Jaime Brathwaite: a Sandler Family Campus treasure

by | May 9, 2024 | Other News

One of the crown jewels of the Sandler Family Campus sports a blue shirt and an easy smile – on a daily basis. Cecilio Brathwaite, better known as “Jaime” (pronounced Hymie for a Jewish reference), has been employed by the Tidewater Jewish community for 42 years, having started at the JCC on Newport Ave. in Norfolk on May 24, 1982.

Born and raised in Panama, and the youngest of six children, Brathwaite was working as a travel agent in 1981 when he traveled to the United States for a visit to New York. From there, he took a trip to Tidewater to visit his brother, who was in the Navy. Upon his brother’s deployment, Braithwaite agreed to house sit and care for his two young nephews.

A neighbor in the Navy housing community worked for the JCC and asked Brathwaite to help with the twice-yearly JCC yard sale. While he expected the work to be temporary, Brathwaite eventually rose to the position of superintendent. Since 2004, he’s worked for the Sandler Family Campus – connecting the years from the JCC in Norfolk to the Campus in Virginia Beach and serving as a friendly reminder for long-time JCC members.

Living in Norfolk, Brathwaite enjoyed the family atmosphere of the old location. “I enjoyed the job, the staff, and the people, and I liked the place,” he says.

He says he’s had enlightening conversations with several Holocaust survivors and even the youngest survivor of the Titanic. However, he adds, “there are tons of people here from all walks of life, from members to co-workers. I meet more people here.” Brathwaite shares that, with some families, he’s meeting the third generation.

Aside from his wife, who Brathwaite met at The Foxtrap (“I trapped that fox!” he laughs), he has one daughter and a seven-year-old granddaughter in Georgia.