National Sibling Day Blog

By
April 05, 2023
National Siblings Day.

Happy National Sibling Day! Our siblings can be our best friends or worst enemies. They can be our strongest competition, our greatest supporters, remind us of our most embarrassing moments, and know just the right thing to say when we need a boost. Siblings Emily Stern, Chief Program Officer for J Camps, and Diana Solomon, Senior Director of 4Front, grew up at the JCC and gave us some insight into their relationship as children and adults.

Two sisters.

What’s your favorite childhood memory of growing up together?

Emily: One of my favorite memories are the Jewish holidays we spent together with our family. It was a fun family tradition for the kids, a group of 9 cousins, to put on skits and “perform” for our parents after dinner. We always had a blast being goofy, creative, and just being together.

Diana: Emily and I both had an incredible childhood surrounded by lots of love and extended family. There are many favorite memories, from family holidays, vacations, and summers by the softball fields. With an age gap of 5 years, a big gap when you’re young, there wasn’t much we did just the two of us until I was a bit older. Memories I do hold fondly were the many times when Emily would let me hang out with her and her friends, typically in our parents’ basement. While I’m sure they just liked that I would do pretty much anything they asked me to, it made me feel so special that the “older girls” liked having me around. I looked up to Emily so much then, and still do now.

What do you think makes a good sibling relationship?

Emily: Love, respect, and caring are so important for any sibling relationship. Being there for each other no matter what and knowing you have that support is a special thing. Growing up knowing you have someone with the same values and upbringing is a unique camaraderie and closeness that I don’t think exists in any other type of relationship.

Diana: Emily and I have a great sister relationship. Part of what I think makes a good sibling relationship in general is love, respect, and looking out for one another. Growing up as the baby sister, I always knew Emily was looking out for me and protecting me. I could trust her and confide in her if there were things I needed or was struggling with. It’s also important to be able to have fun and laugh together; luckily, we have a lot in common and share a lot of the same interests. 

What have you learned from each other, both in growing up together and working at the JCC?

Sisters.

Emily: Growing up we constantly learned from each other. While we have many similarities, many would be surprised we also have different interests and passions. From Diana I’ve learned to be more open to new ideas and to think about what and how things we do affect others. This definitely applies to my work at the J and helps keep me grounded. Diana is also the more adventurous one and I can think of a few occasions growing up where she pushed me to go outside of my comfort zone.
Diana: I learned a ton from Emily growing up. As the younger sister, I always looked up to her and had her as a role model. I think Emily is an incredibly smart, intuitive, hard-working person, and I have admired that both at work and in our personal lives. I watched her get married first, become a mother first, and there’s so much I learned from her modeling over the years. We also always joke that I was the more girly sister growing up and Emily was more sports oriented. She taught me how to run bases and I taught her how to walk in high heels. We had a lot to teach one another.

Has working together made you closer?

Emily: While I don’t know if working together has made us closer, I do really enjoy it. We get to see each other more often and a wonderful perk is that our young kids get to go to school together in our JCC Early Learning Center. 

Diana: I’m not sure it made us closer as we were already very close, but I do think it helped us be able to see each other more often. We have more to talk about with both family and work now in common. Plus, our kids can grow even closer going to school together down in the ELC every day. I love how much we are a part of each other’s everyday lives. 

Even though you are both in different roles and departments, do you ever have any conflicts of interest at work? How do you resolve them? Is it easier because you’re siblings or more difficult? 

Emily: Our work can overlap since 4Front is an initiative with participants in the Center for Youth and Families that I oversee. Since we have such a strong relationship built on trust and respect, we can discuss work-related issues in a professional way that doesn’t get in the way of our sibling relationship. I think because we know each other so well we work together nicely. While I’m not sure it is easier, it is definitely fun for me to work with my sister!

Diana: Emily and I have yet to encounter a conflict of interest in my 6 years of working at the JCC with her. I attribute that to our relationship and the fact that we do trust and respect one another as both sisters and professionals. Emily has been a great role model and sounding board for me at the J and I respect her professional opinion. I also think we are very good at separating personal lives from work and rarely talk about work issues on the weekends while spending time together with our families. 

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