Around the World in Four Days. By Michael Feinstein, President and CEO, JCC of Greater Washington, MD, USA, EJP, June 7, 2016
“As I reflect on this visit, I am most struck by the notion that in many ways our Jewish communities are more the same than different. There is clearly a difference in scale (people and resources) and scope (breadth of services) in what these JCCs from different countries do. But it is not a difference in kind, and the challenges of engaging Jews in our respective communities is similar. On a personal level, these Jewish leaders (most under 40 years old) shared the same values and commitment to Jewish community and continuity as our leaders. If ever there was a “Klal Yisrael” (one people) moment, this visit provided it.” Read more
Thinking Globally, Acting Locally. By Michael Feinstein, President and CEO, JCC of Greater Washington, MD, USA on December, 2015
“…Creating personal connections is fundamental to our mission. While we are a JCC in Montgomery County, Maryland, we live in a global world. When we have personal connections we are more likely to take action when we see a need. Jews across the globe have a shared history, religion and set of values that inform our shared purpose as a people. Part of that purpose is to help Jews in need wherever they are: “All Jews are all responsible for each other (Kol Yisrael arevim zeh b’zeh)…. By thinking globally and acting locally we can create deeper connections to Jewish communities around the world and our broader community here at home…” Read more
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
At JCC Global conference in Jerusalem, French academic Diana Pinto tells of a return to pre-Holocaust culture and thought in a community that stays because it wants to….Speaking at the Jewish Community Center’s world conference in Jerusalem last week, however, European historian Dr. Diana Pinto assured the 500 strong crowd from 24 countries across the Diaspora that neither in 2015, nor in the foreseeable future, will Europe’s 1.4 million Jews be packing their “cardboard suitcases” and fleeing.” For the full interview click here.
Organizations in the XXI Century. By Mario Izcovich, Director of Leatid, the European Center for Jewish Leadership, EJP, November 17, 2015
“Communities create boundaries. Sometimes boundaries are necessary: to define who is member of an organization, to define in a Community who is a Jew, who can make decisions, the fees, etc. But this leaves people out. Especially those that are different from the mainstream. [This text was presented at the JTalks during the JCC Global Conference held in November 2015.]” Read here the complete article or watch the talk.
There’s a JCC in Turkey? By Maayan Jaffe, EJP, November 12, 2015
““We have to keep Judaism alive and sparkling. The younger generation is moving away from religion and becoming more secular. So we need some sparks, energy, and enthusiasm,” says Sami Azar, a volunteer with the Turkish Chief Rabbinate Foundation – the Jewish Community of Turkey, otherwise known as the Turkish Jewish Community Center or T.J.C. Azar, who lives in Izmir, runs a smaller JCC program about a 45-minute plane ride from Istanbul, where two larger JCCs are established. In his town of nearly 4 million people, only about 1,700 are Jewish.” To learn more about the Jewish Community in Turkey click here.
“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
“…“By studying your roots,” says Bar-Akiva, “this is a great way to strengthen your own Jewish identity. Secondly, by seeing how Jewish identity is played out in other communities [by seeing other teens’ trees] it broadens your horizons of what Jewish identity is, and broadens the definition of what it means to be a Jew. For example, now they [the teenagers from Orange County and from Israel] know what the Jewish community in Mexico City is all about [through the visit], a community that takes their Judaism seriously. It gives them an understanding of what it means to be a part of the Jewish people….” Read more about this Amitim-Fellows “Family Tree” joint project.
JCCs As The Big Tent. Published by the The Jewish Week on October 26, 2015
The Jewish Week interviewed Smadar Bar-Akiva, JCC Global Executive Director. For the full interview click here.
No Decision About Me, Without Me. Published by EJP on June 14, 2015
“No decision about me, without me” – this core statement presented by Janet Leech, the Head of Learning Disabilities at Enfield Council in London at the conclusion of JCC Global’s Amitim Fellows Special Needs Seminar captures the essence of a groundbreaking experience. Executive directors, senior staff members and volunteers from the Mazal Tov JCC in Zaporizhzhia (Ukraine), the Shore Front Y in New York and the Eilat Community Centers in Israel gathered in London to learn about the services and programs provided for individuals with special needs as part of their effort to make their own JCCs and JCCs around the world more inclusive. Janet and the many other individuals that they met brought home a more comprehensive approach to inclusion, a real effort to listen to the people who receive service and ways of realizing the great potential of people with disabilities.” Read more in this link.
Time to Encourage – Not Discourage – Jews in France. Published by EJP on January 13, 2015
“On Wednesday, we were all Charlie, shocked and sad, stunned by the horror. On Thursday, we were all Charlie and Cops, in memory of the courageous young policewoman killed by the terrorist. On Friday, we were Jews more than ever, mourning the horrible death of our four brothers. On Sunday, we marched, proudly with more than 3.5 million French to show with force our rejection of terror and mark our attachment to our country, its values and motto: Liberté Egalité Fraternité which mean Freedom, Equality and Fraternity. On Monday, we organized with the police and the army, the board and the lay leaders the protection of our JCC, our community and our children. But from today we go back to our educational programs so that our neighbors will know us better. We will also continue all the projects we do with other religions, because we have a strong connection with them and we have faith of a better future if we all work towards it. We will also continue to work with children and youth because we strongly feel that now, more than ever, Education is the strongest army we have against terrorism.” Read more in this link.
Meet Luciana Friedmann, President of the Jewish Community of Timisoara and a Fellow in JCC Global’s “Amitim-Fellows-A Global Leadership Network“. Published by EJP on January 6, 2015
Romania is home to approximately 8,000 Jews, spread across the country in thirty-eight population centers including more rural locales. Due to the demographic balance of Romanian Jewry, however, it is believed that in one generation’s time, the community will find itself reduced to five hubs: Bucharest, Oradea, Iași, Cluj-Napoca, and Timișoara. This re-arrangement of community life is very much planned for. For one, these five cities each either have a Jewish community center or are in the process of planning for one. Moreover, FEDROM has been encouraged to institute democratic mechanisms and initiate a transition of authority to younger leaders from within the community. One of these leaders of Luciana Friedmann, who has been President of the Jewish Community of Timișoara since 2010, when she was elected at the age of 32. To read to full interview click here.
Jewish Peoplehood? Peoplehood? People? Belonging? In the past few decades we have been constantly trying to look at what defines us, what unites us, but maybe the answer is that there is no simple answer. Maybe, there is no answer at all? Read more.
Why Was the JCC Global Budapest Conference Different Than Any Other? Published by EJP on July 23, 2014
The simple answer: Because JCCs, perhaps more than any other institution, have members … Jews who are a natural constituency for the work we do and whose lives are changed by their involvement in our work. Therefore, when we recruited the senior leadership of 27 JCCs from 12 countries – Canada, England, France, Hungary, Israel, Mexico, Moldova, Poland, Romania, Ukraine, USA and Venezuela – serving more than 300,000 Jews annually and managing a total budget of close to $200,000,000 – we knew that the potential for impact was enormous. Read more.
Changing the Landscape of Eastern Europe? Published by EJP on April 9, 2014
It is through the crossing of boundaries and the breaking down of institutional walls that dreams and ideas can soar, optimizing our financial, human, and natural resources. by Lisa Braun Glazer, Ph.D. So often, as philanthropists, we donate money to worthy institutions and causes but never actually meet those who are benefiting from our dollars, or if we do, the impact is limited to those people. My recent experience in bringing three vibrant young Jewish professionals from their Eastern European communities… Read more.
World Confederation of Jewish Community Centers is Now JCC Global. Published by EJP on April 9, 2014
JCC Global has been officially announced as the new name for the World Confederation of Jewish Community Centers. Founded in 1977 as the umbrella organization of more than 1,100 Jewish Community Centers around the world, the organization felt it was time to give a new look and feel that reflects its current dynamism and relevance. This change goes hand in hand as the “Amitim-Fellows – A Global Leadership Network” three year program is launched. Read more.
How Do You Teach the Story of Hanukkah to the Children of the Jewish Community of Greece? Published by EJP on December 4, 2013
Before scrolling down to the bottom of this article to find the answer, I want to share with you with you what we learned on a recent World Confederation of JCCs (now JCC Global) Study Seminar to the Jewish Community of Greece. While focusing our visit on what it means to be a young Jew in Greece today, one cannot ignore the exchange of philosophical, theological, social, cultural and economic ties between Jews and Greeks, dating back some 2500 years. Read more.
Birthright Without Borders. Published by EJP on June 26, 2013
One of the most thrilling moments in every Birthright Mega event, such as the special one celebrated tonight, is when delegations from various countries are being recognized and cheers in different languages and accents resonate around the stadium. I have heard many say that this is when they truly felt part of a global Jewish people. Read more.
How Do You Say Jewish Peoplehood in French? Published by EJP on March 17, 2013
How do you say Jewish Peoplehood in French? The answer is: you don’t. There isn’t such a word in French. Once again this demonstrates how very often the North America-Israel dialogue leaves out other countries and cultures. At the same time, when you dig deep down at what does Peoplehood or Amiut (in Hebrew) actually mean, French Jews fit right in. As individuals and as a community they strongly feel a sense of belonging to the Jewish People and a shared responsibility with other Jews. Read more.
Will the Pan European Endeavor Survive? General and Jewish Perspectives. Published by EJP on November 28, 2012
While the economic crisis in Europe is making front page headlines and the fate of the EU is being questioned, we gathered with 250 Jewish leaders in Marseilles, France, for the 5th Conference of the European Association of JCCs. Dominique Moisi, a noted French political scientist, opened his lecture quoting a Chinese proverb: “A starving camel is still larger than a horse.” Europe might be suffering, he said, but it is still an important force in the world. Read more.
Revisiting JCCs in the FSU 20 Years Later. Published by EJP on November 2012
It was 20 years ago when Genia Lvova from St. Petersburg, Kira Verkhovskaya from Odessa, Michail Goldenberg from Nikolaev – and a handful of other visionaries in various cities – set around their respective kitchen tables with some of their closest friends unveiling their forgotten Jewish roots. At first, they did a lot of studying and soul searching and then they felt it was time to take the lead and recreate Jewish life across the Former Soviet Union. They weren’t raised in vibrant Jewish communities, yet had a vision of what a Jewish community should be. Read more.
Can Innovation and Sustainability Go Hand in Hand? Published by EJP on August 24, 2012
Aimed at revitalizing the established Jewish community, the wide array of innovative projects initiated by young Jews has recently gone center stage. Yet, very often the question is asked how many new initiatives can the Jewish community sustain over time? One cannot but admire start-up projects that range from tours for individuals with special needs to educational computer games, from educating for peace to Jewish animation. Read more.
A Hidden Jewish Gem in the Midwest. Published by EJP on May 12, 2012
“You are going where?” was the question asked time and again when I said I was leading a WCJCC delegation from five countries to the JCC of Milwaukee. While not as exotic as some of our recent travel destinations, we found a JCC that exemplifies community building and Jewish education at its best. At the conclusion of three intensive days we learned a thing or two on how to do things right: Read more.
Jewish Peoplehood from Abstract to Action: We Did It. Published by EJP on April 3, 2012
It is not an easy task to translate the abstract notion of Jewish Peoplehood into action. And even more so, to develop a positive sense of belonging that is not anchored in sorrow and grief; a connection that celebrates cross cultural differences while striving to find common ground. At the World Confederation of JCCs (now JCC Global) we have just deciphered this secret. How? Read more.
Network-Weaving with Smadar Bar-Akiva. Published by EJP on February 5, 2012
Deborah Fishman sits with Smadar Bar-Akiva. This interview is part of the Network-Weaver Series. Read more.
Who are the target audiences of Jewish artists in Europe? What values are they looking to express and transmit? What is their relationship with the organized Jewish community? Are there boundaries to their creativity? Do the above questions even matter? These are some of the issues that were debated last week at the first ever European Seminar on Innovation and Creativity in Jewish Culture. Read more.
The Secrets of Jewish Lisbon. Published by EJP on April 21, 2011
The loads of tourists roaming through the sunny streets of Lisbon hardly know that the quaint neighborhoods of Alfama, Chiado and Baxia were once home to approximately 200,000 Jews, 25% of Lisbon’s citizens. The time was the 15th Century when Jews enjoyed a Golden Age of success and integration, taking part in Portugal’s era of world discoveries and expansions. Read more.
Triangles that Transform Personal Angles and Perspectives. Published by EJP on January 2, 2011
What brings together Erik, Ianina and Ido? How can falafel, hamburger and empanada go together? How can reform, orthodox and secular Jews participate in one program? Can they develop a shared vision? Our answer is the Tri-Center Project. The project connects a Jewish Community Center in Israel with a counterpart in North America and a third partner from another Jewish community somewhere else in the world. Read more.
“All rights to Jews as citizens, no rights to Judaism as a nation” was the basic modus vivendi of French Jewry from the time of the French revolution. “Laicite” was the main principal and it meant a secular society, a total separation of Church and Sate. “Communtarism,” belonging to a community, was considered a dirty word. For a Jewish community, dating back to Roman times that was able to grow and prosper, adhering to the notion of full integration into French society was crucial. World War II shattered that ideal and shook the Jewish community. Following the war, the Jewish Federation of France (FSJU) was established – the first institution to include the word “Jewish” in its title. Read more.
Jew in Europe are Alive and Well… Published by EJP on November 16, 2010
If you ask the average Jew in Israel or North America what is the status of Jewish life in Europe, you will probably hear that “they suffer from growing anti Semitism”, “their communities are shrinking” and “the young people are not affiliated”. While there is no doubt that keeping the Jewish flame alive in today’s Europe is a challenge, the 350 participants from 31 countries singing at Shabbat dinner during the recent Pan European Conference of Jewish Community Centers and Communities in London (October 21-24) left no doubt that Jewish renewal in Europe is alive and well. Read more.