Our History

On June 14, 1944... Sixteen Jewish organizations in Boston came together to establish “The Jewish Community Council,” to act as a united community to defend the interests of the Jewish community locally and globally. We were facing regular antisemitic violence: Jewish teens were being assaulted on the streets of Boston, attacks which often went ignored by the police and justice system. The targeting of powerless Jews — both on the streets and in the courts — served as a wakeup call to the Jewish community to mobilize and organize.

  • 1940s

    JCRC advocates for refugees fleeing Europe in the wake of the Holocaust and for a national open-door immigration policy. JCRC works to eliminate the college quota system in area schools and mobilizes community support for the emerging Jewish state of Israel.
  • 1950s

    JCRC shifts focus to include Jewish representation in the Boston Public Square and building legislative and interfaith partnerships.
  • 1960s

    JCRC advocates for civil rights, school desegregation, and religious liberties.
  • 1970s

    JCRC connects Boston-area Jews to Soviet Jews attempting to leave Communist Russia for resettlement in Israel. JCRC continues to focus on Israel and Middle East affairs, and holds an interfaith ceremony to mark the signing of the Camp David Peace Accord between Israel and Egypt. JCRC coordinates community-wide observance of the Holocaust in recognition of the thirtieth anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, and organizes the annual community observances thereafter.
  • 1980s

    JCRC advocates on behalf of Ethiopian Jewry. JCRC helps to organize thousands from Boston’s Jewish and non-Jewish community to participate in historic “Freedom Sunday for Soviet Jews,” the largest ever Jewish mobilization in Washington, DC.
  • 1990s

    JCRC and CJP launch a partnership with the Jewish community of Dnepropetrovsk, Ukraine to support the rebuilding of Jewish life there. JCRC helps to organize the dedication of the New England Holocaust Memorial. JCRC launches the Greater Boston Jewish Coalition for Literacy (GBJCL).
  • 2000s

    JCRC succeeds in passing legislation to protect Ashkenazi Jews in MA testing positive for the BRCA genetic mutations from discrimination based on their genetic information. JCRC is the first community relations council in the country to advocate for marriage equality after voting overwhelmingly to endorse the position.
  • 2010s

    JCRC helps effect passage of legislation including Voting Rights, Pay Equity, Criminal Justice Reform, Health Care, and Economic Opportunity. JCRC leverages millions of dollars of public funds to support the Jewish social service network and communal infrastructure, including job training, senior services, and services for immigrants and refugees. JCRC founds TELEM volunteer program for Jewish teens and ReachOut! volunteer program for Jewish young adults.
  • 2019

    JCRC envisions a Jewish community that is a regional and national model — in civic engagement, building bridges, and initiating partnerships — in service to Jewish concerns and the collective good.