In a few weeks, the global Jewish community will convene at The Jewish Federations of North America’s 2012 General Assembly in Baltimore to network and examine challenges and opportunities in the Jewish world. The conference, which takes place Nov. 11-13, will engage more than 3,000 expected participants.
Among the headliners scheduled to appear are David Gergen, senior political analyst for CNN; Rabbi Rick Jacobs, president of the Union for Reform Judaism, who will serve as the GA’s scholar-in-residence; Michael Oren, ambassador of Israel to the United States; Shelly Yacimovich, leader of Israel’s Labor Party; Rabbi Heather Borshof, chaplain with the U.S. Army; and Edon, the 14-year-old “America's Got Talent” semifinalist.
This year’s GA, which is chaired by Linda A. and Steve Hurwitz and Genine and Josh Fidler, all of Baltimore, features the theme: “The 2012 JFNA General Assembly. Where the Jewish community downloads/uploads/shares.”
The GA will promote learning, exchanging ideas and taking action. The plenaries, which are built around the concept, “Changing the World, For the Good, Together,” will highlight stories of innovation and accomplishment across the global Jewish community, and inspire participants towards greater collective action.
To personalize the GA experience, program sessions are designed along four tracks, representing significant and relevant themes in the Federation community: Tzedakah, Caring for the Most Vulnerable; Kehillah, Developing Leadership and Community; B’Yachad, Strengthening Jewish Identity and Global Peoplehood; and Arevut, Supporting Israel’s Civil Society.
The GA will also include the Institute on Tikkun Olam, initiated by the Reut Institute (a strategy and impact group based in Tel Aviv) and the Alliance for Global Good. The Institute is scheduled for Monday, from 11 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., and will be open to all registrants of the GA.
"I am thrilled that the 2012 GA in Baltimore will include a mini-conference on Tikkun Olam in the 21st century. Central to this conference is the vision of 14 million Jews in Israel and across the globe impacting the lives of a quarter of a billion others within a decade, by addressing the world's toughest human development challenges," said Avraham Infeld, President Emeritus of Hillel International and the mentor of the Tikkun Olam team at the Reut Institute.
As the premier North American gathering of the Jewish communal world, the GA will feature exclusive social events, such as a Taglit-Birthright Israel Bar Mitzvah Celebration and an evening at the National Aquarium, sponsored by the GA host community THE ASSOCIATED: Jewish Community Federation of Baltimore.
Participants will also have access to an outstanding Jewish marketplace at the Baltimore Convention Center, with hundreds of booths offering Jewish food, education and lifestyle products and services, and more. Standalone tickets to attend the marketplace will be available for purchase to local community members on site.
Building on its successful debut last year, the JFNA will again offer a GA App, soon to be available for free on iTunes (details forthcoming). The App will offer participants a convenient, fun and environmentally friendly way to navigate the GA.
The 2012 GA program is being held at the Baltimore Convention Center on Pratt Street and at several surrounding hotels. Hotel reservations must be made on the GA registration and housing site to take advantage of GA block rates. The GA website’s FAQ page offers information on GA hotels.
JFNA is grateful to all of the 2012 sponsors of the GA for their generous support, with special thanks to the Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation. We encourage you to visit our sponsor page for a full listing of the extraordinary organizations that are helping to bring the Jewish community together to learn, collaborate and celebrate at this year’s GA.