The Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC) is an independent body working on behalf of the York Pennsylvania Jewish community, on critical issues affecting Jews as individuals and as a community. As the public affairs voice of the York Jewish community, the JCRC combats anti-Semitism and prejudice, advocates for world Jewry, promotes social justice and acceptance and builds bridges across the Jewish and broader communities.
The Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC) of York joins with all the communities in our country to express our sorrow and outrage at the horrific mass-shooting that took place at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, on February 14th. Our hearts are broken at the violence that gunned down more teachers and more innocent youth before they had a chance to live the life of freedom and liberty our founding fathers wanted them to have. We honor the Second Amendment and the right for law abiding citizens to own guns. We do not believe, however, that the founding fathers of our great nation envisioned the use of semi-automatic weapons, legally and illegally obtained, to prey on American citizens not engaged in war.
Guns require an actual human being to pull the trigger. Each time we witness another of these horrific events, we learn the perpetrator is a criminal, terrorist, or has suffered from a professionally-diagnosed or undiagnosed mental illness. We can do something to prevent these people from obtaining weapons. We already have in place the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS). We urge Congress and state legislators to mandate that states report records on criminals, the mentally ill, and all other prohibited gun purchasers.
This horrible act is the ninth deadliest mass shooting in recent US history and, tragically, it took place in yet another school. Our thoughts and prayers are with the Parkland community. But, thoughts and prayers do not effect change. We must demand action from our legislators on commonsense solutions to combat gun violence. It is a sad commentary of our society that our students feel the only way they can be heard is to leave their classrooms and march in demand of the right to live.
The young people who are stepping up to spearhead this movement must be heard and they must be supported. Now is the time to support the March for Our Lives on March 24th in Washington, DC, and in all communities around the country sharing in this vision. Now is the time to demand action by our elected officials; our passion for change cannot end until all our citizens, especially our children, are safe from violence.
We honor their commitment as our own.
We support their cause as our own.
And we stand with them, as we claim each one of them as our own.
Nada Seidon, Committee Chair On behalf of the JCRC
To Whom It May Concern,
Saturday August 12th was what the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) described as a dark and tragic day for our nation, as many here in York and around the world watched the events unfold when hundreds of white supremacists gathered in Charlottesville for a “Unite the Right” rally. The Nazis, the KKK, and white supremacists used the dismantling of the Robert E. Lee statue as an excuse to publicly, in the blinding light of day, spew their hatred for all who are not white. Chanting, “Jews will not replace us”, “the Goyim know”, “Jews are Satan’s children” and “the Jewish media is going down”. The phrase “you will not replace us” has been reported by the Anti-Defamation League to “reflect the white supremacist world view that… the white race is doomed to extinction by an alleged ‘rising tide of color’ purportedly controlled and manipulated by Jews”.
As a way to show solidarity with Charlottesville, members of the York Jewish community came together with the larger York community to attend a Stand With Charlottesville rally hosted by Reverend Christopher Rodkey of Dallastown and community activist Marta Peck in downtown York. Not only does the York Jewish Community Relations Council condemn acts of violence, but we condemn acts of hate speech infecting our country. The Jewish people know all too well what can occur when the rancor of Nazis and white supremacists, as well as those who support them, is left unchecked. But we are far from the only community targeted by visceral hate. We stand fiercely against all forms of hate directed toward anyone based on their religion, race, sexual orientation, gender or gender identity. We grieve with the Charlottesville community, and stand with our interfaith and diversity partners to let Southern Pennsylvania know that hate is not tolerated here or elsewhere in our nation.
Free resources that are available to our community in the form of diversity education and Holocaust education are based out of the York JCC please visit their website for more information on how you and your organization, church, or school can take advantage of them.
Nada Seidon, Chair JCRC
On Monday, February 27th, the YorkJCC experienced a deplorable and inexcusable act of hatred when a bomb threat was called into the center. Recently, over 100 JCCs across the U.S. have been the target of these threatening disruptions. These threats affect our most vulnerable: toddlers in their childcare and preschool classrooms, seniors engaged in enrichment classes, as well as members using the exercise facility and swimming pool, all of whom had to be evacuated.
Whatever the caller’s intent, the seeds of fear and hate they spread did not take root. What did happen was a beautiful outpouring of support in voice and deeds. During the evacuation, a local school, in the full swing of a school day, opened its doors and offered refuge and food for the evacuees. In addition, just two days after the event, Pastor Laura Haupt of Luther Memorial Church, in concert with Rabbi Jeffrey Astrachan and three additional pastors representing their congregations, held an interfaith solidarity service. Over 200 people of all faiths participated, including our Congressman, Rep. Scott Perry, PA State Rep. Kristin Phillips-Hill and Pastor Katie Brantner, who, on behalf of Governor Tom Wolf, read statements of condemnation as they offered support for the JCC.
Indeed, the Jewish community in York, PA is blessed to have such caring neighbors who see not the differences between us, but the humanity in all of us. We are deeply grateful for the generous acts of affection and compassion. We are beyond humbled that so many people reached out to offer their support. We all have an obligation to one another to be of service. It is moments like this that the world is in most need of repair, and the York community did its part.
This community brought blessings to the people who needed them. All a blessing takes is a little time, and a kind heart.
Thank you, York Community, for being a blessing.
Nada Seidon, Chair JCRC
On this date our central Pennsylvania community had the pleasure of hosting Ambassador Dennis Ross, an American diplomat and Middle East scholar. Ross had served four presidential administrations as a foreign policy adviser in the State Department for over 30 years. This lecture was held at the York College of Pennsylvania as a pioneering educational collaborative between colleges in the region, and the Jewish Community Relations Councils of York and Harrisburg.
The invitation of Ambassador Ross was prompted by a series of billboards between York and Harrisburg as part of the BDS (boycott, divestment and sanctions) Movement to delegitimize Israel’s right to exist. Through thoughtful discussions and meetings between the two communities it was decided that the best approach to combat the one sided BDS attack, was to educate not only the Jewish communities but also non-Jews as well on the historic 70-year relationship between Israel and the US, it’s strategic importance to the US as the only democratic government in the Mid-East and Israel as one of our trading partners.
The JCRC of York thanks the many people that gave of their time, talent and money to this successful venture. We are hopeful moving forward that our two communities will mark this event as the first in an annual educational outreach.
The York JCRC denounces the increasingly intolerant and inflammatory anti-Muslimrhetoric that is currently pulsing through American society. Respect for the diversity of religions is at the very core of our national identity, is vital for our democracy to thrive, and is among our most cherished values as Americans and as Jews.
Our country, and indeed the entire world, is facing a very real threat from radical Islamist terrorism. However, the JCRC finds repugnant any proposal thatsingles out certain human beings for disparate treatment solely on the basis of their religion. Islamophobia, along with anti-Semitism and other forms ofbigotry, is an affront to the core American values of inclusivity, pluralism, and religious freedom. Yet, we now read daily of hatred and threatsdirected at mosques and individual Muslims across the country. The Jewish community knows all too well what can happen when a particular religious orethnic group is singled out. Today we are witnessing a resurgence of anaggressive nationalist racism that, if allowed to flourish unchecked, could set us back years.
As the New Year approaches, the JCRC urges the community to reflect on such issues and to make a New Year’s resolution to be open-minded, informed, and welcoming to those who may seem different.
Nada Seidon, York JCRC Chair
CALL TO EDUCATE!
The Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC) of York Pennsylvania recognizes the strenuous diplomatic efforts by the United States and its fellow members of the P5+1 to address the challenge of a nuclear-armed Iran. We support the diplomatic process to find a peaceful resolution to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon. With so much at stake and so much controversy surrounding this issue it is crucial that we all educate ourselves with the facts. Knowledge is power.
This deal, whether ratified or rejected by Congress will likely change the geopolitical landscape around the world – as well as here at home.
Due to the complexity of the deal and its lasting implications the JCRC committee comprised of professional and lay leadership representing the York Jewish Community Center, Jewish Family Services of York, Congregation Ohev Sholom and Temple Beth Israel is posting this- Call to Educate!
In an effort to give easy access to the facts the JCRC has posted links on the web sites of the four organizations listed above to assist the public to educate themselves on this vital security issue. By visiting these sites you will find links to a wide spectrum of views and resources relating to this issue. In addition you will find the contact information for your Senators and Congressman in Washington. Silence is not an option.
We strongly urge you to learn more about this critical issue of our time, and then take the appropriate action
As Americans we all have the right to be heard; it is our responsibility to exercise that right!
Your elected officials want to hear from you!
Below is the contact information for Senator Casey, Senator Toomey, and Congressman Perry if your elected official is not one of these individuals please use the following website to find their contact information http://www.house.gov/representatives/find