Catasauqua Press

Thursday, October 18, 2018
PRESS PHOTO BY STEPHEN ALTHOUSEThe Jewish Community Center of the Lehigh Valley, 702 N. 22nd St., Allentown, “Centennial Weekend,” Oct. 5 - Oct. 7 PRESS PHOTO BY STEPHEN ALTHOUSEThe Jewish Community Center of the Lehigh Valley, 702 N. 22nd St., Allentown, “Centennial Weekend,” Oct. 5 - Oct. 7
PRESS PHOTO BY STEPHEN ALTHOUSEJewish Community Center: “100 Years ... Thousands of memories ... Our JCC story continues.” PRESS PHOTO BY STEPHEN ALTHOUSEJewish Community Center: “100 Years ... Thousands of memories ... Our JCC story continues.”
Amy Sams Amy Sams

Jewish Community Center of Lehigh Valley marks 100th year

Friday, October 5, 2018 by STEPHEN ALTHOUSE Special to The Press in Focus

Enter the front door of the Jewish Community Center of the Lehigh Valley and make the first right. Head down the hall and you’ll see them on your left. Literally hundreds of class photos dating back more than half a century. Smiling children with their classmates and teachers.

“Let me see where mine is,” says Amy Sams, JCC adult program and event coordinator. “Oh, here it is.”

There in a small frame is a class photo of when she was a young girl. Just like it is for thousands of other students.

“There are so many memories and so many memories tied to the JCC,” says Sams.

That’s true for many others. The Jewish Community Center of the Lehigh Valley, 702 N. 22nd St., Allentown, has been a companion to some, a focal point to others and a mainstay in the community for many years. Make that 100 years to be exact.

The nonprofit is celebrating its first century with “Centennial Weekend,” Oct. 5 - Oct. 7, that will mark past accomplishments and set the stage for their future.

The weekend starts with a community Shabbat, 5 p.m. Oct. 5, led by the Lehigh Valley Jewish Clergy Group and featuring family activities, hosted by the JCC. Two services, one egalitarian and traditional, will run simultaneously. The event is sold out.

A “Birthday Bash” will be held at 7 p.m. Oct. 6. The event is sold out.

“It’s a party for the 21 and older crowd,” Sams notes.

The “Bash” is being presented as almost any class reunion is: say hello and reconnect with old friends. Sams says attendees will be able to “relive some of their JCC memories” and “make some new ones as well.”

Rich Lerner, of The Golf Channel and formerly of WFMZ-TV, is guest emcee. Entertainment is by Ron Sunshine and DJ Dharak.

“Family Fall Fest,” which has the potential to be a classic day to remember against an early fall backdrop, is 11 a.m. - 3 p.m. Oct. 6, Camp JCC, 5831 Vera Cruz Road, Center Valley. Registration is required.

“There is going to be fun for everyone and fun for the entire family,” Sams says.

The “Fest” is billed as a time to “reconnect with camp friends, have your face painted, jump in the moon bounce, hop on a hay ride, play kickball and tether ball.”

Attendees can decorate a pumpkin, run in the “Wild and Crazy Relay” or head out on the PJ Library scavenger hunt and finally, participate in what else, an all-camp sing-along with Mr. Day Camp Spirit, Mickey Freeman.

One hour prior the start of “Family Fall Fest,” folks are invited to enter the Jewish Day School’s Annual Fun Run.

Bus transportation to the camp is available from the JCC.

“The JCC is a center for the community” Sams says. “We have been for 100 years and will remain so for the next century.”

The JCC prides itself on serving all members of the community, noting they have more than 2,000 who use their programs which are instilled with Jewish values, cultures and conditions. There are children’s and wellness programs and special events, which include trips and tours.

Information: lvjcc.org; 610-435-3571