MLK Day – Why just one day a year?

Wed, 01/20/2016 - 8:59am

Posted in: Community Relations Council


Our seven-year-old came home from school on Friday and said, “Mommy, I am grateful for Martin Luther King, Jr.”  She went on to tell me that, “without him, I wouldn’t be able to be in the same class as my friends.”

I told her that Martin Luther King, Jr. Day is one of my favorite holidays, too, because each year it reminds us of the importance of being inclusive and to use our voices to stand up for what is right.

We are constantly looking for ways to have meaningful conversations with our kids and this time, our daughter started a great one.  I decided to do some googling and found a ton of great ideas to further the conversation and to build on Dr. King’s great work at home.  Here are two ways that you, the Tidewater community, can bring the conversation into your home!
Read more »

TJF and the Community Relations Council of the UJFT offer a way to support the children of Ferguson

Tue, 12/02/2014 - 2:41pm

Posted in: Tidewater Jewish Foundation, Community Relations Council

1775 For those of us watching the events in Ferguson, Missouri unfold on our televisions, the images are disturbing and distressing. For the residents of Ferguson, they are reality. The death of Michael Brown and the events that followed, reaching a climax last week, are particular to Ferguson. However, the underlying societal issues at play are, unfortunately, national in scope.

There are long term issues to face. However, right now, the people of Ferguson and surrounding areas are hurting badly. The children of Ferguson, especially, are facing a harsh reality. Libraries have become somewhat of a safe haven for the children in the area.

Following the lead of the St. Louis Jewish Community Relations Council, the Tidewater Jewish Foundation and the Community Relations Council of the United Jewish Federation of Tidewater have partnered to offer support by collecting new or gently used children’s books with enclosed notes of encouragement that will be delivered to the children of Ferguson.

Stop by the Sandler Family Campus on Thursday, December 18th from 12-7pm, and drop off a new or gently used children’s book with your message of support and inspiration, or choose messages we’ll have on hand, to include with your donation.

Questions? Contact Shelby Tudor at (757) 965-6105 or or Robin Mancoll at (757) 965-6120 or

Regards from Israel

Wed, 10/15/2014 - 11:59am

Posted in: Community Relations Council

by Dr. Einat Wilf
Israel Today Forum Expert
Danger Zone:  What Regional Turmoil Means for Israel
Thursday, October 30, 2014 at 7:30pm at the Sandler Family Campus
For more information or to RSVP today by click here.

Join the CRC and community partners for a “tour d’horizon” of the geopolitical condition of the Middle East and the powers at play as The Honorable Einat Wilf, former member of Knesset discusses what this most recent turmoil means for Israel. Known as one of Israel’s most articulate representatives on the international stage and a leading intellectual and original thinker on matters of economics, education, foreign policy, Jewish peoplehood and society, Dr. Wilf was born and raised in Israel. She served as an Intelligence Officer in the Israel Defense Forces before receiving undergraduate degrees in Government and Fine Arts from Harvard, an MBA from INSEAD in France, and a PhD in Political Science from the University of Cambridge. This mother of three kids under the age of four, offers a strong female voice as the first woman expert to take part in the Israel Today series. For more information on this and other Israel Today Forum events, click here


Dear Friends,
Let’s face it, it has been a terrible summer. Even for those of us lucky enough not to have had to mourn the personal loss of a loved one, this summer of war has taken an emotional and mental toll much greater than many of us initially admitted. The spirit was one of “a stiff upper lip”, but nerves were frayed and, in between the sirens, few of us were able to do anything more than stay glued to the television.
  Read more »

Your Voice Matters!

Mon, 08/04/2014 - 10:42am

Posted in: Community Relations Council, Stop the Sirens

By Robin Mancoll, Director, Community Relations Council, United Jewish Federation of Tidewater

1706 What does that really mean?  “Your Voice Matters?”

It means that this war is not only taking place in Israel and Gaza, but is also a fully global social media campaign – and YOU must take part.  If you’ve ever hesitated about posting something about Israel on your facebook page, or thought you couldn’t figure out twitter, NOW is the time to stop wondering and start ACTING.  If you’ve never called or emailed your Congressperson, DO IT, it’s easy, quick and it really does make a difference.  If you’re frustrated by media coverage, start writing and let it out!
Read more »

Honoring Those Who Preserve Freedom

Fri, 04/25/2014 - 7:47am

Posted in: Community Relations Council

On the weekend of May 3-4, 2014, Temple Israel will be paying tribute to those who defend the freedom of America and Israel.

It’s become a cliché to say that freedom isn’t free.  But the truth should never be a cliché.  Most people who have grown up in the United States take their freedom for granted.  They think freedom is the norm.  In the course of history, it has been the rare exception.  Today, every American enjoys freedom and opportunity unparalleled in the history of the world only because freedom was won, and has been preserved and protected, by the United States military.  American Jews should be especially thankful.  In our long and often somber history, we have never had a home in the lands of the Diaspora as open to Jewish life and practice as the United States. Giving thanks for our blessings is a basic tenet of Judaism.  With the high concentration of military bases and facilities in the area, a congregation in Hampton Roads has a unique opportunity to show the thankfulness and respect for our military that all Americans should feel. 
Read more »

Doing Good in Our Neighborhood

Tue, 02/11/2014 - 9:04am

Posted in: Community Relations Council

By: Rabbi Arnowitz

Our rabbis taught: We sustain the Non-Jewish poor with the Jewish poor, visit the non-Jewish sick with the Jewish sick and bury the non-Jewish dead with the Jewish dead, for the sake of peace.

 -Babylonian Talmud, tractate Gittin 61a

1595 There are many different ways I could describe Judaism, but reading the above Talmudic teaching, the terms complex and nuanced spring to mind.  On full display in this teaching is the difficulty of defining Judaism either fully as a nationality/ethnicity on the one hand or as a religion on the other.  The very need for this teaching shows that as Jews, there is an inclination to protect and provide for ourselves and our own.  That side of the teaching represents Judaism as an ethnicity.  It emphasizes the idea that Kol Yisrael Arevim Zel la-Zeh, All the people Israel are responsible for one another.  It is an important principle and one that can be found in many rabbinic teachings.

But this teaching de-emphasizes the ethnic identity in favor of the principle of tikkun olam, Repairing the World, the whole world and everyone in it.  It reminds us that while Jewish unity is a priority, creating peace in the world is also a priority, and we do that by treating our neighbors as well as we treat our kin.  It is in that spirit that we have created the Tzedek-Justice Rally to End Homelessness on Sunday afternoon February 16th at Congregation Beth El.
Read more »

The birth of the Israel Philharmonic

Tue, 02/04/2014 - 10:36am

Posted in: Community Relations Council

1594 Join the Community Relations Council and the Holocaust Commission of the United Jewish Federation of Tidewater in partnership with the Simon Family JCC’s Celebrate Israel series for a screening of Orchestra of Exiles on February 25th at 7:00pm at the Sandler Family Campus. This FREE and open to the community documentary film screening will be followed by a discussion with Director, Writer, Producer Josh Aronson. 

Bronislaw Huberman was a man who performed a unique and extraordinary feat of sustained heroism between 1933 and 1936 – an action that ultimately saved 1,000 Jews and re-defined the cultural world forever. And yet, when his story was told to me four years ago by the daughter of one of the men he saved, I had never heard of Huberman or his powerful journey. I was instantly intrigued and soon learned that little had been written about this great man and a film had never been made of this story. I never looked back and spent the next 3 years making Orchestra of Exiles.

The research necessitated the translation of thousands of letters, interviews and articles in libraries from Berlin to Tel Aviv. That process would take two years and in reviewing the material and writing the script I came to realize that the film would be structurally complex and would touch on many themes. But at root it was clear the film must present the story of a man with burning moral fiber who saw intolerance and, with his response, truly changed the world.
Read more »

Preparing for another sleepless night….

Tue, 10/22/2013 - 11:44am

Posted in: Community Relations Council

1493 From the CRC Director's Desk

After returning from the AIPAC Policy Conference in March, I found myself experiencing one sleepless night after another, eventually stretching into weeks of restless tossing and turning.  Throughout the conference, I learned more disturbing information about Iran’s progress and intentions with regards to their nuclear weapons program than I had ever wanted to know.  Though I attended the AIPAC Policy Conference with concerns focusing on Israel’s safety and how an Iranian nuclear weapon would affect Israeli security, I wound up learning more and more about what that program would mean to us as American citizens and gaining a profound appreciation for just how concerned we should be.  This information embedded itself in my brain only to resurface, without warning, as nightly wake up calls.

I’ll admit that I’m not a good sleeper anyway; often waking up in the middle of the night mentally tallying off all the things I need to accomplish the next day or later that week, worrying about my family, work, or with anxiety concerning events in and around Israel.  Though this happens often, this is the first time I have woken up with worries about America’s safety.  

What is causing me to lose so much sleep?
Read more »

Powered by Drupal, an open source content management system