The strength and resolve of our Jewish community is being tested yet again. The recent string of threats to Jewish Community Centers nationwide and acts of anti-Semitic vandalism have taken us back to a place many hoped had long passed.
Sadly, bigotry and hatred against Jews and other minority groups is not new. Most of us of a certain age can recall moments in our lifetime when we experienced anti-Semitism. These acts, big and small, physical and verbal, intentional or ignorant, are seared into our minds. We hoped, we dreamed, that it would be different for the next generation and that our children would live in a time of greater tolerance and acceptance.
Over the last several weeks, many in our community have asked me why these threats are happening. The unfortunate reality is that the reasons are many and nuanced. But, instead of seeing a community deterred by fear and distracted by the why, we have seen our buildings fill with Jewish families —- and families of all faiths and beliefs —- reminding all of us what a vibrant, connected, unbreakable community truly looks like. Ours is a community seeking high-quality early childhood education, fitness, sports, recreation and life-long learning. It’s teens changing the way their generation connects to their peers with disabilities, discovering new friendships and developing into future leaders. It’s hundreds of starry-eyed kids auditioning for an upcoming Steven Spielberg film. It’s arts, culture, travel and film. It’s knowing that thousands of children are counting down the days until their next unforgettable summer camp experience.
For more than 100 years, JCC Chicago has been here, offering connection, community, life-affirming programs and experiences in a safe and welcoming environment. Today is no different. JCC Chicago remains open. And open to all. We invite everyone to take an enrichment class, start an exercise program or come to a special event as a family. We invite you all to be part of the strength, resilience and unbreakable spirit that unites and empowers strong, local communities.
Together, we can repair the world by starting where it matters most. We look forward to seeing you at the J.