JCC to Foster More Connections with Sister Cities

From left: JCC of Greater Baltimore CEO Barak Hermann and first vice chair Randi Buergenthal meet with Odessa’s Beit Grand JCC Jewish program director Maryna London at the JCC Global Conference in New York. (Photo provided)

Energized by the JCC Global World Conference that was held in Tarrytown, N.Y., earlier this month, JCC of Greater Baltimore officials are working on programming that would bring closer Baltimore and JCCs in its sister cities of Odessa, Ukraine and Ashkelon, Israel.

As part of the Amitim 2.0-Fellows, a three-year global leadership network program, the JCCs will take part in programming that will facilitate cultural exchanges.

“It’s an opportunity to really focus on connecting Jewish communities from different countries so people have a better sense of global Jewish peoplehood, a strong sense of Jewish communities throughout the world and how Jewish culture is celebrated in different countries,” said Barak Hermann, CEO of the JCC of Greater Baltimore.

While programming is yet to be determined, Randi Buergenthal, first vice chair of the board of the JCC of Greater Baltimore, said they are looking at engaging middle school-age kids in the different communities.

“It’s a unique position to be able to give the same-aged kids in different communities the same programming,” she said.

Buergenthal noted that JCC teens in Baltimore, Odessa and Ashkelon are already working together as part of Baltimore JCC-based 4Front’s social innovation program. A group is developing an app to assess handicap accessibility in restaurants, and they’re meeting teens from the other countries in Ashkelon over winter break to have an innovation summit.



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