The 2016 JVP Board Elections will take place online from August 8 – 17. Eligible voters (those who have been JVP members for 6 months or longer) will receive a link to the electronic ballot on August 8th.

This year, members will choose five candidates from the seven to fill the five open seats on the JVP National Board. The seven candidates are:

1. Karen Ackerman                               5. Dan Fishback
2. Phyllis Bennis                                    6. David Mandel
3. Scout Bratt                                           7. Jessie Spector
4. JoEllen Chernow

JoEllen Chernow*

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JoEllen plays a key role in driving CPDs minimum wage campaign efforts and economic justice work. She focuses on envisioning strategy, leveraging partner organizations’ impact in the field, and assisting in the implementation of dynamic campaign plans. In addition, JoEllen is developing a senior organizer pipeline training program, including generating curriculum, skill building, leadership development, and evaluation tools. JoEllen has worked in progressive grassroots organizations and labor unions for 15 years. She has been responsible for mapping out strategies, running national programs and campaigns, and building organizational capacity for unions and community groups. Before coming to CPD, JoEllen organized a wide range of workers, including industrial laundry workers for UNITE-HERE, Registered Nurses for the California Nurses Association and public sector workers for AFSCME. She has also worked internationally for UNI Global, primarily in Colombia, Spain and Portugal. At CPD, she plays a critical role to a number of movements and campaigns for social, racial and economic justice.

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Dan Fishback is a playwright whose work explores the personal impact of historical trauma. His musical “The Material World” was called one of the Top Ten Plays of 2012 by Time Out NY. As director of the Helix Queer Performance Network, he organizes festivals, workshops and public art interventions for the queer communities of NYC. In 2007, Fishback received the Six Points Fellowship for Emerging Jewish Artists. In 2015 he was an Interfaith Peace Builders delegate. His new work-in-progress about a Jewish American family divided over Israel has received support from the MacDowell Colony and the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation.

Karen Ackerman*

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KAREN ACKERMAN has long been active in the movement for social and economic justice. She spent many years as a union organizer, leading organizing campaigns and contract/bargaining fights for the Hospital Workers Union, United Auto Workers, and Communications Workers of America. She was appointed the Political Director of the Public Employees Federation of NY. In 1992 she was the campaign manager for the successful campaign of Nydia Velazquez, the first Puerto Rican Woman ever elected to the US Congress and became the Congresswoman’s Chief of Staff in DC. In 1996, Karen was recruited to the AFL-CIO to become its deputy Political Director and seven years later, became the first woman Political Director of the AFL-CIO where she served in that position until 2011. Karen is helping to develop JVP’s Congressional Outreach Program. A JVP board member for the past three years, she is active in the DC Metro JVP Chapter and involved in developing a JVP Labor Council.

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As a teenager, my synagogue youth group led to involvement in late 1960s civil rights, farmworker and anti-war movements.

Spending a year in Israel after high school, that background helped me quickly see its inequities and the evils of occupation.

In college, I jumped into a vaguely defined, heterogeneous “Jewish radical student movement,” by 1974 concluding it was paramount to unite around human rights and equal justice for all.

Later that year, I went to live in Israel, immediately joined anti-occupation and socialist groups and found useful work as a journalist, editing local publications while publishing and broadcasting analytical reports in the U.S. and Europe. I remained 10 years and completed law school in Jerusalem.

In California since 1985, I raised a family, working as a journalist, then as managing attorney with a nonprofit legal aid program, while always remaining politically engaged. Now I’m a full-time volunteer activist/consultant/organizer with the National Lawyers Guild and progressive Democrats, but mostly, JVP. This year, I’ve spearheaded the coalition fighting California’s anti-boycott legislation.

I believe my multifaceted experience — working with myriad people and groups, developing and implementing legal and advocacy strategies for change and building effective coalitions — will serve JVP well.

Jessie Spector*

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I am honored to be running for the JVP board! I only have 100 words, so getting to the point, some things to know about me:

  • 29 year old queer white woman
  • Mixed heritage Ashkenazi Jewish and Protestant
  • Experience running Resource Generation, a national economic justice non-profit with chapters, and the interplay between members, volunteers, staff, and board
  • I organize Jews because we sit at the intersection of privilege and oppression and have the opportunity to intervene in the violence and racism targeting Palestinians and Muslims, saying “not in our name.”
Scout Bratt*

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Originally from Kansas City, Scout has lived in Chicago for nearly six years. As the Outreach & Education Director at Chicago Women’s Health Center, Scout teaches body-positive sexual health education in Chicago Public Schools and community-based organizations. Originally introduced to anti-occupation organizing through feminist philosophy and feminist critiques of the occupation, intersectional feminism remains a key part of not only Scout’s Judaism but also Scout’s Palestinian solidarity work. Scout majored in Peace Studies and Philosophy at Goucher College and is currently studying Youth Development at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

Phyllis Bennis*

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Phyllis Bennis is a Fellow of the Institute for Policy Studies, and of the Transnational Institute in Amsterdam. She is a longtime activist and analyst on Israel/Palestine, other Middle East and U.S. war issues, and helped found both the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation and the United for Peace & Justice anti-war coalition. She writes and speaks widely, and her most recent books are Understanding ISIS & the New Global War on Terror, and Understanding the Palestinian-Israeli Conflict: A Primer. Phyllis has worked closely with UN officials and agencies on Palestine, co-chaired the UN-based International Coordinating Network on Palestine, and was short-listed twice to become the UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in Palestine.



* Board-Nominated


‡ Incumbent Board Member


§ Self-Nominated

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About Jewish Voice for Peace Board of Directors
The Board of Directors of Jewish Voice for Peace is legally responsible for all functions of the organization and for guiding the organization in fulfillment of its mission. Board members are elected for a three year term by the membership who entrust them to oversee the organization in fulfilling the vision and mission. Board members share a deep, personal commitment to peace and justice for all peoples of the Middle East, exceptional strategic leadership skills, and the time and resources to dedicate to overseeing a large multidimensional organization.

Board Nominee Desired Representation & Qualifications
Jewish Voice for Peace has been growing rapidly as an organization–increasing the numbers of chapters throughout the country, the amount of members and supporters, and new staff positions while developing a more complex infrastructure. At this stage of development, we need board members who have experience and skills in leading large, dynamic nonprofits with strong membership bases. In addition, we seek diverse, innovative leadership, which represents Jewish communities that have been marginalized. In other words, we need both professional administrative skills and diverse representation to create an inclusive, dynamic, powerful social movement.

Essential Duties and Responsibilities:

    • Ethical leadership to ensure the strategic, operational, and fiscal health of the organization.
    • Board members are legally responsible for the organization’s actions.
    • Direct supervision and evaluation of the Executive Director.
    • Regular financial reviews, budget oversight and approval of the annual budget.
    • A board member must be active in annual fundraising and will make what is for them a significant personal donation to the organization each year.
    • The board meets monthly. Board members are expected to attend at least 10 of those meetings. Three times a year those meetings will be in-person, the rest via phone. Travel expenses are reimbursed; JVP appreciates it when members are willing and able contribute these costs.
    • Commitment to the JVP board will require a substantial time commitment of approximately 10 to 20 hours a month.
    • A board member is expected to passionately represent JVP’s values and strategic objectives to members, allies and the many publics that the organization interacts with.
    • Board members are seen as representatives of the national JVP organization so they must at all times conduct themselves with the understanding that they will be seen by both JVP members and the public in this role.


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