Originally the “Jewish Survey Committee,” JCRC Bay Area started in the 1930s to respond to the growing plight to European Jewry and the need for local advocacy. JCRC was formally established in 1948 to safeguard the conditions under which Jews, individually and communally, could live and flourish, here and abroad. It was one of the original twelve community relations councils in the United States and today remains one of the largest.

Throughout its history, JCRC Bay Area has built relationships and worked with other ethnic and faith communities and public officials to address issues of mutual concern. JCRC has provided local leadership and advocacy to respond to social and economic injustice, oppose antisemitism and other forms of hate, challenge the delegitimization of Israel, and ensure the safety and security of Jews and the Jewish community. Nationally, JCRC Bay Area is consistently recognized for its leadership on many issues.

Representing local Jewish organizations, synagogues and at-large members, JCRC has historically convened and mobilized our community to collectively act on issues of critical importance, such as supporting the movement to rescue Soviet Jewry, promoting civility through our “Year of Civil Discourse,” opposing Proposition 8 (which restricted same sex marriage in California), supporting Proposition 1 (which enshrined reproductive rights in the California constitution), and advocating for an inclusive California Ethnic Studies Model Curriculum.


The Jewish Survey Committee (later to become the Jewish Community Relations Council) is created to respond to the growing plight of European Jewry and the need for local advocacy.


The Jewish Survey Committee, along with the ad-hoc group the United Jewish Committee of San Francisco Against Nazi Extermination of Jews and Other Minorities, organizes a mass organizing meeting attended by thousands, including world-renowned celebrities.

The Jewish Survey Committee convenes and organizes a multi-ethnic and multi-faith effort to create the Council for Civic Unity. Its goal is to foster racial equality through equal and fair housing, employment and education advocacy.


We officially take on the name “Jewish Community Relations Council,” serving as an inclusive organization that reflects the views of the organized Jewish community.

JCRC plays a major role in advocating for fair employment legislation and a local monitoring organization in San Francisco, leading to the creation of the City’s first Fair Employment Practices Commission.


JCRC Action Issues:

First Amendment Rights
Housing Discrimination
Public School Education
Racial Inequality
Right to Protest
Education Equality
Agricultural Workers’ Rights

JCRC responds to major events of racial discrimination, adopting a consensus statement calling on the United States to fight racial injustice and on the Jewish community to support equality measures. JCRC organizes civil rights seminars and encourages active community participation.

Along with the Board of Rabbis of Northern California, JCRC helps organize a community rally to expose the persecution of Russian Jewry. Speakers include Mayor Joseph Alioto and celebrity Theodore Bikel.


JCRC Action Issues:

Racial Integration
Freedom of Assembly
Soviet Jewry Freedom Movement
Cultural Exchange with USSR
Discrimination in the Workplace
Religion and State
American Foreign Policy in Israel

When the United Nations declares that Zionism is racism, JCRC organizes a rally at Union Square to protest the resolution and support the United States and other countries that voted against it. More than 2,000 attend. At the rally, Mayor George Moscone declares “I am a Zionist!” and unequivocally states “Anti-Zionism is anti-Semitism.”

In response to the opening of a Nazi bookstore in San Francisco’s Sunset District and the resulting outrage of Holocaust survivors living in the neighborhood, JCRC convenes survivors and public officials. This results in the establishment of a Holocaust Library and Center, a permanent Holocaust Memorial by the Legion of Honor, and an annual Holocaust Remembrance Day commemoration.


JCRC Action Issues:

Soviet Jewry Freedom Movement
Nuclear Proliferation
Relief in Central America
Religious Symbols on Public Property
South African Apartheid
Terrorism and Violence

JCRC launches an education and advocacy campaign to help free persecuted Ethiopian Jews. A small delegation brings medicine, religious books, and money to the Jewish community in Ethiopia, documents the experience and uses this to raise awareness throughout the United States.

In conjunction with the Bay Area Council for Soviet Jews, JCRC brings thousands of people to the Soviet Consulate to celebrate the freedom of human rights activist Natan Sharansky, who joins us in person. Sharansky was honored by then-Assembly Member Jackie Speier, who declared it “Freedom of Prisoners of Conscience Day.”


JCRC Action Issues:

Jewish-Labor Relations
Gulf War
Israeli-Palestinian Peace Agreement
Affirmative Action
Domestic Violence
Educational Vouchers
Kosovo Conflict
International Human Rights
Gun Control

JCRC mounts a statewide effort to advocate for major changes in textbooks that inaccurately portray Judaism. As a result, the content is improved. JCRC begins to provide national assistance for similar curriculum concerns, which ultimately leads to the establishment of the Institute for Curriculum Services (ICS).

A San Francisco State University (SFSU) mural of Malcolm X is unveiled, depicting anti-Semitic symbols. JCRC works closely with SFSU administration. In a decisive move, SFSU President Robert Corrigan has the mural sandblasted and removed.

JCRC opens a local affiliate of the National Jewish Coalition for Literacy (JCL) in response to President Bill Clinton’s ‘America Reads’ challenge to raise the standard of national childhood literacy. JCL expands to San Francisco, the Peninsula and Marin.


JCRC Action Issues:

Public Education
Advocacy for Jewish Refugees from Arab Countries
Human Rights in the Sudan
Same-Sex Civil Marriage
Iran’s Nuclear Program
Two State Solution
Immigration Rights

JCRC advocates against efforts to pass a United States Constitutional amendment that would ban same-sex civil marriage, which would have perpetuated discrimination.

Intra-community tensions around polarizing issues increase. JCRC launches the Year of Civil Discourse, providing more than 1,000 community members, institutions, and leaders with tools to have respectful, vibrant, engaging conversations about emerging controversial issues.


JCRC Action Issues:

Reproductive Health
Economic Justice
Racial Justice
The Delegitimization of Israel
The Democracy of the United States

A measure is added to the San Francisco ballot that would have made the circumcision of a minor a criminal offense. JCRC leads the effort against this extreme, hate-motivated ballot measure that threatened parental choice, science and religious liberty. We launch a political education campaign aimed at voters and file a successful lawsuit to remove the measure from the ballot.

JCRC celebrates 25 years of bringing more than 400 Bay Area community and public officials to Israel for ten-day, in depth study tours, exposing them to Israel’s unique diversity and building lasting relationships for years to come.

JCRC launches its non-partisan democracy initiative to bolster the democratic systems and norms that provide proven protection against the discriminations that too often target racial, religious, and ethnic minority communities. Since launch, JCRC has hosted a full-day forum, multiple voter registration drives, and many other pro-democracy events.


In recognition of JCRC’s 75th anniversary, JCRC introduces a bold, colorful, and inclusive new identity. Moving forward, the organization will go by “JCRC Bay Area” to better reflect its commitments to thriving Jewish communities.