JCRC helps advocate for students

by | Aug 11, 2022 | Other News

In preparation for the upcoming school year and High Holy Days, it is important to proactively communicate with school faculty about the Jewish holidays to ensure Jewish students have the opportunity to observe the holidays without penalty.

While schools often try to be sensitive to students from all backgrounds, it is important for parents to contact their child’s teachers and administrators to share their thoughts and concerns. The Jewish Community Relations Council suggests these methods for parents to advocate for students in the classroom:

• Bring teachers a copy of JCRC’s Five-Year Calendar of Major Jewish Holidays, found at jewishva.org/jcrcholidaycalendar. As soon as possible, make note of the holidays when a child will be absent from school and request make-up assignments. All superintendents, heads of school, and principals in Tidewater middle and high schools have already received this calendar as the JCRC sends it both as a hard copy and email version annually. Still, it is a good idea to share the calendar or dates with the principal and assistant principal.

• Talk to teachers at the beginning of the school year about concerns or issues. Offer to partner with the teacher in creating a positive and constructive learning environment that respects the identities of all students.

• Share resources with teachers and administrators. The JCRC can provide recommendations of websites, articles, workshops, and programs for teachers and families on topics of inclusivity and understanding around Judaism.

• If an issue comes up in the classroom or the school that is of concern, start by talking with the teacher. From there, JCRC suggests the guidance counselor, followed by the assistant principal, and then the principal. If a concern has not been addressed, contact JCRC.

• In cases where antisemitic threats or graffiti are involved, contact JCRC for assistance. The JCRC will help to ensure proper tracking, adequate support, reporting to appropriate partners, and appropriate education that can be provided for all.

For a downloadable version of JCRC’s Five-Year Calendar of Major Jewish Holidays, visit jewishva.org/jcrcholidaycalendar.


Jewish Community Relations Council works for the community


ncountering incidents of antisemitism—at school, in the neighborhood, or at work—is not unusual today, according to recent surveys.

When acts of bigotry take place, however, most people don’t know where to turn or whom to contact.

The Jewish Community Relations Council tracks incidents and maintains close contacts with local, state, and federal law enforcement, as well as with educational partners such as the ADL and Virginia Center for Inclusive Communities. JCRC is an important partner in identifying, educating, and advocating on behalf of the Jewish community about antisemitism. Accordingly, it is vital the JCRC be made aware when anyone encounters antisemitism in order to adequately provide support, education, and solutions whenever possible.

Even when unsure if an incident is worth reporting as antisemitism, it is important to let the JCRC know about it to receive guidance.

United Jewish Federation of Tidewater’s JCRC works to champion a thriving Jewish community in Tidewater, Israel, and around the world. Comprised of members representing each local Jewish agency and synagogue, the JCRC is the voice of the organized Jewish community, working to champion Jewish values and a respect for diversity along with a number of key topics, including fighting antisemitism and bigotry, fostering meaningful relationships within and outside of the Jewish community, supporting the security and prosperity of the state of Israel, and building cohesion and consensus in the Tidewater Jewish community.

To learn more about the Jewish Community Relations Council, go to JewishVa.org/JCRC or contact Elka Mednick, assistant director, Jewish Community Relations Council, at emednick@ujft.org or 757-965-6112.

Elka Mednick