December 13, 2001
We don't shut down something important; we find a solution ("Centers in Crisis," Dec. 7). It is evident that some of those in power really believe that the Jewish Community Center (JCC) is a waste of precious resources and has outlived its usefulness.
I thought these people worked for us. Where are the machers? Where is the shame?
And where are all of those who learned to swim at JCC, who went to camp there, who played in the senior's orchestra, who swam with Lenny Krayzelberg, who got a dose of the Maccabi Games? Where are you hiding?
Jerrold A. Fine, Chairman Westside Jewish Community Center Building Committee
Shame on us. How can we close most of the centers in the Los Angeles area and deprive our people of one of the basic foundations of our community? To think that we Jews in Los Angeles are doing this to ourselves is nothing short of madness. We know better, we deserve better and, hopefully, we will not let this come to pass. For once, let not our divisiveness lead us to self-destruction; rather, let us coalesce and put our brilliant minds together to save one of the richest foundations that we have in the Los Angeles area for the entire Jewish community.
Herman Gillman, Director emeritus Jewish Federation Council Southern Region
Chaim Weizmann, Director emeritus Valley Cities JCC\
The inevitable closure of several Jewish Community Centers comes as no surprise to those of us involved as volunteers. This process has been on a downward spiral for at least the past five years, maybe 10. These difficulties transcend Nina Lieberman-Giladi's stewardship. Unfortunately, she inherited most of these problems.
What seems to have happened is a combination of factors that together seem to have waylaid the centers in Los Angeles: lack of vision and innovation when it comes to new programs; adherence to an antiquated model that doesn't fit current community desires; and centralization without any follow-up plan for replacing the local volunteer base, or infuse local support with their broader vision for JCCGLA.
The dissolution of local boards was particularly destructive in the emasculation of whatever volunteer base local centers had.
Bill Kabaker, Sherman Oaks
I worked for the Jewish Community Centers for a decade, running the children's programs at the Westside JCC, climbing their professional ladder and adoring every moment. I spent another decade raising funds for their programs as the vice president of ways and means because of how deeply I was affected by all aspects of the work that they do.
Thousands of children who come through center programs are from unaffiliated Jewish families. They experience their Judaism through the activities, songs and celebrations within a Jewish community that they would not be a part of otherwise.
I recall seeing a woman buying her Passover food at one of the kosher markets on Pico recently. She recognized me, and began to tell me how much the centers influenced her current life. She came from a single-parent, secular family and now lives a "Conservadox" Jewish lifestyle. She cried as she told me how grateful she was.
The angels of Los Angeles should come forward and rescue the treasure that we have so taken for granted.
Roz Rothstein, Los Angeles
In "Federation Lay-Offs Total 30," Dec. 7, A.J. Adelman is the lay chair of the ACCESS division and not an employee of The Jewish Federation.
In "Centers in Crisis," Dec. 7, a quote about the JCC board and a decrease in allocations attributed to John Fishel should have been attributed to Nina Lieberman-Giladi.
In "Latkes With a Muscleman," Dec. 7, Pacific Jewish Center's Senior Rabbi Daniel Lapin was misidentified.