More than 500 presidents and executive directors of Jewish Community Centers from 24 countries convened in Jerusalem, November 1-6, 2015 for JCC Global’s 2nd Amitim-Fellows Conference and the 9th World Conference of JCCs.
Thank you conference supporters and donors
With more than 1,000 JCCs worldwide, they represent the largest global Jewish network. In a post survey conducted by Dr. Ezra Kopelowitz, 95.6% said the conference was a success. 91.2% said the conference contributed to their desire to attend other JCC Global program and activities. Participants reported that the conference contributed to strengthening the connection to other Jewish communities (100 %,) the ability to develop joint global projects (95 %,) networking with others who have similar interests (92.5 %,) understanding of other Jewish communities (92.3 %,) involvement as a leader in their Jewish community (85 %,) and the desire to contribute to the Jewish People (82.5 %.)
- Opening evening at the French Hill community center with speaker Rabbi Talia Avnon-Benvenisti from Beit Hatfutsot
- Outdoor team building workshop at the Jerusalem Zoo followed by a meeting with the Zoo’s executive director Shai Doron to learn about multi culturalism in their educational work
- Three track visits around Jerusalem to learn about the role of the JCC in promoting a vibrant civil society (cultural arts, minorities and next generation) followed by a meeting at the Jerusalem Municipality
- A fascinating lecture by Maxine Fassberg, VP of Intel bringing her experience of running a global company to the world of nonprofits.
- A workshop utilizing the Learning from Success model to analyze the global projects
- A workshop for the global projects to continue developing global projects and assessing challenges.
- What’s next? A session to receive feedback from Fellows and plan next steps.
Highlights of the 9th World Conference of JCCs included:
- A session on Jews living today in Europe with senior leaders from all across Europe
- An opening dinner event with Micah Goodman, key note speaker on Jewish Peoplehood
- A plenary with top leaders of JCC networks – Dr. Stephen Hazan Arnoff, CEO and president, JCC Association of North America (JCCA,) Aviad Friedman, chair, Israel Association of Community Centers (IACC,) Latin America: Anabella Jaroslavsky, executive director, Confederation of Latin American Maccabi Community Centers (CLAM,) and Diego Ornique, Director or JDC Europe to discuss their regional perspectives, how do they see global collaborations, and what are they bringing to the global table.
- A Doors and Doorways interactive workshop in 30 small groups of people from different countries discussing the values of space, gateway keepers and outreach in their communities followed by an interactive grand art project was conducted by David Moss and Elyssa Moss Rabinowitz. 25 facilitators from around the world led the small group discussion and work.
- JGlobal Talks (TED style) on thinking local and acting global with Mark Shapiro, president and CEO, Harry and Rose Samson Family JCC, Milwaukee, USA,Mario Izcovich, director, Pan European Programs and Leatid, JDC Europe, Barcelona, Spain, Kineret Kahana, deputy director, Ginot Ha’ir Community Council, Jerusalem, Israel and Zack Bodner, CEO, Oshman Family JCC, Palo Alto, USA
- A networking expo presenting 35 programs that connect Jewish communities around the world, including the 7 Amitim-Fellows projects.
- A plenary with Diana Pinto, a leading historian from Paris focused on the recent political and social trends in Europe and included firsthand personal impressions of life in Europe today from members of the large European delegation. Followed by remarks from Ofer Glantz, CPO, JDC
- An opinion survey on Jewish identity, personal security and Israel relations was conducted of delegates with results released during the conference. Main speakers included:
- Track visits in Jerusalem on various themes, most of them also showcasing Amitim projects: cultural arts, ecology, special needs, women and teen engagement.
- A plenary on the sustainability of Jewish Peoplehood programs with Vivian Saade Metta from Mexico, Jerry Spitzer from New York and Raya Strauss Ben Dor from Israel, chaired by Hillel Schmid.
- A final event at Bible Lands Museum where teens from Moldova, Venezuela and Israel who participated in the Global Mekorock Seminar preformed lyrics and music that they wrote during the week in three languages culminating with a joint song in all three languages about the way music binds cultures.
Photos from the Amitim-Fellows 2nd Conference and the 9th World Conference of JCCs can be seen in the following links:
Amitim-Fellows 2nd Conference
JCC Global’s 9th World Conference of JCCs
- Opening Night
- Closing Night
- Opening Plenary and interactive workshop with Kol HaOt
- UJA Fed of NY Private Lunch
- Lunch for delegates from the Federation of Local Authorities
- JGlobal Talks – Think Local – Act Global
- JCC Global Fair and Expo Presenters
- Jerusalem Track Visits
Presenting the Amitim-Fellows 7 Joint Projects
Closing remarks: “Our Future Vision and Call for Action”
Global Mekorock Teens Performance & Interviews
Read the lyrics of all songs here.
Just a few weeks ago, teens from five Jewish Communities around the world (JCC of Greater Washington, USA | Bensonhurst JCC in NY, USA | JCC in Manhattan, USA | Balint JCC in Budapest, Hungary | Kivunim in Be’er Sheva, Israel) gathered in Israel for the second part of the HAMSA 18-month long leadership fellowship. The teens visited Sde Boker, Yad Vashem, and the Kotel. They had a chance to volunteer with refugee kids in Tel Aviv and experience Israel as one community.
During the concluding session of the seminar, when asked to write one word that described their feelings toward the seminar, the group and Israel, they wrote:
* Welcoming * Identity * Inspiring * Unexpected * Home * Great * Loved * Eye Opening * Understanding * New * Beauty * Reunited * Future * Connection * Awesome * Joyful * Unbelievable *
After their initial encounter in the International Szarvas Camp in Budapest, Hungary, and their Israel training seminar, they will meet for their final summer camp leadership training seminar in the United States during the summer of 2016.
Photo Credit: Michaela Slutsky, Director of Youth Employment and Education, BensonHurst JCC
It wasn’t easy. Over the past year, the partner of L’Alliance Teen Project suffered quite a few unexpected challenges in getting their project off the ground, ranging from global unrest to staff turnover and change in partners. After finding a new partner in Israel during the 2nd Amitim-Fellows Conference, and despite this difficult start, the partner communities decide to hold their first teen seminar. Teens from Beit Hakerem Community in Jerusalem hosted their partners from New York, Paris, and Khmelnitsky for a week-long program.
During this week long seminar the teens got a chance to get to know one another; learn about the differences and similarities of their Jewish communities; visit to Masada, Beit Ha’Tfussot, Na L’agaat Center in Tel-Aviv and much more. They decided on a joint project where they will interview one another, including members of their families and communities, before visiting and after, to learn about our miss-perceptions of one another and later think together how they might change that.
“I cannot begin to express how much I enjoyed and appreciated this opportunity. I never thought I would be able to go to Israel until I was in college on Birthright. This trip had made me appreciate my Jewish heritage more than I did before. The most memorable portion of the trip for me would have to be talking to everyone about their own opinions about prominent issues and events that occur in their community- for example, whether or not the Israelis want to go into the army if they had the choice to do otherwise or what the recent tragedy in Paris was like for the girls who live in France. These conversations and relationships I’ve had and created over these past seven days are some that I know I will never forget for as long as I live. I can’t wait to return to Israel soon.” – Sophie Lipstein, 17, NY
“I am truly very happy and grateful to have been a part of this wonderful and amazing program. The opportunity I was given was a once in a lifetime chance to meet amazing teens from around the world. I have learned so much about Jewish communities in places like France, Ukraine, New York, and even Argentina! I will always remember all of the amazing people that I met and hopefully I will be able to see them again in the next JCC program meetup.” – Roni Shachar, 16, Israel
For the first time since the establishment of the Mekorock project in Emeke Hefer, Israel, six years ago, a Global Mekorock group met in Israel. The teens from Kedem JCC in Chisinau (Kishinev), Moldova; Hebraica in Caracas, Venezuela; and Emek Hefer in Israel, had a week long seminar. They toured Israel together, learn about their Jewish heritage, create music and formed new and profound friendships.
The highlight of this seminar, which took place in parallel to the 2nd Amitim-Fellows Conference and 9th World Conference of JCCs, was the teens performance at the closing event of the World Conference in front of 200 guests. Each community wrote a song especially for this event. The surprise of the evening was when the teens performed a song they wrote together during their seminar in especially for this occasion. You can read the lyrics of all songs in this link and watch their performance in the video below.
New cohorts of Global Mekorock teens are forming in each of the four partner communities (Chisinau (Kishinev), Moldova | Caracas, Venezuela | Emek Hefer, Israel | Tenafly, NJ, USA) and are expected to meet during the summer of 2016 in Tenafly, New-Jersey, USA.
After six months of intense work, three communities – JCC’s of Greater Toronto, Hevel Eilot Regional Council and local Community Center and Redbridge JCC in London, came together to present a joint global exhibition titled “Journeys”. The festive opening night took place at the Hevel Eilot Regional Council with representatives of all JCCs, JCC Association and the Israel Association of Community Center (IACC).
Photo credit: Aran Dolev
On the lat week of October 2015, young leader from three communities (JCC Krakow | JCC Milwaukee | Ginot Ha’ir Community Council in Jerusalem) met for the first time for a four day seminar in Krakow followed by a four day seminar in Israel. These young leaders of the Adam-Adamah joint project had hands on experiences in the various community gardens while getting to know each other and forming an environmental activist group. While exploring Krakow and Jerusalem, two interesting and important cities in Jewish history, the participants had a unique chance to explore their Jewish heritage, their own Jewish identity and what it mean to be a Jewish people.
Adam-Adamah Jerusalem seminar photos Oct-2015 Photo credit to: Hilla Chipman Galante, Joanna Spyra, Tehila Cohen
- Thinking Globally, Acting Locally. By Michael Feinstein, CEO, JCC of Greater Washington, MD, USA on December, 2015
- Europe’s Jews not sitting on packed bags ready to leave, says prof. Published by Amanda Borschel-Dan, The Times of Israel on November 19, 2015
- Organizations in the XXI Century. By Mario Izcovich, Director of Leatid, the European Center for Jewish Leadership, EJP, November 17, 2015
- There’s a JCC in Turkey? By Maayan Jaffe, EJP, November 12, 2015
- “הלכידות הקהילתית חשובה בעיניהם יותר מאשר הקשר עם ישראל, והעימות עם הפלסטינים לא מטריד אותם: סקר שערכו בהתאגדות המרכזים הקהילתיים היהודיים בעולם מלמד כי הקהילות היהודיות ברחבי העולם לא מאוד מוטרדות”, מאמר מפי קובי נחשון, ידיעות ברשת | 2 בנובמבר, 2015
- Jewish Geography. By Josh Hasten, Jerusalem Post Magazine on October 30, 2015
- JCCs As The Big Tent. Published by the The Jewish Week on October 26, 2015
Save The Date – JCCA Baltimore Biennial (May-15-18, 2016) and JCC Global post-Biennial Seminar (May-18-22, 2016)
Dear JCC Global Friends,
You are invited to the JCC Association of North America 2016 Biennial Conference!
This is the largest gathering of lay leaders and executive directors of JCCs from all over North America. As in the past, JCC Global is organizing a special track for overseas delegates. This year the post Biennial seminar will be hosted by the JCC of Greater Washington in Rockville, MD. For more information please read this document.