Issues, Programs, & Resources

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Growing antisemitism is of paramount concern to the Jewish community. In its 2022 Audit of Antisemitic Incidents, ADL recorded 3,697 antisemitic incidents in the U.S., the highest on record since the audit began in 1979.

The Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle works in a number of different capacities to address this issue, including creating a community-wide consensus statement on antisemitism.

Resources for Education and Action

Kol Chadash provides practical help to individuals, families, and neighbors in the wake of antisemitism, bias, or other harms. They fill a needed gap with support and peer advocacy for individuals and their families who have experienced overt antisemitism or are navigating less obvious micro-aggressions at school, work, or in the community. To learn more about Kol Chadash or ask for support, reach out to Orin Reynolds, Crime Victim Advocate, at, or 206.468.1096.


If you have experienced or witnessed an incident of antisemitism, extremism, bias, bigotry, or hate, please report it through the ADL’s Online Incident Report Form.

Resources for Allies

These resources were compiled to accompany the Puget Sound Community Statement on Antisemitism.

To elected, civic, and faith leaders, as well as individuals who wish to be allies to the Jewish community in combating antisemitism, we recommend the following ways to help meet the challenge:

  • Seek to stop antisemitism in its tracks by swiftly, forcefully, and publicly condemning acts of antisemitism.
  • If you believe someone has said or done something antisemitic and doesn’t understand, help them to understand the impact of their words.
  • When you see antisemitic vandalism, harassment, intimidation, or violence, speak up. In consultation with the victim, and with their consent, report it directly to the police, the ADL, SAFE Washington, or a trusted leader within your community who will ensure the incident is reported.

If you don’t know if something is antisemitic, get in touch with the Anti-Defamation League.

  • For Holocaust Remembrance Day Events.
  • For community solidarity gatherings.
  • For other communities that experience hate crimes and to build enduring relationships with potential allies.

Education Hub

The work of undoing systemic racism calls to our ethic of tikkun olam, repairing the world. What do we do? How can we act responsibly? Undoing systemic racism will be challenging, but as Rabbi Tarfon reminds us in Pirkei Avot 2:21, “It is not your responsibility to finish the work of perfecting the world, but you are not free to desist from it either.”

As a small start, the Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle has created this web page for the community that will be updated regularly. There are a multitude of Jewish and non-Jewish resources and many ways to become engaged. What we have compiled is a starting point. Our goal in providing resources and action items is to facilitate the necessary and sometimes uncomfortable conversations and, eventually, be together in anti-racist work.

(The views and opinions expressed in all linked materials are those of the content creators themselves and don’t necessarily reflect the views of the Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle.)

Primary Resources

Highly Recommended


  • Read: The Four “I”s of Oppression, adapted for use by the Chinook Fund. This piece articulates four different kinds of oppression—ideological, interpersonal, institutional, internalized—and the myriad of ways they impact us.

  • Read: Definition & Analysis of Institutional Racism, Solid Ground. In addition to its definition and explanation of institutional racism, this analysis provides specific statistics from King County.

  • Read: Black Lives Matter Fact Sheet from Jewish Federations of North America, Israel Action Network, updated 2020. Provides more detailed background about the intersection of BLM and concerns about anti-Israel attitudes.

Additional Resources

One of the core focus areas of our Jewish Community Relations Council is building relationships with groups beyond the Jewish community so that together, we can build mutual understanding and respect and work more effectively toward shared goals. One community with which the JCRC’s intergroup relations committee hopes to strengthen relationships and partnerships first is Native Americans. One part of a strong foundation for building authentic relationships is learning about partners’ perspectives and digging deeply to really understand them. These resources highlight Native American perspectives and ideas about Thanksgiving, giving thanks, how the Thanksgiving holiday came about, and the histories and cultures of indigenous people in the Pacific Northwest. 

Native American Perspectives

History of the Holiday

Local Resource Compilations

Events & Education

Join us in processing our American and Puget Sound Jewish communal histories with, understanding of, and actions around race and racism, including how these issues impact Jews of Color.

Educational Resources

A webinar hosted by the JCRC of Jewish Colorado featuring diverse speakers sharing experiences, expertise, and insights on what it means to embody the Jewish values of inclusivity, diversity, and racial justice. With Dr. Mijal Bitton, Shalom Hartman Institute of North America; Stacey Aviva Flint, Congregation Bonai Shalom, Boulder; Ginna Green, Uprise, and Sammie Wicks, Aurora Police Department and JCRC at-large member.

February 2, 2021

  • Watch: What Makes This Jew Different Than All Other Jews? Race, Difference, and Safety in Jewish Spaces (15 minutes)
    With MaNishtana (rabbi, educator, author), sharing his personal experiences and struggles to be recognized as Jewish in Jewish spaces while exploring community dynamics, Jewish text, values, and history.
    ELI Talk, March 13, 2017

  • Listen: Members of Whose Tribe? (30 minutes)
    Hosted by Gene Demby and Shereen Marisol Meraji. This episode of the podcast Code Switch digs into the complex role Jewish identity has played in America’s racial story—especially now, when antisemitism is on the rise, recognizing that while today Americans tend to think of Jewish people as white, it wasn’t always that way.
    NPR, April 18, 2018

  • Read: Why Diversity Is Important
    An article by Be’chol Lashon, which works to strengthen Jewish community by raising awareness about the ethnic, racial, and cultural diversity of Jewish identity and experience. The article reviews the history of ethnic and racial diversity in the Jewish community and makes a case for how this diversity is an asset and strength for our community.

Examining ‘Jews of Color’ Terminology and Data

  • Read: Jewish Word  | Jewish Color, by Sarah Breger, writer/editor at Moment Magazine
    Looking at history, data, and recent discourse, the author explores the value and challenges of using the term “Jews of Color.”
    Moment Magazine, September 30, 2020

  • Read: I Helped Coin the Term ‘Jews of Color.’ It’s Time for a History Lesson, by Shahanna McKinney-Baldon, Director of the Edot Midwest Regional Jewish Diversity Collaborative, educator, and advocate
    One of the originators of the term Jews of Color, McKinney-Baldon provides background on the origin of the term and speaks of its significance to those who self-identify with it.
    Hey Alma., May 28, 2020

  • Read: How Many Jews of Color Are There?, by Ira M. Sheskin and Arnold Dashefsky, editors of the American Jewish Year Book
    The authors compare recent surveys and argue that the data suggests there are fewer Jews of Color than has been estimated.
    eJewishPhilanthropy, May 17, 2020

  • Read: My mom is white and my dad is black. Don’t call me a ‘Jew of Color,’ by Kylie Unell, founder of Rooted and education adviser to OneTable
    The author shares her thoughts on the term “Jews of Color” and what she says are its shortcomings.
    Times of Israel, June 18, 2020

Additional Resources

  • Read: How I Learned to Love Myself as a Black Jew, by Aviva Davis, student and community member
    The author shares her personal narrative of embracing her intersectional Jewish identity and offers advice to other Jews of Color.
    Hey Alma., June 16, 2020

  • Read: Genetic research: almost 25% of Latinos, Hispanics Have Jewish DNA, by Ashley Perry, President of Reconectar and former adviser to the Israeli government
    This article outlines unprecedented genetic research undertaken by dozens of professors from around the world that has provided evidence that almost a quarter of Latinx and Hispanic people have significant “Jewish DNA” and describes implications for (re)connecting interested individuals who are descendants of Spanish and Portuguese Jewish communities to the Jewish community today.
    Jerusalem Post, March 1, 2019

  • Read: Part Asian-American, All Jewish?, by Rachel Gross, writer/editor at Moment Magazine
    This article features Helen Kim and Noah Leavitt, a Korean-Jewish couple who are sociologists at Whitman College, and explores the difficulties and joys of growing up Asian and Jewish and struggling to find acceptance in the Jewish community.
    NPR, February 10, 2015

  • Read: The Black Jews Are Tired, by Chris Harrison, writer/editor with URJ
    This short essay, written by a Black Jew, calls on white Jews to support Jews of Color in their fight to end systemic violence against black people.
    Reform Judaism, June 1, 2020

Racial Equity Consensus Statement

The Jewish Community Relations Council approved a consensus statement on Racial Equity & the Jewish Community on December 15, 2021. 

A consensus statement expresses a JCRC’s position on an issue and articulates our unique experience and perspective. Consensus statements are a JCRC’s foundation for action—allowing us to advocate, stand up, speak out, and build relationships on behalf of the organized Jewish community to the broader community. Throughout the consensus statement process, the JCRC provided educational opportunities to the whole Jewish community to help us learn and grow together in this work.

December 15, 2021

The Jewish Community Relations Council
(JCRC) of the Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle is excited to announce the passage and release of its consensus statement, Racial Equity and the Jewish Community (see below). The JCRC adopted the statement with overwhelming support. Rooted in timeless Jewish values, it honors the American Jewish community’s historic and continued dedication to civil rights and empowers the JCRC to create a more inclusive Jewish community and build a more just and equitable society.

Eric LeVine, who represents Jewish Family Service of Seattle (JFS) on the JCRC, said, “JFS was proud to support the racial equity consensus statement. We had previously formed our own ‘Equity & Belonging’ task force to examine these critically important and challenging issues. We were happy to share our takeaways and perspective with the JCRC. As an agency, we agree this statement is an excellent step forward in engaging the Jewish and broader community around equity, which affects our clients, our staff, and the whole community.”

This consensus statement is integral to the JCRC’s mission and core goals and principles: to secure a vibrant Jewish future and champion a just, democratic, and pluralistic society; to convene, mobilize, educate, and advocate on issues of vital concern based on Jewish values through combating antisemitism, bigotry, and racism; and modeling a commitment to civil discourse. 

The 57 JCRC members, including 33 Jewish institutions, reflect the broad diversity of our community. While they agreed on the importance of addressing racial equity, finding consensus on the specifics took time. This statement is the product of months of work during which the members of the newly formed JCRC Council learned, shared, deliberated, and grew in understanding. 

On building this consensus statement, which expresses the organized Jewish community’s position, Elaine Kraft, who represents the Stroum Jewish Community Center, speaks of the way the JCRC Council conversations moved her. “Hearing from all sectors of the Jewish community, the different perspectives from all organizations, from diverse geography, affiliations, generations, and backgrounds was inspirational. The respect participants had for each other was apparent in everyone’s goal of coming together to create this statement. I learned something from each participant and every discussion.”

“JCRC members showed tremendous commitment and perseverance taking on this critical, yet challenging, issue, articulating a uniquely Jewish perspective,” says Bill Mowat, JCRC Chair. “One of the council’s accomplishments was a more complex understanding of who we are as Jews. As the statement puts it, ‘we are a multi-ethnic, multi-racial people, not a racial group, nor solely a religion.’ What vital and engaging work!”

“Some have asked why, when Jews are facing record levels of antisemitism, the JCRC’s statement is on racial equity, not antisemitism,” said Nancy Greer, President and CEO of the Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle. “I would share a couple of thoughts. The Puget Sound Jewish community has a statement on antisemitism, adopted in September 2019, that was signed by dozens of Jewish organizations and elected officials, and articulates a strong communal perspective. In addition, this JCRC statement will help combat antisemitism by empowering the JCRC to build stronger connections and collaborations with communities of color. Nothing helps break down biases better than personal relationships. Antisemitism and racism are inextricably linked—by fighting one, we fight both.”

JCRC Director Max Patashnik comes from a multi-racial Jewish family. “I was unaware as a child that the experiences my sisters had in the Jewish community weren’t identical to mine. It makes me sad to know they were made to feel they didn’t belong—something I didn’t fully internalize until we started this process. This statement has the potential to build awareness of our internal blind spots and biases and to create a more vibrant, thriving Jewish community—one that recognizes and honors our diversity and would make my entire family, and so many families like mine, feel at home.”

This statement embodies Jewish tradition and values to not stand idly by, to act in righting wrongs and repairing our world. As the Torah commands: “Justice, justice, you shall pursue.” In 2022, the JCRC looks forward to beginning implementation of the statement and  to continuing its service as a forum for building consensus on pressing issues facing the Jewish community, including the fight against antisemitism and working for a just society. Guided by Jewish values, together as the JCRC we will work to  strengthen community, foster civil discourse, and find common ground for repairing our world.

Racial Equity and the Jewish Community

Adopted by the Jewish Community Relations Council – December 15, 2021


The Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC) of the Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle is committed to fighting racism, antisemitism[1], and other forms of bias and hate that deny justice and equity, undermine the core tenets of our democracy, and contradict the foundational Jewish belief in human dignity and equality—that all human beings are created in the image of G-d.

By enhancing our community’s understanding of race and racism locally and nationally, we can build a more inclusive Jewish community that honors our people’s diversity and strengthens our ability to work together to fight persistent racism in the broader society.

We acknowledge that this is just the beginning of our work. While it will not address all issues related to racial equity and equality, we offer it as a guide to our community’s necessary response to the demands of our time.

How Jews Relate to Race in America, Historically and Today

Many of our ancestors first came to the United States, which emerged out of Western European colonial expansion, fleeing anti-Jewish violence, forced conversion, discrimination, or poverty. Later, in the 19th and 20th centuries, waves of Jewish immigrants arrived from communities in Central and Eastern Europe, the Middle East, Africa, and Asia. Like many immigrants, Jews who immigrated to the United States sought safety and better lives. But their pursuit of freedom was hindered by institutional discrimination in the form of quotas and exclusion from establishments, jobs, and neighborhoods. To secure survival and success, many Jews achieved mobility through education and employment—systems that discriminated against Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) in a more profound way than most American Jews have experienced.

How Jews understand our own place in America’s racial hierarchy has shifted over time as popular understandings of race have changed.[2] The Jewish experience doesn’t map neatly onto current understandings of race. We are a multi-ethnic, multi-racial people, not a racial group, nor solely a religion. As a result, the American Jewish community’s relationship with race has grown increasingly complex. While many Jews in the United States are perceived to be White, Jews of Color are often undercounted and overlooked both within the American Jewish community and broader society. Recently, the Jewish community has begun to recognize the diversity of our people. This includes recognition that Jews of Color and non-Ashkenazi Jews, who often do not see their customs, traditions, or practices represented in summer camps, schools, and synagogues, can feel unwelcome or “othered” in Jewish spaces.[3]

Today, Jews continue to be targeted as a marginalized people. We have faced a long history of persecution and hatred and are experiencing a 21st century surge in violent antisemitic attacks,  regardless of our perceived race. While Jews are hated and threatened by some as non-White, many Jews are seen as White and may be able to access systems of power as such.  

Why Racial Justice is Important to the Jewish Community

Jews played an important role in the American Civil Rights Movement—sitting in, marching, registering voters, and more. This engagement was motivated by the Jewish people’s history of persecution and shared experiences of discrimination and bigotry, an awareness in the Jewish community that to obtain full civil rights and true equal opportunity for one group required fighting for such rights for all, and an ongoing desire to help those facing harm and hardship.

Though many in the American Jewish community are justifiably proud of this historical pursuit of racial justice in the United States, critical work remains. The racism that sparked a monumental push for civil rights in the 1960s persists—often in more subtle but still destructive and sometimes deadly forms. Policies and practices across systems of housing, education, healthcare, criminal justice, and more continue to exacerbate widely disparate outcomes for many BIPOC, including Jews of Color. Today, the Jewish community must honor the dedication and work of previous generations to end racism by stepping up our current efforts to address racial inequity.

Our people are well positioned and motivated to work toward racial equity. Jewish tradition and experience teach that we have a communal obligation to build an inclusive, just, and equitable society. Pursuing racial justice is a means of repairing our society so that all are truly recognized as created B’Tselem Elokim, in the image of G-d. But this pursuit is not solely a matter of conscience or values—because of our own people’s racial diversity, we have a personal and communal stake in this work. While our consciousness is building about the diverse identities and experiences of our people, much of the work toward creating a community of genuine belonging lies ahead.

Plan of Action

The JCRC of the Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle will work toward racial equity within and beyond the Jewish community. We will strive to ensure that all members of the community, no matter their ethnic, racial, religious, and/or cultural backgrounds, feel seen, welcomed, and valued. Therefore, the JCRC will lead efforts to:

  • Create welcoming spaces in Jewish communal institutions by investing in professional and lay leadership opportunities for and supporting initiatives led by Jews of Color and by learning, teaching, and highlighting the histories, cultures, and traditions of less-seen Jews;
  • Partner with local communities of color to support advocacy and hands-on work that addresses the root causes of racism and its manifestations in American society and in the Puget Sound region, guided by consensus positions adopted by our national partner, the Jewish Council for Public Affairs (JCPA);[4]
  • Recognize, strive to better understand, and provide opportunities to learn about and work through the American Jewish community’s unique relationship to race, and to face our own implicit and explicit biases;
  • Engage with other communities from a place of health and wholeness by working to heal our intergenerational trauma and by becoming more aware of our collective wounds and responses to them;
  • Learn and teach about the Jewish people’s relationship to American power structures (legal, political, and economic), including our community’s role in supporting and trying to change them for the better, and the impact of these structures on American society, particularly on marginalized communities, especially in the Puget Sound Region and Washington State;
  • Commit to internal self-reflection around issues and practices of equity with accountability, including but not limited to equity assessments in our institutions and Board structures, analysis of our hiring practices, and developing goals that have a concrete, systemic impact beyond our own learning;
  • Maintain awareness of events and incidents that violate the values that support racial equity, as enumerated above. When a significant such event or incident occurs, the JCRC should take action to support local impacted communities.


[1] For more information, see the Puget Sound Jewish Community Statement on Antisemitism

[2] See resources such as The Price of Whiteness: Jews, Race, and American Identity by Eric L. Goldstein

[3] Beyond the Count: Perspectives and Lived Experiences of Jews of Color

[4] JCPA Policy Compendium

Israel Affairs

The Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle’s Jewish Community Relations Council supports a peaceful, secure, Jewish, and democratic state of Israel. Thanks to the support of our generous donors, this work includes:

  • Gathering Jewish organizations together to engage in civil dialogue and consensus building in our diverse community. 
  • Educating the broader community about Jews’ deep religious and historical connection with the land of Israel.
  • Advocating about the importance of preserving Israel as a Jewish and democratic state, committed to equal opportunity for all its citizens, and the pursuit of peace among all its neighbors.

To learn more, contact:
Cassie Garvin | Intergroup Relations and Israel Affairs Manager | | 206.774.2228


JCRC Statement on Antisemitic Rhetoric
October 25, 2022

We are deeply troubled by the antisemitic rhetoric some celebrities are spreading on social media and in public statements. Anyone who spews anti-Jewish messages, especially popular figures, is inflicting real harm. These words incite hatred and spread fear, often by trafficking in age-old antisemitic tropes. We are grateful to those who stand with the Jewish community and call on social media platforms to help stop the spread of hate speech now. In conjunction with the Federation’s SAFE Washington, we regularly monitor antisemitic threats locally and globally. Protecting the safety and security of the Jewish community from hate is a fundamental responsibility of our communal leadership.

Our Statement on the Kent Police Settlement
June 10, 2022

The Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle and its Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC) are grateful that now former Assistant Kent Police Chief Derek Kammerzell will not return to the police force. Though it’s disturbing that an individual who elevated and honored Nazi imagery and titles and joked about the Holocaust should receive a $1.52 million settlement, we know the City of Kent had limited options. We believe they worked to create the best possible outcome by ensuring that Kammerzell does not return to his role as a law enforcement officer. This is a step toward ensuring the safety and well-being of the Jewish community, and of other groups who were made to feel targeted and unsafe through Kammerzell’s actions.

Since January, our professional team has had the opportunity to work closely with the City of Kent on their response. We are impressed by the seriousness, humility, and sensitivity with which Mayor Dana Ralph and her team are addressing both Kammerzell’s specific actions and tackling antisemitism overall, including hosting a listening session with leaders of the Jewish community and senior city professionals, as well as prioritizing both community and staff learning on antisemitism. We are heartened and encouraged by their commitment and the work done thus far.

Whether knowingly or not, through his actions Kammerzell supported the extermination of six million Jews, including one million children, and five million other vulnerable individuals, perpetuated antisemitism, and made our local Jewish community feel unsafe. In a time when incidents of hate against the Jewish people are higher than they’ve been in almost 45 years, we strongly urge the City of Kent to continue current efforts and create long-term plans to ensure addressing antisemitism is dealt with head-on. The Federation and our JCRC would be glad to continue to be a resource and help the City of Kent in their work to build an inclusive, welcoming, and safe city for all.

Statement on Antisemitic Graffiti
January 30, 2022

Today, antisemitic graffiti was found across the street from Jewish Family Service of Seattle (JFS). This incident of hatred toward Jews is just one of many that puts the level of antisemitic incidents in the US at the highest levels they have been in 40 years.

“It’s okay to be a Zionist genocider.” This is what the graffiti said. It was next to JFS, a Jewish human service organization that feeds the hungry, supports victims of domestic violence, resettles refugees, cares for older adults, those who are less abled, and more.
This is another example of how lies about Israel can be twisted into hatred against all Jews, something our community knows firsthand.

The antisemitic hate crime at the Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle in 2006, that killed a staff member and injured five others, was motivated by anger about Israel. The shooter targeted the Federation because it is a Jewish organization.

We call on the over 100 electeds and leaders who signed the Puget Sound Pledge Against Antisemtism and other faith and minority groups to vocally and unequivocally condemn this incident, to reach out to local Jewish leaders in support and solidarity, and to be partners with us in addressing the growing problem of anti-Jewish hatred. If not now, when?

Statement on the Actions of the Kent Assistant Police Chief
January 4, 2022

The Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle and its Jewish Community Relations Council are horrified to learn of the actions of Assistant Kent Police Chief Derek Kammerzell. By elevating and honoring Nazi imagery and titles and joking about the Holocaust, Kammerzell is supporting the extermination of six million Jews, including one million children, and five million other vulnerable individuals. This is an affront to the entire Puget Sound Jewish community and inexcusable. Synagogues, Jewish community centers, and Jewish organizations rely on law enforcement to help protect them from violent, antisemitic attacks. The two-week suspension and sensitivity training given in response are completely inadequate, especially at a time when incidents of hate against the Jewish people are higher than they’ve been in almost 45 years. The absence of true accountability demanded of Kammerzell and the sheer lack of consequences in this situation are shocking. The City of Kent’s response demonstrates a complete lack of understanding of the impact of these acts by one of its assistant police chiefs on our local Jewish community. We call on the City of Kent to immediately revisit the situation, publicly recognize the harm and hurt caused to our Jewish community, and treat the offenses with the seriousness and care they deserve.

Statement on the Jacksonville Shooting
August 28, 2023
The Jewish Community Relations Council of the Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle (JCRC) is deeply shocked, saddened, and angered by the racist attack in Jacksonville, Florida, that took the lives of three innocent Black people near a historically Black university. This horrific crime was another disturbing sign of the epidemic of hate that is an affliction in our country—brutalizing communities, traumatizing families, and spreading fear. 

As our JCRC’s Consensus Statement on Racial Equity reminds us, our Jewish tradition teaches that we have an obligation to build an inclusive, just, and equitable society. We are committed to fighting racism, antisemitism, and other forms of bias and hate that deny justice and equity, undermine the core tenets of our democracy, and contradict the foundational Jewish belief in human dignity and equality.

As the Jewish Council for Public Affairs aptly stated, “Antisemitism, anti-Black racism, and white supremacy are inextricably linked, animating and fueling each other in a constant feedback loop with deadly consequences for our communities and our democracy.” All of us must do more, much more, to work for a world where hate has no place.

Statement on Buffalo, NY, Attack
May 15, 2022

The Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle and its Jewish Community Relations Council are shocked, horrified, and deeply saddened by the racist massacre that took place in Buffalo, New York, yesterday. We grieve for the ten innocent people whose lives were stolen. Our hearts are with their families and all who were wounded physically and emotionally by this evil act. We thank law enforcement for their swift response to protect their community and stop the shooter from doing further harm.
The attack was a premeditated act of domestic terrorism. An individual, fueled by racist and antisemitic hatred rooted in a twisted, white nationalist ideology, deliberately targeted Black people going about their daily lives, taking care of their families. The horror inflicted on Buffalo was all too similar to deadly, vile hate crimes that our nation has suffered in the recent past. Charleston. Charlottesville. Pittsburgh. Poway. El Paso. Atlanta. Too many to count. Even one is too many.

An attack on the community of Buffalo is an attack on our community—an attack on all. We must come together to stand against hatred and commit to building a world of safety and justice for all.
May the memory of those who were slain in Buffalo, New York, be for a blessing.

We Are Here for Our Asian American and Pacific Islander Family, Friends, and Neighbors
March 18, 2021

The Jewish Community Relations Council of the Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle (JCRC) is horrified and deeply saddened by the shootings in Atlanta that took the lives of eight people, including six Asian women. We grieve with the families and friends of the victims and the broader community, and commend first responders for their swift apprehension of the suspected shooter.
While the motive for these murders is not yet known, they were committed at a time of increasing violent attacks on Asian American and Pacific Islander communities that are rooted in racism and xenophobic fearmongering.

The Jewish community understands firsthand the fear horrific incidents like these can instill. As Jews, we are commanded lo ta’amod al dam rey’echa—to not stand idly by in the face of violence. We are here for our Asian American and Pacific Islander family, friends, and neighbors, and remain committed partners in working together to combat hate and bias and uphold our shared vision of safety and freedom for all.

Federation & Latino Civic Alliance Statement on Hate Crimes Legislation
February 19, 2021

Fighting hate crimes in Washington State is of paramount concern to our communities. For this reason, the Latino Civic Alliance and Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle supported Representative Javier Valdez, (D-46th) in leading on hate crimes legislation this session. HB 1071 would enact two of the 20 recommendations passed by the Attorney General’s Hate Crimes Working Group to close prosecutorial holes. We have decided to not move the legislation any further this session until additional conversations are able to take place with stakeholders statewide—especially those in rural areas where hate violence is prevalent and not often reported.

We’d like to extend our sincere gratitude to the community groups and legislators who took leadership roles in sponsoring, supporting, and working on this bill—especially Representative Valdez. We remain committed to working with impacted families to address the unacceptable rise in hate violence and hate crimes in Washington.

We must respect and learn from the experiences facing hate crime victims—from the Latinx farmworkers in Yakima afraid to report assault, to the Jewish community members in Spokane whose synagogue was defaced with swastikas, to the Asian individuals in Seattle facing increased harassment and intimidation as a result of COVID-19, and to local Black families’ experience of daily and blatant racism. In the months to come, we will engage with these and more impacted across the state to ensure their voices are heard, so that together, we can create and pass legislation that helps keep all our communities safe.

Nina Martinez,
Board Chair, Latino Civic Alliance
Max Patashnik,
Director, JCRC and Government Affairs, Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle

A Statement of Deep Concerns About a Recent Campaign Mailer
October 11, 2021

The JCRC of the Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle is committed to combating antisemitism, bigotry, and racism and championing a just, democratic, and pluralistic society. We are deeply concerned by the mailer distributed by King County Councilmember Kathy Lambert’s campaign, which utilizes racist and xenophobic imagery toward her colleague, Councilmember Girmay Zahilay, and the antisemitic trope of “puppetry and control.” This hateful, dangerous, and offensive content has no place in our democracy. We call on CM Lambert to take steps to ameliorate the harm caused by educating herself and reaching out directly to those impacted.

#icantbreathe: Federation Statement on the Death of George Floyd
May 31, 2020

The Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle is saddened and outraged by the death of George Floyd, a 46-year-old unarmed black man, earlier this week in Minneapolis. A white law enforcement officer held his knee to Floyd’s neck for over eight minutes. Floyd gasped for air and repeatedly pleaded for his life while three other officers did nothing.

We protest George Floyd’s tragic death, yet one more in a seemingly endless string of violence perpetrated against black people in our country today. We must also remember, protest, and say the names of the other victims of recent senseless killings:

  • Dreasjon (Sean) Reed, a 21-year-old from Indianapolis who died after being shot at least eight times by a police officer (May 6, 2020).
  • Breonna Taylor, a 26-year-old who was shot eight times by Louisville Metro Police Department officers who entered her apartment while serving a “no-knock warrant” (March 13, 2020).
  • Ahmaud Arbery, a 25-year-old and who, while jogging, was chased down, shot, and killed by a retired police officer and his son in Brunswick, Georgia (Feb. 23, 2020).

Judaism is clear about our obligation to not stand idly by in the face of injustice. Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel said, “In a free society, only some may be guilty but all are responsible.” Peaceful and lawful protest shines a light on the injustice whereas violent protest only causes harm and must be strongly condemned. We must redouble our efforts to combat racial bias and violence, the structural and systemic racism that continues to deprive black Americans of justice and equal opportunity, and the apathy that allows too many to turn a blind eye.

The Jewish Federation is proud to advocate for racial equity in our criminal justice, education, and human services systems. We will strive to raise up the voices and center the experiences of people of color, including Jews of color, in this work. We do this to stand in solidarity with those who are marginalized, and to honor those who stand tall and are resilient in the face of oppression. We ask the whole of the Jewish community to join with us.

In Judaism, through the value of B’Tselem Elokim, we are called to see and protect the life and dignity of every person. Our job will not be done until the mothers and fathers of black and brown children across our country are treated justly and equitably, and until these parents have peace of mind that their children can run, play, and work in safety and freedom.

We Stand With Israel
October 7, 2023

The Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle and its Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC) stand in solidarity with the people of Israel in this terrible hour of danger as they defend our Jewish homeland from Hamas’ surprise terrorist attack.

We are shocked and appalled by this vicious onslaught, coming on the holy day of Shemini Atzeret/Simchat Torah, which has killed at least 150 Israelis and wounded over 1,000 more. Hamas gunmen have infiltrated communities near the Gaza border, terrorizing thousands amidst reports of kidnappings of innocent people. We mourn the loss of life and pray for swift recovery of the wounded.

The Jewish Federations of North America (JFNA) has opened an emergency fund to support critical care and support services the Jewish Agency for Israel, Joint Distribution Committee, and Israel Trauma Coalition are providing. You may give here.

We support a peaceful, secure, Jewish and democratic state of Israel. Our hearts go out to our family, our mishpacha, who we stand with during this wanton attack, and always will.

Statement on Knesset Vote on Reasonableness Law

July 27, 2023

The Jewish Federation and its Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC) are profoundly troubled by developments in recent days to alter Israel’s judicial system. We are steadfast in our commitment to supporting a secure, Jewish, and democratic State of Israel, and a strong and independent judiciary is a crucial component of that vision. The reasonableness law, approved by a narrow majority of the Knesset earlier this week, is only one of many proposed changes that will have significant impacts on the nature of Israel’s democracy. While many Israelis believe that Israel’s judicial system needs some reform, there are serious disagreements across Israeli society about the nature and extent of these changes.

Significant modifications to Israel’s judicial system should result from a deliberative and inclusive process that upholds the democratic values of maintaining checks and balances, respecting minority rights and civil liberties, and preserving essential judicial independence. We are extremely disappointed that the leaders of the coalition moved ahead with a major element of the reforms without these critical components. We remain deeply concerned about the growing polarization in Israeli society because of this process and the serious risks these divisions pose to Israel’s security and its future.

Our experience as American Jews reminds us that democratic institutions are critical for all underrepresented communities to thrive. Our democracy here in the United States has faced challenges and gone through significant shifts, just as Israel’s is right now. We fervently hope that all parties will seek to heal the divides these proposals are creating within Israeli society, and between Israel and American Jewry. It is our aspiration that any further changes to the judicial system in Israel reflect a broad consensus of Israeli citizens, maintain essential checks and balances, and protect Israel’s safety and security.

Learning Resources: 

Get Involved! If you are interested in getting involved with local Israelis who are actively organizing around the issue of Israel’s democracy, contact the Seattle Chapter of UnXeptable or join their WhatsApp group.

JCRC Statement on Judicial Reform and Israeli Democracy
April 26, 2023

The JCRC of the Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle unwaveringly supports a peaceful, secure, Jewish, and democratic State of Israel. The JCRC is deeply concerned about divisions the judicial reform debate is creating in Israel and among Jews worldwide, and that aspects of the proposed reforms will have harmful effects on Israel’s democracy, its security, and the relationship between Israel and world Jewry. The essence of a healthy democracy is to respect both the will of the majority as well as the rights and protections of minorities. This equilibrium is preserved by establishing checks and balances through the separation and division of powers between legislative authority and an independent judiciary. Any reforms to the judiciary should both uphold these principles and reflect a broad agreement of Israeli citizens. The unprecedented demonstrations by Israelis reflect how important it is to them for their country to uphold and fulfill the democratic principles on which it was founded, illustrate the robust nature of Israel’s democracy, and underscore the inherent value of a state that protects the rights of all its citizens. The JCRC fervently hopes the parties will reach a compromise that maintains essential checks and balances, protects Israel’s safety and security, and that the resilience of Israel’s democracy will shine through.

JCRC Statement on Israeli Election Results
November 6, 2022

Israel’s election on Tuesday, with its highest voter turnout in years, demonstrates its vibrant democracy. The JCRC respects Israel’s democratic process, yet we have deep concerns about the outcome and its potential ramifications. The openly bigoted and antidemocratic statements, actions, and proposals of some elected to the Knesset could have profound negative implications for Israel’s political landscape and relationship with the Jewish diaspora. The JCRC remains dedicated to supporting a peaceful, secure, Jewish, and democratic State of Israel, committed to equal opportunity for all its citizens and the pursuit of peace with all its neighbors.

Statement on Acts of Terrorism in Israel
April 8, 2022

Israel has seen five acts of terrorism in just the last several days that have taken 14 innocent lives. We condemn these violent attacks, and we stand with the people of Israel against terror and extremism. We send our condolences to the families of those who were killed and pray for the speedy recovery of the injured. Our hearts go out to the victims of these attacks, their communities, and all those now living in fear of further violence.

Statement on Amnesty International Report
February 3, 2022

The Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC) of the Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle is deeply concerned about the recent report by Amnesty International UK. We reject the report’s inaccuracies, omissions, and distortions, which further a narrative undermining Israel’s right to exist as a democratic state and a homeland for the Jewish people. Those who seek to denigrate Israel’s vibrant democracy and delegitimize its very existence will cite this report to justify encouraging anti-Zionism and antisemitism.
Perpetuating lies and distortions about Israel fuels the machinery of antisemitism around the world. Last May, during the fighting between Israel and the terror group Hamas, antisemitic incidents in the U.S. doubled compared to the same time in the previous year. From harassment, to intimidation, to physical attacks, anti-Jewish hate is at its highest levels in decades. Here in our own backyard, last month, it was revealed that an assistant police chief posted Nazi symbols at work, and just last weekend, Jewish Family Service was the target of antisemitic graffiti related to Israel.
The JCRC supports a peaceful, secure, Jewish, and democratic state of Israel. While Israel and its government are not beyond criticism and its policies are the subject of vigorous debate, this report lacks the history, context, and nuance required to understand the complex reality in Israel. For example, the report mentions security concerns as a motivation behind the Israeli government’s policies, yet it fails to acknowledge the real threats to Israel’s survival that it has faced from its very founding to today and the Israeli government’s challenge in balancing physical safety with access and freedom of movement. Amnesty UK’s report goes well beyond criticism— it portrays Israel’s very existence as illegitimate, denying Jews’ historical connection to the land of Israel and undermining the possibility of a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, which requires the participation of both peoples at the negotiating table.

One of the JCRC’s core values is Darchei Shalom, the belief that peace, especially between Israelis and Palestinians, can only be built upon a solid foundation of trust and mutual understanding. Amnesty UK’s incendiary rhetoric and distortion of facts move us further away from achieving peace. We encourage anyone seeking to meaningfully change the situation in Israel to look beyond labels to develop nuanced understanding of the conflict’s unique complexities and to be mindful of the impacts of inflammatory messaging on Jews around the world.

Statement on the Mount Meron Tragedy
May 5, 2021

The Jewish Community Relations Council of the Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle mourns the victims of the Mount Meron tragedy that occurred in Northern Israel last week during a Lag B’Omer celebration. May each of their memories be for a blessing. Though last week’s disaster was thousands of miles away, the heaviness it has brought to our hearts is a reminder that while we are many Jewish communities, we are one people—bound together by shared values, including kol yisrael arevim zeh la zeh. All in the house of Israel are responsible for one another. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the loved ones of those killed, including loved ones right here in the Puget Sound Region.

Statement on California Shootings
January 24, 2023

The Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle and its Jewish Community Relations Council are deeply shocked and saddened that 18 people lost their lives and many others were grievously injured in mass shooting incidents in Monterey Park and Half Moon Bay, California. Yet more outbreaks of gun violence turned a celebration in Monterey Park and workplaces in Half Moon Bay into scenes of horror where innocent lives were lost. Families have been plunged into mourning and communities have been brutalized by unspeakable trauma. 

We pray for the families of the victims, we thank first responders for their swift actions, and we stand with Monterey Park and Half Moon Bay at this time of heartbreaking tragedy. We must stand against gun violence and act to build a country where people can live without fear in their daily lives.

May the memory of those whose lives were taken from them be for a blessing.

Statement on Colorado Springs Club Q Shooting
November 20, 2022

The Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle and its Jewish Community Relations Council are horrified and devastated that another terrible act of gun violence has taken the lives of five innocent people and injured at least 25, at Club Q in Colorado Springs. More families are in mourning, more lives have been shattered, and the LGBTQ+ community has again been traumatized. We pray for the families who lost loved ones and for the people wounded by this grievous act. It is particularly painful on this Trans Day of Remembrance, and we stand with the LGBTQ+ community at this difficult time.

May the memory of those whose lives were taken be for a blessing.

Federation & JCRC Statement on Ingraham High School Shooting
November 9, 2022

We are deeply saddened and shocked by the murder of an Ingraham High School student in yet another school shooting in America. We mourn the loss of life and grieve with the entire Ingraham community. An institution of learning in our city that should be a safe and welcoming place has been violated by an act of unspeakable evil.

It is intolerable and unacceptable that children should have to fear going to school. The epidemic of school shootings and other gun violence is a blight on our nation. We must do what it takes to ensure that people can feel safe as they go about the business of living their lives—going to school, attending houses of worship, or visiting public gathering places. 

May the memory of the innocent Ingraham student whose life was stolen be for a blessing. 

Statement on Highland Park Shooting
July 5, 2022

We are deeply disturbed and saddened by the act of violence in Highland Park, IL yesterday, July 4th, and mourn the seven lives lost and many other lives darkened by this tragedy. The attack at the Independence Day parade is just one of the recorded 300+ mass shootings documented in the U.S. in the past 186 days. As Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker said on Monday, “There are no words for the kind of evil that shows up at a public celebration of freedom, hides on a roof and shoots innocent people with an assault rifle.” It isn’t currently known what drove the shooter to commit this horrifying act. We are grateful to first responders who saved dozens of lives and acted swiftly to apprehend the suspect.

We pray for the speedy recovery of the survivors and for all those whose lives were impacted by this deadly attack. We must stand against violence and work collectively to improve safety and security for all.

Statement on Uvalde, Texas, School Shooting
Updated May 25, 2022

Just days after a shocking racist massacre of 10 people at a Buffalo, New York, grocery store, 19 children and two teachers were murdered by yet another school shooter, this time in Uvalde, Texas.
We pray and we grieve for Uvalde, just as we did after Sandy Hook, Marysville, Roseburg, Parkland, and too many other school shootings to count.

We don’t know what drove the shooter to commit another horrifying act of madness that stole the lives of more innocent people, grievously injured many others, and terrified another community. What we do know is that our society must, without hesitation, forthrightly face up to the epidemic of gun violence that afflicts our country and the hatreds that are the root of many acts of mass violence.

We must choose to stand against violence and act to build a country where all can go to school, attend a house of worship, or visit a public gathering place in safety and in peace. Speak up and demand action by our elected representatives.

May the memory of those who were slain in Uvalde, Texas be for a blessing.

We Are Here for Our Asian American and Pacific Islander Family, Friends, and Neighbors: JCRC Statement on the Atlanta Shootings
March 18, 2021

The Jewish Community Relations Council of the Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle (JCRC) is horrified and deeply saddened by the shootings in Atlanta that took the lives of eight people, including six Asian women. We grieve with the families and friends of the victims and the broader community, and commend first responders for their swift apprehension of the suspected shooter.

While the motive for these murders is not yet known, they were committed at a time of increasing violent attacks on Asian American and Pacific Islander communities that are rooted in racism and xenophobic fearmongering.

The Jewish community understands firsthand the fear horrific incidents like these can instill. As Jews, we are commanded lo ta’amod al dam rey’echa—to not stand idly by in the face of violence. We are here for our Asian American and Pacific Islander family, friends, and neighbors, and remain committed partners in working together to combat hate and bias and uphold our shared vision of safety and freedom for all.

JCRC Statement on Supreme Court Decisions
July 10, 2023

In the last days of June, the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) handed down two decisions that have significant impacts on civil and human rights—an end to affirmative action and the ability of a business owner to deny services to a member of the LBGTQ+ community, a protected class. As a people who hold many identities—Asian, LGBTQ+, African American—the Jewish community is directly impacted. 

The Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Seattle (JCRC) is committed to fighting racism, antisemitism, and other forms of bias and hate that deny justice and equity, undermine the core tenets of our democracy, and contradict the foundational Jewish belief in human dignity and equality—that all human beings are created in the image of G-d. We are deeply concerned about these recent SCOTUS decisions and the damage they may do in our shared work to create a more equitable nation.

We also understand that these SCOTUS decisions are quite divisive, and believe we need to work together, across political and ideological differences, to address the longstanding inequities in our nation and build a more perfect Union. We will not acquiesce to an erosion of anyone’s basic civil rights. As Jews, we know what it means to be targeted, denied services, humiliated, and ostracized; we also understand our obligation to work with others who face similar issues. 

 In the words of Eleanor Roosevelt, “It is better to light a candle than curse the darkness.” Focusing on the darkness will not solve problems but if we all light candles together, we can move forward. The road ahead requires us to use new tactics, ideas, and policies to combat institutional racism and discrimination and improve the trajectory of impacted communities that will help to ensure basic rights for all people in this country.

Statement on Supreme Court Ruling Overturning Roe v. Wade
June 24, 2022

The Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC) of the Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle condemns the Supreme Court ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization overturning Roe v. Wade. We strongly support access to safe, affordable, legal abortion and reproductive health care. We are intensely concerned about the profound impact of this ruling on religious freedom, personal decision-making, and human dignity—issues that are fundamental to our Jewish community in America.

The JCRC stands for the foundational principle of separation of religion and state, which prohibits government imposition of religious beliefs on others and is fundamental to the well-being of the Jewish community in America. Restriction of abortion, made possible by overturning Roe v. Wade, violates this principle, as it imposes a narrow religious perspective on the entire nation.

Prohibiting access to abortion is contrary to Jewish law, traditions, and our people’s principal value of protecting life. While there are various rabbinic interpretations of Jewish law, what is consistent is that if pregnancy endangers a person’s life physically, Jewish law permits, and in most cases, mandates abortion. Furthermore, according to religious authorities from various streams of Judaism, abortion is also permissible in order to protect a pregnant person’s emotional and mental well-being. Therefore, any law that limits abortion may restrict a Jew’s ability to make this personal decision in accordance with their religious beliefs. History has taught us that efforts to make abortion illegal do not stop abortions, they only stop safe abortions. For this reason, we are also concerned about those whose lives may be in danger from unsafe abortions.

The JCRC believes in the American vision that the role of our government is to protect the health, liberty, and dignity of all people. The conclusion to end a pregnancy is a deeply personal one that may be based on consultation with family, health care professionals, and in accordance with religious beliefs. Our nation must respect—not legislate or criminalize—these decisions. We call on Congress to pass legislation to ensure federal protections for reproductive freedom. And, we will continue to support access to safe and affordable reproductive health care, and a physician’s right to provide it, free from prosecution, here in Washington State.

To learn more, contact:

The JCRC team at for more information.