$1.5 m Leadership Network Program Kicks Off in Budapest Today
Budapest, Hungary, June 15, 2014 – JCC Global, formerly known as the World Confederation of Jewish Community Centers, is launching Amitim Fellows – A Global Leadership Network Program, a first-ever global training initiative that will foster Jewish Peoplehood programming in JCCs around the world. Gathering in Budapest this week, representatives from twenty-seven local JCCs will begin the process that will create and pilot global JCC programs in Canada, England, France, Hungary, Israel, Mexico, Moldova, Poland, Romania, Ukraine, USA and Venezuela. In another first, the JCCs have committed $25,000 each towards the joint global project, with JCCs in the former Soviet Union and Eastern Europe receiving some assistance from JCC Global and the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC).
“We believe that rather than relying on external threats or historic disasters, the sense of belonging to the Jewish People rests more securely on a positive Jewish identity that celebrates the richness and beauty of Jewish life,” said Mark Ramer from New York and Menachem Revivi from Jerusalem, Co-Chairs of the Amitim Fellows Program. “There are many potential benefits in finding common ground and a common agenda among Jews who live far apart from one another – among them, the continued existence of the Jewish People as a thriving, collective entity.”
The nearly sixty Fellows – JCC Executive Directors and Senior Lay Leaders – are joining together with representatives of JCC regional networks and JCC Global board members today [through the 19th] at the Balint JCC in Budapest. At this conference, they will participate in networking opportunities; study together a Jewish Peoplehood curriculum with scholars; brainstorm new ideas and begin to find new partners from at least three different countries to bring those projects to fruition. In addition, they will have the opportunity to see firsthand Jewish renewal in Budapest and understand better what it means to be a Jew today in Europe.
Michael Papo, a Board Member of Shorefront YM-YWHA of Brighton-Manhattan Beach, New York who was chosen as a Fellow enthusiastically said that “Those JCC’s that are fortunate enough to be able to participate in this program will gain new insights, new ideas, and renewed energy in building vibrant local Jewish communities with strong connective links to Israel and worldwide Jewish communities.”
Following the conference, they will return to their communities and begin implementing the joint projects. In November 2015 they will join together [in Israel] for their second conference then return to their communities to conclude the projects during 2016.
JCC Global is an umbrella organization of more than a 1000 JCCs. The main funding for this program comes from JCC Global and from a generous grant allocated by the Commission on the Jewish People of UJA Federation of New York through its partner, The Jewish Agency for Israel. In addition JDC and participating JCCs are also supporting the program.