JCRC Speaker Series

Journeys of Loss and Hope Monday, June 28 at 12pm

The violent death of a loved one changes us in unexpected ways. These three bereaved mothers have succeeded in transforming their loss into activism for a more peaceful and humane world. Join us for a conversation with Chaplain Clementina Chery of the Louis D. Brown Peace Institute and Robi Damelin and Laila El-Shaikh of the Parents Circle Families Forum. Together, they will discuss their own journeys of loss and hope as well as the better future they are working to build every day in Boston and in Israel.


Layla Alsheikh lives in Bethlehem in the West Bank. In 2002, her 6-month-old son, Qussay, became ill. Israeli soldiers prevented Layla from taking him to the hospital for more than five hours. Qussay soon died from the lack of timely treatment. Layla joined the Parents Circle in 2016. Following her son’s death, she never thought of revenge, but rather has devoted her time and energy to ensuring a better, more peaceful future for her children.


Chaplain Clementina (Tina) Chéry is the founder, President and CEO of the Louis D. Brown Peace Institute, a center of healing, teaching, and learning for families and communities impacted by murder, trauma, grief, and loss. Chéry founded the Peace Institute in 1994 in Boston, Massachusetts after the murder of her 15-year-old son Louis. For more than 25 years, Chéry has used her experience as a survivor to serve families impacted by murder, advocate for Survivors of violent crimes, and develop best practices for homicide response. Through the Peace Institute, Chéry’s vision is to create and sustain an environment where all families can live in peace, and to transform society’s response to homicide. With the support of elected officials, including Boston Mayor Marty Walsh and Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley (D-MA), the Peace Institute and Chéry have equipped the City of Boston with resources and guides, including The Survivors' Burial and Resource Guide: A Step by Step Workbook for Regaining Control, Always in my Heart and co-authored The PeaceZone: A Program for Social Literacy.


Robi Damelin is the Israeli spokesperson of the Parents Circle. Her son, David, was killed by a Palestinian sniper in 2002 while guarding a checkpoint near a settlement during his army reserve service. Robi was named a 2015 Woman of Impact by Women in the World. In 2014, Robi was selected by the Joan B. Kroc Institute for Peace and Justice as one of four Women PeaceMakers. She is the protagonist featured in the documentary, One Day after Peace.

Join us for a one-on-one conversation with State Senator Eric Lesser and JCRC Executive Director Jeremy Burton. Senator Lesser will pull back the curtain on Beacon Hill, discuss his priorities for the Commonwealth, and how his Jewish identity informs his work.

Past Webinars

Senator Eric Lesser

Senator Eric Lesser joins JCRC to discuss his priorities for the Commonwealth, and how his Jewish identity informs his work - including planning the first-ever White House Seder with President Obama. 

Raz Shmilovich

Israeli tour educator Raz Shmilovich and his family live in Moshav Netiv Ha’asarah, the closest Israeli community to the Gaza strip. For many of us life on the Gaza border is unimaginable even during the best of times, and Netiv Ha’asarah has been a target of continuous Hamas rocket attacks for the past two weeks. Raz will tell us about life on the border, and how residents have had to adapt during outbreaks with Hamas in Gaza.

Mohammad Darawshe

For years Mohammad Darawshe has been a central figure helping to build a shared society in Israel. In his role as the Director of Equality and Shared Society at the Givat Haviva Institute, he oversees programs that engage thousands of Jewish and Arab Israeli citizens every year. Mohammad will share a bit about his experience as an Arab Israeli during the ongoing clashes, and how shared society initiatives can help all Israeli citizens move forward together.

The State of our Immigration System with Hias, MIRA, and the True Alliance Center

The Impact of COVID-19 on Under-Resourced
Communities in Israel Featuring Times of Israel Correspondent Nathan Jeffay

Climate Change and Environmental Justice with Boston City Councilor Michelle Wu and Dr. Tareq Abu Hamed

Join JCRC and the Arava Institute for a discussion with Boston City Councilor Michelle Wu and Dr. Tareq Abu Hamed, Director of Center for Renewable Energy and Energy Conservation at the Arava Institute about the current challenges of climate change and equity in climate policy. The impact of climate change looks different across socio-economic groups, often exacerbating pre-existing disparities. We will examine the challenges faced by different communities and the long-term implications. 

Israeli Society and the Holocaust – A Work in Progress

Since the end of WW2, world Jewry grapples with the meaning of the Holocaust. Israeli society is dealing with this question in its collective memory, education system, political and social life. This session will explore the development of the Holocaust narrative in Israel from the early days, still under British Mandate all the way to recent years. Educator Rachel Korazim looks at the Yad Vashem museum for insights into the history and possible future of Holocaust commemoration in Israel.

A Conversation with Attorney General Maura Healey

A conversation between Attorney General Maura Healey and JCRC Executive Director Jeremy Burton. They discuss Attorney General Healey’s priorities for the new administration in Washington and how we can work together to support issues of importance to the Jewish community and our partners.

Watch: Equity in Education in the COVID-19 Era

With Boston City Councilor Andrea Campbell and Dr. Nasreen Hadad Haj’Yahya, Director of Arab-Jewish Relations at the Israel Democracy Institute, moderated by Dina Kraft

In Conversation: CNN Commentator Bakari Sellers and Reverend Liz Walker of Roxbury Presbyterian Church

Post-Election Analysis: The Youth Vote

What was the youth voter turnout in the 2020 Presidential election? Why are equitable and high levels of voter participation difficult to achieve? Alan Solomont and Dr. Kei Kawashima-Ginsberg from the Tisch College of Civic Life at Tufts University will share their expertise on youth voter engagement and what you can do to address systemic barriers to youth voting.

Taking White Supremacy to Court: The Charlottesville Case

JCRC sponsored a program with Integrity First for America (IFA), a new organization that is literally taking white supremacy to court, by bringing a lawsuit against the masterminds of the violence in Charlottesville. Read more about the event in this blog post from Deputy Director Nahma Nadich. The event featured IFA Executive Director Amy Spitalnick and attorney Michael Bloch for a conversation with Pastor Jeremy Battle on this landmark case and the fight against white supremacy and violent extremism. Co-Sponsors: Facing History, ADL New England, AJC New England, JALSA, Keshet and Western Avenue Baptist Church.

The Case for Ranked Choice Voting

A panel discussion on the case for Rank Choice Voting featuring leaders of the Yes on 2 campaign Evan Falchuk, Former candidate for Massachusetts Governor and Board Chair of the Yes On 2 campaign, and Tanisha M. Sullivan, Esq., President of the NAACP Boston Branch and Honorary Yes on 2 Campaign Co-Chair. Read more about the event in this blog post from Executive Director Jeremy Burton.