In the News

  • July 1, 2022

    Jewish community leaders will fight attempts to restrict abortion in Virginia

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    “As a result of the supreme court’s decision, access to abortion will depend on where you live and which political party controls your state. It has led to increased polarization. It’s setting up battles between states and within states.”

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  • July 1, 2022

    Coach Kennedy being allowed to pray at the 50-yard line is not good for Jews

    Forward

    The recent Supreme Court ruling allowing a coach to pray on the field makes it even harder to advocate for minority-faith students

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  • June 24, 2022

    ‘Abortion access is a Jewish value’: Reaction to Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade

    Forward

    The U.S. Supreme Court on Friday overturned Roe v. Wade. The decision ended constitutional protections for the right to an abortion that had been in place for nearly 50 years. Abortion opponents have fought for decades to outlaw the procedure. Abortion will now likely be banned in about half of the states.

    Here is a sampling of reaction from the Jewish community.

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  • June 24, 2022

    ‘After Shabbat, we will act’: American Jews gear up for wave of post-Roe activism

    Jewish Telegraphic Agency

    The Washington D.C.-area JCRC said it would push back against further restrictions on abortion access in Virginia, and it would lobby to keep Congress, which has a degree of jurisdiction over the District of Columbia, from imposing abortion restrictions on an overwhelmingly liberal population there that rejects such restrictions.

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  • June 20, 2022

    Antisemitic, white supremacist fliers raise alarms in Montgomery County

    Washington Jewish Week

    “Some of it is antisemitic, some of it is racist, and a lot of it is white supremacist in origin,” said Halber, a resident of Germantown and member of Temple Beth Ami. “The one in Kemp Mill was directed at the Jewish community. The others were just bigoted in general, not just Jewish but could be seen as targeting other groups, as well.”

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  • June 20, 2022

    Is D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser in trouble at the polls?

    Jewish Insider

    “JCRC does have an exceptionally close relationship with Muriel Bowser,” Halber said. 

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  • June 2, 2022

    Swastika Posted at Bus Stop by Silver Spring Synagogue

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    Ron Halber, the Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Washington executive director, also issued a statement noting that his organization is “deeply disturbed,”

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  • May 23, 2022

    Montgomery County Vigil Supporting Victims of Buffalo Mass Shooting

    JCRC

    The JCRC’s Executive Director Ron Halber speaks at Montgomery County Vigil Supporting Victims of Buffalo Mass Shooting

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  • May 23, 2022

    New Loudoun County schools data shows significant increase in racial slurs, hate speech

    ABC7 WJLA

    “I think it mirrors the trends that we’re seeing in society overall,” said Guila Franklin Siegel, the associate director of the Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Washington.

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  • May 20, 2022

    The Perils of Eileen

    Washington Jewish Week

    Ron Halber, executive director of the Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Washington, has worked with Filler-Corn and calls her an excellent speaker. Impressed with her fundraising abilities, Halber said he is turned off by calls that she didn’t share the money she had raised.

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  • May 17, 2022

    Jewish Rally for Abortion Justice’ held outside US Congress

    The Jerusalem Post

    Ron Halber, CEO of JCRC of Greater Washington. “The JCRC is the umbrella organization of over 120 synagogues, schools, social service agencies and local chapters of national organizations,” said Halber. “And when you look at the issues today that are polarizing Americans, one of the issues that American Jews are most united on is the freedom of choice and women’s right to reproductive health.”

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  • April 27, 2022

    Jewish communities in the US mark the Holocaust Remembrance Day

    The Jerusalem Post

    In the Washington DC area, the local JCRC will host a virtual community-wide commemoration online at 1 PM on Sunday, May 1. Holocaust survivor Josie Traum will be the keynote speaker.

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  • February 26, 2022

    Local organization aims to help as Jewish Ukrainians concerned by Putin's rhetoric

    ABC7 WJLA

    Halber says one cause for concern today for many the 200,000 Jewish people who call Ukraine home, is Russian President Vladimir Putin's claim that one purpose of this invasion is the so-called "denazification" of the country.

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  • February 25, 2022

    Proposal to end solitary confinement fails

    VPM

    Advocates opposed the committee’s decision to study, rather than act on the issue. Vicki Fishman represents the Jewish Community Relations Council, which supported Morrissey’s original proposal.

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  • January 31, 2022

    Funds Available for Security at Montgomery County Houses of Worship

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    Montgomery County announced a series of grants to help pay for security at houses of worship. News4’s Derrick Ward reports.

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  • January 29, 2022

    Fairfax County adopts school calendar with more religious holidays

    The Washington Post

    Guila Franklin Siegel, associate director of the Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Washington, pointed out that the vote for the new calendar took place on International Holocaust Remembrance Day.

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  • January 28, 2022

    Forty-two Jewish institutions to benefit from security grants

    Washington Jewish Week

    Ron Halber, executive director of the Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Washington, said while Jews constitute about 2 percent of the U.S. population, about 60 percent of religious-based hate crimes target Jewish institutions and people. He also noted the increase in hate crimes targeting Asian Americans, Muslim Americans, African Americans and other groups in the last several years.

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  • January 28, 2022

    Fairfax County schools adopt equitable academic calendar with goal of more inclusion

    ABC7 WJLA

    Guila Franklin Siegel, Associate Director of the Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC) of Greater Washington, released the following statement.

    We are elated that the Fairfax County School Board has taken this landmark, long overdue step to advance equity for minority-faith students. Tonight’s vote is a game-changer; it will have an immediate, dramatic impact on FCPS’ Jewish students and employees, as well as those of other minority faiths, who for the first time will feel that they have been truly seen and heard. Importantly, it also remedies the system-wide confusion and hardships caused by the current “O” calendar, which both teachers and students found highly problematic, and gives Veteran’s Day the recognition it deserves. And it accomplishes all of this without disadvantaging hourly workers or diminishing quality instruction, recognizing the importance to staff of aligning FCPS’ calendar with those of neighboring jurisdictions.

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  • January 27, 2022

    County giving $700,000 to houses of worship to help with security

    Bethesda Magazine

    Ron Halber, executive director of the Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Washington, said in an interview that other funding sources, like federal and state grants, are mostly used for capital projects. 

    Halber said that replacing a security system is helpful, but the number one deterrent to attacks leading to injuries or deaths at a house of worship is by having an off-duty police officer or some other security presence, at least on a part-time basis. 

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  • November 11, 2021

    FCPS lags behind Arlington, Prince William, Loudoun in observing religious holidays

    Fairfax County Times

    Rabbi Abbi Sharofsky, who serves as JCRC’s director of Intergroup Relations and previously served on Governor Ralph Northam’s Task Force on Culturally Inclusive School Meals and Calendars, said that the O calendar “was not enough” and a “device that was created to try and fix a difficult situation, and all it did was create more confusion.” 

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  • October 29, 2021

    Virginia’s education culture wars could decide its next governor

    Jewish Insider

    “My gut instinct is that the Jewish community continues to be solidly Democratic voters. That’s what every single poll has continued to show. I think it’s important to take that reality check,” said Franklin Siegel. “Having said that, I think that Jewish parents, in many respects, are no different than a lot of other suburban parents. And it seems that Youngkin has had a lot of success with using education as a wedge issue.”  

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  • October 26, 2021

    MoCo earmarks $700,000 for security of nonprofits

    Washington Jewish Week

    “There is no substitute for human eyes and intuition on the ground — you cannot replace the human element with [technology],” Halber said.

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  • September 30, 2021

    Maryland county to fund security for nonprofits at risk of hate crimes

    The Jerusalem Post

    “Providing security to its citizens is the No. 1 responsibility of any local government, and I think our government here has been very, very responsible in acknowledging and understanding and appreciating what it is....They can’t just rely on federal dollars to deal with the security needs of the Jewish community and others,” Ronald Halber said.

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  • September 9, 2021

    Task Force Recommends Tools to Help Schools Adopt Culturally and Religiously Inclusive Holidays and Dietary Practices

    Commonwealth of Virginia

    "All students, educators, and families should feel a sense of belonging in their schools and institutions of higher education,” said task force member Rabbi Abbi Sharofsky. “Religious and ethnic minorities often feel isolated when choosing how to observe a holiday that falls on a school day, especially if the school does not acknowledge the observances important to their traditions. By proactively and intentionally creating an inclusive academic calendar, PK-12 schools and higher education institutions can foster belonging and equity for all students, and allow students to more fully lean into their religious and cultural identities."

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  • August 25, 2021

    Afghanistan dominates DC's attention, but MidEast eyes are on Bennett

    The Jerusalem Post

    “The Jewish community in the US is closely following the visit, as well. Ron Halber, executive director of the Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Washington, told the Post that the American Jewish community “is open-minded and excited about getting to know Prime Minister Bennett, as we are every time there is a new Israeli prime minister.

    “Most American Jews feel a natural love and affiliation for Israel and want the prime minister to succeed, no matter what party he represents.

    “We are hopeful that President Biden and Prime Minister Bennett will enjoy a relationship of mutual respect and cooperation that will further the special bond between our two countries,” said Halber. “Most American Jews would like to see close coordination between our leaders in solving the COVID crisis and responding to the threat posed by Iran.”

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