Innovating JCCs

Amy L. Sales, Nicole Samuel, Rachel Minkin, and Fern Chertok

May 2019

Innovating JCC coverThe mid-20th century Jewish community center was built on the model of a brick-and-mortar, full-service, membership-based community center. This model is increasingly out of step with today’s reality. The purpose of the Innovating JCCs study was to seek out new ideas in the field and identify ways that JCCs might break through the old model to become successful 21st century agencies. Lessons from the research are relevant not only to JCCs, but also to synagogues and other legacy institutions in the Jewish community.

The research was initiated and funded by UJA-Federation of New York.

Key Findings

Moving JCCs and other legacy organizations into the 21st century will entail a shift in focus from quantity to quality—a commitment to excellent programs and services and to powerful experiences for participants. Moving into the new century will also require strong leadership—high in creativity, savvy in business, and unafraid of taking action. And it will entail much broader definitions of and attention to community, engagement, and partnerships.