The Scranton CRC
Community Relations Committee
of the Jewish Federation of Northeastern Pennsylvania
|The role of a Jewish Federation is manifold beyond fund-raising. It has a responsibility for the quality of life for all citizens within its local, national and international communities. In addition to Israel, which is often the focal point, we are concerned about the welfare of citizens of all ages and of all faiths. Often we are called on to be a voice for those who do not have the ability or resources to speak for themselves. This is what community relations is all about, although every Federation may prioritize in different ways. Often it depends on the size of the community, the political complexion and the role of prominent leadership. Currently, there are over 30 national Jewish organizations primarily concerned with community relations or, as some prefer to have it known, human relations.
Basically, community relations groups are concerned about promoting democracy, furthering inter-group relations, promoting inter-religious contacts and creating a climate of tolerance and pluralism for all people in the United States. Overseas, community relations committees are often related to the plight of Jews in nations where they are either not free to leave, experience anti-Semitism or require assistance from our own government. Thus, community relations committees played a leading role in the struggle to free Soviet Jews, assisting in their immigration and petitioning government leaders for ongoing aid to Israel.
Within the United States, the rights of groups discriminated against, defending Jewish interests and fighting anti-Semitism, are major objectives. In relation to Israel, issues of concern have been the Arab boycott, immigration, inter and intra religious relations, and situations impacting on Holocaust survivors.
Major organizations dealing with community relations include the American Jewish Committee, American Jewish Congress, Anti-Defamation League of B'nai B'rith, Jewish War Veterans, Simon Weisenthal Center and the all embracing community relations body for Federations, Jewish Council for Public Affairs, formerly known as the National Jewish Community Relations Advisory Council.
The Jewish Federation has a Community Relations Committee open to all who wish to participate. Periodic meetings are conducted in order to discuss the issues of the day, often brought to our attention by national organizations. In addition, we often invite guest speakers knowledgeable on issues of immediate interest, thus giving members of the community the opportunity to dialogue directly with those who have the most information.
The CRC is chaired by attorney David Fallk, with coordination by the Executive Director. In larger communities, Community Relations Committees are often independent of their federations, with a separate board.
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