Federation JCRC Director Ben Friedman discusses U.S. policy shift on Jerusalem (12/8/2017)
JCRC supports U.S. recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital
The Jewish Community Relations Council of the Jewish Federation of Greater Orlando fully supports President Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
We continue to encourage all parties to work toward a path to peace through a two-state solution, and we strongly believe that these are not contradictory goals. Recognizing Israel’s right to choose its own capital while also promoting a peaceful future are not mutually exclusive, and we reject the idea that this move necessitates a violent response.
We hope that both Israelis and Palestinians will work together to realize the dream of a Jerusalem open and safe to all people.
JCRC backs amendment
to restore voting rights
JCRC is proud to support the Voting Restoration Amendment, an effort to restore voting rights to more than 1 million currently disenfranchised Floridians. This is an important step toward a fair justice system and a more representative democracy for all of us.
This ballot initiative would allow Florida to join 47 other states in modernizing our laws and promoting fair and equal access to the ballot box. We strongly encourage all registered voters to sign this petition and support the voting rights of our fellow Floridians.
The amendment would restore the voting rights of Floridians with felony convictions after they complete all terms of their sentence, including parole or probation. The amendment would not apply to those convicted of murder or sexual offenses, who would continue to be permanently barred from voting unless the governor and Cabinet vote to restore their voting rights on a case-by-case basis.
Anyone can return the signed petition to Ben Friedman, Director of Community Relations at the Jewish Federation of Greater Orlando, or any JCRC member, and we will gladly mail it for you!
If you have any questions or concerns, please contact Ben Friedman at 407-645-5933 ext 233 or via email at BFriedman@jfgo.org
Visit Floridians For a Fair Democracy to learn more
Advocate for your Jewish child in school!
The Jewish Community Relations Council is pleased to share the following resources for parents:
JCRC launches page with resources to combat anti-Semitism
The ongoing threats aimed at U.S. Jewish institutions have sown fear in more than 100 Jewish communities and institutions across the country -- including right here on our Maitland Jewish Community Campus.
Anti-Semitic graffiti at local schools and homes, fliers promoting white supremacy at UCF and other unsettling incidents have no place in our society. We urge all of our community members not to be deterred from participation in Jewish life, and all of our fellow Central Floridians to join with us to combat this rise in hate.
The Jewish Federation of Greater Orlando's Jewish Community Relations Council has just launched a web page with resources and links to information that will empower our community to take action.
Visit www.jfgo.org/takeaction to learn more
January 30, 2017
Statement: President Trump's executive order on immigrants and refugees
The Jewish Community Relations Council of the Jewish Federation of Greater Orlando expresses great concern over the current and potential impact of the Executive Order Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States signed by President Trump on January 27, 2017.
While we respect the need to protect the safety and security of our nation’s citizens, we strongly believe that this can and must be accomplished without abandoning the historic commitment shared by the Jewish community and all Americans to welcoming immigrants and treating refugees with compassion.
This commitment is deeply rooted in the Jewish tradition and the Jewish experience. We are a people of immigrants. Throughout our history we have been treated as "strangers in a strange land" and as targets of religious persecution.
Because of that experience, which for many of us was all too recent, we empathize with groups who are similarly cast out. We are guided by that experience and the Torah-based mandates to welcome the stranger and care for the weak. It is not only our religious values that speak to welcoming those who seek shelter and safety, but it is also a pillar of free, democratic nations.
We wish to make clear our deep concern over this action which appears to define policy for individuals based upon their religion. It is our hope that this Administration implement policy that remains true to the values of diversity, liberty and religious tolerance deeply rooted and centrally regarded in both Jewish tradition and the American experience as a whole.
January 4, 2017
Resources, perspectives on the UN Security Council vote
Following a vote in December by the UN Security Council on Israel’s settlements – a vote from which the United States abstained – outgoing U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu gave dueling speeches. Both occurrences are certain to impact U.S.-Israel relations going forward.
The San Francisco Jewish Community Relations Council has prepared an extensive collection of resources and opinions on the UN Security Council's actions.
Making your views known to our elected officials is an important part of being an American citizen. The Federation's Jewish Community Relations Committee encourages you to communicate regularly with our elected officials regarding issues important to you.
Click on the lawmaker's name to view his/her website.
The White House
Bill Nelson (D)
Marco Rubio (R)
U.S. House of Representatives
Ron DeSantis (R) (Dist. 6)
Stephanie Murphy (D) (Dist. 7)
Bill Posey (R) (Dist. 8)
Darren Soto (D) (Dist. 9)
Val Demings (D) (Dist. 10)
Daniel Webster (R) (Dist. 11)
Dennis Ross (R) (Dist. 15)
To find your U.S. representative, click here and enter your zip code.
Florida Senate – Central Florida
David Simmons (R) (Dist. 9)
Randolph Bracy (D) (Dist. 11)
Dennis Baxley (R) (Dist. 12)
Linda Stewart (D) (Dist. 13)
Dorothy Hukill (R) (Dist. 14)
Victor Torres, Jr. (D) (Dist. 15)
Kelli Stargel (R) (Dist. 22)
To find your Florida senator, click here and enter your address.
Florida House of Representatives - Central Florida
Jason Brodeur (R) (Dist. 28)
Scott Plakon (R) (Dist. 29)
Bob Cortes (R) (Dist. 30)
John Cortes (D) (Dist. 43)
Eric Eisnaugle (R) (Dist. 44)
Kamia Brown (D) (Dist. 45)
Bruce Antone (D) (Dist. 46)
Mike Miller (R) (Dist. 47)
Amy Mercado (D) (Dist. 48)
Carlos Guillermo Smith (D) (Dist. 49)
Rene Plasencia (R) (Dist. 50)
To find your Florida representative, click here and enter your address.
July 10, 2016
More than 200 members of the Greater Orlando community attended JCRC's July 10 Sh'loshim event at Congregation Ohev Shalom in support of the LGBT and Hispanic communities.
JCRC thanks all who participated as well as our featured speakers and presenters: Rabbi David Kay, Sammy Goldstein, Kol Ram, Matt Broffman, Diana Bolivar, Betsy Cohen, Cantor Jackie Rawizser, Rhonda Forest, Natan Brener, Rabbi Joshua Neely and Michael Goldman.
A very special thanks to Rabbi Kay for his incredible work with the JCRC to organize and host this event.
Orlando Jewish community
speaks out on Anti-Israel billboards
Over the past few months, anti-Israel billboards on I-4 and on University Boulevard have questioned America’s foreign aid to Israel. These billboards are sponsored by an organization called “If Americans Knew,” an anti-Israel organization led by a woman named Alison Weir. Though the group is controversial and has used white supremacist organizations to further its mission, the billboards are not violating any hate speech laws, and so they remain up.
Our community has responded to these billboards through letters and op-eds in local media. There was a lengthy back-and-forth twice in the Orlando Sentinel several months ago, but again, because of freedom of speech, the billboards remain.
The current billboard on University goes so far as to tie aid to Israel to the water crisis in Flint, Michigan. In an excellent sermon, Rabbi David Kay of Congregation Ohev Shalom suggests that as Jews, we respond to any illogical, fact-manipulating message by “getting inside the other person’s argument, finding and exposing the flaws in their logic, bringing their deeper motives to light, and then – and this is vitally important – offering a better and more logically sound alternative.” We encourage you to read the full sermon, and to use your passion, idealism, and compassion to advocate on behalf of the citizens of Flint, of Israel, or of any place where there is suffering.
More than 60 members of the Greater Orlando Jewish Community participated in “Combating the Delegitimization of Israel,” a community education event held Feb. 17 at The Roth Family JCC in Maitland. The event was sponsored and organized by the Jewish Federation of Greater Orlando’s Jewish Community Relations Council.
Avi Weinryb, Assistant Director of Community Strategy and Communications for JFNA/JCPA Israel Action Network, led a 90-minute discussion that included an audience question-and-answer period.
Weinryb shared insights and advice on how members of the public can engage in constructive engagement in the face of attacks on the legitimacy of Israel through the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement. Weinryb talked about the importance of relationship building and constructive engagement, especially with certain “vulnerable audiences” who are targeted by the anti-Israel movement. While BDS focuses only on pressuring Israel, he said, Jewish Americans should encourage constructive efforts to bring Israelis and Palestinians together on joint projects, including those that foster reconciliation and promote understanding and trust.
“If we relate to our vulnerable audiences with positive, nuanced messages … they will see the true face of Israel, its human side,” Weinryb said. “Thus a level of understanding will be built, and our vulnerable audiences will be prepared to resist the claims of the Global BDS movement and those who seek to assault the legitimacy of the world’s only Jewish state.”
Weinryb’s appearance was made possible by the Jewish Federations of North America.
JCRC's Barbara Weinreich (standing, fifth from left) was honored on Oct. 13, 2016, by the Atlantic Institute with its 2016 Peace and Dialogue Award. The Atlantic Institute holds the awards ceremony annually to recognize influential people who actively promote diversity and intercultural exchange in the Central Florida community. Several members of the Greater Orlando Jewish community were there to celebrate with Barbara.