The scope of the Jewish Federation of Greater Portland includes the Community Relations Council (CRC), the public affairs coordinating and advisory body for the local organized Jewish community. A committee, it consists of a cross-section of Portland Jewry, representing area organizations and synagogues. It is directed by Robert Horenstein, chaired by Randie Peterson, and Joel Glick is P’nai Or’s current representative.
The JCRC provides a continuous forum for Jewish communal leadership to assess current issues and develop strategies to advance the interests of our community that goes well beyond a solely Jewish context.
The JCRC is affiliated with the Jewish Council for Public Affairs (JCPA), the planning and coordinating body for the national organized Jewish community in the area of public affairs advocacy. Portland is one of 125 local communities that belong to the JCPA.
There are several committees that report back to the JCRC, including: Education and Advocacy Committee which includes a lobbyist in Salem, an Israel Advocacy Committee which currently has a project focused on informing mainline Christian churches about the dilemmas facing modern Israel called Hope for Peace, and the Committee on Religion and Public Schools which monitors the relationship between organized religion in the public school environment.
The CRC seeks consensus positions that permit it to speak on behalf of the Jewish community concerning matters of public importance. It promotes mutual understanding among all groups in the greater community and furthers public acceptance and practice of the principles of tolerance, human dignity and respect, individual rights, democratic pluralism, and harmonious relationships across religious, racial, and ethnic lines.
The JCRC conducts a wide variety of programs and activities for the Jewish and non-Jewish communities:
• Issue-based coalition building with other faith/ethnic communities
• Guidelines and workshops on the role of religion in the public schools
• Lectures on Israel and the Middle East
• Involvement in citizen initiative campaigns
• Community forums on critical issues
• Efforts to combat anti-Semitism and hate crimes
• Interfaith/Interethnic dialogues
• Advocacy for Israel
• Legislative advocacy
Peter Thacker is our liason to the HCRC, and keeps the P'nai Or council and members informed on the issues that are being debated at the HCRC meetings and announces events sponsored by the JCRC and the Jewish Federation. For more information, please call the JCRC at 503.245.6496. Contact Peter about specific issues of concern.