How would you describe or define a Jewish Community Center (JCC)?
The Aachen JCC is a religious and cultural center, a place to meet and exchange information, a place where Jews seek and find assistance with social, personal, and language problems.
Can you describe your Center? Does it have any special characteristics?
The majority of the community’s members come from the former Soviet Union, and for the most part they are quite detached from Yiddishkeit.
Why do the members come to your JCC? What are they looking for and what do they find there?
They come because of religious devotion, curiosity, loneliness, a desire to be seen and to see others, and a wish to find assistance and protection. They find religious devotion, contact with others, assistance, and self-expression.
What are two of your most recent positive experiences in your work at the JCC? What “lessons” have you learned?
The most recent Hanukah celebration. A meeting with children and parents in connection with setting up various groups in the community youth center.
What are two of your most recent negative experience/failures in your work at the JCC? What did you learn from those experiences?
Setting up the “Jewish Cooking” course. You can’t do everything single-handedly.
Use four or five words to describe the general atmosphere of your JCC.
Kindness and good will. Excited and often noisy activity.
How do you deal with “Communication” in your center? How do you communicate with your members? (Message boards, magazines, telephone, marketing campaigns, e-mail, Internet...)
Publishing a monthly community newsletter; putting up notices; sending e-mail.
What are the members’ favorite activities or courses?
German language courses. Lectures on Israel, art, and history.
What are the 5 competencies/skills that you think are needed to manage a JCC?
A Jewish Soul (not just “on mama’s side”). Knowledge of languages. Organizational skills. Financial independence. Intelligence.
Administration: what is the JCC’s main income? Other financial resources?
German government subsidies. Joint work with Jewish organizations.
With respect to the political question: is there any interaction between the Center and local government and/or other non-Jewish organizations?
There is interaction with city authorities and non-governmental organizations.
Is there any interaction between the center and other Jewish organizations? (Partnerships, etc.)
There is interaction with other Jewish communities in our country and with Jewish organizations, like Joint, ZWST and the Landesverband (Regional Council of the Jewish Communities).
Professionals: How would you rate the relationship between lay leaders and professionals at your center? 1 to 5 (1=indifferent, 5=optimal)
I would say 3.
How is recruitment of the professional staff carried out?
There are no particular rules.
Does the Center train the professional leaders and/or the lay leaders? If so, in what areas?
On a case-by-case basis.
For what initiative or field would you like to see your Community Center rewarded?
For creating a “roof” for the Jews here.