What We Do

Speakers Bureau

The Speakers Bureau of the Jewish Community Relations Council of Minnesota and the Dakotas (JCRC) is ready to partner with you to bring compelling distance learning to your classroom, house of worship, or organization.

Since 2003 our volunteers have spoken to thousands of audiences, building bridges through respectful, open-minded and frank exchanges about important topics. This is our community at its best – appreciating one another for both our similarities and our differences.

Now, in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic, we have pivoted to virtual presentations. We think this work has never been more essential.

Request a Speaker

We offer the following presentations on the virtual platform of your choice, live or pre-recorded, free-of-charge, and tailored to meet your timetable and learning goals:
  • Judaism on One Foot – Fulfills the Social Studies Standard asking for a description of the beliefs and practices of Judaism.   We cover the beliefs, values and religious traditions upon which the Jewish faith is based. This program covers the common roots of the 3 Abrahamic Faiths, introduction to Torah, holidays, ritual objects, ethical principles,  connection to Israel, Jewish diversity, life cycle events, kosher, etc. Together we will foster understanding and religious tolerance. After a pre-recorded video we can join your group for a live Q and A, or take questions and record another video with answers.
  • Amazing Israel: People, Places, and Culture: Get acquainted with a country brimming with biblical history and cutting-edge innovation, the Jewish homeland that is also a dynamic, multi-ethnic democracy. This tiny land has a huge story to tell!
  • “The Letters Project: Conversing Across Narratives”
    A one hour values-based conversation using excerpts from the book Letters to My Palestinian Neighbor: With an Extensive Epilogue of Palestinian Responses by Yossi Klein Halevi. Designed for those classes engaging in a deep and meaningful conversation about Israelis and Palestinians. Challenges students to find their own voice and come to better understand how pride and empathy can inform conflicts near and far. We can also bring you into our Letters Project, which provides books and assigns students the task of writing a letter to the author.
  • Holocaust Family Story – Pre-recorded presentation of a local family’s story of survival, followed by live Q and A. This local family story provides a direct touchpoint to the larger historical context as well as current ways to stand up against hate. Offers a unique extension and deepening of Holocaust education.

Our virtual teaching is getting strongly positive feedback:

“We have used the Jewish Community Relations Council of Minnesota and the Dakotas for a couple of years in our classroom. This past school year was exceptional, because they were able to support us through distance learning. They reached out to us, and gave us ways they could still be a part of our classes. We were able to give students authentic opportunities to learn from the organization’s speakers through Zoom meetings. It well exceeded our expectations. They were well organized, informative, and provided a unique learning experience. The students gain so much more from an opportunity like this, and the feedback is always positive. It is important to give students a variety of ways to learn, and this has been a great way to differentiate instruction. We have recommended JCRC to other schools in our district, because of the outstanding work they do for teachers. They are easy to work with, flexible, and do such a good job in the school setting. We have enjoyed working with this group, and plan to continue our relationship with them for future school years.”

“Your presentation was AWESOME! It was just right length and the info was very enlightening. I liked the format of the presentation with the PowerPoint slides and with you up in the box on top right so we could also see you too. I loved the presentation!”

“I am a social studies teacher. My students are essentially homogenous and rarely get to experience diversity. Therefore, it has been my goal as a teacher to open their minds to different opinions, experience diversity, and teach against discrimination. Meeting with your JCRC volunteer has accomplished all these goals. My students met a Jewish person for the first time. My students thoroughly enjoyed her infectious personality. I was glad the speaker discussed offensive jokes, especially about the Holocaust, because they have heard those kinds of jokes. Now they tell those kids to stop it. She also did a great job of answering their questions in detail and giving virtual high fives. It perfectly fit into my unit about world religions.”

“A speaker from the Jewish Community Relations Council set up a Zoom meeting to engage with my World Cultures class about the traditions and beliefs of Judaism. While I missed having the speaker come to visit my class in person, in some ways the Zoom meeting was better. What I noticed right away was that students were asking more questions in the comment box. Typically, 10th grade students shy away from asking questions in person in front of their peers. It was apparent that my students were more inquisitive with the Zoom format. Overall, I believe that the integrity of JCRC’s presentation was not compromised in any way. If we still have Covid related restrictions next year, I will most certainly invite the JCRC back for a Zoom meeting and I will enthusiastically encourage other area educators to do the same!”

Click here to download our brochure (PDF)