The Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC) is the vehicle through which the Jewish community is represented in the greater Louisville community in discussions, activities, programs and coalitions with others that help improve inter-group relationships and protect human rights. The JCRC provides a forum for discussion and coordinated action on public policy issues of concern to the Louisville Jewish community and conducts educational, legislative and media efforts on issues including Israel, religious freedom, pluralism, separation of religion and state, and equality of opportunity for all.
Among the many activities JCRC subcommittees organize or participate in are: the Interfaith Seders program, which brings model Passover Seders to a number of area churches; an interfaith Chanukah party; the Merry Mitzvah Community Service Project, which provides volunteers for a number of local social service agencies during the Christmas holidays; Holocaust education programs; as well as Israeli education and advocacy programs.
JCRC is the means through which the Jewish community carries out the mitzvah of tikkun olam – the repair of the world. In times of community need, JCRC is on the scene to provide assistance. The JCRC also works to promote positive cooperation among Louisville’s many religious, ethnic and racial groups through coalition efforts with Interfaith Paths to Peace and similar organizations in the general community. Through sponsorships of the Community Hunger Walk in September and the annual Yom HaShoah commemoration for the victims of the Holocaust held in the spring, JCRC strives to provide a broader understanding of the Jewish practice of tikkum olam.
The JCRC Speaker’s Bureau provides speakers for churches, synagogues, Jewish organizations, chavurot and civic groups and for audiences ranging from young children in area schools to senior citizens. In addition, the JCRC takes area teachers on a biennial trip to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C., and undertakes a number of community service projects, including a Purim appeal to help a local social service agency or respond to a natural disaster and facilitates participation in Habitat for Humanity.
JCRC Chair: Becky Ruby Swansburg
Contact: Matt Goldberg, JCRC Director, email@example.com or 502-238-2707.
The purpose of the JCRC is to help maintain and strengthen the dignity, security, and integrity of Jewish life. In order to carry out this purpose, the JCRC shall:
- Represent the Jewish community of Louisville in discussions, activities, and programs aimed at improving intergroup relationships and protecting human rights.
- Formulate and execute plans and policy on all civic protective matters for and on behalf of the Jewish community of Louisville.
- Encourage cooperation and promote harmony among Jewish and non-Jewish organizations in Louisville.
- Coordinate the work of member organizations in the fields of civil rights and community relations.
- Formulate and carry out programs and activities in support of Israel and Jews in other countries.
JCRC’s Role in Public Policy State, Local & National Issues
JCRC’s Public Policy State, Local & National Issues Committee is the resource when Jews in Louisville experience public school and workplace concerns. For example it was The Jewish Community of Louisville’s JCRC that worked with Jefferson County public schools to make sure that Jewish children were given excused absences for high holiday observances, and that if important tests are given on Jewish holidays, Jewish students have the right to make-up exams without penalty.
JCRC’s Media, Israel Initiative & PR Committee
The situation in the Middle East generates an enormous amount of media coverage, and not all of it presents a balanced picture of what is really happening. The Jewish Community Relations Council monitors the situation and is an effective advocate for Israel. This includes, but is not limited to, well-timed and well-positioned letters to the editor educating the public on the incomparable circumstances Israel faces everyday in its quest to survive. JCRC is also adept at responding to anti-Israel speakers and protesters both on local campuses and off. Many of the most interesting pro-Israel speakers appearing in Louisville are brought here by JCRC. Examples include David Baker, who served as Prime Minister Olmert’s spokesperson and Khaled abu Toameh, an Arab reporter for the Jerusalem Post.
JCRC provides materials and training for Israel advocacy and works closely with Hillel on the University of Louisville campus.
JCRC’s Interfaith Community & Coalition Activities
The Jewish Community Relations Council has built unprecedented new relationships with Louisville’s interracial and interfaith communities including African Americans, Muslims, Catholics, Protestants, Evangelicals and more. The JCRC works with the Center for Interfaith Relations, Highland Community Ministries, Interfaith Paths to Peace and other interfaith groups on issues of social justice and engages in open discussion with them on a wide range of issues. When interests converge JCRC works closely with these groups.