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
This month, we held drive-by Stepping Up and Graduation celebrations for our ECE students! We are so proud of everything our students, teachers, and ECE families have accomplished together, especially during these challenging times!
Check out some photos from the celebrations below!
In memory of Alan Fisher
From Calamine Realtors:
Alan Fisher was born on Apr 24, 1922, in Kushnytsya, Czechoslovakia, which in 1939 was conquered and ruled by Nazi Germany as a province of Hungary.
From 1943 until 1945, Mr. Fisher was interned in Nazi forced labor and concentration camps. In 1946, he married Esther Fisher, who was his beloved wife until her death in 2007.
After their capture by the British, on route to Haifa, Alan and Esther were interned in a Cyprus detention camp until their release. They lived in Israel from 1947 to 1958. While in Israel, he designed the IDF uniform, including Ben Gurion’s, Moshe Dayan’s and others.
In 1958, Alan, Esther and their three sons immigrated to the United States. After taking courses at a fashion school, Alan moved on from being a tailor to becoming a patternmaker. His clientele included: First Lady Betty Ford, Victoria’s Secret, and other well-known fashion brands.
He passed away in 2019, in Brooklyn, at the age of 97, in the company of his family. Alan Fisher is survived by his three sons, six grandchildren and five great grandchildren.
We are proud to announce that we have named Sandor (Sandy) G. Haft, LMSW, the new Director of Resource Navigation. Mr. Haft will be leading the JCC’s Resource Navigator Program, which is part of the City’s contact tracing efforts. The program, which launched June 1st, helps individuals across the city who test positive for COVID-19 and those who have been exposed to the virus. Resource Navigators will reach out to those who are sick or in quarantine to provide them with resources and support, including access to food, mental health services, and legal and financial counseling.
“We are incredibly proud that the JCC was the only community organization on Staten Island chosen to be part of the program,” said JCC CEO David Sorkin. “In addition to helping those with COVID-19, the program will allow us to put people to work as Resource Navigators. We will be able to rehire many of the staff we furloughed at the beginning of this crisis, as well as hiring additional workers who are new to us, giving the economy of our borough a much-needed boost. With his professional background and gigantic heart, Sandy is the perfect person to lead us in this effort.”
Mr. Haft has worked at the JCC of Staten Island for the past four years as the Director of Sunrise Day Camp-Staten Island, a free camp for children with cancer and their siblings. In that role, he coordinates and supervises camp operations, as well as Sunrise year-round programming.
A native New Yorker, Mr. Haft is a lifelong member of the Jewish Community Center field, having begun his affiliation as a child at the Washington Heights YM-YWHA in Upper Manhattan and as a camper at Henry Kaufmann Campgrounds in Pearl River, New York. He has been associated with the Ys and JCCs in the New York metro area for over 30 years in various capacities. Mr. Haft most recently served as Associate Executive Director at the Rosenthal JCC in Northern Westchester, and simultaneously as Director of Sunrise Day Camp-Pearl River.
Mr. Haft is a Licensed Master Social Worker and is an active member of the Fair Lawn Volunteer Ambulance Corps.
Haft noted, “I’m proud to lead a team that will serve as a supportive voice in this time of chaos. I want to thank all the supervisors and navigators who are working incredibly hard every day to help connect New Yorkers to the services they need.”
Click here for more information on the City’s contact tracing program.
On Thursday, June 18th, the Joan & Alan Bernikow Jewish Community Center of Staten Island installed three new board members at the organization’s Annual Meeting of the Board of Directors. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the meeting took place virtually. The newest members of the Board of Directors are Bryn Biren, R. Randy Lee, and Ana Oliveira.
“This past year has shown us that we are only as strong as our Board of Directors,” said CEO David Sorkin. “Through the COVID-19 crisis, we were incredibly lucky to have the support of our Board, who guided us through these turbulent times. We are incredibly grateful to our current board members for stepping up to the plate and are excited to welcome our newest members.”
Incoming CEO Orit Lender noted, “I am so happy to welcome back our old friends Bryn and Randy. We are also looking forward to working more closely with Ana, who has been a fantastic volunteer with our Sunrise Day Camp program. I want to thank our newest members and our entire Board for volunteering their time and talents—we appreciate everything you do to help the JCC continue to serve the Staten Island community.”
Please see the bios below of our new board members:
Bryn Biren was born and raised in Staten Island, where her parents were among the founding families of Temple Israel. After graduating from Curtis High School, Bryn pursued a career as a teacher, receiving a B.S. in elementary education from the George Washington University and a Master’s in education from Richmond College. She feels lucky to have spent her entire 34-year teaching career as an early childhood teacher at P.S. 54. During her time there, she also served as the school’s Project Arts coordinator and was in charge of the annual musical program at graduation.
Bryn married her husband Richard in 1974. They, along with their children Brooke and Adam, and their five grandchildren, remain active in the local Jewish community. In 1982, Bryn and her husband were part of the first New Leadership Group at the JCC. For 25 years, she served on the JCC’s Board of Directors. She also co-chaired the JCC Camp Committee for 10 years and chaired the Family Park Committee for 10 years. In 2015, the JCC honored her with a First Generation Award at the annual Nancy Avis L’Dor V’Dor Award Lunch.
Bryn’s service to the Staten Island community has also included volunteering at Project Hospitality, where she chaired the Underwear and Socks Campaign, making blankets and scarves for patients at RUMC with Temple Israel’s Knitting Club, and much more. She was honored by the UJA for co-chairing the annual UJA Community Breakfasts. She has also served as a member of the Council of Jewish Presidents and the Council of Jewish Organizations (COJO). She currently serves on the CSI Hillel Society Board of Trustees. At Temple Israel, she served for 3 years as Sisterhood President, has been a member of the Board of Trustees since 1989, served as Outreach Facilitator from 2008-2014, and served as Temple Israel President from 2014-2018. She is currently a trustee of the Dr. Ronald Avis Foundation. Bryn has demonstrated her commitment to preserving a strong future for the Jewish community on Staten Island through her work at Temple Israel, the JCC, and beyond.
In her spare time, Bryn loves to take classes, make beaded jewelry, and do yoga and Pilates. She enjoys taking cruises with her husband and taking family vacations to their favorite resort in Pennsylvania. Bryn considers the greatest accomplishment of her life to be her children and grandchildren.
R. Randy Lee
R. Randy Lee has been involved in every phase of the real estate development and building business for over 50 years. During the same period, he attended New York University and Brooklyn Law School, earning a B.S. (Real Estate/Finance) Degree in 1965 and JD (Law) Degree in 1969. Using his training as a lawyer, developer and homebuilder, he became one of the most active and experienced low-rise housing builders and developers in New York City. During this period, he has been a principal in the site development and/or construction of more than 5,000 market rate and affordable residential units, as well as several Low-Income Tax Credit rentals and commercial projects
R. Randy Lee is past Chairman of the Building Industry Association of New York City, as well as a current Senior Life Director of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB). He has served NAHB in many capacities over the years, in particular as Chairman of its Legal Action Committee. He also helps to manage an extensive nationwide pro-active litigation program for NAHB. Mr. Lee has been the recipient of many local, state and national awards over the years, and was elected to the New York City and New York State Builder’s Association Homebuilders Hall of Fame in 2002 and 2004, respectively. He also received the JCC’s Allan Weissglass Distinguished Leadership Award in 2008.
Mr. Lee also serves as Chairman Emeritus of the Staten Island Economic Development Corporation and he has served as Chairman of SINY, NYS Title Attorneys Bar Association and the Urban Affordable Housing Coalition. As a then long-standing Vice President of the Jewish Community Center of Staten Island, he helped manage the development and construction of its flagship building – a $40 million dollar effort. In 2014 he founded and Chairs the SI/NYC Real Estate Developer Roundtable Luncheon group.
In addition to Mr. Lee's business, charitable and trade association responsibilities, he has been a visiting lecturer at the New York University Real Estate Institute, Columbia University Graduate Real Estate Program, and was on the faculty of the National Judicial College. He has also contributed articles to the Wall St. Journal, New York and National Law Journals, New York State Bar Journal, New York Post, Real Estate Weekly, Real Estate NY and The Empire State Report. His record of accomplishments has frequently been recognized by the national, local and trade press. Both he and his developments have been featured in the New York Times, Daily News, Staten Island Advance, Builder Magazine, Empire State Builder, Real Estate Weekly, Crain's New York Business, NY Construction News and Industry magazine.
Mr. Lee and his wife Eileen have two daughters, Jennifer and Michelle, and four grandchildren, Rachel, Jared, Nathaniel, and Elliot.
Ana Oliveira is a Senior Vice President, Market Executive for Investors Bank, where she currently oversees 40 branches in the New York market.
Ana joined Investor Bank in 2010 when the Bank acquired Millennium bcpbank where she was serving as a Regional Manager in the Retail division. Before joining Millennium, she spent 10 years with Penn Federal Savings Bank which was acquired by Garden State Community Bank (a division of NYCB) in 2007, where she served as 1st Vice President and Regional Manager in Northern New Jersey.
Ms. Oliveira places a strong focus on serving the local communities in her New York market. Ana is currently the Board Chair of the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce. She has previously served on the Board of Directors for the Queens Theatre, New Jersey City University Foundation and the Portuguese American Chamber of Commerce in NJ (PACCNJ). In addition, she served as the Treasurer of the Portuguese American Congress (PAC) of NJ.
Last year, Ms. Oliveira was honored at the JCC’s Sweet Sunrise Gala for her volunteer work with the Lucille & Jay Chazanoff Sunrise Day Camp-Staten Island. In July of 2019, Ms. Oliveira received a “Pace e Bene” Award from St Francis College, was also recognized as one of the Top Women on Wall Street receiving a “W.O.W.” award in May of 2019, and received the “Neighbor of the Year” Award from the North Brooklyn Angels in March of 2019. In June of 2017, Ms. Oliveira was honored with the Community-Corporate Responsibility award by City & State. In April 2016, she was honored as the Business Woman of the Year by the Federation of Italian American Organizations. Ms. Oliveira was awarded the Brooklyn Business Cornerstones Award by the Brooklyn Borough President in 2015. She has been the past recipient of the Women’s History Celebration Award from the Greater Chamber of New York and was also recognized as a Brooklyn Woman of Distinction.
Ana graduated from East Side High School in Newark, New Jersey before earning her Bachelors of Arts in English and Journalism from New Jersey City University.
As part of its COVID-19 Connect to Recovery program, the Joan & Alan Bernikow JCC of Staten Island is providing weekly donations of food to over 100 people who are affiliated with its soccer program.
After hearing from JCC Head Soccer Coach Alejandro Jimenez about how families in program were struggling due to the pandemic, JCC Director of Sports & Recreation Mike Reape knew he had to do something.
“Hearing the stories of what happened to our soccer families was heartbreaking,” said Reape. “Several of our kids lost parents. Other families have been out of work and are unable to afford basic necessities, like food. And many of these families have multi-generational households, so they are even more at risk of being negatively affected by this pandemic.”
Reape reached out to his coworkers in the JCC’s Social Services Department to arrange a donation to these families. Packages from the JCC’s Kosher Food Pantry—enough to feed each family for a week—now go out to these families once a week. Jimenez and other volunteers from the program deliver the food to 19 families across the Island.
“It’s part of our values at the JCC to help the community, and that starts with being there for our own participants and members when they need us. I’m so glad we are able to help these families,” Reape noted.
This donation is just part of the JCC’s overall response to the pandemic. Last month, we launched COVID-19 Connect to Recovery. The program allows Staten Islanders to access social services to help them recover from the effects of the crisis. All participants in the program have an initial comprehensive intake and assessment to see what services they are eligible to receive.
For more information on COVID-19 Connect to Recovery services, contact Carolyn Magliolo at COVID19@sijcc.com or 718.475.5264.
Over our 90 year history, the Joan & Alan Bernikow JCC of Staten Island has always adapted to the changing world around us. Our JCC has always found a way to help during a crisis—whether it was making bandages during WWII or helping people displaced by Sandy.
This crisis is no different. Even though we had to close our doors to the public, we were still able to jump right in and provide services to those hit hardest by the virus. We quickly shifted our operations to take place remotely, and we formally launched our COVID-19 Connect to Recovery Program last month.
Last week, we announced that we had been selected to be part of the City’s Resource Navigator Program. The program is part of the city’s contact tracing efforts, helping individuals who test positive for COVID-19 and those who have been exposed to the virus. Resource Navigators will reach out to those who are sick or in quarantine to provide them with resources and support, including access to food, mental health services, and legal and financial counseling.
We are incredibly proud that the JCC was the only community organization on Staten Island chosen to be part of the program. In addition to helping those with COVID-19, the program will allow us to put people to work as Resource Navigators. We will be able to rehire many of the staff we furloughed at the beginning of this crisis, as well as hiring additional workers who are new to us, giving the economy of our borough a much-needed boost.
You can learn more about the program, including how to get tested, here.
We are grateful to our JCC community, led by our incredible Board of Directors, for strongly supporting us every step along the way in this journey. As we navigate the road ahead, we look forward to continuing our mission of helping people and making our community a better place.
On Friday, June 5th, the staff of the Joan & Alan Bernikow JCC of Staten Island surprised outgoing CEO David Sorkin with a special retirement parade at the Bernikow JCC. Staff members were joined by Mr. Sorkin’s family members, who also came to wish David well.
After planning a regular retirement party, the staff had to quickly shift plans as circumstances changed. The staff came together to make the parade unique, including decorating their cars with signs and balloons. They also presented Mr. Sorkin with menorah made by an Israeli artist to commemorate his work with the agency.
Mr. Sorkin thanked his colleagues, noting, “It was a perfect celebration!”
Mr. Sorkin’s 15-year tenure in Staten Island is just a fraction of his 43-year career working in the Jewish Community Center field. Over the past 30 years, he has also served as Executive Director of two other JCCs.
Under his leadership, the JCC of Staten Island has had several major accomplishments, including opening the Joan and Alan Bernikow Building, which now serves as a recreational, educational, and cultural town center for the community. The organization also dramatically expanded programming and services for the special needs community and launched Sunrise Day Camp, a free camp for children with cancer and their siblings. During this time, the JCC also created the Center for Life Long Development, the first of its kind senior programming in NYC. The organization also provided life-saving case management support for victims of Superstorm Sandy.
In addition, the JCC has expanded its Early Childhood, day camping, and afterschool programming throughout Staten Island under Mr. Sorkin’s direction. The organization also added programs and services for seniors, those suffering with dementia, and care-givers. With the goal of improving the overall wellness of the Staten Island community, health, fitness, and sports programs and services have been enhanced and expanded as well.
Following Mr. Sorkin’s retirement on June 30th, Orit Lender will assume the role of CEO. Ms. Lender currently serves as the agency’s Deputy Executive Director.
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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