Reunion celebrates Jewish Community Center's 100th anniversary - KCTV5

Reunion celebrates Jewish Community Center's 100th anniversary

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OVERLAND PARK, KS (KCTV) -

It has been nearly two months since three people were killed at the Jewish Community Center in Overland Park and a nearby living facility.

Since then, the people at JCC have been trying to go about their lives normally while still remembering the victims.

The shooting happened April 13. Dozens of high school students were on the campus at the time, many were auditioning for a metro talent show and scholarship competition.

The competition was put on hold but continued Sunday, as did a JCC reunion in honor of the community center's 100th anniversary.

The shootings still weigh heavily on everyone's minds at the community center, but Sunday was a reason to celebrate and reconnect with old friends. And even though the center's changed a lot over the past 100 years, the sense of community remains the same.

"If they'd let me move in here, I'd move in with suitcases and a sleeping bag, and I would live here," Myrna Rosenthal said.

Rosenthal remembers the original JCC location in Kansas City where she spent much of her childhood.

"I remember going to swimming lessons at the Linwood place, and it was a wonderful experience," she said.

The center began as a place where Jewish immigrants could learn English and develop an American lifestyle while maintaining their Jewish identity. And 100 years later, it is still a gathering place where people of all backgrounds can socialize and grow together as a community.

"The Jewish community believes we have something to offer our own community and everybody else. This allows us to keep our own identity and at the same time work with the entire community. So we're a bridge builder," said Jacob Schreiber, JCC president and CEO.

And nearly two months after tragedy struck the center, JCC members can smile and celebrate their perseverance over a century.

"It is just wonderful to celebrate happy occasions, and that is what we need to celebrate ...  happy occasions and not focus on the sad events that have happened," Rosenthal said.

The Jewish Community Center and Village Shalom have both brought in some added security, but everyone says they still feel safe coming to the JCC.

The JCC has a memorial fund set up in honor of the victims of the shooting. To donate just go to jcckc.org.

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