Focusing on our mission in the wake of tragedy

June 17, 2016

Focusing on our mission in the wake of tragedy

These weeks reminds us how critical it is to stay committed to our core J values of  integrity, community, diversity and respect. 

By Barak Hermann, CEO/President, JCC of Greater Baltimore and Annette Saxon, Chair of the Board

It has been a horrific two weeks for our country and Israel as we all are saddened by the horrendous tragedies that have occurred at the Pulse night club in Orlando and the week before at a popular restaurant in Tel Aviv. It is clear that there is deeply-rooted hate in the world towards many groups of people. 

Last week at our annual meeting, we celebrated our JCC and the work we do to build and strengthen community. At the meeting, we introduced five core values that we embody daily throughout our JCC facilities and programs.

They are: Teamwork; Integrity; Community; Diversity; and Respect

We strive to develop programs that reflect these values. Our board and staff work together to wrestle with ways to serve the needs of our diverse Jewish and larger community, while living these values every day.  

We are troubled that the worst mass shooting in US history was targeted at the gay community. As Jews, we know from our history, what it means to be targeted for being different. Just over a month ago, we commemorated Yom Hashoah – Holocaust Remembrance Day when over six million Jews and over six million others including gays, gypsies, and innocent gentiles were killed.

We have an incredible opportunity to teach and live values of kindness, tolerance, and embracing diversity…all which are rooted in our JCC mission. Monday, we officially begin our J Camp season for over 1400 children and 400+ staff. Camp is a wonderful environment to reinforce these values and provide campers with a wealth of role models. It is also a powerful environment to create teachable moments every day. The Jewish value of tikkun olam – healing the world – teaches us that we all need to do our part to make the world a better place.  

By teaching kindness and modeling this behavior in all our programs such as Early Childhood, Teens, Sports and  Aquatics, we showcase the JCC’s unwavering commitment to integrity, community, diversity and respect for all. 

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