Marketing the Simcha Campaign to build and introduce the Sandler Family Campus

by | May 9, 2024 | Other News

Developing a marketing campaign for the fundraising of the largest infrastructure endeavor Tidewater’s Jewish community had ever attempted was a huge undertaking. Without hesitation, the challenge was met with creativity, collaboration, and commitment.

The committee for what was to be The Reba and Sam Sandler Family Campus of the Tidewater Jewish Community was chaired by Bobby Copeland and Bob Josephberg. They quickly acknowledged the need for a well-coordinated marketing effort to support a fundraising campaign of this magnitude.

“What I remember most about that time was there was an amazing synergy happening in our community and a great sense of collaboration,” says Beth Jaffe , then Tidewater Jewish Foundation’s marketing director, who took on the additional role as marketing director for the Simcha Campaign. “We formed a fantastic marketing committee, chaired by Lonnie Slone, and hired outside professionals including Joel Rubin to craft our message. Joel recommended the name “Simcha,” and we hired Grafik, a talented design firm in Northern Virginia to create our campaign logo and collateral materials,” says Jaffe.
“Our tag line was ‘Build Together – Celebrate Together,’” says Rubin.

“The image we wanted to convey was the uplifting scene at every bar/bat mitzvah party and Jewish wedding where the child or couple is hoisted up onto a chair. With the guests out of their seats and dancing the hora, it is the essence of a ‘simcha’,” he says.

“Relocating and combining critical agencies (United Jewish Federation of Tidewater, Tidewater Jewish Foundation, Jewish Family Service, Hebrew Academy of Tidewater and the JCC) from other locations in Norfolk and Virginia Beach to a more central one off Witchduck Road in Virginia Beach was never going to be easy. That’s why this needed to be more than a fundraising operation. It had to be a Simcha… and it was!” adds Rubin.

“I called upon Zeke Panitz, my favorite songwriter and son of Rabbi Michael Panitz, to work with local producer Michael Goldberg and me on an ‘anthem’ of sorts. We had kids at Hebrew Academy record the song with Zeke,” says Rubin, “and they performed it at a very successful Grand Opening, co-chaired by Ann Copeland and Marilyn Simon.”

Jaffe recalls working with longtime UJFT professional Hal Sacks and architect Paul Turok (both of blessed memory). “These men were such an integral part of this effort and were both very interested in whatever we were creating in the marketing arena,” she says.

“I also remember that Andrew Fink and Sheila Josephberg assisted in the creation of a series of new logos for the agencies,” says Jaffe. “We needed graphic continuity since we were emerging as a Jewish campus, so each logo had the Star of David as its common denominator, yet they still maintained their own unique identities.”

Jaffe and Rubin both say that working on this campaign was one of the highlights of their respective marketing/public relations careers. “The best news of all is that we reached our financial goal, and our beautiful campus is still thriving today,” says Jaffe.

“Every time I drive down Corporate Woods Drive and walk into the stunning building that our community brought to life, I smile,” adds Rubin. “What an accomplishment.”

Song celebrates the new Campus
Zeke Panitz wrote Celebrate the Moment, the song that was used throughout the Simcha Campaign.

Celebrate the Moment

A time of growth
And a time of joy
Joining together to better one another
Looking at tomorrow
The day is bright
And filled with hope
May we be blessed with God’s eternal shelter
As children are growing up, they need a helping hand
Teachers to guide them in our ways
And help them understand
Nothing is done all alone
So take the love that’s in your home…
…and celebrate community