After a three-year in-person hiatus due to the Covid-19 pandemic, over 1,200 Jewish communal leaders gathered in Chicago for the start of Jewish Federations’ three-day General Assembly, where they will set the shared Jewish communal agenda for the year ahead and hear from a diverse array of voices on critical issues facing the North American Jewish community. First held 90 years ago, The General Assembly is the most consequential gathering of the leadership of the North American Jewish community, and brings together Jewish leaders of diverse backgrounds in a space that fosters productive dialogue and debate.
“We are living in complex times when antisemitic incidents are increasing at an alarming rate, anti-Israel rhetoric is rampant, millions of people are displaced by war and our communities are overwhelmed by a mental health crisis,” said Jewish Federations of North America Board Chair Julie Platt. “These extreme challenges we face require bold solutions and broad collaborations, so that we can effectively strengthen our communities and ensure that they are safe, compassionate, inclusive and vibrant. The General Assembly is a unique opportunity that comes around once-per-year for our communal leaders to come together to tackle these complex challenges, discuss practical steps towards building flourishing Jewish communities and return to our communities invigorated to implement these strategies.”
This year’s General Assembly will focus on responses to the geopolitical challenges and global events impacting the Jewish community, and challenges and opportunities towards building flourishing Jewish communities. Issues that will be discussed include the urgency of Jewish communal security, Jewish Federations’ response to the Ukraine crisis and the uncertainties that lie ahead for Jews in Ukraine and Russia, and new initiatives and partnerships to combat the rise in antisemitism.
Global figures, activists, public officials and communal leaders will address the audience. Noteworthy names include President of Israel Isaac Herzog, U.S. Ambassador to Germany Amy Gutmann, Israel’s Ambassador to the U.S. Michael Herzog, journalist and news anchor Andrea Mitchell, Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Antisemitism Ambassador Dr. Deborah Lipstadt, philosopher, author and filmmaker Bernard Henry Levy, among many others.
The last day of the gathering will feature a series of interactive workshops where participants will discuss practical measures to take back to their communities for turning the big ideas into action.
The agenda will also include a special reception to mark the 60th anniversary of National Young Leadership Cabinet and the 50th anniversary of Lions of Judah, which represent models of leadership for the Jewish world.
The full program can be viewed here.