Finding Our ‘Center’
As JCC Chicago sets course for celebrating its 118th year, I’m both honored and humbled to be appointed Chairman of the Board. When I joined the JCC Chicago board 5-years ago, I never envisioned becoming its chair, but the passion and commitment I felt was contagious.
I was raised in Milwaukee and spent a considerable amount of time at the JCC because my father was chairman of the board. It was at the Milwaukee J where I learned how to swim, play racquetball, and participated in basketball leagues. The JCC was the ‘center’ of our Jewish community and besides athletics and camping, it directed the community’s involvement with its connection to Israel and with speaking up for Soviet Jewry.
I believe in the JCC Movement, advancing and enriching North American Jewish life. With 1.5 million people walking through the doors of JCCs each week, the JCC Movement represents the largest platform of Jewish engagement in the country. I am proud to be a part of the JCC Chicago’s life-affirming journey that builds on the richness and power of Jewish values.
Like in so many areas, if you raise your hand, you will be called upon. I started on the J’s finance and budget committees and gradually took on more leadership roles. Along the way, I learned how much the JCC does in Chicago, how many people it touches, and how many lives are transformed. What really sold me on JCC Chicago, was my many visits to Camp Chi and this year, to our day camps. I was overwhelmed by the staff, the counselors, and the campers. At Camp Chi, I saw the maturity and self-confidence that is instilled in the campers. These are our future community leaders! But camp is only 8 weeks a year, even though the planning is year-round. At JCC Chicago, there is so much more.
I was moved by my visits to Early Childhood locations, where Jewish identity is learned. This is particularly important and relevant, given the recent Pew Study on Jewish Americans. This study indicated a continued movement away from Synagogues, or Jews of No Religion, with 41% of people between 18 and 29 having no affiliation. JCC Chicago fills this void and will continue to do so!
As I embark on two years in service to JCC Chicago as its board chair, I will do my best to achieve some of the following goals.
Structurally, I would like to resolve some long-standing financial issues overhanging the JCC. In addition, I hope to oversee the successful close of capital campaigns for the Camp Chi Centennial and the Bernard Horwich JCC project, and to ensure that our endowment is large enough to support our needs in the future.
Operationally, I would like to create more efficiencies with our real estate operations. My goal is for the JCC to end each year with a surplus and to have the necessary technology to operate efficiently and without disruptions.
And programmatically, I would love to see growth in our cultural impact in the community, including the continued growth of the Chicago Jewish Film Festival and in other areas filling the void indicated from the Pew Study.
Lastly, I want to thank our community for your commitment, your support, and your care for JCC Chicago. Together, let’s find our ‘center’, for a specific moment in time, phase of life or for the duration.
For David, growing up in Milwaukee, the JCC was the centerpiece of the Jewish community. With his involvement, David hopes to perpetuate the importance of the JCC in Chicago. He is a strong believer in Jewish-based overnight camping and in early childcare. David is now Chair of the Board of Directors at JCC Chicago. He previously was Treasurer of the JCC Chicago Board and Chair of the Budget and Finance Committee.
David’s career is in commercial real estate. With his wife, Robin, he owns and manages apartment communities in Illinois, Wisconsin, and Indiana. His experience in running their business has given him insight in ways to help the JCC with its various facilities.
David and Robin are active in JUF, have led various missions to Israel, and have chaired numerous events. They reside in Highland Park and have 2 sons. They are members of North Suburban Synagogue Beth El.