The Lawrence Family Jewish Community Center (LFJCC) has undergone a rebirth of sorts over the last year or so in an effort to more deeply engage its members while reaching out to people who may have limited interaction with the JCC and its programs.
Betzy Lynch, the organization’s Chief Executive Officer said LFJCC began a strategic planning process to develop a 10-year plan for the future. Volunteer leadership, Jewish communal professionals from across San Diego county and key staff and other key customers of the JCC were involved in this process, the biggest undertaking of its kind in as many years.
“One of the overarching themes that came from that process was the idea that we would work very hard to connect the unconnected and engage more deeply the people that already are connected to community and in particular the Jewish community,” Lynch said. “In order to achieve that and our strategic goals of being Jewishly vibrant, financially sustainable and innovative; and having a unified brand for the work of the JCC we have spent a lot of time talking about what is happening within the walls of the JCC’s physical space, but also thinking about what needs to happen throughout the county to help create pockets of Jewish community, where Jewish life may exist but without any sort of structure or help.”
To this end, the LFJCC has developed a comprehensive arts and ideas season for 2018-2019, to position itself as a platform for high-level performing arts seen through a Jewish lens. The goal is to connect people to each other through shared experiences, and to Jewish life through their exploration of learning something new and seeing it in a different way through arts and culture.
Designed to foster a conversation about what it means to be Jewish in 2018, relevant programming includes: the Salk Talks, Dorie Greenspan at Our Table, Inside Netflix’s Fauda, Tapestry, the Gender Creative Child, Sandra Bernhard: Sandemonium, Screening of Funny Girl on Christmas Day with a Kosher Chinese food lunch, and Isabella Rossellini’s Link Link Circus. More events are featured on the CJC’s events calendar at sdcjc.org.
A collaborative initiative with the Jewish Federation of San Diego County, the Leichtag Foundation and PJ Library also aims to bring Jewish life to places the JCC has never been before.
“As the local facilitator of the PJ Library program, (funded by the Harold Grinspoon Foundation), the LFJCC has been able to provide Jewish-themed books and music for families with children aged 6 months through 8 years old,” Lynch said.
“We have been very successful within the walls of the LFJCC, creating engagement for young Jewish families to be able to engage in Jewish life and create community with each other as a function of their PJ Library subscription[through gatherings at the LFJCC], but we want to find ways to be able to provide that in areas outside the JCC, in the pockets or neighborhoods where people are living to make it easier to navigate the [distance to the JCC for these areas].”
Program organizers have since come together and identified “connectors,” or young mothers employed by the LFJCC to help replicate the programming that takes place at the LFJCC in their homes and neighborhoods. Connector moms were chosen based on the concentration of PJ Library subscriptions in their neighborhoods, and are located across the county to ensure that the programs will be well attended and not duplicated in areas close to the JCC.
“This way, we are able to track and understand the way that people, and young families in particular, would like to engage in Jewish life, so that we can help create those opportunities in ways that are meaningful for them, whether they can get to the JCC or not,” Lynch said.
This effort will be duplicated in other areas of the JCC in the year to come.
Other efforts have focused on low barrier ways to foster and create Jewish life through every day actions at the JCC. During the 2018 High Holiday season, for example, each guest of the JCC was greeted with an apple and a honey stick and a hearty “Shana Tova.” During Sukkot, the JCC’s sukkah hosted many community activities, including a yoga class and the organization’s staff meeting and lunches.
“The idea is to use Jewish life to continue to inform and make the work of the JCC that much more meaningful,” Lynch said. “The JCC is about human beings, and that is personified in the statement and tag line: ‘There is something about this place’. Our goal is that for every single person that comes here, there should be something that speaks to them, and that thing may change based on the day that they visit.
“That something is a feeling, and the warm Hamishe way that you feel when you have your grandmother’s matzoh ball soup — that is what the JCC feels like.”
Sports, Fitness & Aquatics:
Pickleball: Fridays 9:30-11 a.m.; Price: $15; Members free
Cardio Tennis: Tuesdays 12:.30-1:30 p.m.; Price: $15; Members free
Monthly Tennis Clinic: 1st Monday of the month; 7:30-8:30 p.m.; free Member exclusive
Master’s Swim: These structured adult swim workouts are perfect for those interested in improving their stroke technique, endurance training, and overall fitness. Includes in-depth stroke analysis and personal coaching. Free Member exclusive
More information can be found at lfjcc.org/qualcomm/featured
Veteran’s Day Camp
Thanksgiving Break Camp
Olamim: Dad/kid camping trips
More information can be found at lfjcc.org/youth/holiday_camps