Message from the President and CEO

Published Sunday, March 1, 2020 6:00 am

A Message From the President/CEO Saul F. Levenshus

By Saul F. Levenshus, President/CEO

I recently attended a conference of JCC Executives from around North America. It is an annual event that I look forward to as it provides great perspective about the work I do as a Jewish Communal Professional and simultaneously reinforces the importance of the work Jewish Community Centers are doing throughout North America. In one particular learning opportunity, a close colleague of mine shared a perspective that he had which really resonated with me. He said, “Our universe is not made of atoms, it’s made of stories.” He was referring to our communities and our JCC’s, and he proceeded to tell me a story about an early childhood family that was looking for direction pertaining to a Jewish holiday and their family’s personal practice surrounding the holiday. They were counting on the JCC Early Childhood Director to provide advice and counsel…to provide perspective.

As I listened to this story, it was reminiscent of hundreds of other stories that I have heard from members over the years who describe their Jewish journey at the JCC. For some, it was Early Childhood where they first connected and made friends that have lasted them a generation or more. For others, it’s about the JCC being the place to be for summer camp, where campers learn skills and make memories that last a lifetime. And, still, for others, it’s a second home where community members feel welcomed and embraced, like the many seniors who are transported to the J for daily activities including a kosher lunch, group exercise, and socialization, all of which reinforce their desire to remain independent.

Every generation has JCC stories that make our history so rich. The other evening, while I was waiting for one of our Jewish Film Festival films to begin, a long-standing member leaned over and said how proud he was to be a part of the Festival and he conceded that his connection to the JCC went all the way back to Quincy Street. He reinforced that while his kids are grown now, their children, his grandchildren, also made the JCC a central part of their lives, and he noted that regardless of the generational needs, the JCC has always been there for his family.


Usually, once each day, I wander away from my office to check out what’s going on around the JCC, and I’ll meet someone who shares a little piece of their JCC story/experience. Sometimes it’s about their child and sometimes it’s about themselves. In either case, these stories capture the spirit and the essence of the JCC’s collective story.  They highlight the impact the JCC has had on our community throughout the years, and they serve as a reminder that, truly, there’s something about this place!


Since moving to our home here at NW Military Highway, and for the past two decades, the JCC Board and Staff have worked hard to establish a niche in both the Jewish and general communities in San Antonio and a reputation for providing high-quality programs and services designed to meet the needs of individuals and families from all walks of life. From Early Childhood to Senior Adults, Sports & Fitness to Arts & Culture, the JCC strives to inspire Jewish journey’s in an effort to meet the emerging needs of an evolving Jewish Community.


We recently began the process of converting to a new database system that is designed to provide all of our customers with enhanced user experience. Some of you have already interfaced with it and are using it to check-in upon arrival and to register for programs. Over the coming weeks, the system will be further enhanced and will offer even more functionality, and we appreciate your patience and understanding as we develop new features.


In a few weeks, we will be sending out our annual membership survey and, as has been the case each of the last several years, we are anticipating an outstanding response. The survey tells us what members like and where we have room for improvement, and it allows our board and staff to use the results to plan for the year ahead and the years to come. Many of the changes we enact each year come from the recommendations provided to us through our survey. So, thank you in advance for the feedback and keep it coming. Thank you for your continued support, and more importantly, thank you for being part of the J experience; and please keep sharing your JCC story and letting others know how much the JCC means to you.


We’re glad you belong here!

Saul F. Levenshus

President & CEO