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10 March 24 • 2011
fter almost 10 years as
executive director of the
Jewish Community Center
of Greater Ann Arbor, Leslie Bash
will retire this spring. She will be
honored at the JCC 25th Anniversary
Celebration Gala and Auction on
Sunday, March 27.
"It is with mixed emotions that I
retire from my position at the JCC:'
she said. "I have loved working with
all the wonderful staff and lay lead-
ers at the Center; together we have
accomplished a great deal to help
create a strong Jewish community in
"I have been privileged to have
spent the last 30 years serving the
Jewish people. It has been a long trip
full of growth, enjoyment and impor-
tant work. I feel very proud to be part
of a movement that makes such an
impact on Jewish life in America. I
am now entering a new chapter in my
life with more leisure time to travel
and spend with family and friends."
While Bash was in Ann Arbor, the
JCC experienced significant growth
and expansion in programming and
utilization of the facility. The bud-
get grew from $1.2 million to $2.2
million, and many programs were
established including the Jewish Film
Festival, a major expansion of the
Jewish Book Festival, the Florence
Melton Adult Mini School and the
JCC Film Discussion Group.
Under Bash, the JCC facility
received many improvements pro-
vided by several successful fundrais-
ing projects. The JCC gymnasium
was completely renovated and the
Maas Lounge was converted into a
beautiful, versatile all-purpose room.
A pilot program involved the instal-
lation of geothermal heating and
Also, a new conference room was
constructed at the front of the build-
ing, and the Federation and Center
offices were reorganized and reno-
vated. In the last two years, funds
were raised for the installation of a
new roof for the entire building, and
the Newman Gelman and Levine
Lounges were renovated and redeco-
The JCC "Fund for the Future"
endowment was established in 2008
when Chuck and Sharon Newman
were honored at a JCC Gala. This
fund now has almost $500,000 with
additional funds still promised, and it
is bringing interest revenues into the
general operating budget each year.
Bash's JCC career began in
Bridgeport, Conn., where she served
first as the membership director
and finally as assistant director.
After 10 years in Connecticut, her
family moved to Metro Detroit. She
became director of the Oak Park
Jewish Community Center, where she
oversaw a complete renovation of the
building and the addition of a health
club and swimming pool. She later
became assistant and then associ-
ate director of the Metro Detroit
JCC, including Oak Park and West
Bloomfield, before coming to Ann
Arbor as executive director.
Ann Arbor JCC President Seth
Penchansky said, "Leslie has been a
great asset to the JCC, and we will
miss her enthusiastic leadership and
guidance. We wish her the best of
luck in her retirement."
To make reservations for the JCC
Gala Anniversary Auction honoring
Leslie Bash at 6 p.m. March 27, call
the JCC at (734) 971-0990. Tickets are
$50 per person and include dinner.
Sponsorships are also available. Li