Author: JCRC

JCRC Joins 27 National Orgs in Condemning Family Separation Policy

JCRC has joined with 27 national Jewish organizations to express our strong opposition to the recently expanded “zero-tolerance” policy that includes separating children from their migrant parents when they cross the border. As Jews, we understand the plight of being an immigrant fleeing violence and oppression. Our own people’s history as “strangers” reminds us of the many struggles faced by immigrants today and compels our commitment to an immigration system in this country that is compassionate and just. Separating families is a cruel punishment for children and families simply seeking a better life.

Click here to view the Jewish communal letter to Attorney General Sessions and Secretary Nielsen.

We strongly encourage individuals to sign on to ADL's petition for individuals calling for an end to the policy by clicking here.

We also encourage residents of the Greater Boston area to attend the "Rally to protect immigrant families in Massachusetts" on June 20th at the State House.

To learn more about how to make a difference in supporting immigrants and refugees right here in Massachusetts through JCRC’s work, click here.

Letter to Superintendent of Newton Schools Regarding “Middle East Day”

The letter below was sent to the Superintendent of Newton Schools earlier today by the Anti-Defamation League, New England and the Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Boston regarding questions from our community that have been raised regarding the "Middle East Day" that was held at Newton North High School last month.

Joint Letter to Superintendent David Fleishman from ADL and JCRC

JCRC of Greater Boston to Rededicate New England Holocaust Memorial at Annual Yom HaShoah Commemoration

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 30, 2018
Contact: Shira Burns
gro.n1532034420otsob1532034420crcj@1532034420snrub1532034420s1532034420
(617) 457-8673

(Boston, MA) - To honor local survivors of the Holocaust and to pay tribute to those who perished, the Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Boston (JCRC) and its partners will present Rededication to Resiliency, a community commemoration of Yom HaShoah, on Sunday, June 10th, 10:30 am, at Faneuil Hall in Boston. This annual commemoration convenes the Greater Boston community to honor survivors and ensures that future generations remember their stories. This past summer, in two separate acts of vandalism ominously reminiscent of Kristallnacht almost 80 years ago, two of the iconic glass panels of the New England Holocaust Memorial were shattered. “Our entire city was affected,” said Mayor Marty Walsh of the vandalism. “This memorial stands as a symbol of democracy and freedom and that we will not forget what happened during the Holocaust. It’s our duty as a city to spread that message.”

The commemoration will feature a rededication of the New England Holocaust Memorial in a symbolic gesture of our community’s resilience and perseverance, as well as the student winners of the 12th annual Israel Arbeiter Holocaust Essay Contest. Rabbi Alan Turetz of Temple Emeth in Chestnut Hill will speak about his experience as a second-generation Holocaust survivor, and Esther Adler, who survived Kristallnacht, will share her reflections on witnessing the tragic and historic event.

Rededication to Resiliency is presented in partnership with the American Association of Jewish Holocaust Survivors and Descendants of Greater Boston, Combined Jewish Philanthropies, Facing History and Ourselves, and Jewish Family & Children’s Services.

For information, registration or to support the event, visit https://www.jcrcboston.org/events/yomhashoah2018/.

Speaker Bios

Rabbi Alan Turetz, Second-Generation Survivor
Rabbi Turetz has enriched Temple Emeth as its spiritual leader since 1977. Graduating as valedictorian of his class from Adelphi University, he received his master's degree in Hebrew Literature from the Jewish Theological Seminary of America, where his rabbinic ordination was conferred with high honors. He subsequently received an Honorary Doctorate from the Seminary as well. During his more than thirty years on the bimah at Temple Emeth, Rabbi Turetz has been an inspirational and highly esteemed leader of Boston’s Jewish community. He has served as president of both the New England Region of the Rabbinical Assembly and the Massachusetts Board of Rabbis, as Rabbi for the New England Federation of Jewish Men’s Clubs, and has chaired the New England Rabbinic Cabinet for Israel Bonds. His incomparable sermons and mellifluous voice, whether for Shabbat or holiday services, are not to be missed.

Esther Adler, Survivor Testimony
Esther Adler was educated in Germany, Israel, and the United States. She graduated from the Teachers Institute of the Jewish Theological Seminary of New York and taught for many years at the Midway Jewish Center Hebrew School on Long Island. In 1981, she was invited to join the Department of Education of the Jewish National Fund as its Pedagogic Coordinator. She held this position full time until 1987 and until 1997 as part time consultant based in Florida. Esther is the coordinator of the recently established Holocaust Learning Center of Temple Torah and has compiled and published the stories of survivors. In 2014, she published a collection of poems, "Nature Eternal," and in July 2017 she published "Best Friends: A Bond That Survived Hitler," a novel based partly on her life. She is featured in the documentary "We are Jews from Breslau," which was sponsored by the German and Polish Government. Esther Adler enjoys an active life at Orchard Cove, a Hebrew SeniorLife retirement community in Canton, where she continues to write poetry, teach Hebrew and Yiddish classes, and lecture regionally and internationally about the Shoah.

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


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Statement Regarding President Trump’s Announcement on the JCPOA

It is well known that Greater Boston’s organized Jewish community was deeply divided over the approval of the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (the JCPOA, or the Iran Deal). Today, too, we are not of one mind as we receive the news of President Trump’s decision to withdraw the United States from the JCPOA. Regardless of our views about the JCPOA, both then and now, our community is united in our understanding that an Iranian nuclear weapons program poses a direct threat to the security of Israel and the stability of the region.

Whether or not one agrees with today’s decision, we must come together to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon and to address other regional threats from Iran, particularly its support of Hezbollah and Hamas. We need a responsible, wise and bipartisan approach from the United States. We need a multilateral approach that includes our allies and others on the world stage. We need to look forward with a shared sense of purpose so that our worst fears are not realized, and that our hopes for a peaceful and secure future are achieved.

Israel’s Ambassador to the United States Ron Dermer to Speak at JCRC Annual Birnbaum Lecture

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

April 27, 2018

Contact: Shira Burns

(617) 457-8673

 

Israel’s Ambassador to the United States Ron Dermer to Speak at JCRC Annual Birnbaum Lecture

(Boston, MA) – The Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Boston (JCRC) welcomes Ron Dermer, Israel’s Ambassador to the United States, to deliver the 15th Annual Connie Spear Birnbaum Memorial Lecture on Monday, May 7, 2018 at Temple Reyim in Newton. Ambassador Dermer will speak on the topic, “The Challenges Facing Israel Today.”

“It is our great honor – as JCRC and as the organized Jewish community of Boston – to host the State of Israel’s highest representative to the United States, His Excellency Ambassador Ron Dermer. This lecture is appropriately named for a woman who, upon her untimely passing from breast cancer at age 48, became a symbol of Jewish unity and the inspiration for an annual program which is intended to gather individuals from across the ideological and religious spectrum of Jewish life,” stated Jeremy Burton, Executive Director of JCRC. “Ambassador Dermer will address the challenges facing Israel today; a timely topic in this season when we join with Israel in celebrating the 70th anniversary of the re-establishment of the state of the Jewish people in its modern form. We look forward to hearing from the Ambassador, to him addressing our questions, and to his informing and enriching our conversation as we continue to work together as a diverse and yet unified community.” To learn more and RSVP, visit https://www.jcrcboston.org/events/cbl2018. Pre-registration is required.

About Jewish Community Relations Council

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

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Community Alert: Cambridge City Council Hearing on Israel Boycott Postponed

Jewish Community Relations Council

 

IAC

Cambridge City Council (CCC) Resolution to Boycott HP

Should the City of Cambridge Become an Instrument of the Global BDS Movement?

Hearing Postponed --- Sustain Respectful Advocacy

Once again, Mass Against HP has failed to have a Cambridge City Councilor submit their resolution before the deadline. Please note: We will not be attending the meeting on Monday April 30th, and testifying on this matter will not be possible since it is not included on the agenda. We will keep you informed in the days to come as the new hearing date is finalized. Notification will be on a Thursday afternoon in advance of the regular Monday Cambridge City Council meeting.

Until then, it is important to keep up your respectful outreach and advocacy:

  • Inform ourselves by reviewing this fact sheet and these more detailed talking points.
  • Contact all 9 city council members to send our letter, or create your own and contact the council members individually to RESPECTFULLY share your concern about this resolution. Remember that many council members have been working hard on this issue for the past week or more.
  • Reach out to friends and neighbors. Forward this email and urge them to join you.
  • Contact your rabbi or other organizational leaders and ask them to mobilize their membership.
  • Be prepared to attend the hearing when it does happen and bring concerned friends whether or not you choose to speak. We will provide additional information regarding online registration when it becomes available (on the Thursday afternoon prior to the meeting).

Cambridge BDS Hearing Postponed — But Must Sustain Respectful Advocacy

         


Update #3

For the last week an intensive effort has been underway to consult with members of the Cambridge City Council about a resolution that invites a boycott of Hewlett Packard (HP) because of business done with Israel. The initiative is being proposed by Mass Against HP (MAHP), a working group of “Jewish Voice for Peace,” an organization that is part of the international BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) movement, which, in the words of its leaders, is dedicated to Israel’s destruction.

Hundreds of people have responded by reaching out to Cambridge City Councilors to explain why the proposed resolution is morally and politically bankrupt. We have been gratified to learn that some of the City Councilors have heard us, and the resolution to boycott HP will not be put to vote on April 23rd. An effort is now underway to fashion an alternative resolution that affirms a commitment to the protection of human rights, but steers clear of bigoted attempts to single out Israel or any other country. We are hopeful that the result will be legislation that we can support. However, we are not there yet. It is important that we RESPECTFULLY continue to press our case and encourage a responsible resolution.

Please note: We will not be attending the meeting on Monday April 23rd, and testifying on this matter will not be possible since it is not included on the agenda. We will keep you informed in the days to come as the new hearing date -- likely to be in the next two weeks -- is finalized. Notification will be on a Thursday afternoon in advance of the regular Monday Cambridge City Council meeting.

Until then, it is important to keep up your respectful outreach and advocacy:

  • Inform ourselves by reviewing this fact sheet and these more detailed talking points.
  • Contact all 9 city council members to send our letter, or create your own and contact the council members individually to RESPECTFULLY share your concern about this resolution. Remember that many council members have been working hard on this issue for the past week or more.
  • Reach out to friends and neighbors. Forward this email and urge them to join you.
  • Contact your Rabbi or other organizational leaders and ask them to mobilize their membership.
  • Attend the hearing on April 30th and bring concerned friends whether or not you choose to speak.
  • For information on signing up to speak at the April 30th hearing (non-residents eligible), please contact the Cambridge City Council at 617-349-4280. We will provide additional information regarding online registration when it becomes available (likely next Thursday afternoon).

A Shameless Undemocratic Abdication to the Global BDS Movement?

         


 

On April 23rd, the City Council of Cambridge, MA is scheduled to consider a resolution that invites a boycott of Hewlett-Packard (HP) for business done with Israel. The initiative is supported by Our Revolution Cambridge, Democratic Socialists of America, and Students for Justice in Palestine. It is being proposed by Mass Against HP (MAHP), a working group of Jewish Voice for Peace. These organizations actively cooperate with the international BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) movement, which, in the words of its leaders, is dedicated to Israel’s destruction.

  1. National and Massachusetts Leaders of the Left, Right and Center Reject BDS Initiatives
    BDS initiatives fuel polarization and strengthen those who reject co-existence. National leaders from the left, right and center reject BDS. They include Barack Obama, Bernie Sanders, Keith Ellison, Cory Booker, John Kerry, Ed Markey, Elizabeth Warren, Michael Capuano, Joe Kennedy, Deval Patrick, and all 50 governors.

  2. The Cambridge City Council (CCC) Has Cynically Suppressed Open Public Debate
    Members of the CCC have collaborated with MAHP to introduce this highly politicized anti-Israel resolution. They have not reached out to interested community members to inform themselves and refused to share the resolution when asked. It will be released late Thursday afternoon, only two full business days before the council meets.

  3. Allegations That Justify the Reported Resolution Rest on Half Truths and Falsehoods
    MAHP argues that Israeli security measures, introduced after thousands of Israeli civilians were murdered and maimed by terrorists, are equivalent to apartheid. It is a hateful logic that undermines those who seek conciliation.

  4. Singling Out Israel Would Raise Troubling Questions About the Cambridge City Council’s Motives
    There are hundreds of American companies working overseas and engaged in transactions that could be tied to questionable human rights practices. Even were we to assume (and we don’t) that everything Israel’s detractors say is true, why would the CCC choose to single out Israel? As New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman explains, “Criticizing Israel is not anti-Semitic … But singling out Israel for opprobrium and international sanction out of all proportion to any other party in the Middle East is anti-Semitic, and not saying so is dishonest.”

  5. The Cambridge City Council Would Hold Israel to a Standard That It Does Not Apply to Itself
    In 2017, the CCC established a special relationship with Dongguan, China. Dongguan is a toy manufacturing center for Disney, Mattel and others. Human rights abuses against laborers in the Dongguan toy industry are well-documented. Yet, the CCC has said nothing about this. Should the CCC vote to boycott itself?

TAKE ACTION….This is a Numbers Game. To win this fight, we need a thousand voices to:

  • Inform ourselves by reviewing this fact sheet and the more detailed talking points.
  • Contact all 9 city council members and share your concern about this resolution.
  • Reach out to friends and neighbors. Forward this email and urge them to join you.
  • Contact your Rabbi or other organizational leaders and ask them to mobilize their membership.
  • Attend the hearing and bring concerned friends whether or not you choose to speak.
  • For information on signing up to speak at the April 23rd hearing (non-residents eligible), please contact the Cambridge City Council at 617-349-4280. We will provide additional information regarding online registration when it becomes available (likely late Thursday afternoon).

Community Alert: Cambridge City Council Hearing on Israel Boycott – Monday, April 23rd

    

 

 

On April 23rd, the Cambridge Massachusetts City Council is expected to consider a resolution that calls for the City “to end its contracts” with Hewlett-Packard (HP) until, according to the organizers, HP “ends their support for violence against and oppression of Palestinians, deportations and surveillance of immigrants in the U.S., and oppression and surveillance of those currently and formerly incarcerated in the U.S.”

This initiative is part of a larger global BDS (boycotts, divestment and sanctions) movement that is, in significant part, dedicated to Israel’s delegitimization as the Jewish state. Groups backing this resolution have offered other justifications for the HP boycott, but it remains clear that this effort is designed primarily to target and delegitimize Israel.

As of today we have not seen a copy of the resolution. The rules of the Cambridge City Council do not require them to publish the resolution until 3pm Thursday, April 19th. While some members of the Council have seen a draft resolution, the proponent organizers have – we are told – shared it with them on the condition that it not be made public. This seems to us to be a cynical effort to prevent an honest and open public debate prior to a significant action by a public body.

We call upon our community to mobilize and take action.

For both residents and non-residents of Cambridge:

  • Mark your calendar: Make a commitment to be at Cambridge City Hall on Monday, April 23rd at 5:30pm to demonstrate your opposition to this resolution and to testify against it before the City Council. Your presence is important, even if you do not testify.

  • Anyone can testify; advance online registration is recommended. To receive notification (from us) when the Council’s online sign-up is live, and for other updates in the week ahead, let us know here.

  • Contact your friends – especially those in Cambridge. Share this alert and ask them to take action as well.

If you are a resident of Cambridge:

  • Contact the City Council and urge them to reject this effort to single out Israel for demonization. Please communicate to them respectfully but firmly and let them know that as someone who is concerned about the city you live in and its public image, this resolution will have implications beyond Hewlett-Packard and, if adopted, would tarnish the reputation of your city. You can find a comprehensive list of talking points here.

Now is the time to make your voice heard. We cannot underscore how important it is the members of the Cambridge City Council hear from our community about this. Together we can send the message: This action would be wrong for Cambridge and does not advance the prospects for achieving a lasting peace.

JCRC Statement on Events Along Gaza Border

We see the events along the Gaza-Israel border this weekend as the continuation of one of the great tragedies of our time. This is a situation where many are at fault, leaving individuals in impossible situations with impossible choices.

It is a tragedy for the people of Gaza that, 12 years after the complete withdrawal of Israel from the Gaza Strip, they live under such difficult conditions. It is a tragedy for the Palestinians that Gaza was taken over by Hamas, an internationally designated terrorist organization that rules in a brutal dictatorship. It is a tragedy that Hamas has chosen to direct its resources to the building of tunnels and rockets, rather than building hospitals, schools, housing, and factories that would create prosperity and opportunity for the Palestinian people. It is a tragedy that, by squandering the opportunity to build a better future for the Palestinian people, Hamas has forced Israel and Egypt to secure their own borders with a blockade to prevent the further weaponization of Gaza.

It is a tragedy that the Palestinian people of Gaza have no recourse against their leaders, living without elections or even the ability to protest those in power openly on pain of death. It is a tragedy that they are deceived by their own leaders with the unrealistic promise of a destructive victory over the State of Israel – a victory that will never come. It is a tragedy that their own government chooses to use them as human shields, perpetuating their suffering for nefarious self-interest.

It is a tragedy that the Israeli people look at Gaza and see the end of a dream; to live in peace with their neighbors. It is a tragedy that Israelis living near the border are terrorized by threats coming from tunnels under their homes and rockets over their schools. It is a tragedy that when Israelis do what any other nation in the world would do – protect their border from being overrun – that they endure a condemnation that no other nation would receive. It is a tragedy that Israelis experience this singling out as a further example of an isolation, their status as “the Jew amongst the nations,” with only themselves to protect their inalienable rights to live in security.

It is a tragedy because this weekend, young men and women of the Israel Defense Forces stared down the sights of their rifles and learned violence at a time when they should have been at home with their families celebrating freedom at the Passover table. It is a tragedy because Palestinians need some way to express their frustrations  at Israel and at their own government after years of wasted opportunities to build a better life for the people of Gaza. Instead they experienced more manipulation, and more loss.

We see this weekend as the continuation of a tragedy that has not brought the people of Israel and Gaza any closer to a future of peace and hope for all of their children. As the Boston Jewish community continues to celebrate the Passover holiday this week, we are mindful of the lessons learned at our seders, that we do not rejoice over the tragedy of others and we are ever hopeful for peace and stability for all people.