Who We Are

We are proud to say that for more than a century, JCRC has provided programs, services, and support for thousands in the Jewish and broader communities. We provide help in areas including aging services, career services, children and family services, community engagement, and counseling and mental health support.

Mission

As the public affairs voice of the Jewish community, the JCRC fights anti-Semitism and prejudice, advocates for Israel, provides Holocaust education, promotes tolerance and social justice, and builds bridges across the Jewish and broader communities.

The JCRC:
  • Serves as the central public affairs voice of the Jewish community to elected officials, the media, government agencies, and other religious, ethnic and cultural groups;
  • Represents the Jewish community’s interests on significant legislative, social justice, and public policy issues in a non-partisan manner;
  • Promotes and facilitates the security of the Jewish community and Jewish institutions, and assists community members dealing with discrimination;
  • Educates and mobilizes the Jewish community for Israel advocacy;
  • Encourages and facilitates open dialogue and consensus among the Jewish community’s diverse religious, political and social perspectives;
  • Provides Holocaust education and diversity programming;
  • Remembers the victims and honors the survivors of the Holocaust;
  • Sponsors community and educational forums; and
  • Partners with local and national non-profit, interfaith, and Jewish coalitions.

Our Geography

The JCRC represents Jews, individually and collectively, in Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota.

2018-2019 JCRC BOARD MEMBERS

*Executive Committee

OFFICERS

*Marty Chester,
President

*Judy Cook,
Vice President

*Jon Parritz,
Vice President

*Jason Divine,
Treasurer

*Jacy Grais,
Secretary

*Jeff Oberman,
Immediate Past President

BOARD MEMBERS

Jon Applebaum
Gregory Arenson
Gary Baron
Chad Blumenfield
Michele Kaplan Clinard
Michael Cohen
Brian Cook
Jeff Davidman
Rabbi Ryan Dulkin
Mayor Jacob Frey
Ben Gerber
Rabbi Tamar Grimm
Oren Gross
Eilat Harel
Todd Johnson
Mort Kane
Phyllis Karasov
Robert Karon

Elyse Less
Stephanie Brod Levine
Judie Liszt
David Lui
Jacob Millner
Andrew Parker
Renee Popkin
Stephen Rosenthal
*Russ Rubin
Bob Rubinyi
Rhona Shwaid
Alan Silver
Leah Solo
Joni Sussman
Howard Tarkow
Amy Walstien
Tsippi Wray

A Brief History

Decades ago, Jews in the Upper Midwest were excluded from much of American life. Many employers would not hire Jews, some communities were closed to Jews, and even some restaurants wouldn’t serve Jews. In fact, notable essayist Carey McWilliams proclaimed in 1946 “Minneapolis is the capitol of anti-Semitism in the United States. In almost every walk of life, ‘an iron curtain’ separates Jews from non-Jews in Minneapolis.”

Groups whose sole purpose was anti-Semitism, abounded in the 1930s and 40s. One of the largest was the Silver Shirts, who marched through the streets and published newsletters filled with hatred toward Jews.

Today, the mission of protecting the Jewish community is alive within the Jewish Community Relations Council of Minnesota and the Dakotas. Its immediate predecessor, founded by Samuel Scheiner in 1939, participated in the great transformation of attitudes toward the Jewish community and other minorities. Highlights include JCRC advocacy for fair housing and employment practices in the late 1940s, the principles of which were embodied in the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

The JCRC advocated for Israel after the Jewish state was created in 1948 and did advocacy work on behalf of Soviet Jews in the 1960s and 1970s.

The advocacy continues today, along with wonderful inclusive, interactive and informative programs for children, students, adults, members of the Jewish community and other faith communities, and many other people in the general community.