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The Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC) builds bridges to the larger community, speaks out against anti-Semitism and other forms of discrimination, and educates about and advocates for Israel. JCRC frequently joins forces with the Anti-Defamation League to teach high school students about the signs of and appropriate responses to anti-Semitism.

Rabbi Ira YoudovinJCRC is committed to educating the larger community about significant topics of importance to Jewish people. Through JCRC, Federation is proud to provide a venue for cross-cultural education and communication.

JCRC is chaired by Rabbi Ira Youdovin, who is the executive director emeritus of the Chicago Board of Rabbis, and founding executive director of Association of Reform Zionists of America (ARZA). Now retired and living in Santa Barbara, Rabbi Youdovin chairs the Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC) of Jewish Federation of Greater Santa Barbara, and is a member of Federation's Board of Directors.

Playing for time through a strike on Iran
By Richard Cohen, Washington Post
March 19, 2012

Nations have doctrines. The Soviet Union had the Brezh­nev Doctrine and the United States had the Monroe Doctrine, among others. Even little Israel has one. I call it the Maybe the Dog Will Talk Doctrine, and it is based on a folk tale of the rabbi who makes a preposterous deal with a tyrant: If the tyrant spares the lives of local Jews, the rabbi will teach the tyrant’s dog to talk. When the rabbi tells his wife what he has done, she calls him a fool. But, he says, “A year is a long time. In a year, the tyrant could die or I could die” — and here he gives her a sly, wise-rabbi smile — “or maybe the dog will talk.”

All sorts of people — defense intellectuals, military officers and even the president of the United States — either have not heard of the Maybe the Dog Will Talk Doctrine or do not recognize its importance. (It was cited to me by an Israeli official.) Both Barack Obama and Gen. Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, have characterized any Israeli attempt to disrupt Iran’s nuclear program as a short-term affair. An Israeli raid “wouldn’t achieve their long-term objectives,” Dempsey said on CNN — and he is surely right.

But Israel also has a short-term objective — and that is to play for time.
read more

The words of Simon Deng, once a Sudanese slave, addressing the Durban Conference in NY.
I came to protest this Durban conference which is based on a set of lies. It is organized by nations who are themselves are guilty of the worst kinds of oppression.
It will not help the victims of racism. It will only isolate and target the Jewish state. It is a tool of the enemies of Israel. The UN has itself become a tool against Israel. For over 50 years, 82 percent of the UN General Assembly emergency meetings have been about condemning one state - Israel. Hitler couldn't have been made happier. read more

With protests, Israelis are seeking the revival of welfare state
By Leslie Susser · August 2, 2011
JERUSALEM (JTA) -- The wave of protests sweeping Israel is about much more than the lack of affordable housing: It’s a grass-roots demand for the major redistribution of the nation's wealth.  read more


Capps Statement Commemorating Israel's Independence Day and Jewish American Heritage Month
May 9, 2011 1:33 PM
WASHINGTON –Today Rep. Lois Capps (CA-23) issued the following statement on the anniversary of Israel’s Independence Day and Jewish American heritage month.
“I want to extend my sincere best wishes and congratulations to the people of Israel and the Jewish community on the celebration of Israel’s Independence Day. For 63 years, Israel has stood as a beacon of hope and freedom in the Middle East and throughout the world. Israel remains a key friend and ally of the United States and our commitment to Israel’s security remains steadfast. These are tumultuous times in the region that present both great uncertainty and great opportunity. As a proud supporter of Israel, I hope that the next year will see great progress on achieving a lasting peace in the region,” said Capps.
“In addition to Israel’s Independence Day, May is also Jewish American Heritage Month, which gives us the opportunity to recognize the tremendous contributions Jewish Americans have made to this country. From the arts, education, medicine, business, philanthropy, and public service, Jewish Americans have helped to make our nation a better place.  I am privileged to represent very vibrant Jewish communities on the Central Coast, who contribute so much to our local communities,” said Capps.

Israel, Alone Again?
How will the upheaval in the Arab world impact on Israel?  The answer lies in how widely rebellion spreads, who emerges victorious? 
In an Op-Ed piece in the New York Times on 2/1/11, the noted Israeli journalist Yossi Klein Halevi presents a view shared by many.
Click here to read

Good News From the Middle East (Really)
January 25, 2011
There are indeed palatable steps that both the Israelis and the Palestinians could take, separately but simultaneously — call it joint unilateralism — that could help revive the peace process. read article

Trying to Break Logjam, Scholar Floats an Idea for a Palestinian Map
By MARK LANDLER, New York Times
January 22, 2011
The goal is to "demystify" the territorial hurdles that divide Israelis and Palestinians, and to debunk the notion that there is no way to reconcile the Palestinian demand for sovereignty over the West Bank with the Israeli demand for control over a majority of the settlers. read article

Overview: Israel's Conversion Bill
and the Jewish Federation Response
Read background and response

Israel Task Force Meets with
Representative Lois Capps
The Israel Task Force, which includes leaders of major Jewish organizations in Santa Barbara, met with Rep. Lois Capps on April 8, 2010, to voice its concern over her position on the United States' relationship with Israel.
Our discussion focused on three issues:

1) Her vote against H.R. 687, a resolution that roundly rejected the Goldstone report for its anti-Israel bias.

2) Her decision to co-sign a letter to President Obama, urging the president to use the weight of his office to pressure Israel into lifting the blockade of Gaza.

3) Her refusal to join with 327 of her House colleagues to sign a letter to Secretary of State Clinton affirming our nation's abiding support for Israel, despite policy disagreements that may arise from time to time.
Although our 90-minute conversation failed to resolve policy differences between us and Rep. Capps, we came away reassured that her pledge of support for Israel was firm, as is her quest for a just and peaceful resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Participating in the meeting were Rabbi Evan Goodman (UCSB Hillel), Peter Melnick (Santa Barbara Israel Committee) Michael Rassler (Jewish Federation of Santa Barbara), Cyndi Silverman (Anti-Defamation League), and Ira Youdovin (Jewish Community Relations Committee of Santa Barbara.) Rabbi Steve Cohen (Congregation B'nai B'rith) and Rabbi Arthur Gross-Schaefer (Montecito Community Schul) were unable to attend and will meet with Rep. Capps at a later date.

The Task Force and its constituent members welcome reactions from the full spectrum of opinion in our community, we also urge that views be communicated directly with Rep. Capps, who is always eager to hear from constituents.

Live Generously
Read the latest news
Local Action Alert on Gaza
Read an opinion piece and plea for action from Rabbi Ira Youdovin, member of the Jewish Community Relations Council of Jewish Federation of Greater Santa Barbara. more

Letter to Santa Barbara area educators

from the JCRC, explaining the significant holidays on the Jewish calendar, and what those holidays are all about. Read the letter