Who We Are

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.

2020-2021 JCRC BOARD MEMBERS

*Executive Committee

OFFICERS

*Judy Cook,
President

*Jon Parritz,
Vice President

* Jacy Grais,
Vice President

*Jason Divine,
Treasurer

*Rhona Shwaid,
Secretary


*Marty Chester,
Immediate Past President

BOARD MEMBERS

Gregory Arenson
Gary Baron
Irene Bartram
Valeria Chazin
Michael Cohen
Brian Cook
Jeff Davidman
Rabbi Ryan Dulkin
Aklilu Dunlap
Emma Dunn
Mayor Jacob Frey
John Goldfine
Eilat Harel
Todd Johnson
Mort Kane
Phyllis Karasov
Robert Karon
Susie Kaufman
Wendy Khabie
David Krco
Elyse Less
Stephanie Brod Levine
Andrew Lifson
* Judie Liszt
* Sally Lorberbaum
David Lui
* Gil Mann
Jacob Millner
Councilmember Rebecca Noecker
Andrew Parker
Renee Popkin
* Stephen Rosenthal
* Russ Rubin
Bob Rubinyi
Alan Silver
Howard Tarkow
Amy Walstien
Robin Washington

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.