Jewish Community Relations Committee


The Jewish Community Relations Committee (JCRC) serves as the public affairs arm of the Jewish Federation of Delaware and works with government leaders and the media as an advocate for Israel and also brings speakers on Israel and issues of importance to the Jewish community. It also participates in programs and coalitions to enhance good relations among different religious and cultural groups. The Halina Wind Preston Holocaust Education Center, a part of JCRC, is an interfaith volunteer group comprised of Holocaust survivors and their families, Holocaust scholars, teachers, clergy, and community advocates.

Please contact Rabbi Ellen Berhardt at (302) 427-2100 ext. 830.


JEWISH COMMUNITY RELATIONS COMMITTEE (JCRC)

The Jewish Community Relations Committee (JCRC) is the public arm of the Jewish Federation of Delaware. The JCRC works with government leaders and the media as an advocate for Israel and also brings speakers on Israel and issues of importance to the Jewish Community.  It also participates in programs and coalitions to enhance good relations among different religious and cultural groups. The Halina Wind Preston Education Center, a part of JCRC, provides Holocaust education to the community.

The JCRC advances the general welfare of the community by…

  •      Promoting positive relations with other cultural, religious and ethnic groups
  •      Participating in community coalitions
  •      Monitoring activities of extremists and hate groups
  •      Advocating civil rights for all members of the community
  •      Fighting all forms of prejudice and discrimination
  •      Creating educational programs on domestic issues such as human rights and  constitutional protection

The JCRC supports Israel by…

  •      Providing educational opportunities for the public through speakers, briefings and publications
  •      Educating elected officials about Israel
  •      Combating anti-Israel propaganda in the media and in the general community

The JCRC offers outreach programs to enrich public education by…

  •      Providing educational opportunities for school administrators and teachers to heighten sensitivity on issues of religion in the public schools
  •      Tracking violations of the first amendment in public schools and assists with resolution
  •      Monitoring school board elections throughout the state
  •      Producing and distributing a Jewish calendar to assist school administrators
  •      Assisting Jewish students at area universities with community relations’ issues

          The JCRC provides community information and creates awareness through its work with the media by…

  •      Monitoring local media for fair and appropriate coverage of issues of concern to the Jewish community
  •      Meeting periodically with the editorial and news departments of the local media
  •      Preparing articles and press releases to inform the public of JCRC and Jewish Federation of Delaware positions
  •      Providing background information to assist local reporters

2015-2016 INITIATIVES

  •      Schedule several Bagels and Briefings (a.m.) or Noshes and Knowledge (p.m.) with relevant speakers and topics
  •     Convene panels, educational opportunities, and discussions on issues of relevance to Israel or the Jewish community
  •       Update Jewish Holidays brochure to assist in community event scheduling, school planning, etc.
  •       Expand relationship with ancillary Jewish organization regional offices (Anti-Defamation League (ADL) and American Jewish Committee (AJC), etc.) in order to develop community-wide programs
  •       Bring films of interest to the community
  •       Write articles for the local or Jewish press on topics of importance to the Jewish community
  •       Enhance relationship with Consul General of Israel to the Mid-Atlantic Region
  •       Coordinate annual Yom Hashoah observance at Carvel State Office Building
  •       Support all efforts by the Halina Wind Preston Holocaust Education Center

Jewish Community Relations Committee Chair – John Elzufon

JCRC Director – Rabbi Ellen Bernhardt

THE HALINA WIND PRESTON HOLOCAUST EDUCATION COMMITTEE

The mission of the Halina Wind Preston Holocaust Education Center is to educate the community on the causes and events of the Holocaust so that its lessons may prevent such a tragedy from happening again.

In May 1978, Halina Wind Preston and Dorothy Finger organized the Holocaust Education Committee.  Both Polish Jews who had survived the Nazi Holocaust, they met in Wilmington, where they raised families in freedom. Upon Preston’s death, the Holocaust Education Committee was named in her memory, and the Halina Wind Preston Holocaust Education Center was created to teach current and future generations about the Holocaust.

The Halina Wind Preston Holocaust Education Committee is an interfaith volunteer group comprised of Holocaust survivors and their families, Holocaust scholars, teachers, clergy, and community advocates.  Committee members are responsible for the development and implementation of programs for the Halina Wind Preston Holocaust Education Center.  Support from the Jewish Federation of Delaware and the Siegel Jewish Community Center in Wilmington, along with various grants and individual contributions, fund this work.  The chair of the Halina Wind Preston Holocaust Education Center is Regina Kerr Alonzo.


REMEMBRANCE

Garden of the Righteous Gentiles

The first of its kind in the United States, the Garden of the Righteous Gentiles honors non-Jews who placed their own lives and those of their families in jeopardy to save Jews during the Holocaust. Those remembered in the Garden are gentile rescuers of Jews who eventually settled in Delaware.  The Garden, located at the Garden of Eden campus in Wilmington, is open to the public.  Programs and self-guided tours for students and adults are available upon request.

Yom Hashoah - Day of Remembrance

Each spring, the Wilmington community, like other communities around the world, gathers to remember the victims of the Holocaust.  The public commemoration is held near Freedom Plaza in Wilmington, site of the Holocaust Memorial created by Elbert Weinberg.  Speakers and attendees reflect on the millions killed by the Nazis between 1933 and 1945.  It is also a time to invoke acceptance for all peoples and pledge vigilance against hatred and discrimination.

Children’s Memorial
Located in the Garden of the Righteous Gentiles on the Garden of Eden campus in Wilmington, this sculpture by Israeli artist Aharon Bezalel is dedicated to the memory of more than 1.5 million children who perished during the Holocaust.


EDUCATION

Education Support

Volunteers trained in the field of Holocaust education work to ensure that Holocaust educators in Delaware have the tools and skills they need to provide students with thought-provoking and relevant learning experiences.

Teacher Development

With approval from the Delaware Department of Education and in cooperation with the Brandywine School District, the Holocaust Education Committee offers “The Holocaust: Lessons Learned” workshop.  It consists of study sessions, a trip to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, lesson plan presentations, and portfolio evaluations.  History, geography, literature, film, and politics relating to the Holocaust are studied, as well as presentation methods through an inter-disciplinary approach.

Holocaust Education Resources

Through a partnership with New Castle County, Holocaust education resources are accessible from all public libraries in the state.  These books, periodicals, and audiovisual materials about the Holocaust are housed at the Preston Holocaust Collection at the New Castle County Brandywine Hundred Library on Foulk Road in Wilmington.


Speakers Bureau
Schools and community groups can learn through vivid recollections of men and women who witnessed the Holocaust.  The Speakers Bureau includes Holocaust survivors, their children, concentration camp liberators, and local Holocaust educators.

No Denying: Delawareans Bear Witness to the Holocaust
A compelling five-part film featuring the testimony of Delawareans who were eyewitnesses to the events of the Holocaust, this documentary consists of five digital video discs and a companion guide.  It highlights the experiences of survivors, righteous gentiles, hidden children, and liberators.  Public, private, and parochial schools and libraries throughout Delaware will receive the five disc DVD set and guide.  The DVD sets are also available for purchase on Federation’s website, ShalomDelaware.org.

Halina Wind Preston Holocaust Education Committee Chair – Steve Gonzer

HEC Staff – Gina Kozicki

 

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