WJC President Ronald S. Lauder
WJC President Ronald S. LauderShahar Azran/WJC

As antisemitism continues to surge both online and in communities worldwide in the aftermath of the October 7 Hamas terror attack on Israel, the World Jewish Congress’ National Community Directors Forum (NCDF) held a critical meeting this week to share experiences and formulate next steps.

The programming provided dozens of community directors with practical tools and fostered innovative approaches to enhance the resilience and vitality of Jewish life globally.

"WJC is committed to fostering unity and understanding across diverse communities,” said Maram Stern, executive vice president of the World Jewish Congress. “In these challenging times, it is more important than ever to stand together against hate and intolerance. Our collaborative efforts aim to build a future where mutual respect and solidarity are the foundations of our global society.”

Other WJC gatherings since October 7 include an Executive Committee meeting in October in Zagreb, Croatia; an NCDF meeting in November in Rome; and a follow-up solidarity delegation in May to Israel.

The meeting in Sofia, co-hosted by Shalom Bulgaria, an affiliated community of the World Jewish Congress, also provided a space for Jewish leaders – all of them have had to grapple with antisemitism in their communities – to develop strategies and coordinate approaches.

The event also featured insightful discussions on bolstering Jewish communities while addressing urgent challenges. Highlights included “Building Jewish Community Resilience in Uncertain Times,” during which communal leaders shared the strengths, practices and determination currently needed to maintain cultural identity and values. Breakout sessions followed, and participants from numerous countries explained how the WJC and others can best assist their communities.

Another key session addressed the need for communities to work closely in the diplomatic arena by leveraging the WJC’s network and expertise to advocate for their interests, raise awareness of their concerns among global leaders and organizations, provide diplomatic support and guidance in navigating complex political challenges, and facilitate dialogue and collaboration with governments and international bodies to address issues affecting Jewish communities worldwide.

Additional breakout sessions covered vital topics such as elevating young leaders, finding Jewish unity, advancing gender equality and inclusion, and becoming effective social media content creators.