Delegation from Columbus JCC Gathers with North American Jewish Community Leaders for JCCA Biennial
Pictured are Front Row (L-R) – JCCA President Allan Finkelstein, Bonnie Finkelstein, Jamie Topolosky; Middle Row (L-R) – Lisa Newmark, Carol Folkerth, Lindsay Schottenstein, Babs Miller, Sid Miller; Back Row (L-R) – Richard Williams, Ben Zacks, and Joe Sniderman
At the end of March, 600 leaders from Jewish communities all over the USA and Canada came together for the five-day JCC Association Biennial conference, themed “Building Connections.” The Biennial is held every two years to bring JCC representatives together to learn from each other, share ideas, and make new connections while strengthening existing bonds.
“It was an inspiring experience to be with over 600 delegates from around the world, all dedicated to the mission and work of the JCC. We took one of the largest delegations ever and the learning – from excellent presenters – and from others in our field – was outstanding,” said Carol Folkerth, JCC Executive Director.
Delegates from 77 communities celebrated the most innovative, dynamic programming in each of their communities, bringing the brightest and most visionary minds together to focus on what JCCs do so well, and what can be done to make them even better. In 100 sessions featuring more than 50 speakers—experts in their fields—JCC minds met to explore how we can continue to engage the Jewish community and sustain Jewish life as we face the challenges of the 21st century.
Lisa Newmark, JCC Board of Trustees President, reflected on the event. “Attending the Biennial is always a great experience. There are great learning opportunities. I have found that whenever I return home from any regional or national conference of a Jewish organization, I am always so happy to be returning to our Columbus Jewish Community. Time after time Columbus proves to be a special place, and our JCC continues to lead the way.”
Jamie Topolosky also attended the 2014 JCCA Biennial excited to meet Jewish leaders from all over the world. “Everyone at the Biennial was beyond friendly. The sessions were informative and motivating; they made me want to come back to our own Columbus JCC and inspire and encourage our own members to become more involved, and to show our city what being a part of the JCC community really means.”
Topolosky, like the other Jewish leaders from Columbus who attended, including Lisa Newmark, Lindsay Schottenstein, Joe Sniderman, Babs Miller, Sid Miller, Richard Williams, and Ben Zacks, learned that a JCC is about connecting Jewish interests globally and to bring to action the goal of Tikkun Olam (repairing the world), while supporting individuals’ and families’ desires to engage, gain knowledge and pursue better lives.
In addition to learning from JCC representatives across North America, the Columbus JCC delegation also taught Biennial participants about our programs, sharing with them what makes programs like our summer camps and Early Childhood Education so strong. “The JCC is about relationships, a gathering place, somewhere we can go and have a sense of community,” Topolosky added.