Message from the President and CEO

Published Monday, August 26, 2019

A Message From the President/CEO Saul F. Levenshus

By Saul F. Levenshus, President/CEO

At the end of September, we will begin our celebration of the Jewish High Holiday season. For the Jewish community, this is a very special time of year, a time of reflection, a time to be thankful, and a time to forgive and ask for forgiveness for any transgressions that have been committed over the past year. It is also a wonderful time to look back and ask ourselves if we made a difference in the world. What effect did we have on the lives of others? Who did we help, and who did we hinder? 

Having just celebrated our 20th year here at the Campus, I have recently taken some time to reflect back on the many great accomplishments achieved by the JCC and our partner agencies here at the Campus and the effect we collectively have had on both the Jewish and greater San Antonio community.

At the JCC, being a birth through life institution means being a place where our community comes to meet and spend time with one another while engaging in one or more of the many activities we feature throughout the year. Whether we are serving young families through our Summer Camp or After School programs, educating their children in our Nationally accredited school for young children, or providing essential services like transportation and a daily lunch program to ensure our aging adults can pursue an independent lifestyle that keeps them active, the JCC and our Jewish Community Campus is the place to be.

In addition to our efforts at the J, we are so enriched by the partnerships we enjoy with our sister agencies and religious institutions and the many community organizations that support and strengthen the fabric of our Jewish community.

From the Jewish Federation, whose convening and fundraising efforts continue to provide support both locally and overseas to ensure a strong and vibrant community; to Jewish Family Service, whose counseling, safety net and social services impact thousands of individuals and families in our community, and San Antonio Jewish Senior Services, who partners with us in our efforts to reach and engage Jewish Seniors, the effect we collectively have on our community is truly something we can all be proud of. Our Campus has made a difference.

There is an old African proverb that I am fond of that says, “If you want to go fast, go alone. But, if you want to go far, go together.”

I believe this is particularly accurate for a small Jewish Community like San Antonio. Despite our differences in make-up and mission, our organizations and agencies share a common goal of service to our community.

And 2020 will certainly test our mutual efforts. Over the past few months, I have alluded to the decision by the United Way Trustees and its Partners for Community Change Coordinating Committee, to alter the way the United Way invests in its Partner Agencies. For the JCC and JFS this decision eliminated nearly $500,000 in support funding that will threaten our ability to maintain the same high quality services that support individuals and families in need through mental health and social services, as well as some of the Early Childhood, Children and Youth, and Senior Adult programs and services mentioned above.

This massive loss of funding in this fiscal year creates a challenge for both the JCC and Jewish Family Service.  And as a result, the urgency to secure adequate gap funding to support the many individuals and families in need is extraordinary.

More than any time in recent years, our community must stand united. Our communal support of the Jewish Federation’s Annual Campaign One Community, One Goal, 100 days, kicking off on Sunday, September 15, will go a long way to ensure that these essential services can be sustained.

In addition, our wonderful team of professional staff and volunteer leadership are already hard at work identifying the resources and strategies necessary to continue providing the same high quality programs and services that our community has come to expect from us.

As I started out, this is a perfect time to make a difference in the world, and to positively impact the lives of others. On behalf of our board and staff, I would like to take this opportunity to wish you all a safe, healthy, and happy New Year. L’Shana Tova!

And let’s remember that together, we go far.

Live up!  


President & CEO