On June 14, 1944, one week after D-Day, 16 Jewish organizations in Boston came together to establish what was then called The Jewish Community Council, “for the purpose of acting in unity in matters relating to civic protection and fund-raising.” This coalition understood that there were collective challenges facing our community 75 years ago that required a collective response:
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.
We were driven by a profound and urgent agenda — speaking out and acting in the name of a united community to protect and defend the interests of our brothers and sisters under attack, both locally and globally.
Whether it was intervening on behalf of Jewish teens, advocating and preparing for refugees fleeing Europe in the wake of the Holocaust, or, within a few years, mobilizing community support for the emerging Jewish state, our proud legacy was as a powerful “defense” organization ready to mobilize to defend our People in time of crisis.
While historical realities have changed dramatically since that time, critical elements of our mission have remained constant. We remain proudly committed to defending Jewish interests and values by naming and combating anti-Semitism wherever it occurs; by advocating for Israel’s promising future; and by ensuring adequate resources for the agencies providing vital services to our community. But over the years, profound shifts in our community and the world around us have required us to reinvent ourselves over and over again — to expand our mission, to innovate, and to pursue an expansive and ambitious agenda.