Volume XVIII | September 2021
CONNECTIONS
Linking you to the work of creating a more civil and caring community in WNY
Powered by the Buffalo Jewish Federation
Chair: Deborah Goldman | Director: Mara Koven-Gelman
Rabbinic Consultant: Rabbi Alex Lazarus-Klein
Student Intern: Hannah Gabelnick
Our work falls into three broad areas: Social Justice, Combatting Hate and Discrimination, and Building Relationships with Ethnic, Faith, and Cultural Communities.
Learn more about the Jewish New Year (Rosh Hashanah) HERE!
EDUCATE
Erie County Vote 2021
The New York State General Election takes place on Tuesday, November 2. Early voting takes place Saturday, October 23 - Sunday, October 31.

Voter education and engagement are JCRC priorities. For resources regarding the November 2021 General Election, visit our Updated Vote 2021 Page. For more information regarding the Statewide Ballot Measures, click here.
Also look in October's Jewish Journal (available HERE at the end of September) for JCRC candidates written forum for City of Buffalo Mayoral and Erie County Sheriff races.
Voice Buffalo Get-Out-The-Vote Opportunity
Here is an opportunity to help increase voter turnout in Erie County for the General Election on November 2, 2021. JCRC voter engagement partner, VOICE Buffalo, is holding non-partisan phone banking training focusing on the Erie County Sheriff Election. To volunteer and make a difference, please first fill out the Google Form here.

Upon completion of filling out the Google Form, VOICE Buffalo will send you information on a short virtual training - describing how to register, sign in, and use a OpenVPB account and the script. Please feel free to share the Google Form link with anyone within your organization or personal circle that may be interested. They can directly fill out the form, and receive information on how to volunteer. 
JCRC Welcomes Rachel Beerman
by Hannah Gabelnick

In August, JCRC welcomed Rachel Beerman as their new Racial Justice Coordinator. Rachel will work with the JCRC Racial Justice Sub-Committee, chaired by Corey Auerbach, in order to implement the recommendations put forth by the Racial Justice Working Group that were approved by the Buffalo Jewish Federation Board of Governors last January. The recommendations include offering racial justice workshops and engaging in the Jewish Federation of North America’s Jewish/Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (JEDI) Program as an inaugural cohort. Rachel will also be working with CJEL’s Belonging Initiative, which is part of the Buffalo JEDI cohort. Read her full profile here.
Multicultural Women's Group
by Mara Koven-Gelman
After 18 months of occasional Zoom meetings, 15 members of the Multicultural Women’s Group (powered by JCRC) met in-person in my backyard at the end of July. The members of the group come from diverse religious, cultural, and ethnic backgrounds, but have become friends as they have shared their beliefs and experiences and listened and learned about each other. Read the full article here.
Multifaith Holidays
Here are some great resources to learn more about Multifaith Holidays:
ADVOCATE
State of Hate in Greater Buffalo: A Community Perspective
by Raquel Zohar

Raquel Zohar, a rising junior at Cornell University studying Industrial Labor Relations, worked with the JCRC this summer to study hate and antisemitism in Greater Buffalo through her High Road Fellowship managed by Partnership for Public Good.


Racial Justice Sub-Committee Update
by Corey Auerbach
Corey Auerbach has accepted the role of chair of JCRC’s Racial Justice Sub-Committee. Together with Deborah Goldman (JCRC chair), they have created a solid leadership committee including:

Marc Brown, Rabbi Ori Bergman, Brenda Freedman, Adam Fogel, Hannah Gabelnick, Amy Heumann, Risé Kulick, Rene Petties Jones, Harvey Sanders, and Samantha White, Shelly Yellen, Buffalo Jewish Federation President. Staff: Rob Goldberg (CEO Buffalo Jewish Federation), Mara Koven-Gelman (JCRC director) Rabbi Alex Lazarus-Klein (Rabbinic Consultant), and Rachel Beerman (RJ coordinator).

“I am eager to begin the work of implementing the Racial Justice Working Group’s recommendations,” said Corey. The first meeting is today Tuesday Sept 14th. Rachel Beerman is the recently hired Racial Justice Coordinator who will work with the sub-committee. Providing educational and experiential opportunities to learn about how to be a more welcoming Jewish community to multi-racial and ethnic Jews is a starting point and we are eager to begin. Rachel's contact is Rachel@buffalojewishfederation.org.

COVID-19 TESTING and VACCINATIONS
MOBILIZE/CONNECT
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The Impact of a Positive Gesture 50 years Later
By Marc Brown
I recently attended a meeting and the guest speaker was Herbert L. Bellamy Jr., President of the Buffalo Black Achievers Program. The Black Achievers recognizes achievements of Black people in our community and uses positive images to both educate and inspire. The Black Achievers also hosts a yearly dinner that has honored over 2,000 people over the past forty years. However, what personally stuck with me was Mr. Bellamy’s story about his father. Read the full article about the Racial Justice Sub-Committee's visit to the Black Achievers museum here.
Invigorating Neighborhoods, Inspiring Change
by Samantha White
My husband, Byron, and I have lived in our home on the East Side of Buffalo since 2005. We started with a grassy lot and some trumpet lilies in front. My mom, Elaine Bergman, would send me iris, Rose of Sharon, and forsythia from my childhood home on Long Island through the mail. 

And my garden grew. I became a gardener on the 2019 East Side Garden Walk (ESGW), an annual free self-guided garden tour supported by Gardens Buffalo Niagara (GBN) held on the third Saturday of July. I saw it as a way for us to contribute to the narrative of our own community and we were able to help create a positive story about our neighborhood on the news. Read the full article here.
JFNA and National
Joint Faith Letter to Impact Poverty

Buffalo JCRC, NAACP Buffalo, Buffalo-Niagara National Action Network and 80 other national and local organizations signed a letter to encourage U.S. Congress to make permanent the expansion of the Earned income Tax Credit (EITC) and Child Tax Credit (CTC) programs. These poverty-fighting measures incentivize work for low wage earners and help working families. This will help those in deep poverty which impacts racial disparities even more. It will cut poverty for Black children by 52 percent, Hispanic children by 45 percent and Indigenous children by 61 percent. Read the final letter that was sent to Congress, here.
JCRC Welcomes Governor Kathy Hochul

Buffalo JCRC was quoted in NYC Jewish Insider article, New York Jewish leaders recognize a familiar face in Kathy Hochul and in Jewish Press Article, Kathy Hochul: The Accidental Governor.

Governor Hochul also introduced the JCRC COVID-19 Interfaith Passover Seder last March. Watch her introduction at 2:07.
BUFFALO JEWISH COMMUNITY RELATIONS COUNCIL EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE
Corey Auerbach
Lana Benatovich
Ann Marie Carosella
Molly Carr
Adam Fogel
Nina Lukin
Phyllis Steinberg
Theodore Steinberg