1,200 leaders expected at Jewish Federations’ GA in Chicago after three year hiatus

This year’s General Assembly, the first since COVID, will focus on responses to the geopolitical challenges and global events impacting the Jewish community.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks at the Jewish Federations of North America General Assembly (photo credit: GPO/KOBI GIDEON)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks at the Jewish Federations of North America General Assembly
(photo credit: GPO/KOBI GIDEON)

After a three-year in-person hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic, 1,200 Jewish communal leaders will gather in Chicago on Sunday 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 GA is the most consequential gathering of the leadership of the North American Jewish community.  

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, the uncertainties ahead for Jews in Ukraine and Russia, and new initiatives and partnerships to combat the rise in antisemitism.

Speakers include President of Israel Isaac Herzog, US Ambassador to Germany Amy Gutmann, Israel’s Ambassador to the US 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 and many others.

 Israeli President Isaac Herzog looks on during a meeting with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, not pictured, in Washington, DC, on October 25, 2022. (credit: STEFANI REYNOLDS/POOL VIA REUTERS) Israeli President Isaac Herzog looks on during a meeting with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, not pictured, in Washington, DC, on October 25, 2022. (credit: STEFANI REYNOLDS/POOL VIA REUTERS)

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 to turn the big ideas into action. The plan will also include a special reception to mark the 60th anniversary of the National Young Leadership Cabinet and the 50th anniversary of Lions of Judah, which represent models of leadership for the Jewish world.

"We are living in complex times"

“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 Julie Platt, board chair of the Jewish Federations of North America.

Platt added that "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. 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.”

"Our government is proud to stand united with the Jewish community here in Manitoba and around the world,” said Stefanson. “Antisemitism has no place in our communities and today is an important step forward in our collective commitment to ensure we build an inclusive and safe society, and a future full of hope and opportunity for our future generations.”