image of an open outdoor area
Oshman Family JCC in Palo Alto (Photo/Tim Griffith)

Stop by and say #IStandWithTheJCC

In the last few weeks, at least four Jewish institutions in the Bay Area, including the Oshman Family JCC, have been targeted by phone calls threatening a bomb. There have been five waves of such calls that have hit 100 JCCs, Jewish day schools, ADL offices and other Jewish organizations in the last two months.

While not a single one of these calls has been connected to an actual danger, thousands of people have been affected by the precautionary evacuations that organizations like mine have often been compelled to conduct. Calls like these are clearly meant to do one thing: disrupt our way of life.

What is this “way of life?”

One where we live our values and strive toward a life filled with purpose, meaning and community. One where we celebrate together, learn together, work together and play together.

Jewish community centers are vibrant and pluralistic communities with a common set of values, made up of Jews and non-Jews; those born in America and those who have immigrated; folks young and old; and people of all creeds and backgrounds. We are safe spaces, welcoming homes away from home. We are your neighborhood town square, full of activity and joy and life.

Every day, JCCs all across the country celebrate Jewish life and open our doors wide for the entire community to participate. We wake up each day committed to ensuring that everyone has access to the services we offer: quality early childhood education, inclusive community wellness, excellent programs and vital social services.

That is the way of life that these calls are meant to upset.

We refuse to be disrupted. We refuse to be turned away from learning and wellness and joy. Instead, we renew our commitment.

We double down on our purpose of enriching lives, building community and inspiring Jewish journeys. We invite everyone reading this to stand with the JCC in your community by doubling down with us.

Stand with the JCC by coming to be with us. Come to classes and concerts. Bring your kids to preschool and camp. Come to work out, swim and play. Come share a cup of coffee and chat about current events. Even if you’ve never set foot in a JCC before, now is the time to come and spend some of your day with us.

This simple act of showing up is revolutionary — a way of saying “yes” to openness and caring; to sharing meaningful experiences and deep personal relationships; and to participating in our resilience and hopefulness.

Stand with the JCC and together we will all live up to the heartfelt promise of Psalm 133: “Behold, how good and pleasant it is for people to dwell together in unity.”

Zack Bodner
Zack Bodner

Zack Bodner is Chief Executive Officer of the Oshman Family JCC in Palo Alto.