In 1999, I made a transition in my life. I had been working for the Los Angeles Jewish Community Centers and took a new job working for the Milken Family Foundation. I had been working for the Milkens for about a week, when a new coworker pulled me into an executive office. Several people were standing in front of a television which was reporting a shooting at the North Valley JCC in Granada Hills.
It was summer, and if I had still been working for the LA JCC’s, I would have been on that campus that day working as a unit head for their day camp. My group of campers were the only ones there that day, as all the other campers were on field trips.
It was an awful feeling…all of those people I had gotten to know so well were in trouble, and I wasn’t there to help them. It was completely surreal turning on the Today Show the next morning and seeing my friends being interviewed, and worse yet, a sweet little 5-year-old that I had gotten to know well was shot and in the hospital. I am happy to report that he survived, and I even remember that he rode home from the hospital in a local fire truck.
When I heard of the news yesterday about the Kansas City JCC, of course, it brought back the memory of North Valley JCC. I remember all too well how a hate crime can affect a community, and I know how their outer Jewish community will be there for them to lean on. I know this, because that’s what we do. We stick together.
On the Jewish Community Centers of Greater Kansas City’s Facebook page, it says this:
Friends – in a show of solidarity for the family and friends of those affected by today’s tragedy, please consider changing your profile picture to our logo (as many of you have already done – thank you) or to our new profile picture.
Here is the picture:
They asked, and I have changed my Facebook profile picture. It’s the least I can do.
Tonight marks the first night of Passover. It is the Jewish story of freedom…the Exodus of the Jewish slaves from Ancient Egypt. Jews have been oppressed throughout history, and guess what…we have always prevailed. There is a reason for this. It is because we stick together, and we a re a good people.
I will be thinking of my brothers and sisters at the Kansas City JCC and at Village Shalom tonight at my family’s Passover Seder. As we sing the words, “Dayenu” or “It would have been good enough,” I will remember with gratitude that even with all of the heartache the Jewish people have been through, we always come out ahead. This “Dayenu” is for you, Kansas City JCC. xo