The JCRC envisions a Greater Washington Region with zero tolerance for antisemitism. The recent sharp rise in antisemitic incidents resulting from the conflict between Israel and Hamas demonstrates the need for the JCRC’s ongoing efforts to address this oldest hatred. As only one example among many, just yesterday, we were horrified to learn of hateful, antisemitic, homophobic flyers attacking the Fairfax County School Board distributed at homes in the Springfield and Sully districts. The JCRC is committed to responding forcefully to these hateful attacks and building a community of mutual respect for all.
Protecting Our Community and Its Institutions
- Secured $5 million in Maryland state grants for synagogues, schools, and childcare centers at risk for hate crimes.
- Secured $700,000 for non-profit security grants for faith based and ethnic organizations in Montgomery County, Maryland.
- Helped establish a new State Hate Crimes Security Grant Program in Virginia.
- Closely coordinates with Robert Graves, our local Jewish community’s regional director of security, on concerns impacting Jewish institutions and people in our area.
Empowering Parents and Students
In the past six weeks, the number of antisemitic incidents occurring online increased dramatically. The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) reported finding more than 17,000 Tweets using the phrase “Hitler was right” between May 7 and May 14.
The JCRC supported high school students and their parents confronting this tidal wave of digital antisemitic attacks, helped shape in-person conversations about Israel, and worked closely with local school systems to secure their partnership in addressing this problem.
- Called on all area superintendents to publicly decry this immense wave of antisemitism and suggested specific actions for each school district
- Met personally with local superintendents and/or their leadership teams to provide district-specific resources and support
- Met with concerned Jewish parents in Fairfax County to discuss school-based antisemitism, in classrooms, among students, and within the content and delivery of standardized curricula
- Hosted a conversation with our Israel Engagement Fellows and Student to Student graduates and their parents about responding to the onslaught of antisemitic and anti-Israel invective on social media
- Created a digital resource sheet for teens to provide them with strategies and language to use when talking about Israel with their peers – online or in-person
- Moderated an online conversation: “Navigating Challenging Conversations: A Program for High-Schoolers and Parents on Rising Antisemitism and Anti-Zionism, In-Person and Online” in partnership with the ADL Washington, DC and AJC Washington
Mobilizing activists and advocates
In recognition of this challenging time among our friends and neighbors, the JCRC accelerated the intensity of our advocacy, community-building, and education efforts.
- Helped mobilize community participation in an online national Day of Action Against Antisemitism rally sponsored by the ADL, AJC, the Jewish Federations of North America, Hadassah, Orthodox Union, USCJ, Union for Reform Judaism, Central Conference of American Rabbis, Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, Rabbinic Assembly, Rabbinical Council of America, and Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association
- Engaged in personal dialogues with interfaith partners to share a Jewish perspective on the Israel-Hamas conflict, and how the resulting surge in antisemitic acts impacted our local Jewish community.
- Along with the ADL, briefed Northern Virginia synagogue social action chairs on current upsurge and on community-wide grass-roots responses
- Encouraged local elected officials and civic and religious leaders to respond publicly and unequivocally to this crisis:
- Governor Larry Hogan (R, MD)
- Governor Ralph Northam (D, VA)
- Mayor Muriel Bowser (D, Mayor of the District of Columbia)
- Maryland Senators Ben Cardin (D, MD) and Chris Van Hollen (D, MD); Virginia Senators Mark Warner (D, VA) and Tim Kaine (D, VA)
- Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D, MD-5) and U.S. Representatives Don Beyer (D, VA-8), Gerry Connolly (D, VA-11), Jamie Raskin (D, MD-8), John Sarbanes (D, MD-3), Abigail Spanberger (D, VA-7), and David Trone (D, MD-6) signed onto this letter denouncing antisemitism
- U.S. Congressman Anthony Brown (D, MD-4), and U.S. Congresswoman Jennifer Wexton (D, VA-10)
- Speaker of the Virginia House of Delegates Eileen Filler-Corn (D, 41st House District, VA)
- Montgomery County, Maryland County Executive Marc Elrich (D)
- Montgomery County, Maryland Council
- State of Maryland Commission on Civil Rights
- InterFaith Council of Metropolitan Washington
Even as we grapple with extreme polarization, the JCRC’s work to build bridges continues – the best antidote to antisemitism is always education and connection. In this short video, you can see how our Student to Student peer education program empowers young people to address antisemitism today, and in the future, as leaders.
The JCRC is here to support our community through these difficult and unprecedented times, and always. Please reach out to us directly to report any instances of antisemitism you encounter or to schedule an educational briefing for your synagogue, school, or organization.