JCRC Speaker Series

Ruth Balser Email (1)
Join JCRC for a one on one conversation between Representative Ruth Balser and Executive Director Jeremy Burton to discuss her priorities and how her Jewish identity informs her work.

Representative Ruth Balser is the State Representative for the 12th Middlesex District, which includes roughly the southern half of the City of Newton. Now serving her twelfth term in the House of Representatives, Representative Balser continues to be an independent progressive voice, fighting for the values and priorities of her community. Representative Balser serves as a member of House Speaker Mariano’s leadership team as a Division Chair.

Rachel Fish Email (3)
Join Executive Director Jeremy Burton for a wide-ranging conversation with nationally recognized expert Dr. Rachel Fish. We will discuss how to confront antisemitism and anti-Zionism.
story of our community
In this new series beginning in December, JCRC executive director Jeremy Burton will be sitting down with colleagues who are the regional and local professional leaders of the member organizations that make up our community relations council. Please join us as we showcase the breadth of our community, learn about the diversity of our members, and lift up the valuable work achieved by our community’s organizational network.
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Dalit Ballen Horn, Executive Director,
the Vilna Shul

Dec 21, 2021 12:00 PM

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Lital Carmel, Regional Director, Israeli-American Council 
Jan 19, 2022 12:00 PM

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Ari Fertig, Executive Director, New England Jewish Labor Committee 
Feb 17, 2022 12:00 PM

Past Speaker Series

The Insider's Guide to Israel

Executive Director Jeremy Burton in conversation with JCRC study tour educator Yishay Shavit for a discussion on his new book, Heartbeats: The Insider's Guide to Israel. Hear from one of Israel's most talented experiential educators on the perspectives, narratives, and dilemmas of the country.

A Conversation with Rep. Jake Auchincloss

ED Jeremy Burton in conversation with Congressman Auchincloss on combating antisemitism, immigration, international relations, and more.

Common Cause MA ED Geoff Foster on the VOTES Act

Executive Director Jeremy Burton and Common Cause MA Executive Director Geoff Foster discuss the VOTES Act: what we’ve accomplished in voter reform, what we need to focus on moving forward, and reflections on the 2021 elections.

Moving Forward in Israel’s Mixed Cities 
Earlier this summer, violence between Jewish and Palestinian citizens spilled into the streets of Israel’s mixed cities. Many feared that this would disturb the fragile connections between the residents of these cities. Based in the mixed city of Lod, the leadership of The Abraham Initiatives has been working for years to build trust between Jews and Palestinians in Israel, and they are leading the fight to maintain and strengthen these ties in the wake of recent tensions. We will hear from The Abraham Initiatives’ co-directors, Dr. Thabet Abu Ras and Amnon Be’eri Sulitzeanu, about their work to build a more equal and just society in Israel.

A Conversation with State Senator Becca Rausch 
A one-on-one conversation with State Senator Becca Rausch and JCRC Executive Director Jeremy Burton. Senator Rausch pulls back the curtain on Beacon Hill, discusses her priorities for the Commonwealth, and how her Jewish identity informs her work. 

Journeys of Loss and Hope

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. Chaplain Clementina Chery of the Louis D. Brown Peace Institute and Robi Damelin and Laila El-Shaikh of the Parents Circle Families Forum 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.

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.