Author: JCRC

JCRC to Present Executive Director Jeremy Burton with Warren B. Kohn Award

For Immediate Release
Contact: Shira Burns
1.12.20

JCRC to Present Executive Director Jeremy Burton
with Warren B. Kohn Award
 

(Boston, MA) The Jewish Community Relations Council is pleased to announce that the JCRC Board of Directors has unanimously voted to present Jeremy Burton with the Warren B. Kohn Award on his ten-year anniversary as Executive Director. The Kohn award is presented by JCRC to an outstanding Jewish community relations professional in memory of Warren B. Kohn, a past president of JCRC. JCRC will present this award as a part of the JCRC Celebrates Gala in September 2021.

Jeremy joined JCRC as Executive Director in October 2011, after playing major leadership roles in many Jewish nonprofits as well as political campaigns. Under Jeremy’s leadership, JCRC has thrived as a national model for community relations.

“Jeremy is a unique Jewish leader who combines head with heart and a deep love of the Jewish People with a passion for American democracy,” said Rabbi Marc Baker, President & CEO of Combined Jewish Philanthropies. “In challenging and divisive times, our community is blessed to have a leader like Jeremy, a voice of conscience and conviction, who helps us all to navigate complexity and competing values with nuance and integrity. Jeremy has earned this honor because of who he is as a leader. I am grateful for his partnership and friendship.”

"Jeremy has dedicated himself to developing deep and enduring relationships within and beyond the Jewish community," said JCRC President Stacey Bloom. "He cherishes his collaborations with our Jewish organizational partners, and his interfaith relationships are based on profound respect, authentic openness, and a generosity of spirit. Jeremy is the rare leader who feels responsibility not to any one segment of our community, but to its totality. He embraces and honors his duty to discern the concerns, hopes and aspirations of the organized Jewish community, to communicate them beyond our community, and to mobilize action on their behalf in the halls of power. Jeremy is a national thought leader in the Jewish community, and a leader the Boston Jewish community looks to again and again."

“Jeremy came to us not only with extraordinary political acumen honed over decades of leadership in the public arena, but with a deep love for and commitment to the Jewish community acting on its most cherished values,” said Deputy Director Nahma Nadich. “Jeremy’s clarity of vision propelled JCRC to distill and amplify its core mission of building a Jewish community that is civically engaged and connected through enduring partnerships beyond our community, in service to Jewish concerns and the collective good.”

Past Recipients of the Warren B. Kohn Award:

  • 2018: Robert Trestan, Anti-Defamation League
  • 2016: Rabbi Barbara Penzner, Temple Hillel B’nai Torah
  • 2012: Nahma M. Nadich, Jewish Community Relations Council
  • 2008: Alan S. Ronkin, Jewish Community Relations Council
  • 2005: Larry Lowenthal, American Jewish Committee
  • 2000: Nancy K. Kaufman, Jewish Community Relations Council
  • 1996: Barbara Gaffin, Jewish Community Relations Council
  • 1992: Sheila Decter, American Jewish Congress
  • 1989: Leonard P. Zakim, Anti-Defamation League
  • 1987: Philip Perlmutter, Jewish Community Relations Council

JCRC Executive Director Jeremy Burton Bio
Jeremy came to the Jewish community from a career in political strategy and public communications, having worked for New York Mayor David N. Dinkins, Manhattan Borough President Ruth Messinger, the 1996 Clinton/Gore Re-Election Campaign, and the New York State Assembly & Attorney General, among others. Previously he was the Senior Vice President of Programs at the Jewish Funds for Justice, and Vice President of Programs at the Jewish Funders Network. Jeremy also served as a board member of Keshet, working for the full inclusion of LGBTQ Jews in Jewish life. Jeremy writes and speaks widely about challenges and opportunities facing the Jewish community. He has been published in the Boston Globe, Times of Israel, New York Jewish Week, the Jewish Forward, and the Washington Post: On Faith. The Jewish Telegraphic Agency included him in their “Twitter 100” list of the most influential Jewish voices on Twitter. You can follow him @BurtonJM.

About the Jewish Community Relations Council
JCRC defines and advances the values, interests, and priorities of the organized Jewish community of Greater Boston in the public square. Visit us at www.jcrcboston.org.

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An Attack on Our Democracy: Statement from JCRC of Greater Boston

Today is a sad day for our nation. The U.S. Capitol was overrun by rioters who, for a short while, disrupted the function of our democratic process of transition. This interference with the tallying of the Electoral vote is an assault on the very foundations of our democracy, unprecedented in our nation’s history.
 
Guided by our mission to “promote an American society which is democratic, pluralistic and just,” JCRC has affirmed and recommitted ourselves to preserving and restoring America’s democratic norms during the last several years. Ensuring that our democracy is and remains well-functioning and, specifically, securing the integrity of our elections systems, has never been more urgent than it is today. For this reason, JCRC cannot remain silent in the face of this violent insurrection.
 
JCRC stands with our Council member the ADL in affirming that “people assaulting law enforcement or breaching government buildings must be arrested and held accountable.” JCRC also condemns all assaults on the democratic transfer of power, including those by President Trump who, as David Harris, the CEO of our Council member AJC states has “undermined democratic values by a refusal to accept the election results” and “encouraged folks to reject a peaceful transition of power.”
 
We echo the words of Governor Baker today, who said that “the chaos now unfolding is the sad but predictable outcome of weeks of attacks perpetrated by President Trump and his supporters against the democratic process that makes America the greatest nation on earth. These baseless challenges to President-elect Biden’s victory must stop.”
 
We pray for the safety of those law enforcement members trying to maintain order and keep the peace amid the chaos, for the members of the press who are on Capitol Hill today, for the residents of the District of Columbia, and for the elected representatives, their staff, and specifically for our Massachusetts delegation, who are trying to do their democratic duty at the Capitol today.

JCRC Thanks Speaker DeLeo for Years of Leadership

The Jewish Community Relations Council recognizes House Speaker Robert DeLeo on the occasion of his resignation from the Massachusetts House of Representatives. The Speaker and his exemplary staff always had an open door to the Jewish community. He was as comfortable in Jewish spaces as he was in his community of Winthrop, which he represented for almost 30 years. He was always the first to convene the House membership in recognition of Holocaust remembrance and stood with his members in strongly condemning antisemitism. As soon as news broke about the massacre at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh, the Speaker reached out to our community and joined with civil, religious, and elected leaders on the Boston Common in denouncing this act of hatred.

At the JCRC legislative reception in 2018, Speaker DeLeo spoke about his work with the JCRC: “Throughout my speakership I have known the JCRC to be politically engaged and active on many of the issues that are so important to me...Whether it is addressing gun violence, ending homelessness, combating domestic violence and helping our seniors, it is has been my honor to work with JCRC every step of the way. With your input we have made significant strides in many of these areas.”

Speaker DeLeo was a strong partner to our community as Massachusetts climbed out of the Great Recession in 2009. He was a strong proponent of Jewish communal initiatives focusing on economic opportunity and worked hand-in-hand with us to provide jobs for immigrants and refugees, adults with disabilities, and those with housing insecurity. He was also a champion of the Mass/Israel Economic Partnership, recognizing the importance of investment and relationship. In 2013, he led a delegation to Israel with JCRC to witness the fruits of that work first hand.

“It is with mixed emotions that I recognize my dear friend Speaker Robert DeLeo on the occasion of his announced retirement from the House of Representatives,” said Jeremy Burton, Executive Director, Jewish Community Relations Council. “The Speaker has stood with the Jewish community during times of celebration and times of deep mourning, and never stopped working with us to improve the lives of the residents in Massachusetts. On behalf of the JCRC, I wish the Speaker the best for this next chapter of his life.”

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Speaker DeLeo stands with the Jewish community at our vigil for victims of the Tree of Life Shooting.

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Speaker DeLeo visits Rambam Hospital in Haifa on a JCRC Study Tour

JCRC Applauds Senate for Crucial Funding in Budget and Legislature for Protecting Reproductive Rights

The Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC) welcomes the Senate budget, which maintains funding for the crucial services and programs long championed by our community. JCRC’s budget advocacy has long been focused on securing funds prioritized by Jewish communal social service partners for critical human services. The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has put a financial crunch on service providers throughout the Jewish and broader community. The public resources supported through this funding will allow continuation of these vital and innovative initiatives. Some highlights include:

  • A Summer Camp Stabilization Fund would be created to help provide a safety net for summer camps, many of whom are at serious financial risk as a result of the covid-19 pandemic.
  • $856K for Naturally Occurring Retirement Communities (NORCs), designed to bring wellness programs and socialization services directly to seniors, allowing them to remain in their homes and communities.
  • $250K for Transitions to Work, an innovative job training model for young adults with disabilities.
  • $3 million for Secure Jobs Initiative, a silo-busting delivery model conceived by the Fireman Family Foundation, which promotes new partnerships between housing and workforce development agencies, as well as state agencies. This represents a $1 million increase over last year.
  • $1 million for Non Profit Security Grants, which provides vital security enhancements to non-profit communal infrastructure at increased risk of threat.
  • $1.25 million for the Employment Service Program for Immigrants and Refugees, which provides English-based job training and placement services for recent immigrants and refugees.
  • Crucial authorizing language for the MA Pathways to Economic Advancement initiative, the nation’s first workforce development Pay for Success program. The model is working; nearly 2,000 participants have enrolled, increasing their job skills and take-home earnings, which is increasing revenue for the Commonwealth. This language will ensure that contracted funds continue to flow to sustain this initiative.

“We applaud Senate President Karen Spilka, Ways and Means Chair Michael Rodrigues and the entire Senate for redoubling their commitment to the social safety net, stretched thin by the COVID-19 pandemic and its destructive impact.” said Aaron Agulnek, Director of Government Affairs, JCRC. “This budget includes funding that can keep seniors safe in their homes, train job seekers for a more robust recovery and provides access to supports for the housing insecure.”

JCRC also applauds legislative leadership, lead sponsors Senate President Emerita Harriette Chandler, Speaker Pro Tempore Pat Haddad, Representative Claire Cronin and Representative Jay Livingstone, and the bipartisan coalition of legislators who joined with thousands of advocates across the Commonwealth to enshrine reproductive rights in state law. Crucial elements of the Roe Act were included in both the House and Senate budgets and passed with wide majorities.

“We commend the historic vote by both the House and Senate to protect reproductive rights across the Commonwealth,” said Emily Levine, Chair, Public Policy Committee, JCRC. “Reproductive rights are human rights and these healthcare decisions should be made between pregnant people, their doctors and anyone else that they choose. We look forward to this bill being signed into law in the near term.”

The Fiscal Year 2021 budget will be reconciled by both the House and Senate and sent to Governor Baker for his approval.

Statement on Victory of President-Elect Biden

On behalf of the organized Jewish community of Greater Boston, we join with millions of Americans in congratulating former Vice-President Joseph Biden upon his election as the next President of the United States.

We also congratulate Senator Kamala Harris on her historic election as our next Vice-President. This is a moment that has been generations in the making and is one that will inspire generations to come. This is cause for celebration and recognition by all Americans.

As our nation prepares for a new President, we urge public officials and civic leaders to cooperate to ensure a peaceful and orderly transition of executive power. We pray that our next President will lead with wisdom and empathy as well as a commitment to the welfare of everyone in our great nation. We affirm our continued commitment to work with our elected and appointed officials to advance and protect the values we cherish and that define our nation.

Even as we congratulate our President-Elect and Vice President-Elect and all of our newly elected public servants, we acknowledge that this is a time of great pain and challenge for our nation. A pandemic continues to rage in our midst; more than 230,000 Americans are dead; millions are infected with COVID; and millions of Americans are out of work. These losses and hardships are profound and touch every corner of America—leaving a grief and pain that will not be easily overcome. We at JCRC affirm our commitment to work with our civic and government partners to help end the pandemic and build a recovery that is equitable and just for all Americans.

We will continue to defend and strengthen our democracy by supporting efforts to safeguard voting for all Americans including working for the passage of a new Voting Rights Act. We urge the next Congress to take immediate action to restore and strengthen the guardrails for the ethical behavior of all officials and to restore proper oversight of the Executive Branch.

We must continue to be vigilant in the face of enduring hatreds and bigotries that remain a threat and will not easily fade. We urge all public leaders to use their platform, voice and power to combat antisemitism in all its forms without regard for partisan interests, and to finally and comprehensively address the racial inequities that plague our society.  Now is also the time for comprehensive immigration reform that includes a path to citizenship for our neighbors who are already here. We must restore our nation’s commitment to welcoming refugees fleeing hardship and persecution.

We will continue working with the Massachusetts Congressional delegation in support of a foreign policy that restores the bipartisan principle that the United States is resolute in its historical international commitments and responsibilities around the world.  As a world leader, America must continue to be steadfast in our support for the enduring US-Israel alliance and we must reaffirm our support for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, to be negotiated between the parties. In support of achieving such a peace, the United States must expand our efforts to invest in the building of a healthy civil society and expanding peace and reconciliation work in the region.

We are now called to begin the difficult work of healing the wounds that have pulled our nation asunder.  We are called to continue promoting and strengthening our nation’s commitment to civil liberties and equality for all people.  We are called to be the beacon of democracy and justice that this moment demands and all Americans deserve.

We lift up, take heed of, and are inspired by the words of President-Elect Biden a few weeks ago:   

“We must free ourselves from the forces of darkness, from the forces of division, and the forces of yesterday, and the forces that pull us apart, hold us down, and hold us back. And if we do so, we’ll once more become one nation under God, indivisible, a nation united, a nation strengthened, a nation healed. That is my goal. That is why I’m running. That is what we must do.”

In this moment, the words of President Lincoln, in his first inaugural address, still resonate:  

“We are not enemies, but friends. We must not be enemies. Though passion may have strained it must not break our bonds of affection. The mystic chords of memory, stretching from every battlefield and patriot grave to every living heart and hearthstone all over this broad land, will yet swell the chorus of the Union, when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature.”

The organized Jewish community of Boston echoes these words and affirms our commitment to stand together with our neighbors to meet the challenges ahead. We must come together as a nation in a spirit of reconciliation and reaffirmation of our common destiny so  we can move forward together.

Jeremy Burton, Executive Director                   

Stacey Bloom, President

JCRC Applauds House Proposal for Crucial Funding in Budget

Earlier today, the Massachusetts House of Representatives released its Fiscal Year 2021 budget blueprint, setting up debate for next week. This budget proposal, typically debated through the Spring, was delayed as state leaders assessed the needs emerging from Covid-19 and the resulting economic crisis. The Jewish Community Relations Council welcomes this budget, which maintains funding for the crucial services and programs long championed by our community. Some highlights include:

  • $856K for Naturally Occurring Retirement Communities (NORCs), designed to bring wellness programs and socialization services directly to seniors, allowing them to remain in their homes and communities.
     
  • $500K for Bridges to Colleges, which provides college preparatory programming to individuals seeking careers with opportunities for advancement and defined career ladders (includes a $250K appropriation for Jewish Vocational Service).
     
  • $250K for Transitions to Work, an innovative job training model for young adults with disabilities.
     
  • $2 million for Secure Jobs Initiative, a silo-busting delivery model conceived by the Fireman Family Foundation, which promotes new partnerships between housing and workforce development agencies, as well as state agencies.
     
  • $1 million for Non Profit Security Grants, which provides vital security enhancements to non-profit communal infrastructure at increased risk of threat.
     
  • $1.25 million for the Employment Service Program for Immigrants and Refugees, which provides English-based job training and placement services for recent immigrants and refugees.
     
  • Crucial authorizing language for the MA Pathways to Economic Advancement initiative, the nation’s first workforce development Pay for Success program. The model is working; nearly 2,000 participants have enrolled, increasing their job skills and take-home earnings, which is increasing revenue for the Commonwealth. This language will insure that contracted funds continue to flow to sustain this initiative.

“We applaud Speaker Robert DeLeo, Chair Aaron Michlewitz and the entire House membership for their leadership in navigating the unprecedented demands on the social safety net, with investments in the types of programs that can help us heal,” said Aaron Agulnek, Director of Government Affairs, JCRC. “This historic budget includes funding that can keep seniors safe in their homes, train job seekers for a more robust recovery and help those who are housing insecure access the supports they need.”

The House will debate this budget next week before the Senate releases its own budget proposal.
 

Election Preparedness Strategies Guide for Houses of Worship

From the Massachusetts Council of Churches, Black Ministerial Alliance, Jewish Community Relations Council and Islamic Society of Boston Cultural Center:

We know this election season is a time of increasing anxiety. Religious leaders in Massachusetts are working with civic leaders to be prepared for safe and secure voting, the free exercise of first amendment rights, and safety for vulnerable communities. We are also planning for potential protests, if the current President wins or loses. We aim to be as wise as serpents and as innocent as doves. We hope these preparations are unnecessary. And, we know that there have been increases in hate crimes against certain targeted communities, including Black churches, immigrants, women, Muslims, Jews and LGBTQIA peoples, as white supremacists have felt emboldened to act out. To ensure the safety of all people in the Commonwealth, and to prioritize the security of vulnerable communities, we recommend religious leaders across the state consider these recommendations:  

1. ENCOURAGE EARLY VOTING:

As religious leaders are often trusted sources in our communities, use your authority to encourage your people to vote early. Early voting by mail is good, early voting in person is better. The deadline to request a mail-in ballot is Tues Oct 28. Early in-person voting helps minimize large crowds on Election Day Tuesday Nov 3. Find your early voting date and location on the MA Secretary of State’s website here. Any questions, call 1-800-462-VOTE (8683). Every Massachusetts resident should be able to cast their ballot. If you experience trouble voting, Common Cause’s non-partisan election protection hotline is 1-866-OUR-VOTE (1-866-687-8683).

2. CREDIBLE COMMUNICATION:

We know that news moves quickly, and false rumors spread easily. Do not share information that you cannot verify from a trusted source. If there is a need for solidarity in body or in prayer, make sure that you are following the directions from trusted leaders. In the event that a particular community is targeted, do not step in unless you are asked to do so. Through the week prior and following the election, the Massachusetts Council of Churches, Black Ministerial Alliance, Jewish Community Relations Council and Islamic Society of Boston Cultural Center will put out requests, if needs arise. Keep an eye on these social media accounts. If you have a need, contact one of these four organizations.

3. PLAN IN THE EVENT OF PROTEST:

We know that not all communities experience increased police presence as a sign of safety. We know that not all clergy are called to, or are able to, place their bodies in the streets if protests arise. We know not all protesters receive clergy presence as a sign of peace. And, we’ve seen that the visible presence of religious leadership can calm down tense and potentially violence escalation.
 
For those who are called to this work, we ask that you prepare yourself. Training for clergy on de-escalation will be offered online on Friday October 30, 10-12pm.
Pre-registration is required here.

BE WISE AND BE CAREFUL

In the days ahead, use good judgement. Keep your eyes open. If you see something suspicious, each municipality generally has a police tip line (In Boston, call 1-800-494-TIPS). Keep your eyes open for anything that looks out of sorts. Report anything that’s not right. If you serve a community that may be targeted, contact your local police department now to establish or re-establish a point of contact. Update your House of Worship’s safety plans, if you have one.
 
This is the terrible reality of increasing antisemitism, anti-Black racism, xenophobia, homophobic and misogynistic white supremacist violence; houses of worship are often targeted. If your house of worship experiences an incident of bias or hate, please also consider reporting to the Anti-Defamation League.
 
We care more for bodies than buildings, and the desecration of sacred spaces is a real possibility.
 
We pray none of this preparation is necessary. We pray for peace and justice in this land. May this plague pass over,
 
Black Ministerial Alliance of Greater Boston & Boston Ten Point Coalition
Islamic Society of Boston Cultural Center
Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Boston
Massachusetts Council of Churches

Taking White Supremacy to Court

Nahma Nadich

A message from Deputy Director Nahma Nadich:

This week, JCRC sponsored a program with Integrity First for America (IFA), a new organization that is literally taking white supremacy to court, by bringing a lawsuit against the masterminds of the violence in Charlottesville. With this week’s news of the foiled attempt to kidnap the Governor of Michigan by violent extremists, the topic was alarmingly relevant once again. Our featured speakers were IFA Executive Director Amy Spitalnick and lead attorney on the case, Michael Bloch. Moderating the panel was Pastor Jeremy Battle of Western Ave Baptist Church, who traveled with JCRC to Israel and has become a dear friend. A third-generation preacher, Pastor Battle grew up outside of Birmingham Alabama in the post-Civil Rights era, in the aftermath of the 16th Street Church bombing.

At one point, Pastor Battle interrupted the flow of details about legal strategy and posed this question of our speakers: What is your personal connection to this moment? Where does your conviction to this work come from?

The answer was not surprising, for Jewish advocates committed to pursuing justice; both speakers were grandchildren of Holocaust survivors. For Amy, whose grandparents were the only ones in their families to survive, this was deeply personal, with their stories “seared into her brain”. Michael told us with pride about his grandfather, who escaped Nazi Germany and then returned to fight for America in World War II, and about his parents, who used their law degrees to advance social justice – with his mother clerking for Justice Thurgood Marshall.

This profound Jewish commitment to combating the hateful ideology of White Supremacy is one that resonates deeply for us at JCRC. The mission that guides all that we do includes the commitment to advance an “American society which is democratic, pluralistic and just”. Since our founding 76 years ago, we have understood that achieving this vision is not only about the common good – it is essential for our own Jewish community to thrive. There is no more powerful example than the threat that White Supremacy poses, both to us and to our equally vulnerable friends, who are targets of the same toxic hate.

“They hate all of us on this call”, Amy said of the 24 defendants that IFA is suing. Motivated by the “great replacement” theory, in which Jews are the puppet masters orchestrating the replacement of the white race, the mob they mobilized marched in the streets of Charlottesville shouting “Jews will not replace us”. They surrounded a local synagogue mid shabbat prayer, forcing the members to flee out a back door, taking with them a Torah scroll that was rescued from Nazi Germany.

Observers of American – or Jewish – history know that this chilling spectacle is not a new one. But where Klansmen once felt the need to don robes and hide in the forest to engage in extremist violence, these contemporary haters are now emboldened to wage their war on democracy and justice in plain sight. Much to their delight, their rhetoric and tactics have become mainstream. Groups such as the Proud Boys called for a race war after they were name checked in a Presidential debate, and the Department of Justice is no longer prosecuting these cases; their investigation of them is down two-thirds in recent years. So, the haters continue, unabated in their efforts, masterfully leveraging social media platforms to spread their diabolical message. We have already seen the tragic results in such tragedies as the murders in Pittsburgh and Poway, Charlestown and El Paso. A recent report by the Department of Homeland Security designated white supremacy as the “most persistent and lethal threat to the homeland”.

But if these frightening phenomena call to mind the darkest chapter in modern Jewish history, there are important, hope-generating distinctions. As Amy reminded us, unlike her grandparents’ experience, we now live in a society that is democratic and dedicated to the rule of law. Even when the federal government doesn’t take the requisite action to demand accountability, private citizens have options.

So, this small but mighty organization brought a civil suit, employing a creative legal strategy. Using the KKK Act of 1871, passed by Congress for victims of white supremacy to seek redress during Reconstruction, they are suing the 24 defendants for “conspiracy to commit racially motivated violence”. And their work has already reaped rewards. Throughout three years of discovery, the defendants blocked every request for information, and were then fined, had sanctions imposed, bench warrants for arrest issued, and in at least one instance, incarcerated. There has been financial, legal and operational impact on the defendants, and Richard Spencer – perhaps the best known among them – has complained that the suit has been “financially crippling.” A court date is now set for April 2021.

As I listened to these remarkable presenters (full video below) I was struck not only by their legal savvy, but also their unmitigated courage at stirring up this hornet’s nest of violence (security is the biggest line item in their budget). Not all of us are blessed with their fine legal minds or skill, and few of us would likely be willing to imperil ourselves as they have.

So what action can the rest of us take in the face of this dire threat to democracy and to the safety of our community? A few suggestions:

  1. Learn about the work of IFA. Sign up for case updates and share their video
  2. Don’t let this issue fall off your radar. Hold local, state and federal officials accountable. Sound alarm bells with social media platforms who take no action when misinformation is spread by this cabal of haters and amplify their message.
  3. Perhaps the most powerful way to prevent this toxic ideology from gaining traction is through comprehensive education about the lessons of history. A recent survey of Americans under 40 – indicating that 63% did not know that 6 million Jews were killed in the Holocaust - provides a sobering reminder of just how much work has yet to be done. That’s why we at JCRC, along with ADL, the Armenian National Committee of America, and 30 other community organizations, are championing An Act Concerning Genocide Education, which would promote Holocaust and genocide education in schools across the Commonwealth. The bill has already passed the State Senate and is awaiting action in the House of Representatives. Please reach out to your State Representative and ask them to support this crucial legislation.

Finally, let us all take inspiration from these brave litigators, who even when faced with the darkest human impulses and behavior, are unwavering in their belief that hatred and violence can be vanquished in America. Let us employ every tool we have – in the courts and in our schools - to work toward an America that guarantees liberty and justice for all.

Shabbat shalom,

Nahma

MA Jewish Leaders Stand with our Armenian Neighbors; Call for US Humanitarian Intervention

For Immediate Release
Contact: Shira Burns
10.14.20

(Boston, MA) Over 30 Jewish communal leaders in Massachusetts have signed a letter expressing support for the Armenian community during the current crisis in Armenia, based on our shared humanitarian values. The full list of signatories, including Jewish public officials, executive directors, CEOs and Board Chairs of Jewish organizations, and rabbis, can be viewed here.

The Jewish community stands in solidarity with our friends and neighbors in the Armenian-American community and to urge intervention to save the innocent people of Nagorno-Karabakh (Artsakh) amidst a current and growing crisis. The Armenian people have suffered through the genocide once at the hands of the Ottoman Empire. We cannot sit idly by as they face the risk of another extraordinary humanitarian disaster and urge leadership at this critical moment.

“We in Boston have a longstanding relationship with the local Armenian community and have been in touch with them in recent weeks about ways in which we can show our support,” said Jeremy Burton, Executive Director of the Jewish Community Relations Council. “It is important for us to express solidarity with our Armenian neighbors.”

The letter remains open for additional signatures from community leaders.

About the Jewish Community Relations Council
JCRC defines and advances the values, interests, and priorities of the organized Jewish community of Greater Boston in the public square. Visit us at www.jcrcboston.org.

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Statement by Board President Regarding Membership Process

For Release: September 25, 2020
 
Statement by Stacey Bloom, Board President, JCRC of Greater Boston
 
In recent weeks, various parties and community members have reached out to express an opinion to JCRC in both public and private communications, about ZOA’s continued membership on the JCRC Council. On behalf of the Board of Directors and the professional leadership of the JCRC, I want to clarify the status and decision making process regarding the challenge to the ZOA’s continued membership on the Council.
 
Several weeks ago, JCRC received a petition from 25 of the 117 voting members of our Council challenging the continued membership of the Boston chapter of ZOA on the Council - our governing body —whose members represent our 40 member organizations (who each have between 1 and 4 voting representatives) and the community-at-large. Pursuant to our Bylaws, this petition has been referred to JCRC’s Membership Committee for review and for a recommendation. The Membership Committee has a maximum of 180 days to make its recommendation on the petition to the Board. After the Board has reviewed the Membership Committee’s recommendation, the petition will be referred to the Council. Once referred to the Council, the JCRC Bylaws require that the full Council vote on the petition.
 
The decision on the petition challenging the ZOA’s membership on the JCRC Council is a decision that will be made by the JCRC Council, not by the Membership Committee, not by the Board, and not by the JCRC professional leadership. Until such time as the petition is presented to the Council, the JCRC will continue our important work advocating on issues of shared importance for the Jewish community during these challenging times. 
 
When the JCRC Council receives the petition in accordance with the Bylaws, it will be the Council—the 40 organizations and community representatives—and Council alone that will determine who belongs at the Council table.