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

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A Year of Jewish Community Relations

January 7, 2016
Posted by: Jeremy Russell, Communications Manager

2015 was a big year for me. Not only was my son, Abraham, born – he’s an absolute delight! – but it was also my first year with the Jewish Community Relations Council.

When I started at JCRC I hoped to find a tight-knit group with a strong team spirit working to assure that my children could grow up in a community free of anti-Semitism, and that turned out to be exactly what I found. This is an amazingly dedicated bunch and the work that we do is incredibly important, nuanced and far-reaching.

2015 was a particularly critical time for JCRC, because we rolled out a new strategic plan to enhance our advocacy and outreach efforts. With this plan in place, JCRC is evolving so that it can continue meeting the needs of the organized Jewish community in the Bay Area while ensuring technological and financial sustainability. The plan outlines actions that will redesign the operational structure and ultimately improve our effectiveness across the board.

Last February, we held one of our largest-ever Behind the Scenes celebrations. In May, we hosted the first-ever Celebration of Jewish American Heritage Month for the City and County of San Francisco at City Hall. Throughout the year there have been volunteer events, speaking forums and Freedom Seders. And, another first, we helped organize and acted as lead sponsor for a Hiring Our Heroes job fair with the Giants at AT&T Park. JCRC also managed an active and persuasive legislative push in Sacramento alongside JPAC, while navigating a complex national debate on the Iran Deal. Meanwhile there were a variety of incursions by supporters of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Movement to which the community responded with our support and guidance. The campus environment on California universities has become particularly challenging as a result of anti-Israel activity. Through it all we have stood strong and true to our mission and values.

We’re still confronting the uptick in global anti-Semitism, and supporting other faith and ethnic communities dealing with increases in bigotry, as well. And I know the challenges are not going away, but I believe that we're on the correct path.

Yes, 2015 was a big year. I look forward to seeing what we’ll accomplish in 2016!