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Organization Theory and the Future of Jewish Community Relations Councils

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Publication Date: January 2000

Publisher(s): Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs

Author(s): Mordecai Lee

Series: Jewish Political Studies Review 12:1-2 (Spring 2000)

Special Collection: Berman Jewish Policy Archive

Topic: Culture and religion (Religion and religious groups)
Politics (Politics)

Keywords: Political Behavior; Jewish Organizations; Organizational Development; Jewish Identification

Type: Report

Coverage: United States


The author argues that the changes occurring in American Jewry and in Israel are having a ripple effect on the organizational structure and governance of the American Jewish community. He contends that Jewish Community Relations Councils (JCRCs) are finding that their original substance-based goals have been accomplished to a great extent or no longer possess a sense of urgency. The author analyzes the strengths and weaknesses of JCRCs using four criteria derived from the case of the March of Dimes. This national organization, dedicated to the eradication of childhood polio, accomplished its sole goal and then sought to remain in existence by engaging in goal succession. He concludes that the future vitality of this government-like institution within the American Jewish community will depend in large part on making an explicit choice between the substance-based and process-based aspects of a JCRC.