Esther Leah Ritz Emerging JCC Leaders

Download a printable PDF of the program booklet

The Institute

Is your JCC striving to achieve excellence? Are you working to create a truly effective board? Are your future leaders ready to step into key leadership roles?

The JCC Association Esther Leah Ritz Emerging JCC Leaders Institute is designed to involve your future leaders in understanding what exceptional leadership really means, and to appreciate that leadership is intentional and learned.

Emerging JCC Leaders have the responsibility to bring their JCCs into the future. JCC Association is dedicated to assuring that JCCs have the best, most committed, and well-trained leaders—in other words, exceptional!

Now is your chance to help prepare them and simultaneously, to honor them. Encourage your future leader(s) to attend this leadership institute and reinforce how important it is for your JCC to develop informed, committed and dynamic leaders.

This JCC Association premier leadership development training program is named in honor of JCC Association Honorary Chair Esther Leah Ritz, who passed away in 2003. As an active leader in Milwaukee and in continental and international arenas, Esther Leah was a visionary who led with great distinction. In addition to holding the presidency of the Harry & Rose Samson Family JCC of Milwaukee, she served as president of JWB board of directors, the forerunner of JCC Association, took on the presidency of the JCC Association-Florence G. Heller Research Center, and chaired the World Confederation of JCCs (now JCC Global). She was the recipient of one of JCC Association’s highest honors, the Community Builders Award.

The prestigious Esther Leah Ritz Emerging JCC Leaders Institute is the ideal commemoration of a woman who exemplified the noblest tradition of communal leadership.

Please designate your candidate(s) online at this fall. You will be registering your emerging leader for the Biennial at the same time. For more information about the Esther Leah Ritz Emerging JCC Leadership Awards & Institute, please contact Dori Denelle at tel: (651) 452-2219 or email:

The Program

The Esther Leah Ritz Emerging JCC Leaders Institute will be held at the JCCs of North America Biennial in Baltimore, May 15-18, 2016.

This institute is designed to assist your newly emerging leaders in enhancing the skills needed to assume top leadership in your JCC.

Esther Leah Ritz Emerging JCC Leaders are crucial to the JCC Movement, and the Biennial is considered a starting point in a long-term relationship among the future leaders of the movement.

The dedicated program for the Esther Leah Ritz Emerging JCC Leaders begins on Saturday night May 14, and continues through Tuesday afternoon, May 17. There will be ample time to attend the overall Biennial sessions.

Participants should plan to arrive in Baltimore in time for the Saturday night program. All programs take place at the Baltimore Marriott Waterfront.


SATURDAY, MAY 14, 2016
9:00–10:30 P.M.
Esther Leah Ritz Emerging JCC Leaders Institute Reception, welcome and program introduction

SUNDAY, MAY 15, 2016
9:00–11:00 A.M.
Esther Leah Ritz Emerging JCC Leaders Institute (by invitation)
The Art of Leadership in a Rapidly Changing World
In this interactive session, build your leadership expertise to become a more self-aware leader. How do we adapt, thrive and move forward to create innovation out of constant change?
Presenter: Judah Pollack, writer, speaker, coach specializing in leadership development, and author of The Chaos Imperative

11:00 A.M.–12:30 P.M.
Esther Leah Ritz Emerging JCC Leaders Institute (by invitation)
Successes and Challenges in the JCC Movement
Share with and learn from your colleagues about key JCC successes and challenges. What’s hot and innovative and what’s keeping us up at night? (Followed by lunch)
Presenter: Dori Denelle, vice president and certified governance consultant, JCC Association
Jeff Tuvlin, 2016 chair, Esther Leah Ritz Emerging Leaders Institute, Louisville, KY

12:45–2:00 P.M.
Esther Leah Ritz Emerging JCC Leaders Institute (by invitation)
On Being a Jewish Leader in A JCC
What does it mean to be a leader in the JCC Movement? What is the role of the JCC in creating Jewish identity and a sense of Jewish peoplehood? And why is the JCC uniquely positioned to be THE place for Jewish community building?
Presenter: Avraham Infeld, president emeritus, Hillel; founder and director of a succession of innovative educational institutions, has invested a lifetime building Jewish identity and strengthening the state of Israel and the Jewish people.

MONDAY, MAY 16, 2016
Esther Leah Ritz JCC Emerging Leaders
Breakfast and Seminar: Leadership Roundtable
Take this opportunity to meet with other Esther Leah Ritz leaders who are wrestling with similar issues in their JCCs. Participate in two roundtable discussions to network, share ideas, and create innovative solutions.

TUESDAY, MAY 17, 2016
Esther Leah Ritz Emerging JCC Leaders Lunch with JCC Executives: Where Do We Go From Here?
Now comes the real work – how do we take what we’ve learned back to our JCCs? After reviewing our key takeaways, participants will work with their executive directors/CEOs to craft a plan for new responsibilities back home. How will we put into practice what we’ve learned in the Esther Leah Ritz Emerging JCC Leaders Institute?
Facilitator: Dori Denelle

Questions? Contact Dori Denelle, JCC Association, 651-452-2219 or