News

  • February 23, 2021

    Group pushes for recognition of minority religions in Fairfax County school calendar

    ABC7 WJLA

    Last year, the school board created a task force to find options for a new calendar that would reflect the growing religious diversity in Northern Virginia. The task force proposed two options, which would have closed school on days coinciding with four Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, and Sikh observances.

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  • February 12, 2021

    Interfaith community pushes Fairfax County Schools to include religious holidays in their calendar

    WDVM

    “Both of the drafts included closures on the days that coincide with Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, Eid, and Diwali, and without any notice, the board included a third option that does not include those days off,” said Franklin-Siegel.

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  • February 11, 2021

    Faith leaders criticize Fairfax school board for delaying vote on adding four religious holidays to calendar

    The Washington Post

     

    “Since I joined JCRC four years ago, I have set my sights on working on this issue in Fairfax,” Siegel said. “It would be a game-changer for a huge segment of the Northern Virginia Jewish community.” -- Fairfax spokeswoman Lucy Caldwell said the school board is scheduled again to vote on the calendar at a March 18 meeting. Ahead of that, Siegel said the JCRC and other religious groups are joining forces to launch an “education and advocacy campaign” in Fairfax County. They hope to change board members’ minds.

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  • February 11, 2021

    Fairfax Co. school board considers new calendar to address learning loss from pandemic

    WTOP News

    Guila Franklin Siegel, associate director of the Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Washington, said her organization and others represented on the task force were not notified that a third option had been proposed. “We were very, very shocked and disappointed,” she said. “We don’t feel that removing closures on four days in an entire school year is going to meaningfully address that issue (of learning loss).”

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  • February 10, 2021

    Jewish group assists food insecure neighbors at Holy Cross Hospital

    Washington Jewish Week

    Last fall, Kemp Mill Synagogue received a call from Holy Cross Hospital in Silver Spring asking for their help. Holy Cross Hospital had identified nearly 100 employees who were food insecure due to pandemic-related issues.

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  • February 3, 2021

    Repairing the world from the Virginia statehouse

    Jewish Insider

    Eileen Filler-Corn, the fast-rising speaker of the House, maintains strong ties to the Jewish community in a state that has turned solidly blue

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  • January 25, 2021

    ‘I don’t recognize our country’: Jewish lawmakers under siege respond

    The Jerusalem Post

    The new Congress has at least 33 Jewish members, in the House and Senate, among those who would have been present today.

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  • January 25, 2021

    Barbara Leaf could play a key role in Biden’s Middle East policy

    Jewish Insider

    In the October JCRC talk, Leaf encouraged the next administration to take its time in addressing rapprochement with Iran.

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  • January 25, 2021

    JCRC looks to make up for COVID losses in state budgets

    Washington Jewish Week

    As General Assemblies meet in Richmond and Annapolis, the Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Washington is aiming to replace funds that were redirected last year for pandemic relief.

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  • January 19, 2021

    Police Reform

    JCRC of Greater Washington

    Enshrined in the fundamental text of our Jewish heritage, the Torah, is a recognition of the role of both those who adjudicate the law (shoftim) and those who enforce it (shotrim) in the structures of a society based on law and civility (Deut. 16:18). The term, shoftim, refers to judges and the term, shotrim, in modern Hebrew, refers to police. The biblical commentator Rashi, writing in the 11th century, noted when judges (shoftim) rendered a legal decision, it was the police (shotrim) who were charged with enforcing that law even by using physical force. (Midrash Tanchuma, Shoftim 2:17).

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  • January 7, 2021

    Jewish Community of the Nation’s Capital Condemns Violence at U.S. Capitol

    JCRC of Greater Washington

    Washington DC - Jan. 6, 2021 - The Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC) of Greater Washington condemns the lawlessness and violence taking place in our nation’s capital. Today, the JCRC issued the following statement: 

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  • December 4, 2020

    The JCRC Applauds Decision by Three Northern Virginia School Boards to Close Schools on Religious Holidays

    JCRC of Greater Washington

    Washington DC —Dec. 4, 2020 – The Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC) of Greater Washington today applauded the Arlington County School Board and the Loudoun County School Board for voting to adopt academic calendars for the 2021-2022 school year that will close schools on days coinciding with major religious observances.

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  • November 7, 2020

    The JCRC & The Jewish Federation of Greater Washington Congratulate President-Elect Joe Biden and Vice President-Elect Kamala Harris

    JCRC of Greater Washington

    The Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Washington and The Jewish Federation of Greater Washington congratulate President-elect Joe Biden on his victory in the 2020 presidential election. American citizens came out in record numbers to participate in our democracy and their voices have been heard and counted. We further congratulate Vice President-elect Kamala Harris on her historic victory as the first woman, black person, and person of South Asian descent to be elected to the office of Vice President.

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  • October 29, 2020

    Rabin’s legacy was complex and nuanced

    Washington Jewish Week

    “This week, Jewish communities around the world will light candles, lay flowers and hold ceremonies in Rabin’s memory. But there is more we can and must do to preserve the legacy of this great Zionist leader. We can teach our young people to live up to the complex and nuanced values and ideals that he held. By embracing Israel education and engagement with authenticity and nuance, we have the opportunity to inspire future generations to follow in Rabin’s footsteps...”

    By Alexis Schwartz, Director of the Israel Action Center at the Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Washington.

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  • October 21, 2020

    Environmental Policy

    JCRC of Greater Washington

    The Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Washington (JCRC) has a long history of advocacy for policies that protect the environment and mitigate past practices that have harmed and degraded it. The policies set forth in this Environmental Policy Paper are adopted by the Board of the JCRC and supersede prior policy papers issued by JCRC. 
     
    A Link to Jewish Text 
     
    As a Jewish community organization, we are inspired by the teachings drawn from our sacred texts about the environment and our responsibility to protect it. For example: 

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  • October 13, 2020

    The JCRC Statement on Threat to VA Governor Northam

    JCRC of Greater Washington

    Washington DC – Executive Director of The Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC) of Greater Washington Ron Halber and JCRC President Ronald A. Paul, MD today issued the following statement:

    The JCRC is alarmed that conspirators who this week plotted to kidnap Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer also discussed Virginia Governor Ralph Northam as a potential target. Violence or violent threats targeting elected leaders are abhorrent in a civilized society and threaten the foundation of our democratic system.

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  • October 7, 2020 / 19 Tishrei, 5781

    Shemini Atzeret & Simchat Torah 5781

    Two Minutes of Torah with Rabbi Abbi Sharofsky

    On Yom Kippur, we came together virtually or in carefully limited groups and recited some of the most difficult prayers in Jewish liturgy. We asked for forgiveness, we searched our souls, and recalled those we lost. Yizkor, the service of remembrance, is a central feature of the Yom Kippur service. The memories of loved ones, of old friends, of public figures, sat with us as we prayed throughout that solemn day.

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  • October 2, 2020 / 14 Tishrei, 5781

    Sukkot 5781

    Two Minutes of Torah with Rabbi Abbi Sharofsky

    Sukkot is known as “zman simchateinu,” a time of our joy. Historically, we are celebrating the fall harvest and the biblical Israelites’ journey through the desert wilderness. We intentionally build fragile structures; for eight days we eat and even sleep within them, knowing it could be beautiful and sunny one day, cold and windy another.  

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  • September 23, 2020 / 5 Tishrei 5781

    Parashat Ha’azinu – Shabbat Shuvah

    Two Minutes of Torah with Rabbi Abbi Sharofsky

    The ten days between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur are some of the most complicated days of the Jewish year. It is a time of standing between the joy and sweetness of welcoming the new year and the solemnity of Yom Kippur, a day of judgement. During this time, many Jews reflect on the past year and engage in the work of teshuva – repentance and recalibration with others, with God, and with oneself. This year, this meaningful work is happening in the shadow of a monumental event, the death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

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  • September 18, 2020 / 29 Elul 5780

    Rosh Hashanah 5781

    Two Minutes of Torah with Rabbi Abbi Sharofsky

     For many people, Rosh Hashanah always seems to arrive before we are quite ready for it.  This year, the feeling of being caught off guard is even more acute, because everything we typically associate with Rosh Hashanah is somehow different.

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  • September 17, 2020

    The Jewish Community of the Nation's Capital Dismayed at Lack of Holocaust Awareness

    JCRC of Greater Washington

    Washington DC—September 17, 2020 – The Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC) of Greater Washington is shocked and dismayed at the U.S. Millennial Holocaust Knowledge and Awareness Survey put out by The Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany. The report reveals appallingly low levels of Holocaust awareness and understanding among American millennials and members of Generation Z in our region.

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  • September 15, 2020

    The Jewish community of Greater Washington welcomes today’s signing of the Abraham Accords

    JCRC of Greater Washington

    Washington DC—September 15, 2020 – The Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC) of Greater Washington and The Jewish Federation of Greater Washington join Jewish communities around the world in welcoming today’s historic signing of a peace accord between Israel, the United Arab Emirates, and Bahrain. The two Arab countries finalized the normalization of relations and establishment of full diplomatic relations with Israel at a White House ceremony.

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  • September 2, 2020 / 13 Elul 5780

    Parashat Ki Tavo

    Two Minutes of Torah with Rabbi Abbi Sharofsky

    In this week’s Torah portion Ki Tavo, a reminder that our society is not only experiencing the physical and emotional traumas of a pandemic – we are experiencing spiritual trauma – and we must address it.

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  • August 19, 2020 / 29 Av 5780

    Parashat Shoftim

    Two Minutes of Torah with Rabbi Abbi Sharofsky

    In this week’s Torah portion, Shoftim, centers justice as a foundational precept for the Israelite nation, a platform that will carry them into peoplehood.

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  • August 12, 2020 / 22 Av 5780

    Parashat Re’eh

    Two Minutes of Torah with Rabbi Abbi Sharofsky

    In this week’s Torah portion, Re’eh, includes instructions for how we should treat people in our communities, whether they are within our immediate networks or beyond. 

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