Rose Family Funds New Basketball Court at Katz JCC in Cherry Hill

Zev Rose, second from left, with his sons Adam and Leon and his grandson Noah at the new Katz JCC court that the family funded. (Courtesy of The Jewish Federation of Southern New Jersey)

In November 2022, Katz JCC Executive Director Oded Kraus had just left work when he got a call.

“Something just exploded. The place smells like gas,” said the employee who called Kraus.

“I jumped in the car and got there in a minute,” Kraus recalled.

He saw gallons of water pouring onto the basketball floor. A fire sprinkler had malfunctioned. There would be no basketball and pickleball, two of the most popular activities at the JCC, for months.

But on Dec. 9 of that year, an 18-wheeler pulled into the JCC’s Cherry Hill parking lot with a new floor. Krauss referred to it as “a very special day.”

By February 2023, the courts were again being used from 5 a.m. to 10 p.m. Then on Dec. 29, Kraus and the JCC dedicated the court to the family that paid for it: the Roses, led by patriarch Zev. (Zev Rose’s son is longtime NBA agent and current New York Knicks President Leon Rose.)

Jewish Federation of Southern New Jersey CEO Jennifer Dubrow Weiss called the family for help after the explosion. The Roses paid an undisclosed amount for the new court.

“The family’s passion for basketball from both kids training at junior Maccabi and participating in the men’s league, it was just a perfect match,” said Kraus. “What they’ve done for this community is very special.”

Zev Rose’s sons, Leon and Adam Rose, played basketball at the old JCC on Route 70. (The current one is on Springdale Road.) Leon Rose coached basketball at the JCC, too.

But Zev Rose’s history with the JCC goes back further. He was born and raised in Camden when a lot of Jews still lived in the city. The original Jewish Community Center in South Jersey was “an old, rickety building” in Camden, Rose said.

“The only athletic program they had was Ping-Pong,” he added.

“When the suburbs started to emerge and people started to leave the city, we had our first real JCC on Route 70 between Pennsauken and Cherry Hill,” he continued. “When they finally moved to Route 70, the facilities were incredible. We had everything you could dream of. Of course, we have even more here.”

Rose grew up to become a lawyer. As he built his practice and raised his family, he grounded his life in South Jersey Jewry. The Roses have been members of Congregation Beth El, first in Camden, then in Cherry Hill and now in Voorhees.

Zev Rose also helped develop the Beth El Academy Day School, now the Kellman Brown Academy. Later, he became a fundraiser for the Katz JCC as it moved to its new and current home in 1997.

Rose’s sons were born in Camden. But the family moved to Cherry Hill as the suburbs emerged out of vast farmland. Zev Rose has been there for 55 years.

But the patriarch never really moved out of his childhood community. Parkside and East Camden were “heavily populated Jewish communities,” he said.

“They were wonderful places to grow up,” he added. “You walked down the street, and you knew everybody. Maybe not everybody. Every second person.”

The Rose Family Court at the Katz JCC
in Cherry Hill (Photo by Jarrad Saffren)

In recent years, Rose won an award from the Jewish Federation of Southern New Jersey. He wrote remarks explaining why the South Jersey Jewish community was so important to him.

“Our parents were part of a small integrated community with a deep concern for the wellbeing of its members, with a steadfast commitment to aid those in need and to improve the individual and collective quality of life,” he wrote. “A social conscience that has been transmitted from generation to generation. A social conscience that has set our community apart. A social conscience that permeates the Jewish Federation of Southern New Jersey and all of its agencies.”

When Rose looks around today, he sees a similar community in the suburbs. It’s more spread out, but it’s still in South Jersey.

“I look around and I say how lucky we are to be in this community. We have day schools, a continuing care retirement community (Lions Gate), the JCC. The growth of this community and the benefit it has provided to its citizens is immense,” he said. “I’m honored to have our family name on the court. That court is a great benefit to this community.”

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