Dear EDCJCC Family,
Each and every one of you is on my mind as I come to work today – Day 1 as the new CEO of the EDCJCC.
I have big dreams for this place and I know that you do too.
I had imagined a first day where I would shake too many hands as you walked through our hallways—chit chatting about your summer/your families/what brought you here today; popping in and out of preschool classes enjoying the joyful noises of songs and stories on the first day back to school; stationing myself in the cafe to drink iced coffees with staff, fitness goers, and those coming and going from Hebrew classes, parenting programs, or committee meetings. As you can imagine, however, day 1 looks very different. We are taking temperatures at Preschool drop-off and waving hello to parents from a distance, we’re meeting in Zoom rooms in lieu of handshakes, and many of our classrooms remain empty.
But this JCC is hopping in all sorts of new ways! There are more people studying Hebrew this summer than ever before (from the comfort of their own homes); EntryPointDC has hosted DC/NYC Virtual Happy Hours; and Theater J is hosting an online Community Read on September 1 at 7:00 PM. And I will be listening carefully to you, to our talented staff, and to this community to understand your needs, what inspires you, and what has (and has not) been working for you. Together we will imagine new ways to create meaning and connections in the months ahead. That is who the EDCJCC is and will continue to be in your lives and in the life of this community.
I found today that smiles across the room work almost as well as handshakes used to. I take inspiration from our amazing Preschool teachers committed to supporting our families in a year we never could have imagined. Each one of those classrooms is indeed filled with joyful storytelling and songs on day 1 of this new year but we are keeping each group smaller and self-contained for the health of our teachers and children (so even I am not popping in and out of the classrooms!). Yes, we are finding new ways to connect, to stay healthy and to build community during COVID.
Over the past month, I have had the opportunity for calls with many inspiring members of our staff and Board of Directors. They have shared with me their JCC stories—what brought them here, why they stay, and how they believe deeply in creating a community that is inclusive, rooted in Jewish values, and live out these values every day through a commitment to social justice.
Each story was unique and personal, and they made me optimistic about the journey ahead.
What is your story? Join me for Coffee or Cocktails anytime this month to say hello.
I will be hosting a series of small group (virtual) get-togethers as a space to tell you more about myself and what draws me here and to learn more about you, what is on your mind, and your hopes and dreams for our JCC.
It is an honor and a privilege to be stepping into this seat and to be entrusted to lead this EDCJCC community forward. I am eager to meet you and to partner with you in the months and years ahead to carry this incredible community from strength to strength.
Chief Executive Officer, Edlavitch DCJCC