Global JCC Leaders: Forming Connections between Jews most Important Challenge

A special survey in preparation for the 9th World Conference of JCCs reveals JCC leaders around the world believe that their main challenge is to strengthen the connection of Jews to the Jewish People and the organized Jewish community.

The survey explored the challenges facing JCCs. More than a a hundred executive directors and senior lay leaders of JCCs from nineteen countries participated. The survey was conducted in preparation for the 9th World Conference of JCCs that will take place in Jerusalem this week, with more than 400 delegates attending, from 23 countries, including North America, Latin America, Europe, Russian speaking countries, Israel, India and the Philippines.

The survey shows that despite the geographical, political and cultural differences, most JCC leaders have a similar view of the challenges that they face. 66% believe that strengthening the connections of Jews to the Jewish People is among the three most important challenges facing the Jewish People. 52% selected connecting Jews to the organized Jewish community. These positive responses, which focus on forming connections between Jews – stands in contrast to the more general and reactive challenges of “anti-Semitism” and “fighting assimilation,” which just 28% and 27% respectively selected as among their top three challenges.

The question of personal security was also raised in the survey. 71% of respondents feel safe in their countries. Only 21% said they did not feel safe – with a majority of Jews from France and Latin America choosing this answer. 46% felt that the level of security in their community did not change due to recent events in Israel. 35% felt a deterioration while 10% felt an improvement.

When asked what factors contribute to their sense of insecurity, 47% mentioned the rise of anti-Semitism, 27% felt that it was due to the recent terror attacks in Israel, 27% thought that it was because of internal crime in their countries and 24% felt that it had to do with their connection to Israel. Less than 10% correlated their sense of insecurity to the rise of Islam, the economic situation in their countries or the immigration problem in Europe.