Jewish lifehas always balanced
Through a complicated and often challengingbalancing act, the Jews have survived for thousandsof years and—60 years ago—achieved their ownstate once more.
At JCC Association, we alsobalance change and tradition,looking for different andinnovative ways to carry on ourlong-established work.
Our goal is always to help JCCs engage theircommunities, but we’re continuously trying to reachthat goal through new efforts and initiatives.Those programs and services fall into fourbroad categories:
We act as conveners for the JCC Movement
, andin 2007 we organized some remarkably pioneeringmeetings along with our customary conferences.
We imagine and create extraordinary JCCprograms
for all age groups to enjoy, and 2007 sawthe 25th anniversary celebration of our oldest—JCCMaccabi Games—and the beginnings of our newest—an adult engagement program called Journeys, fromthe Mandel Center for Jewish Education.
We provide expertise, grants, and consultation
tohelp JCCs deal with day-to-day operations, and oneof our most successful initiatives—JCC Excellence:the Benchmarking Project—came to fruition in 2007.
And we inspire Jewish journeys
—in our staff, in ourvolunteers, in our service men and women in thearmed forces, and in our JCC community.We did all this in 2007, just as we have for manyyears before, and hope to do for many years tocome. We balanced change and tradition, givingJCCs new ways to continue to inspire and connectwith their communities.
There is a great deal o discussion today in the nonprot world about qualitative outcomemeasures, and how we “know” that we have made an impact. In a mission-oriented enterprisesuch as the Jewish Community Center, so much o that outcome is subjective: Did people’slives become better? Did they move ahead on a Jewish journey that was inspired by theirconnection(s) with the JCC? Did a sta member infuence their lives in some special way? Wasthe individual or amily exposed to new ideas and new activities through an opportunity thatonly a JCC provides?We went a step urther in 2007 to measure our impact. We rened our benchmarks, developedthrough the Mandel Center or Excellence in Leadership and Management. We now knowobjectively how we inspire those Jewish journeys. We can quantiy the JCC’s eect on buildingcommunity. And we have clear and objective standards or the management and nancialstability o the JCC. Twenty-six communities participated in the 2006 JCC Excellence: TheBenchmarking Project, and learned their results in early 2007. Later in the year, even morecommunities joined this exciting eort, and we added a module to measure sta satisaction. Weare truly working hard to dene excellence at the JCC, and we will know more and more aboutthose outcomes in the near uture.Our JCC signature programs grew in 2007: We saw the second year o JCC Maccabi ArtsFest®.With support rom the National Federation/Agency Alliance, GesherCity expanded to 12communities with a new and dynamic Web presence. An Ethical Start®, with the support o theMarcus, Brill, and Righteous Persons Foundations, continues to permeate the early childhoodprograms at JCCs, and the Mandel Center or Jewish Education began work on Journeys: AdultJews Living and Learning, along with The Goodman Family Institute:
My Israel,a new Israel education program or our resident camps supported by the Goodman Family Foundation. The Merrin Center or Teen Services saw its th class o Teen Proessional Fellows join the 57 young proessionals who have already completed this important program. And,through our partnership with The AVI CHAI Foundation, we welcomed a new class o residentcamp directors to Lekhu Lakhem: Jewish and Educational Journeys or Resident Camp Directors.
This was a year of growth, of meaning, and of real impact. We helpedlocal JCCs to enrich their communities, thereby strengthening theJewish community across North America.
Alan P. SolowChair
Alan P. SolowAllan Finkelstein