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Charmed, we’re sure

A look back at Biennial in Baltimore

A few short weeks ago, more than 500 delegates traveled to Baltimore, the Charm City, from JCCs across the continent, and communities around the world, to take part in the 2016 JCCs of North America Biennial.

They learned from keynote speaker Caryl M. Stern, president and CEO of the U.S. Fund for UNICEF, about how one person can make a major difference, and from Amy Webb, a futurist, who took a look at what it might mean to be Jewish in 2046. Dr. Charles Asher Small, founder and executive director of the Institute for Study of Global Anti-Semitism, shared the results of his new research on anti-Semitism and BDS, and three generational experts took the stage to share their insights on how Js can connect to teens, millennials and baby boomers.

JCC Association and JWB Jewish Chaplains Council kicked off a yearlong Centennial celebration with a festive party and an awards ceremony to recognize people who have made a big difference in the movement during its first 100 years.

To keep the celebration going, attendees had the opportunity to join artist-in-residence Jay Wolf Schlossberg-Cohen in the creation of our centennial mural—Making Memories Happen, a Visual Tapestry of Jews in North America. The final product was a beautiful three-paneled collaboration that colorfully reflects our past, present and future and hung as a backdrop to the closing plenary. These panels will travel to JCCs during the Centennial year as part of our Centennial Celebration.

mural

The topic for the always-popular JTalks, our take on TED, was “What Needs to Be Done to Create a Thriving Jewish Community Center for the Next 100 Years.” Five experts shared insight through the lens of camp, early childhood, fitness, development and arts and culture.

Biennial attendees also had several chances to explore Baltimore, with a couple of meals on their own, a host community event at the American Visionary Art Museum, and a trip to JCC Baltimore’s Owings Mills Campus.

More than 50 vendors set up shop in our exhibit hall to introduce their products and services to JCCs, and JCC Association professionals shared more information about what we offer at Js Solution Bar (formerly Js Stakehouse).

Running concurrently with the Biennial was the JWB Training Course for chaplains and lay leaders. Cohorts from the Merrin Teen Fellows, JCC Global, Graduate Scholars, and Esther Leah Ritz Emerging Leaders also spent time learning together during the conference.

Everyone at Biennial was invited to share stories about meaningful JCC, camp or JWB experiences they’ve had over the last 100 years. Hopefully the time in Baltimore was just the beginning of what the next 100 will bring for the JCC Movement.

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