By Les Cohen, JCC Executive Director
27 years ago, I came to Cherry Hill to interview for the Executive Director’s position here at the Katz Jewish Community Center.
The Search Committee showed me around, introduced me to people to engage with to assess whether I was the right one for the job. I remember they were most interested in my experience with new facilities: Did I have fundraising, strategic planning and facility design experience? Did I ever build a new building? They were very impressed by the fact that I was a community consultant for the JCC Association, our parent organization, where I worked with JCC’s around North America.
What a wonderful experience, which ultimately led to an incredible ride with the Katz JCC. What I remember most is how nice everyone was. Even today, I still see some of those same people who interviewed me all those years ago. And people around here continue to be so nice. There really is just something about Cherry Hill and the Katz JCC.
About 5 years later we broke ground and in June 1997, moved onto what is our current home- the Weinberg Jewish Community Campus. Prior to opening day, we hustled all weekend so we were ready for the first day of Early Childhood Camps on Monday morning! It literally took a village to help unload the trucks and move things into the new offices. I remember feeling so incredibly proud watching members of the community as they came into the JCC on that very first day we were open. The interest in being a member of the Katz JCC exceeded all our expectations and we have been busy every day since.
Fast forward 20 years….so many great experiences and memories!
Our membership base has more than doubled and the support and involvement of the community for our JCC has never wavered. Each day I still come to the JCC excited and ready for the challenges of the day. And I’m not the only one- our exceptional staff deliver programs and services that are exemplary models for other JCC’s to adopt.
So are we are, 20 years later. Our story is one of service and success, building Community and becoming the “Center” of our Jewish Community. But what’s next? Our Board of Directors and staff are committed to continuing the excellent programs and activities that we do every day.
We are so excited to have you join us in our 20th anniversary celebrations over the next year.. The JCC, the Jewish Federation of Southern New Jersey and all the other agencies are coming together to bring to you a yearlong celebration, appreciation and new initiatives to better serve you, our beloved community.
I look forward to celebrating with you and seeing you around the JCC.