A Comm-unity Re-Connected: Elite Digital Launches The Virtual JCC

by Burke Dorman
3 mins read
Virtual J banner

When one door closes, another virtual one opens. Elite Digital employees worked 24/7 with fierce determination to launch the Virtual JCC for the Schwartz/Reisman Centre and Prosserman JCC; all to help keep the Jewish community connected amid the COVID-19 pandemic. 

It’s well understood that the COVID-19 pandemic has brought the world to their knees. People have lost their jobs, businesses have been forced to close their doors, employees are cooped up working from home, families are in full blown isolation, and frontline workers are working around the clock to help keep our citizens safe and well. Despite this grim reality, businesses all over the world are rising to the challenge to do that they can to make the world a little brighter. 

Elite Digital is no exception. 

One Door Closes…

Like many other community centres across the country, the Jewish Community Centre (JCC), a vibrant community hub where people of all ages gather, has been forced to shut their doors in order to prevent the spread of COVID-19. When this happened, people immediately felt disconnected and distraught. They had lost a very important part of their life. They had lost their community hub. They also had lost the personal connections and physical and mental benefits that come from being connected to other members of their community. 

As long-time advocates for mental and physical health here at Elite Digital, we immediately saw this as a cause for concern. The moment we realized that our friends at the JCC and their members were facing such a crisis, we rolled up our sleeves, straightened up our backs and said with fierce determination: “Not on our watch.” 

Another (Virtual) Door Opens 

Elite Digital immediately sprung into action, mobilizing some of our best subject matter experts and immediately got to work. Many employees worked around the clock (weekends too!) all while in full blown isolation. All of that hard work resulted in a brand new streaming platform, The Virtual JCC, created in record time. The strain of long nights and even earlier mornings were fuelled by our will to never give up, and any challenge we faced was no match for the power of our vision. We were determined to re-connect our fellow community members and help safeguard their physical and mental wellbeing in this time of crisis by keeping them connected in a virtual space. 

Upon briefing Elite Digital employees on the Virtual JCC project, CEO Robert Burko said the following:

“We will stop at nothing to ensure that the people we care about remain connected during this time of crisis. Their physical and mental health, and the ties that bind the community together, are our main priority, and the COVID-19 pandemic has put that in jeopardy. In this time of need, it’s important that we as corporate citizens rise up together and conquer the impossible. There are people in need, and we have the power to help our neighbours. No matter the odds, we will own this power as our responsibility.” 

Virtual J live streams

The Elite Digital Army Assembles 

Without skipping a beat, many key members of the Elite Digital army assembled: developers, copywriters, project managers, designers, all led by our executive team and our JCC content experts. All of us, despite working in isolation, were unified by a single, simple goal: to re-connect communities and bring people together during a time where we’ve never felt so far apart. Elite Digital has always been a family, and our clients are no different. We stand up for our own. 

One important aspect of this project was to ensure that it’s massive scale and demanding work schedule didn’t cause our employees to burn out. However, it’s commonly understood that the staff at Elite Digital thrives on sleepless nights, especially when we know that every hour spent working brings us one step closer to re-building a community that has been swept away.

The Rise of the Virtual JCC 

After just a few weeks of ceaseless hard work, Elite Digital achieved the near-impossible, and launched the technically superior Virtual JCC, a brand new state-of-the-art streaming platform. Complete with a slick interface with almost every modern feature imaginable, the brand new platform was built to be as strong as the community that would be using it.

Some of the features of the Virtual JCC include:

  • Integrated with their CRM back-end member database 
  • Mobile, tablet, and desktop-friendly
  • Easy to use for all ages
  • Comment-oriented, interactive, and engaging 
  • Live stream Interactions
  • On-demand videos 
  • Dynamic categorization
  • Premium “gated” content 
  • Free content 
  • Private interactive classes/programs
  • Rating-enabled 
  • Top trending content
  • Integrated remote interview capabilities
  • Simulcasting of live streams to multiple social platforms (Facebook live, YouTube live, Twitch, and more) 
  • Fully SEO optimized
  • Social sharing integration

One of the most important aspects of the Virtual JCC is that it has the ability to connect community members to their pre-existing instructors, individuals who understand the unique needs and quirks of each and every individual community member. This is especially important for children in the daycare program, who are now able to interact directly with their teachers through virtual classes. The same can be said for fitness instructors, art instructors, and more.

The Benefits of the Virtual JCC: Learn, Connect, Grow & Engage  

Upon the launch of the new platform, Elite Digital CEO Robert Burko noted: 

“The JCC isn’t just a building with four walls and a roof. The JCC is a community and lifestyle. We may be physically distancing, but we are proud to be socially connecting. We invite you to a new place to learn, connect, grow and engage. Welcome to the all new Virtual JCC.”

The benefits of the Virtual JCC were clear. Physical distance and isolation were no longer a barrier to individual growth, community engagement, active learning, and personal connection. In reality, the Virtual JCC shattered that barrier, and has drastically changed the way we think about our “new reality”. It no longer mattered that the doors of the JCC were closed. The Virtual JCC transforms everyone’s laptop, tablet, and phone into a virtual doorway where people can step through and be greeted with open arms, and be one with the community they love once again. 

Another healthy way to deal with the stress of isolation is to show your community what you’re up to. Do you have a special skill or talent? Do you have a passion to be an influencer? Do you want to help people be engaged and inspired? The Virtual JCC would love to have you host a live stream or submit pre-recorded content and show the world what you’ve got! 

Most importantly, as Elite Digital and the JCC are sensitive to the tough economic times people are facing, you can access all of Virtual JCC for free by simply logging in. Registering for an account is quick and easy. There is even some exclusive premium content for active members.

Physical Health Benefits 

The JCC is comprised of a broad range of people, including an older demographic, so it was incredibly important to us to ensure that that platform provided an outlet for members to stay active. By watching videos and engaging with instructors on live streams that they usually see within the building, we can keep the JCC community moving! With countless physical activity streams available, the Virtual JCC makes it easy to turn your living room into a gym, yoga studio, and more. 

Healing Yoga with Orli live stream from Virtual J website

Mental Health Benefits 

At Elite Digital, the mental health of our employees is paramount. We have integrated countless mental health support services and systems over the past few years to ensure that everyone is getting the support they need no matter what hardships they may be facing. The ability for personal connections to invigorate mental health during times of pain and isolation was one of the central inspirations of the Virtual JCC. Our neighbours are no longer cut-off from each other.  They now have the full capacity to virtually share things like daily motivational speeches, methods for achieving a positive mindset, activities to help you learn and grow, and so much more. With the Virtual JCC, you are no longer limited by the four walls that surround you.

Own your own anxiety live stream from Virtual J

“While we were busy focusing on important operational issues, our amazing partners at Elite were already hard at work preparing us for the future, anticipating the needs of our centres and our community. Engagement is the core of our work and our Virtual JCC provides us with a platform to continue our work at a time when our community needs a connection the most. We are grateful to have solution oriented partners dedicated to our organization’s success.”

– Andrew Levy, Executive Director, Schwartz/Reisman Centre & Prosserman JCC

The creation of the Virtual JCC was no easy feat. But the hard work and determination of the Elite Digital team made it happen despite all odds. This feat demonstrated not only the capacity for digital technology to connect people together, but also the ability of the Elite Digital team to rise to any challenge, to create order amid chaos, to create unity among isolation, and to create hope among despair. 

Although times are hard, days can feel long, and it’s easy to feel the weight of the world on your shoulders, you are not alone. With the Virtual JCC, your community is there to support you; we are here, in the palm of your hand. We are all here to shoulder some of that weight for you, and together will push through this crisis and come out stronger than ever. Stay safe, and most importantly, stay connected. Your community is here. 

Welcome home. 
Visit the Virtual JCC today!

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