Cleveland Jewish Community Downtown Dialogues

Jewish Community Federation of Cleveland
Planning & Growth, Stakeholder Summit
Cleveland and Beachwood, OH
August 2008


Members of the Cleveland Jewish community joined together for two back-to-back town meetings, held primarily to discuss what kind of organized Jewish presence should be maintained in downtown Cleveland. The first Downtown Dialogue was held in Cleveland’s city center and while the other was held in the nearby suburb of Beachwood. The Downtown Dialogues were facilitated by AmericaSpeaks and sponsored by the Jewish Community Federation. The Federation plays a central role in developing and maintaining a sense of unity among Cleveland’s Jews.  The dialogues were organized to address the current issues facing their community, including the economic revitalization of the area, community relationships between Jews and other sectors, engagement of the next generation, and the future location of the Jewish Community Federation’s headquarters.

About 280 members of the Cleveland Jewish community participated in one of the Downtown Dialogues. Most participants have deep roots in the community and an invested interest in the region. Over 60% of attendees lived in Cleveland for 30 years or longer and over 90% of those attending a Downtown Dialogue felt that it was very important for the Jewish Community to maintain a strong presence downtown especially if the city wishes to attract and retain the next generation of Jews.

Recommendations developed at the meeting were presented in September 2008 to the Federations’ Board of Trustees who voted on a plan and the location of the Federation’s headquarters. Board members voted in favor of maintaining their current offices in downtown Cleveland, explore opportunities to expand support for the downtown area and to purchase a Beachwood building to house other operations of the Federation.


  • August 2008 – Downtown Dialogue in Cleveland’s city center (150 people)
  • August 2008 – Downtown Dialogue in Beachwood, Ohio (130 people

The Jewish Community Federation’s Board of Trustees voted on a plan for developing and maintaining a sense of community among the Cleveland area’s Jewish population.