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Despite our greatest hopes, the world remains at the mercy of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and frustrated by the uncertainties surrounding the current omicron variant surge. Even with the commitment of many to gather in person in March for JCCs of North America Forward 2022, these circumstances have led us to rethink the prudence of holding the event as originally planned.

While specific local conditions certainly vary, Jewish communal leaders continue to face daunting challenges in JCCs, many of which demand immediate, undivided attention. With the utmost concern for every community’s welfare, therefore, we have concluded that now is not an optimal time to gather our senior leadership in Houston.

From its inception, Forward 2022 was never intended to be a “traditional” JCC biennial conference. Rather, it was being designed to allow leaders to engage in thoughtful dialogue around key questions pertinent to the future of the North American Jewish community beyond the pandemic—conversations about partnerships with philanthropy, collaboration across communities and organizations, Israel as a tool for community building, the pursuit of intentional Jewish outcomes, and the covenantal relationship we have with one another. And conversations to understand that JCCs, with their broad, flexible, and collaborative platform are ideally suited to foster and sustain diverse and emerging Jewish communities.

The foundational purpose of Forward 2022 remains: to convene a congress of JCC Movement leadership for thoughtful, deliberate conversations about becoming something more than what we’ve been—ushering in a bold new era in the history of the JCC Movement. Although we won’t be meeting in Houston, neither are we pivoting the conference to an online platform.

We will develop a plan for how we will proceed and when we will gather. This plan will embody the concepts, format, and purpose originally intended for Houston. For those people who have already registered, information about cancellation and registration fees will be forthcoming. If you have already booked your hotel or travel, you must cancel those reservations on your own.

In the meantime, JCC Association board members, JCC board members, and JCC executive directors/CEOs are invited to join us on Monday, March 28, at 3 p.m. ET for a JCC Movement Leadership Update hosted by Gary E. Jacobs and Doron Krakow.

We are confident that the gathering, no matter how we proceed, will demonstrate JCC Association’s commitment to offer outstanding opportunities and resources to all JCC professionals and lay leaders, furthering our work together in pursuit of greater Jewish community and more vibrant Jewish life from coast to coast.