In an effort to shape the strategic direction of the Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Phoenix, the organization has made a change in its board of directors.
Earlier this month, the JCRC elected president and CEO of Goodmans Interior Structures, Adam Goodman, as its new board chair and psychologist Dr. Erika Neuberg as the new vice chair. Both Goodman and Neuberg served on the current iteration of the JCRC’s board of directors since its founding in 2015. They started their new roles this week.
“Goodman and Neuberg were selected because of their leadership in the community, dynamic vision for the direction of the JCRC and commitment to the mission of the organization to strengthen community relations within and outside the Jewish community,” said JCRC Executive Director Paul Rockower.
Rockower added that Goodman and Neuberg have a dynamic perspective on the Phoenix community. “Both have engaged in leadership roles in a variety of community organizations and institutions. I feel honored to work with such innovative leadership who will move the JCRC in some exciting new directions.”
“What drew me to this position is the opportunity to strengthen that Jewish voice, making it more cohesive in its relationship within the Jewish community and to the greater Phoenix community,” said Goodman. “This is important for our community as we seek to build bridges with clergy, journalists and elected officials who can help us stem the tide of anti-Semitism.”
Goodman replaced Alan Jablin, who served as the board chair since 2017. Goodman’s goals for the JCRC are to continue to build relationships with all religious and racial communities, especially the Muslim and Latino communities.
“The fate of the Jewish people is inextricably tied to the ascendancy of all minorities, and one goal of the JCRC is to engage and support their churches, mosques and community organizations,” Goodman said.
Goodman also wants the JCRC to focus on combating xenophobia in all its forms. “The JCRC is well-positioned to foster people-to-people exchange as a means to dispel stereotypes and fight bigotry.”
The position of vice chair was empty before Neuberg took on the role. Her primary responsibility will be fundraising.
“As with all new organizations, we can best engage in long-range planning when there is financial predictability,” Neuberg said. “We will work to strengthen our donor base and help introduce the great work we’re doing to our community at large.”
The JCRC’s mission is to foster education, dialogue and advocacy both within and outside the Jewish community. Neuberg said that the organization is ready to take that mission to the next level.
“Locally, we’d like to continue to strengthen our partnerships with other faith, ethnic and community organizations and initiate advocacy on core issues in the local political and non-political spheres,” Neuberg said. “We’d also like to facilitate more communication and efficiency within our Jewish community so we can ensure our collective resources are maximized.”
Neuberg applauded the JCRC’s new social media strategies and Rockower’s work to develop new relationships with the Christian, LDS, African American, Latino and Muslim communities. Rockower became the JCRC’s executive director in January.
The JCRC first formed as the Community Relations Council, but later changed its name to the Jewish Community Relations Council. It went dormant in 2008, and efforts to revive the organization began in 2015 with the Jewish Community Relations Initiative. That year, the Board of Rabbis of Greater Phoenix received a $54,000 grant from the Jewish Community Foundation of Greater Phoenix to re-launch the Jewish Community Relations Council. In 2017, the JCRC incorporated as a 501(c)(3) and received the funds that had been held on its behalf by the Greater Phoenix Board of Rabbis.
For Neuberg, the JCRC is a vital part of the larger Jewish community and holds significant importance for strengthening that community and building external relationships.
“The Jewish population in the U.S. is fast shrinking in terms of percentages,” Neuberg said. “Without developing partnerships with other demographics, we risk having our voices be drowned out. We can never let that happen. Moreover, Jewish values and teachings have served us well throughout history; it’s a beautiful thing to share our passion for making the world a better place with all.” JN