Jews. We come in all types. Different ethnicities, upbringings, interests, religious practices and affiliations, politics, and lifestyles. But as Jews, there are things that apply to us all; too often they're rooted in inherent bias. Consequently, no matter how different we think we are from each other, someone needs to speak for "us." Someone needs to advocate for our needs and interests in the civic domain. Someone needs to look out for all Jews.
Federation's Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC) builds relationships and advocates for Jewish interests throughout and beyond the Jewish community by working directly with Jewish, interfaith, and civic leadership on the local, state, and national levels.
With today's alarming surge in antisemitism, the JCRC is working with leaders and influencers from across the private, public, religious, non-profit, and education sectors to bring issues of concern into clear focus, layout, and implement further actions pushing back on this hate and its threats to individual safety and communal security and sustainability.
Beyond that, the JCRC convenes partners, empowers community voices, and advocates for practical solutions in matters, such as human services for vulnerable people, education, public health, and more.
A partial recap of JCRC work on behalf of the Jewish heart of NJ and broader community lists some of the efforts and outcomes that have resulted from our ongoing work:
- Empowering the Jewish community to advocate on its behalf
- Working with government and civic leaders to support them in knowing and meeting Jewish communal needs
- Cultivating interfaith partnerships to fight hate
Care for the Vulnerable
Met with congressional leadership to advocate for:
- $2 trillion Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) and all stimulus packages
- Any future stimulus package to include an FMAP increase to at least 14 percent
- Elimination of Medicare policies that impose barriers to widespread use of telehealth
- $10 million for The Holocaust Survivor Assistance Program
- JCRC professionals and lay leaders participated in a mission to Washington, D.C., advocating for the Jewish community’s needs pertaining to growing anti-Semitism and security concerns
- JCRC advocacy was instrumental in the passing of the Federal Never Again Education Act expanding Holocaust education in public and private schools
- JCRC, together with the national Jewish Federation system, successfully advocated for Facebook to remove current and then ban future Holocaust denial posts
- JCRC maintains direct channels of communication with Rutgers leadership to promote a safe and welcoming educational environment for Jewish students
- JCRC funds public school programs building mutual respect, understanding, and safety among students and educators
- JCRC conducts interfaith clergy exchanges to build allies and reject hate
- JCRC educates interfaith clergy about Israel, antisemitism, and extremism
- JCRC conducted briefings throughout the Jewish community on the current state of antisemitism to increase awareness and preparedness
- In 2020, due to the Coronavirus pandemic, Federation increased our attention to virtual and cyber security, protecting organizations and individuals from online fraud, scams, and hate incidents
- In 2021, Jewish Federation was instrumental in the process by which 13 Jewish organizations in Monmouth and Greater Middlesex counties have been granted a total of approximately $2 million to enhance security
- Federation sponsored, arranged, and facilitated access to safety and security training, free of charge, for 236 community leaders from synagogues, Jewish schools, cultural centers, and other Jewish organizations
- In the first quarter of 2021 Federation laid the groundwork, launched, and now continues to maintain a community leaders’ alert system for emergencies
- Federation met with NJ FBI leadership to discuss greater security for the Jewish community
- Federation pre-empts antisemitic threats through relationships with law enforcement
- Federation familiarizes law enforcement and public safety officials with Jewish organizations and their leaders and facilities
- Federation supports Law Enforcement Officer bias awareness training
- JCRC countered misinformation by providing the community with facts about covid vaccination in Israel and the Palestinian areas
- JCRC created a “what is happening in Israel” information page during the May 2021 Hamas-Israel conflict
- JCRC published an information piece on how the popular narrative about Israel is built on a lack of information and paints a false picture of what Israel really is
- JCRC shared a detailed fact sheet on BDS and why the movement is antisemitic
- JCRC advocates for legislation supporting Israel, such as the NJ Anti BDS law and Iron Dome funding
- JCRC connects NJ and Israeli students to build relationships and understanding
- In 2018, Federation brought 20 interfaith clergy leaders to Israel to see for themselves the reality vs. biased, one-sided, or uninformed anti-Israel narratives
- Federation brought together Jews and Blacks to reconnect with our shared values of peace and justice by revisiting history with films, personal accounts, and more.
- Facilitated an interfaith program, called “Sacred Renewal in Holiday Celebration” addressing sacred renewal in (Spring) holiday celebrations, referencing Passover, Easter, Ramadan, Holi, and Vaisakhi (Sikh New Year festival)
- Conducted and took part in interfaith programs, including our Seeing Human panel discussion, in which Jews, Christians, and Muslims gathered to say “no to hate”
- Facilitated “Listen, Learn and Share”, a teen interfaith program attended by twenty teens of different faith and backgrounds who conducted a moderated discussion about their Catholic, Muslim, Sikh, and Jewish faiths with each other and a diverse audience of teens eager to hear about other religions.
Community members of all interests and backgrounds are encouraged to get involved in the JCRC as MUCH more is needed: More government support, more education – for students AND educators, more security, more content to counter-narratives from BDS and its myriad proponents, more training for community members to advocate on behalf of the Jewish community, more alliances to fight hate...
It is imperative to work with each other to continue to speak up for the needs of the Jewish community.
JCRC's strategy is to focus on the below three pillars. If you can help and want to get involved, please contact Dan Rozett, Manager of Community Relations and Israel Engagement.
|Empowering the Jewish Community||Interfaith Partnerships||Government & Civic Relations|
|Working across all facets of the Jewish community to connect and empower partners, organizations, synagogues, and individuals to advocate for the needs of the whole Jewish community.||Strengthening interfaith relationships, building on open communication and shared values and goals to stem hate, enhance security within and across faith communities, and foster unity.||
Interacting with state, local, and national civic and elected leaders, law enforcement, and public safety professionals to enable them to better recognize and respond to the needs of the Jewish community.