A Letter from Paula Sidman & Allan Finkelstein

We present this JCC Movement Vision and Statement of Principles for the 21st Century with great pleasure and pride. It reflects over “1000 Jewish Conversations” that were initiated at the 2010 Biennial in Atlanta with the question: “What kind of Jewish lives do people want to lead, and how can we make it possible for them to do so?” Through the leadership of our metropolitan JCC executives, a serious discussion began, which continued throughout the year in gatherings of more than 70 JCC executives, with colleagues in Israel, and at well over 30 JCC boards. The conversations centered on five critical aspects of JCCs:

  • The JCC is a builder of Jewish identity, and plays a critical role for individuals and families in stimulating and supporting the search
    for lives of Jewish meaning and purpose.
  • The JCC clearly both builds Jewish community, and communities, while engaging actively with the larger community around it, bringing Jewish life, values, and culture to the broader community.
  • The JCC is a convener, a “living room“ where discussions on controversial topics can take place in open and inviting and
    respectful ways.
  • The JCC is a connector to other Jewish organizations and institutions.
  • The JCC brings its members and the community closer to Israel and to Jewish people around the world.

A Jewish Community Center, by its nature, is a local institution and reflects the reality of its community. This vision and these principles express the shared beliefs that bind us together as a continental JCC Movement. It is also a living document that, in the best of our tradition, invites ongoing commentary and conversation. It will understandably take on both local and continental nuances. The adoption of this Statement of Principles is an historic moment in the evolution of the JCC Movement as a significant force in North American Jewish life.

We would like to give special thanks to the metropolitan executives group for their initiative in this endeavor; to Mark Sokoll and Carol Trager of the JCCs of Greater Boston for drafting the original statement; and to literally thousands of JCC lay and professional leaders for their serious deliberation and input.

With gratitude,

Paula L. Sidman
Board of Directors
Chair, JCC Association

Allan Finkelstein
President & CEO
JCC Association

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