Two JCCs Hosting 2nd Community-Wide Celebration

Last fall, the Sabes and St. Paul JCCs reimagined and reinvented the idea of the traditional organizational benefit. Their vision: Two agencies from opposite sides of the river bringing hundreds of people together for a fun night out as one community. No rubber chicken dinner. No long speeches. No live auction. In fact, no fundraising at all. It was truly an opportunity for the community to just celebrate being a community.

It was such a success that they are back at it again this year. The JEvent will take place on Sunday, Nov. 19 and the Radisson Blu at the Mall of America.

In addition to providing the programming that serves the broadest cross-section of the community every day, bringing the community together is the mission of our JCCs.

The JEvent is the culmination of years of working together. The two JCCs have been partnering on cultural arts programming, teen programs, and marketing. The idea of a shared benefit that includes collaboration on pre-event fundraising and joining together for their biggest event of the year was a bold next step.

Despite the Minneapolis and St. Paul’s Jewish communities traditionally having distinctive and separate agencies and programming, the younger generation sees a Twin Cities with more fluidity. They envision fewer barriers and more synergy. “We want to recognize and support the wonderful histories, programs, and traditions that are unique in each city, and take the best of what each community offers and super-size it to benefit the entire Jewish community,” said Michael Waldman, CEO of the St. Paul JCC.

Last year’s ground-breaking event, titled, It’s About Time, featured a community Havdallah service, a guest appearance by Sen. Amy Klobuchar, dancing, and a hilarious video that poked some good-hearted fun at the perceived, Minneapolis-St. Paul divide. That video went viral by JCC standards – more than 8,000 folks viewed and shared.

This year’s event promises special moments that not only will inspire and delight guests, but provide another opportunity to highlight and strengthen community connections. “We will continue to talk about the elephant in the room in a fun way,” said Joshua Wert, CEO of the Sabes JCC. “We want to help people relax and embrace all of the ways we can be stronger when we come together.”

While most of the event is all about schmoozing, celebrating and enjoying pop-up entertainment, it will also recognize leaders who have helped bring us to this juncture in the life of our community, Nancy and Steve Schachtman and Michelle and Steve Shaller. The J Event is co-chaired by Linda Fiterman and Polly Saxon.

“The Schachtmans and Shallers have touched almost every Jewish organization in the Twin Cities with their leadership, volunteerism, and philanthropy,” said Waldman.

Wert said that the JCCs look to honor people whose work have spread across the Jewish community. He added, “We collaborate with everybody. We want to recognize people who help to move the community forward. Our communities are better because of these two couples.”

The event on November 19 promises a good time for all. Great food, fun entertainment, lots of time to schmooze, and the opportunity to show your support for two great and forward-thinking organizations.

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