Goodbye and thanks, Ed Rosen; hello and welcome Steve Tepper!

retiring Director Ed Rosen (right) and Steve Tepper (left).

(l -r) Director Steve Tepper and retiring Director Ed Rosen.

Steve Tepper Retirement can mean an abundance of things. For some, it’s the start of a new adventure; for others, it’s doing nothing without worrying about getting caught at it.

In the case of Edward Rosen (or Ed), our chief executive officer, I think it could be both. He has had a life filled with amazing experiences and, in a span of over 30 years with our JCC, he has made a lasting impression.

In his 20s, Rosen served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in India from 1966-68. Upon his return, he settled in New York, tutored in the Volunteer Project Awareness program in Harlem and taught public school in the Lower East Side until 1970.

Two years later he received his Masters in Social Work from the University of Maryland before becoming the director of senior adult services at the Baltimore Jewish Community Center until 1975. Then he worked in directorial positions in Baltimore, the Henry Hart JCC in Chicago and helped found the Arlington Heights Buffalo Grove JCC, also in Chicago.

In 1983, Rosen and his wife Margie moved to Miami where he assumed the role of executive director of the South Dade Jewish Community Center. In 1990, after a three-year fund raising campaign under his effort and guidance, the center moved to its location at Southwest 112th Avenue and was renamed the Dave and Mary Alper Jewish Community Center.

When Hurricane Andrew devastated the Kendall area in 1992, the Alper JCC suffered more than $1 million in damages, but was still able to be the hub for the Red Cross and FEMA. Local residents received supplies and financial aid, and attend educational programs on rebuilding. Damaged facilities — Miami Dade College and area temples — held classes and services at the Alper JCC. Three years after the storm, with a grant from the Metro Dade Police Department, the Fitness Center expanded to twice its original size.

In the late 1990s, the center embarked on a successful capital campaign to retire the J’s building debt and to construct a much needed multi-purpose cultural arts center. Rosen was instrumental in creating a social program for young children with special needs and obtaining private funding to build a room dedicated to the Special Needs program, which includes teens and young adults.

In 2001, the Alper JCC was host to the Jewish Community Center Association annual Maccabi Games. With funding from the United Way of Miami Dade, the J also started a hearing impaired program for preschoolers, a teen fitness program and was one of the first agencies to incorporate swimming instruction into its pre-school program.

Rosen is proud of the relationship the JCC has with The Children’s Trust and in 2006 we received their Youth Program Excellence award. We have hit many milestones in successful programming, changes and developments over years of dedication from Rosen and, for that, we simply say, “Thank you, Ed.”

Receiving the torch from Rosen is Steven Tepper, a familiar face and a leader in the JCC organization. Another man of many prior achievements, Tepper comes to us from the East Valley JCC in Chandler, AZ. Before taking on the executive director position there in 2005, he operated as CEO of the Barshop JCC in San Antonio, TX for three years. Prior to that, he was director of Children, Youth, Family and Camping Services for the Tucson, AZ JCC. He is responsible for creating The Center of Holocaust Education and Human Dignity in Chandler and an award-winning, nationally recognized Holocaust remembrance program that has drawn more than 12,000 attendees.

Our topography may be flat and too humid for comfort, but the nearby ocean and beautiful city may be a perfect fit for Steve, his wife and two daughters. And we don’t have tumbleweeds.

Steve – welcome to Miami or bienvenido a Miami!

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