The Details

The Biennial program has been designed to provide in-depth learning experiences for JCC board members, chairs of major JCC committees, and senior professional staff. The program contains a variety of different modules:

Launching our Centennial Celebration

JCCs have been stronger together for nearly 100 years. We will be launching our Centennial celebration at the Biennial by sharing your JCC’s stories and the importance of the JCC Movement to Jewish life in North America. JCCs have adapted to the Jewish community’s needs by reinventing themselves with each societal and cultural transition. This begins with the Jewish Welfare Board (JWB) meeting the needs of American Jews in the military in 1917, and continues through today, as JCCs meet the needs of a changing Jewish community in 2015. Begin the celebration that kicks off at the Biennial in Baltimore and will culminate in 2017.

Keynote Sessions

Featuring high-profile keynote speakers, our keynote speakers will tackle the challenges we face today, introducing ideas and opportunities that will inspire you and provide insight to shape the future of your JCC.

Building on Our Past to Shape Our Future

Caryl M. Stern, president and CEO of the U.S. Fund for UNICEF. Before being tapped for this incredible job, she had 27 years of non-profit and education experience behind her, having previously served as the chief operating officer and senior associate national director of the Anti-Defamation League, and the founding director of the Anti-Defamation League’s A World of Difference® Institute.

She will speak about how her Holocaust survivor parents influenced her career choices that reflect their values of emphasizing tikkun olam, or repairing the world.

Today’s Generational Sea Change: Engaging Teens, Millennials and Baby Boomers

Teens, millennials and baby boomers are the three generations that JCCs impact the most and who, in turn, have left the greatest mark upon JCCs. Each have different needs, interests and rules of engagement. Hear from our panel of experts about what makes them tick, misconceptions about them and what they have in common –and what your JCC needs to do to reach and engage them.

Dr. Alexis Abramson, leading industry expert and ‘trend spotter’ for those over 50
Dr. David Bryfman, Chief Innovation Officer, The Jewish Education Project
Rabbi Jessy Gross, Director, Charm City Tribe, JCCs of Greater Baltimore
Moderator: Stuart Raynor, CEO, Robert E. Loup Jewish Community Center, Denver, CO

Jewish 2.0: Rebooting the Future of Judaism

The future is here. It is taking shape within your line of sight. Look hard. Squint, if you need to. Can you see it? The future never arrives fully-baked. We can be active participants in shaping it. Let’s start together, today.

Amy Webb, author, futurist and founder of Future Today Institute will share her research and share emerging trends to help JCC leaders think about, prepare and influence what is to come.

In addition to these terrific keynoters, the Biennial is really about the broader opportunities for all the learning, sharing, and networking. We will have an enormous variety of sessions, topics and speakers.

Size of JCC sessions

Three convenings with colleagues in the same Size of JCC will provide a space for conversations where you can think big. Conversations will focus on Deeper Community Engagement, Focus on Governance: Board Ideas and Greatest Successes, Creative and Innovative Ideas to Share and Take Home.

JTalks: Innovation in JCC Core Business Areas: What Needs to be Done to Create a Thriving Jewish Community Center for the Next 100 Years?

JTalks will feature experts in a TED Talk format. Hear what up-and-coming thought leaders have to say about how to secure the core businesses of JCCs in the future.

Master of Ceremonies
Mark Shapiro, President and CEO of the Harry & Rose Samson Family Jewish Community Center (JCC)

Andy Pritikin, owner, director and founder of Liberty Lake Day Camp, Bordentown, NJ and president of NY/NJ American Camp Association

Early Childhood
Cathy Rolland, Director, Engaging Families with Young Children, Union for Reform Judaism.

Mark Verstegen, CEO of EXOS and served as the performance director for the NFL Players Association focused on player health and safety. Author of six books, including Every Day Is Game Day and Core Performance, which popularized integrated performance training.

Laura Fredricks, leading authority on the topic of how to ask for money. An attorney-turned-philanthropic advisor Laura Fredricks, who has authored numerous books on the topic, is the first to merge strategies from both the legal, for-profit and nonprofit sectors into an all-new practice called THE ASK©.

Arts & Culture
Susan Engel, Director/Producer 92Y Talks. As director of lectures at 92Y, Susan acts as both curator and executive producer of 92Y’s world-renowned talks series, which presents some 250 leading speakers and thinkers each year from virtually every walk of life.


Three elective 90-minute learning sessions led by outside experts or professionals from the JCC field designed for JCC officers, advanced leaders, committee chairs and JCC board members. Sessions will follow up on keynotes, tracks and Innovation Labs, and present strategic ideas to put into action. We expect to offer at least two dozen different sessions to choose from in operations, program, generational change and governance/administration.

Track Learning Groups

Specially designed sessions for your core delegates: current presidents and executives, incoming presidents, advanced leaders (past presidents), emerging leaders, fundraising, marketing and program (new) leaders. Each track will drill deeper into its respective field, enabling them to learn with each other and from each other.

JBaltimore Live: Onsite at the Owings Mills JCC

A close look at innovative programs at the JCCs of Greater Baltimore created to embrace new markets, community collaboration and resources. You will see firsthand how the JCC assembled a group of innovators and strategic thinkers who have turned market trends into real programs and driven bottom-line revenue at each of the JCC of Greater Baltimore’s facilities. Ask questions, learn about the programs and learn how you can adapt this information for your JCC.

Opening Our Tent: Serving the Observant Community

Discover how to thoughtfully develop and execute specialized programs and partnerships to showcase how the Baltimore JCC works with Orthodox community. From marketing and hiring with great sensitivity, creating single sex programming and specialized camps for orthodox children, learn how to create an atmosphere of inclusion and respect.

Leveraging the J Brand Beyond our Walls

How do we move beyond the walls of our buildings to serve families with young children, create communal partnerships and provide meaningful Jewish experiences to changing demographics? Explore Got Shabbat, Hands on Holidays, the development of a satellite urban JCC, non-traditional partnerships, interfaith programming and more. Learn about successful and replicable programs including Downtown Baltimore JCC (DBJCC), Got Shabbat Downtown, Hands on Holidays, Chanukah at Hunt Valley Centre, and the Community Block Party.

Forging a Healthcare Alliance to Generate Revenue

With health and wellness options flooding the marketplace, how can a JCC partner with a leading healthcare system to build revenue and leverage our brand? Learn how to develop a profitable relationship and turn a community health system into a lead generator and income producing partnership. How did this develop? What are the steps to making this partnership work?

Creative Cultural Arts Programming to Bolster Jewish Values

It’s more than sell-out shows. A successful cultural arts program can become the essence of the JCC mission and educate, entertain, and elevate your brand. Discover how to work with local governments and schools to position the J as the cornerstone for community arts. From collaboration with leading cultural institutions to creating an immersive Jewish camp experience, see how a cultural arts program can showcase your J’s Jewish values.

J’s Solution Bar

JCC Association People, Practice, Innovation, & Resources Showcase: Sample the full buffet of JCC Association offerings. Come and learn how your JCC can take advantage of the many benefits of your membership.


You won’t miss your workout while you are in Baltimore! This year’s options include Shira Yoga: A New Gateway to Jewish Authenticity, Les Mills – Grit Cardio, Jillian Michaels BODYSHRED, Les Mills – CXWORX, Tabata Bootcamp, or you can enjoy a run with Steve Becker and other colleagues around Baltimore, or visit the gym, pool and sauna at the hotel.


We will offer Shabbat programming for those who arrive in Baltimore prior to the start of the Biennial and who wish to join us.

Host Community Event

On Tuesday, May 17, our host community, JCCs of Greater Baltimore, will provide a fun and fascinating evening at the American Visionary Art Museum. “Visionary art as defined for the purposes of the American Visionary Art Museum refers to art produced by self-taught individuals, usually without formal training, whose works arise from an innate personal vision that revels foremost in the creative act itself. In short, visionary art begins by listening to the inner voices of the soul, and often may not even be thought of as “art” by its creator.” Enjoy your evening of food and fun.

Download the schedule-at-a-glance to get an overview of what we have planned.