In the News

  • January 31, 2022

    Funds Available for Security at Montgomery County Houses of Worship

    NBC-Washington-logo.jpg

    Montgomery County announced a series of grants to help pay for security at houses of worship. News4’s Derrick Ward reports.

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  • January 29, 2022

    Fairfax County adopts school calendar with more religious holidays

    The Washington Post

    Guila Franklin Siegel, associate director of the Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Washington, pointed out that the vote for the new calendar took place on International Holocaust Remembrance Day.

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  • January 28, 2022

    Forty-two Jewish institutions to benefit from security grants

    Washington Jewish Week

    Ron Halber, executive director of the Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Washington, said while Jews constitute about 2 percent of the U.S. population, about 60 percent of religious-based hate crimes target Jewish institutions and people. He also noted the increase in hate crimes targeting Asian Americans, Muslim Americans, African Americans and other groups in the last several years.

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  • January 28, 2022

    Fairfax County schools adopt equitable academic calendar with goal of more inclusion

    ABC7 WJLA

    Guila Franklin Siegel, Associate Director of the Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC) of Greater Washington, released the following statement.

    We are elated that the Fairfax County School Board has taken this landmark, long overdue step to advance equity for minority-faith students. Tonight’s vote is a game-changer; it will have an immediate, dramatic impact on FCPS’ Jewish students and employees, as well as those of other minority faiths, who for the first time will feel that they have been truly seen and heard. Importantly, it also remedies the system-wide confusion and hardships caused by the current “O” calendar, which both teachers and students found highly problematic, and gives Veteran’s Day the recognition it deserves. And it accomplishes all of this without disadvantaging hourly workers or diminishing quality instruction, recognizing the importance to staff of aligning FCPS’ calendar with those of neighboring jurisdictions.

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  • January 27, 2022

    County giving $700,000 to houses of worship to help with security

    Bethesda Magazine

    Ron Halber, executive director of the Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Washington, said in an interview that other funding sources, like federal and state grants, are mostly used for capital projects. 

    Halber said that replacing a security system is helpful, but the number one deterrent to attacks leading to injuries or deaths at a house of worship is by having an off-duty police officer or some other security presence, at least on a part-time basis. 

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  • November 11, 2021

    FCPS lags behind Arlington, Prince William, Loudoun in observing religious holidays

    Fairfax County Times

    Rabbi Abbi Sharofsky, who serves as JCRC’s director of Intergroup Relations and previously served on Governor Ralph Northam’s Task Force on Culturally Inclusive School Meals and Calendars, said that the O calendar “was not enough” and a “device that was created to try and fix a difficult situation, and all it did was create more confusion.” 

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  • October 29, 2021

    Virginia’s education culture wars could decide its next governor

    Jewish Insider

    “My gut instinct is that the Jewish community continues to be solidly Democratic voters. That’s what every single poll has continued to show. I think it’s important to take that reality check,” said Franklin Siegel. “Having said that, I think that Jewish parents, in many respects, are no different than a lot of other suburban parents. And it seems that Youngkin has had a lot of success with using education as a wedge issue.”  

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  • October 26, 2021

    MoCo earmarks $700,000 for security of nonprofits

    Washington Jewish Week

    “There is no substitute for human eyes and intuition on the ground — you cannot replace the human element with [technology],” Halber said.

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  • 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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