We were very pleased that Gary Rosenblatt, in his column, “Baby Steps Toward Arab-Jewish Cooperation” (July 8), recognized that “dialogue is not enough” and that the new focus should be on wise and slow grassroots cooperation between communities and leaders on quality of life concerns. This is the methodology developed by JCRC-NY’s CAUSE-NY Intergroup and Community Building division. It was well portrayed in Rob Goldblum’s article, “Chewing on Jewish Decline” in the same edition which examined the changing demographics in New York’s Jewish and non-Jewish populations.
The methodology, utilized in the post-9/11, JCRC-founded We Are All Brooklyn Coalition and Fellowship, was central to the March 2009 all-day training in Givat Haviva, on a U.S. Department of State mission, conducted by Rabbi Bob Kaplan, the Director of CAUSE-NY, and his colleague, Mohammed Razvi, the Director of COPO, from the Pakistani community.
That all-day training was also part of JCRC-NY’s seven-year-old New York-Jerusalem Experts Exchange (NYJEE) Partnership, funded by the Global Connection of the UJA-Federation of New York, which has generated an active exchange of expertise on how Israelis and New Yorkers wrestle with the challenges and opportunities presented by the diversity in their respective societies. Since then, six other centers of Jewish life around the globe have been added to the Exchange. While in Israel on their two visits, Razvi and Kaplan helped to incubate coalitions and other initiatives in Acco, Lod and Ramle. They have maintained connections and consultations with their coalitions both through webinars and visits by Israel Arab and Jewish leadership to New York.
In addition, over the past four years NYJEE has helped to create a new movement in Israel around the issue of Health Care and Cultural Competency.
We are proud that CAUSE-NY’s and NYJEE’s efforts here, in Israel and around the world have opened up new modalities of communication and cooperation to effectively traverse and engage the diverse societies within which we live to ensure a brighter future for all.
The Intergroup and Community Building Division of the Jewish Community Relations Council of NY