Community Relations & Israel Advocacy
The Community Relations Department of the Jewish Federation serves as the eyes, the ears, and the outreached hand of friendship of the organized Jewish community. Its function is to interpret the concerns of the Jewish community to the community at large, to educate and advocate for Israel, to work to advance Jewish security and social justice, to fight discrimination and anti-Semitism, and to work to foster harmonious relations among all community groups. While much of this work is “behind the scenes,” we are the Jewish voice at myriad meetings where issues of concern to the entire community are discussed.
Jewish Community Relations work is an embodiment of Jewish historical imperatives as well as core Jewish values. In terms of representing and protecting the vital interests of the Jewish community, one has to be a friend in order to have a friend. That is why we work hard on behalf of institutions that have enabled our success and security in America – from public schools to social services agencies, to the health and strength of our democratic institutions.
Kol Yisrael arervim zeh la zeh –
“all in the house of Israel are responsible for one another.” Our work with ADL countering anti-Semitism, our work with Israel advocacy and Israel education comes under this category.
Mipnei darchei shalom –
“for the sake of peace” we reach out to other communities, both to build bridges and minimize misunderstandings. We have a long list of outreach activities.
Tikkun olam –
“repair the world.” We are especially proud of the work that we do on behalf of the needy in our community through the Community Closet.
To this end the Community Relations Department sponsors the following programs and events:
ISRAEL EDUCATION AND ADVOCACY
- Israel solidarity rallies during times of crisis for Israel
- Lunch and Learn programs with visiting Professors from Israel
- Sponsor visits from Israeli groups such as “Combatants for Peace”
- Present “The Emunotes,” a singing group of resident home children from Afula, Israel
- Pre-Israel Mission information meetings about Israel
Plan and lead the Annual Community Mission to Israel
Planned the first “Walk-for-Israel” walk-a-thon to raise money for pediatric medical equipment for HaEmek Medical Center in Afula
- Co-sponsor of the “Israel Scouts Friendship Caravan”
- Ongoing member of the ADL’s statewide Israel Task Force
INTERGROUP RELATIONS AND CRC PRESENCE
- Created the “Tent of Abraham” programs with the Council of Churches, Sacred Heart University, and the American Institute for Islamic and Arabic Studies
- Hosts Political Candidates’ Debates, during election years
- Leadership role in creating Project Homeless Connect
- Hosts the “Annual Chanukah Candle Lighting” at the JCC with elected officials
- Participates in Bridgeport’s Big Read
- Member of Greater Bridgeport Continuum of Care
- Represents the Jewish Community on the
- United Way’s Regional Council for the Homeless
- Task Force member on the Mayor’s Ten Year Plan to End Homelessness
- United Way Board of Directors
- School Volunteers Read Aloud Day
- Bridgeport Child Advocacy Coalition Public Policy Task Force
- Bridgeport Public Education Fund Mini Grants Committee
- Council of Churches Bridge Building Initiative
- Greater Bridgeport FEMA Board (emergency food and shelter)
- Town of Fairfield Holocaust Committee
- State of Connecticut Holocaust Program Committee
- Eastern Fairfield County Annual Yom Hashoah Memorial
program, this year in cooperation with Merkaz
- Ongoing sponsor of the Community Closet and its Back to School Supply Project
For more information on how you can get involved a project of the Community Relations & Israel Advocacy Department, please call (203) 372-6567 x175
To support our Federation’s efforts in Community Relations & Israel Advocacy, and to make a gift to the UJA-Federation Annual Campaign, please contact Linda Epstein at (203) 372-6567, ext. 175, or firstname.lastname@example.org.