May 2024

Welcome to Gesher! We are pleased to launch a new monthly newsletter to highlight our impact and keep you informed on the challenges and opportunities before our community. Whether you're a long-time JCRC supporter or just discovering our work, we are excited to share our passion for building bridges from the Jewish people to the diverse communities across Minnesota and the Dakotas. Thank you for joining us on this journey!

JCRC Staff Column

Bridging the past to the present

Dorit Fishman

Communications and Community Affairs Associate

She's new!

I’d like to kick off our new monthly newsletter Gesher (‘Bridge’ in Hebrew) with this reflection on the many bridges built through JCRC’s latest trip to the US Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington DC.

It was a humbling experience to be in a full plane of 180-some participants: middle, high school and college students, law enforcement, and the MN National Guard. Jews were a minority on this trip, and I felt such gratitude for those stepping outside of their personal history to keep the memory of the victims of the Holocaust alive.

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Upcoming Events

JCRC Annual Event

Sunday, June 2, 5:30-9:00 pm

Israelis, Palestinians and the stories we tell ourselves about each other, featuring Haviv Rettig Gur


Advocacy Alerts

Urge University of Minnesota Board of Regents to reject BDS and speak out against campus antisemitism

Email the Regents

Trending Now

One major challenge/opportunity demanding our attention

University of Minnesota appears unwilling to connect antisemitism on campus with pro-Hamas encampment 

Minnesota Hillel and JCRC are working together to advocate on behalf of Jewish students, faculty, and staff at the U of M by:

  • Organizing over 215 (and counting) emails to all 12 U Regents
  • Calling out the U's appalling appeasement of those normalizing anti-Jewish violence on campus.
  • Challenging inaccurate media coverage portraying these protests as "anti-war" or "pro-peace"
  • Centering Jewish student testimony describing an increasingly hostile learning environment, JCRC challenged the media to ask protestors the hard questions surrounding messages endorsing terrorism.

Latest updates and recordings

Building Bridges

Recent impact highlights from JCRC


Yom HaShoah: Bet Shalom, Harrisburg (SD) Schools, and Hopkins High School.

JCRC organized Yom HaShoah commemorations at Bet Shalom Congregation, Harrisburg School District near Sioux Falls, South Dakota, and Hopkins High School. At our community Yom HaShoah, Dr. Mark and Heather Stesin presented the Leo Weiss Courage To Teach Award to Dan Perucco, a teacher at Edgewood Middle School in Mounds View. In South Dakota, Dr. Allen Kuperman shared his family's story of survival to 500 students and staff. Dr. Michael Amolins, Harrisburg School District's Director of Instruction and Federal Programs, said, "The presentation was filled with many emotions, and certainly a message to carry forward regarding how we ensure this never happens again and what we can do to battle hate in this world." In Hopkins, Elly Fine Sternberg, the granddaughter of Holocaust survivors, presented her family’s story to over 500 students, and it was covered on WCCO News by Jonah Kaplan.

View recording of Twin Cities community Yom HaShaoh

View recording of Harrisburg School District Yom HaShoah


US Holocaust Memorial Museum One Day Trip

Participants on JCRC’s annual visit to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum learned what unchecked hate, bigotry, and antisemitism lead to. The impact of this trip will reach far beyond the full flight, as many reflected that they will share what they learned with their communities. Thank you to the Minnesota Vikings for partnering with us.


Holocaust Education for the FBI

The FBI invited Helen Siegel to share the living testimony of her mother, Claire Heyman, a survivor. The FBI reported it was one of their highest-attended community briefings, with over 200 participants locally. The briefing was also streamed to their New York office – the largest in the country.


Violins of Hope

Together with Minnesota JCC and Temple Israel, JCRC is hosting Violins of Hope—a series of concerts based on a private collection of violins, violas, and cellos, all collected since the end of World War II. These instruments belonged to Jews before and during the war and were donated by or bought from survivors. We are looking for venues and musicians interested in learning more.

Get involved


With Malice Toward None

JCRC is proud to partner with Concordia College (Moorhead) on Democracy Project, which aims to build a culture of civility for tackling difficult issues. On April 3, former Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D) and former Governor Ed Schaefer (R) of North Dakota participated in a number of sessions with students; faculty; community and press. JCRC thanks President Colin Irvine; President Emeritus Bill Craft; Dr. Michael Chan; Dean Sonja Wentling; and Prof. Nicholas Howard for their friendship; partnership and leadership.


Condemning and combating antisemitism through politics

In anticipation of the 2024 MN Legislative Session, the JCRC convened 25 meetings between state legislators and their constituents who shared personal stories of how October 7th and the concurrent surge in antisemitism has impacted our lives. We thank Lior Stainer, JCRC Advocacy Volunteer, for recruiting over 650 community members to participate! 

The momentum held as we launched JCRC's first-ever caucus trainings led by immediate past president Judy Cook, Julie Idelkope, and JCRC staff to support people in showing up to their precinct caucuses with a resolution drafted by the JCRC to condemn and combat antisemitism.

Read more via TC Jewfolk

Community Affairs

Responding to antisemitism in schools

The 2023-24 school year has been unlike any other for Jewish students, teachers, and families. In partnership with Hadassah Minneapolis St. Paul, Jewish Student Union, JFCS Minneapolis, and NCJW Minnesota, we brought together an expert panel of school stakeholders and advocates for a reflective discussion that assessed the current problems and offered ideas and solutions.

JCRC continues to respond to antisemitic incidents on a case-by-case basis, supporting families, teachers, and administrators in the process.

Incidents can be reported here

Bridging the Gap

Top additions to our Resource Page for understanding and addressing the Israel-Hamas war


Message From a Gazan to Campus Protesters: You're Hurting the Palestinian Cause

Newsweek, Hamsa Howidy


Screams Before Silence

A documentary film on the sexual violence committed by Hamas on October 7,2023, Sheryl Sandberg


Day 206 - How seriously should we view the US campus protests?

The Times of Israel Daily Briefing, Haviv Rettig Gur (keynote speaker at JCRC Annual Event on June 2)

JCRC in the Media

Media coverage that includes the consensus public affairs voice of the Jewish community

Featured media highlights

CBS News: Jewish student group express unease over U of M's agreement with pro-Palestinian protesters

TC Jewfolk: Jewish Students Unsure Of Next Steps After Meeting With UMN Administration

FOX 9: U of M Jewish students speak out against anti-Semitism amid pro-Palestine rallies

See all coverage

JCRC on Who the Folk?!

Naomi Breazeale, JCRC Advocacy Associate and Nina Afremov, JCRC Development and Annual Event Coordinator were featured on

Who the Folk?! Podcast about their vital work, how they got their starts at JCRC, and what's in store at JCRC’s annual event on June 2. We are so lucky to have Naomi and Nina on the JCRC team!


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