Todah Raba…thank you for a great year one



Yesterday, April 5, marked my one-year anniversary as executive director of the Katz JCC. Wow…how fast a year has come and gone.

When I reflect on the past year, the word that comes to mind is “thankful.”

I am thankful to have been welcomed to this incredible South Jersey Jewish community. My family and I moved here from North Carolina and we didn’t know a single person. The friendships we have since made in the past year are so meaningful. It warms my heart to see so many smiling faces when I am at the J or out and about in the area.

I am thankful for our dedicated Board of Directors, led by our Board President Marcy Dash Friedman. They have guided our J through yet another year of the pandemic. I knew coming to the J in the thick of the pandemic would be a challenge, and I didn’t think it would still be raging like it did for the majority of this first year. Thanks to our Board’s commitment, enthusiasm and perseverance, we are well on our way to a new J that is bustling with members and opportunities.

I am incredibly thankful for the JCC staff. They have taught me so much in this first year, listened to my new ideas and my vision for the future. They show up every single day with the utmost dedication, because they truly enjoy the work they do to serve you and this community. Summer day camps, early childhood, family programs, adult activities, fitness and wellness programs, facilities, and special needs programs…they are all possible for all of you thanks to our staff. Add marketing and fundraising to that mix, and we are a strong, resilient staff that can take on anything.

I’m so thankful to Jen Weiss, Federation CEO, the entire Jewish Federation of Southern New Jersey and our family of agencies. Together we are continuing to strengthen the South Jersey Jewish community. Together there are so many resources and collaborative things happening. I’ve learned so much from all of my fellow agency executives, and they are the backbone of this wonderful system.

I am also thankful for my new home: South Jersey! I’ve learned about Wawa, bagels (thanks most due to our very own Eastside Bagel Spot at the J), enjoyed not having to pump my own gas, and look forward to a summer of shore trips and car rides over the bridge to explore Philadelphia with my family. Many of the recommendations of things to do, restaurants to eat at, and places to enjoy have come from all of you. Thank you.

I would be remiss if I didn’t recognize that this past year has had its challenges. But out of difficult times come beautiful moments, incredible innovation, and new, creative ideas. Just a few weeks ago, we gathered our entire staff together for what we call “The State of the J,” our annual staff meeting, where I shared what’s been happening in the past year and my vision for the future. We are excited to have just launched our new JSignature membership, a new and enhanced membership experience. We’re bringing back more “Parent and Me” classes, which will give parents and caregivers time to do something meaningful with their children while also meeting other parents. We’re reimagining how we engage families through programs with an emphasis on the Jewish connections, while also concentrating on the multi-generational experience (for example, the Jewish Grandparenting Center, coming soon!) And we’re bringing a new level of culture through “Music at the J,” a six-part chamber music series that will kick off this fall (our preview event will take place April 24 with the Roxborough Orchestra).

There’s so much to discover and rediscover here at the J. We would be honored if you join (or rejoin) our JCC family and be a part of it all.

The last year was nothing short of incredible. Here’s to year two and for many more years together.

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