For Shani Ben-David, walking through the back gate of the Center was like stepping back into her childhood. From ages 6 to 11 she attended Westside JCC’s ‘Camp Chai’. Summer days were fun and she fondly remembers playing capture the flag in the gym, taking field trips to Rancho Park and hanging out at the Center. It was through summer camp that Shani learned how to swim.
Shani would never have attended the Center’s camp if it were not for her mother Ayala Ben-David (z”l). Ayala grew up in the Miracle Mile neighborhood and attended Westside JCC’s preschool as a child. After returning from living in Israel she enrolled Shani in ‘Camp Chai’. She was a talented artist who was influenced by her time in Israel. Every single person that walks through the back gate of Westside JCC will notice the ‘Tree of Life’ mural that Ayala designed and painted. Shani shared that for her mother, ‘art was her way to give back to the community’. The mural captures the essence of Westside JCC as a Center of community life.