an inscription on the wall: "welcoming strangers -- let your house be open wide, pirkei avot"
Inscriptions on the wall of the main lobby of the JCC of San Francisco, including "welcoming strangers — let your house be open wide" (Photo/Joyce Goldschmid)

JCCSF Arts & Ideas director resigns over immigration panel

Barbara Lane, director of Arts & Ideas for the JCC of San Francisco, resigned this week after what she characterized as a dispute over a panel discussion she had organized on the topic of President Donald Trump’s recent executive order on immigration.

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Barbara Lane

Lane, 63, served in the post since joining the JCC staff in 2005. She told J. she had booked several speakers for the Feb. 8 event, including a civil rights attorney, a representative from the Muslim community and Rabbi Peretz Wolf-Prusan, to discuss the administration’s sweeping restrictions on refugees and visitors from seven Muslim countries.

One week before it was to take place, the event was cancelled. Lane said she was told it had to do with there being insufficient “time to create the appropriate messaging around this,” and because of security concerns. Lane was unhappy with that explanation. She told J. she believed the cancellation had more to do with internal concerns about alienating the JCC’s “conservative donor base.”

She submitted her resignation on Feb. 1.

JCC CEO Marci Glazer responded to J. in a statement saying it is JCCSF policy not to comment on employment matters, but in an open letter to the community she said the panel discussion was delayed because “additional preparation time was required to meet our high standards for participant learning and engagement, as well as security.”

Glazer also cited the spate of bomb threats against dozens of JCCs across the country last month as a factor. “Any suggestions or implications that we delayed this event for anything other than this reason is categorically false.”

Glazer would not comment directly on Lane’s departure, writing, “While we do not discuss matters of employment, we would like to assure our community that we look forward to continuing to host events that challenge and enrich our community.”

Lane said that while she “would have loved to be at the JCC three or four more years, there are some extremely talented people there. It’ll be fine. I have the greatest respect for my colleagues.”

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Dan Pine

Dan Pine is J.'s news editor. He can be reached at dan@jweekly.com.