LJCC-BJF CEO Richard Friedman: “The Day After”

    Richard Friedman:
    “The Day After”
    By Richard Friedman

    Today was the day after.

    On Thursday, it was announced that the boards of the Levite Jewish Community Center and the Birmingham Jewish Federation had named me joint CEO over the two agencies.

    This decision to experiment with a new model came in the wake of LJCC’s executive director Betzy Lynch announcing that she would be leaving this August to head the JCC in San Diego. A dynamo, Betzy leaves big shoes to fill. A new management structure will be introduced to allow me to lead the LJCC and BJF simultaneously.

    Meanwhile, this morning, as I walked my three-year-old granddaughter to the LJCC’s superb pre-school, I felt enveloped by love. Every LJCC staff member I encountered reached out to me. It was so powerful. You could see in their eyes, hear in their voices and feel in their hearts how dedicated they are to our beloved LJCC and how committed they are to making this new LJCC-BJF arrangement succeed.

    I’m writing this minutes after I walked my granddaughter into school. One longtime preschool staff member walked with me down the hall, which was bubbling with energy and the melody of children’s voices, to tell me how excited she is about this new joint CEO arrangement.

    She reminisced about the two generations we both have seen come through the preschool which have included our children and grandchildren. “We are like family here,” she beamed lovingly. “That’s what makes this place special.”

    And she’s exactly right. That’s why I took on this new assignment. We are family. As Jews we feel a special connection to one another; as members of the broader LJCC-BJF community, which includes countless dear friends who aren’t Jewish, we are all family.

    So, on the day after Thursday’s announcement, in a way that touched me deeply, I was reminded of what is my most important assignment in this new role: To make our family even stronger.

    With Betzy’s help and the help of so many others, I’m ready to begin. Let’s get started.

    Shabbat Shalom from the Levite Jewish Community Center and Birmingham Jewish Federation.

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