Our home away from home, where some Jewish journeys begin and others are strengthened: our Soloway Jewish Community Centre (JCC).
During my travels, I have been fortunate to visit other JCCs in North America and on returning home to Ottawa, I am always impressed and proud to see how vibrant our JCC is. Twelve months of the year, Jewish community leaders are at the Soloway JCC attending various board meetings and future leaders are attending Ganon Preschool and JCC Summer Camps. Our JCC is also home to the Jewish Federation of Ottawa, a supplementary school, the Ottawa Jewish Community Foundation, the Ottawa Jewish Bulletin newspaper, BBYO and NCSY to name but a few of the community agencies and organizations that call 21 Nadolny Sachs Private their home.
Our JCC is much more than just one of Ottawa’s leading fitness facilities or swimming pools (indoor and outdoor). In recent surveys, members tell us that they chose the Soloway JCC because the facility feels like home. The staff is knowledgeable and friendly, the fitness equipment is always up-to-date, and our saline pool is the perfect place for swimmers of all ages and abilities to do laps all year. It would take an entire edition of the Bulletin to list all of the programs offered within the community centre and additional pages to be added to share the community programs held off campus – such as the annual Yom Ha’Atzmaut (Israel’s Independence Day) celebration – which are planned by the Soloway Jewish Community Centre for the benefit of the greater Ottawa community.
Yet, SJCC membership is still one of the best kept secrets in Ottawa and, in some ways, in our Jewish community. I am certain that many people reading this column are active members of Ottawa’s Jewish community who make their annual donation to the Jewish Federation of Ottawa (which we all should do), and attend events that take place at our Soloway Jewish Community Centre.
So, with so many people walking through the front door of the SJCC, how can I possibly suggest that membership is a well-kept secret?
It’s simple. Many of the people I’ve spoken to would say they are JCC members simply because they enter the building and attend an event. Or they identify as JCC members because they contribute to the Federation’s Annual Campaign. But, in reality, to ensure the JCC remains as vibrant as it is today, members of the community need to continue walking into the building and take that one extra step to become a JCC member. There are different levels of membership and opportunities to contribute so that every member of Ottawa’s Jewish community can proudly identify as a member of the Soloway Jewish Community Centre.
I look forward to seeing you at the SJCC and at upcoming SJCC events, including our annual Ottawa Celebrity Sports Dinner where this year’s featured athlete will be six-time Stanley Cup Champion and Hall of Famer Mark Messier.
There was a well-known advertising slogan that said “Membership has its rewards.” If I may borrow from that theme, I would suggest the Soloway Jewish Community Centre is the place where active membership is rewarding.