Community Engagement & Intergroup Affairs
Jewish community members represent the Jewish community at the Annual Festival of Faiths in 2019!
Coalition building is one of our strengths and maybe the JCRC’s most important task. Our work is grounded in cultivating relationships and seeking partnerships with faith & ethnic communities, human rights & social justice advocates, and civic, education & law enforcement leaders. JCRC is proud to work with community & intergroup partners on issues of shared concern, united by our common pursuit of a just society, and our commitment to standing together in the face of those issues that could divide us, including bigotry, antisemitism, systemic racism, homophobia, Islamophobia, and political & religious extremism. The JCRC’s Community Engagement Committee helps members of the Jewish community become stronger allies to members of marginalized or minority groups and movements. Importantly, Community Engagement Committee members not only amplify the Jewish community’s concerns but also convey the concerns of other groups back into the Jewish community.
- JCRC Professionals represent our Jewish community on the following boards out in the community-at-large: Greater Indianapolis Multifaith Alliance, Indianapolis Race & Cultural Relations Leadership Network, Kennedy King Memorial Initiative, Immigrant Welcome Center, Pike School District’s Diversity Council, Carmel Clay School District’s Expedition program, Indiana Coalition for Human Services, United Way of Central Indiana Policy Committee, U.S. Global Leadership Forum
- ENGAGEMENT: JCRC Professionals contribute to the following efforts within our Jewish community: Jewish & Israeli Film Festival, JCC Unity Project, Ami: A Community for Queer Jews, Yom Ha’Atzmaut / Israel in the Park, Jewish Educators Council, JFGI NEXTGen, ADL’s Glass Class and Indy Cmte
- Multifaith: Helped launch Greater Indianapolis Multifaith Alliance (GIMA) to address homelessness and housing issues in central Indiana
- Participating in the national Jewish Rohingya Justice Network
- Hosted multifaith Iftar with over 220 attendees at JCC in partnership with OBAT, MAI, IHC, BEZ to raise funds for Rohingya refugees
- Attended and participated in vigils and community solidarity events after attacks on other communities • Partnered with BBYO & IFTY to create programming connect Jewish and Hindu teens
- Continued Black/Jewish Partnership (Blewish) programming to connect young leaders in both communities
- Organized “Intersections of Protest” panel, inspired by the movement to free Soviet Jewry, to learn about contemporary protest movements
- MEDIA: Continued strengthening relationships with the media community
- Have held two Luncheon for Leaders in Media
Human Rights & Community Engagement
JCRCs emerged in the U.S. during and after the Holocaust because we not only saw the need to better advocate for ourselves and reach out to build relationships, but because we also wanted to make a collective, public commitment to repairing the world (tikkun olam) by standing with and advocating for other marginalized groups who may be persecuted for their religion, nationality, ethnicity, race, or sexual identity. The increase in antisemitism today requires us to not only protect the Jewish community, but to also advocate on behalf of others experiencing forms of hate today.
JCRC in Indiana is particularly well situated to play a leadership role in advocating for mass atrocity prevention due to the priority that Indiana U.S. Senator Todd Young has placed on this work, authoring significant legislation to address human rights atrocities in Burma and Yemen. Recognizing this, and seeing the strength of our relationship with Sen. Young, the Jewish Rohingya Justice Network (JRJN), a coalition of 26 national Jewish organizations, invited the Indy JCRC to join the Network in April, 2019 (NYC and Indy are the only 2 local JCRCs at this national table).
Just as our Stand Up! Speak Out! initiative has become a model for JCRCs around the country (in that we have a dedicated professional to facilitate a menu of programs), our education, advocacy, and coalition building around the holocaust, human rights, and mass atrocity prevention could become a model as well (in that we would have a dedicated professional to not only oversee all Holocaust-related programming, but also put into action what “Never Again” looks like in practice for local Jewish organizations in the 21st century).