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JCC State of Mind – March 8, 2023

Posted by Admin on March 8, 2024

Why is this Big Night different from all other Big Nights?

Of course, every Big Night is unique! Who can forget our inaugural Big Night in 2007 saluting the JCC’s rich history of basketball and the values of teamwork and sportsmanship? And what about the 2011 edition, Peace, Love and the IKCs, when the iconic Pittsburgh band Rusted Root helped take us down memory lane to recall the outta sight times of the Irene Kaufmann Center, the predecessor to the JCC? And then there was last year’s return to in-person celebrating, Big Night Hollywood, where we all walked down the red carpet and starred in the JCC production of the year.

In many ways, Big Night is always the same. It is ALWAYS a party with the purpose of raising a glass to community and it’s ALWAYS a BIG thank you to our friends, staff, donors, sponsors, partners and community members for their outstanding support. And it is ALWAYS a great event, full of fun and surprises and great food and music to dance the night away. Yet, when we step through the doors of a transformed Squirrel Hill JCC tomorrow night, we’ll experience something new and different on many levels.

This Big Night is not just a shehecheyanu (ברכת שהחיינו) moment where we give thanks for reaching a special point in time, but rather it is also an opportunity to recognize how our communal strength inspires the JCC, our staff and our Board to redefine what is possible, to challenge the status quo and to be the engine for helping our community grow and thrive every day.

This Big Night, Shining a Light on Community, is our 18th annual fundraising event. In the Hebrew alphabet, each letter has a numerical value. The number 10 is the letter Yud (י); the number 8 is the letter Chet (ח) Chet-Yud spells the word Chai (חי), which means “life,” and as a result, the number 18 is considered to have significant symbolic and cultural importance in Jewish tradition. It is deeply ingrained in various aspects of Jewish life, representing life, blessing and good fortune. On this Big Night, our Chai mitzvah, we toast our community saying, “L’chaim” or “To life!”

This Big Nightis the first Big Night that I’ve been blessed to be sitting in the position as CEO of the JCC; and I so appreciate the opportunity to acknowledge and celebrate the accomplishments and opportunities that lie ahead for the agency and our community.

And it’s BIG that at this Big Night, we are honoring my mentor and good friend, Brian Schreiber, and his legacy and imprint on our community. It’s Brian who has helped ensure that we keep our eyes on the prize – that it’s all about doing what we can do today and tomorrow in keeping our community happy, healthy and whole.

This Big Night, we’re not just looking back to recognize what has already been accomplished; we’re celebrating the brilliance of what the JCC and the community can do to shape a stronger and more inclusive Jewish future. Together, we shine!

Wishing you and your families a Shabbat shalom,


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