Assembly and Senate have released their joint budget agreement, a critical step in the State’s annual budget approval process. It includes two of our Jewish community’s most important priorities—Holocaust and genocide education and caring for vulnerable survivors.
Anita Friedman, JFCS’ Executive Director, says, “The voice of California’s Jewish Community has been heard. Now our survivors can continue to age with dignity and every child in our State will learn about antisemitism, about the Holocaust, and about how—and why—to stand up against hate.”
These critical funds include:
- $3 million to renovate and expand the JFCS Holocaust Center. The JFCS Holocaust Center is one of the preeminent centers for Holocaust and Genocide Education and teacher training in the State. With an expanded scope and many key initiatives, a building renovation project is critical to the Holocaust Center’s future as an invaluable resource for educators, students, and the broader community.
- $36 million for the California Holocaust Survivors Assistance Program. Jewish human service agencies across California, including JFCS, provide trauma-informed support services for frail and aging survivors. Approximately 12,000 Holocaust survivors live in California and experience extremely high rates of poverty. This much-needed funding will ensure that survivors can continue to live with dignity and receive essential home care, culturally appropriate case management, home-delivered meals, transportation, and social engagement.
- $1.4 million to staff and fund the Governor’s Council on Holocaust and Genocide Education. Funding was awarded to support the Council, co-chaired by JFCS’ Executive Director, Anita Friedman, with Attorney General Rob Bonta, Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond and Senator Henry Stern, and staff of the Department of Education, and to conduct a statewide study of the status of Holocaust and genocide education throughout the State.
The Legislature has passed what is being described as a “placeholder” budget on June 13 while they continue to negotiate with the Governor on some of the larger items and various details. The Governor must sign the Budget Bill by June 30th.
We are deeply grateful to the State Legislature for this critical funding and to our partner organizations, including the Jewish Public Affairs Committee of California (JPAC) and the CA Jewish Legislative Caucus, for championing these requests. Thank you to all in our community who took part in advocating for these important initiatives!