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J’la Gala to celebrate ‘Only at The J’ August 6

People sitting at a round table hold up their numbered auction cards in preparation for the live J'la Gala auction
Attendees of last year’s J’la get ready for the live auction. Fundraising at the inaugural event hit $111,000.

The Levite Jewish Community Center is pleased to announce that its second annual J’la Gala is set for Sunday, August 6, at 5 p.m. The not-to-be-missed fundraising event will include silent and live auctions*, signature cocktails, a three-course kosher dinner prepared by Chef Maureen Holt, and live music. 

Tickets for the event — availability is limited (and we sold out last year!) — cost $125, and sponsorship opportunities are still available.

“I hear only-at-The-J stories all the time,” says Executive Director Brooke Bowles. “People have such great memories about learning to swim with Coach John and growing up in our youth lounge and starring in a theater production in Pizitz Auditorium. Fundraising efforts like this gala will help us extend these experiences to everyone regardless of their financial situation.”

Only at The J

As the only Jewish community center in the state, The J provides distinct experiences that create, serve, and enhance community through the lens of Jewish identity while providing a safe and welcoming space for children and adults of all ages and backgrounds to learn and thrive. 

Students of all faiths in the Cohn Early Childhood Learning Center, for example, not only observe Shabbat every Friday, but they also learn about and celebrate Juneteenth, Diwali, Hannukah and many more holidays. The multicultural approach happens year-round and can be spontaneous. One teacher was inspired by a recent trip to Puerto Rico to show her class of 3-year-olds how to make empanadas.

A smiling woman wearing a white shirt and black sportcoat leans against a pillar while two women in the background lift weights
“I hear only-at-The-J stories all the time,” says Executive Director Brooke Bowles. “People have such great memories about learning to swim with Coach John and growing up in our youth lounge and starring in a theater production in Pizitz Auditorium. Fundraising efforts like this gala will help us extend these experiences to everyone regardless of their financial situation.”

On a wider scale, every spring The J hosts thousands at the Jewish Food and Culture Fest, a community gathering (we like to think of it as a huge neighborhood picnic) that  highlights a variety of homemade recipes that have been passed down for generations. And every summer, The J’s outdoor high dive becomes a rite of passage for hundreds of kids who have learned to swim thanks to our highly regarded aquatics program (including a new swim school for underserved students). 

And for adults, every visit to The J offers new opportunities — from participating in our ever-expanding fitness offerings to joining a community group. Mahjong, stamp collecting, disco dancing, knitting, and more take place weekly.

“But these relationships can go much deeper,” Brooke says. 

Our signature offering

Brooke explains that over the past year she’s had a chance to visit a number of Jewish Community Centers across the region. “They each have their signature offerings like a water park or author series or overnight camps,” she says. “But our signature offering is that we look at what we have to offer only at The J and then seek out community members who don’t have access to these programs.” 

Scholarships and other means help open The J’s doors just a little bit wider for the whole community. “This is one way we approach the Jewish concept of tikkun olam, or repairing the world,” Brooke says. “People gather at The J to have great conversations and interactions with other members and staff. Then they remember and feel good about it and keep coming back.” 

So come celebrate all this and more at The J’la Gala on August 6.


*The live auction is managed by C. King Benefit Auctions.