Ira Jaffe

Ira Jaffee was born and raised in Easton, Pennsylvania. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Secondary Education and a Master’s degree in Counseling from Butler University as well as a Master’s degree in Social Work from Indiana University.

Ira has been the Executive Director of the Jewish Community Center for nearly 26 years. He rose to this position after serving as Assistant Director for two years and Youth & Young Adult Director for five years.

Ira has achieved much to ensure the longevity of the JCC during his tenure as Executive Director. Notably, he orchestrated the process for acceptance of the $12 million renovation and expansion project for the JCC. Completion of this major expansion in 1996 more than doubled the JCC’s square footage to its present 160,000 square feet. Under Ira’s direction, the JCC’s membership has more than doubled and the center’s budget has increased from $2.9 million to just over $7 million. More recently, Ira directed the $4.5 million Aquatic Capital Campaign for the construction of the JCC’s Sidney & Lois Eskenazi Aquatic Complex. The $4.5 million water park opened in 2003 with major support coming from Lilly Endowment, United Way of Central Indiana, Jewish Federation of Greater Indianapolis, and numerous gifts from families, individuals and foundations.

Under Ira’s leadership the JCC’s recent achievements include eight 2009 National Awards for Excellence in Programming and Planning from the Jewish Community Centers Association (JCCA), twelve 2009 JCCA National Awards for Excellence in Programming and Operations, and the 2009 AJCW (Association of Jewish Communal Workers) Program award for Employment Services.

In 1989, Ira was elected Chairperson of Central Indiana United Way Executive Council. He has consulted with non-profits on leadership and planning, and supervised the merger of the Indianapolis Jewish Family Service Agency with the JCC. In 1996, Ira was the recipient of the Frank Newman Award for outstanding service above and beyond expected duties.

All who know Ira believe that his greatest achievements can be seen in the hundreds of lives he has touched and inspired during his twenty years with the JCC. Ron Katz, Past President of the JCC Board of Directors, states that “Indianapolis is incredibly fortunate to have a man of [Ira’s] capability, vision and humility serving at the helm of our JCC.  [He] has a great sense of compassion and understanding of [the JCC’s] mission.”

Ira and his wife, Cherri, share this compassion. Cherri, former Artistic Director of Dance Kaleidoscope, is currently the Coordinator of the Pilates Program and is a Personal Trainer at the JCC. Ira and Cherri have been married for 31 years and are the proud parents of 31-year-old Kira, and 23-year-old Ethan. Kira and her husband, Shlomo, have a 5-year-old son, Elijah and a 4-year-old daughter, Ella.