Reflections & Insights: A New Year’s Perspective

JSV is far ahead of most communities for creating a collaborative and networked ecosystem, and has laid the important groundwork for an innovative, and powerful future.


The pandemic put a premium on collaboration, and created opportunities for our communal organizations to work together to address common challenges with collective solutions. 

It’s not about “keeping score.” JSV leads with camaraderie and connectivity. Strengthened by a year-long leadership program led by JSV’s Senior Director of Collaborative Leadership and Jewish Engagement, Rabbi Hugh Seid-Valencia, the quality and depth of relationships among volunteer and professional leadership is excellent and something on which we can build.  

“In my decades of doing this work, I haven’t had a group where I didn’t have to remind anyone to take off their “organizational hat” and put on their “community hat.”  from a principal of Rosov Consulting – a national research organization with expertise in Jewish communities – at a gathering of leaders from 10 of our local Jewish communal organizations: 

JSV recognizes the benefits of collaboration for the communities we serve. In 2020, JSV, five other Bay area JCC’s, and a group of forward-thinking funders led by the Taube and Koum Foundations, came together and launched the Power in Partnership Fund. Addressing financial challenges created by the pandemic, the collective generosity received national attention for significantly benefiting each JCC.

Another example is the upcoming Transitional Kindergarten program, a partnership between APJCC Preschool and Yavneh Day School. This offering deepens a sense of belonging for young families on their Jewish journey


JSV no longer takes for granted the ability to gather in-person, and as a result, our programs are more focused on fostering a sense of belonging, and serving a greater purpose.

The revival of our Rosh Hashanah Challah Bake brought over 200 community members together. After several years of relative disuse, our auditorium buzzed with energy, renewed connections to one another, our shared space, and our traditions.

Mercaz Israeli launched “APJCC at your Door” hosting singalongs in homes across Silicon Valley. These singalongs made the events back at our center even more energetic. The Rosh Hashanah Kabbalat Shabbat pulsed with the vibrant energy of children playing games and adults engaging in lively table conversation and song. 

Our JCRC and Jewish Life & Culture departments worked with Los Gatos High School and Los Gatos Library sharing the story of Anne Frank. As part of the initiative we brought the Kinder Transportation Exhibit from the LA Holocaust Museum to town, sharing our history with our local community.

Our fitness team differentiates our gym by focusing on community building. The LIFTFEST event this month re-ignited and amplified the positive and supportive energy our members have come to know and love from us. 

Our ongoing collaboration with the Children’s Discovery Museum on our annual Menorahs and Miracles event engaged many new families with Jewish culture and tradition in hands-on, age appropriate ways.  

What a joy to bake, sing, learn, lift, and play together in service of a better world. 

JEWISH IS A TEAM SPORT: JSV has an incredible line-up.

With the 49ers looking like a legitimate Super Bowl contender I thought it was time for a sports analogy to highlight some of the new players bringing new energy to our team. 

  • Our new Chief Philanthropy Officer, Daniel Klein, begins next week. Daniel is a highly regarded Bay Area fundraising professional and was most recently the Executive Director of Israel Bonds for the Pacific Northwest and a Bay Area Director of AIPAC. He brings great energy and expertise to JSV.
  • As part of a collaboration with Oshman Family JCC, our new part-time Chief Financial Officer, Mark Holtzman,  provides significant business experience and financial acumen to the team.

These new faces add to our current star-studded roster, including our “new” Chief Operating Officer, Diana Schnabel-Arevalo. With 15 years of experience at our organization, Diana is deeply respected by our stakeholders and staff.

  • Earlier this month I attended an extremely moving evening hosted by JSV honoring the incredible contribution of Diane Fisher, our retiring JCRC director. For 18 years Diane worked tirelessly as relationship builder, educator, convener, mediator, advocate, and organizer on behalf of the Jewish community. With equal passion, Diane sought Jessica Blitchok to lead the ongoing charge as a connector in multi-faith and inter-cultural spaces. We are thankful for the path paved by Diane and look forward to Jessica’s future contributions.
  • Three times since the senseless invasion of Ukraine, major national and international organizations have called upon those to support refugees in Poland. Our own Rabbi Ilana Baird, Director of Russian Speaking Jewish (RSJ) Programs, as well as other volunteers from various organizations, stepped up to provide support for displaced women and children. Given that only 80 years ago, in similar towns in Europe, nobody was there to help our people and we paid a terrible price, we are extremely thankful JSV is in a position to support such a mitzvah. It is truly a blessing that gives me a deep sense of pride. 

I also want to share my appreciation for the monumental commitment of time, energy, passion, and skill that the JSV volunteer leadership provides everyday. We should all be proud of the exceptional contributions from this important group.


Whether you take pride that your JSV Campaign gift supports the mission of organizations across Silicon Valley, scholarships to school and camps, or supports the array of programs strengthening Jewish identity and camaraderie among Jewish people young and old – your generosity powers the work we do. 

If you are in a position to support our community through a meaningful gift to our JSV annual campaign, please do so. It is truly a mitzvah. 

On behalf of the JSV team, I wish each of you and your families health, happiness and meaning in the New Year.  

With Gratitude,  Scott Kaufman

Interim CEO for JSV