VUCA: An Acronym for This Moment in Time

I have become enamored with a military/business term I learned during the last year – VUCA. It stands for:


Doesn’t VUCA describe the period we have been living in perfectly?

In some ways, what I have found most interesting about VUCA, is the ways in which military and business experts theorize how to proceed and plan during times like these. While the precise theories differ in detail, they all agree on one thing: in a time of VUCA, we must still plan and push forward. If we do not, we will fall behind.

This is also true for us in the Jewish community. Lay leadership and staff at the Federation and our agencies have done an incredible job managing through this time of VUCA. Our three day schools continue to operate at a high level with more students than pre-pandemic times. The JCC has had to continually evolve and change strategy as the rules for how gyms, camps and preschools function continue to change. The JAA plans activities and operations but adjusts when there is a COVID case within the facility. JFCS is told a new group of Afghan refugees will be arriving with just days notice, and they have to figure out how to welcome and settle them. Hillel JUC has figured out how to move their Shabbat dinner program to a pick-up program and shift back to in-person. JRS’s Howard Levin Clubhouse had to determine a way to continue to keep its members connected to each other and to the agency during the pandemic. Here at the Federation, we are planning full steam ahead for our Mega Mission this June while watching the ever-changing rules in Israel and the United States (over 200 people are currently registered). These are only a small sample of some of the ways in which we in the Jewish community have pivoted and adapted to an ever-changing community landscape.

Yes, it was the Federation that secured over $9 million of COVID relief thanks to the generosity of donors like the Jewish Healthcare Foundation, but it is still the work of lay leadership and staff of all Jewish agencies on the ground that make our community capable of progress in a time of VUCA. These are challenging times and the exemplary leadership all have shown continues to be inspiring.

Shabbat Shalom. Go Steelers!

Jeff Finkelstein

President & CEO

Stay Informed


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