The Perspective of Organization Theory
Organization theory posits that all organizations - public, private, and non-profit - have an internal imperative to survive and that they do not disband willingly:
[G]enerally, organizations tend to resist termination - they struggle to survive - even if they complete their assigned missions and even when many outside observers are of the opinion that their demise would be a blessing to everyone.1
Sometimes organizations try to survive through goal succession, which entails adopting new goals to replace the earlier ones that have been largely accomplished or have lost their luster. Other survival tactics include goal displacement, which entails "ritualistic or extremely rigid behavior that detracts from efficiency,"2 or the adoption of additional goals.3
In the late 1950s, the March of Dimes, a national organization dedicated to the eradication of childhood polio, faced a major problem. With the development of an effective oral vaccine, its goal had been totally achieved.4 Choosing to stay in existence rather than disband, the March of Dimes successfully shifted its orientation to combating all birth defects, a broad goal less likely to ever be fully accomplished.
After conducting a case study of the March of Dimes5 and comparing it to other organizations, Sills theorized that "the fate of an organization after its goals have been either achieved or rendered irrelevant cannot be determined on a priori grounds, but is rather a resultant of a given set of forces."6 He predicted that the March of Dimes would succeed in adapting and surviving, largely because:
[T]he Foundation has an institutionalized status which transcends its current goals....[I]t has already become an organization as deeply committed to its mode of operation as to its current purposes. In a word, it is an organization, which is as committed to a means as it is to an end.7
Sills identified and analyzed elements that contributed to the March of Dimes' successful adaptation, including initial goal, additional or secondary goal, characteristics of original membership, environmental changes requiring adaptation, new or added goals, and consequences for the organization.8 Blau and Scott suggested, from Sills's and other data, that four factors determine an organization's ability to adapt and survive:
1. It has received wide public acceptance.
2. It has successfully attained its initial objectives.
3. It is governed by a corporate-type structure that has the capacity and interest to establish new policies as well as the power to implement them.
4. Its relationship to its environment.9
Jewish Community Relations Councils
Jewish Community Relations Councils (JCRCs) have been a standard feature in the governance of American Jewish communities, functioning as the central and coordinating component in the areas of community relations, public affairs, government advocacy, and interfaith/intergroup relations.
From one perspective, the essence of a JCRC is its function as a process-based and representative body making decisions for the entire Jewish community. JCRCs are "a miniboard of deputies, uniting all the active Jewish defense groups in town, from B'nai B'rith lodges to American Jewish Committee chapters and synagogue social-action committees. Usually sponsored by the local Jewish federation, these councils forced all the players to speak with one voice, or at least share notes."10 This is comparable to Sills's description of the March of Dimes as an organization deeply committed to its means and mode of operation.
The other perspective views JCRCs as having specific and identifiable substance-based goals. "The traditional issues of Jewish community relations agencies are typically related to the security of Jews in America, Israel, and elsewhere, e.g., anti-Semitism, American support for Israel, [and] American support for other beleaguered Jews."11 This is comparable to Sills's focus on the ends and goals of the March of Dimes. However, the March of Dimes originally had a single goal while JCRCs had multiple goals as their traditional agenda.
Recently, many commentators have suggested that JCRCs are facing a critical juncture regarding their existence and survival. One journal dedicated an entire issue to examining the topic of "In Search of Common Ground: Jewish Community Relations in the Mid-1990s."12 Raab wrote, "it is time to start thinking about re-inventing the Jewish community relations establishment."13 Another observer called for applying the reengineering approach to individual Jewish agencies, including JCRCs.14
This essay examines the future of JCRCs in relation to the four organizational factors that Blau and Scott suggested were important for organizational survival through adaptive behavior.
The first factor described by Blau and Scott for organizational survival is public acceptance. The attainment of public acceptance by JCRCs is demonstrated by their persuasiveness, eligibility for funding from their local Federation, acceptance by other organizations, and "anointment" of legitimacy by the media.
Most major centers of Jewish population in the U.S. have a community-wide umbrella organization that serves as a central community relations body, generically referred to as Jewish community relations council.15 The Jewish Council for Public Affairs (JCPA),16 which serves as the national organizational umbrella for JCRCs, counted among its membership 120 local JCRCs.17 The CRC Directors' Association lists 63 members from 56 metropolitan areas.18 Organizationally, JCRCs are internal departments of the local Jewish Federation, constituent agencies of the Federation (i.e., organizationally independent and financially dependent), totally independent, or functioning as a joint office with a national defense organization.
Typically, the board of directors of a JCRC includes local representatives of the national organizations that belong to JCPA, along with local synagogues and other organizations. The acceptance by national and local organizations of the legitimacy of JCRCs and the desirability of appointing representatives to its board further demonstrate that it has attained public acceptance.
JCRCs attained high public profile, both in the Jewish and the general press. "[T]he major skill of the community relations organizations has always been public relations, and they have tended to spread their particular concerns and conflicts over the front pages of the Jewish press, where they have attracted far more attention than their activities might have objectively warranted."19 This is important because it is the media that anoints who "speaks" for a group, thus conferring public legitimacy onto that spokesperson. The JCRC skill at public relations "played a very real role in fostering the impression that the community relations organizations are the Jewish community."20 Designation by the media as the central organizational voice and address of the Jewish community bestows on JCRCs significant legitimacy, which contributes to public acceptance.
The second factor regarding an organization's potential to survive is whether it has attained its initial substance-based objectives.
As noted in the introductory section describing JCRCs, their traditional agenda has focused on security of Jews in the U.S., anti-Semitism, support for Israel, and freedom of emigration and immigration for Jews from threatened situations.21 What is the status of these goals?
The goals of reducing anti-Semitism and eliminating constraints on the full participation by Jews in U.S. society have been largely accomplished even if specific problems continue to occasionally occur. Glass ceilings in employment have been eradicated both by laws and by the sheer record of professional accomplishments of the post-World War II generations of Jews in the workplace.22 Anti-Semitism exists only on the far fringes of society and political spectrum.231 According to Lipset and Raab, in 1995 there is "an unprecedentedly low level of popular anti-Semitism in America."24 The traditional and broadly supported commitment to equal and civil rights has metamorphosed into intra-communal disagreements about affirmative action and gay rights.
Regarding Israel, many problems still face its security and tranquillity. Continuing terrorist bombings inside Israel, weapons of mass destruction being sought by enemies such as Iraq and Iran, and a tenuous peace process with the Palestinians are ongoing features of the political landscape. Nonetheless, with Israel's existence passing the half-century mark, overriding concerns for its very survival no longer seem pressing. Inevitably, the shift from a crisis mentality (will Israel survive?) to an institutionalized mentality (Israel still needs our help) brings a loss of urgency and resonance.
The struggle for threatened Jewish communities (especially, for their freedom of emigration) in the former Soviet Union, Syria, and Ethiopia has come to a successful conclusion. There are no remaining significant Jewish communities that are threatened or precluded from free emigration. The ongoing JCRC commitment to open immigration to the United States for all people appeals mostly to the "universalist"' constituency within the Jewish community, but not to its "particularist" side. The latter are more interested in the funding cuts that welfare reform has had on mostly elderly Jewish immigrants from the former Soviet Union.
Hence, there has been major progress in the areas of the broad goals that comprised the historical agenda of JCRCs. While none of the goals could be considered eradicated in the absolute sense that childhood polio was for the March of Dimes, the accomplishments are so significant that several commentators suggest JCRCs now face a major challenge regarding their raison d'être. Raab suggested the "40-year-old Golden Age of American Jewish advocacy/community relations may be coming to a close."25 Goldberg observed that "in modern-day America the task for community relations is much less clear."26 Regarding the domestic goals of JCRCs, Elazar noted that the "Jewish community relations agenda remains ambiguous" and that "the traditional community relations agencies lost much of their energy and drawing power."27
Corporate Governance and Interest in New Directions
The third factor for organizational adaptation and survival focuses on whether it is governed by a corporate-type structure that has the capacity and interest to establish new policies as well as the power to implement them.
A review of the recent literature demonstrates that there is an interest in new substantive goals for JCRCs. JCRCs were urged to find a role for themselves in the current preoccupation of the American Jewish community with the issue of Jewish continuity, or colloquially, "will our grandchildren be Jewish?"28 A related proposal for a new goal is to shift to an educational function by teaching about Jewish identity and its connection to political involvement: "Those engaged in Jewish community relations have an opportunity to nurture Jewish identity while also potentially increasing their roles as advocates."29 Two JCRC directors proposed a new goal that focuses on new ethnic groups with whom to develop relations, such as Arabs30 and Hispanics.31 Another new approach is for JCRCs to shift to providing a retail approach to social justice. While before they had focused on urging citizens to write letters to members of Congress, they now offer one-shot hands-on community service projects for volunteers. This is sometimes called "drive-by activism."
JCRCs (along with some other categories of Jewish communal organizations) have been accused of being excessively pragmatic, even expedient, in picking new goals:
Beyond the rather vague, general - and usually official - goal statements lie a plethora of ill-defined but vital preferences that assert themselves at different times and in different ways. There is evidence that goals are chosen as much by their ability to gain attention as by their intrinsic importance.32
This observation suggests that JCRCs are choosing new goals based on a flavor-of-the-month faddishness.
Blau and Scott's third criteria involve not only the selection of new substantive goals, but also the existence of a corporate-style structure committed to pursuing and implementing them. JCRCs possess that structure. Elazar depicted JCRCs as "government-like" institutions due to the role they play in the internal structure and governance in an American Jewish community.33 Kaufman's observation that government agencies rarely die seems also to be generally applicable to government-like entities such as JCRCs:
Those who hold that government organizations enjoy great security and long life will discover in these findings ample support for their position. The impressive ability of agencies to stay alive once they have been launched is not mere conjecture.34
Another observer attributes the permanence of JCRCs to the functioning of American society, where competing group interests and the conciliation of intergroup conflict makes the existence of a central organ for the Jewish community "inevitable."35 For example, reporters need central institutions to give voice to an entire population group.
But this presumption of JCRC permanence is threatened by the increasing balkanization of the Jewish community. Such division has become so serious that a shared sense of commonality is fraying, sometimes seeming to be on an irrevocable path. Elazar noted that "there were increasing differences of opinion among opinion-molders in the Jewish community with regard to the new liberal agenda."36 Kotler-Berkowitz suggested that "the overlap between religious and political cleavages may make the task of developing communal consensus particularly daunting, since multiple and reinforcing divisions - as opposed to cross-cutting ones - make for higher barriers, less common ground, and greater mistrust among sectors of a community."37 If the lowest common denominator necessary for consensus is meaningless pabulum, then JCRCs would lose a large part of their effectiveness.
This raises the unresolved issue of whether the essence of a JCRC is its process-based structure or its traditional substance-based goals. The former views the JCRC corporate structure as akin to a sovereign parliament free to choose policy preferences for the Jewish community. The latter sees the board of directors of a JCRC as controlled by a doctrine of permanent and unchanging general principles, in roughly the same way that Congress is constrained by the U.S. Constitution. These two elements inherent in JCRCs are becoming increasingly at odds with each other.
If the process-based organizational model is to be selected as the dominant feature of JCRCs, then JCRCs need, first, to abandon the substance-based dogma and doctrine that drives them inevitably towards liberal Democratic policy preferences. Second, its structure as a mini-legislature of each local Jewish community needs to be enhanced to make it a truly representative and democratic body, rather than one dominated by board members committed to what-we've-always-stood-for. In Elazar's view:
The great community relations and mass-based organizations must become the effective equivalents of political parties and interest groups on the American Jewish scene. That is to say, they should assume the task of raising the difficult questions, suggesting the important innovations, and then taking the appropriate action that will lead to change within bodies that, by their very nature, must be more conservative and conciliatory if they are to maintain the communal consensus necessary for the community to remain united.38
Opting to emphasize JCRC process and structure over substantive goals would reflect the increasing political diversification and balkanization of the Jewish community. There are fewer and fewer entities in the American Jewish communities that provide a forum for the entire broad sweep of the community: in the religious sphere, from Orthodox to Reform, and in the political sphere, from right to left. This is an extremely important factor that should not be permitted to be lost.
The alternate perspective, forcefully articulated by Raab, puts the greater emphasis on JCRCs as advocacy organizations with a basic and unchanging substance-based agenda.39 If this is the path JCRCs choose for the future, they must identify new and additional goals that derive from their traditional agenda but which provide a new vitality and vigor for the organization. Yet, given the controversy surrounding so many contemporary public affairs issues that interest different elements of the Jewish community, choosing a substance-based future over a process-based one might inevitably force some organizations to secede from the JCRC. Then, JCRCs would cease to serve as a community-wide forum.
Relationship to the Environment
External Organizational Developments
Blau and Scott's fourth factor for an organization to successfully adapt and survive concerns its ability to relate to its environment. For JCRCs, changes in their environment that could pose problems to adaptation and survival include external organizational developments, loss of media attention, and a continuing weakness in the Jewish rationale for JCRC activities.
There are several organizational changes occurring throughout the American Jewish community that threaten the viability of JCRCs. First, JCRCs are, like some other constituent agencies of Federations, suffering from "the contraction of Jewish resources, the contraction of the Jewish population, the shifting of priorities by somewhat panicky Jewish managers [that] has led to an incipient downgrading of the advocacy/community relations enterprise."40 Cuts in Federation funding can be a significant problem to a JCRC, forcing it either to spend more of its time engaging in fund-raising or to reduce its operations.
Second, Federations are acting to achieve more influence over JCRCs. "[F]ederations had extended their control over the community relations sphere by bringing the local community relations councils (CRCs) under their control to the extent that they exercised a veto over CRC activities if they did not set the CRC agenda."41 This raises the specter of removing JCRCs from engaging in public policy advocacy, since public policy choices are invariably controversial. Some donor, somewhere, is likely to be unhappy about the position taken by the JCRC. This removes a major activity from JCRC operations.
Third, single-issue Jewish organizations (such as the Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles) have pulled energy away from JCRCs (as well as Federations) in much the same way that single-issue political groups attract more volunteers in the civic arena than traditional party organizations, which are, by definition, multi-issue. According to Windmueller:
JCRCs and federations are collectively challenged today by single-issue constituencies, offering the alluring benefits of a specifically focused arena of Jewish activism. Highly visible and successful, these enterprises of Jewish civic and philanthropic expression tend to reduce the depth and range of Jewish interests to "sound-bite" proportions.42
Losing Media Attention
Another threat to the survival of JCRCs is the change in media coverage, which has recently affected their public profile and presence. Past JCRC success at public relations was derived in part due to a conjunction between its traditional issues and media coverage habits. Media coverage had tended to focus on institutional beats and coverage of public policy issues. Extensive coverage of testimony at legislative public hearings, reactions to proposals for new laws, position statements released by a JCRC, and press conferences by local coalitions to support a proposal in Congress were staples of press coverage.
However, new trends in media coverage have largely, although unintentionally, rendered JCRCs invisible to the public. First, television, while ephemeral, has become the true mass medium that validates a story. "A page-one story in the [newspaper] has little resonance elsewhere until it becomes part of the electronic conversation."43 Yet, the electronic media and even newspapers now consider government and public policy issues to be boring and a turn-off to the audience. Kurtz described the transformation of American newspapers: "The newspaper of the 1970s - page after page of gray type and boring stories about bureaucracy - would seem unreadable today."44 Instead, "Hard news is out; relevance is in."45 Public policy issues do not present good pictures and they require a lot of words to summarize. "Talking heads" are to be avoided.
Now news is a search for spectacle, to provide the viewers with a succession of engrossing TV moments.46 This causes a "flattening effect [that] is natural to TV but is at total odds with some of journalism's fundamental roles."47 Coverage gravitates to stories that meet the need for entertainment. "If it bleeds, it leads" is the mantra of TV news producers.48
Another trend in television that also has an impact on coverage of JCRC issues is the high turnover of its on-air staff. Due to its visual nature, employers in TV newsrooms hire reporters who are telegenic, which invariably means young. Hiring young staffers also permits paying lower salary levels than reporters who have seniority and - important from the point of view of JCRCs - familiarity with issues and sources. Also, like other professions, TV reporters seek to move up career ladders with the attendant increase in pay and professional status. In the case of TV reporters that means moving to larger markets (i.e., more populous metropolitan areas) and eventually to national networks. This constant churning of young reporters at local TV stations means that they are best suited to cover stories that are "born" today: a fire, an accident, a crime, a natural disaster. Stories that have a "history"49 are much harder for gypsies to cover. Hit-and-run journalism mitigates against covering the "creeping incrementalism"50 of public policy.
However, reporters and editors do become interested in covering public policy if it can be packaged both as conflict51 and in a personalized way, since that approach is visual and attention-getting in order to "create audience identification."52 In particular, TV (and following behind, newspapers) seeks victims and heavies who convert a public policy story into a morality play between good and evil or of an underdog versus Goliath.53
For example,54 when the Wisconsin State Legislature was debating whether to pay for sending low income children in the City of Milwaukee to religious schools as an alternative to attending public schools, reporters were generally not attracted to covering opponents (including the local JCRC) who focused on the abstract constitutional concept of separation of church and state. Rather, reporters found compelling those parents who supported the initiative since they claimed they were victimized because they could not send their children to religious schools at public expense. "That's unfair" is a battle cry, which is like honey for a reporter.
With the Jewish community's goal of non-discrimination laws largely enacted, proposals for change - with their requisite victims - come, by definition, from efforts to disestablish them. When a local landlady was charged with violating open housing laws because she advertised for a Christian tenant, the local media coverage depicted her as a victim of an inflexible and tyrannical enforcement bureaucracy. A legislator promptly introduced a bill to exempt the type of ad she had placed from the housing anti-discrimination law.55 Support for the existing law and its vigorous enforcement from the local JCRC were of little media interest.
Similarly, local reaction stories used to be common media staples. JCRCs were often asked for a comment on the latest headline story from the Middle East or reaction to an anti-Semitic incident abroad. Now, local reaction stories are usually only pursued when the event abroad is considered a seminal one, such as a local prayer service following the assassination of Prime Minister Rabin. Two years later, a local prayer service for victims of a terrorist attack did not attract any reporters or cameras.
Another variation of the local reaction story was to interview national or international dignitaries visiting the locality. This type of story has also largely disappeared. There is little appeal to interviewing a low-level Israeli diplomat visiting the locality about recent events in the Middle East when the local media outlets can just as easily (if not more easily) quote the Israeli prime minister directly, with the newspaper using an international news service or the TV station using a sound-bite from a video news service such as CNN or Conus.56
The capriciousness of press coverage also tends to focus on stories that are tantalizing, titillating, and trivial - a localized cross-fertilization of "pink flamingo journalism"57 and "feeding frenzy."58 When a local suburban mayor described a run-down shopping center as "schmuckville," the media clamored for a denunciation from the JCRC, apparently for incorrect use of a Yiddishism. When a suburban school board considered a JCRC request to remove or cover mosaic tiles in a pre-World War II building that were in the shape of a swastika, it became a one-day wonder of a story, triggered largely because the agenda item the reporter had been sent to cover did not get taken up and the reporter needed to submit a story - any story. The ultimate resolution, several boring weeks later, went uncovered.
So, except for crises and trivialities, JCRCs are losing a significant amount of attention from the secular media. This, in turn, reduces the power and influence which flows from having the public image of being the official voice of the Jewish community.
Weak Jewish Rationale for Existence
Another environmental threat to the future of JCRCs is the continuing weakness of the Judaic rationale JCRCs use to justify their preoccupation with social justice as the principle justifying their substance-based domestic goals. The drive for social justice is a major component of the hyperactivity59 of American Jews:
Data from several sources confirm that American Jews consider commitment to social equality or social justice to be important elements of their Jewish identity....American Jews often associate these values with prophetic ideals and see them as inextricably linked to American values, as well as to their Jewish heritage.60
This perceived commitment of Judaism to social justice is often referred to as tikkun olam (in Hebrew: repairing the world). This is a mantra heard frequently as the Jewish undergirding of the advocacy activities of JCRCs as well as other similarly oriented organizations. For example, Lawrence Rubin, the executive vice president of the National Jewish Community Relations Advisory Council (now the Jewish Council for Public Affairs), said: "The language of the field relies increasingly on the injunctions of the Judaic tradition to justify communal participation. More and more, one finds these activities justified by the Judaic principle of tikkun olam or by reference to the so-called prophetic tradition."61 "Public Policy and Tikkun Olam" was the title of a 1995 article by NJCRAC's co-director for domestic concerns.62 The perception that tikkun olam is a major concept of Judaism is not limited to the community relations sphere. For example, a curriculum offered by the Washington Institute for Jewish Leadership and Values in 1994 was entitled "Jewish Civics: A Tikkun Olam/World Repair Manual." A program at the 1996 conference of the National Association of Temple Educators was titled "Tikkun Olam To Go: A Sample of Tikkun Olam Programs."63
However, tikkun olam is not mentioned in the Torah or elsewhere in the Tanach. It is not an entry in standard reference works such as the Encyclopedia of Jewish Concepts,64 the New Standard Jewish Encyclopedia,65 or the Book of Jewish Knowledge.66 In the Encyclopedia Judaica it appears solely as a concept of the Kabbalah related to the imminent End of Days and the Redemption.67 According to Scholem, "[t]he details of the doctrine of tikkun are extremely complex and seem to have been intentionally designed as a challenge to mystical contemplation."68 In the Zohar, tikkun olam refers to prayer, not social justice:
It is the service of prayer, in which man must be both servant and son, so that he may be included among the higher levels, offering the service of prayer through the mystery of the servant, rendering the service of restoring the worlds, and making his will cleave to the secrets of wisdom, so that he might become joined with his Master in the supernal treasuries as is fitting.69
Hence, the religious basis for the substance-based social justice goals of JCRCs is of dubious Judaic authenticity.
The Future of JCRCs
Based on the four factors suggested by Blau and Scott, JCRCs are well positioned to survive, as the March of Dimes did, as they respond to the major progress made in accomplishing their original goals. They have received wide public acceptance, have successfully attained their major objectives, and are governed by a corporate-type structure that has both the capacity and interest to set and implement new goals. However, this review also identified significant threats to JCRC survival including the increasing balkanization of their constituency and environmental changes, including alteration of the organizational structure of the Jewish community, changes in the news media which lower the public profile of JCRCs, and a weak Judaic rationale for their substance-based focus on social justice.
In particular, JCRCs face a major decision whether they are primarily a process-based or substance-based entity. By transforming themselves into purely process-based organizations they can continue to serve as one of the few remaining organizational forums which encompass the entire breadth of the Jewish community, but then JCRCs would need to discard current positions that are closely aligned with political liberalism. The alternative is to settle on a raison d'être that is substance-based. In that case JCRCs need to identify new substantive goals which are unifying and which also convey an immediacy and resonance that their traditional and original goals are increasingly lacking.
* * *
1. Herbert Kaufman, Time, Chance, and Organizations: Natural Selection in a Perilous Environment, 2nd ed. (Chatham, NJ: Chatham House Publishers, 1991), p. 27, italics in original.
2. Peter M. Blau and Marshall W. Meyer, Bureaucracy in Modern Society, 3rd ed. (New York: Random House, 1987), p. 141. For discussion of goal displacement, see also James G. March and Herbert A. Simon, Organization (New York: John Wiley & Sons, 1958), pp. 38-39.
3. Amitai Etzioni, Modern Organization (Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, 1964), p. 14.
4. David L. Sills, The Volunteers, Chapter IX (Glencoe, IL: Free Press, 1957).
5. At that time, its formal name was the National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis. Now it is called the March of Dimes - Birth Defects Foundation.
6. Ibid., p. 263, italics in original.
7. Ibid., p. 270, italics added.
8. David L. Sills, "Voluntary Associations: Sociological Aspects," International Encyclopedia of the Social Sciences (New York: Macmillan and Free Press, 1968), 16:371.
9. Peter M. Blau and W. Richard Scott, Formal Organizations: A Comparative Approach (San Francisco, CA: Chandler, 1962), p. 231.
10. J.J. Goldberg, Jewish Power: Inside the American Jewish Establishment (Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley, 1996), p. 125.
11. Earl Raab, "The Transformation of Jewish Advocacy/Community Relations: The Case of the JCRCs," Advocacy ProNotes Draft, Issue 2 (Spring 1994), Waltham, MA: Brandeis University, Nathan Perlmutter Institute for Jewish Advocacy, p. 1.
12. Journal of Jewish Communal Service, 71:4 (Summer 1995).
13. Earl Raab, "Jews Need to Re-Invent Their Own Public Affairs Government," Advocacy ProNotes, Issue 1 (January 1994), p. 2.
14. Steven M. Cohen, "Reengineering the Jewish Community," Journal of Jewish Communal Service, 73:1 (Fall 1996):8.
15. Daniel J. Elazar, "Decision-Making in the American Jewish Community," in The Future of the Jewish Community in America, David Sidorsky, ed. (New York: Basic Books, 1973), p. 294.
16. Formerly the National Jewish Community Relations Advisory Council (NJCRAC).
17. Based on data on its web page: http://www.jcpany.org/story.htm.
18. CRC Directors' Association, membership list, October 29, 1996. The difference between members and cities occurs when more than one JCRC staff member belongs. The disparity in the numbers between the CRC Directors' Association and JCPA is because JCPA includes in its count Federations which designate a staff member as a community relations contact person, even if it does not have a functioning JCRC.
19. Daniel J. Elazar, Community and Polity: The Organizational Dynamics of American Jewry (Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society of America, 1976), p. 195.
20. Ibid., italics in original.
21. See also op. cit. , pp. 104-105; Daniel J. Elazar, "The New Jewish Politics," in Daniel J. Elazar, ed., The New Jewish Politics (Lantham, MD: University Press of America and Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, 1988), p. 4; and Elazar in Sidorsky, p. 308.
22. Seymour Martin Lipset and Earl Raab, Jews and the New American Scene (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1995), pp. 25-27.
23. Ibid., pp. 99-100.
24. Ibid., p. 43.
25. Earl J. Raab, "Defining the Community Relations Professional at Century's End," Journal of Jewish Communal Service, 67:3 (Spring 1991):181.
26. Goldberg, p. 311.
27. Daniel J. Elazar, "Developments in Jewish Community Organization in the Second Postwar Generation," in Seymour Martin Lipset, ed., American Pluralism and the Jewish Community (New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction, 1990), p. 183.
28. Raviv Schwartz, "Revisiting the Jewish Continuity-Jewish Community Relations Dialectic," Journal of Jewish Communal Service, 72:3 (Spring 1996):178-184.
29. Lawrence Sternberg, "Jewish Political Activism: Promoting Ethnic Identity and Group Survival," Journal of Jewish Communal Service, 68:4 (Summer 1992): 378.
30. David Gad-Harf and Miriam Schey Imerman, "Building Bridges to 'New' Ethnic Minorities: Adapting the Community Relations Agenda to New Demographic Trends," Journal of Jewish Communal Service, 68:3 (Spring 1992):219-223.
31. Steven F. Windmueller, "A Framework of Hispanic-Jewish Relations," Journal of Jewish Communal Service, 68:3 (Spring 1992): 224-226.
32. Susan L. Shevitz, "Communal Planning in a Nonrational World: A Shift in Paradigm and Practice," in Lawrence I. Sternberg, Gary A. Tobin, and Sylvia Barack Fishman, eds., Changing Jewish Life: Service Delivery and Planning in the 1990's (New York: Greenwood 1991), pp. 191-192.
33. Elazar in Sidorsky, p. 284.
34. Herbert Kaufman, Are Government Organizations Immortal? (Washington, DC: Brookings Institution, 1976), p. 64.
35. Goldberg, p. 311.
36. Elazar in Lipset, p. 183.
37. Lawrence A. Kotler-Berkowitz, "Political Diversification and Division in the American Jewish Community: The Effect on Consensus Building and Jewish Advocacy," Journal of Jewish Communal Service, 71:4 (Summer 1995):272.
38. Elazar in Sidorsky, pp. 315-316.
39. Earl Raab, "The End of Jewish Community Relations?," Journal of Jewish Communal Service, 54:2 (December 1977):109-110.
40. Raab, "The Transformation of Jewish Advocacy/Community Relations," p. 1.
41. Elazar in Lipset, p. 174.
42. Steven F. Windmueller, "Defining the Relationship: The Federation/Jewish Community Relations Council Connection," Journal of Jewish Communal Service, 71:1 (Fall 1994):61.
43. Howard Kurtz, Media Circus (New York: Times Books, 1993), p. 38.
44. Ibid., p. 341.
45. Ibid., p. 339.
46. James Fallows, Breaking the News: How the Media Undermine American Democracy (New York: Pantheon 1996), p. 52.
47. Ibid. , p. 53.
48. Tom Rosenstiel, "The Quality of Local Television News," on Media Matters, broadcast on PBS on June 13, 1997. This was the third episode of a television series dedicated to media criticism, underwritten by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.
49. Kurtz, p. 53.
50. Kurtz, p. 6.
51. Joseph N. Cappella and Kathleen Hall Jamieson, Spiral of Cynicism: The Press and the Public Good (New York: Oxford University Press, 1997), p. 31. See also Chapter One on the difficulty that reporters have covering an event that is not based on conflict, pp. 3-16.
52. Kathleen Hall Jamieson and Karlyn Kohrs Campbell, The Interplay of Influence: News, Advertising, Politics, and the Mass Media, 3rd ed. (Belmont, CA: Wadsworth, 1992), p. 31.
53. Ibid., p. 39.
54. Subsequent examples are from the author's participant-observation while serving as a JCRC director from 1990 to 1997.
55. It did not pass.
56. Jamieson and Campbell, p. 142.
57. Kurtz, p. 339.
58. See Larry J. Sabato, Feeding Frenzy: How Attack Journalism Has Transformed American Politics (New York: Free Press, 1991).
59. Raab's phrase, see Earl Raab, The Modern Practice of Jewish Advocacy and Community Relations (Waltham, MA: Brandeis University, Nathan Perlmutter Institute for Jewish Advocacy, 1991).
60. Sternberg, p. 375.
61. Lawrence Rubin, The Emerging Jewish Public Affairs Culture (Waltham, MA: Brandeis University, Perlmutter Institute for Jewish Advocacy, 1990).
62. Jerome A. Chanes, "Public Policy and Tikkun Olam," The Reconstructionist (Spring 1995):58-63.
64. Philip Birnbaum, Encyclopedia of Jewish Concepts (New York: Hebrew Publishing Company, 1991).
65. Geoffrey Wigoder, ed., The New Standard Jewish Encyclopedia (New York: Facts on File, 1992).
66. Nathan Ausubel, The Book of Jewish Knowledge (New York: Crown, 1964).
67. Encyclopedia Judaica, 14:635.
68. Gershom Scholem, Kabbalah (Jerusalem: Keter, 1974), p. 140.
69. Isaiah Tishby, arranger, The Wisdom of the Zohar: An Anthology of Texts (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1989), vol. 3, p. 1075. Italics added.
* * *
MORDECAI LEE, Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor of Govern-mental Affairs at
the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. From 1990 to 1997, he served as
Executive Director of the Jewish Community Relations Council in Milwaukee.
The opinions expressed herein do not necessarily reflect
those of the Board of Fellows of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs.
The above essay appears in the Spring 2000 issue of the Jewish Political Studies Review, the first and only journal dedicated to the study of Jewish political institutions and behavior, Jewish political thought, and Jewish public affairs.
Published by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs (http://www.jcpa.org/), the JPSR appears twice a year in the form of two double issues, either of a general nature or thematic, with contributors including outstanding scholars from the United States, Israel, and abroad.
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