By Elliot Mathias, CRC Chair
The current volatile situation in Israel has many of us glued to our news feeds, desperately hoping not to see another alert of a stabbing or other terrorist attack against innocent Israelis. This past summer’s emotional debate about the nuclear deal with Iran also preoccupied many of us, snapping us out of our longed-for summer break. These issues have rightly captured our attention and mobilized our actions.
At the Community Relations Committee (CRC), we obviously spend a large amount of our time and resources educating about and advocating for issues directly impacting Israel. But it is also crucial that we focus our attention on building relationships here at home. We must remember that our Jewish community is only one piece of the larger fabric of the Greater MetroWest community. To be able to effectively advocate for the issues that are important to us, it is imperative that we build and strengthen our relationships with other groups within our community.
This week I attended the Jewish Council of Public Affairs (JCPA) Plenum in Washington D.C. as part of our Greater MetroWest delegation. The JCPA Plenum provided us with proven strategies to find common ground with other faith-based organizations, as well as other minority groups, including the African American community. The key to building these relationships is to identify issues that we all want to address. Crucial issues such as combatting poverty and human trafficking or providing affordable housing and quality education transcend any one community. It is by working together on these shared challenges that we can ultimately build meaningful, long-lasting relationships.
This coming year at the CRC, we are planning on doubling down our efforts to reach out beyond our own Jewish community. To this end, we are establishing a Community Partnership sub-committee to prioritize and implement the building of these relationships at the ground level. We are excited to enlarge our circle, listen and learn from others, and demonstrate what the Jewish community can offer our greater society.
To read a New Jersey Jewish News article about the Greater MetroWest delegation to the Jewish Council of Public Affairs Plenum in Washington, DC, click here.