The JCC’s Bulletin dates back to the 1930s, when it was a premier source of news for the local Jewish community. We are proud to continue this tradition of keeping our JCC community informed via our virtual Bulletin.
The bulletin circa 1974
Tribute Cards - March
In memory of Dr. Ronald Leventhal.
-Laura & Steve Kessler
In honor of Jackie Reiter. Sorry this is late. But you deserve all the Mitzvah. Thank you for always thinking of us.
-Robyn, Judy, Chris, Kevin, and all our families
From Our CEO: Together at Passover
Over the next two weeks, we will celebrate Passover and Easter, two holidays that foster a sense of togetherness. In particular, the story of Passover tells us that, even when facing great adversity, when we join together, we can overcome hardships. No matter what struggles we face, we can persevere if we all work as one.
As we come together as one community, we continue to be there for those who need us. Last Wednesday, we hosted two major events to serve different needs in our community. We worked with the Borough President’s office and VitaCare Pharmacy once again to vaccine 400 people.
In the spirit of community cooperation, our staff and partners pitched in to make sure everything ran smoothly. When we needed an additional person to administer the vaccines, the Borough President’s Director of Health & Wellness, Dr. Ginny Mantello, jumped into action. We are grateful for our partners’ continued support in helping vaccinate our community.
At the same time that vaccines were being given out inside the Bernikow Building, we hosted a Passover food distribution outside in the parking lot. Through a partnership with COJO, Project Hospitality, UJA, and Met Council, we were able to provide over 800 Kosher for Passover food packages to those in need.
In addition, during the food distribution, we received a donation for our food pantry for our friends at Temple Israel. This generosity will allow us to feed even more families this holiday season.
It was amazing to see all the people we were able to help through these initiatives, and it underscored the importance of the work we do every day. We will continue to work with our community partners to serve those in need throughout this pandemic and for years to come.
As we move into the holidays, we will take a short break to celebrate and reenergize so that we can continue this important work throughout the spring and summer. On behalf of our JCC family, I wish you a happy and healthy holiday season.
In addition to its traditional summer camp offerings, the Joan & Alan Bernikow JCC of Staten Island will offer sports camp experiences, including basketball, soccer, gymnastics, and swimming, along with a performing arts camp.
Specialized sports programs will include Core 24 Basketball Academy Camp, JCC Soccer Academy Camp, USA Gymnastics Junior Olympic Training Camp, and Trident Aquatics Camp. These camps offer instruction tailored for children at every skill level, from beginners to more advanced competitors. Beyond building athletic skills, campers will learn positive values like good sportsmanship while also having fun and making new friends.
Basketball, soccer, and gymnastics camps will take place from June 28 to August 20, with options to register for up to 8 weeks. Aquatics camp will take place from June 28 to July 30, with options to register for up to 5 weeks. Sibling discounts are available for all sports camps.
The JCC will also offer a performing arts camp, run by IlluminArt Productions. Now in its second year, the program gives children a taste of all aspects of theater, including improvisation, acting, dance, and music. At the end of the program, campers will perform an original play to showcase all that they learned.
Parents can choose one of two weeks for performing arts camp, which will take place the week of July 12 and the week of August 2. The JCC is offering a discount when registered performing arts campers refer a friend.
Last summer, the JCC implemented COVID-19 safety protocols and dedicated itself to giving children across the island as normal a summer as possible.
Orit Lender, CEO of the JCC, said, “Whether your child is returning to camp, joining us after missing last summer, or signing up for a JCC program for the very first time, know that our campers’ safety is our top priority. Our specialty camps are a great opportunity for kids to do the things they love or discover a new passion, stay active, and socialize. We know how important these programs are to so many children because of how much they’ve missed in this past year.”
The JCC’s specialty camps are part of a robust menu of camp offerings, including traditional day camp, Marvin’s Camp for Children with Special Needs, Lucille & Jay Chazanoff Sunrise Day Camp-Staten Island, and free community camp programs at sites across the Island. Last year, these programs served over 700 campers at 9 locations, with no positive COVID tests at any point during the summer.
You can learn more about the JCC’s specialty camps and register here.
Standing strong with our AAPI community
Recently, we’ve seen a frightening uptick in violent acts across the country. Many of these acts have been targeted against members of the Asian-American community. We are horrified and saddened by these hateful acts and stand strong with the AAPI community to condemn this bigotry and violence. We grieve the loss of life and pray for peace in our community and country.
At our JCC, we truly believe that the answer to hate is love. Hate and violence of any kind have no place in our society, and every day, we push back against those who promote racism and bigotry. Through education and community building, we work to make sure everyone feels included in our programming. Everyone is welcome at the JCC, regardless of race, ethnicity, or religion. We will continue to work to ensure that all people are treated with the respect and dignity that they deserve.
JCC and Borough President’s Office team up to vaccinate over 700 seniors and Holocaust Survivors
The Joan & Alan Bernikow JCC of Staten Island partnered with Borough President James Oddo’s office to vaccinate hundreds of seniors and Holocaust survivors against COVID-19 over the past two weeks.
Through this partnership, the JCC hosted a pop-up vaccination clinic at the Bernikow JCC March 2nd & 3rd with VitaCare Pharmacy. During the two-day clinic, VitaCare distributed over 650 vaccines to Staten Island seniors.
Additionally, the Borough President’s office helped the JCC get vaccination appointments for 80 Holocaust Survivors and frail seniors at other vaccination sites in the borough.
“We are beyond grateful to our friends at the Borough President’s office and VitaCare Pharmacy for all their work on this issue,” noted JCC CEO Orit Lender. “For our seniors and Holocaust survivors, who are the most vulnerable to COVID-19, this vaccine could mean the difference between life and death. We are so thankful to Borough President Oddo, Dr. Ginny Mantello, and Boris Natenzon of VitaCare Pharmacy for recognizing this and helping us meet the needs of our most fragile community members.”
"Over the last few days, over 650 people were vaccinated at the JCC. This would not have been possible without the cooperation of the city and state in terms of supply, and without the leadership and goodwill of our friends at the JCC and Boris Natenzon of VitaCare Pharmacy who, with his staff, administered the vaccines. Thank you to all of the good people who made this happen," said Borough President Oddo.
The clinic was part of a larger effort on the JCC’s part to help spread awareness about vaccine safety and get vulnerable members of the Staten Island community vaccinated.
“Helping our community members in times of crisis is what we do best. It is a privilege for us to play a part in bringing an end to the pandemic,” Lender added.
In addition to the clinic, the JCC hosted a COVID-19 Vaccine Town Hall with Richmond University Medical Center Thursday night. At the virtual event, Dr. Philip Otterbeck answered questions from the audience about vaccine safety and efficacy.
To see the recording of the RUMC Town Hall event or to sign up for more information on upcoming vaccine clinics, click here.
A year ago, our lives changed forever as COVID-19 began taking hold in New York City. On this solemn anniversary, I have been reflecting back on the struggles of the past year.
On March 17, 2020, the JCC’s doors officially closed to the public. But they never actually closed to those who needed us most. While most of our city was forced to shut down, our services were deemed “essential,” forcing us to adapt and find new ways to help those who are struggling.
As the needs of the community doubled, tripled, quadrupled, and even quintupled, the JCC staff was there every step of the way, helping Staten Islanders navigate these uncertain times. Our Kosher Food Pantry and Social Services Department began managing a huge influx of clients. We offered grab-and-go meals and virtual programming to isolated seniors. We began Resource Navigation, connecting individuals with COVID-19 to much-needed services. Our Early Childhood Education had to adapt to ever-changing regulations in order to get kids back in the classroom. We began hosting children at five JCC sites through the City’s Learning Bridges program, which provides a place for students to safely learn virtually on the days they are not physically in school.
Most recently, we’ve helped seniors in our community wade through the confusing and difficult vaccination appointment booking process. We were able to refer seniors and other eligible people to local vaccination sites, and just this week, we were able to partner with the Office of the Staten Island Borough President and VitaCare Pharmacy to vaccinate 650 seniors at our facility. We are also hosting a COVID-19 Vaccine Town Hall with Richmond University Medical Center to help educate the public about the safety and efficacy of the vaccine. You can find more information here.
While our staff members have certainly been tested by this pandemic, they have also grown too, rising to the challenge and showing what an extraordinary group of people they are. Having to adapt to this different style of work hasn’t always been easy, but I’ve seen so much creativity from our staff as they find innovative ways to connect with people virtually.
While we celebrate our achievements over the past year, we also must acknowledge the intense sense of loss we feel. Losing over 1,500 of our family, friends and neighbors to this virus has taken its toll on all of us. Our thoughts are also with those who are still recovering from COVID-19, as well as our friends who are struggling financially and emotionally through the pandemic.
To honor those we have lost, we will hold a Virtual Memorial on Monday, March 15th at 3pm. We invite all to join us as we remember our members and participants who were taken from us by COVID-19. We mourn with our community for those we lost, who will never be forgotten.
Jewish teachings tell us it is our duty to heal ourselves and others. At our JCC, we are committed to this principle, guiding those who are hurting in our community to support systems. We will continue to help those who are isolated find meaningful connections. If you need us, don’t hesitate to reach out. You can find our full list of COVID-19 Connect to Recovery Services here. The JCC will always be here for you, no matter what you need, in both good and bad times. We have begun looking towards the light at the end of the tunnel, and with more opening up in our city and state, we eagerly await the day all of our services can be back in-person again.
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1466 Manor Road
Staten Island, NY 10314
485 Victory Blvd
Staten Island, NY 10301
1297 Arthur Kill Road
Staten Island, NY 10312
BERMAN EARLY CHILDHOOD CENTER
2221 Richmond Ave.
Staten Island, NY 10314