Two North American Jewish Community Centers Awarded Funding from Zionism 3.0 Project
Winning programs will address antisemitism biases and strengthen post-pandemic Jewish community
NEW YORK, NY—Zionism 3.0, an initiative of the Oshman Family JCC in Palo Alto, California, was held online during the week of Hanukkah in 2020. Scaled from what began in 2015 as a one-day, in-person event designed to promote a stronger relationship between Diaspora Jewry and Israel, this year’s gathering reached thousands of participants around the world. The event brought together leading voices from across the political spectrum to debate, converse, and create a new model of Jewish engagement that transcends political and religious affiliations, elevates Jews’ sense of responsibility to each other, and encourages the act of collective giving.
A global Z3 Giving Circle was created with funds from the event’s ticket sales. Based on voting by participants, the funds were allocated, in direct proportion to votes received, to seven Jewish Community Centers and Jewish Community Camps (JCC) around the world, including two in North America, for programming in specific categories. The categories were: Tikkun Olam; Art and Culture; Community; Holidays, Rituals, Shabbat; Learning and Education; Identity; and Safety and Security.
The York JCC in Pennsylvania—a state that has seen a surge of 150% in antisemitic activity during the last five years—received funding in the safety and security category that it will use for “iConnect,” shorthand for “Israel Connection,” the JCC’s annual educational summit that engages “star-powered” speakers and uses the high-caliber conversations they initiate to address anti-Israel and antisemitism biases in central Pennsylvania, as well as provides a model to address other biases in our society.
In the category of community, the Shimon and Sara Birnbaum JCC in Bridgewater, New Jersey, received funding it will use to launch “Project Kesher,” a new initiative designed to revitalize Jewish life and a sense of Jewish connection with others as people return to the JCC following the pandemic. Using a track-based format (food and wine; arts and culture; tikkun olam; or Israel and world Jewry), participants will attend three events over the course of three months in their track, culminating in a large communal gathering of all participants at the end of the program.
According to Leah Garber, JCC Association’s vice president of Israel Engagement and director of the Center for Israel Engagement, “JCC Association is proud to support the Z3 Project and its Giving Circle through the Israel Engagement Fund and the board committee on Israel engagement. The programs funded by this year’s tremendously successful initiative will help JCCs and their members enhance their understanding of Israel and connect to the people, history, and contemporary issues of the country we all love.”
About JCC Association of North America
JCC Association of North America leads and connects the JCC Movement, advancing and enriching North American Jewish life. With 1.5 million people walking through the doors of more than 170 Jewish Community Centers and Jewish Community Camps (JCCs) each week, the JCC Movement is the largest platform for Jewish engagement on the continent. JCC Association, the convening organization of this dynamic network, partners with JCCs to bring together the collective power and knowledge of the entire JCC Movement, including 12,000 full-time and 41,000 part-time and seasonal professionals. By supporting them, together we enhance and strengthen Jewish life throughout North America. Learn more at JCCA.org or on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.