JCC Global Newsletter | September, 2016
We are proud to launch JCC Global’s “Amitim 2.0-Fellows – A Global Leadership Network” – a three year program that will bring Jewish peoplehood concepts and programs to 75 JCCs worldwide. The program builds upon the achievements of Amitim-Fellows, in which 25 JCCs in 11 countries implemented 7 global projects and reached more than 5,000 participants. Together with our partner organizations, we are looking to recruit 50 additional JCCs worldwide (15 from North America, including 6 from NY, 15 from Israel, 6 from FSU, 6 from Europe, 6 from Latin America, 2 from Far East and Australia). All 25 Amitim-Fellows JCCs who are participating already in Amitim 1.0 are invited to continue and join Amitim 2.0. For more information see: program goals, timeline, acceptance criteria, commitment and Application Form for JCCs. Information is also available in Hebrew, Russian and Spanish.
JCC Global is inviting organizations to offer existing programs that focus on Jewish Peoplehood education. The selected programs will be tailored to the needs of JCCs and offered as models for implementation. Please see this link for further information and application.
Adam-Admah seminar in Milwaukee, USA, Sep-11-18
“The Amitim program is a project of JCC Global designed to unite JCCs around the world. Our JCC was honored to participate in this multi-year endeavor and completed the final leg of the journey last week when we welcomed our partners from the JCC Krakow and Ginot Ha’ir in Jerusalem for a week long adventure in Milwaukee. The focus of our global partnership is two-fold and is called Adam V’Adamah. The Adam part is the people-to-people relationships formed between the young adult participants and the staff and lay leaders. The Adamah piece is a focus on the environment and sustainability. 16 visitors from Krakow and Jerusalem (as well as the 5 Milwaukee members – including JCC board member David Cohn) participated in this visit and had a chance to get to know and appreciate our JCC and the City of Milwaukee. Highlights of the week included a trip to Chicago and an architectural boat tour; an afternoon spent at Rainbow Day Camp harvesting and planting crops, playing laser tag, archery and cooking dinner in the outdoor kitchen; a tour of the Jewish Museum Milwaukee and a meet and greet at Chai point. Two of the most meaningful activities for the participants were volunteering at the Jewish Community Food Pantry and a Shabbat dinner at the JCC. This week proved that global relationships, and notably Jewish ones, can be formed that transcend beyond language, continents, and time zones.” [Rabbi Shari Shamah, Jewish Family Specialist, Harry & Rose Samson Family Jewish Community Center]
“Adam Adama was a three year project for young adults from Jerusalem, Krakow and Milwaukee who wanted to make the world a better place. We started a journey not knowing where it will end. But the ending was so much more than we could imagine or expect.
We arrived in Milwaukee with a warm welcoming by the Milwaukee group, led by the wonderful Rabbai Sharry Shamaw, followed by a healthy dinner at “Beans and Barly”. Even though we were falling asleep in our soup we continued to a concert at Beth Israel congregation to enjoy the music from “Fiddler on the roof”. After a good night sleep we started the week the next day, with our fellows from Krakow learning about the congregation in Milwaukee at the Jewish Museum, meeting the elderly at Chai Point, Hillel center and ending the day with the famous “Cops” costarred. The next day we visited Chicago, “The Windy City”, with a surprising sunny and warm day. We learned about the architecture of the city, visited Spertus Art Gallery, walked around Michigan av. and even did some shopping!!! Wednesday for me was the best day! We started the day hiking at Harrington Beach state park, then headed to Rainbow day camp to harvest the crops, work on team building, play layzer tag, be first place to finish the corn maze and barbecue the best meal so far! The rest of our visit was truly wonderful, with thought out details of everything we did. But the day we spent in nature, with the group, for me, was the reason why I came to Adam Adama.
To meet new people from around the world, to hear their stories and to feel a part of something bigger than myself. Thank you JCC global and all of the people that made this program possible!” [Yael Render Elbaz, Jerusalem]
“The final session the Adam-Adamah project was a unique experience for most of the Polish participants, and for myself as well. It was a week full of hard work and we learned a lot, we found the projects extremely inspiring and we have returned motivated to apply what we learned to help our community in Krakow.” [Asia, GIMEL Jewish Student Club Member]
After a successful seminar in Poland and Israel, the group decided on their concluding seminar to be held in Milwaukee USA. The Krakow JCC share their experience and impressions in this post.
L’Alliance teen’s seminar in NY, June-27 to July-3
For the second time, teens from “Hesed Besht,” Khmelnitsky, Ukraine, CCJC Paris, France, Beit Hakerem Jerusalem, Israel were hosted by their partners in the Sid Jacobson JCC, New York, USA.
“The joint project is a phenomenal project for our JCC and it’s going to have an even bigger impact. The project had a fundamental impact on me personally, I began to see the JCC as a center of Jewish Peoplehood. Even when looking at our own Jewish community, there are different Jews. We began reaching out to the Persian and Israeli communities. There are a lot of things that we already do regarding Jewish values, culture, food, films and more. This project helps us connect the dots” [David Black, Executive Director, Sid Jacobson JCC, New York, USA]
“Walking back to our hotel, we noticed the teens speaking among themselves about Shabbat. They discussed various ways to celebrate Shabbat, the differences between their homes and traditions. We realized that the project has achieved more than we had hoped for, as the teens not only got to know their partner Jewish communities, but also started a learning process recognizing the variety of Jewish People around the world” [Slava Nagnybida, Project Coordinator, Khmelnytsky welfare fund “Hesed Besht”, Ukraine]
HAMSA teen fellowship seminar in USA, July-31 to Aug-7
The concluding seminar of the Hamsah JCC Global Madrichim Fellowship project was hosted by the Jewish Community House of Bensonhurst, NY, JCC in Manhattan, NY and Bender JCC of Greater Washington, MD.
“I think the last trip was a great ending for our journey. We could show to the kids and also to the JCCs why we’ve been chosen for this Hamsa. I want to say a big thank you for all the people who gave us this opportunity, and put money and effort in it! But I also think that it’s not over we had fun together, we worked and learned together, now it is our time to continue, and give back something. I hope that with the help of the JCC we can create something. Hamsa made me realize of the importance of the Jewish community. That even when it’s hard you can never give up! That’s why my idea was to create a new camp for those who don’t have a Szarvas, or a Jewish day camp near them. I think that we as Hamsa could go to those places where there is no JCC or JCH or any Jewish community, and make a camp for them. Show them that being a Jew is really cool. Because everyone should have the same opportunities.” [Fanni Abonyi,Balint JCC, Budapest, Hungary]
“HAMSA showed me that there is not just one way to be a Jew. It also taught me that being Jewish does not mean being religious, for Judaism is also a culture but moreover, a story about history. I loved the pluralistic mindset and the openness about talking about very serious topics from different viewpoints.” [JCC in Manhattan, New-York, USA]
“How was the trip to the US? Or to Israel, Hungary? To tell the truth I can’t describe it in two sentences. I think the fact that I am part of the Hamsa family, completely changed my life. I joined the program because the trip to Israel and to the States sounds good. But in the beginning I didn’t think that from these incredible people I’m gonna learn that much , that I’ve learned so far. I’m very thankful for this amazing experience, I met new people, who are not just become my friends for a lifetime but my second family. I hope we can see eachother soon and create something amazing together in the jewish community.” [Villő Szenyán, Balint JCC, Budapest, Hungary]
Family Tree seminar in Orange County, USA, July-5-13
The Family Tree program conducted their second cohort concluding seminar. This time, the partner communities from CDI Mexico and Kfar Yona Community Center in Israel were hosted by the Merage JCC in Orange County. 67 teens had a chance to explore their various family root and trees together, in addition to the singing, dancing and sports playing all week long.
- “I was exposed to different people who are surrounded by different cultures, but all have the same cultural connection of Judaism. I also made lifelong friends and bonds with people that I will always cherish.” [Teen from Orange County]
Join us for a study seminar in celebration of 100 years of service to the Jewish Community of Germany
Sunday, March 26 – Wednesday, March 29, 2017, Bad Sobernheim retreat center (near Frankfurt), Germany
Neve Ya’akov is one of Jerusalem’s ring neighborhoods, located in East Jerusalem, north of Pisgat Ze’ev, with a population of almost 30,000 residents. Its origins date to 1924, though the neighborhood, as we know it, was built after the Six Day War. The neighborhood’s population is around 25,000, with 75% ultra-orthodox and 25% Ethiopian and FSU immigrants (olim.) Roughly, 2,500 residents are elderly, most of whom are immigrants from FSU countries. Each year, there are approximately 1000 babies born, hence the population is expected to reach 30,000 in ten years. The challenges in building a community (kehila,) from such a diverse community, are many. For many programs one must receive the approval from the Rabbai’s who are leading the ultra-orthodox community. At the same time, one must also understand the mentality of FSU immigrant seniors and the challenges facing young families who also live in the neighborhood.
Dassi Gordon, an ultra-orthodox woman and a mother of four, decided to take up the challenge and was appointed as the Executive Director of the Neve Ya’akov Community Center. One of her first steps was to reach out to the leaders of the community, receiving their blessing and cooperation, building a mutual vision for this unique and diverse community. Through a process of strategic planning they identified the main goals of the community and decided to focus on: “A Cooperative Community” (“קהילה בשיתוף פעולה”). Dassi believes that the community must self-sustain itself. The main anchors of the community center are (1) an advanced sports center serving not only the neighborhood’s population, but also Arabs coming from the surrounding neighborhoods. Neve Yaakov Community Council operated the only pool in Jerusalem, serving ultra-orthodox population and surprisingly it is open 7 days a week; (2) Early childhood play area which they have renovated and made into a profitable activity for the community center; (3) Two day care centers, one for the general population and one which is a Russian-Hebrew bi-lingual center. In order to meet the needs of a fast growing population, they are now in the process of building additional day care classes.
In order to bridge both generational and religious gaps, they have initiated a program that brings ultra-orthodox young adults to volunteer with the secular elderly population of the community. They also recruited 150 businesses to participate in their “time bank” program. Twice a year, the community center, together with local elementary schools, embarks on a neighborhood cleaning campaign where 500 kids from all backgrounds take part.
Special Needs and Tsdaka are the major values that guide Dassi’s community work. After a yearlong effort, the center received a permit from the Israel’s Ministry of Economy to employ six teenagers with Down syndrome. They have dedicated a space for a reused clothing shop “Shniya Me’ha’Bayit” (“A second away from home”) where they count on the work of 80 active volunteers, including a class of ultra-orthodox eight graders.
Dassi’s dream is to open a center for child development that will serve parents and children from the day the child is born into this community. –
Recently, Dassi participated in the JCC Global delegation that attended the JCC Association Biennial Conference in Baltimore. There she had the opportunity to enrich her professional skills and study from her peers. One of the highlights of the program was visiting the JCC of Greater Baltimore and meeting the staff of the ultra-orthodox JCC.
Dassi dreams of a tolerant, inclusive community in Neve Yaakov that will grow to serve the diverse needs of the community, a microcosm of Jerusalem’s diversity.
You are welcome to contact Dassi Gordon for further information and collaboration at: firstname.lastname@example.org