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In 18 days, your vote has an impact on our criminal justice system

By Jeremy Burton | Aug 17, 2018 | Comments Off on In 18 days, your vote has an impact on our criminal justice system

The Massachusetts legislative session just ended, with mixed results on issues dear to our community. We at JCRC were pleased with many aspects of the budget and the economic development bill, but we (and our partners in the immigration advocacy community) were sorely disappointed at the failure to adopt basic protections for immigrants being targeted in our community. And yet, on another issue of deep … Continue reading In 18 days, your vote has an impact on our criminal justice system »

My Grandpa Joe was 4 when he crossed the border

By Jeremy Burton | Aug 8, 2018 | Comments Off on My Grandpa Joe was 4 when he crossed the border

As I arrived in Texas this week with a CJP mission, my thoughts went back nearly a century. One hundred years ago next April, my grandfather arrived in El Paso, Texas as a refugee from Mexico. Jose Casillas Sandoval was four years old when he crossed the Rio Grande with his parents and his older siblings, fleeing the violence of the Mexican Revolution. I imagine … Continue reading My Grandpa Joe was 4 when he crossed the border »

Championing our community’s values in the 2019 MA Budget

By Jeremy Burton | Jul 27, 2018 | Comments Off on Championing our community’s values in the 2019 MA Budget

A state budget is a financial document. But at its essence, it’s statement of values and an affirmation of what a government stands for. At JCRC, we’re keenly aware that for many in our Commonwealth, budget decisions are not abstractions, nor is the process a game of wins and losses. These debates have profound implications for the lives of real people. The determinations of lawmakers … Continue reading Championing our community’s values in the 2019 MA Budget »

Israeli & Palestinian Women Leading the Charge for Peace

By Jeremy Burton | Jul 20, 2018 | Comments Off on Israeli & Palestinian Women Leading the Charge for Peace

I spent last week in Jerusalem, Bethlehem, and Ramallah as a facilitator for Encounter, following my experience as a participant last year. This time, my role was to support other American Jewish leaders who were there to listen and learn from Palestinians about their lives and experiences. I also had the opportunity to spend a few days touring in Jerusalem, with the ground partners we … Continue reading Israeli & Palestinian Women Leading the Charge for Peace »

A Shabbat To Protest

By Jeremy Burton | Jun 29, 2018 | Comments Off on A Shabbat To Protest

With the increasing frequency of Saturday rallies and gatherings responding to current events I’ve been thinking a bit of late about JCRC’s “Shabbat policy.” Though it’s rarely discussed, our practice is not to sponsor or participate as JCRC in programs – from sundown Friday to sundown Saturday. While we recognize and affirm that Jews have a wide range of Shabbat observances (including none at all), … Continue reading A Shabbat To Protest »

Meet Stacey Bloom: JCRC’s New President

By Jeremy Burton | Jun 22, 2018 | Comments Off on Meet Stacey Bloom: JCRC’s New President

With all the change and transition going on in our community, I’m pleased to highlight an exciting change here at JCRC. Last week, the JCRC Council (the representative body of our 43-member organizations) elected our leadership for the coming year, including our new President, Stacey Bloom. Stacey and I have been working together in one way or another for nearly seven years now, and I’m thrilled … Continue reading Meet Stacey Bloom: JCRC’s New President »

My Rainbow Kippah

By Jeremy Burton | Jun 15, 2018 | Comments Off on My Rainbow Kippah

As a child in the Haredi Orthodox community in New York, I – along with all the other boys – wore a black cloth kippah, the “skullcap” whose origin goes at least as far back as the Book of Samuel when David ascended the Mount of Olives and covered his head. And while my relationship to this garment has its origins in the ancient rabbinic … Continue reading My Rainbow Kippah »

Stories We Cannot Tell

By Jeremy Burton | Jun 8, 2018 | Comments Off on Stories We Cannot Tell

This post has been updated to reflect the latest realities of the work. Every Shabbat in my congregation, we say a prayer for the government of the United States. Our version of this prayer asks that “God, who commanded all humanity to create just governments, bless and protect the elected and appointed officials of the United States,” and inspire them, among other things, to “let … Continue reading Stories We Cannot Tell »

We can no longer say that anti-Semitism is in retreat

By Jeremy Burton | Jun 1, 2018 | Comments Off on We can no longer say that anti-Semitism is in retreat

“Burton” isn’t a traditional Jewish surname. My grandfather was born Moshe (Milton) Bergstein. He grew up in Harlem in the 1920s along with his younger brother Levi (Louis). Louis aspired to become a sports journalist, but he knew a Jewish-sounding surname wasn’t going to get him on New York radio. So he changed his name, and his older brother – wanting to share a family … Continue reading We can no longer say that anti-Semitism is in retreat »