By Rachel Gross Weinstein
Aaron Family JCC president Artie Allen and past chairman Jack Baum have been appointed to the JCC Association board of directors. Their two-year terms will run through January 2015.
JCCA is the continental umbrella organization for the Jewish Community Center movement, which includes more than 350 JCCs, YM/YWHAs and campsites in the United States and Canada. JCCA offers a wide range of services and resources to help its affiliates to provide educational, cultural, social, Jewish identity building, and recreational programs for people of all ages and backgrounds.
This is the first time two people from Dallas are serving on the national board since Ynette Hogue and Kenny Goldberg did it 12 years ago, according to Allen. This will allow he and Baum to learn about what other JCCs across North America are doing, Allen said, and shows that Dallas is a major player in the Jewish communal world.
“It allows the Dallas Jewish community to have prominence on the national scene, and it gives us a feeling of credibility,” he said. “It’s also an opportunity to bring back to Dallas the best of the best of what’s being offered all over North America. I am happy to be involved and hope to make an impact nationally as well.”
Baum, a successful entrepreneur in the restaurant and technology industries who is also a vice chairman of the Jewish Federation of Greater Dallas board, believes his and Allen’s elections to the JCCA board signify the national organization’s recognition of the Dallas center.
He said he is looking forward to gaining perspectives from other JCC leaders.
“I think we’re very well represented,” said Baum, who recently stepped down as federation chair-elect because of time constraints. “We have done some innovative things at our level, and I think the JCCA was looking for our positive influence on a national level. It helps our community to have ears on the national stage.”
The innovations, he added, include the renovated Sherry and Ken Goldberg Family Early Childhood Center, the Naturescape and programming enhancements.
Being on the board will also allow Allen and Baum to share best practices, and learn about programs, strategies and visions at other JCC’s, Allen said.
Allen has worked in the Jewish communal world for over two decades and has been president of the J for the past seven years. His passion for making an impact on the Jewish community is what drives him every day.
“I have been a JCC professional for 25 years and working at the local level is amazing,” Allen said. “Being part of establishing Jewish journeys and watching them evolve has been and continues to be my passion. Sitting on the national board means so much to me because this is who I am and what my life’s work is. This is a tremendous honor.”
Most of all, Baum is looking forward to helping the Dallas Jewish community continue to flourish.
“I’m eager to take on this meaningful role on the national stage that can no doubt help our community,” Baum said. “I look forward to exploring new ways to build our community by creating new entry points, or engaging in our JCC Maccabi Games and supporting health and wellbeing initiatives or working to develop innovative programming for active adults/seniors and all of our members. It really comes down to helping our community grow together.”
Added JCCA president/CEO Allan Finkelstein: “We are very pleased to welcome Artie Allen and Jack Baum to our board. We know [they] will be valuable additions as the JCC movement meets the challenges of the next decade.”
TJP managing editor Dave Sorter contributed to this story.