News

  • April 8, 2021

    GOP lawmaker marks Holocaust remembrance day by likening child mental health bill to Nazi laws

    Jewish Telegraphic Agency

    The Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Washington in a statement called the comparison “unconscionable.” “Delegate Cox’s words are an insult to the thousands of mental health providers throughout the State of Maryland and are part of a disturbing pattern of public officials using Holocaust and Nazi analogies for political ends,” the statement said. “The JCRC calls on the Maryland House of Delegates to condemn this offensive comparison and to hold Delegate Cox responsible for his reprehensible remarks on this sacred day.”

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  • April 7, 2021

    Reckoning at the German International School

    Washington Jewish Week

    When my rabbi nominated me to be part of a peer-education program that connects Jewish and non-Jewish students across Greater Washington, combats anti-Semitism and educates teens about Judaism, I jumped at the chance. I couldn’t wait to meet new people and dialogue with my peers about my Jewish life, so I applied to the Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC) of Greater Washington’s Student to Student program.

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  • March 31, 2021

    Rosh Hashanah won’t be first school day in Montgomery County

    Washington Jewish Week

    “Attending the first day of school is important, especially for teachers and other staff in terms of meeting the children, meeting the parents and getting the lay of the land,” Siegel said. “And so [starting on the second day of Rosh Hashanah] would have really been a burden and a stress point for Jewish families and for Jewish staff.”

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  • March 24, 2021

    MCPS RECOMMENDS OUTDOOR GRADUATIONS AT HOME HIGH SCHOOL STADIUMS

    mymcm

    The Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Washington, based in North Bethesda, thanked the school board for its vote.

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  • March 22, 2021

    FCPS to recognize religious holidays — without a day off

    reston now

     In a joint statement, Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, Association of United Hindu and Jain Temples of Metropolitan Washington, Durga Temple of Virginia, Hindu American Foundation, Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Washington, McLean Islamic Center, Northern Virginia Hebrew Congregation, and Temple Rodef Shalom wrote that the school board’s attempt to divide religious groups backfired.

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  • March 20, 2021

    Fairfax school calendar recognizes religious holidays, but kids won’t have off

    InsideNoVA

    “We are deeply disappointed,” said the group’s associate director Guila Franklin Siegel. “The stunning lack of cultural competency and the lack of empathy for the experience of minority faiths we have seen throughout this process make clear that a great deal of education remains necessary.”

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  • March 19, 2021

    Fairfax County schools to recognize additional religious days but won’t give students day off

    FOX 5 Washington DC

    Parents of students who are Hindu, Muslim and Jewish and leaders of several religious communities in Fairfax County argued for the School Board to give them the same privileges of closing their schools for observance of their holy days as they would for days like Christmas.

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  • March 19, 2021

    Fairfax declines to add four Jewish, Muslim and Hindu holidays to calendar

    The Washington Post

    On Friday, the Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Washington wrote a letter to the Jewish community in the D.C. area calling Fairfax’s calendar decision “deeply disappointing.” “We hoped that meaningful progress was finally within reach after years of struggling with [Fairfax] over unfair treatment of Jewish students forced to miss school on our holidays, endure inappropriate Christmas-related activities, and bear the brunt of increasing incidents of anti-Semitism,” the letter reads. The leaders of the council vowed in the letter that they will continue petitioning Fairfax until it adopts a calendar that is “inclusive, equitable [and] accommodates the needs of minority faith communities.”

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  • March 19, 2021

    Fairfax Co. school calendar recognizes religious holidays but kids won’t have off

    WTOP News

    The decision not to give students off for Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, Eid and Diwali — holidays recognized by members of the Jewish, Muslim and Hindu communities — did not please the Jewish Community Relation Council of Greater Washington.

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  • March 19, 2021

    Virginia’s largest school system votes down inclusion of non-Christian holidays

    Forward

    “We are very disappointed and pained by the school board’s decision last night,” Guila Franklin Siegel, the associate director of the Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC) of Greater Washington said in an interview on Friday.

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  • March 19, 2021

    Fairfax school board votes no to closing on High Holidays

    Washington Jewish Week

    The school board’s decision to deny all four requested closures on days coinciding with Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, Diwali, and Eid was a slap in the face to Fairfax County’s Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, and Sikh communities,” a JCRC statement read. “There is no way to sugar-coat the disrespectful, dismissive, and ill-informed approach that too many school board members adopted towards our interfaith coalition throughout this process.”

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  • March 19, 2021

    Fairfax County recognizes additional religious days in academic calendar

    WDVM

    Guila Franklin-Siegel, associate director of the Jewish Community Relations Council, said, “The impacted communities are feeling pained and upset, and frustrated, but also resolved because we know this fight is far from over and we will not stop advocating.”

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  • March 19, 2021

    FCPS School Calendar Vote: A letter from the JCRC

    JCRC of Greater Washington

    Dear Friends:  

    As Shabbat nears, we want to take a moment to reflect on last night’s deeply disappointing vote by the Fairfax County School Board. Like so many of you, we hoped that meaningful progress was finally within reach, after years of struggling with FCPS over unfair treatment of Jewish students  forced to miss school on our holidays, endure inappropriate Christmas-related activities, and bear the brunt of increasing incidents of antisemitism.   

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  • March 18, 2021

    Letter to Montgomery County Board of Education on Proposed 2021-2022 Calendar Options

    JCRC of Greater Washington

    To:    Hon. Brenda Wolff and Members of The Montgomery County Board of Education 

    cc:    Dr. Jack Smith
             Dr. Monifa McKnight 
             Mr. Troy Boddy


    Dear President Wolff and fellow Board of Education members:

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  • March 18, 2021

    Fairfax County parents and interfaith communities demand school closures for major religious holidays

    FOX 5 Washington DC

     

    Palle, along with the Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Washington (JCRC) and other interfaith coalition partners, argue that the current calendar does not accurately represent the diversity that Fairfax County has. ... "The school system has already by its own admission, failed at implementing and consistently enforcing these regulations and we have no reason to believe that would change," said Guila Franklin Siegel, Associate Director at JCRC. Siegel said that at least 1,000 Fairfax County residents have also emailed their school-board representatives demanding a calendar change. She noted that the Jewish population in northern Virginia, which includes Fairfax, had swelled by 80 percent between 2003 and 2017, and said that Hindu and Muslim populations in the district have "dramatically increased" as well."

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  • March 18, 2021

    Fairfax County Public School's academic calendar under fire for not 'pursuing equity'

    ABC7 WJLA

    Guila Franklin Siegel, the Associate Director of the Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Washington says the county is far more diverse than it has ever been, “Fairfax county remains a hold out in terms of adjusting its school calendar to reflect that diversity.” ... Franklin Siegel says, “This message that is being received in the community is that Fairfax County is lagging behind and is not committed to truly pursuing equity for all of its residents.”

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  • March 8, 2021

    In Virginia, an interfaith coalition fights to get non-Christian holidays on school calendars

    Forward

     

    Guila Franklin Siegel, the associate director of the Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC) of Greater Washington, said that at least 1,000 Fairfax County residents have also emailed their school-board representatives demanding a calendar change. ... “The JCRC has for years been receiving complaints from parents, rabbis, and students about consistent failures in the Fairfax county public schools’ ability to successfully implement and enforce guidelines for religious accommodations,” Siegel said. “It’s something we deal with every year, and it’s a source of tremendous frustration and stress for Jewish students.”

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  • March 4, 2021

    School Board Directs FCPS to Draft New Calendar Ahead of Vote

    reston now

    "Meanwhile, 286 students have signed a petition, and 76 clergy and faith organizations have signed a letter initiated by the Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Washington (JCRC) urging the board to add the holidays."

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  • March 3, 2021

    School Board to Debate Adding New Religious Holidays to Calendar

    reston now

    "The religious groups involved in the task force — including the All Dulles Area Muslim Society (ADAMS), the Durga Temple of Virginia, Hindu American Foundation, McLean Islamic Center, Northern Virginia Hebrew Congregation, Sikh Foundation of Virginia, and the Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Washington (JCRC) — expressed “deep disappointment” in the new turn of events in a letter sent to the school board on Feb. 9."

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  • March 2, 2021

    Back to drawing board over proposal to add four religious holidays to Fairfax schools’ calendar

    The Washington Post

    But the board postponed its vote, instead requesting more time to weigh the decision after some members signaled they would prefer a calendar that did not include the holidays. The delay angered religious leaders in Northern Virginia, who wrote a scathing letter to the board.

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  • March 1, 2021

    Opinion: Fairfax County’s school board is sowing division. Students of minority faiths deserve better.

    The Washington Post

    For years, members of minority faiths within FCPS have felt marginalized and disadvantaged because of their religious identity and observance. Students face review days or classroom tests on Diwali; assessment tests scheduled during Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur; and assignments due on or the day after Eid al-Fitr. Teachers and staff are forced to take personal days to observe or, worse, feel unable to take those days at all.

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  • 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 16, 2021

    Hogan outlines accomplishments for Jewish community

    Washington Jewish Week

    "Hogan’s appearance was part of Maryland Jewish Advocacy Day, hosted by The Associated: Jewish Federation of Baltimore, the Jewish Federation of Greater Washington, the JCRC of Greater Washington, the Jewish Federation of Howard County, and the Jewish Community Relations Council of Howard County and Baltimore Jewish Council."

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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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