The Kibbitzer – Fall 2023
We are in a moment of crisis: Israel is at war with a terrorist army, Hamas slogans are echoing in schools, and we are experiencing a 400% increase in antisemitism in the United States. At the same time, we are all still reeling from the enormity of the October 7 atrocities and heartsick with worry for the 240 innocent people kidnapped by Hamas.
In short, the challenges before our community are immense, and our work is more important than ever.
JCRC is meeting this moment by educating, advocating, and safeguarding our community. Our trusted relationships with schools, law enforcement, elected officials, media, and within our community drive our efforts.
This work would not be possible without our tireless professionals. Your support enables our team to be there on your behalf — addressing the surge of antisemitism, educating about Israel, being your voice with media and elected officials, and rallying our community in solidarity with the people of Israel.
Read on to learn more about our wartime efforts.
Countering antisemitism through education and advocacy
- In K-12 school districts statewide, we are partnering with Jewish parents and teachers, advocating for Jewish students, and educating school administrators and staff about Jewish identity and antisemitism. Where antisemitism rises to threats of violence and intimidation, our experienced security directors work swiftly to address these issues in our schools, just as they do throughout our community.
- With our partners at Minnesota Hillel, we are confronting the horrific statements, rhetoric, and one-sided “teach-ins” by university departments, faculty, and student groups, which create a hostile environment for Jewish college students, faculty, and staff. We are also assisting and supporting Jewish students directly targeted by anti-Israel faculty.
- JCRC staff have facilitated conversations at Jewish Student Union (JSU) club meetings at Highland Park, Edina, Minnetonka, Southwest, and St. Louis Park high schools – with plans to visit Wayzata, Hopkins, Two Rivers, and other JSU clubs. Email email@example.com to invite us to your/your child’s school.
- We are also convening Jewish professionals in various industries (corporate, government, academia, etc.) to share best practices for organizing an Employee Resource Group (ERG) and engaging stakeholders in education about Jewish identity and antisemitism. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to join our Jewish ERG Network.
- While the war forced us to cancel our planned Israel Study Tour, JCRC held an educational seminar for the elected officials and others who planned to join that trip. We hope to be able to run that trip as soon as possible.
To report an incident and request JCRC’s assistance responding to anti-Israel or antisemitic incidents, please fill out this form or dial 612-338-7816.
Israel at War: Community Summit for Teens and their Parents
Sunday, Nov. 12 • 3:30 – 6:30 PM • Barry Family Campus • Registration Required
Jewish teens and parents from across the community are invited to find hope, strength, learning, and support in navigating the complex and sensitive situation in Israel.
Jewish and Ukrainian Minnesotans stand united
JCRC and the Ukrainian community have a long history of solidarity and partnership. In 2022, we partnered with the MN Ukrainian American Advocacy Committee to pass one of the first state laws to divest state pension funds from Russia and Belarus.
Now, after twenty months of war, substantial portions of Ukraine are still under Russian occupation, and less than one month since the deadliest massacre of Jews since the Holocaust by Hamas terrorists, we are united in both grief and resolve.
At our November 2 press conference, representatives from our two communities, including some who hold both Ukrainian and Jewish identities, spoke about the threat our peoples are confronting from cruel enemies seeking to annihilate us. We shared stories of the tremendous suffering and remarkable resilience of Ukrainians and Israelis. Speakers also addressed the exponential rise in antisemitism globally, including here in Minnesota.
Finally, we urged Congress to fulfill President Joe Biden’s request that Ukraine and Israel both receive the funding and weapons they need to defend themselves.
Thousands show community’s solidarity with Israel
In the immediate wake of the Oct. 7 atrocities, thousands of Minnesotans came together on Oct. 10 at Beth El Synagogue and virtually for our Community Gathering in Solidarity with Israel.
JCRC was grateful to partner with the Minneapolis Jewish Federation, St. Paul Jewish Federation, Minnesota Rabbinical Association, Minnesota Cantors Assembly, TC Jewfolk, and our host Beth El Synagogue in presenting last month’s program.
We were inspired by the leadership and moral clarity of Governor Tim Walz, Senator Amy Klobuchar, Secretary of State Steve Simon (who collectively spoke for the dozens of other elected officials, both Democrats and Republicans, in the sanctuary), Rabbi Alexander Davis, and JCRC executive director Steve Hunegs (who also read a message from U.S. House Whip Tom Emmer.
We continue to capture the spirit of this evening through our advocacy work and upcoming community events listed below.
JCRC Education reaches millions
With over 100 news hits since the start of the war, JCRC has reached over 600,000 TV viewers, 1.6 million radio listeners, and 3.2 million print/online readers.
Some highlights include:
- Jews and Ukrainians band together in Minnesota to link conflicts in Israel, Ukraine (Star Tribune / Nov. 2, 2023)
- Steve Hunegs on Twin Cities Jewish community reaction to Hamas terror attack (TPT Almanac / Oct. 13, 2023)
- ‘How can I help?’: Gathering held at Beth El Synagogue to show support for Israel (KARE 11 / Oct. 10 /2023)
Find all our media coverage and analysis of the war and more on our Resource Page: Understanding and Addressing the Israel-Hamas War.
JCRC offices move to Barry Family Campus
We are pleased to announce that the JCRC has moved into a new office space at Barry Family Campus. Please send future mail to our new address:
4330 Cedar Lake Road South, St. Louis Park, MN 55416
JCRC and Community Events
Personal Safety Workshop
Wednesday, Nov. 8 • 6:00 – 7:30 PM • Via Zoom • Register
Havdalah of Heartbreak and Hope
Saturday, Nov. 11 • 6:15 – 7:45 PM • Adath Jeshurun • Register
Israel at War: Community Summit for Teens and their Parents
Sunday, Nov. 12 • 3:30 – 6:30 PM • Barry Family Campus • Register
Cocoa and Candles: JCRC Hanukkah Celebration
Monday, Dec. 11 • 6:15 – 7:45 PM • Barry Family Campus• Register
Support our Work
As you read, JCRC is meeting this moment by educating, advocating, and safeguarding our community.