As we gear up for Celebrates, we’re featuring a series of profiles of our honorees. First up, 2018 Barry Shrage Community Builder Award recipient, Bill Gabovitch! Stay tuned for honorees Risa Shames & Neil Silverston.
What was one of your proudest moments as JCRC Board President?
My proudest moment was actually 2 moments, that happened within 24 hours of each other. First, our Executive Director search committee made a decision to recommend to the Board that we hire Jeremy Burton as our next Executive Director. I am proud because he has led us and our community with intelligence and dignity and helped us make lasting impact to help Jews and our broader community ever since. Just the next evening, I led our JCRC Council to confirm that the organizations around our table helping make policy for the organized Jewish community of Greater Boston should be broad, inclusive and representative of our Jewish community.
What first drew you to JCRC?
I knew of JCRC as a child growing up in Indianapolis. The Indy JCRC was powerful and supportive of Jews. In that early case, they helped my elementary school understand that it could not celebrate Christmas in a public school. I learned then that this JCRC really got important things done. Many years later learning about the JCRC in Boston, I saw it to be just as important and influential. For me, JCRC is a place I can play a role to help vulnerable populations, advocate on legislative issues that protect all of the Commonwealth’s citizens and support Israel in an effective manner.
What work with JCRC are you currently excited about?
JCRC today is working on so many important issues, like gun control, helping the rights of immigrants and refugees, and protecting transgender rights. It is supporting our community’s love of Israel while making our voices heard to make Israel live up to its promise. JCRC also is making meaningful volunteer service a part of Jewish life for people of all ages. The issue I am working on personally with JCRC is making sure that we continue to be representative of all parts of our Jewish community. We are looking at which parts of the community are included with JCRC and which parts we need to reach out to better in order to make sure we are as inclusive as possible as we make policy decisions for the organized Jewish community.
What’s one thing that you wish more people knew about JCRC?
I wish people understood more about how broad its impact and influence is in the public square and the faith community.
Tell us a fun fact about yourself!
While I am not the least bit musical, I have appeared in a professional music video and can rap practically all of the 15 minute long iconic rap song Rapper’s Delight by Sugarhill Gang.