Photo courtesy of Brant Schulz

Submitted by Brant Schulz, 

Jewish Community Relations Council 

In recent months, the Jewish Federation of Cincinnati’s Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC) has celebrated key successes, while continuing to combat ugly antisemitic incidents. Federation CEO Danielle V. Minson highlighted these accomplishments during the Federation’s first-ever Impact Breakfast on February 8. 

In coordination with Ohio Jewish Communities (the statewide government advocacy, public affairs, and community relations voice of Ohio’s eight Jewish Federations), JCRC helped to pass a bill increasing the penalty for disturbing a religious meeting and a second bill mandating all state colleges and universities provide three religious exemption days per semester, for all students, with no questions asked.

JCRC also worked with Cincinnati city council members and local rabbis to place a large menorah inside City Hall, alongside the holiday “giving tree.” Now, Jews and non-Jews will see various religious symbols each holiday season, demonstrating how Cincinnati is a multicultural and inclusive city.

Also, planning for JCRC’s second cohort of the prestigious Leaders in Light Institute is now underway. Its purpose is to gather local leaders with diverse backgrounds and perspectives for a two-year extended educational journey, strengthening connections with allies and working to counter extremism and hate. 

Sadly, these successes are tempered by local anti-Jewish incidents. On January 6, antisemitic graffiti was found scrawled on bridges in Norwood’s Lindner Park. That same day, JCRC Director Ari Ballaban removed the graffiti. Meanwhile, JCRC has also responded to several instances of antisemitic flyers distributed in neighborhoods. In the wake of multiplying antisemitic propaganda, the JCRC has partnered with the Foundation to Combat Antisemitism to promote a major antisemitism awareness campaign. If you haven’t already received and would like a blue “Ally Against Antisemitism” yard sign or bumper sticker, be in touch with JCRC.