This week we start over, we reboot. We practice new ways to operate in this new reality with COVID-19. It felt wonderful to reconvene as a community at the SJCC, even with health screens, temperature checks, and limited-capacity fitness classes. The truth is, we’ve been together throughout this pandemic crisis—from online storytimes and Tot Shabbats, to year-end GIFT graduations and Zoom In!terviews with all types of leaders, artists, and entrepreneurs—the threads that tie us together are strong. In fact, maybe even stronger, because we have had a minute to feel their absence and fear their future.
In that fragile state, many people have stepped up to support our limited ongoing operations, staff compensation, and continued programming. It has helped us reach this point, giving us the opportunity to step back inside the J. This crisis is far from over, however.
With a keen eye on mitigating the spread of COVID-19 in our community, we face months—if not years—of new and ever-shifting programming models. This disrupts business as we know it and threatens our financial security as we seek sustainable ways to meet community interest, need, and opportunity in both new and familiar ways.
As we forge a path in a new normal, we are counting on all of you, our incredibly committed and energized supporters, to see us through to the future with your continued generosity.
This week we reopened our Early Childhood School and limited onsite fitness and aquatics. Little smiling faces, gleeful squeals on the playground, and joyous Shabbat songs in small group settings will be the juice that fuels this new way. Meetings with personal trainers, committed lap swimmers, and a team eager to greet everyone will remind us that together we are stronger, even if every jump in the pool or spin on the bike has to be scheduled. It’s a new world and we are ready for it!
Thank you for all you have done to get us here and thank you for your continued financial support of the Stroum Jewish Community Center in the uncertain months ahead.
You Gave. We noticed!
When the J closed on March 15, 2020, we had no idea what the future held. Facing down months of closures, and almost a complete loss of revenue, community members like you stepped up and provided for the SJCC through our SJCC Sustainability Fund. Over $50,000 was collected in the first four weeks alone. Thank you for the support and love. Gifts to this fund have supported the J’s programming efforts while we’ve been closed. They have also supported our Employee Assistance Fund, designed to give grants to SJCC employees experiencing financial difficulties as a result of COVID-19. Soon we will look to you to help us navigate the new normal of operating the SJCC in the time of COVID. As long as COVID-19 is impacting the J, the SJCC Sustainability Fund is helping to offset that impact. Make your gift today.
SJCC Reopening Plans + Policies
As the SJCC building begins to reopen, this is your go-to spot for the latest policies and procedures for each of our departments, and for the broader SJCC facility. Thank you for helping us keep our community healthy and safe.
25th Seattle Jewish Film Festival Streaming June 16-July 2
The Seattle Jewish Film Festival has gone virtual! Although we can’t celebrate the 25th Silver Screen anniversary together in movie theaters across the greater Seattle area, we’ve brought this engaging festival into your homes. With 18 streaming films, hundreds of people from all over the country (and even some from Canada) have enjoyed the line-up and interactive zoom experiences. Still to come: a comedy storytelling performance and a Jewish Cocktails author/mixologist on closing night. Get all the latest at SJCC.org
Bringing the Holidays to You
In early March when COVID struck and King County guidelines discouraged large gatherings, we knew we had to do something different for Purim. A 50+ year tradition for the SJCC, cancelling the holiday was not an option. Instead, we swiftly transitioned to a distributed model for family fun at home, and Purim2Go was born! We assembled hundreds of kits that included information about the holiday, triggers, and some hamantashen. We spread out around the Puget Sound and for two days distributed these kits to community members. It was a hit! When Lag B’omer came around, we did something similar – we passed out s’mores kits and held a virtual bonfire sing-along with overnight camps in our area. Both were a hit! We look forward to using this learning to bring more holidays to you in the neighborhoods where you live, work, and play.
Zoom In! An interview series from A + I
While we can’t gather to listen to artists interviewed, Pamela Lavitt, Director of Arts + Ideas and Festivals at the J, is bringing artist interviews to us through a series called Zoom In! In the span of a few weeks, Pamela Lavitt was hosting enriching In!terviews with authors, filmmakers, bagel makers, local leaders with global impact, the writer of “Unorthodox,” and more! Recently she interviewed a South Seattle photographer, Meryl Alcabes, who created a photography series covering how people were coping with the Stay Home, Stay Healthy order. She set off to take socially distant portraits of community members on their front porch with the items and objects helping sustain them through social distancing. You can catch this interview and others that Pamela has conducted on SJCC TV at SJCC.org
By the beginning of April, Zoom became a part of everyone’s vocabulary, everyone except the SJCC’s old website. A platform designed for a different time was becoming a hindrance to delivering quality programming remotely for our community. The SJCC marketing team undertook the herculean task of redoing the website, on a format that was mobile friendly and ready to quickly connect users to our live and recorded online programming. A new look and easier to access content was the goal. The result? A refreshing new look that is built for COVID-19 era and beyond. Check it out at SJCC.org to see everything happening at the J!
Live at 9 am – your favorite fitness instructor!
Before COVID-19, the SJCC offered over 35 fitness classes weekly to our members. When we closed the facility, we immediately switched to offering these classes online to our community members (and beyond!). Every day you can choose from 3 to 5 fitness classes designed to keep you healthy and fit during our closure. It is a win for everyone. Recognizing that not everyone will be in a position to return to classes as the J reopens, we’re currently planning for continuing these classes into the fall and beyond.
Tuition becomes a fund for good
When ECS announced that we would not be open during the month of April, we asked families if they would consider donating some or all of their tuition to help us pay our teachers. Families love their ECS teachers and showed us just how much through their response! Over $200,000 was raised and allowed us to support teacher payroll during the closure. We’re so grateful for this incredible response. We hope we can count on your continued support in the months ahead as we navigate the new normal.
Request a Dues Tax Receipt
Because the SJCC is a 501(c)3, members may ask for a tax receipt for any fees or dues paid during the closure. To request your tax receipt, please email firstname.lastname@example.org with your name and names of anyone in your household. When the J reopens, a tax receipt will be sent to everyone who requested one, reflecting any dues/fees paid during our closure. After the J has opened, please consider making an additional contribution to the SJCC Sustainability fund to support our recovery efforts.
Leaving a Legacy
Has your family made arrangements to leave a legacy to the J in your will? Would you consider this incredible statement of generosity? If so, we’d like to hear from you. We are actively working on creating a legacy society, including donor recognition for generous supporters who are ensuring the continuity of the J now and in perpetuity. Email JennaS@sjcc.org if you’re leaving a legacy or want more information. Now more than ever, we need your support for the short and long-term sustainability of the J.
In this time of financial difficulty, we also need your donation of time to help see us through. The SJCC’s Advancement team is looking for volunteers to help in our fundraising efforts, including Development Committee members, Annual Event volunteers, and Stewardship Program supporters. If you like talking to fellow donors and would like to support the SJCC’s development efforts, please reach out to JennaS@sjcc.org or AmyL@sjcc.org. We’d love to hear from you.
Tot Shabbat is Rocking the Sound (and beyond!)
Tot Shabbat has always been a popular program for the SJCC. Families come weekly from near and far to participate in the joyful, spirited tradition of friends, Shabbat songs, and we can’t forget the grape juice and challah. When we closed the J, the weekly celebration moved online and we were delighted to see even MORE friends from near and FAR join in the tradition. The result? We saw hundreds of participants join us weekly on Zoom and Facebook Live to welcome in the holiday. We have friends from around Puget Sound (Shoreline to Tacoma, Bainbridge to Snoqualmie) as well as families from across the country (grandparents in NYC, aunties and uncles in the Midwest) come together for this SJCC tradition. L’Chaim!
A Modern Day MRS. Rogers
Teacher Emily Jane Shankerman, of Room 213 fame, has a new nickname: it’s MRS. Rogers. Our teachers were asked to provide their students with online content, and Emily took her efforts one step further, producing a quality video series that shows students (two- and three-year-olds) everyday things in her life. In one episode she walked to the post office to mail a letter and showed her students an “all-way walk intersection” in West Seattle. In another episode, she showed her students how she feeds her fish friends every day (and how she can have two bettas living together!). Her students love tuning in to see what part of her life she’ll share next. We love the jaunty music, production quality, and pure joy that she has shared with her students. Check out her series.
No Place for Hate, there is no place for racism or discrimination of any kind.
Jewish tradition teaches that the very first human was made from “yellow clay, white sand, black loam, and red soil” – a foundational understanding that we are all one human family.
As we are devastated by the recent atrocities of hate, racism, and violence which are at irreconcilable odds with this fundamental principle, the SJCC is committed to further promoting this understanding in pursuit of justice (tzedek) and respect (kavod). Read More
A Time to Come Together
A message from Doron Krakow, President and CEO of the National JCC Association
Earlier this week, the JCC of San Francisco’s announcement regarding lay-offs and budget cuts garnered a good deal of attention. One hundred and fifty staff—dedicated teachers and program managers, lifeguards and event producers, and both front and back-office personnel—each of them deprived of their livelihood and a community deprived of their unique, individual contributions to all whose lives are enriched by one of our movement’s great Jewish community centers. READ MORE
Thank you to our annual corporate sponsors
Thank you to our Annual Corporate Partners who provide sustaining support for SJCC programs throughout the year. If your organization would like to join these esteemed supporters, please contact Jenna Sytman, Senior Development Manager to learn more.