The Jewish Federation of Stamford, Conn., does not have a Community Relations Council (CRC) like we do, but its board has been considering creating one. So, my friend and colleague, Jim, called me to see if I’d be willing to drive to Stamford to present to his advisory committee what our Community Relations department does to help them with their decision. I went down on Wednesday and shared the following:
- We maintain strong ties with all elected officials.
- We meet regularly with the FBI, NYS Counter-Terrorism Task Force, and all levels of local law enforcement and serve as a liaison for all of our synagogues and agencies. We host an annual security briefing with everyone before the High Holidays to update our community on any potential risks.
- We educate all schools and secular institutions on our Jewish calendar and try to resolve scheduling conflicts for our Jewish community before or as problems arise.
- We closely monitor anti-Semitic and anti-Zionist activity in the area and around our campuses. We work with our partners ADL, JCPA, JFNA, and the Israel Action Network to formulate and execute the best approach for handling situations. This week, for example, we are dealing with a new anti-Israel billboard.
- We engage in robust interfaith and intercultural dialogue. We host an annual Kristallnacht commemoration with all of our interfaith partners. We sit on the Siena College MLK board. We recently befriended the Turkish Cultural Center. Next week, we will hear from Bishop Scharfenberger to further our Jewish-Catholic relations.
- We host an annual workshop for social studies teachers to help them teach about Israel.
- We provide the books and send scores of reading coaches into elementary schools to assist with literacy.
- We host an environmental coalition.
The Stamford advisory committee voted 19-0 in favor of creating a CRC, and the motion will be on the next Jewish Federation board agenda.