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The teens met monthly at their respective centers to work on family heritage, genealogy, and when appropriate, interviewing Holocaust survivors in family.

Then each summer, the three communities gathered for a week-long encounter.

The next time they meet as a whole will be November 2019 in Jerusalem when they present their accomplishments.

One popular program is Family Tree, an initiative Dan Bernstein, executive director of the Merage JCC of Orange County, California looks forward to repeating.

Representatives from different JCCs worldwide participating in a ‘speed dating’ event aimed at pairing up different centers on 2-3 year long projects.

(Photo credit: Magali Druscovich) “We wanted to engage teens — that’s the big, hot topic.

They see how different Jewish communities look around the world,” said Bernstein.

This year they will again pair with Kfar Yona Community Center as well as a JCC in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Bernstein said.

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Each global project must have at least three JCCs from three different countries, one from North America, one from Israel, and one from one other country.Last time the JCC paired with its sister JCC in Kfar Yona along with Centro Deportivo Israelita (CDI) in Mexico City.The three partners spent two years engaging over 120 Jewish teens, families and volunteers.The project helps volunteers of all ages from different areas and with different backgrounds to connect and find ways to explore their Jewish identity through volunteering.“It was great to meet people from so many different communities around the world, and it was funny to try meeting everyone to see who was the best match for us; it was like a ‘shidduch.’ But I think we all have a big challenge in how to maintain a strong Jewish identity,” Lijavetzky said.

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