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Boulder JCC Participates in JCCA’s First Innovation Lab: Jerusalem

The Boulder JCC will be joining 23 other JCCs in Jerusalem to take part in JCC Association’s (JCCA) first JCC Innovation Lab: Jerusalem in early November. The four days will explore “Technology, Talent, Tolerance, and Tradition,” and how innovators in Israel are grappling with such issues.

Jonathan Lev, Executive Director of the Boulder JCC and Julie Shaffer, Executive Director of Oreg Foundation, will spend their time reimagining how JCCs can reshape the Jewish communal conversation. This strategic visioning incubator will focus on what it means to be a JCC in the future as we seek to implement change and face the challenges ahead.

“Israel provides such an incredible example of what is possible in the startup world and innovation in a number of sectors. The connections to Boulder are tremendous, and I look forward to experiencing them with other JCC leaders from all over North America.”     – Jonathan Lev

Julie Shaffer and Jonathan Lev at 2014 Reflections event
Julie Shaffer and Jonathan Lev at 2014 Reflections event

The 56 attending Innovation Lab: Jerusalem include JCC lay leaders, executive directors and a “rising star” from each participating JCC’s staff, who might be someone who has demonstrated successful participation in JCC Association specialty tracks. The rising stars are attending through funding from the Lenny Rubin Staff Training in Israel Fund.

The four days of the conference each address a theme and include speakers considered leaders and creative thinkers in their fields. Some of the speakers and presenters include Hanan Brand, founder and chairman of Made in JLM, a Jerusalem-based entrepreneur with a background in venture capital and private equity; Gilah Kahn-Hoffman, the liaison with Christian Communities and Institutions, a unit for development entrepreneurship in East Jerusalem; and Oded Barel Guy Cherni of Siftech Accelerator, a hands-on accelerator that leverages the power of the community to grow early-stage start-ups. The program runs from Nov. 1-3 and Nov. 6-8, and participants are encouraged to attend JCC Global’s 9th World Conference of Jewish Community Centers in between.

According to Leah Garber, JCC Association vice president and director of JCC Israel Center, Israel, and Jerusalem in particular, is known for its holiness, multifaceted traditions and layers of history, culture, as well as for the tension that accompanies complex political realities. “Innovation Lab: Jerusalem is aiming to look into all these fascinating characteristics of Israel’s capital and to understand why such an amazing ecosystem of creativity and innovation grew in this relatively small city of 800,000 residents,” she says.

Much of the learning takes place out and about in Jerusalem, including a panel discussion on innovation in film, art and music at the Bezalel Academy for Arts and Design; a visit to Azrieli College of Engineering: AtoBe Accelerator; and chevruta, or partner study, at BINA: Center for Jewish Identity and Hebrew Culture; as well as at other locations.

 “Through the Lab we hope to inspire participants to adapt Lab’s presented ideas and adjust them to address their local JCC’s vision and needs and to share a ‘relevant Israel,’” says Garber, “one that can inspire Jewish community centers to connect and engage with the people of Israel beyond the country’s history, tradition, and collective Jewish values.”

About JCC Association:

JCC Association is the leadership network for the Jewish Community Center Movement comprising 350 JCC, YM-YWHA, and campsites in the U. S. and Canada. JCC Association offers a wide range of services and resources to strengthen the capacity of its affiliates to provide educational, cultural, social, Jewish identity-building and recreational programs to enhance the lives of North American Jews of all ages and backgrounds. Additionally, the movement fosters and strengthens connections between North American Jews and Israel as well as with world Jewry. JCC Association is also a U.S. government-accredited agency for serving the religious and social needs of Jewish military personnel, their families, and patients in VA hospitals through JWB Jewish Chaplains Council.

About the Boulder JCC:

The Boulder Jewish Community Center’s [Boulder JCC] mission is to provide programs and services based in Jewish values and traditions in a place where people of all ages and backgrounds gather to connect, exchange ideas, learn, and grow together. As a 501c3, the Boulder JCC is recognized both nationally and internationally for its innovative approaches to engagement with next generation Jewish life and connecting families through meaningful experiences and philanthropy. The Boulder JCC is in the process of developing a brand new 10-acre campus in East Boulder with the over $24 Million raised from over 730 individuals, families, and foundations. As the community convener and one of the central addresses of Jewish life in Boulder County and beyond, the Boulder JCC is home to one of the best Boulder preschools and day/overnight camps as well as baby, toddler, youth, family, teen, young adult, adult, arts and culture, and community programs.

About Cynthia Weinger

Marketing and Communications Director at the Boulder JCC.

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