Dear JCCA Community,

This is one of my favorite times of year. Summer has arrived, and so has Pride. Graduation ceremonies will be here before we know it. And this weekend we’re treated to a rare double holiday: Father’s Day and Juneteenth.

To the fathers, grandfathers, and father figures of the JCCA community, thank you for the care, support, and guidance you offer not only to your own children but to the young people you encounter in your work. They benefit in countless ways––seen and unseen––from your generous and encouraging presence. Of course, this day is complicated for many of us, and our hearts go out to those for whom this day may bring grief or heartache. In escaping the Holocaust as a boy and building a life for himself and his family in America, my father offered me an invaluable example of resilience. But he was also deeply affected by those experiences, and his trauma in turn impacted me and my family. I try to remember that no matter what has affected our lives, leaning into gratitude and telling someone you love them—that you have their back—is powerful and important.

Like Father’s Day, commemorating Juneteenth involves both joy and solemnity. While still new as a federal holiday, the tradition of Juneteenth dates back to the end of the Civil War and the emancipation of slaves in Galveston, Texas. It’s encouraging to see this day become integrated into our national culture. The campus was jubilant during Wednesday’s Juneteenth Jubilee, reminding us that joy, leisure, and community are essential to our well-being—and liberation.

As we consistently re-commit to diversity, equity, and inclusion, let us remember to celebrate our lives and those around us, renewing our energies for the work ahead. I hope your weekend is filled with fun and some well-deserved relaxation.

Thanks for everything you do,