Activism

Alan Van Capelle

“I speak to you as an American Jew,” stated Alan van Capelle as he addressed a crowd of thousands standing on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial at the event marking the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington.

His representation of the Jewish community at this historic event was a clear sign of van Capelle’s rising profile. The young progressive activist, who serves as CEO of Bend the Arc: a Jewish Partnership for Justice, was chosen by organizers to be the event’s central Jewish speaker because they viewed him as the new voice of Jewish social justice activism.

Van Capelle, 38, was born in New York to a father of Dutch-Jewish origins and a Brooklynite mother. He came to the professional Jewish world in 2011 with an impressive record of fighting for gay rights and for organized labor. He headed a New York lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights lobby and had worked prior to that as a labor organizer for one of the city’s largest unions.

On the day of the Supreme Court landmark ruling rejecting the Defense of Marriage Act and paving the way to legalizing gay marriage, van Capelle joined dozens of cheerful activists outside the court, celebrating the moment. From there he rushed back to New York to share the news with his partner and son.

Bend the Arc, formed from the merger of Jewish Funds for Justice and the Progressive Jewish Alliance, has grown significantly under van Capelle’s leadership, by forging partnership agreements with local Jewish social justice organizations and by lobbying in Washington. It advocates for a wide variety of causes, including the establishment of social safety net programs, immigration reform and LGBT rights.

The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • It’s over. The tyranny of the straight-haired, button nosed, tan-skinned girl has ended. Jewesses rejoice!
  • It's really, really, really hard to get kicked out of Hebrew school these days.
  • "If Netanyahu re-opens the settlement floodgates, he will recklessly bolster the argument of Hamas that the only language Israel understands is violence."
  • Would an ultra-Orthodox leader do a better job of running the Met Council?
  • So, who won the war — Israel or Hamas?
  • 300 Holocaust survivors spoke out against Israel. Did they play right into Hitler's hands?
  • Ari Folman's new movie 'The Congress' is a brilliant spectacle, an exhilarating visual extravaganza and a slapdash thought experiment. It's also unlike anything Forward critic Ezra Glinter has ever seen. http://jd.fo/d4unE
  • The eggplant is beloved in Israel. So why do Americans keep giving it a bad rap? With this new recipe, Vered Guttman sets out to defend the honor of her favorite vegetable.
  • “KlezKamp has always been a crazy quilt of gay and straight, religious and nonreligious, Jewish and gentile.” Why is the klezmer festival shutting down now?
  • “You can plagiarize the Bible, can’t you?” Jill Sobule says when asked how she went about writing the lyrics for a new 'Yentl' adaptation. “A couple of the songs I completely stole." Share this with the theater-lovers in your life!
  • Will Americans who served in the Israeli army during the Gaza operation face war crimes charges when they get back home?
  • Talk about a fashion faux pas. What was Zara thinking with the concentration camp look?
  • “The Black community was resistant to the Jewish community coming into the neighborhood — at first.” Watch this video about how a group of gardeners is rebuilding trust between African-Americans and Jews in Detroit.
  • "I am a Jewish woman married to a non-Jewish man who was raised Catholic, but now considers himself a “common-law Jew.” We are raising our two young children as Jews. My husband's parents are still semi-practicing Catholics. When we go over to either of their homes, they bow their heads, often hold hands, and say grace before meals. This is an especially awkward time for me, as I'm uncomfortable participating in a non-Jewish religious ritual, but don't want his family to think I'm ungrateful. It's becoming especially vexing to me now that my oldest son is 7. What's the best way to handle this situation?" http://jd.fo/b4ucX What would you do?
  • Maybe he was trying to give her a "schtickle of fluoride"...
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.