Category: 2021

JCRC/AJC Statement Condemning Latest Violence in Israel

March 29, 2022 – Jewish Community Relations Council/American Jewish Committee (JCRC/AJC) – Detroit has been actively monitoring the current wave of terrorism against Israeli citizens over the past week, which has tragically now claimed 11 victims, the largest number in Israel since 2006. We condemn this violence in the strongest possible terms and pray for the families of the deceased. As both Jewish and Arab communities head into holidays with important religious observances, we implore people of all faiths, locally and abroad, to pray for peace in the region, and across the globe.


Jewish Community Relations Council/American Jewish Committee (JCRC/AJC) will mark its 25th Annual Mitzvah Day, which takes place on Christmas Day, by hosting it for the entire holiday weekend, beginning Friday, December 24 and ending Sunday, December 26. The traditionally daylong event is held in partnership with the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Detroit.

Called Mitzvah Weekend this year, volunteers of all ages and faiths, including Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, Sikh and Christian, will visit organizations throughout Detroit and its surrounding communities providing services to fill staff shortages or allow nonprofits to reduce staffing for the holiday.

“As the Christmas holiday takes place on a Saturday this year, we knew it would be beneficial to both the participating organizations and volunteers to expand the program’s length,” said Rabbi Asher Lopatin, executive director of Jewish Community Relations Council/American Jewish Committee. “For the nonprofits offering opportunities, we have found that some are planning different or expanded activities since Christmas is not during the week. For our more observant volunteers who mark the Sabbath, this change will allow them to give back on Friday before sundown or the day after Christmas.”

Volunteer opportunities, which will include activities like serving meals and building clean-up, are slated to be available at organizations such as Brilliant Detroit, Pope Francis Center, Michigan Humane Society and Samaritas.

Due to the ongoing pandemic, JCRC/AJC will inform the public of available opportunities through weekly eblasts and social media postings, which will begin the week following Thanksgiving. These announcements will include a description of volunteer activities, a contact person at the organization and any mask or vaccination requirements. Those interested will then register and finalize details directly with the selected nonprofit.

Mitzvah Day, which is historically the single largest day of volunteering by Detroit’s Jewish community, was founded in 1996. The word “mitzvah” is Hebrew for “commandement,” and commonly refers to performing a good deed.

“While the pandemic has affected this beloved community tradition, we know that the spirit of giving is stronger than ever. We hope people of all backgrounds, ages and faiths take advantage of this beautiful opportunity to come together, safely, to give to others,” added Rabbi Lopatin.

How to receive Mitzvah Weekend information: Option 1: Visit and add email to sign-up bar at bottom of the page; Option 2: Follow JCRC/AJC on Facebook at or Instagram at @jcrcajc.

For more information, contact Sandy Lippitt at

JCRC/AJC’s mission is to represent the metropolitan Detroit Jewish community, Israel and Jews throughout the world to the general community, and to establish collaborative relationships with other ethnic, racial, civic and religious groups. JCRC/AJC educates and advocates on important issues, seeking consensus with a commitment to Jewish values. For more information visit

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JCRC/AJC Statement on the Oxford High School Shooting

November 30, 2021 – We are saddened and horrified by the gun violence that occurred this afternoon at Oxford High School, which left three innocent people dead, and others injured. We are grateful to the law enforcement officials who acted swiftly, within five minutes, to apprehend the 15-year-old suspect.

As we continue to learn what led to today’s shooting, JCRC/AJC continues to call on our leaders to take the necessary steps to reduce gun violence, which, as we have seen so tragically today, continues to be a grave public health epidemic. 

May the memories of those lost be for a blessing, and we pray for a speedy recovery for those injured by today’s violence. 

A Statement from JCRC/AJC and MMCC

The Michigan Muslim Community Council (MMCC) and the Jewish Community Relations Council/ American Jewish Committee of Detroit (JCRC/AJC), who work together to help Muslims and Jews of Detroit value each other’s religions and communities, call for calm and peace in the Holy Land.

We are saddened that in this month of Ramadan, holy to Muslims worldwide, violence has broken out in the holy city of Jerusalem. We are always saddened when people are not allowed to pray and worship and live their day-to-day lives in peace. Thus, we pray for the safety and security of all who live in the Holy Land – Muslims, Jews, and Christians and for all the victims of violence.

We call for dialogue and mutual respect and for pursuing nonviolent channels for justice. We hope that our model in Detroit, of working in partnership on issues of mutual concern, can inspire those who are fighting to return to a meaningful pursuit of peace and justice for all in Jerusalem and everywhere.

Dr. Muhmud Al-Hadidi, Michigan Muslim Community Council
Rabbi Asher Lopatin, Jewish Community Relations Council/American Jewish Committee

Domestic and International Muslim/Jewish Relations Topic of Annual Lecture Series

BLOOMFIELD HILLS, Mich. – Jewish Community Relations Council/American Jewish Committee – Detroit (JCRC/AJC), the Michigan Muslim Community Council and Muslim Jewish Advisory Council (MJAC) Detroit will host its 6th Annual “A Shared Future” Lecture Series with Wayne State University Professors Howard Lupovitch and Saeed Khan. This year’s topic is “Exploring Muslim-Jewish Relations Domestically and Internationally.”

“A Shared Future” will consist of three, online presentations all beginning at 7 p.m.:

  • Wednesday, May 20 – Domestic Muslim-Jewish Relations Over the Last 5 Years
  • Wednesday, May 27 – International Muslim-Jewish Relations Over the Last 5 years
  • Wednesday, June 3 – Looking Ahead: New Opportunities, (Old and) New Challenges

Established in 2014, “A Shared Future” is an interfaith dialogue series which unites members of the Jewish and Muslim communities to learn together and build relationships. There is no charge to attend the program for which advance registration is required. It can be completed at

Howard Lupovitch is Associate Professor of History and the Director of the Cohn-Haddow Center for Judaic Studies at Wayne State University. He received a Ph.D. in Jewish History from Columbia University and has taught at Cornell University, Colby College, the University of Western Ontario and University of Michigan, where he was also a fellow at the Frankel Institute for Advanced Jewish Studies. A published author, Professor Lupovitch is the 2009 winner of the Bernard L. Maas Prize for Achievement in Jewish Culture and Continuity in the Area of Humanities.

Saeed A. Khan works in the University’s Department of History and is a lecturer in the Department of Near East & Asian Studies, where he teaches Islamic and Middle East History, Islamic Civilizations and History of Islamic Political Thought. A Research Fellow at Wayne State University’s Center for the Study of Citizenship, he also is an Adjunct Professor in Islamic Studies at the University of Detroit-Mercy and at Rochester College, where he co-teaches a course on Muslim-Christian Diversity. He is a Ph.D. Candidate at Wayne State University; Thomas M. Cooley Law School, JD. 

Professor Khan has served as a consultant to the US-Arab Economic Forum and has founded the Center for the Study of Trans-Atlantic Diasporas, a think tank and policy center examining and comparing the condition of ethnic immigrant groups in North America and Europe, consulting the US and UK governments on their respective Muslim communities.

For additional information, contact Michael Kuper at

A Shared Future is generously sponsored by the Ravitz Foundation.

JCRC/AJC’s mission is to represent the metropolitan Detroit Jewish community, Israel and Jews throughout the world to the general community, and to establish collaborative relationships with other ethnic, racial, civic and religious groups. JCRC/AJC educates and advocates on important issues, seeking consensus with a commitment to Jewish values. For more information visit

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A Shabbat Message from Rabbi Asher Lopatin

Dear Friends of JCRC/AJC,

On this Erev Shabbat, just a week before our Holiday of Freedom, America continues to come to terms with the tragedy of the horrific murders in Atlanta.

In this most difficult time, the Jewish Community Relations Council/American Jewish Committee (JCRC/AJC) of Detroit expresses our support for the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) communities. We declare our revulsion at the increasing violence, discrimination and hatred Asian Americans have had to endure, especially over this past year.  We stand in solidarity with the AAPI community and will work to bring the voices of our associated groups to join as well, including the Coalition for Black and Jewish Unity, Muslim Jewish Advisory Council, Interfaith Immigration Coalition and Michigan Uyghur Alliance. 

Jews from around the world, and those we build relationships with, know what it means to face bigotry, racism, antisemitism and intolerance. Together, we work to make America a place, as George Washington said to the Jewish community of Rhode Island 230 years ago, “to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance.” We will not fail our AAPI brothers and sisters. We will remember their needs for protection and respect right along with our own needs and those of our allies.

As Jews all over the world get ready for the Passover holiday, we remember how the ancient Egyptians fell into the cynical spiral of hatred and violence against the Israelites in their midst.  Fear and prejudice poisoned the minds of the Egyptians from Pharaoh all the way down. We will not allow such prejudice and fearmongering to poison American society. We will fight for an America where every member of all our beautiful, diverse communities will feel safe, welcomed and fully part of this great society. We will not let our blessed country fall into the moral abyss of ancient Egypt in the Passover Haggadah.

So, as we enter Shabbat and the week of Passover, we sadly mourn with our Asian American and Pacific Islander brothers and sisters. At the same time, we also hold on to the hope that together we can end the words and actions that divide our society and allow for the most heinous acts of violence to be tolerated. We are stronger than that. We are better than that.

Rabbi Asher Lopatin
Executive Director
JCRC/AJC of Detroit

JCRC/AJC Statement on Iran’s Activities

JCRC/AJC joins organizations throughout the world to condemn Iran and its leaders for continuing to violate international obligations and commitments and, most recently, accelerating its aim to manufacture nuclear weapons by resuming 20 percent uranium enrichment. In a fragrant act of incitement earlier this week, Iran seized a flagged oil tanker belonging to South Korea in the Straits of Hormuz, escalating the already high tension between Iran and many other countries. We all must work diligently to stop Iran from achieving nuclear weapons capacity and from further terrorizing our allies directly or through their proxies such as Hezbollah.

JCRC/AJC Statement on the U.S. Capitol Riots

Friends, our country was sullied yesterday by a vicious attack on our land’s most sacred building, putting those we entrusted with our democratic system at risk by a mob incited by our country’s very own leader. This can never be tolerated, even by nonpartisan organizations like our own.
We condemn the misuse of leadership. We condemn the double standard of enforcement so blatantly displayed yesterday, versus last summer. We condemn those that reject the Constitution and our voting process. We condemn all acts of violence spurred on by hatred and intolerance.
Last night, JCRC/AJC gathered more than 100 clergy and lay leaders of all faiths, and from throughout Michigan, along with Lieutenant Governor Gilchrist and the Coalition for Black and Jewish Unity, to strengthen each other in the face of the horrors that we had witnessed throughout the afternoon of January 6, 2021. In addition, the program was meant to provide comfort to our communities and spread hope for our great American democratic experiment. Click here to access the recording which included diverse prayers and the goodness and passion that is America.

Let us all move forward from this moment as one in strength, love and democracy.