A Message From the President/CEO Saul F. Levenshus
It’s hard for me to fathom that I have now called San Antonio home longer than any other place in my life. In fact, later this year the JCC will begin to celebrate its 20th year here at the Campus. As the Chief Professional for the organization, I have great pride in the accomplishments the JCC has achieved over the past two decades. Beginning with our outstanding early childhood program, all the way through to our services for aging adults, a great deal of our success is due to the consistency that we have enjoyed in both our volunteer and staff ranks. Inevitably though, change is unavoidable, and in the coming months we will undergo some adjustments. At the end of May, we say farewell to one of our longest tenured staff, Alissa Levey Baugh, who will be retiring. Alissa has served as Early Childhood Director for the past 28 years, helping to stabilize and then grow the program and overseeing the transition between our Rampart building and our home here at the Campus back in 1999. Alissa is a recognized expert in her field, not just here in San Antonio, but also among JCCs from around the country, and she has literally helped raise a generation of Jewish children. On Wednesday, May 23, we invite you to join us at our Annual Meeting to help us acknowledge Alissa’s contributions to our collective history.
Later this month we will begin our annual Nominating Committee process to identify our next slate of officers and candidates for our Board to ensure there is a steady flow of new faces and voices to add balance, expertise, and wisdom to help lead us into the future. As the saying goes, time sure flies when you’re having fun, and the past 20 months, working closely with our current Board Chair, Danna Halff, has been truly a pleasure.
Danna is a committed leader who is passionate about the work the JCC does, and she relates it to her own personal JCC journey. Her on-going commitment to the J and our community is consistent with a long line of JCC Board Chairs who preceded her, and who also served to ensure that the JCC was strong, and that our focus remained fixed on serving our mission to inspire Jewish Journey’s while strengthening individual life, family unity, and community involvement.
At our upcoming Annual Meeting in May, Danna will be turning her proverbial gavel over to Chair Elect, Adam Zeldes, who has served as a member of the Board for the past 15 years, and who is also well suited to serve as the Chief Volunteer of the JCC.
The changes I alluded to earlier are not merely about human resources, though. Today, I am more and more excited about the possibility to expand our facilities, an initiative we first considered 10 years ago, until the economic downturn of 2008 forced us to shelve the project. We are continuing to consider the addition of more space to serve our members, and in the coming months we hope to begin sharing some of our thoughts more publicly.
Finally, and I rarely do this, I want to take this opportunity to wish Leo Rose a Happy Birthday as he turns 97 years young. When I first came to San Antonio in 1999, I was very lucky to be exposed to Leo on a daily basis. He is a former JCC Board Chair, and was working with the Jewish Federation during the period that our agencies transitioned over to the Campus. Leo is a mentor and a friend, and he helped my acclimation into this role. Leo and Chickie Rose remain unwavering supporters of the JCC and have been for more than half a century, and this past year they further illustrated that support by creating an endowment; the Leo and Chickie Rose Maccabi Youth Sports Fund was established to support youth and athletic activities offered through the JCC. You can find it listed on page 19 of your March Center Peace, along with some of our other tribute funds that people have contributed to this month to honor, acknowledge, or remember someone.
After nearly 20 years I remain energized about the future. We have lots to look forward to and lots of work ahead of us. Thank you for your continued support; we wouldn’t be the same without you, and we’re glad you belong here®!