For the first time in more than twenty years, JCC Association has put forward a new statement of principles for the JCC Movement. Initiated by a group of executive directors at the largest JCCs, this statement grew out of many further discussions with board members and executive directors all over the continent. The statement of principles was formally presented at the JCCs of North America Biennial in New Orleans in May, and is now online.
The statement is a response to the great changes in the Jewish community in the past several decades. North American Jews are much more diverse and dispersed than they were, with a changing relationship to existing institutions. Jewish Community Centers are ideally placed to welcome such an individualistic and discerning community.
The statement is a vision of where the JCC Movement can go in the future while it holds on to its traditional role as a connector, convener, and community builder. Six principles emphasize the JCC’s role as a central destination in Jewish life, a place where people can find out for themselves what kinds of Jewish lives they want to lead. “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,” say Paula Sidman, chair of JCC Association, and Allan Finkelstein, president, in their letter to the JCC field.