Category Archives: News and Press

CJP and JCRC Condemn Attack on Argentina’s Chief Rabbi

We were horrified and saddened to learn of the attack on Argentina’s Chief Rabbi Gabriel Davidovich and his wife in their Buenos Aires home early Tuesday morning. Rabbi Davidovich, who suffered injuries after being beaten by intruders, remains hospitalized in serious condition. His wife was not injured. The attack is being investigated as an act of anti-Semitism.

We pray for his speedy recovery and for Argentinian officials to bring the perpetrators of this hideous crime to justice. And we pray for a time when Jews around the world will no longer experience the scourge of blind hatred.

JCRC dismayed by decision to empower Otzma Yehudit

February 23, 2019 - The JCRC of Greater Boston is dismayed by reports that Prime Minister Netanyahu personally played a role in the electoral arrangement by which the Otzma Yehudit “Jewish Power” party is running on a joint list in the April Knesset elections. Otzma Yehudit was founded by close disciples of Meir Kahane and is the descendent of his Kach party, a designated terrorist organization under Israeli, American, and European law that was barred from running for the Knesset for inciting racism. Otzma Yehudit shares many of these reprehensible racist and violent views. They are anathema to the values expressed in Israel’s declaration of statehood and we abhor any effort to normalize these views and bring these actors into any governing coalition. We have communicated our concerns to the representatives of the government of Israel.

On January 17, 2019, at a meeting of the Council of the Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Boston, the following resolution was adopted by a vote of 62-13 with 8 abstentions:

Whereas, in 1944 the Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Boston (JCRC) was formed as a coalition of organizations to act as an organized Jewish community of Boston, the express purpose of this coalition being to confront, in a unified manner, threats to the Jewish community including and specifically anti-Semitism; And,

Whereas, JCRC’s mission includes being a “representative voice of the organized Jewish community.  Rooted in Jewish values and informed by Jewish history… Comprised of constituent organizations” ; And,

Whereas, as a coalition of organizations JCRC advocates for a “safe, secure, Jewish, democratic state of Israel” ; And,

Whereas, JCRC’s bylaws articulate that with regard to an organization’s eligibility to be a member of the JCRC, “the programs, activities, and practices of such organization and, if applicable, its parent organization, are compatible and do not conflict with the mission” of JCRC; And

Whereas, JCRC has, for many years, understood support for the global BDS movement to be an indicator of an organization’s denial of the legitimate national aspirations of the Jewish people to a state of our own in our homeland, and; has understood such denial to be incompatible with support for a safe, secure, Jewish and democratic State of Israel, and thus, to be antithetical to our mission; And

Whereas, the JCRC believes that when an organization that claims for itself an identity as a Jewish voice, while explicitly and unequivocally placing itself in opposition to Zionism, including: Fully rejecting the national aspirational movement of the Jewish people; making false and tendentious claims about Jewish history and the experience of Jews both in Europe and in Arab countries, and; defining Zionism as false and failed; That such an organization is speaking and acting from an ahistorical ideology that places itself outside the boundaries of the organized Jewish community that JCRC has been formed to represent. Additionally, such an organization is lending credence and validity to similarly noxious and anti-Semitic views outside the Jewish community; And,

Whereas, the JCRC believes that when an organization rejects the very legitimacy of Jewish national aspirations and, in the same breath, legitimizes and aligns itself with the national aspirations of other peoples, that such a position is, itself, holding the Jewish state to an unjust double standard; And,

Whereas, the JCRC understands such a self-identified Jewish organization to be, through its own words and actions, advancing an ideology that is expressly in opposition to a safe, secure, Jewish and democratic state of Israel; and, further, that such an ideology is riven with frameworks and analysis that place it in opposition to the mission of JCRC.

Now therefore be it,

Resolved, that no member organization of JCRC, through its programs, activities and practices, shall partner with – in particular by co-sponsoring events primarily led or co-led by or by signing on to statements primarily organized or co-organized by - a self-identified Jewish organization that declares itself to be anti-Zionist;

such action is not compatible with, and is in conflict with, JCRC’s mission, and could be grounds for removal from the JCRC upon the determination of and through the procedures of this Council and its bylaws.

 

 

Over 300 from the Boston Jewish Community to Volunteer at 4th Annual MLK Day of Service

Media Advisory
January 16, 2019
Contact: Emily Reichman
617-457-8669
gro.n1568896013otsob1568896013crcj@1568896013namhc1568896013iere1568896013

(BOSTON)—Over 300 members of the Jewish community will be volunteering at 11 service sites across Greater Boston at JCRC's 4th Annual MLK Day of Service on January 21st, 2019. MLK Day of Service has become a staple of JCRC’s volunteer programming and a day for families and individuals from the Jewish community to come together to honor the legacy of Dr. King.

Volunteers will be preparing meals at soup kitchens, repairing houses, revitalizing a church and a school, sorting through clothing donations, and more. One group of volunteers will be writing letters to Congress with residents of Hebrew SeniorLife in an effort to keep Temporary Protected Status (TPS) designation alive for individuals from Sudan, Nicaragua, Haiti, and El Salvador.

Please visit www.jcrcboston.org/MLK for a full schedule of volunteer sites and times.

Photos are permitted at the following sites: Hebrew SeniorLife, 2Life’s Golda Meir House, Waltham Haitian Church of the Nazarene, Temple Beth Am Framingham, Temple Israel Sharon, Blackstone Elementary School, and Cradles to Crayons.

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.

# # #

JCRC to Lead MA Municipal Leaders on Study Tour of Israel

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 7, 2018
Contact: Shira Burns
gro.n1568896013otsob1568896013crcj@1568896013snrub1568896013s1568896013
(617) 457-8673

JCRC to Lead MA Municipal Leaders on Study Tour of Israel
Massachusetts Community Leaders to Explore Economic Ties to Region

(BOSTON) – The Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC) of Greater Boston continues its long history of leading Massachusetts community leaders on a study tour of Israel, this month providing MA municipal leaders with an in-depth look into the economic, political, and security challenges and successes facing Israeli society.

From December 7-15, Massachusetts municipal leaders will travel throughout Israel, learning from government officials and religious, academic, media, and business leaders.

“This trip will allow Massachusetts leaders to deepen their understanding of Israel's politics and culture, and examine some of the economic ties that bring Israel and Massachusetts together,” said Jeremy Burton, Executive Director of JCRC of Greater Boston. “The best way to deepen the MA/Israel connection is through a mutual understanding of our common interests—participants will gain firsthand knowledge about how they can strengthen relationships with their Israeli counterparts."

The Massachusetts municipal leaders will:

  • Meet with government officials, municipal leaders, and other influential leaders from all sectors of Israeli and Palestinian society, developing city to city connections and sharing best practices in addressing current municipal issues
  • Visit Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, border regions, and the Palestinian Areas.
    Discover the growing economic and cultural ties between Israel and Massachusetts
  • Gain new perspectives on modern day Israel
  • Develop a nuanced understanding of the complex political and security challenges facing Israel
  • Encounter Israel’s innovative economy, including its booming research, development, and tech sector.

The trip is being paid with a grant from the nonprofit Combined Jewish Philanthropies of Greater Boston. Participants pay a registration fee for the trip from their own funds.

Following are the participants in the 2018 Municipal Study Tour of Israel:

Councilor Andrea Campbell (Trip Chair), Boston Councilor Kim Janey, Boston
Councilor Mark Ciommo, Boston Fredie Kay, JCRC Board Member
Marjorie Ross Decter – JCRC Board Member Mayor Nicole LaChapelle, Easthampton
Councilor Edward Flynn, Boston Councilor Nina Liang, Quincy
Select Board Member Heather Hamilton, Brookline Chief of Staff Elizabeth Pimentel, Office of Andrea Campbell
Councilor Katrina Huff-Larmond, Randolph Alderman Mike Zwirko, Melrose
Councilor Justin Hurst, Springfield

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.

# # #

CJP, JCRC Joint Statement on Tree of Life Synagogue Shooting

Community Vigil Scheduled Tomorrow (Sunday, Oct. 28th) on the Boston Common at 2:00pm.

Today, during a Shabbat service of reflection, prayer, and celebration, 11 people were murdered and another six injured by a suspected anti-Semitic, xenophobic extremist at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh. It was the deadliest attack on the Jewish community in U.S. history.

We are as devastated as we are horrified. We have reached out to the Pittsburgh Jewish community to express our support. We pray that the families of the victims find comfort during this unimaginably painful time and for the full recovery of the wounded. And we offer our gratitude to the brave first responders in Pittsburgh who risked their lives to prevent further bloodshed.

In our close-knit Jewish communal world, many of us have friends and family in Pittsburgh, and know congregants at the Tree of Life Synagogue. These are our brothers and sisters, our friends, our family, and our children.

During this time of great despair and anxiety, CJP and JCRC have been in close contact with local law enforcement, who have been extremely proactive and supportive in their response. We also appreciate the outreach from Governor Baker and the interfaith community, who stand with our Jewish local community and those around the country. There is no indication of any increased threat locally.

Anti-semitism and hatred in its many forms are antithetical to our faith and an affront to humanity. For the victims, we will mourn. For the living, we will continue to fight for a better, more just world.

May the memories of those we lost today be a blessing.

We invite you to join us for a CJP/JCRC/ADL vigil for the victims at the Tree of Life Synagogue. Please join us as we gather on Boston Common at the Parkman Bandstand at 2:00pm

JCRC Dismayed by Elimination of Funds for Israeli-Palestinian Co-existence

JCRC is strongly opposed to the recent Trump Administration decision to eliminate USAID funding for projects in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. We are particularly disturbed by the Administration’s decision to cut off funding for co-existence programs for Israelis and Palestinians. The suspension of all USAID support will harm the chances for peaceful reconciliation between Israelis and Palestinians, and will only serve to punish the Palestinian people for the failures of their leadership and create an opportunity for extremist groups to gain strength in the Palestinian Territories.

Israeli-Palestinian co-existence programs are the best long-term strategy for achieving peace and the two-state solution. The support of co-existence programs allows the United States to exert its global influence to create change that speaks to our deepest values of justice, dignity, and peace. JCRC calls on the Trump Administration to reverse this decision, and to rethink how United States aid can be used to encourage rather than discourage peace for Israelis and Palestinians.

JCRC Applauds the Creation of the Massachusetts-Israel Economic Connection

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 13, 2018
Contact: Shira Burns
gro.n1568896013otsob1568896013crcj@1568896013snrub1568896013s1568896013
(617) 457-8673

On August 10, 2018, Governor Baker signed legislation, created by a collaboration between Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Boston and state legislators, authorizing $250,000 for the facilitation and support of the Massachusetts-Israel Economic Connection operated by the New England Israel Business Council, Inc. to continue to pursue economic collaboration between Israel and the Commonwealth.

“JCRC recognizes the rich entrepreneurial and innovative culture of the state of Israel. We are grateful to our partners in the Legislature and Administration for creating the Massachusetts-Israel Economic Connection in order to capitalize off of the vast potential that the country provides,” said Aaron Agulnek, Director of Government Affairs, Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Boston. “Massachusetts possesses a devoted workforce, premier colleges and universities, and cutting-edge life science and hi-tech sectors, making it a natural home for Israeli founded businesses. Other states and municipalities, however, are taking aggressive action to cut into our competitive edge. This initiative will help expand the collaborations and keep Mass at the top.”

“We are grateful that JCRC led the efforts with the Legislature to support the Massachusetts-Israel Economic Connection,” said Dan Trajman, CEO of the New England Israel Business Council, Inc. (NEIBC). “The more than 9000 jobs created by Israeli-related companies in Massachusetts are a testament to NEIBC’s mission. With the legislature and governor’s support, we will expand Israeli business presence, despite the mounting competition, by helping local companies increase their footprint and ensuring that new companies will choose Massachusetts as their US base of operations.”

“There are more than 200 Israeli-founded businesses in the Boston area alone, creating thousands of high-paying jobs in our life sciences and IT industries. These connections also create opportunities for Massachusetts companies to expand their operations to Israel. Strengthening our state’s economic ties with Israel strengthens opportunities for our businesses and our workers, and this is something we wanted to continue to encourage in the Economic Development Bill,” said Senator Eric P. Lesser, Senate Chairman of the Committee on Economic Development and Emerging Technologies, who authored the bill.

As competition for US/Israeli relationships continues to grow, this initiative promotes Massachusetts as the right home for Israeli businesses. A 2016 study showed that Israeli-founded business in the Commonwealth book over $9 billion of revenue and generate over $18 billion in economic benefit in Massachusetts. They also support over 27,000 jobs in Massachusetts.

“It is so important for Massachusetts to encourage the continued economic relationship with Israeli companies,” said Senator Cynthia Stone Creem, Senate Majority Leader. “It will help solidify our state’s reputation in the high tech and biotech fields as we support research and development opportunities.”

The Massachusetts-Israel Economic Connection initiative will focus on deepening ties between Israeli entrepreneurs and the Massachusetts ecosystem through travel, exchange, relationship development, and job creation.

“I am grateful that the Massachusetts Legislature has successfully included the Massachusetts-Israel Economic Connection in the Economic Development Bill,” said Representative Ruth Balser. “Economic collaboration with Israel has proven time and again to be a great resource to both the economy and the people of Massachusetts. The synergy between the Massachusetts and Israeli economy is clear and this initiative will help to develop the jobs of today and tomorrow.”

The Massachusetts-Israel Economic Connection will promote Massachusetts as the right home for Israeli businesses, utilize the NEIBC’s deep roots in the Massachusetts and Israeli business sectors and academic infrastructure to partner with regional public, quasi-public, and private organizations dedicated to economic development in emerging industries.

"Massachusetts' economy has thrived because our state's policy and business leaders have made a strategic effort to foster key global partnerships," said Representative Antonio F. D. Cabral. "This investment in the Massachusetts-Israel Economic Connection will enhance this dynamic and allow for further growth in areas such as cybersecurity and the life sciences industry."

###

JCRC comment on Membership and BDS

In response to inquiries from some of our member agencies: JCRC is aware of the recent statement released by Jewish Voice for Peace on behalf of several largely fringe groups regarding BDS and anti-Semitism. We are further aware that Boston Workmen’s Circle, a member of the JCRC Council – and through its national body a member of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations – is a signatory to this statement.

JCRC’s bylaws provide that the programs, activities and practices of our member organizations must be compatible and do not conflict with the mission of JCRC. It is the long established view of the JCRC Council – our policy setting body representing our forty-three member organizations and the community at-large – that support for BDS is contrary to our mission of advocating for a safe, secure, Jewish and democratic state of Israel.  The Council can and does, through its standard committee processes, review actions of our members that may reflect that such a compatibility is lacking.