National Jewish Community Relations Advisory Council (U.S.)Variant names
The National Community Relations Advisory Council (NCRAC) was founded on March 19, 1944 by the Council of Jewish Federations for the purpose of improving and safe-guarding Jewish communities in the United States from anti-Semitism at home and abroad, pursuing and nurturing the ideals of democratic pluralism found in the Bill of Rights, and fostering American support for Israel. In order to achieve their goals the organization committed itself to the ideals of equality, freedom, justice, and opportunity. Seeking to defend Jewish communities from anti-Semitism they sought to establish dialogue with other ethnic, religious, and cultural groups. They argued that by ensuring and developing mutual respect across many diverse groups each would be allowed to develop freely while participating fully within the broader society of the United States. They also believed that by being active members in their non-Jewish communities and advocating for ideals mentioned above they were upholding the tenets of Judaism and maintaining Jewish tradition. That only by adhering to such principles Jews and other groups could peacefully coexist.
At the inaugural Plenary Session held on September 9, 1944 at the Hotel Waldorf-Astoria in New York City, the representatives of various local and national Jewish organizations established as the aims and objectives of the NCRAC:
- 1. To study, analyze, and evaluate the policies and activities of the national and local agencies.
- 2. To ascertain the problem areas from time to time.
- 3. To ascertain the areas of activities of these organizations and to conduct a continuous inventory of their projects.
- 4. To serve as a co-ordinating and clearance agency for projects and policies, to eliminate duplication and conflict of activities, and to recommend further projects to member agencies.
- 5. To seek agreement on and formulate policies. Policies once formulated and adopted, it is expected that the affiliated organizations will adhere to such policies and will not engage in any activities in contravention of such policies.
Initial committees included Membership, Public Relations, Interfaith Relations, and Legislation. At the conclusion of the session Executive Director Isaiah Minkoff regarding the mission of the NCRAC was “to make a constant evaluation of the soundness of our main approaches to the problem of anti-Semitism. How successful are our methods? Are we jumping form one incident to another without keeping the over-all picture in sight? Are we concentrating on the real areas of danger? Such constant evaluation can best be achieved by a body like the NCRAC. Of course every defense agency does some self-questioning, but it is clear that there is great advantage in a central organization which had the benefit of the experience of all the agencies in the field and can approach the problem with a broader perspective.”
The Council itself is currently comprised of independent community councils from across the nation. These councils convene annually as a legislative body, known as the Plenum. At these plenary sessions issues are debated and policies created in order to provide organized action by the various community councils across the country. Additionally, there are numerous committees and task forces that specifically address areas of concern for the Jewish community in particular, and the greater community at large.
In the 1960s the organization was renamed the National Jewish Community Relations Advisory Council (NJCRAC). In 1997 the name changed once more to the Jewish Council for Public Affairs.
Sources: http://www.jewishpublicaffairs.org/ http://www.jewishpublicaffairs.org/publications/JPP_94-95.html
These papers are the creation of the officers and staff of the NJRAC in carrying out their duties and assignments, in particular two of its executive directors Isaiah Minkoff and Jordan C. Band.
From the guide to the National Jewish Community Relations Advisory Council Records, undated, 1940-1994, (American Jewish Historical Society)
|Place Name||Admin Code||Country|
|Middle East - Politics and government - 1945-1979|
|New York (State)|
|Russia - Persecutions|
|Los Angeles (Calif.)|
|Israel - Foreign relations|
|New York (N.Y.)|
|Emmigration and immigration|
|Mass media and race relations|
|Welfare and society|