With America in turmoil, the Jewish Community Relations Council of New York (JCRC-NY) – the equivalent of the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies – is at the centre of Jewish efforts to fight systemic racism against African Americans and the rising tide of antisemitism. And its leaders will address the Board of Deputies plenum by Zoom next Tuesday June 16th at 7.30pm. To register, please email [email protected] and a Zoom link will be sent to you.

JCRC-NY President Cheryl Fishbein.
JCRC-NY Director Rabbi Bob Kaplan.

Rabbi Bob Kaplan is a 30-year veteran of getting that delicate balance right. His ‘Centre for Community Leadership’ at the JCRC was formed as a result of the Crown Heights Riots of 1991, when tensions between the black and Jewish communities were at their worst. His relationships with black leaders are legendary in New York. He presented to President Clinton’s White House Conference on Race and was a member of the Plenary Committee for the United Nations Conference, Habitat II.  He served as the coalition consultant to the Black/Jewish Congressional Coalition in Washington DC. He serves as a Clergy Liaison to the Chief of the Department of the New York Police Department (NYPD).

Rabbi Kaplan has trained the US Department of State, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office of the United Kingdom and the Jamaican and Israeli Foreign Ministries, on issues of diversity, coalition building and community organizing. He has for the past four years served as a presenter to the Doha International Center for Interfaith Dialogue. As a member of the clergy, he was a grief counselor for the American Red Cross assigned to working with relief workers at the respite center located at Ground Zero.

Cheryl Fishbein, president of the JCRC-NY, has a long history in Jewish leadership. She is on the Board of UJA-Federation of NY where she was the 2008 recipient of the Generosity of Spirit Award. She is past chair of the Caring Commission, of the Hurricane Katrina Relief Committee, of the Missions Committee and of the Trauma Task Force at UJA-Federation. She is a member of the Board of Governors of the Jewish Agency (JAFI), The United Israel Appeal (UIA), The Jewish Funders’ Network (JFN), and she is on the Ambassadors, FSU, and Property Reclamation Committees of the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC). She serves on the Board of Governors of the American Jewish Committee (AJC) as well as countless other boards.

At the Board of Deputies’ plenum Fishbein and Rabbi Bob will address issues including Black Lives Matter and the Jews, COVID in New York and how it has affected the Jewish community and the upcoming presidential election.

Board of Deputies president Lesli Berger: “The situation which has been engulfing cities across the US in recent days is of great concern to us, and this is an opportunity for our community to hear first-hand from Jewish leaders who are deeply involved in inter-racial work.”

Rabbi Kaplan inspired the establishment of the Board of Deputies’ We Are All Sydney community leadership program and has made several visits to Sydney in that context.