The Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC) is the umbrella body for 46 major Jewish organizations in the Chicago area and is the community relations arm of the Jewish United Fund/Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago. As a member of the Jewish Council for Public Affairs (JCPA), the JCRC serves as the representative voice of the organized American Jewish community in addressing the mandate of the Jewish community relations field.
- JCRC advocates on behalf of the Jewish community and interfaces with civic and community organizations, government officials and the media.
- JCRC develops policies that reflect the concerns of the Chicago Jewish Community. JCRC coordinates special interest programming and sponsors community wide celebrations and commemorations.
- JCRC responds to individual inquiries and concerns while providing community resources and other informational assistance.
JCRC Board Members
- David Sherman
What’s New @ JCRC?
Trying to Make Sense of a Senseless Tragedy
By Stephanie Sklar
The JCRC was shocked and saddened to hear of the tragic shooting of 26 people, including 20 children, at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. While these acts of senseless violence can be difficult to police, and the magnitude even harder to comprehend, the JCRC and JUF have taken several steps over the years to ensure we live in a safe and secure community.
The JCRC has had a long-standing policy promoting gun safety.Passed overwhelmingly in 1999 by 40 JCRC constituent organizations, the policy reads as follows:
Gun Safety Policy Adopted by the JCRC October 21, 1999*
The following elements of the JCRC gun safety policy are intended to provide the foundation for joining coalitions, advocating public policies, educating the Jewish community and urging our 40 constituent organizations to also address these issues.These elements are intended to provide general, not absolute guidance on how we address gun safety issues.
*Passed overwhelmingly, with just one abstention.
JUF has strived to make our community safe and secure over the last several years by working with 45 local Jewish organizations, agencies and day schools to secure more than $8 million in funding fromthe Department of Homeland Security’s Nonprofit Security Grant Program to purchase and install equipment to strengthen our institutions, such as installing a surveillance system at a local JCC, bullet-proof doors and windows at a Jewish Senior Center, x-ray machines at Jewish day-schools, and high-tech security systems at JUF headquarters in downtown Chicago, among others.
In fact, during the NATO Summit in May 2012, the Chicago Police Department used the JUF headquarters as a staging area because the building is one of the most secure in downtown Chicago. JUF also hosts an annual security conference, in coordination with local law enforcement, to inform all Jewish organizations in the area about the latest safety and security measures.
The JCRC is a community partner of Chicago’s Citizens for Change, a local community organization that works to reduce youth violence through programs and partnerships that strengthen communities and promote restorative peace-making. CCC supports families and youth who have experienced loss due to violence, is committed to building a citywide response network to support loved ones of homicide victims, and provides opportunities for organizations, social services, and justice systems to work together in a coordinated effort.The JCRC is working with CCC to make Chicago a safer place to live – for all citizens.[To learn more about Chicago’s Citizens for Change, please visit http://www.chicagoscitizensforchange.org/]
The Jewish Council for Public Affairs, of which JCRC is a member, has created a petition to express the Jewish community’s pain and resolve to enact comprehensive reforms to end gun violence and ensure access to mental health care for all who need it. In just a few days, almost 12,000 people have signed the petition, which is available at www.endgunviolencenow.org.We encourage you to review the petition and if you are so inclined, to sign it and share it with your friends and colleagues.
In addition to the many services offered by Jewish Federation and its affiliate agencies related to mental health issues, a crisis hotline is available for families and children who need help or assistance; just call 855-ASK-JCFS (855-275-5237) or email email@example.com for access to all programs and services at all JCFS locations. Write down this number, use it if you need it and share it with your family and friends. No one should be alone during a time of crisis, and our combined efforts will help support our community and make the world a safer place to live.
Stephanie Sklar is Director of Domestic Affairs for the Jewish Community Relations Council of the Jewish United Fund/Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago.