The JCRC Weekly Blog

The darkest night brings the greatest visions

By Jeremy Burton | Jan 15, 2021 | Comments Off on The darkest night brings the greatest visions

By JCRC Executive Director Jeremy Burton As a Jew, it is not hard to appreciate how Black Americans have drawn inspiration and motivation from the Exodus story over the course of their 400-year struggle for liberation in this country. The examples are plentiful, from Harriet Tubman being the Moses of her people, to Taylor Branch’s titling his seminal work on the civil rights era Parting the … Continue reading The darkest night brings the greatest visions »

Our Wounded Democracy

By Jeremy Burton | Jan 7, 2021 | Comments Off on Our Wounded Democracy

The sadness and the anger we feel right now can be overwhelming. This political moment is supposed to be a time to celebrate the strength of our democracy, a time when the world should look on with admiration – as it first did over two hundred years ago when President Adams left office – when we mark the peaceful transition of power between political opponents. Instead, … Continue reading Our Wounded Democracy »

Hope for the year ahead

By Jeremy Burton | Dec 18, 2020 | Comments Off on Hope for the year ahead

This being the final working Friday of 2020, I’ve been feeling a certain pressure to write something expansive and thoughtful; reacting to one last big topic we’re wrestling with, or reflecting on one more dynamic that informs how we as Jews navigate our internal debates, participate in American civic life, and understand the great issues of our day. While I hate to disappoint you, this … Continue reading Hope for the year ahead »

How to spell Chanukah and other arguments

By Jeremy Burton | Dec 11, 2020 | Comments Off on How to spell Chanukah and other arguments

Tis’ the season of the Hanukkah wars. We can’t even agree how to spell it in English. Thankfully, this year, Twitter is being inclusive on this point. Jokes aside, for two thousand years Jews have been ascribing differing meanings and symbolisms to this holiday. Is it a celebration of liberation from an encroaching Greek foreign power, or is it a celebration of religious rejection of … Continue reading How to spell Chanukah and other arguments »

More than a Moment

By Jeremy Burton | Dec 4, 2020 | Comments Off on More than a Moment

After months of drafts, redrafts and negotiations, we were heartened when earlier this week, the MA legislature approved a bill focusing on a JCRC priority: police reform. The “Act relative to justice, equity and law enforcement in the Commonwealth” now awaits the governor’s signature. We join with our partners at the Greater Boston Interfaith Organization in thanking Governor Baker for his early leadership in support of … Continue reading More than a Moment »

The Most Jewish and American of Holidays

By Jeremy Burton | Nov 20, 2020 | Comments Off on The Most Jewish and American of Holidays

This week, I’ve noticed two themes emerging, as we anticipate the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday during the pandemic. The first, largely amplified by public health officials and responsible civic leaders, is a plea to the American people that we stay home and not risk the further spread of COVID by getting together with those outside of our immediate bubbles. I wholeheartedly endorse this plea. The second … Continue reading The Most Jewish and American of Holidays »

Remembering Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks

By Jeremy Burton | Nov 13, 2020 | Comments Off on Remembering Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks

Last Saturday night, many of us first learned that President-Elect Biden had won the election only after coming back online after Shabbat. That was also when we learned the very sad news that Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks, former chief rabbi of the United Kingdom, had passed away. In addition to his life of service to the British Jewish community, Rabbi Sacks was a prolific Torah … Continue reading Remembering Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks »

My Hope for a Shared Civic Space

By Jeremy Burton | Nov 6, 2020 | Comments Off on My Hope for a Shared Civic Space

As I write this on Thursday afternoon, we don’t yet have a declared winner and a concession in this week’s Presidential election. Much will be said in the coming months as the votes and the exit polls are analyzed and debated. But just this week, I found a series of interactions to be particularly illuminating. Midday Wednesday I shared a tweet from Josh Kraushaar, a … Continue reading My Hope for a Shared Civic Space »

Voting, Sacred Duty, and, Prayer

By Jeremy Burton | Oct 30, 2020 | Comments Off on Voting, Sacred Duty, and, Prayer

Chances are pretty good that most of you reading this have already cast your votes for next week’s election. For those who haven’t, it’s probably fair to say that you have all the information you need to decide how you are voting. And, for those very few who are still undecided, if it’s Ranked Choice Voting (Question 2 in Massachusetts) that you are undecided about, … Continue reading Voting, Sacred Duty, and, Prayer »

How do we get back to “we”?

By Jeremy Burton | Oct 23, 2020 | Comments Off on How do we get back to “we”?

We who work in community relations tend to spend an unhealthy amount of time imagining how things could go badly, and planning for the worst-case scenarios. If you look at the nomenclature of Jewish communal systems, JCRCs are literally called “defense” agencies. We think about how our communities should respond to attacks, to wars, to stuff going sideways. This isn’t a particularly new line of … Continue reading How do we get back to “we”? »