News & Events

Friday, May 15, 2020

Dear JCC Community,

I love to circle important dates on my calendar. It starts with personal events like birthdays, weddings, holidays and Bar/Bat Mitzvahs and also includes epic world events like the Super Bowl and the Academy Awards. Add to that more mundane events like Tax Day, turn back the clocks…heck, even garbage day gets a circle. I can say with certainty that I never imagined I would place a double circle around TODAY, May 15, 2020, the Day that Governor Cuomo’s NY on Pause order expires.

The first phase of Reopening Rochester comes with both excitement and trepidation. I am eager to once again experience in person the wonderful JCC community. At the same time, our team is focused on ensuring we can experience that community in a safe environment.

Much like New York State, the first phase of the JCC’s reopening has begun. JCC staff are working to soon be able to welcome children back to our licensed early childhood programs. While our beloved Camp Seneca Lake and JCC Day Camp will not be operating in their usual capacity this summer, the Wolk Children’s Center and grades K–6 licensed program hope to be able to offer both educational and fun activities this summer. Our experienced program staff is developing a variety of initiatives that will bring a camp-like feel to the programming that incorporates new safety protocols. We have our fingers crossed that the JCC will be able to take this important first step toward opening in the not-too-distant future.

As in-person fitness programs and large-group entertainment such as plays and festivals are unfortunately not included in this initial phase, we're getting creative with unique outdoor events and expanded online fitness, wellness and arts programs. This week alone the JCC welcomed nearly 400 people to our “Parking Lot Concert” to celebrate the Jewish holiday Lag B'Omer (a joyous holiday that celebrates the ending of a plague) and our community joined hundreds of people from around the country for a Jewish Book Festival chat with John Grisham. Next week we invite you to a JCC sponsored Red Cross Blood Drive on May 19 and an online chat with one of Saturday Night Live’s original writers, comedian Alan Zweibel, on May 21. As we adjust to a new world, we know this sort of programming will continue well after we open our doors to the general public.

None of these programs could be a reality without our members, donors, and supporters from across our JCC community who contributed to our JCC Emergency Fund. We are so grateful to you for standing by us. While we still have a way to go toward building long-term financial sustainability, the sunshine of May 15th shines brightly on the dark days we have been experiencing. In the coming weeks and months, I look forward to circling more special days that represent the next phases of JCC’s reopening, including many more community programs and celebrations.

Shabbat Shalom!

Josh Weinstein