The Other Side of the World

Rabbi Shira Koch Epstein

There on the other side of the world, I was instantly reminded of our community here in downtown Manhattan. Familiarity, warmth, energy, and connection, just like my experience at the 14th Street Y, was right in front of me at the Nikitskaya Jewish Community Center in Moscow, Russia.

Laughing, smiling, learning; children and adults of all ages joined in conversation and activities that inspired thought and expression. From Reggio–Emilia programming in the dual language Russian/Hebrew early childhood center to the harmonious silence of artists molding clay to the rhythmic movement of dancers in class, one thing was clear; I felt at home.

What I truly admired, and reflect upon now as I write this, was the common thread that bound the children and adults together through experiences. Both community centers take pride in the Jewish sensibility of Brit, or partnership— meaningfully connecting ourselves to others by agreeing to shared commitments. The Nikitskaya JCC has thrived as it is built on member and patron’s shared interests and goals.  At the 14th Street Y, we too are made up of people of all ages building relationships together around our shared interests and goals.

I encourage you to share your interests and goals with your 14th Street Y community. As the sun begins to peek through the clouds and bring the warmth of springtime, let’s continue this journey together. I can’t wait to hear about the ambitious goals you set out to do.

Rabbi Shira Koch Epstein
Executive Director
14th Street Y