The unprecedented thriving of Jewish life in America is due to the success of pluralistic democracy in this country. It has provided us with the tools to join the ranks of American leadership, and also to protect our community against antisemitism. For this reason, the core work of the JCRC is the protection of democratic institutions and the promotion of civic engagement.
The work is usually proactive, and involves a broad array of relationships and engagement. It starts with consensus building within the local Jewish community on key issues, and then branches out to school board meetings, city council meetings, state and federal legislative meetings– addressing civil rights and domestic policy concerns that support the American dream for all.
And then there have been the reactive moments. The reaction of those many elected officials and faith leaders and nonprofit policy partners who stood with our Jewish community on the plaza in front of the San Jose City Hall at the Solidarity Vigil for the Victims of the Tree of Life Synagogue.
We know this work is more important now than ever. Here are some highlights of JCRC civic engagement in 2020-2021:
Nonpartisan Election Season Activities: Voter Registration and Candidate Forums
JCRC helped organize two virtual candidate forums prior to the elections: San Jose City Council District 10 Virtual Candidates Forum, on January 30, 2020; and California State Senate District 15 Virtual Candidates Forum, on October 7, 2020.
We were also active in encouraging voter registration and voting. As part of our efforts we created a #TogetherWeVote video with LUNA – Latinos United for a New America and African American Community Service Agency.
After the Elections
After elections, we invite newly elected representatives to our JCRC cabinet meeting, to hear about their priorities and to share ours. Santa Clara County Supervisor Otto Lee and California State Senator Josh Becker have been guest speakers this year.
In order to respond in a timely manner to partners requesting our collaboration, the JCRC takes the time on certain issues to study, engage the Jewish community, articulate and then vote on a position statement representing a consensus position. In 2020 we developed and passed a JCRC Consensus Position on Affordable Housing and Homelessness, as it has been one of the most critical issues affecting people in Silicon Valley.
As an outcome of the session on “Environmental Action: How You Can Make a Difference” at the Jewbilee day of Jewish learning organized by the APJCC. which featured Dayenu founder Rabbi Jennie Rosenn, climate activists from each of our local synagogues have joined in collaboration with JCRC to form the Dayenu Circle of Jewish Silicon Valley. This exciting new network is mobilizing Jewish climate activism across the country in partnership with other major environmental organizations, beginning with support for the American Jobs Plan. We also have an active California network that is currently focused on SB 260 (Climate Corporate Accountability) and SB 467 (Health protection setbacks on oil and gas wells). Anyone interested can join the effort by sending an email to [email protected].
To learn more about JCRC’s work, contact Diane Fisher, JCRC Director, at [email protected].
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