In the News

  • July 12, 2021

    Activists gather at the National Mall to protest the rise of antisemitism

    The Jerusalem Post

    Ron Halber, executive director of the Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Washington, said at the event that the Greater Washington community stands strong and united. “We are bolstered by the presence of our Jewish brothers and sisters from across America. And we are strengthened by the support of our interfaith allies and friends,” he said. “We value this unity, because even our nation’s capital has not been immune to the rising tide of antisemitism. “None of us should need to be at a rally against antisemitism in 2021, but we do need to be here because we must again respond to vile rhetoric, physical attacks and symbols of hatred against our people.” He went on to say that “the Jewish people will not be divided,” and that “we will fight antisemitism from the Right and we will fight antisemitism from the Left; we will hold both of our political parties and all of our elected representatives accountable for protecting Jewish Americans from hatred and oppression.”

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  • July 11, 2021

    Hundreds Attend Rally Against Rising Anti-Semitism in Washington; Organizers Committed to Vanquishing All Forms of Hate

    The Jewish Voice

    The Jerusalem Post reported that among the confirmed speakers at the event were Elisha Wiesel, the son of the late Elie Wiesel; Rabbi Jeffrey Myers from the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh; Ron Halber, executive director at the JCRC of Greater Washington; Norm Coleman, chairman of the Republican Jewish Coalition; and Ron Klein, chairman of the Jewish Democratic Council of America, among others. --- The Times of Israel reported that Ron Halber, executive director of the Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Washington said: “None of us should need to be at a rally against anti-Semitism in 2021. “But we do need to be here. Because we must again respond to vile rhetoric, physical attacks and symbols of hatred against our people.”

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  • July 11, 2021

    ‘We cannot be scared:’ Some 2,000 rally against antisemitism in DC

    The Times of Israel

    “None of us should need to be at a rally against antisemitism in 2021,” said Ron Halber, executive director of the Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Washington. “But we do need to be here. Because we must again respond to vile rhetoric, physical attacks and symbols of hatred against our people.”

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  • July 11, 2021

    Numerous Jewish organizations to protest the rise of antisemitism

    The Jerusalem Post

    Among the confirmed speakers at the event are Elisha Wiesel, the son of the late Elie Wiesel; Rabbi Jeffrey Myers from the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh; Ron Halber, executive director at the JCRC of Greater Washington; Norm Coleman, chairman of the Republican Jewish Coalition; and Ron Klein, chairman of the Jewish Democratic Council of America, among others.

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  • June 23, 2021

    This organization was supposed to unite Jews. A debate over Black Lives Matter may fuel its demise.

    Jewish Telegraphic Agency

    During the polarizing debate over the Iran nuclear deal in 2015, for example, federations and their JCRCs agonized over whether to support or reject the deal. Those close to the JCPA say the community needs a national organization adept at forging alliances with other groups and providing a Jewish voice in shaping civil society. Ron Halber, executive director of the JCRC of Greater Washington, said the federations, which are more susceptible to donor pressures, are necessarily less agile. “An independent JCPA will shield federations from some of the very, very difficult political issues, and divisive issues,” Halber said.

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  • June 23, 2021

    Carefully chosen words

    Washington Jewish Week

    The Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Washington did not take lightly our choice of words, and we stand behind our statement. We have no desire to engage in a tit-for-tat about this issue, but rather will focus on furthering dialogue between local leaders and the tens of thousands of Jews across Fairfax County and the rest of the DMV who were not only anguished by the death, destruction and terror perpetrated against their Israeli brethren last month, but who are also fearfully grappling with the recent dramatic and unprecedented surge in violent and hateful antisemitism in our own country. The Jewish community’s experience of being targeted is largely unseen by the broader community, and we need the vocal moral support of our leaders now more than ever. As the representatives of the Jewish community in Greater Washington, we are supporting numerous Fairfax County Public Schools stakeholders who have reported in recent weeks about Jewish students, faculty members and even school board members being subjected to horrific, frightening invective online. We look to our local leaders to partner with us in speaking out and bringing the community back together, not to fan the flames of division. We deeply value our relationships with our interfaith and intergroup partners and commend JAMAAT for fostering the dialogue and community-building that are so important to our region. We are committed to this sacred work and to bringing our full identities as Jews and Zionists to the interfaith table when we do so.

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  • June 23, 2021

    This organization was supposed to unite Jews. A debate over Black Lives Matter may fuel its demise.

    Jewish Telegraphic Agency

    During the polarizing debate over the Iran nuclear deal in 2015, for example, federations and their JCRCs agonized over whether to support or reject the deal. Those close to the JCPA say the community needs a national organization adept at forging alliances with other groups and providing a Jewish voice in shaping civil society. Ron Halber, executive director of the JCRC of Greater Washington, said the federations, which are more susceptible to donor pressures, are necessarily less agile. “An independent JCPA will shield federations from some of the very, very difficult political issues, and divisive issues,” Halber said.

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  • June 20, 2021

    Gov. Northam announces new task force on inclusive school meals and calendars, names members

    WFXR

    Gov. Ralph Northam announced a task force that will explore the best ways to implement culturally inclusive calendars and meals in Virginia’s schools. “When our school environments reflect the history, values, cultures, and traditions of the communities they serve our students are better positioned to learn and thrive,” said Governor Northam. 

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  • June 18, 2021

    Antisemitic flyers targeting school board members found in Fairfax County

    WTOP News

    Guila Franklin Siegel, associate director of the Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Washington, issued a statement condemning the flyers: “Yesterday homes in the Springfield and Sully districts of Fairfax County were targeted with hateful, anti-Semitic, homophobic flyers attacking the Fairfax County Public Schools Board. We are horrified at this expression of hate and at the targeting of elected officials. We note the particular insidiousness of targeting a district that is represented by a Jewish school board member who has been subjected to anti-Semitic rhetoric on previous occasions. Our leaders should not have to endure threats of this kind and such virulent hate has no place in our community. The JCRC is committed to addressing the root causes of hatred and fighting for equity throughout our region.”

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  • June 18, 2021

    Northam forms task force to study more inclusive school calendars and meals

    Inside Nova

    Gov. Ralph Northam has formed a new task force charged with identifying best practices for implementing culturally and religiously inclusive school calendars and serving school meals that accommodate more dietary restrictions. The JCRC's Rabbi Abbi Sharofsky of Silver Spring, Maryland, Director of Intergroup Relations and Rabbi in Residence, Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Washington will be serving on the task force.

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  • June 18, 2021

    Ku Klux Klan Fanatics Distribute Antisemitic, Homophobic Flyers Targeting School Board in Virginia

    The Algemeiner

    In a statement, Guila Franklin Siegel — associate director of the Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Washington — noted “the particular insidiousness of targeting a district that is represented by a Jewish school board member who has been subjected to antisemitic rhetoric on previous occasions.” “Our leaders should not have to endure threats of this kind and such virulent hate has no place in our community,” Siegel continued.

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  • June 17, 2021

    Call it Ferris Bueller's Day Off

    Northwest Arkansas Democrat Gazette

    Omeish said the U.S. was guilty of stealing land from Native Americans. She also denounced "extreme capitalism, individualism and white supremacy." She has previously made remarks, The Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Washington has said, "target and marginalize Jewish students and their families."

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  • June 17, 2021

    Virginia's Growing Diversity Puts Focus On School Calendar, Menus

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    "Virginia's schools benefit from increasing cultural, religious, and ethnic diversity — this diversity is a great asset, but also presents a challenge as schools strive to serve students of a variety of backgrounds equitably and compassionately," Virginia Secretary of Education Atif Qarni said in a statement Thursday.

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  • June 13, 2021

    ‘Cause good trouble’: Anti-Israel speaker addresses Virginia high school graduation

    World Israel News

    The Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Washington (JCRC) rescinded its decision to honor Omeish as one of five school board members who partnered with the JCRC to champion “faith equity.” “Ms. Omeish broke that unity by tweeting a one-sided, inaccurate, and hateful statement that smeared Israel, defamed Israelis, and disenfranchised the thousands of Jewish families in her district,” JCRC said in a statement.

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  • June 7, 2021

    2nd Israel banner stolen from Har Shalom

    Washington Jewish Week

    The Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Washington (JCRC) offered to donate the cost of the third replacement banner.

    “We stand with Har Shalom,” said executive director Ron Halber.

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  • June 7, 2021

    2nd Israel banner stolen from Har Shalom

    Washington Jewish Week

    The Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Washington (JCRC) offered to donate the cost of the third replacement banner. "We stand with Har Shalom," said executive director Ron Halber.

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  • May 26, 2021

    Principle and courage under fire

    Washington Jewish Week

    After careful consideration, JCRC decided to rescind its planned honor of Omeish. JCRC was clear and direct in its explanation, calling Omeish’s post “a one-sided, inaccurate, and hateful statement that smeared Israel, defamed Israelis, and disenfranchised the thousands of Jewish families in her district. 

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  • May 22, 2021

    Tweet about Israel becomes focus at Fairfax Co. school board meeting

    WTOP News

    The Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Washington was set to honor Omeish this week for her work in making the “academic year calendar more equitable for people of faith minorities.”

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  • May 21, 2021

    Support After Tweet About Israel Grows For School Board Member

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    In a statement Wednesday, the Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Washington characterized Omeish's tweet as a "one-sided, inaccurate, and hateful statement that smeared Israel, defamed Israelis, and disenfranchised the thousands of Jewish families in her district."

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  • May 20, 2021

    JCRC rescinds honor for Fairfax County school board member

    Washington Jewish Week

    The Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Washington yesterday canceled plans to honor Fairfax County School Board member Abrar Omeish, after she accused Israel of “desecrating the Holy Land” in social media posts.

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  • May 20, 2021

    Tweet by Fairfax Co. School Board Member Sparks Backlash, Support

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    Omeish was set to be recognized Thursday by the Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Washington for championing faith, equity and unity in schools.

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  • May 12, 2021

    Fairfax County Community Presses New Police Chief and Chairman for Answers

    The Connection Newspapers

    Vicki Fishman is the Director of Government and Community Relations for Northern Virginia, Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Washington. It is the public affairs arm of the organized Jewish community, representing over 100 synagogues, schools, and institutions throughout the region. "As a community, we expect those empowered to preserve and protect a just society for all its members to conduct themselves in keeping with the law they are charged to uphold, adhering to the highest standards of decency, accountability, and responsibility," Fishman said

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  • April 27, 2021

    Antisemitic incidents historically high in DMV despite slight national decline

    WUSA9

    "Antisemitism and hate is ongoing," Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Washington Executive Director Ron Halber told WUSA9.  

    With 300,000 Jews in the D.C. area -- the third-largest Jewish community in the country -- Halber said the makeup of the number of institutions can make the DMV an easy target.

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  • April 21, 2021

    Here's how Jewish organizations reacted to the Derek Chauvin verdict

    The Jerusalem Post

    The Jewish Community Relations Council of Washington (JCRC) released a statement saying it welcomes “this step towards justice and healing.”

    “We express solidarity with the African-American community and reiterate our commitment to fighting the systemic racism that set the stage for Floyd’s brutal killing,” the statement reads.

    “We all have a responsibility to do more than feel outrage that George Floyd was murdered,” Ronald Paul, president of JCRC, and Ron Halber, executive director of JCRC, said in the statement. “His slaying is one recent example of the toxic structural racism that has resulted in the murders of African-Americans throughout our nation’s history.

    “Here in Greater Washington, we heed the call to achieve a society free of racism; a society where communities of color feel and know they will be protected, rather than abused, by the law and its officers,” they said.

    “As we said when George Floyd was killed, the Jewish people will not be bystanders to injustice,” they added. “Our values commit us to introspection and action; to dismantling institutionalized racism in America; and to working with our African-American and intergroup partners to build a better and more just Washington region. That is why our JCRC prioritizes racial justice and police reform in our legislative agenda,” the statement reads.

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  • April 21, 2021

    Here's how Jewish organizations reacted to the Derek Chauvin verdict

    The Jerusalem Post

    The Jewish Community Relations Council of Washington (JCRC) released a statement saying it welcomes “this step towards justice and healing.” “We express solidarity with the African-American community and reiterate our commitment to fighting the systemic racism that set the stage for Floyd’s brutal killing,” the statement reads. “We all have a responsibility to do more than feel outrage that George Floyd was murdered,” Ronald Paul, president of JCRC, and Ron Halber, executive director of JCRC, said in the statement. “His slaying is one recent example of the toxic structural racism that has resulted in the murders of African-Americans throughout our nation’s history. “Here in Greater Washington, we heed the call to achieve a society free of racism; a society where communities of color feel and know they will be protected, rather than abused, by the law and its officers,” they said. “As we said when George Floyd was killed, the Jewish people will not be bystanders to injustice,” they added. “Our values commit us to introspection and action; to dismantling institutionalized racism in America; and to working with our African-American and intergroup partners to build a better and more just Washington region. That is why our JCRC prioritizes racial justice and police reform in our legislative agenda,” the statement reads.

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