This week I had the pleasure of spending time with almost 100 different JCC leaders from around the globe at a convening in Houston, TX, called, “Mifgash,” a Hebrew word that refers to communal encounters and connections made in the spirit of learning. I also had the privilege of participating in a special track within the experience known as “Kivunim,” or direction. This experience was designed for new JCC executives, and provides us with not only learning opportunities, and support, but also a cohort of peers doing similar work.
Nothing has been easy over the past two years, but operating a community center has been a unique challenge. It is therefore fruitful to navigate with colleagues experiencing the same troubled waters. We often asked ourselves, having managed the pandemic, what else might we be capable of?
It’s a bold question, but also an inspiring one. It’s also a variation on what’s been driving our strategic planning here at the Kaiserman JCC these past few months. Collectively, as a movement, JCCs represent some staggering numbers, including:
- Serving annually more than 1.5 million people across the United States and Canada
- Employing almost 30,000 staff members
- Serving over 35,000 children in our early childhood centers, and 80,000 campers during the summer in our camps
It may therefore not actually be bold, but rather an obligation for us to ask substantial questions about our inherent possibility.
For us here at Kaiserman, we believe this means doubling down on our mission over the next several years to foster connections and community. The pandemic has meant separation, dissolution, and missed moments of meaning. We plan to help knit our neighborhood back together, person by person. Over the next several weeks we will be sharing much more information about the fruits of our strategic plan that is almost finished, and our vision for the JCC here in Philadelphia. Expect mifgash, and kivunim!