Jewish Community Relations Councilof San Francisco, the Peninsula, Marin, Sonoma, Alameda and Contra Costa Counties

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A Time of Inspiration

July 15, 2015
Posted by: Abby Porth, Associate Executive Director

JCRC is currently implementing a dynamic new strategic plan, the third in its 70-year history, which will advance our mission of education and advocacy, and guarantee our efficacy in creating an inclusive, diverse forum for engaging the Bay Area’s organized Jewish community.

Our previous strategic plan was developed at a time of growing complexity in the Middle East and Israel. Since then, the situation has become only more pronounced. Recent years have seen intermittent war between Israel and Hamas, encroachment into new Bay Area sectors by the spurious Boycott-Divestment-Sanctions (BDS) movement, and a dramatic spike in anti-Semitism worldwide. There have also been significant shifts within the American Jewish community. We have become more racially diverse, more interested in tying impact-oriented activism to our philanthropy, and more inclined to affiliate with issue-specific organizations rather than communal umbrellas. Technology has undergone radical changes, and we in the Bay Area expect that it will be a vehicle to more quickly make our lives more meaningful and our voices more heard.  

To meet the challenges that these phenomena present to doing smart community relations and public affairs work, it is essential that JCRC evolve. We are enhancing our structure as well as our advocacy, outreach, and technological platforms to ensure JCRC’s sustainability. We are thrilled to be reaching into the Jewish community to harness its rich and vibrant diversity, and to enlist vibrant emerging organizations in our work. We are adapting our consensus-building techniques to widen the opportunity for our community to weigh in and provide its perspectives on the public affairs issues that affect our community.

Changes include the redeployment of staff into new regional Public Affairs and Civic Engagement positions, as well as the reorganization of some program committees and the reformation of the Metropolitan Council into the Assembly, which will serve as the single, Bay Area-wide democratic instrument for the organized Jewish community.

JCRC is also introducing action-oriented workgroups on Coalition Building, Civic Engagement and Public Education Advocacy in the four geographic areas that we serve – East Bay, North Bay, the Peninsula and San Francisco. And it is with particular excitement that we launch workgroups in each area that will assist in organizing a series of regional Town Hall meetings, where we will use live polling technology to take the pulse of the community on critical public affairs issues. These Town Hall meetings will be open to JCRC members as well as all members of JCRC member organizations and held throughout the Bay Area several times per year. This feedback will inform and enrich our consensus process. These new efforts will be launched this fall.

I am grateful to our lay leadership for its foresight and wisdom in initiating this strategic plan, to our Board for ensuring the resources necessary to engage in a truly effective process, and to the dozens of volunteers and staff who participated during this 18 month planning phase. This strategic plan has positioned JCRC incredibly well for the future, with aspirational yet necessary, ambitious yet practical goals to ensure this organization will continue to thrive. We will continue to provide this very unique forum where Jews with different types of religious observance, political perspectives, nationalities, languages, sexual orientation, race, age and organizational affiliations coalesce in pursuit of a just society and secure Jewish future.

If you want to donate to support these efforts and get involved, we invite you to contact our office today.

PHOTO: "Break of Dawn” by Jason Jenkins, ©2013, CC-Share Alike 2.0.