Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC)

About JCRC

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

JCRC Chair

  • Skip Schrayer

Vice Chairs

  • Rabbi Shoshanah Conover

  • Naomi Gitlin

  • Aron Greenburg

  • Ellen Hattenbach

  • Samuel Isaacson

  • Steve Lavin

  • Gayle Miller

  • Michael Rothstein

What’s New @ JCRC?

To sign up for JCRC newsletters, please email For more frequent updates, follow JCRC on Twitter at @ChicagoJCRC.

The JUF Hunger Awareness Project

The JUF Hunger Awareness Project is a year-long initiative to raise awareness and mobilize volunteers in the area of hunger and food insecurity. The JUF Hunger Awareness Project includes volunteer opportunities at various agencies throughout Chicago, the SNAP Challenge, a Passover Seder focused on Hunger, educational programs and other activities highlighting hunger and food insecurity in Chicago and nationwide.

To learn more, join us at the 2013 Annual Meeting of the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago or visit the just-launched website



Social Media, Social Justice: How Twitter helped address the 'Hobby Lobby
Chanukah Incident'


If you are like me, you heard all about the “Hobby Lobby Chanukah Incident” yesterday, Oct. 3. From Facebook to blogs to discussions around the dinner table, it seemed everyone was talking about how Hobby Lobby refused to sell Chanukah decorations.

The story made the rounds like wildfire: a Jewish customer could not find any Chanukah items at her local Hobby Lobby in Marlboro, N.J., despite a plethora of Christmas items. When she made an inquiry at the store, a Hobby Lobby employee responded, “We don’t cater to you people.” After hearing of this incident, a Jewish man called the store to inquire and was told, “Because Mr. Green is the owner of the company, he’s a Christian, and those are his values.”

The Mr. Green in question is Steve Green, President and owner of more than 550 Hobby Lobby stores nationwide, all closed on Sunday, who has one of the largest collections of ancient biblical artifacts.

OnceRabbi Donald A. Weber of Marlboro’s Temple Rodeph Torah called for a boycott of Hobby Lobby stores, the story was ablaze.

That prompted JUF’s Jewish Community Relations Council (@ChicagoJCRC)to issue the tweet, “Very disappointed in @HobbyLobbyStorerefusing to sell #Hanukkah or#Jewishitems. Hard to believe.” The tweet linked to a Huffington Post article and was just one of many public critiques and inquiries Hobby Lobby received.

A mere few hours later, JCRC received two direct responses from Hobby Lobby, including an apology. Hobby Lobby said, “@ChicagoJCRCWe have carried Jewish holiday items in the past and we're working with buyers on what we carry going forward, based on demand” and later, “@ChicagoJCRCAs for the employee comments, they do not reflect our company values and we sincerely apologize for the offense.”

Shortly thereafter, Steve Green issued a public, written apology.

To receive a direct response from a large retailer is a rarity, even with the incredible access we now have due to social media. To receive an apology and an acknowledgement of employee misconduct might just be a Twitter Chanukah miracle.

To follow this story and receive frequent updates, follow JCRC on Twitter @ChicagoJCRC.

Stephanie Sklar is Director of Domestic Affairs for the Jewish Community Relations Council of the Jewish United Fund/Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago.