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The Great American Eclipse

by Michael Rowland
JCC Association Marketing Consultant

Today marks the Great American Eclipse. U.S. National Parks are expecting a record day of visitors. Maybe you’re among the thousands of people congregating to watch somewhere along the path from Oregon to South Carolina. It’s both a marvel of the galaxy and a momentary corridor of overpriced motel rooms

There’s good reason for the mania. It’s been 99 years—June 8, 1918, to be exact—since a total solar eclipse traversed the United States from coast to coast.

Those were the bleak days of World War I, with its ongoing daily churn of death. Millions of soldiers and civilians were caught up in a never-ending war of attrition.

Many saw the eclipse as a positive sign that things might get better, a divine action to allow God to do some quick rearranging of the universe under cover of darkness. Because of course, out of darkness comes light.

It so happens that around the time of that last eclipse, the Jewish Welfare Board was being developed to support Jews enlisted in the military. The JWB was the forerunner to the JCC Association.

Considering that we are now celebrating our centenary, it’s worth remarking that this organization was founded during an extremely dark period. And yet light was created, many times over.

Today’s eclipse is a reminder of how far we’ve come in that time. Through the ups and downs of the last century (and there were so many downs) JCCs have always represented a better future, following the eternal Jewish aspiration to serve as “a light unto the nations”.

In this strange eclipse year of 2017, our mission against darkness continues, only more so. For the good of our country, the light we make has to shine brighter than ever.

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