Learning, Laughter, Tears, and Inspiration – Just Another Night at JBSC

It was dark, cold, and windy outside, but the atmosphere within the walls of the Julia Bindeman Suburban Center was vibrant and alive with hundreds of adults and teens gathered across the building in classrooms and meeting spaces.

WHC’s Brotherhood and nearly 40 golf fans welcomed Oliver Horovitz, author, Harvard graduate, and nice Jewish boy from New York City — who also happens to be a caddie on St. Andrews Old Course — for dinner, drinks, golf tips, and terrific stories about his experiences at St. Andrews. Facing an unexpected gap year before college, Ollie had enrolled in the St. Andrews Links Trust caddies program, a choice that shaped the direction of his life. In a lively discussion, he shared how he gained the respect of veteran caddies, got over his shyness with girls (by teaching models how to caddy), and stumbled from adolescence to adulthood on the course. 

Down the hall, filling classrooms typically occupied by Religious School students, dozens of adults gathered for their first Congregational Conversations “book club style” discussions led by Rabbi Lustig, Interim Religious School Director Stephanie Tankel, Executive Director Steve Jacober, and lay leaders Mel Urofsky and Richard Sussman. They listened, considered, grappled with, and shared perspectives on the first two chapters of Ari Shavit’s book, My Promised Land

If you listened closely, the sounds of Cantor Manevich and Kol Rinah rehearsing their newest melodies could be heard drifting through the upper level.

And in the Social Hall, over 200 teens and their parents gathered for the first D.C.-area screening of Finding Kind, a documentary that opened our eyes to the lasting effects of bullying among girls. With Cantor Bortnick, a high school guidance counselor, and a therapist offering resources, perspective, and encouragement, the group left motivated to initiate change within themselves and their communities. If you are interested in learning more about or participating in WHC’s own “Kind Club,” contact Ira Miller, Director of Informal Education.

As the last cars left the parking lot and the halls quieted, Mike Aguilar and his wonderful staff began the task of preparing JBSC for the morning, when our ECC and Kindergarten students — the next generation of golfers, singers, lifelong learners, advocates, and friends — come through our doors.