Partnership with JCRC is essential to building relationships and educating colleagues

Impact story - 2024 JCRC Annual Event

photo: Darrell Owens Photography

By Sharon Feinstein-Rosenblum

June 2, 2024 – I am a granddaughter of four Holocaust survivors. I was born and raised in Israel and moved to the Twin Cities nearly 18 years ago. I am honored to publicly thank the JCRC staff and volunteers. Thank you for all your hard work and the countless hours you invest in our community. 

I am compelled to share that my life, and my family’s life, have dramatically changed after that dark Shabbat on October 7th. The things I see and hear bring strong flashbacks to the stories my grandmother, of blessed memory, shared with me about life in Poland before the Holocaust. I had no idea how much intergenerational trauma is embedded in our community. 

In the days after October 7th, I was fortunate that some of my colleagues at the State of Minnesota reached out to check on me.  

Unfortunately, in the weeks that followed, I also encountered antisemitic comments ranging from sarcastic remarks to toxic, hateful statements in what was supposed to be a safe space at work. I was emotionally overwhelmed, trying to cope with the tragedy and the aftermath of the October 7th massacre. I had no mental capacity to advocate for myself. Nonetheless, the phrase “not under my watch” kept echoing in my mind. 
I reached out to Ethan Roberts and Sami Rahamim, who immediately met with state leaders to start a conversation. This was followed by an in-service workshop for commissioners and assistant commissioners, several presentations, and more are already scheduled for the months to come.  

Later, I partnered with a couple of other Jewish employees who shared similar sentiments, and we worked with leadership to start an enterprise Jewish Culture and Heritage ERG (employees resource group). A couple of weeks ago, we had our kickoff meeting, with more help from Ethan, and we were honored to have Secretary of State Steve Simon speak at the meeting. 
I have recently returned from Israel, which was an intensely different experience from any other visit. Every friend and family member I saw was still processing the trauma. One of my childhood friends was fortunate to survive the Nova festival. When he shared part of his story, he suddenly paused, and the look on his face I will never forget. We had to change the topic. Many stories are still not shared. Israel is a nation in an extended state of trauma, just like many of us Jews in the diaspora. 
I believe that most people who spread anti-Jewish ideas are simply not educated enough on the topic and do not have malicious intent. Even after experiencing such personal and communal pain, we must strive to engage those who are uninformed and misinformed.  Every person must be able to sympathize with the suffering of innocent civilians on both sides, those are not mutually exclusive. 
It may sound like this is the end of the story, but it is only the beginning. A lot of work is ahead of us. The partnership with JCRC is essential to building relationships and educating colleagues—from [no, not all Jews are white] to recognizing that Israel is our ancestral homeland. Many of us, Jews and Israelis, at times strongly disagree with Israeli government policies, but we never question Israel’s right to exist. We need to call it loud and clear that questioning the state of Israel’s right to exist is dangerous antisemitism. 

Our previous generations were victims of the Holocaust, and it is our responsibility to stand up for Israel and fight antisemitism. Working together – as leaders in our own spheres of influence in partnership with JCRC – we will not allow antisemitism to prevail, not under our watch. 

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.