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JCC State of Mind – June 21, 2024

Posted by Jason Kunzman, JCC President and CEO on June 21, 2024

Over the past week at the JCC, we have been celebrating both moving up and moving out. Across our early childhood development center in both Squirrel Hill and South Hills, nearly 60 of our pre-kindergarten students moved up following a year of significant exploration and growth. Over the same time, Rabbi Ron Symons, our Senior Director of Jewish Life and Founding Director of the Center for Loving Kindness and Civic Engagement, has been in the process of moving out, concluding nine incredible years of groundbreaking work with the JCC and 18 years of service in total within the Greater Pittsburgh community.

This has certainly been a week of both transition and milestones – acknowledging accomplishments, appreciating the journey and most importantly, embracing personal connections. We have been reminiscing about the past while also looking forward to new chapters filled with promise and optimism. Emotions have ranged from pride and joy to nostalgia and even apprehension. We have felt the sadness of parting ways with a valued colleague and leaving behind beloved teachers as well as the giddy excitement of boundless opportunities and new beginnings that lie ahead for our “graduating” pre-kindergarten friends. And a week of moving up and moving out would not be complete without a healthy dose of both formal and informal ceremonies – from final goodbyes and meetings to the cleaning out cubbies and a Pre-K “graduation” and Kehilah event. Some of our staff even managed to crash Rabbi Ron’s last personal training session!

While seemingly different, both moving up and moving out share profound commonalities that underscore the essence of growth, transition, and community spirit. Holding space for “both this and that” is what makes the JCC such a wonderful and incredibly necessary community resource.

We wish both Rabbi Ron and our Pre-K friends all the best as they set out on their respective next adventures. May the days, weeks, months and years ahead be filled with only happiness and success. And while we can’t wait to see what comes next, please know that you and your families always have a home at the JCC of Greater Pittsburgh. Yasher koach  (well done) and l’hitarot (until we meet again).

Wishing you and your families a Shabbat shalom,

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