Regarding your December 2, 2021, opinion piece “Should J Street Be Welcome in Westchester?,” I am writing to correct several misstatements regarding the Westchester Jewish Council (WJC or the Council), its purpose and mission.
The piece mischaracterizes WJC as one of the Jewish organizations “backing” J Street, and then incorrectly describes the Council as “representing” J Street among its 135 Jewish member organizations in Westchester County, and “endorsing” J Street programs. Our desire to address how WJC is incorrectly mischaracterized in this piece is not to challenge (or endorse) the opinions of your publication or its writer. Rather, it is important for your readers to understand, as our members and supporters do, the purpose, mission and work of the Council.
WJC does not “represent” or “back” any of our member organizations; the Council does not “endorse” any member programs. As our mission statement states, WJC “connects and convenes Jewish organizations, fosters support for the State of Israel, and cultivates and strengthens relationships with our elected officials, other ethnic and faith based groups and the community at large.” The Council encourages participation in Jewish life by developing programs and initiatives that meet existing and emerging Jewish communal needs, including just this year hosting a record number of 23 Council roundtables and workshops on a variety of topics, including security, combatting antisemitism, Israel advocacy, teen engagement, synagogue relations and government relations.
Our members know what WJC does and what it does not do. WJC does not “back” or “represent” any one member organization of the Westchester community. WJC strengthens the ties of organizations and the Jewish people of Westchester County and surrounding areas to each other and with the broader community. WJC appreciates the support from its member organizations and its supporters—who share different perspectives, to be sure, as WJC is a big tent—for enabling the Council for 46 years to offer the programs, services and initiatives it provides to the community.Elliot Forchheimer, CEO
Westchester Jewish Council