In 2019, divisions over how best to connect with and support Israel have become even more pronounced – with even less consensus about Israel’s role in American Jewish life. We at JCRC are working to reverse this trend by expanding our Boston Partners for Peace initiative. In 2019, over 500 Bostonians, many of them young adults, heard directly from Israeli and Palestinian peacebuilders at Boston Partners for Peace events, and came away inspired by their work to break down barriers and build a shared future. Our program ﬁlls a void in the community by creating positive, values-based engagement with Israel. Our Shabbat Dinners, book clubs, blogs, and newsletters are designed to engage young adults with messages of hope by amplifying the voices of peacebuilders.
(Right, Lobna Agbaria, a Palestinian citizen of Israel and Director of Our Generation Speaks, speaks at a young professionals event.)ISRAEL STUDY TOURS
This year, JCRC organized two Study Tours to Israel for Boston’s faith and civic leaders, with 19 total participants, including a ﬁrst-of-its-kind trip for Boston’s labor leadership, organized in partnership with the Jewish Labor Committee. Participants gained a deeper understanding of the complexities and challenges facing the region. They returned inspired and eager to share their new perspectives with their communities and to support Boston Partners for Peace. We continue to develop new opportunities for our Study Tour Alumni to remain engaged with our programming, such as our monthly educational webinars on current events in the region.
JCRC works to connect peacebuilders with Boston civic leaders and elected officials—including Israel Study Tour alumni Springﬁeld City Council President Justin Hurst and Easthampton Mayor Nicole LaChapelle (R), who hosted conversations with peacebuilders about community policing. With the help of Israel Study Tour alum Councilor Ed Flynn, alumni from our partner organization, Hand in Hand Schools, visited Boston City Hall to meet with City Councilors and representatives from Boston Public Schools to discuss improving educational opportunities for students of all backgrounds.
“Visits like this make us a better city and a more effective city council.” — CITY COUNCILOR ED FLYNN
17TH ANNUAL CONNIE SPEAR BIRNBAUM MEMORIAL LECTURE
On March 27th, more than 300 members of the community joined JCRC to hear from Dr. Dahlia Scheindlin, a public opinion expert who provided a critical point of view on the 2019 Israel elections.