"I was drawn to the MJCCA. It was home." - Anat
Sparks flew the summer of ’94, but they were not from 4th of July reworks. That season kindled a love story for Anat and Brian Granath that spanned continents, but the Marcus Jewish Community Center of Atlanta was - and still is - at the heart of the matter.
Fresh out of the Israeli army in 1994, Anat served as a shlicha, an Israeli emissary, and was selected for a summer staff position at the MJCCA’s Camp AJECOMCE (now Camp Isidore Alterman). “I didn’t choose Atlanta; Atlanta chose me,” she says. “It was beshert.” Her uncle lived in Dunwoody and introduced her to Brian Granath, then 22, to help her acclimate to Jewish life in the states. Adjusting was difficult, and Anat was homesick. “I didn’t realize there was a Jewish community around me,” she explains. “And the MJCCA opened that door.”
“People instantly connected with Anat at the JCC,” Brian adds. “She was accepted and could be herself. It was safe and comfortable.” The two spent time together swimming, working out, and attending events. “The MJCCA allowed our relationship to blossom,” Brian reveals.
Ten summers at Camp Barney Medintz (his “favorite place on Earth”), plus experiences with BBYO, volunteer coaching, a work-study program at The Weinstein School, and more all led Brian to put the MJCCA on a pedestal. “I grew up here,” Brian says. “It’s only tting that it’s also where I fell in love!”
At summer’s end, Anat briefly returned to Israel before returning to work at The Weinstein School. “I was drawn to the JCC,” she shares. “That was home.” Soon she and Brian were married and lived in Israel for three years before returning to Atlanta – and the MJCCA – once again.
Every aspect of their lives since then, including their three children, has intertwined with the MJCCA; preschool, volunteering, tness, sports, camps, etc. “There is always a JCC event on the calendar in our house,” Brian explains. “This place has always been a pivotal part of our family.”
The Granaths have hosted dozens of schlichim for the last 16 years, giving back to the program that was life changing for them. “I can’t imagine life without all these wonderful experiences,” Anat beams.