ECJC JDCSocial Welfare Think Tank
Oxford - February 2012
Press Release - FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
GROUNDBREAKING THINK TANK RECONSIDERS THE ROLE OF JEWISH WELFARE ORGANIZATIONS
Oxford, February 26, 2012 - A group of Directors representing Europe's foremost Jewish social welfare organizations met in Yarnton Manor, Oxford at the JDC International Centre for Community Development for a specialized think tank on the role of these organizations in the coming decade, co-organized by the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC) and the European Council of Jewish Communities (ECJC).
"The changing landscape in demographics and social welfare services in times of economic crisis makes it crucial for Jewish welfare organizations to reconsider their roles," said Mario Izcovich, Director of Pan-European Programs for JDC.
The think tank's main goal was to re-consider the scope and future of European Jewish social welfare organizations by 2025. It included 2 training sessions with Dr. George Leeson from the Oxford Institute of Population Ageing – and one of the world's most well-renowned specialists on ageing and demographics – to analyze population trends in Europe and the impact that this will have on social welfare programs. Participants examined findings that show that in Europe, the elderly will become a more significant part of the general population, living longer and under better conditions. These changes – along with more complex family models – will prove essential for the role of social welfare organizations in the decade to come.
“It is extremely important to be able to set up a platform such as this one where we can exchange and discuss on a European level,” said Mariano Schlimovich, Director of Programs for ECJC.
Think tank participants reached a number of relevant conclusions, evaluating the effect of the near-disappearance of Holocaust survivors by 2025, today's main target group for Jewish welfare organizations. The latter will need to recalibrate their missions, investing more in programs on permanent learning for adults, socialization as well as reconsidering their economic resources in a context where service clients are becoming “owners” of the very programs that they actively take part in.
Other issues included: how Jewish welfare organizations can create bridges and network with general society including other minority groups and populations, interaction with the more institutionalized Jewish communities, advocacy for service clients, creating autonomy and independence, transparency and democracy in Jewish organizations as well as the changing financial landscape regarding donations.
Over 14 specialized organizations such as Jewish Care (UK), FSJU (France), JMW (Netherlands), and Jewish welfare services from Latvia, Croatia, Hungary, Poland, Zagreb, Norwood (UK), OSE (France) took part in the think tank.
About the JDC International Centre for Community Development (JDC-ICCD):
The JDC International Centre for Community Development (JDC-ICCD) is a UK charity foundation created by American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC) – the world's leading Jewish humanitarian assistance organization – and based in Oxford University that is devoted to understanding and analyzing communities, minorities and social needs. To learn more, visit www.jdc-iccd.org
About the European Council of Jewish Communities (ECJC):
The European Council of Jewish Communities (ECJC) is a voluntary, non-profit, non-political organization of centralized European Jewish community-serviceassociations, involving identity, culture, education, heritage, health and welfare of these communities. To learn more, visit www.ecjc.org
About the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC)
The American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC) is the world's leading Jewish humanitarian assistance organization. JDC works in more than 70 countries and in Israel to alleviate hunger and hardship, rescue Jews in danger, create lasting connections to Jewish life, and provide immediate relief and long-term development support for victims of natural and man-made disasters. To learn more, visit www.JDC.org
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