Philanthropist Lynn Schusterman once stated that “our people represent a tapestry of interwoven identities embodying the rich diversity of what it means to be Jewish.” Similarly, so too does Rhode Island’s Jewish Community Center, the venerable Elmgrove Avenue facility in Providence, which for more than five decades has offered a lovely, interwoven tapestry of Jewish cultural, educational, informational, and recreational programming for our entire community. However, after 45 years, our JCC not only needed an interior and exterior facelift, but also required a rethinking of our physical space, our service provision, our products, and our initiatives. I am now overjoyed to report that after almost six years of strategic planning and fundraising, the Bonnie & Donald Dwares Jewish Community Center shall officially reopen its secure, inclusive, and accessible front and back doors to our entire community on Wednesday night, May 24. On that evening, the Alliance shall proudly be holding a meaningful dedication ceremony for our beautifully renovated Dwares JCC, featuring as our special guest US Olympic Rugby player and the New England Patriots Second Team All-Pro and Special Team Player extraordinaire, Nate Ebner. Starting at 5pm, Nate will talk about his experiences in the Super Bowl and Olympics followed by a question/answer session for families and a skills competition for children in the Nelson & Sapinsley Families Gymnasium. Then at 6:30pm, we will rededicate our Center and thank the extraordinary donors and volunteers who have turned this dream into such a spectacular reality. I welcome everyone to save the date and attend this very special evening.
Once upon a time, members of American Jewish communities joined their local Jewish Community Centers because that is what Jews did. While times have changed, and so have consumer expectations, there is no better time to go back to the future, and back to the Dwares JCC to recreate that paradigm. And how lucky are we that we once again have a gorgeous facility to usher in this new renaissance of Jewish communal life in 2017.
And if you would like a sneak preview, please join us at our Jewish Community Read Brunch featuring local novelist and historian Ron Florence this coming Sunday at 10:30am at the Alliance’s Alperin Board Room. This program is part of Day-at-the-J!, which also features PJ Library and Jewish Book Council author Lisa Rose reading her book, Shmulik Paints the Town followed by an art project, as well as a screening of the classic Israeli film, Sallah Shabati.