In the News

  • September 30, 2021

    Maryland county to fund security for nonprofits at risk of hate crimes

    The Jerusalem Post

    “Providing security to its citizens is the No. 1 responsibility of any local government, and I think our government here has been very, very responsible in acknowledging and understanding and appreciating what it is....They can’t just rely on federal dollars to deal with the security needs of the Jewish community and others,” Ronald Halber said.

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  • September 9, 2021

    Task Force Recommends Tools to Help Schools Adopt Culturally and Religiously Inclusive Holidays and Dietary Practices

    Commonwealth of Virginia

    "All students, educators, and families should feel a sense of belonging in their schools and institutions of higher education,” said task force member Rabbi Abbi Sharofsky. “Religious and ethnic minorities often feel isolated when choosing how to observe a holiday that falls on a school day, especially if the school does not acknowledge the observances important to their traditions. By proactively and intentionally creating an inclusive academic calendar, PK-12 schools and higher education institutions can foster belonging and equity for all students, and allow students to more fully lean into their religious and cultural identities."

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  • August 25, 2021

    Afghanistan dominates DC's attention, but MidEast eyes are on Bennett

    The Jerusalem Post

    “The Jewish community in the US is closely following the visit, as well. Ron Halber, executive director of the Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Washington, told the Post that the American Jewish community “is open-minded and excited about getting to know Prime Minister Bennett, as we are every time there is a new Israeli prime minister.

    “Most American Jews feel a natural love and affiliation for Israel and want the prime minister to succeed, no matter what party he represents.

    “We are hopeful that President Biden and Prime Minister Bennett will enjoy a relationship of mutual respect and cooperation that will further the special bond between our two countries,” said Halber. “Most American Jews would like to see close coordination between our leaders in solving the COVID crisis and responding to the threat posed by Iran.”

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  • August 5, 2021

    Master teacher, community educator Avi West dies

    Washington Jewish Week

    “He benefitted so many people. He really was a master teacher,” said Ron Halber, executive director of the Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Washington. “I think he was a prince of a man. He was a hero in so many ways.’

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  • August 4, 2021

    Daily Kickoff

    Jewish Insider

    🍦 Cold Response: Weeks after Ben & Jerry’s announced it would no longer sell its products in the West Bank, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis announced the state will not invest in or contract with its parent company, Unilever, unless the ice cream company reverses its decision within three months. The state of Maryland is also looking into whether the recent decision by Ben & Jerry’s to cease sales in the West Bank runs afoul of the 2016 executive order prohibiting state contracts with companies that support boycotts of Israel.

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  • August 4, 2021

    Groups urge Maryland to freeze relations with Ben & Jerry’s

    Washington Jewish Week

    “We’re glad that there will be a state review of any and all state contracts to determine if Ben & Jerry’s has any existing contracts with the state of Maryland,” said Ronald Halber, executive director of the Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Washington. “We thank Gov. [Larry] Hogan and his administration for standing up to BDS, which is a nefarious and morally grey way of dealing with the Middle East conflict.” --- Halber said that what is needed is more investment in the West Bank, not divestment.
    “If you want people to believe in a two-state solution, you have to build them up, provide them with economic opportunities. It may make Ben and Jerry’s feel good but they have done nothing to contribute to peace; in fact, they have done just the opposite,” Halber said. “You think that not having Cherry Garcia ice cream in the West Bank is going to create lasting change? That’s ludicrous.”

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  • August 4, 2021

    Maryland joins list of states reviewing contracts with Ben & Jerry’s, Unilever

    The Algemeiner

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  • August 3, 2021

    Maryland to review state contracts with Unilever over Ben & Jerry’s boycott of Israel

    The Washington Times

    Writing to Howard Libit, executive director of the Baltimore Jewish Council, and Ronald Halber, executive director of the Rockville-based Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Washington, Mr. Wobensmith said the state “ardently opposes” discrimination against “people or entities because of their Israeli national origin, or residence, or incorporation in Israel or its territories.” “This is an important step in upholding Maryland’s commitment to inclusion and tolerance,” Mr. Halber in a statement. “We appreciate Gov. Hogan’s commitment to cooperating with Israel and to his refusal to allow bullies to dictate our business practices.”

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  • August 3, 2021

    Maryland joins list of states reviewing contracts with Ben & Jerry’s, Unilever

    Jewish News Syndicate

    Wobensmith’s letter was addressed to Baltimore Jewish Council executive director Howard Libit and Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Washington executive director Ron Halber, who on July 23 wrote a joint letter to Hogan citing the executive order in light of Ben & Jerry’s actions, saying they believe it to be BDS.

     

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  • August 3, 2021

    Maryland joins list of states reviewing contracts with Ben & Jerry’s, Unilever

    Cleveland Jewish News

    Wobensmith’s letter was addressed to Baltimore Jewish Council executive director Howard Libit and Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Washington executive director Ron Halber, who on July 23 wrote a joint letter to Hogan citing the executive order in light of Ben & Jerry’s actions, saying they believe it to be BDS.

     

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  • August 3, 2021

    Md. to review state contracts with Ben & Jerry’s over Israeli boycott

    WTOP News

    In a letter to the Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Washington and the Baltimore Jewish Council, Maryland Secretary of State John C. Wobensmith vowed to find out if the state has any existing contracts with the ice cream maker and its parent company, Unilever, and that “the State will respond accordingly.”  “This is an important step in upholding Maryland’s commitment to inclusion and tolerance,” said  Ronald Halber, executive director of the JCRC of Greater Washington, in a responding news release.

    “We appreciate Governor Hogan’s commitment to cooperating with Israel and to his refusal to allow bullies to dictate our business practices,” Halber said.

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  • July 31, 2021

    Greater Washington Jewish Community Dismayed by Two VA GOP House of Delegates Candidates Making Offensive Remarks Minimizing the Holocaust

    Blue Virginia

    As the regional leader in Holocaust remembrance and education, the JCRC works with Holocaust survivors frequently. We listen to their lived experiences, we honor the trauma they endured, and we can unequivocally state that there is no basis for comparing what they went through with any political or social debate in our region today. To suggest otherwise is an intentional distortion of reality that crosses all lines of decency. 

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  • July 30, 2021

    Omeish alienates LGBTQIA+ student group

    Fairfax County Times

    Fairfax County School Board At-Large Member Abrar Omeish is at it again, stoking the flames of division by alienating another group. In May, Omeish alienated the Jewish community with her social media posts. She subsequently had an award revoked by the Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Washington. 

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  • July 18, 2021

    How the Washington Post torpedoed the DC Jewish solidarity rally

    Israel Hayom

    In further contrast to the report, the Jerusalem Post report on the rally used only quotes that accurately reflected the purpose of the demonstration. For example, the Jerusalem-based paper quoted Ron Halber, executive director of the Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Washington, as saying, "'We are bolstered by the presence of our Jewish brothers and sisters from across America. And we are strengthened by the support of our interfaith allies and friends. We value this unity, because even our nation's capital has not been immune to the rising tide of antisemitism. None of us should need to be at a rally against antisemitism in 2021, but we do need to be here because we must again respond to vile rhetoric, physical attacks and symbols of hatred against our people." He went on to declare that "the Jewish people will not be divided" and that "we will fight antisemitism from the Right and we will fight antisemitism from the Left; we will hold both of our political parties and all of our elected representatives accountable for protecting Jewish Americans from hatred and oppression."

    Now that explains the rally!

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  • July 15, 2021

    Rally Showed Community Seeking Comfort, Strength

    Jewish Exponent

    Speaker Ron Halber, executive director of the Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Washington, stressed the need to promote unity among the Jewish people itself. “While we can have differences, we need to reaffirm the basics: that we’re all Zionists and pro-Israel,” he said. “What joins us together as a community is far greater than what divides us. “None of us should need to be at a rally against antisemitism in 2021,” he added. “But we do need to be here. Because we must again respond to vile rhetoric, physical attacks and symbols of hatred against our people.”

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  • July 15, 2021

    VA schools consider making meals, calendars more culturally inclusive

    FOX 5 Washington DC

    Rabbi Abbi Sharofsky of the Jewish Community Relation Council of Greater Washington is serving on the calendar subcommittee.---Sharofsky says many school calendars are outdated and centered mainly around Christian religious practices. When we look at a calendar it’s not enough to say well these are the days we’ve always had off from school because that might not currently meet the needs of all of our students, she said. Sharofsky said the subcommittee won’t suggest every holiday be given off but it will encourage districts to add certain days and at the very least ask them to take a look at curriculum planning around holidays.---Sharofsky said the calendar subcommittee’s recommendations will also vary by location. It’s where we get to this issue of faith equity. We talk a lot about what does it mean to have an equitable education and experience for all students and in recognizing that there are so many other faiths that make up our schools districts. How are we looking at meeting those needs in an equitable way, she said.

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  • July 15, 2021

    Thousands Gather to Rally Against Rising Anti-Semitism in DC; Organizers Committed to Vanquishing All Forms of Hate

    The Jewish Voice

    The Jerusalem Post reported that among the confirmed speakers at the event were Elisha Wiesel, the son of the late Elie Wiesel; Rabbi Jeffrey Myers from the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh; Ron Halber, executive director at the JCRC of Greater Washington; Norm Coleman, chairman of the Republican Jewish Coalition; and Ron Klein, chairman of the Jewish Democratic Council of America, among others. --- The Times of Israel reported that Ron Halber, executive director of the Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Washington said: “None of us should need to be at a rally against anti-Semitism in 2021.  “But we do need to be here. Because we must again respond to vile rhetoric, physical attacks and symbols of hatred against our people.”

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  • July 14, 2021

    At rally, this is what unity looks like

    Washington Jewish Week

    Speaker Ron Halber, executive director of the Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Washington, stressed the need to promote unity among the Jewish people itself. “While we can have differences, we need to reaffirm the basics: that we’re all Zionists and pro-Israel,” he said. “What joins us together as a community is far greater than what divides us. “None of us should need to be at a rally against antisemitism in 2021,” he added. “But we do need to be here. Because we must again respond to vile rhetoric, physical attacks and symbols of hatred against our people.”

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  • July 13, 2021

    Young and old brave heat in DC, ‘demanding change until this Jew-hatred stops’

    Jewish News Syndicate

    According to Ron Halber, executive director of the Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Washington, the rally started out unusual for the Jewish community because the initial effort came from small, largely unknown groups, rather than national ones. It was not until Wiesel became involved that it gained credibility and major sponsors, noted Halber. “I think that this rally, which started out as a very small, grassroots effort—as a result of Elisha Wiesel’s guidance, wisdom and leadership—really turned into something the community could be proud of,” said Halber, who spoke at the rally. He said that from his experience organizing rallies, he believes that there were more than 3,000 or even more than 4,000 attendees. While it’s not a number that matches major rallies like the one held during the First Intifada in the early 2000s, which brought out 100,000 people, or the rally for Soviet Jewry in 1987 that brought 250,000, the turnout, he said, was good for the circumstances. “It was horrible heat. You have to remember, nobody is around in July here in Washington. Everybody is on vacation,” said Halber. “All the kids, all the youth, are at camp or are doing their jobs, and everybody—as soon as they lifted the COVID restrictions—is out of here on vacation.” Added to that Congress being out of session, it was a very difficult time to hold a rally, according to Halber. “And, in spite of that,” he said, “we made a good showing.”

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  • July 13, 2021

    Connection across ideologies: Refrain from crowd determined to battle anti-Jewish hate

    Cleveland Jewish News

    According to Ron Halber, executive director of the Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Washington, the rally started out unusual for the Jewish community because the initial effort came from small, largely unknown groups, rather than national ones. It was not until Wiesel became involved that it gained credibility and major sponsors, noted Halber. “I think that this rally, which started out as a very small, grassroots effort—as a result of Elisha Wiesel’s guidance, wisdom and leadership—really turned into something the community could be proud of,” said Halber, who spoke at the rally. He said that from his experience organizing rallies, he believes that there were more than 3,000 or even more than 4,000 attendees. While it’s not a number that matches major rallies like the one held during the First Intifada in the early 2000s, which brought out 100,000 people, or the rally for Soviet Jewry in 1987 that brought 250,000, the turnout, he said, was good for the circumstances. “It was horrible heat. You have to remember, nobody is around in July here in Washington. Everybody is on vacation,” said Halber. “All the kids, all the youth, are at camp or are doing their jobs, and everybody—as soon as they lifted the COVID restrictions—is out of here on vacation.” Added to that Congress being out of session, it was a very difficult time to hold a rally, according to Halber. “And, in spite of that,” he said, “we made a good showing.”

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  • July 12, 2021

    Activists gather at the National Mall to protest the rise of antisemitism

    The Jerusalem Post

    Ron Halber, executive director of the Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Washington, said at the event that the Greater Washington community stands strong and united. “We are bolstered by the presence of our Jewish brothers and sisters from across America. And we are strengthened by the support of our interfaith allies and friends,” he said. “We value this unity, because even our nation’s capital has not been immune to the rising tide of antisemitism. “None of us should need to be at a rally against antisemitism in 2021, but we do need to be here because we must again respond to vile rhetoric, physical attacks and symbols of hatred against our people.” He went on to say that “the Jewish people will not be divided,” and that “we will fight antisemitism from the Right and we will fight antisemitism from the Left; we will hold both of our political parties and all of our elected representatives accountable for protecting Jewish Americans from hatred and oppression.”

    Read more

  • July 11, 2021

    Hundreds Attend Rally Against Rising Anti-Semitism in Washington; Organizers Committed to Vanquishing All Forms of Hate

    The Jewish Voice

    The Jerusalem Post reported that among the confirmed speakers at the event were Elisha Wiesel, the son of the late Elie Wiesel; Rabbi Jeffrey Myers from the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh; Ron Halber, executive director at the JCRC of Greater Washington; Norm Coleman, chairman of the Republican Jewish Coalition; and Ron Klein, chairman of the Jewish Democratic Council of America, among others. --- The Times of Israel reported that Ron Halber, executive director of the Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Washington said: “None of us should need to be at a rally against anti-Semitism in 2021. “But we do need to be here. Because we must again respond to vile rhetoric, physical attacks and symbols of hatred against our people.”

    Read more

  • July 11, 2021

    ‘We cannot be scared:’ Some 2,000 rally against antisemitism in DC

    The Times of Israel

    “None of us should need to be at a rally against antisemitism in 2021,” said Ron Halber, executive director of the Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Washington. “But we do need to be here. Because we must again respond to vile rhetoric, physical attacks and symbols of hatred against our people.”

    Read more

  • July 11, 2021

    Numerous Jewish organizations to protest the rise of antisemitism

    The Jerusalem Post

    Among the confirmed speakers at the event are Elisha Wiesel, the son of the late Elie Wiesel; Rabbi Jeffrey Myers from the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh; Ron Halber, executive director at the JCRC of Greater Washington; Norm Coleman, chairman of the Republican Jewish Coalition; and Ron Klein, chairman of the Jewish Democratic Council of America, among others.

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  • June 23, 2021

    This organization was supposed to unite Jews. A debate over Black Lives Matter may fuel its demise.

    Jewish Telegraphic Agency

    During the polarizing debate over the Iran nuclear deal in 2015, for example, federations and their JCRCs agonized over whether to support or reject the deal. Those close to the JCPA say the community needs a national organization adept at forging alliances with other groups and providing a Jewish voice in shaping civil society. Ron Halber, executive director of the JCRC of Greater Washington, said the federations, which are more susceptible to donor pressures, are necessarily less agile. “An independent JCPA will shield federations from some of the very, very difficult political issues, and divisive issues,” Halber said.

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