The diversity of the Jewish community across the political, ideological and religious spectrum is represented at the JCRC "common table," to advance the public affairs goals and objectives of the St. Louis Jewish community. Through a consensus-driven process, representatives from 32 member agencies and organizations and 14 at-large members, meet to:
- Provide an open forum for the exploration of issues of central concern in an atmosphere of mutual respect and civility
- Identify and prioritize these issues
- Develop and articulate positions, which reflect the consensus of the community
- Present relevant strategies, programs and approaches to community issues
The JCRC works with a range of organizations and institutions:
Jewish Federation – The Jewish Community Relations Council serves our Federation system by coordinating and implementing activities relating to the public affairs agenda of the Jewish community. Community dollars raised in the Federation’s annual campaign support the activities of the JCRC.
Constituent Organizations – The 32 member organizations of the JCRC constitute the majority of Council members and provide important resources in the development of strategy and the implementation of communal goals.
Rabbinical Community and Congregations – The JCRC works with rabbinical and congregational leadership on an ongoing basis and on community-wide initiatives such as the Jewish Fund for Human Needs (JFHN). Two Rabbinical organizations, the St. Louis Rabbinical Associationand the St. Louis Rabbinical Council, are member agencies of the JCRC.
General Community – There are numerous agencies, organizations and coalitions in the general community with which we collaborate. This includes the Urban league, the National Conference for Community and Justice and the Interfaith Partnership. We also work closely with Americans United for the Separation of Church and State, Cooperating School Districts, area academic institutions and a wide range of coalitions. Eden Theological Seminary has established a Christian/Jewish Center for Public Issues, in cooperation with the JCRC.
Jewish Council for Public Affairs (JCPA) – Working on the national level, the JCPA is comprised of 14 national and 125 local equal and independent partner agencies. The JCPA coordinates activities relating to community relations. Each year, members participate in developing Public Policy Statements that serve as guidelines for the field. JCPA provides the JCRC with important consultative services. It also enables our local JCRC to have input into the development of national strategic thinking and programming.
The Jewish Community Relations Council has task forces/committees/activity in the following areas: Israel, International, Healthcare, Education, Advocacy, Church-State, Intergroup and Social Justice. These bodies, comprised of representatives from Council member organizations and agencies, rabbis, and at-large members, address issues of importance to the Jewish legislative and social action agendas.
“When is a Policy Issue a “Jewish Issue?” The selection criteria that guide the JCRC include the following:
- Does it affect the safety and security of Jews in America, in Israel, or elsewhere?
- Does it impact on the state of democratic pluralism in the United States?
- Does it affect the internal quality of Jewish life, and does it help support Jewish institutions?
- Does it involve a Jewish religious imperative?
- Does it relate to the historical experience of the Jews?
- Does the Jewish community have both the resources and the expertise to deal with it?
- Is it a matter of concern for our coalition partners?
- Can the Jewish community make a difference on this issue?
Creating JCRC Policy
The JCRC is the umbrella organization for 32 St. Louis Jewish community agencies and organizations. All policy decisions are a reflection of the mission and the goals of the JCRC. We work to achieve a consensus on issues of central concern to the Jewish community wherever possible, in both the domestic and the international arenas, and to articulate those positions in an appropriate manner. In doing so, we recognize and draw upon the strength and expertise of our constituent agencies to represent and express Jewish interests and values in the community. In addition, the JCRC works with organizations and institutions in the general community to promote and enhance the values of American pluralism and democratic freedoms.
It is the responsibility of agency representatives to bring to the Council the positions of their organization and to reflect its views. Agency representatives are also asked to keep their agencies informed of deliberations and decisions of the Council.
At-Large Representatives have been selected on the basis of their involvement in the community. They are asked to bring this experience to bear in Council discussions and votes.
New policy positions can be initiated by: the JCRC Board, a JCRC Committee/Task Force, a Constituent Agency, an individual member, the JCPA (Jewish Council on Public Affairs) or non-JCRC Jewish community organization. The issue is brought to the JCRC Board prior to coming before the Council for consideration or reconsideration.
- Each member organization of the Council is entitled to a maximum of two votes, to be cast by its duly authorized representatives. In the absence of a representative, an alternate from the same organization may vote.
- Each At-Large Representative is entitled to one vote.
- The immediate Past-President of the Council and officers of the JCRC are entitled to one vote.
- A two-thirds majority of those present makes up a consensus.
- Voting by proxy and cumulative voting are not permitted.