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.



9-10:30 P.M.
Reception, Welcome and Program Introduction
Meet fellow Esther Leah Ritz Emerging leaders, learn program details and begin the journey.

MONDAY, MAY 16, 2016

7:30-8:45 A.M.
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.
2:30 – 5:45 P.M.
Experiential Learning
Participate in an off-site activity designed to enrich our leadership skills while we immerse ourselves in the value of tikkun olam (repairing the world). In modern Jewish circles, tikkun olam has become synonymous with the notion of social action and the pursuit of social justice.
Shimon (the son of Rabban Gamliel) says:
It is not what one says, but rather what one does, that makes all the difference in the world.
–Pirkei Avot 1:17
As leaders in the Jewish communal world it is our responsibility to model this behavior in order to teach it to our community. Our host community, JCCs of Greater Baltimore will help us find an appropriate service project which will be announced as we get closer to the Biennial.

TUESDAY MAY 17, 2016

1:00 – 2:30 P.M.
Lunch Seminar with JCC Executive Directors: Where Do We Go From Here?
Taking it back to your JCC—how can you now make an impact? What is your defined responsibility upon returning home?


Spend this last day—and other non-designated times—attending Biennial seminars and events. This series of events offers a great opportunity for participants to develop relationships with other Esther Leah Ritz Emerging JCC Leaders, and participate in the full Biennial Convention.

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