NCJWAZ hosted a candidate debate on Zoom recently.

National Council of Jewish Women Arizona recently held a series of public Zoom calls in the run-up to both the primary election on Aug. 6 and the national and state elections on November 3, 2020. They have plans to continue hosting Zoom events to keep a focus on issues they deem important.

The next presentation will be a program on voter suppression Aug. 18. There are currently bills before the state legislature the organization believes will work to suppress the vote. 

On July 16, NCJWAZ held a Zoom debate of candidates for the 6th congressional district. There were almost 800 views for the livestream event.

“Overwhelming,” said Civia Tamarkin, NCJWAZ’s president, about the response. “Far beyond anything we had anticipated. It’s been quite extraordinary.”

Last week the group hosted “Moving Beyond Crisis: Holding Police Accountable.” Tamarkin said there was less viewership of the event on the day of, but it’s ticking up now. “We’re getting incredible response,” she said.

One bright side about holding events on Zoom rather than in person, Tamarkin said, is that the virtual presentations gain an audience that is far beyond anything they would have had in person.

“Zoom is doing incredibly well,” she said. “I think it has expanded awareness of our organization and our mission and our agenda far beyond where it has been. We want to be a key player in the progressive community at large. Our goal has been to establish ourselves as a leading advocacy organization.”

About the candidate debate, Tamarkin was pleased that it was a true debate rather than a forum. “That is what we thought had been missing,” she said. The group also co-sponsored events with the League of Women Voters for candidates for Scottsdale’s city council and mayor.

She said that the group is nonpartisan but issue-oriented, and they have gone above and beyond other organizations when it comes to bringing important issues to light even when it makes some people uncomfortable. “We take a position when others do not.” Tamarkin said she’s happy that both Republicans and Democrats in Arizona seem supportive of permanent mail-in ballots, and recently NCJWAZ sent out thousands of postcards reminding people to sign up for ballots if they haven’t already.

“We’re moving in the trajectory that is very consistent with our agenda,” Tamarkin said. JN

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