JCRC in the News

Should American Jews Stop Trying to Defeat Antisemitism?
Times of Israel, By Jeremy Burton, November 14th, 2019

Should we, American Jews, stop trying to defeat antisemitism?

It is a question I’ve been pondering as I recently spent a month traveling through Europe and experiencing Jewish memory. And it is a question I’d love to hear from others about: Should we, as an American Jewish community, stop carrying the fight to “end” antisemitism in our country?
Why do I ask this question?

U.S. FBI report shows first decrease in hate crimes in 4 years

Boston 25 News, November 12, 2019

"The repetition, the intensity, is creating a sense that we as a Jewish community haven't really faced so acutely in America.” “Aaron Agulnek is with the Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Boston. The JCRC says that while these numbers may show a decline in hate crime, the level of fear in the Jewish community is on the incline, especially after recent unsolved arson fires at the homes of rabbis in Arlington and Needham, and the deaths of 11 worshipers at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh last year.” “Houses of prayer, schools, community centers, those are places of gathering, and we need to do something as a community to create a sense of security, while still maintaining that sense of openness."

U.S. Jews Seek Ways to Fight New Age of anti-Semitism

Haaretz, October 27, By Dina Kraft

Nahma Nadich, acting executive director of the Jewish Community Relations Council in Boston, says she sees a new level of anxiety among Jews about the national and local situation. Massachusetts is experiencing near-record numbers of anti-Semitic incidents — which most recently included news that some students at a suburban middle school created a Snapchat group called “Kill the Jews.”...She sees the deep relationships built with other communities in the area as essential in the fight against anti-Semitism. “When something terrible happens, including after the Pittsburgh attack, some of the first calls we receive are from Christian and Muslim groups … it makes such a difference not to feel alone,” Nadich says...She adds: “Certainly in the dramatic moments people show up, but there are also lots of smaller moments where people are showing up as well.” Nadich also notes conversations where, when non-Jews reach out trying to learn more, she and her colleagues find themselves having to explain basic anti-Semitic tropes revolving around power and money.

Meanwhile, social justice mobilizing has included activists hosting asylum seekers in their homes and Jewish community members traveling to the San Diego area to get a better picture of what’s happening to asylum seekers on the border at ICE detention centers.

“People are desperately trying to figure out what in God’s name to do,” Nadich says...In Massachusetts, the Jewish Community Relations Council has been working with the state government to expand a grant program to help cover security costs for religious and nonprofit facilities."

Massachusetts Has an Anti-Semitism Problem, and It’s Only Getting Worse

Boston Magazine, Digital and Print, By Michael Damiano

Massachusetts Lawmakers Considering Genocide Education Mandates

Armenian Weekly, October 9, 2019

A coalition of over 25 organizations including the ANCs of Eastern Mass., Central Mass. and Merrimack Valley, the Genocide Education Project, Facing History and Ourselves, Mass. Coalition to Save Darfur as well as several Jewish advocacy groups including the Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Boston (JCRC) and the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) all convened at the Massachusetts State House on Monday to provide support and testimony in front of the House/Senate Joint Committee on Education in its public hearing for bills H.566/S.327.

Jews Prepare For High Holidays As White Supremacist Incidents Soar In Mass.

WGBH NEWS, September 26, 2019

Aaron Agulnek of the Jewish Community Relations Council said he hopes concerns about security don't keep anybody from worshiping during this New Year's season. “These wounds are fresh and the anxiety is real, and at a time of the High Holidays, when Jews traditionally come together in great numbers, this is the time where a lot of people might be experiencing these threats for the first time.”

But he believes worshipers will not be deterred. “We're all coming together. The doors will be open. People will be coming to pray. And we're not going to let threats of violence get in the way of our sacred celebrations.”

New England Revolution, Chelsea FC, donate $4 million to charities and nonprofits

Pro Soccer USA, August 27, 2019

The Revolution said individual grants as high as $500,000 were donated to three beneficiaries with global reach: the Anti-Defamation League, Holocaust Educational Trust, and World Jewish Congress.

Other organizations benefiting include: Combined Jewish Philanthropies, Community Security Trust, the Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations, FARE, Hillel International, International March of the Living, Israeli-American Council, Jewish Agency for Israel, Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Boston, Kick it Out, Stand with Us, the Philos Project, and the Tree of Life Synagogue.

Jewish schools, synagogues seek state grants to improve security

Boston Globe, August 18, 2019

The interest here among Jewish institutions in the grants is driven, in part, by such organizations as the Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Boston, which publicizes their availability to centers and synagogues.

“There is a level of anxiety [in the community],” said Aaron Agulnek, the organization’s director of government affairs. “Safe places should be safe places. Programs like this and smart target-hardening upgrades can help promote peace of mind.

“But,” he added, “it’s also not the final answer to the problem.”

Ayanna Pressley Is the Squad’s Free Agent

Politico, August 7, 2019

Everyone from Twitter to the Times of Israel has made mistaken assumptions about her, says Jeremy Burton, executive director of the Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Boston, who lives in Pressley’s district and notes that Pressley’s Israel boycott vote was consistent with her campaign rhetoric. Most of those mistakes, Burton says, were “entirely based on what she represents as a woman of color, and who she’s working with and aligned with on a bunch of other issues, and not what she was actually saying.”

The 31 best things to do around Boston in August

Boston.com, July 31, 2019

ReachOut! Volunteering at the Emerald Necklace. Get your hands dirty at the Emerald Necklace’s Rose Garden to plant trees, flowers, and remove invasive species. (5:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.; James P. Kelleher Rose Garden, Fenway-Kenmore; free; all ages)

Senator Eldridge, United Way and Boston Builds Credit join community partners to advocate for credit-building legislation to create upward economic mobility

United Way, July 30, 2019

“The ability to access credit is a crucial need for people seeking economic opportunity in today’s economy,” testified Aaron Agulnek, Director of Government Affairs at jewish Community Relations Council. “Given the power of credit scoring agencies on every aspect of individual economic opportunity, it is incumbent on policy makers to ensure that people can build their credit while reforms are considered for the industry.”

Grant Program Would Fund Hate Crime Awareness in Schools

State House News, July 26, 2019

"Seemingly every day a violent and threatening incident motivated by intolerance and bigotry is carried out in every pocket of the Commonwealth," Aaron Agulnek of the Jewish Community Relations Council said in a statement. "We must meet this crisis head-on through education, community intervention and meaningful partnerships. Our public schools and institutions are best positioned to develop a generation of residents committed to understanding and respect."

JCRC Labor Trip to Israel

The Jewish Advocate, July 17, 2019

The Jews getting arrested at ICE centers are just getting started

The Jewish Telegraphic Agency, July 12, 2019

JCRC celebrates 75th anniversary

The Jewish Advocate, Digital and Print, June 19, 2019

Hate Crimes Fuel Push For State Security Funds

State House News Service, May 20, 2019
also printed in: WGBH,  Daily Hampshire Gazette

Vigil Outside Needham Jewish Center After Arson

New England Cable News, May 18, 2019

Police Investigate Fires at Rabbi's Home, Jewish Center

New England Cable News, May 17, 2019

“Well. . .It’s Complicated Because. . .

Af-Am Point of View, April 1, 2019

Public affairs body calls for more funding

Washington Jewish Week, February 13, 2019

JCPA Makes Expansion Push Amid Increasingly Treacherous Politics
The New York Jewish Week, February 12, 2019
Super Bowl LIII Was Good for the Jews

The Daily Beast, February 4, 2019

Easthampton mayor looks to Israel for pointers
Daily Hampshire Gazette, December 13, 2018
Living under a cloud of suspicion
Andover Townsman, August 23, 2018
Boston-area city council turns away BDS resolution
Jewish Telegraphic Agency, April 22, 2018
‘Mein Kampf’ proceeds ought to go exclusively to Holocaust education
Boston Globe Letter to the Editor, May 18, 2016