By Alanna Maya
Last month, Betzy Lynch became CEO of the Lawrence Family Jewish Community Center. Originally from Youngstown, Ohio, Lynch says her upbringing in a small town’s Jewish community is what brought her to serve the Jewish community as a whole; something that has become her life’s work.
“I grew up in the local JCC, and my mother was the editor of the Jewish newspaper for 25 years, so we were deeply rooted in the Jewish community [in Youngstown],” she says.
After graduating from Gaucher College and working for a few years, Lynch decided she wanted to give back, and began her years of service to the Jewish community at the JCC of West Palm Beach, Fla. as the assistant physical education director. After three years in Florida, Lynch was offered a job at the JCC where she grew up, which she describes as “an amazing experience to give back to a community that had given me so much.”
While back in Youngstown, she oversaw many of the agencies programs, including the camp, physical recreation, teens, senior adults and youth programs. “It was a lot, but it really helped me prepare for my next step, which was becoming the Assistant Executive Director of the JCC in Mephis, Tenn.”
Lynch stayed in Tennesee for 10 years before becoming Director of Birmingham, Ala.’s JCC, her last stop before coming to San Diego. After spending almost her entire professional career in JCCs, she says that it is the feeling of home that connects each Jewish community across the country.
“The flavor of the people and the community in each place [where a JCC exists] really informs the work, but there is this common thread to all of the JCCs that really makes it feel like, no matter where you go, you are home,” she says.
At the JCC in La Jolla, Lynch assumes the role left vacant by Mike Cohen, who retired from his position as Executive Director after 25 years.
To learn more about the LFJCC or its programs, visit www.lfjcc.org.