Name of Committee/Area:___Jewish Community Relations
(Caspe Terrace, Education, Jewish Community Relations, Jewish Family Services, Resources/Campaign, Executive Director)
Staff Director: Mark Finkelstein________________________ Board Member Liaison:__Steve Schoenebaum______________________
Report for month(s) of: November – December 2012 ________________________________________________________________________________
Activities: (What should the Federation Board know about the work accomplished the past month - numbers served, meetings, action taken, statistical data, budget considerations, strategic plan action, activities, accomplishments)
1. ___JCRC worked with the Diversity Committee of Bankers Trust to present Marion Blumenthal Lazan, a Holocaust survivor and author at Temple B’nai Jeshurun. Her presentation was excellent._____________________________________________________________________________________________
2. _JCRC fulfilled a request from Meredith Middle School to speak about the Solar Cooker project conducted by Jewish World Watch in the refugee camps in Kenya. The project is a huge success on many levels. Also brought to class a Sudanese leader and discussed the crisis in Sudan.______________________________________________________________________________________________
3. _JCRC conducted a lunch discussion focusing on current challenges in the Middle East. (rise of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, the Gaza War, Iran, and the Palestinian UN gambit) A representative from AIPAC served as guest speaker. _______________________________________________________________________________________________
4. __JCRC interacted with a guest speaker on Iran presented by the Drake Center for Global Citizenship. Served as an opportunity to discuss perceptions about the sanctions applied against Iran and Iranian perceptions of the threat posed by an Iran pursuing development of nuclear weapons.____________________________________________________________________________________________
5. ___JCRC contributed to a Drake University class study on the topic of civil political discourse in Des Moines.____________________________
6. JCRC participated in a discussion with a representative of a national organization dedicated to ensuring the separation of religion and state.
7. JCRC was represented at a program conducted in support of Israel’s security by the regional chapter of Christians United For Israel.
Committee Recommendation/Motion to Board: (if applicable)
Our Mission at Work: (What made you feel good about the work accomplished this month: something positive that occurred, success story, positive feedback, goal met, anecdote of client/student served, etc.)
The process of communicating with other organizations ( such as the Bankers Trust Diversity Committee, Drake’s Center for Global Citizenship, Meredith Middle School, and Christians United For Israel) enables the exchange of ideas and the establishment of common ground upon which to conduct discussions, and clarify points of contention , all in a respectful manner. That the topic of civil political discourse itself was the subject of a class study at Drake University indicates that the civility of discourse between entities is apparently eroding, to the detriment of community, as a whole.
Engaging with other organizations means that one has sometimes to leave the comfort of one’s own political environment. More often than not, despite the uncertainties, given the presence of at least some, meaningful common ground of agreement, the efforts expended in being present at someone else’s program, engaging in dialogue, or collaborating in a project are usually mutually beneficial. In some instances, whether collaborating with leaders in the Sudanese community or working with Bankers Trust, the programs can be presented on our home turf (in this case, Temple B’nai Jeshurun – for whose hospitality we are thankful), further strengthening the perception of others about the Jewish community.