A Letter from Barbara Lane

Dear friends and family:

Yesterday I resigned from the JCCSF.  I had planned a community panel, to take place on February 8, in response to President Trump’s executive order on immigration with representatives from the ACLU, American-Islamic Society, a rabbi who would speak about the Jewish experience with exclusion, and an immigration attorney working with the sanctuary movement in San Francisco, moderated by KQED’s Scott Shafer. The purpose of the panel, free and open to all, was to inform and allow community members to ask questions.  It was approved by my boss.


Late yesterday afternoon I was informed the JCCSF did not have the bandwidth at this time to host this event, that perhaps we could re-schedule it two weeks down the road. Among the reasons cited were security issues and concerns about the “messaging” of the event.


For a long time I have struggled with the fact that certain issues (mostly to do with Israel) are off the table for discussion at the JCCSF, largely due to concern about the reaction of conservative donors (remember the debacle at the Jewish Film Festival?).  It has always been my belief that the JCCSF is precisely the place that those discussions SHOULD take place.


The current climate with the Trump administration makes ever more essential informed and open discussion.  Particularly in regard to the JCCSF’s stated intention to spend the first 100 days of the new administration doing just that and assigning me to develop programming in that regard, this panel seemed not only appropriate but necessary.

I’m proud of the program I’ve helped build over the past 11 years.

Thanks for all your support.


Dear Barbara,

I am so proud of you. It is easy to express opinions and beliefs, so much harder to act on them. In this time, when everything we care about is threatened, the only power we have is in moral principles and the willingness to act on them.

We can all sit back, sign petitions, and send $5 to the ACLU or MoveOn. It’s right and we should, and it’s really all most of us can do, but from their cave of fear and compromise, the JCCSF has given you an opportunity to take a stand – and you have.

Thank you and congratulations.

Now I call on Feinstein and Schumer and the rest of the compromise-prone Democratic “leaders” to lead. Stand up for the constitution and damn the consequences. There is no compromise with a tyrant. Resistance is the only way to preserve our democracy.

Thanks again,


2 thoughts on “A Letter from Barbara Lane”

  1. Thank you for sharing this. I alternate between trying to take action however small that is, feeling angry, and feeling hopeless and powerless. At the same time, I’m encouraged by the vast number of people who seem to have stepped forward to also take small steps forward to fix this disaster. I just hope the change will happen before the damage is permanent.

    1. Thanks Karl,
      I think how we react partly depends on the immediacy of the threat. I remember Vietnam. One of the things that got me into the streets was the possibility of being drafted, (the other was a particularly attractive young woman I met in a class on non-violent resistance).
      Barbara found herself forced to act when repression prevented her from doing her job in the way she knew was right.
      How we react very much depends on where we are in life when the threat appears but we must be true to ourselves, confident in our beliefs, and unwilling to ignore threats to our principles in the hope they’ll just go away. Unopposed authoritarian narcissists become tyrants. It’s happened before.

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