When the Soloway Jewish Community Centre (SJCC) first opened its doors 18 years ago, I often came to swim laps in the pool. Most days, I was the only one swimming back and forth and could take up as many lanes as I wanted. But, it wasn’t long before the rest of the Jewish community, and the community at large, discovered this hidden gem tucked away on a side street off Carling and Broadview Avenues, and soon the pool, along with the rest of the building, was bustling with activity.
Whether you use the SJCC to exercise, learn, educate your children, celebrate Jewish holidays, or for a kibbitz, you quickly realize our facility is the ‘town centre’ of Ottawa’s Jewish community. It is a place where we can all gather and feel a sense of belonging while engaging in programs that enrich the experience of being Jewish.
I love that, when I’m at the SJCC, I can walk by an Orthodox rabbi with a volume of the Talmud under his arm, while someone else is strolling through the building on the way to the outdoor pool in flip flops and a towel. We encompass the full diversity of our community; from a high energy Zumba class to learning about Jewish ethics. The full representation of our Jewish community lives here under one roof. There is no other place else where that happens.
My vision is for every member of our Jewish community to feel a sense of connection to the centre. Every Jewish person in Ottawa should feel welcome and see themselves as part of the SJCC. Our community-wide celebrations and commemorations are open to everyone, and our goal is to have each and every member of our community here, together.
There are no obstacles to being part of the SJCC. It is available and open to you. We have subsidies available for camp, Ganon preschool and membership to make being part of our centre inclusive for all, regardless of financial situation. We are a membership institution, and becoming a member is the best way to support our efforts while being connected to the Jewish community.
During the summer, our centre is filled with the next generation. Summer camps are growing every year, both in the number of children, and in the types of camps we offer. Last summer saw a record number of children with more than 2,500 registrations. We expect to surpass that this summer in Day Camp, Travelling Sports Camp and 20 different one-week Specialty Camps.
Over the past 12 years, the SJCC has been meeting or surpassing our financial goals and, thanks to the hard work of our dedicated board, staff and volunteers, we continuously provide top-notch programs in all our departments.
In order to continue to build upon our success, we need everyone to not only be a user, but be an actual member. Don’t just swim in the pool, take a class or join in the fun at the Chanukah Party. Be connected as a member.
It’s been an incredible 18 years. Be part of this amazing place and help us move forward and grow so that we can continue to be the centre of Ottawa’s Jewish community for generations to come.