Honoring Women In Leadership

As many of you know, JCRC’s raison d’etre to bring the values and priorities of the organized Jewish community into the broader civic conversation in Massachusetts. Whether we are providing volunteer service, engaging public leaders with Israel, or advocating on issues of concern to us, we’re connecting our community with the public square and taking action about what matters to us.

Next Thursday we’ll do so again at JCRC’s annual Legislative Reception at the State House. Together with our partners from Jewish federations across the Commonwealth, the human service agencies in their networks, and our own network of Jewish organizations, we’ll be coming together to honor four women who represent leadership and civic engagement, and to celebrate the partnerships we’ve forged within and beyond the Jewish community to advance our priorities.

  • Treasurer Deb Goldberg isn’t just the highest elected Jewish woman in Massachusetts history. She’s also a fierce advocate for women and families.
  • Senators Karen Spilka and Representative Pat Haddad aren’t just alumni of our Israel engagement program. They are also key partners in the legislature on the inclusion of people with disabilities, improving special education, and requiring equal pay for women.
  • Raffi Freedman-Gurspan isn’t just the first openly transgender person to be a member of the White House staff. She’s also a daughter of the Brookline Jewish community and a former state house employee who played an instrumental role in passing the 2011 MA transgender civil rights bill.

We’ll have much more to say about all of them when we celebrate their leadership next week, but suffice it to say that each of them affirms the values of our organization and community on multiple levels.

In this political year I’m often asked what it is about American civic culture that makes this country “good for the Jews.”

My answer is that the American Jewish community is best served – as we’ve been over many decades – when our nation is dedicated to equality of opportunity for all people. We all benefit from a free society where there is no tolerance for discrimination of any kind and where we remove obstacles that stand in the way of opportunity for every one of us. We believe that a nation that values the dignity of all people is one in which we all thrive, and that a culture that demonizes and marginalizes others threatens us as well.

This is why our community partner agencies play such an important role in dismantling barriers to opportunity. It’s why so many agencies in our network advocate, educate and take action against discrimination of any kind.  It is why we believe, and know, that the vitality of the Jewish community can never be separated from the broader welfare of our Commonwealth.

Women’s leadership has been at the forefront of these struggles, within the Jewish community and for our nation. Women’s equity continues to be a struggle that must be fought for – as we see with the fight for equal pay to name but one of many examples. We’re proud to lift up women in leadership, and we‘re proud to stand with them as they work for women’s – and all peoples’ – equality.

At JCRC, we don’t shy away from the challenges of our times. We’re proud to celebrate the efforts of four people who inspire, lead, and partner with us. Together we are proud to present – at the State House, in our Commonwealth’s most public square – an inspiring example of what our community’s commitments are.

Shabbat Shalom,

Jeremy