JCRC is helping our school and our Jewish community come out stronger

Impact story - 2024 JCRC Annual Event

photo: Darrell Owens Photography

By Marty Chester and Haley Schaffer

June 2, 2024 – We have three children. Like students at many high schools since October 7, our kids felt a lot of anxiety at school in navigating their feelings about the attacks and the war, in an environment of peers—and even adults—who don’t have the same level of understanding, or the same personal connection, to what’s happening in Israel. 

This got even more challenging in November, when a visiting outside speaker—who was supposed to talk about poetry for an English class—went off-script and started talking about the war, and attacking Israel.   

Word spread, making our Jewish students feel even more uncomfortable, and non-Jewish students and staff without background in this area feel confused. 

The administration of our kids’ school, the Blake School, led by its head of school Dr. Anne Stavney, reached out to the JCRC for support.  JCRC’s staff sprung into action—just like it has at schools across the region since October 7.  Sami Rahamim, Sally Abrams, and Steve Hunegs of the JCRC all shared their expertise in helping people understand what it means to be Jewish in America in 2024. 

Over the past 6 months, the JCRC has worked directly with our students, listening to their experiences, and they have supported Jewish parents as we work with the school.  They have also worked hand-in-hand with Blake’s leadership to craft training for faculty and staff on how to understand the complex history, feelings, and viewpoints that Jewish students bring to school when it comes to Israel.  And I know this is just one of the many schools across the region where JCRC has done the same thing. 

We are very grateful to Blake’s leadership and to Dr. Stavney (who is here tonight), for being our ally, and for working in partnership with the JCRC to help our students and families navigate these difficult waters.  And we are extraordinarily grateful to the JCRC for helping our school and our Jewish community come out stronger.

This impact story was delivered at the 2024 JCRC Annual Event – there is still time to donate


As the consensus public affairs voice of the Jewish community, JCRC builds relationships to fight antisemitism and bigotry; educates about Judaism, Israel, antisemitism, and the Holocaust; advocates for Jewish values and priorities; and safeguards our community.