Our Promise To Persevere
The Jewish value of hatmadah, “to persevere,” is about not giving up. Perseverance is commitment, pride, and a positive attitude. Perseverance is the ability to stick to something even though circumstances make it challenging. Perseverance is about trying despite obstacles or discouragement.
Reflecting on the past year, perseverance is the most powerful word that comes to mind.
In 2020, as the pandemic was emerging, the call to buckle down and figure it out was clear. The extreme unknown of every day drove decision-making in record time and unearthed a clear commitment to serving JCC Chicago families without interruption and in ways they most needed. I will always remember that feeling of receiving email after email expressing such sincere appreciation for our 2020 Apachi Day Camp season – it was overwhelming in the absolute best of ways.
As the calendar turned to 2021, we were still at it. Our frontline teams continued providing in-person childcare and early childhood education to nearly 600 children across our seven centers, planning for Apachi Day Camp and Camp Chi was in full force and daily programming lifted, enriched, and connected our community. Over the course of the year, the normalcy of being and learning together, seeing friends at camp and throughout the holidays, meeting in the lobby before heading to class set in. Different, yes – but so familiar, so welcome, and so needed.
Today, as the calendar is poised to welcome in another new year, we once again face a looming unknown of the pandemic with news stories of rising cases and new or returning mitigation efforts on a loop. And, with the J’s essential services at the forefront, we’re ready. However, especially now, it is much less about what you need and more about who you need.
JCC Chicago’s staff – our educators, childcare providers, counselors, mentors – have persevered from the beginning and their commitment has never waned. Not for a day. Their decision and ability to “keep at it” is at the heart of how so many others are able to navigate these tumultuous waters. Yes, they are tired. They, too, feel the unwavering pressure of the world today. And, yet, they choose to make a difference, they choose to persevere with the most important of compasses as their guide.
“You are not obligated to complete a task, but nevertheless you are not free to leave it.” – Pirke Avot 2:20
JCC Chicago will be here for our community in ways they want and need – this is our promise because those who welcome you at the door or on-screen every day choose to be here for you and yours. This is what community is all about.
With heartfelt appreciation and the deepest sense of pride, on behalf of JCC Chicago’s staff and leadership, my very best for a healthy, safe, and happy 2022.