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Dear Weinstein JCC Community,
After a thorough search led by Weinstein JCC Past Presidents and Board Members Shelley Gouldin and Chris Greenberg, I am thrilled to announce the hiring of Orly Lewis to serve as the Center’s next Chief Executive Officer, effective April 1, 2020. Orly was unanimously chosen as the most qualified candidate, one whose skills and passion match the Center’s vision and priorities, especially during this challenging time. She is the 10th CEO in the Weinstein JCC’s history, and the first woman in this leadership role.
Orly has worked at the Center since 1998 in many capacities, beginning her journey as the Director of the Melton Adult Education Program, and then continuing as the Cultural Arts Director, working her way up to Director of Adult Services, Chief Operating Officer, Interim CEO, and now CEO. Through her many years and roles, Orly has learned every corner of our Center and programs and knows our members, constituents, incredible staff, leaders, and our Richmond and Jewish community.
Not only does Orly bring to us her many years of service, she has also helped navigate the Weinstein JCC through the present pandemic. The current public health emergency has posed as great a challenge to our Center and our members, employees, and the community we serve-as any in our agency’s existence. Throughout all that we are facing, Orly has led with a keen mind, a generous heart, bottomless empathy and boundless creativity.
As the first generation of her family to be born in Israel, Orly’s ancestry lived in Tunisia for generations, and were part of an active and flourishing Jewish community. They endured much hardship during and after World War II. Due to hostility in the region in 1956, Orly’s parents had to leave everything behind, literally overnight, and rebuild their lives in Israel. They had to learn new skills, a new language, and adapt to the young new country of Israel. However, Orly and her five siblings were always taught to take great pride in their rich customs and traditions. Just as her mother and father adapted to life in Israel, Orly came to Richmond, Virginia as a young adult, learned a new language, new skills, a new culture, and built her own family with her husband, Doug Lewis, and their four children.
Orly’s passion and dedication for the Weinstein JCC and for the Richmond community is unwavering. “I am honored to have been entrusted to be the next CEO of the Weinstein JCC, and I am grateful and inspired by our devoted staff and committed lay leadership. The world has certainly changed since our Center was born nearly 75 years ago, and we definitely feel that impact today. Nevertheless, we plan on going forward with courage and determination, as we build and serve our community. Our mission and purpose for existence have not changed.”
I would like to invite you to join the Board in congratulating Orly and celebrating the installment of our next President Ashley Brooks, new Board Members and annual award winners at our first ever Virtual Annual Meeting on Thursday, May 14 at 5:30 p.m. Please stay tuned for details to be shared via an upcoming email and on our social media outlets on how to register for this free and exciting online event that is open to the community.
We look forward to the many exciting changes ahead for our JCC under new leadership along with the steadfast commitment of our staff and board, as we plan for the future together.
Stay safe and healthy,
Weinstein JCC Board President