News

  • August 3, 2021

    Md. to review state contracts with Ben & Jerry’s over Israeli boycott

    WTOP News

    In a letter to the Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Washington and the Baltimore Jewish Council, Maryland Secretary of State John C. Wobensmith vowed to find out if the state has any existing contracts with the ice cream maker and its parent company, Unilever, and that “the State will respond accordingly.”  “This is an important step in upholding Maryland’s commitment to inclusion and tolerance,” said  Ronald Halber, executive director of the JCRC of Greater Washington, in a responding news release.

    “We appreciate Governor Hogan’s commitment to cooperating with Israel and to his refusal to allow bullies to dictate our business practices,” Halber said.

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  • July 31, 2021

    Greater Washington Jewish Community Dismayed by Two VA GOP House of Delegates Candidates Making Offensive Remarks Minimizing the Holocaust

    Blue Virginia

    As the regional leader in Holocaust remembrance and education, the JCRC works with Holocaust survivors frequently. We listen to their lived experiences, we honor the trauma they endured, and we can unequivocally state that there is no basis for comparing what they went through with any political or social debate in our region today. To suggest otherwise is an intentional distortion of reality that crosses all lines of decency. 

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  • July 30, 2021

    Jewish Community Dismayed by Trend of Offensive Remarks Minimizing the Holocaust

    JCRC of Greater Washington

    WASHINGTON DC—July 30, 2021 – The Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC) of Greater Washington is dismayed by yet another instance of a public figure making offensive remarks that minimize the Holocaust in what has become a sickening trend. 

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  • July 30, 2021

    Omeish alienates LGBTQIA+ student group

    Fairfax County Times

    Fairfax County School Board At-Large Member Abrar Omeish is at it again, stoking the flames of division by alienating another group. In May, Omeish alienated the Jewish community with her social media posts. She subsequently had an award revoked by the Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Washington. 

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  • July 18, 2021

    How the Washington Post torpedoed the DC Jewish solidarity rally

    Israel Hayom

    In further contrast to the report, the Jerusalem Post report on the rally used only quotes that accurately reflected the purpose of the demonstration. For example, the Jerusalem-based paper quoted Ron Halber, executive director of the Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Washington, as saying, "'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. 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 declare 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."

    Now that explains the rally!

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  • July 15, 2021

    Rally Showed Community Seeking Comfort, Strength

    Jewish Exponent

    Speaker Ron Halber, executive director of the Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Washington, stressed the need to promote unity among the Jewish people itself. “While we can have differences, we need to reaffirm the basics: that we’re all Zionists and pro-Israel,” he said. “What joins us together as a community is far greater than what divides us. “None of us should need to be at a rally against antisemitism in 2021,” he added. “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 15, 2021

    VA schools consider making meals, calendars more culturally inclusive

    FOX 5 Washington DC

    Rabbi Abbi Sharofsky of the Jewish Community Relation Council of Greater Washington is serving on the calendar subcommittee.---Sharofsky says many school calendars are outdated and centered mainly around Christian religious practices. When we look at a calendar it’s not enough to say well these are the days we’ve always had off from school because that might not currently meet the needs of all of our students, she said. Sharofsky said the subcommittee won’t suggest every holiday be given off but it will encourage districts to add certain days and at the very least ask them to take a look at curriculum planning around holidays.---Sharofsky said the calendar subcommittee’s recommendations will also vary by location. It’s where we get to this issue of faith equity. We talk a lot about what does it mean to have an equitable education and experience for all students and in recognizing that there are so many other faiths that make up our schools districts. How are we looking at meeting those needs in an equitable way, she said.

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  • July 15, 2021

    Thousands Gather to Rally Against Rising Anti-Semitism in DC; 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 14, 2021

    At rally, this is what unity looks like

    Washington Jewish Week

    Speaker Ron Halber, executive director of the Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Washington, stressed the need to promote unity among the Jewish people itself. “While we can have differences, we need to reaffirm the basics: that we’re all Zionists and pro-Israel,” he said. “What joins us together as a community is far greater than what divides us. “None of us should need to be at a rally against antisemitism in 2021,” he added. “But we do need to be here. Because we must again respond to vile rhetoric, physical attacks and symbols of hatred against our people.”

    Read more

  • July 13, 2021

    Young and old brave heat in DC, ‘demanding change until this Jew-hatred stops’

    Jewish News Syndicate

    According to Ron Halber, executive director of the Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Washington, the rally started out unusual for the Jewish community because the initial effort came from small, largely unknown groups, rather than national ones. It was not until Wiesel became involved that it gained credibility and major sponsors, noted Halber. “I think that this rally, which started out as a very small, grassroots effort—as a result of Elisha Wiesel’s guidance, wisdom and leadership—really turned into something the community could be proud of,” said Halber, who spoke at the rally. He said that from his experience organizing rallies, he believes that there were more than 3,000 or even more than 4,000 attendees. While it’s not a number that matches major rallies like the one held during the First Intifada in the early 2000s, which brought out 100,000 people, or the rally for Soviet Jewry in 1987 that brought 250,000, the turnout, he said, was good for the circumstances. “It was horrible heat. You have to remember, nobody is around in July here in Washington. Everybody is on vacation,” said Halber. “All the kids, all the youth, are at camp or are doing their jobs, and everybody—as soon as they lifted the COVID restrictions—is out of here on vacation.” Added to that Congress being out of session, it was a very difficult time to hold a rally, according to Halber. “And, in spite of that,” he said, “we made a good showing.”

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  • July 13, 2021

    Connection across ideologies: Refrain from crowd determined to battle anti-Jewish hate

    Cleveland Jewish News

    According to Ron Halber, executive director of the Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Washington, the rally started out unusual for the Jewish community because the initial effort came from small, largely unknown groups, rather than national ones. It was not until Wiesel became involved that it gained credibility and major sponsors, noted Halber. “I think that this rally, which started out as a very small, grassroots effort—as a result of Elisha Wiesel’s guidance, wisdom and leadership—really turned into something the community could be proud of,” said Halber, who spoke at the rally. He said that from his experience organizing rallies, he believes that there were more than 3,000 or even more than 4,000 attendees. While it’s not a number that matches major rallies like the one held during the First Intifada in the early 2000s, which brought out 100,000 people, or the rally for Soviet Jewry in 1987 that brought 250,000, the turnout, he said, was good for the circumstances. “It was horrible heat. You have to remember, nobody is around in July here in Washington. Everybody is on vacation,” said Halber. “All the kids, all the youth, are at camp or are doing their jobs, and everybody—as soon as they lifted the COVID restrictions—is out of here on vacation.” Added to that Congress being out of session, it was a very difficult time to hold a rally, according to Halber. “And, in spite of that,” he said, “we made a good showing.”

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  • 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.”

    Read more

  • 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.”

    Read more

  • 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

    Protecting Our Community: The JCRC Combats Antisemitism

    JCRC of Greater Washington

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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

    patch-media-vector-logo.png

    "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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