Reflections from Oded

13 March, 2022

Oded Kraus Katz JCC Executive DirectorFrom our Executive DirectorShalom JCC Family,

As I reflect on the past week and the challenges we faced due to senseless antisemitism, I am humbled by the outpouring of love and support I saw our community showed for one another.  In difficult moments come strength, collaboration and kindness; all of that was prevalent within the walls of our JCC and our entire South Jersey Jewish community.

While serving as a lieutenant in the IDF, I have experienced acts of hate, yet none of that prepared me for emotions I felt as I assisted in evacuating our youngest members, our Early Childhood children…which included two of my own.  The incredible dedication our staff showed to ensure the safety of these children is unparalleled.

I am filled with so much gratitude and appreciation for the care, love, strength, compassion and resilience of our community.  I am thankful to our Jewish Federation of Southern New Jersey, Law Enforcement, Clergy, JCC Members, Staff, Board of Directors and guests.  We experienced hate at its worst this week, but it did not win.  Our community showed that we are above that.

In Hebrew, the word for home is Bayit, and the word for heart is Lev.  This week, both of those words resonated deeply within my soul.

Home is surely where the heart is, and that could not have been more evident this week.  The JCC is home to me, my family, and all of you.  Let’s continue to band together to show the world that we are strong, resilient and will ensure this community continues to thrive for generations to come.


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