Category Archives: News and Press

Over $8 Million Appropriated from MA State Budget to Support Jewish Social Service Network; Awaits Final Approval from the Governor

(BOSTON) – Earlier today, the Massachusetts Legislature enacted its 2020 budget nearly three weeks into the fiscal year, fueling $5 million of new funds to support programs and priorities of the Jewish social service network, benefiting the entire Commonwealth. The conference committee led by Senate Ways and Means Chair Michael Rodrigues and House Ways and Means Chair Aaron Michlewitz reached agreement Sunday evening lifting the total appropriation for Jewish communal priorities to upwards of $8 million, in response to the Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC)’s efforts on seven key priorities.

“We applaud Senate President Spilka, Speaker DeLeo, Chair Rodrigues, Chair Michlewitz and their colleagues for ensuring robust funding to lift up the Jewish communities’ priorities in this year’s budget,” said Jeremy Burton, JCRC’s Executive Director. “The legislature has demonstrated its commitment to proven programs which help people in the Jewish community and beyond to work, stay in their homes, and feel safe in their communities.  We look forward to building on this success together.”

This year, JCRC led on seven budget priorities, all of which included increases and direct appropriations to the Jewish social service network.

“This is a historic budget for the Jewish community across the Commonwealth,” said Aaron Agulnek, JCRC’s Director of Government Affairs. “The cutting-edge programming, dynamic professionals, and committed lay leadership of Jewish institutions provides the framework necessary to develop meaningful ties with elected officials to better serve the dreams of individuals and families seeking opportunity, dignity, and security.”

The budget included:

$500,000 for the Non-Profit Security Grants, a pilot which provides vital security enhancements to Jewish communal infrastructure at increased risk of threat. Senator Eric Lesser and Representative Ruth Balser, along with Senator Cynthia Creem pushed this vital $350,000 increase in funding.

$1,250,000 for the Employment Service Program for Immigrants and Refugees, which provides English-based job training and placement services for recent immigrants and refugees. This $250,000 increase was led by Senator Sal DiDomenico and Representative Michael Moran.

$500,000 for Bridges to College, which provides college preparatory programming to individuals seeking careers with opportunities for advancement and defined career ladders. The budget also included a $250,000 earmark for Jewish Vocational Service (JVS), supported by Chair Michlewitz, Senator Cindy Friedman, and Senator Joe Boncore, to expand its innovative programming.

$856,000 for Naturally Occurring Retirement Communities (NORCs), which is operated by Jewish Family & Children's Service, JFS Metrowest, and Jewish Family Service of Western Mass. NORCs are designed to bring wellness programs and socialization services directly to seniors, allowing them to remain in their homes and communities. This $214,000 increase was led by Senator Cynthia Creem and Representative Tommy Vitolo.

$250,000 for Transitions to Work, an innovative job training model for young adults with disabilities, modeled after the JVS/CJP partnership of the same name. This $100,000 increase was led by Senator Michael Barrett and Representative Paul Brodeur.

$2,000,000 for the 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. There are seven partnerships across the Commonwealth, including JVS and Metro Boston Housing Partnership. This $1,000,000 increase was led by Senator Michael Barrett and Representative Joe Wagner.

Continuity funding 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. The initial funding period for Pathways is ending and these funds, close to $3 million, will sustain innovation by continuing to support this model while measuring results.

The JCRC urges Governor Baker to sign the budget and support these crucial initiatives.

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

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JCRC Leads MA Labor Leaders on Study Tour of Israel

(BOSTON) – The Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC) of Greater Boston continues its long history of conducting annual study tours of Israel with Massachusetts community leaders through this month’s study tour, which will provide Massachusetts labor leaders with an in-depth look into the economic, political, and security challenges and successes facing Israeli society.

From July 7-16, Massachusetts labor leaders will travel throughout Israel, learning from government officials and religious, academic, media, labor, and business leaders. They will be joined by leaders from the Jewish Labor Committee, a JCRC member organization.

“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 labor leaders will:

  • Meet with government officials, labor 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 labor issues,
  • Visit Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, and border regions,
  • Discover the growing economic and cultural ties between Israel and Massachusetts,
  • Gain new perspectives on modern day Israel, and
  • Develop a nuanced understanding of the complex political and security challenges facing Israel.

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

The following are the participants in JCRC’s 2019 Labor Study Tour of Israel:

Ellen Smith, Regional Director, Mass Nurses Association Hugh Cameron, Secretary-Treasurer, International Union of Police Associations AFL-CIO
Grady Eason, Business Representative/Organizer, New England Regional Council of Carpenters Karen Courtney, Executive Director, Foundation for Fair Contracting of Massachusetts
FayeRuth Fisher, Political Director, Massachusetts, 1199SEIU Massachusetts  Martin Sanchez, Business Representative/Organizer, New England Regional Council of Carpenters
Wayne Murphy, Director of Government Affairs, IUPAT District Council 35 Thomas Flynn, Executive Secretary-Treasurer, New England Regional Council of Carpenters
Kenell Broomstein, Business Agent, IBEW Local 103
Lay Leaders:
Ari Fertig, Executive Director, New England Jewish Labor Committee
David Borrus, Business Manager, New England Regional Council of Carpenters Barbara Penzner, Rabbi, Temple Hillel B’nai Torah

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

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JCRC Applauds MA Senate for Unanimous Support of Non Profit Security Grant Funding

May 24, 2019
Contact: Shira Burns
(617) 457-8673

JCRC Applauds MA Senate for Unanimous Support
Non Profit Security Grant Funding

(Boston, MA) -  The Jewish Community Relations Council applauds the Massachusetts State Senate, including lead sponsor Senator Eric Lesser (Longmeadow), Senate Majority Leader Cynthia Creem (Newton), Senate President Emerita Harriette Chandler (Worcester), and the Senate President Karen Spilka (Ashland) for unanimously supporting the amendment to increase the state Non Profit Security Grant program from $150,000 to $500,000 for the upcoming fiscal year. This funding will cover 10 grants across the Commonwealth for vital security enhancements and protocols at houses of worship, community centers, and other institutions at heightened risk of violence.

Earlier this month, JCRC organized a letter, signed by close to 150 Jewish institutional leaders from across the Commonwealth, to Governor Baker and state leaders asking for increased funding for this vital initiative.

“The Massachusetts State Senate sent a strong message that we believe every resident of Massachusetts should feel safe in their communities, and never feel targeted because of who they are. I’m proud of the Senators who advocated so eloquently and movingly for this amendment on the Senate floor, and I’m grateful to the entire Senate for passing this important measure unanimously,” said Senate President Karen E. Spilka.

“Anti-Semitism, islamophobia, bigotry and violence have no place in our society. We must continue to fight for and defend our freedom to worship and live openly and free. It pains me that our world still suffers from xenophobic acts of violence and hatred. But I am proud that the Senate stood up in unanimous support for security grants for nonprofits, because nobody should ever fear for their safety,” said Senate President Emerita Harriette L. Chandler.

"Unfortunately, we have seen a troubling rise in hate crimes across Massachusetts. These incidents are meant to intimidate some people in our communities, and they tear at the fabric of who we are as a country based on the equal right of everyone to participate in our democracy. With these security grants for synagogues, mosques, community centers and other organizations, we have made clear that hate has no place in our Commonwealth," said Sen. Eric Lesser, who sponsored the amendment.

“In Massachusetts and across the nation, those who spew hate and violence and anti-Semitic views seem emboldened, and acts of violence are becoming all too common,” said Senator Creem. “We must continue working to change this tragic reality, and we should never accept it as the norm. However, the funding in this amendment also recognizes the need to ensure that we may worship and exercise our rights and freedoms in safety.”

"We congratulate our partners in the State Senate for unequivocally endorsing the right for all people to gather in safety," said Aaron Agulnek, director of government affairs for the Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Boston. "Houses of worship, community centers, and other institutions must be safe, secure and open. This funding is a strong step towards that goal, but we must do more to challenge the motivation for all forms of hatred. Education and respect, not fortification, is our ultimate hope."

The Senate also unanimously adopted Minority Leader Bruce Tarr’s amendment to codify the Governor’s Hate Crimes Task Force into law. JCRC partnered with Governor Charlie Baker, the Anti-Defamation League, CJP, and Jewish federations and agencies across the state in 2017 to reestablish this vital task force after it remained dormant for several years.

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

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Letter Urges State support of Non Profit Security Grants

JCRC works with our public officials to create partnerships for safety and security enhancements at vulnerable non-profit institutions. With the alarming rise in threats and violence against the Jewish community, it’s clear that more is needed. JCRC launched a community wide campaign to fully fund a grant program to help synagogues, day schools, community centers, and other targeted institutions to make vital security enhancements. We stand with our partners of every faith and creed to denounce hatred and demand justice.

JCRC organized a letter, signed by 143 Jewish institutional leaders from across the Commonwealth, to Governor Baker asking for full funding of the state Non-Profit Security Grant program.

Click here for the PDF of the Letter

Below is the text of the letter:

May 20, 2019

Dear Governor Baker:

While celebrating the end of Passover, the celebration of the Jewish people’s liberation, we were confronted yet again with the horror of another murderous attack on a Jewish synagogue in Poway, California, six months to the day of the massacre at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh. The sanctity of our houses of worship has been pierced by the horror of antisemitism and our sense of security is in peril.

While we are grateful to our partners in government for denouncing violence, hatred, and antisemitism and offering comfort and offering healing in our time of need, our communities require more. Across the country, threats and acts of violence have escalated against synagogues, black churches, mosques, cultural centers and other religious institutions. Seemingly every week, we join with clergy and leaders from every walk of life, decrying the bloodshed and pleading for sanity, and a restoration to calm. But antisemitism is on the rise, even here. A recent ADL audit found that “people across Massachusetts continue to experience antisemitism at historically high rates" as we record the fourth highest number of incidents (following California, New York and New Jersey), highlighting the awareness that this tide of hatred toward Jews isn’t dissipating anytime soon.

Several states reacted swiftly, by partnering with at-risk institutions to develop security enhancements and protocols, including: The State of New York offered $10 million in grants to vulnerable non-public schools and cultural centers, including religious-based institutions; New Jersey released $11.3 million in funds; Maryland released $5 million; and recently the Governor of California announced $15 million in grants.  Massachusetts, however only has a pilot program of $150,000, with no funds yet allocated for the next year. We need to do better.

We respectfully ask our leadership in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to step-up and fulfill its basic obligation by fully funding the non-profit security grant program to provide these critical resources to ensure that our communities and our congregations are safe and secure. As faith communities meet our responsibility to welcome and embrace all who enter our doors, we need our government to realize its responsibility to offer the protection to make “freedom of religion” a reality in the Commonwealth. Massachusetts basks in its well-deserved reputation as a shining beacon, a model across the nation of freedom, equality and justice.  In this moment of crisis for our community, we are called once again to lead and not follow.


Jeremy Burton, Executive Director, Jewish Community Relations Council, Boston

Rabbi Marc Baker, President & CEO, Combined Jewish Philanthropies, Boston

Dara Kaufman, Executive Director, Jewish Federation of the Berkshires, Pittsfield

Judy Usow, President & Board Chair, Jewish Federation of the Berkshires, Pittsfield

Steven Schimmel, Executive Director, Jewish Federation of Central MA, Worcester

Amir Cohen, Executive Director, Jewish Federation of Greater New Bedford, New Bedford

Laurie Tishler Mindlin, Executive Director, Merrimack Valley Jewish Federation, Andover

Stewart Bromberg, CEO, Jewish Federation of Western Massachusetts, Springfield

Joshua Vogel, Communications Director, Jewish Federation of Western Massachusetts, Springfield

Mark Sokoll, President & CEO, Jewish Community Center of Greater Boston, Newton

Kait Rogers, Chief Finance and Admin. Officer, Jewish Community Center of Greater Boston, Newton

Marty Schneer, Executive Director, Jewish Community Center of the North Shore, Marblehead

Michael Paysnick, Executive Director, Springfield Jewish Community Center, Springfield

Rabbi Alison Adler, Temple B’nai Abraham, Beverly

Rabbi Allison Berry, Temple Shalom, Newton

Rabbi Laura Abrasley, Temple Shalom, Newton

Rabbi Eric Gurvis, Temple Shalom, Newton

Rabbi Shoshana Friedman, Temple Sinai, Brookline

Rabbi Andrew Vogel, Temple Sinai, Brookline

Nora Abrahamer, President, Temple Sinai,

Rabbi Audrey Marcus Berkman, Temple Ohabei Shalom, Brookline

Shari Churwin, Education Director, Temple Ohabei Shalom, Brookline

Rabbi Barbara Penzner, Temple Hillel B’nai Torah, West Roxbury

Rabbi Benjamin Samuels, Congregation Shaarei Tefillah, Newton

Rabbi Ronne Friedman, Rabbi Emeritus, Temple Israel, Boston

Rabbi Elaine Zecher, Senior Rabbi, Temple Israel, Boston

Rabbi Bernard H. Mehlman, Senior Scholar, Temple Israel, Boston

Rabbi Matthew Soffer, Senior Associate Rabbi, Temple Israel Boston

Rabbi Jenn Gubitz, Temple Israel, Boston

Rabbi Suzie Jacobson, Temple Israel, Boston

Cantor Roy Einhorn, Temple Israel, Boston

Dan Deutsch, Executive Director, Temple Israel, Boston

Gary Pforzheimer, President, Temple Israel, Boston

Marc Maxwell, Vice President, Temple Israel, Boston

Alane Shanks, Treasurer, Temple Israel, Boston

Rabbi Cari Bricklin- Small, Temple Shir Tikvah, Winchester

Rabbi Danny Burkeman, Temple Shir Tikva, Wayland

Rabbi Jordana Schuster Battis, Temple Shir Tikva, Wayland

Scott A. Cohen, President, Temple Shir Tikva, Wayland

Susan Altman, Executive Director, Temple Shir Tikva, Wayland

Rabbi Daniel Liben, Temple Israel of Natick, Natick

Rabbi Darby J. Leigh, Kerem Shalom, Concord

Rabbi David J. Meyer, Temple Emanu-El, Marblehead

Rabbi David Lerner, Temple Emunah, Lexington

Shelley Rossman, Director, Pre-School of Temple Emunah, Lexington

Rabbi David Weiner, Knesset Israel, Pittsfield

Rabbi Eliana Jacobowitz, Temple B’nai Brith, Somerville

Rabbi Emily Mathis, Director of Community Development, Tremont Street Shul, Cambridge

Brian Eisenstein, President, Tremont Street Shul, Cambridge

Rabbi Howard A. Cohen, Congregation Shiray Hayam, Swampscott

Rabbi Howard Jaffe, Senior Rabbi, Temple Isaiah of Lexington, Lexington

Barry Tuber, President, Temple Isaiah of Lexington, Lexington

Steven Jaworski, Facilities Manager, Temple Isaiah of Lexington, Lexington

Rabbi Jay Pearlman, Temple Beth Shalom, Needham

Rabbi Todd A. Markley, Temple Beth Shalom, Needham

Rabbi Joseph B. Meszler, Temple Sinai, Sharon

Rabbi Joshua Breindel, Congregation Beth El of the Sudbury River Valley, Sudbury

Rabbi Keith Stern, Temple Beth Avodah, Newton

Elyse Hyman, Executive Director, Temple Beth Avodah, Newton

Rabbi Kenneth Carr, Temple Chayai Shalom, Easton

Rabbi Liz P.G. Hirsch, Temple Anshe Amunim, Pittsfield

Rabbi Louis Polisson, Congregation Or Atid, Wayland

Laura Blumberg, President, Congregation Or Atid, Wayland

Rabbi Mayshe Schwartz, Director, The Chai Center and YJP, Brookline

Rabbi Mendy Kivman, Chabad of Greater Milford, Milford

Rabbi Micah Citrin, Temple Beth David, Westwood

Rabbi Ron Fish, Senior Rabbi, Temple Israel, Sharon

Rabbi Rachel Silverman, Temple Israel, Sharon

Joshua Blumenthal, Executive Director, Temple Israel, Sharon

Marion Gribetz, President, Temple Israel, Sharon

Rabbi Mordechai Rackover, Principal, Temple Israel of Sharon Religious School, Sharon

Rabbi Moshe Bleich, Director, Wellesley-Weston Chabad, Wellesley

Rabbi Nechemia Schusterman, Chabad of Peabody, Peabody

Rabbi Raphael Kanter, Tifereth Israel Congregation, New Bedford

Rabbi Richard E. Perlman, Senior Rabbi, Temple Ner Tamid, Peabody

Rabbi Sharon L. Sobel Temple Beth Am, Framingham

Rabbi Susan Abramson, Temple Shalom Emeth, Burlington

Rabbi Thomas M. Alpert, Temple Etz Chaim, Franklin

Richard Shulman, President, Temple Etz Chaim, Franklin

Rabbi Toba Spitzer, Congregation Dorshei Tzedek, West Newton, President of the MA Board of Rabbis

Rabbi Victor Reinstein, Nehar Shalom Community Synagogue, Jamaica Plain

Rabbi William Hamilton, Congregation Kehillath Israel, Brookline

David E. Williams, President, Congregation Kehillath Israel, Brookline

Jonathan E. Slutzman, Vice President, Congregation Kehillath Israel, Brookline

Paula Silver, Director of Administration, Congregation Kehillath Israel, Brookline

Rabbi Yehoshua Zehavi, Congregation Agudat Achim, Leominster

Scott Zibel, President, Congregation Agudat Achim, Leominster

David Susman, Security Committee Chair, Congregation Agudat Achim, Leominster

Rabbi Yisroel Freeman, Chabad Center of Sudbury, Sudbury

Randy O’Brien, President Temple Kol Tikvah, Sharon

Randy Kafka, Temple Kol Tikvah Sharon

Sanford Keliher, Vice President, Temple B’nai Abraham, Beverly

Bernard Der, Security Committee Chair, Temple B’nai Abraham, Beverly

Sara Smolover, President Temple Beth Zion

Sarah Baron-Kelly, Administrator, Temple Beth Emunah, Easton

Cantor Vera Broekhuysen, Spiritual Leader, Temple Emanu-El, Haverhill

David Belsky, Safety & Security Chair, Temple Emanu-El, Haverhill

Scott Hannula, Assistant Secretary, Temple Emanu-El, Haverhill

Stephen Ashkinos, Executive Director, Temple Beth Elohim, Wellesley

Bob Schecter, President of the Board of Trustees, Temple Beth Elohim, Wellesley

Stephen Winer, Executive Director, Congregation B’nai Shalom, Westborough

Zach Dunn, Executive Director, Congregation Mishkan Tefilah, Brookline

Lynda Gordon, Tri President, Congregation Mishkan Tefilah, Brookline

Caryl Goodman, Tri-President, Congregation Mishkan Tefilah, Brookline

Steven Kaitz, Tri-President, Congregation Mishkan Tefilah, Brookline

Susan Schreiner Weingarten, Chairperson, The Boston Synagogue, Boston

Cynthia Levitt, Executive Director, Temple Emeth, Chestnut Hill

Michael Clayton, President, Temple Emeth, Chestnut Hill

David Jacobson, President, Adams Street Synagogue, Newton

David Leers, President, Temple Beth Elohim, Acton

Ellen Rappaport Tanowitz, President, Temple Reyim, Newton

Jeff Lurie, Executive Director, Temple Emanuel, Newton

Liz Goldstein, Executive Vice President, Temple Emanuel, Newton

Joanna Myers, President, Congregation Shalom, North Chelmsford

Kenneth Lifton, Security Chair, Temple Shalom Emeth, Burlington

Kenneth Milgran, Director of Security, Young Israel Congregation, Sharon

Marilyn Okonow, President, The Vilna Shul, Boston

Mark Fydenberg, President, Temple Beth Israel, Waltham

Marilyn Racette, Security Committee Chair, Temple Beth Israel, Waltham

Maureen Chapman, Executive Director, Temple Emanuel of Andover, Andover

Nancy J. LaFleur, Executive Director, Temple Emanu-El, Haverhill

Paul Cooperstein, President, Congregation Beth Shalom of the Blue Hills, Milton

Rabbi Binyomin Mermelstein, Executive Director, Torah Academy, Brookline

Rabbi Uri Feldman, Dean, Yeshiva Ohr Yisrael Highschool for Boys, Chestnut Hill

Julie Galler, Executive Director, Striar Hebrew Academy, Sharon

Susan Tanchel, Head of School, JCDS Boston’s Jewish Community Day School, Watertown

Elizabeth Waksman, Board President, JCDS Boston’s Jewish Community Day School, Watertown

Amy Gold, Head of School, Epstein Hillel School, Marblehead

Lisa Scott, Assistant Director, Gan Elohim Preschool, Wellesley

Dr. Jerrold I. Katz, Interim Head of School, Gann Academy, Waltham

Gail Schulman, COO, Gann Academy, Waltham

Ellen Chajes, Executive Director, Bais Yaakov School, Boston

Rabbi Neal Gold, Jewish Chaplain, Babson College, Boston

Ethan Sobel, Assistant Director, Boston University Hillel, Boston

Jonah Steinberg, Executive Director, Harvard Hillel, Cambridge

Rabbi Sharon Cohen Anisfeld, President, Hebrew College, Newton

Amy Schechtman, President & CEO, 2Life Communities, Brighton

Ed Pletman, Director of Finance, Camp Ramah New England, Norwood

Jonathan Cohen, President, Eli and Bessie Cohen Camps, Wellesley

Arlene Remz, Executive Director, Gateways: Access to Jewish Education, Newton

Louis J. Woolf, President & CEO, Hebrew SeniorLife, Boston

Samuel I. Mendales, Executive Director, Hillel Council of New England, Newton Centre

Lital Carmel, Regional Director, Israeli-American Council, Newton

Kimberlee Schumacher, President & CEO, Jewish Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Boston, Newton

Carl Zack, Interim CEO, Jewish Family & Children Services, Waltham

Jamie Grossman, Board President, Jewish Family & Children Services, Waltham

Dale Okonow, Board Member, Jewish Family & Children Services, Waltham

Jerry Rubin, President & CEO, Jewish Vocational Services, Boston

Marc Jacobs, CEO, Jewish Family Services Metrowest, Framingham

Lino Covarrubias, COO, Jewish Family Services Metrowest, Framingham

Idit Klein, President & CEO, Keshet, Boston

Carrie Bornstein, Executive Director, Mayyim Hayyim Mikvah, Auburndale

Dan Trajman, President & CEO, New England Israel Business Council Inc., Newton

Rabbi David Jaffe, The Kirva Institute, Sharon


Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito
Senate President Karen Spilka
Speaker of the House Robert DeLeo
Secretary Michael J. Heffernan, Executive Office of Administration & Finance
Secretary Daniel Bennett, Executive Office of Public Safety & Security
Senator Michael Rodrigues, Chair, Senate Committee on Ways and Means
Representative Aaron Michlewitz, Chair, House Committee on Ways and Means

CJP and JCRC Express Concern over Incidents at Local Chabads

CJP and JCRC are deeply troubled by three incidents of attempted arson at two Chabad houses this week – one in Arlington and another in Needham. The suspects in both cases remain at large, and police are seeking assistance from the public in identifying one man seen on the Chabad Center for Jewish Life of Arlington/Belmont property – also the residence of the rabbi and his family – just after the first fire was set on Saturday night.

We have been in close contact with the rabbis at both the Arlington Chabad house and the Chabad Jewish Center in Needham, as well as local law enforcement, who have been extremely responsive and supportive. Additional patrols have been provided for the safety of the residents and congregants and state and federal officials are leading the investigation into the suspicious fires at both facilities.

CJP and JCRC appreciate the response from neighbors and local officials, who have stood with and rallied behind the Jewish communities in both towns as soon as they learned of the incidents.

Along with our partners at the ADL, we have been reaching out to Chabad houses across Greater Boston in recent days to discuss the incidents and to work together to boost security at facilities while ensuring a welcoming space to gather and worship.

Through the JEMS (Jewish Emergency Management System) program, supported by CJP, JCRC, the ADL, and the Synagogue Council of Massachusetts, Jewish institutions can learn about security best practices, attend in-person security trainings, and stay informed of incidents. To learn more about the program and future training sessions, visit the page.

JCRC, in particular, continues to work with partners across faith communities and across the government to combat the rise in violence and threats against the Jewish community. JCRC and its allies call upon the state government to fully fund the nonprofit security grant program and to partner with at-risk communal institutions so that they have the resources to undertake necessary security enhancements.

Arlington’s Human Rights Commission will host a solidarity gathering supporting the Chabad house on Monday night at 6 p.m. at Arlington Town Hall. More information can be found here.

As antisemitism continues to plague our region – and our world – we remain committed to raising awareness, educating people about the dangers of antisemitism, hatred, and bigotry, and proactively working with partners to ensure the safety and wellbeing of our Jewish community.

Who Will Tell Our Story? Holocaust Commemoration to Focus on Transmission of Memory in the Face of Rising Antisemitism

April 29, 2019
Contact: Shira Burns
(617) 457-8673

Who Will Tell Our Story? Holocaust Commemoration to Focus on Transmission of Memory in the Face of Rising Antisemitism

(Boston, MA) - The Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Boston (JCRC) and its partners will present Who Will Tell Our Story?, a community commemoration of Yom HaShoah, on Sunday, May 5th, at 2:00pm, at Faneuil Hall in Boston. This annual commemoration convenes the Greater Boston community to honor survivors and pay tribute to those who perished. This year's commemoration will center on the transmission of memory from survivors to generations to come and will feature testimony from Holocaust survivor and Sharon resident Janet Singer Applefield, as well as remarks from her daughter, Deb Milley. Janet shares her story as a child survivor of the Holocaust to thousands of people each year, helping to raise awareness and understanding of the dangers of prejudice. Her testimony encourages children and adults to stand up to any kind of discrimination and injustice. Now more than ever, our community must stand united against antisemitism, bigotry, and hatred in all its forms.

Click here to read The Boston Globe’s coverage of last year’s commemoration.

“As part of a sacred duty, we come together to remember and pay homage to the Six Million Jews who lost their lives in history’s darkest moment,” said Rick Mann, JCRC Holocaust Commemoration Committee Chair. “This year we reflect on the challenges we face as a community to ensure the fulfillment of this obligation in the years to come…While we all have a role to play, it is the progeny of the survivors who will be at the forefront in carrying the message from generation to generation.”

The event will also feature recognition of the winners of JCRC’s annual Israel Arbeiter Holocaust Essay Contest for grades 6-12. The winning essay, “I Stood Up,” details a 12th grader’s encounter with a swastika at her high school and how she took action. The musical portion of the program will be provided by Temple Israel Sharon’s Shir Rhythm A cappella choir.

Who Will Tell Our Story? is presented in partnership with the American Association of Jewish Holocaust Survivors and Descendants of Greater Boston, Combined Jewish Philanthropies, Boston 3G, United Way, Facing History and Ourselves, and Jewish Family & Children’s Services.

For information, registration or to support the event, visit

Speaker Bios

Janet Singer Applefield, Survivor Testimony
Janet shares her story as a child survivor of the Holocaust to thousands of people each year, helping to raise awareness and understanding of the dangers of prejudice. Her testimony encourages children and adults to stand up to any kind of discrimination and injustice.

Deb Milley, Second Generation Survivor
Janet's daughter, Deb, will share her perspective on what it means to be a critical link to the next generation of descendants—the wonderful blessings and the heavy burdens that accompany this important legacy.

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

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CJP, JCRC Statement on Synagogue Shooting in Poway

CJP and JCRC were shocked and heartbroken at the news of another synagogue shooting at a Chabad center near San Diego yesterday.

The shooting, which happened during services marking the end of Passover, occurred six months to the day of the Tree of Life attack in Pittsburgh. It was also the first opportunity for a yizkor (memorial) service for the 11 Tree of Life victims.

Today, we mourn the life of Lori Kaye (z”l), a loving wife and mother, killed while she worshipped. Lori is described by friends as a “jewel of the community,” and an Eshet Chayil, a woman of valor. According to eyewitnesses, her last act demonstrated her courage – shielding the rabbi from the shooter as she was fatally wounded. Three other victims, including an 8-year-old girl, are recovering from gunshots.

This was yet another crime fueled by hatred. The suspected shooter had posted anti-Semitic and anti-Muslim messages on social media, and reportedly had a manifesto citing the attacks in both Pittsburgh and Christchurch as inspirations last month.  He also said he tried to burn down a mosque in March and self-identified as a white supremacist.

During these anxious times, we are grateful for our close partnership with local law enforcement to ensure that all houses of worship have the support they need to make the appropriate and necessary choices balancing safety and security while continuing to be a welcoming community.

We have been in contact with our partners in San Diego, including Chabad and the Jewish Federation of San Diego County to help meet the needs of those impacted by this devastating act. More information about how you can help with recovery efforts will be available in the coming days.

We join with people around the world in praying for the recovery of the victims and mourn with the friends and family of Lori Kaye. May her memory be a blessing.

CJP and JCRC Stand with Muslim Community in Christchurch after Horrific Terror Attack

CJP and JCRC are saddened, shocked, and outraged by the terror attacks in Christchurch, New Zealand today in which at least 49 people were murdered and 20 more were injured while attending Friday prayers in two different mosques.

We strongly condemn this attack, which is a barbaric assault on every person who believes in the dignity of human life.

As the head of New Zealand’s Jewish community stated earlier today, there are "no adequate words to describe how sickened and devastated we are by the coordinated attacks on Christchurch mosques today. We offer our full assistance and support to the Muslim community and stand united with it against the scourge of terrorism and racism…we must do all we can to banish from New Zealand."

Our community stands with our Muslim brothers and sisters – in New Zealand, in Greater Boston, and around the world – in the face of extremist hatred and violence. We have reached out to our partners in the local community here in Boston to express our support in this time of grief. CJP and JCRC pray for the souls of the victims and for the recovery of those injured. We express our deepest condolences to the bereaved family members and send our love and compassion to the resilient people of Christchurch.

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.