Southfield (CW50) - Through advocacy, activism and media relations, Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC)/AJC has committed its time and resources to ensure that Metro Detroit's Jewish community's interests and values are known to the public, and build programs to connect the various diverse communities of the region together.
What started in the 1930s as the Jewish Community Council of Metropolitan Detroit changed in 2006 to what it is known as today as the Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC) in order to better convey the organization's mission. Ten years later, it merged with the American Jewish Committee (AJC), becoming the JCRC/AJC.
One of the Council's main missions is to establish and grow future community leaders through their programs. Some of these programs include Detroit Project Understanding for Emerging Leaders, Leaders for Tomorrow, and ACCESS.
Detroit Project Understanding for Emerging Leaders was an opportunity for Black and/or Jewish participants to have open and honest discussion about issues that affect each of their respective communities, as well as those that affect both.
Leaders for Tomorrow is a program that empowers youth in the Jewish community to speak up for Israel and the Jewish people as a whole.
ACESS was established for young professionals to empower Jewish leaders in their 20s and 30s to advocate on behalf of critical domestic and global issues facing the Jewish community:
- Combating antisemitism at home and abroad
- Advocating for Israel's legitimate place in the world
- Promoting pluralism and democratic values
Another important aspect of the JCRC/AJC is the focus on literacy rates in the community. Education is important to all communities, and the Council wanted the Jewish community to be involved in the fight to combat illiteracy in Detroit. In October 2016, the Michigan legislature passed a law stating that third-grade students, starting with those attending during the 2018-2019 academic year, could be held back if they are more than one grade level behind in reading, based on their standardized test scores.
The Council established the the Detroit Jewish Coalition for Literacy (DJCL) as a way for leadership to mobilize and train volunteer readers, tutors and book drive organizers who serve thousands of students in programs established in Detroit Public Schools and public schools throughout Oakland County.
Rabbi Asher Lopatin, Executive Director of the Jewish Community Relations Council/AJC, joins Lisa Germani on Community Connect to talk about the Council's role in the Jewish community of Metro Detroit, and the programs it has established.
Lopatin also discussed the Jewish community's ongoing fight against antisemitism, and how the problem has gotten worse in the last several years. Lopatin talked about the Council's mission to build strong relationships with Metro Detroit's various ethnic and religious communities.
Learn more at JCRCAJC.org
Watch Community Connect, Saturday at 7am on CW50
for more features.