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Inside the Middle East Partners With JCC Association to Provide Seminars for Emerging Community Leaders

May 4, 2023

Joanne Harmon, Chief Marketing Officer, JCC Association of North America, [email protected]



NEW YORK – The Israel-based think tank, Inside the Middle East (ITME) has partnered with JCCAssociation of North America to launch a seminar series for emerging community leadership on a series of topics designed to better empower them to address current events in the region in their communities. The initiative, “ITME On the Road,” kicks off with a series of 10 sessions hosted by five JCCs on the East Coast from May 8th to 22nd.

The sessions will feature Inside the Middle East’s CEO Avi Melamed, former Israeli intelligence official and Jerusalem’s former head of Arab affairs, who will lead sessions on “Inside the Middle East: Entering A New Era,” “The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict: Where Are We Going,” “Israeli Society 2023: Nuances and Paradoxes,” and “Normalization, Peace and Israel’s Geostrategic Environment: The Road to the Abraham Accords and the Path Ahead.”

Melamed’s distinguished background includes gathering and analysis of counterterrorism operational intelligence throughout the Middle East and serving as Jerusalem’s senior government official on Arab affairs during the political upheaval of the first Intifada. At a time when most Jewish Israelis wouldn’t have dared walk into an Arab neighborhood, Melamed, fluent in Arabic, was tasked to foster on-the-ground relationships traveling into their communities almost daily.

Melamed has since gone on to share his expert non-partisan intel through the founding of ITME, with his advanced workshops receiving high acclaim from global policy makers, diplomats, and journalists alike.

“At this critical time when tensions are rising, it has never been more important for emerging leaders to better understand the politics at play in Israel. You cannot rely on media reports alone for this, but rather you need historical context and current analysis. Each of the sessions we have planned is very important because it brings together local community leadership. This program will empower community leaders to foster informed conversations that will generate productive policy discussions surrounding the urgent predicaments we face today,” said Melamed.

JCCs participating in the launch include five throughout New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

Select JCCs will also be offered a preview of Melamed’s upcoming docuseries, The Seam Line, which steers audiences through an unparalleled exploration into the multicultural forces at play in the struggle over – and in – Jerusalem. The five-part series is set to premiere on the streaming platform IZZY: on May 18th.

“JCCs serve as a town square for open dialogue about the most pressing issues confronting the North American Jewish community,” said Doron Krakow, president and CEO of JCC Association of North America. “As we endure these times of uncertainty in Israel’s political trajectory, it has never been more important for our community to engage in constructive conversations that will strengthen ties across the ideological spectrum and safeguard the legacy we will leave for future generations. We are grateful to partner with Avi Melamed and ITME to help make this possible.”

Melamed is a former Israeli intelligence official and the former senior Arab affairs advisor to Jerusalem mayors Teddy Kollek and Ehud Olmert. He is the founder and chief education officer of Inside the Middle East, an independent 501c3 devoted to providing professional knowledge about the Middle East and empowering critical thinking by way of non-partisan and innovative education. To learn more visit:


About JCC Association of North America

JCC Association of North America leads the JCC Movement, which includes more than 170 Jewish Community Centers and Jewish Community Camps (JCCs) and is the most expansive platform for Jewish life in the U.S. and Canada. With 12,000 full-time professionals, 23,000 part-time staff, and 20,000 seasonal staff, the movement also is the largest employer on North America’s Jewish communal landscape. For more than a century, JCC Association has valued and nurtured the growth of these professionals, along with the movement’s 3,000+ lay leaders, providing them all with a breadth and depth of offerings to help them meet the evolving needs of the 1.5 million weekly in-person and online visitors they serve, including individuals, families, communal groups, and others. By virtue of its size and scope and guided and supported by JCC Association, the JCC Movement dynamically influences efforts to create Jewish community, vibrant Jewish life, and intentional and measurable Jewish outcomes—in local communities and across the continent. Learn more at or on LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

Please note that JCC Association of North America should not be referred to as JCCA or the JCC Association but initially as JCC Association of North America and as JCC Association in subsequent references.

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