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The Jewish Press of Tampa and the Jewish Press of Pinellas County are Independently- owned biweekly Jewish community newspapers published in cooperation with and supported by the Tampa JCC & Federation and the Jewish Federation of Pinellas & Pasco Counties, respectively. Copyright © 2009-2018 The Jewish Press Group of Tampa Bay, Inc., All Rights Reserved.


 

July 15, 2016  RSS feed
Culture

Text: T T T

Reflections

Reva Kent
(as told to Karen Dawkins)

In 1986, Golda Meir Center was really doing well. Marcie Linder was the director. When we started the Golda Meir Center (1980), it was not a beneficiary agency. Charlie Rutenberg was the visionary. He told my husband, Marshall, it would be great if we started a senior day care. Charlie said, “If I put up a quarter of a million dollars, will you match it?”

We bought those buildings on Rainbow and Jupiter in Clearwater. We had seniors who were young and vibrant and educated. The Jewish community was growing. We had kosher lunches through a government program, lectures from the Junior College.

A few years after the Golda Meir Center opened, Marshall thought we needed to get all the kids together. We had a piece of property on Virginia Street in Dunedin that we donated and that’s how the Kent Jewish Community Center got started. Marshall died in 1987 before we finished the building.

We had people coming there, but the community didn’t support it. There was poor management. It was all financial. The mentality changed too. Country clubs opened up to Jews and people are not joiners anymore.

When the Kent Center closed, it was upsetting. I was so emotionally involved. It threatened my health. My cardiologist said I had to let it go.

Since then, I’ve seen the congregations taking over. The next generation is working hard at my temple. Dedication is so real. Every dollar is so important, yet membership is declining. I see people going back north to be near their children.

This community was so important to me. You see it all dissolving. It’s so disappointing.

Along with helping to found the Golda Meir Center and Kent JCC, she was a founder of the Jewish Federation of Pinellas County and served in numerous leadership positions for the Federation. At age 89, she remains active as a board member at Temple Ahavat Shalom and for Israel advocacy groups.


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