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From The President/CEO's Desk

Reflections on my Second Year as CEO of JCC Greater Boston

Lily Rabinoff-Goldman sitting in front of her desk.

Dear friends, 

It’s hard to believe that this week marks the end of my second year as CEO of JCC Greater Boston! Last June, I understood and did not take for granted that my first twelve months in this role were an absolute honeymoon. It was a year of curiosity, of relationship-building, and of learning. You may recall that in reflection, I wrote that the Jewish text that best captured my experience of leading the JCC last year was the phrase from Psalm 23, “my cup overflows.” Even if everything went right, I knew that year two would surely be different and more demanding. However, I could not have anticipated the deep communal, professional, political, and personal challenges this year brought, and which are still emerging. 

Earlier this month, our Senior Leadership Team did an exercise in which we conducted a rapid-fire year in review for one another and our Board. Not surprisingly, our reflections highlighted the difficulties of leadership, of navigating a complex and evolving context, and of managing our ambitions against budgetary and environmental uncertainties. At the same time, the sheer amount of good work that the JCC was able to accomplish this year, even within that context, was inspiring. From growing membership and our childcare programs, to improving our internal systems, and, significantly, completing our strategic planning process, and undergoing a transformational lobby and security upgrade at our Leventhal-Sidman Center in Newton. I’m incredibly grateful and proud that we were able to fulfill our commitment to our community in so many deep and significant ways. The JCC is a better place today than it was a year ago, and we are continuing to build on that momentum with much to look forward to.  

So what allowed this to be true? I have been thinking about another line from Psalms which, perhaps counter-intuitively, seems to underpin our ability to make meaningful change and meet our mission in a year that challenged us so deeply. Zeh hayom asah Adonai, nagilah v’nismicha bo. – “This is the day that the Divine created, let us rejoice and be glad in it” (Psalm 118). The realist in me says that this is true. This is the season we have been given. Though we have little control over it, we have the opportunity to make the best of it. Indeed, that kind of pragmatism, and certainly the core value of enabling joy, are enduring characteristics of the JCC, and I think they’ve allowed us to get so much done. 

On a deeper level, perhaps there is also a kind of radical resistance in reframing this season as one to rejoice in. This is a year in which our Jewish community has needed us, and we have stepped up to serve. This is a year in which we all needed one another, and the JCC has been a place to gather and care for each other. This is a year in which individuals and families have asked themselves, “what does it mean to me to be Jewish?” and we have enabled them to begin answering that question from a place of belonging and joy. And this is a year in which we have also needed our community, and you have all had our backs. Writing this, I am moved to tears with my gratitude for all of those truths. This is the day the Divine has created – watch us rejoice and be glad in it. 

As a final note, I just want to say thank you. Thank you to the amazing staff and leadership of the JCC who have shown up whole-heartedly and steadfastly in service of our community every day. Thank you to our Board and lay leadership, who understand and hold sacred the importance of our work. And thank you to all of you for your support, your friendship, and your commitment to all of us.  

Shabbat shalom, 


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