JCRC's Involvement in Local Responses to the Tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut
Dear JCRC and Friends,
I write this note to you with a heavy heart as indeed we all have after the tragic shooting in Newtown, Connecticut on Friday. There are no words to describe the horror and my wife and I spent much of the weekend watching events unfold and simply crying. What else was there to do?
I wanted you to know of JCRC's involvement in local responses to the tragedy. Many of you are aware that JCRC is a member of the Religious Leaders Council (RLC) of Philadelphia which is comprised of the top religious leaders of the Christian, Muslim and Jewish communities of Philadelphia. Over the weekend, much emailing occurred between leaders of the RLC including JCRC. On Sunday evening a conference call was held to discuss what we might do as a collective body. It was decided that a regularly scheduled meeting of the RLC for Tuesday would be devoted entirely to a discussion about appropriate responses to the tragedy. We are working closely with two sensible gun regulation advocacy groups, CeaseFirePA and Heeding God's Call, to figure out ways we can become more involved in the issue and they will be attending the meeting.
The Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC) of the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia serves the needs of the Jewish community, both local and overseas, through community relations, government affairs, social action and advocacy. In pursuit of these goals, and consistent with Jewish teachings and ethics, we are dedicated to improving inter-group understanding and the enhancement of a just and pluralistic society.
As a voice of the local Jewish community, JCRC nurtures and advocates for a strong connection to the people of Israel and to Jews around the world, and commemorates and sustains the memory and lessons of the Holocaust.
In its interfaith and inter-group work, JCRC serves as a common table for airing concerns, promoting the peaceful resolution of conflicts and building coalitions among diverse members of the broader community in pursuit of common goals. Among its guiding principles is the belief that sustained efforts to promote understanding and harmony among diverse groups strengthen the Jewish community and society at large. The pursuit of a democratic, just society, free of prejudice, discrimination, anti-Semitism and racism, fosters conditions in which the American Jewish community is secure and free to flourish.
JCRC seeks and values multiple perspectives for informed, respectful deliberation and action.
Established in 1939 as an independent non-profit organization, JCRC merged into the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia in 2003.
Director: Adam Kessler
Chair: Rabbi David Straus
In addition to an active group of committee and task-force volunteers and at-large delegates to its policy board, JCRC today consists of 30 constituent organizations which together represent the collectivity of voices of the organized local Jewish community.
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Thank you to those who participated in the Faiths Calling effort last week. Over 10,000 people called their Members of Congress, flooding the phone lines and letting a loud, clear voice for gun safety be heard in Washington.
And Washington is listening! While we were calling Congress on Monday, President Obama traveled to Minneapolis to make the case there for smart legislation that can curb gun violence. Standing with law enforcement, the President touted the city’s gun laws that brought gun related injuries among youth down from 159 in 2005 to 94 in 2011. Read more