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

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Our History


1938

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.

1940s

1943

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.

1948

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.

1950s

1951

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

1957

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. 

1960s

JCRC action issues:

First Amendment Rights

Housing Discrimination

Public School Education

Racial Inequality

Right to Protest

Education Equality

Agricultural Workers’ Rights

1963

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.

1967

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.

1970s

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

1975

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.” 

1977

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. 

1980s

JCRC action issues:

Soviet Jewry Freedom Movement

Nuclear Proliferation

Relief in Central America

Religious Symbols on Public Property

South African Apartheid

Terrorism and Violence

1983

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.  

1987

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.”

1990s

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

1990

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).

1994

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. 

1999

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. 

2000s

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

2004

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

2009

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.

2010s

JCRC action issues:

Reproductive Health

2011

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. 

2014

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. 

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