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
From Our CEO: Reflecting On Leadership
Eleanor Roosevelt once said, “the future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.”
I recently had the privilege of sitting down with three of our JCC’s former Executive Directors – Joe Harris, Lewis Stolzenberg, and David Sorkin – each of whom played a significant role in evolution of the “J” that we know today. Getting a chance to talk to these three former leaders was a unique and special experience. Each of them shared stories from the “old days” – stories of success, stories of challenges, stories of happy times and stories of not-so-happy times.
Listening to my predecessors’ stories reinforced for me what I already knew, each of them possesses the skills of a great leader – high level personal integrity, commitment and dedication, lifelong learning, helping others develop along the way – just to name a few. Though each of them faced different challenges, their underlying goal was the same. They were able to forge a sense of community – kehillah – on Staten Island. And I am honored to follow in their footsteps.
In hearing their stories, I felt the same passion and commitment from our JCC’s former leaders that I feel every day as I continue their work to build community. Their stories and accomplishments inspire me to build upon the foundation they laid. I am equally inspired by the JCC’s Board of Directors, who I view as key partners in the Agency’s work. Their ongoing support and advice are crucial to our success, and I am grateful for all they do.
As the mother of two young adults, I pledged to myself that in my role of CEO, I would prioritize the development of the next generation of leadership. It is with great pride and joy that I can say that the JCC has launched it Young Leaders program – a group of young professionals in their 20s and 30s who we believe possess the skills to be Staten Island’s leaders of tomorrow. We are working with both our Board of Directors and the Staten Island business community to provide mentorship and professional development opportunities to these young professionals. We are also providing the group with social, recreational, and networking opportunities.
I came away from meeting with my predecessors with a reinforced understanding of the importance of not only preserving our past but of also building our future. It is incumbent upon all of us to be “leaders” in continuing to build community on Staten Island, so that future generations will be able to share in the same opportunities that we enjoy today. So think about becoming involved – join a committee at the JCC or in your local community – do what you can to make your dreams tomorrow’s reality.
-Orit Lender, CEO
On Thursday, June 16th, the Joan & Alan Bernikow Jewish Community Center of Staten Island installed five new board members at the organization’s Annual Meeting of the Board of Directors. The newest members of the Board of Directors are Jozette Carter-Williams, Traci Frey, Isaac Gorodetski, Boris Natenzon, and Jack Stern.
JCC Orit Lender said, “I want to welcome our five new Board members, who all have a history of working with our JCC. They have so much knowledge and enthusiasm, and I am so excited to see them use their talents to help our agency grow! We are fortunate to have a supportive Board and a dedicated staff, who ensured that we got through the past few difficult years together and emerged on the other side stronger than ever. It is thanks to all of them that we can continue to serve the changing needs of our community and make a positive impact on Staten Island.”
Learn more about our new board members below!
Born in Brooklyn, Jozette Carter-Williams attended the College of Staten Island before beginning her career in the banking industry. She began her career as a teller at Staten Island Savings Bank and worked in various positions there until 2010. She subsequently worked at Empire State Bank before joining Northfield Bank this year as a Bank Manager, AVP. Jozette also owns and operates JoJo Cee Photography and has done charity photography for the American Cancer Society and Blue Lives Matter. Jozette was married to Gerard L. Carter, the namesake of the JCC’s Gerard Carter Center. Police Officer Carter was killed in the line of duty in July 1998. Jozette has become very involved in the Police Officer Gerard Carter Athletic Org., which was founded to help the children of Stapleton, the same community that Officer Carter patrolled. She continues to help children in the community and bridge the gap between our communities and the police through charitable endeavors. Jozette married Grady Williams Jr. in 2017. She has three children, Louis, Selena, and Jason, as well as two “bonus” children, Grady IV and Jenese. She is currently enrolled in the Academy of Art University pursuing a degree in Photography and the Arts.
Traci Frey previously served on the Board from 2007-2010 and was the Treasurer at the end of her service. She has been a member of both Congregation B’nai Israel and Temple Emanuel. In her professional life, she served as the Deputy Superintendent of District 31 on Staten Island from November 2019- June 2021. Prior to that, Mrs. Frey was the Principal of the Gaynor McCown Expeditionary Learning High School, a New York City Outward Bound School following the tenets of Expeditionary Learning, for 10 years. Prior to becoming Principal, Mrs. Frey was the Assistant Principal of the Science Department at Edward R. Murrow High School, where she began her education career as a physics teacher in 1996. She received her Bachelor’s Degree from Hamilton College, Masters in Secondary Science Education from the College of Staten Island, and Administration and Supervision Certificate from the College of St. Rose. She is the proud mother of Rebecca and Katie, and loving wife of her husband of blessed memory, David.
An immigrant from Ukraine, Isaac spent most of his childhood in the Sheepshead Bay neighborhood in Brooklyn—and has resided on Staten Island since his family moved across the bridge in 1999. As a Staten Island resident, he became a professional commuter at an early age, first traveling to CUNY Baruch College to attain a Bachelor’s degree in economics and then to earn a J.D. at New York Law School. Fresh out of law school, Isaac joined the Manhattan Institute for Policy Research, a prominent think tank that conducts research and advances innovative ideas across a wide array of public policy issues, for five years. In 2016, Staten Island Borough President James Oddo hired Isaac to create and direct a public policy department at Borough Hall. In that capacity, Isaac and his team worked to tackle some of the most pressing problems facing Staten Island—from the opioid epidemic to mental health to workforce development. At the conclusion of Borough President Oddo’s final term, Isaac joined the Richmond County Supreme Court as principal law clerk to the Hon. Paul Marrone, Jr. Isaac is especially enjoying his new role as a dad to a little baby girl. He resides with his wife and daughter in Annadale and is excited for opportunities to serve communities across Staten Island.
Boris Natenzon is the founder, President, and Chief Executive Officer of Enexia Specialty, one of New York’s largest full-service independent pharmacies. Born in Tashkent, formerly USSR, Boris moved to the United States with his family at three years old and grew up in Brooklyn, NY. He is a husband and a father of 3. Boris opened his first pharmacy along with his wife, Mrs. Angela Natenzon, RPh. in 2002, shortly after receiving his Bachelor of Science degree in Pharmacy from Long Island University in 1999. Enexia Specialty Pharmacy has been a tremendous initial step in reaching the vulnerable and contributing to better wellness for the communities Boris works with. Vitacare, Enexia’s long-term care division, offers specific services to senior care and non-profit agencies throughout NYC. During some of the darkest times over the last few years, Boris spearheaded the fight with NYS and the Governors’ office to get COVID-19 vaccines directly to facility patients and healthcare workers. Boris personally vaccinated thousands of people in pop-up clinics, private homes, and Enexia Pharmacy locations. In addition to his work, Boris has been a strong supporter of the Staten Island and New Jersey Chabad communities. He also serves as a board member of the (SIHC) Staten Island Holocaust Center, is vice-chair at the Northwell foundation board, and was recently awarded by Project Hospitality the Les Trautman Award for Outstanding Commitment to the People of Staten Island.
Jack Stern has been practicing law on Staten Island since 1977. A graduate of Brooklyn Law School, he has worked for the Legal Aid Society of New York before entering private practice. His areas of expertise are real estate, elder law, and business practice. He was previously a partner in O’Neill, Stern & O’Neill and is presently a partner in Stern, Stern, and Fruchtman. Additionally, Jack is an instructor at the Staten Island Board of Realtors. In his free time, Jack serves on the Board of the St. George Theatre and Hillel at the College of Staten Island. He is a Past Chairman of Eger Lutheran Home and Services as well as a Past President of Congregation Aviv Hadash. Jack is a former director of New Springville Little League. He is a member of the Richmond County Bar Association. Jack and his wife Randi recently served as Journal Chairs for our Allan Weissglass Distinguished Leadership Award.
This weekend, we will celebrate the 4th of July and our nation’s independence. For many of us, this is one of the first times we will be gathering with family and friends since the pandemic began. While we are certainly not yet completely out of the pandemic, this holiday gives us a chance to take a breath and have some much-needed fun.
At the JCC, we are also celebrating the successful launch of camp this week, as well as the addition of two new Board Members, Angie Master and Ed Sappin.
Angie Master is a real estate broker at Casandra Properties. Born in South Korea, she was raised in Spokane, Washington before moving to New York. Previously, Angie served on the Board of Trustees at Staten Island Academy, where she chaired the Trustees Committee. She cares about expanding educational opportunities for all children and has volunteered as a tutor at a KIPP Charter school in Newark and at Seamen’s Society on Staten Island. Angie and her husband Dan have two children, Emma and Trip, who attended preschool at the Avis JCC and went on to attend Stanford.
Edward Sappin is a native Staten Islander with strong ties to the Jewish community and has been affiliated with the Jewish Community Center since he was a child, going to Family Park and attending summer camp. Ed has a proven track record as a leader and investor, with strong results in fundraising, organizational development and business development. Ed is the founder and CEO of Sappin Global Strategies, an investment and advisory group, and is also a Partner at Nimali, a renewable energy investment group. Ed serves on the Board of the New York Chapter of the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) Alumni Group and is a member of the Christer Herter Society. Ed is the father of three children and the son of Sue Sappin, our Board President.
We are so proud to have Angie and Ed on our Board. I hope you will join me in giving them a warm welcome!
Angie and Ed were formally installed at our Annual Meeting a few weeks ago. We were thrilled to be able to have our first in-person Board Meeting in over a year—my first since taking over as CEO last July. Seeing our Board Members was a reminder of how much they have given of themselves over the past year and a half. From serving on emergency committees to answering emails and phone calls at all hours, our Board stepped up in so many ways. We would not have been able to get through the pandemic without their dedication and support. I want to thank each and every one of them for the work they have done and continue to do for our JCC.
Thanks to the guidance of our Board and the hard work of our staff, we have been able to accomplish so much over the past year. I hope you will take a few moments to watch this video of our year in review.
I wish you and your family a safe and happy 4th of July!
-Orit Lender, CEO
On Thursday, June 17th, the Joan & Alan Bernikow Jewish Community Center of Staten Island installed two new board members at the organization’s Annual Meeting of the Board of Directors. The newest members of the Board of Directors are Angie Master and Edward J. Sappin.
“For over 90 years, we’ve been providing services for the community, especially when they need us most. Through this past year, we’ve faced many challenges and were forced to be creative to overcome them. None of this would have been possible without the dedication and hard work of our Board and staff,” noted CEO Orit Lender. “We are thrilled to welcome our two new Board Members, Angie and Ed. Both of them have been wonderful volunteers with us in the past, and we look forward to seeing them get even more involved in our organization. I also want to thank 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.”
Angie Master is a real estate broker at Casandra Properties. She handles all aspects of commercial real estate from retail, industrial, office, medical, and restaurant sales and leasing. Born in South Korea, she was raised in Spokane, Washington. She earned her B.A. in International Relations and M.A. in International Education Policy from Stanford University and her M.B.A. from Columbia Business School.
Angie’s prior career included management consulting and marketing positions at Schering-Plough, Nabisco and Avon. She has also worked as an Adjunct Professor at the Wagner College M.B.A. program teaching marketing courses.
Previously Angie served on the Board of Trustees at Staten Island Academy where she chaired the Trustees Committee. She cares about expanding educational opportunities for all children and has volunteered as a tutor at a KIPP Charter school in Newark and at Seamen’s Society on Staten Island.
Angie moved from the West Coast to Staten Island after meeting Daniel L. Master Jr. her spouse and the former Acting District Attorney of Staten Island. They have two children Emma and Trip, who attended preschool at the Avis JCC and went on to attend Stanford. In her free time, Angie enjoys tennis, yoga, and reading classics and non-fiction books. She is a huge “foodie” and loves the gourmet and ethnic food choices available in Staten Island and NYC. She also enjoys the ups, and suffers the frequent heartaches, of being a fan of the N. Y. Mets.
Edward J. Sappin
Ed Sappin is a native Staten Islander with strong ties to the Jewish community and a track record of philanthropy and fundraising.
Ed has been affiliated with the Jewish Community Center since he was a child going to Family Park and attending summer camp. In recent years, he has supported Sunrise Camp and attended numerous events at the J. He has longstanding relationships with many members of the JCC Board and has shared his expertise on an ad hoc basis over the years.
Ed’s charity and philanthropic efforts currently include serving on the Board of the New York Chapter of the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) Alumni Group and being a member of the Christer Herter Society, which is SAIS’s leadership and major donor organization. Previously, Ed was for many years a member of the Aspen Institute’s Society of Fellows, has served as a judge for the Wharton School Business Plan Competition, and is the former co-President of the Johns Hopkins Shanghai Alumni Chapter.
In the professional world, Ed has a proven track record as a leader and investor, with strong results in fundraising, organizational development and business development. Ed invests in and builds innovative companies, focusing on technology, energy, and healthcare. Ed has a proven track record as a C-suite executive, investment professional, head of development, and in other leadership positions.
Ed is the founder and CEO of Sappin Global Strategies, an investment and advisory group. He is also a Partner at Nimali, a renewable energy investment group. Ed has served as the CFO of Northwest Innovation Works, a US-China energy venture, and in strategy, investment, and development roles for institutions including Intel, New Asia Partners, BP, Credit Agricole, and JP Morgan.
Ed holds a Master of Arts from the Nitze School of Advanced International Studies at The Johns Hopkins University, where he was a Boren and Bradley Fellow. He also earned a Bachelor of Science in Economics from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, where he was a Franklin, Wharton, and Fine Scholar.
Ed Sappin is a thought leader in business, technology, and foreign affairs. He has written for Forbes, VentureBeat, The Washington Post, and CNBC, and spoken at events for MIT, Berkeley/Stanford, and Dartmouth, amongst others. Ed believes strongly in community, and when he is not with his three children or training for his next race, as mentioned above he has been and continues to be active in numerous charities and organizations in New York City and beyond.
The new year brings new leadership for the JCC. After two and half years of exemplary service, Solomon Chemo stepped down as Board President at the end of 2020. We are grateful for his work leading the Board through these difficult times and are also excited to welcome back a familiar face to lead the JCC Board of Directors.
Our new Board President is Susan Sappin, who previously served as Board President from 2011-2014. Sue is the first person in our 91-year history to ever serve as President twice, and we are thrilled to have her return to the position.
A native of Brooklyn, Sue moved with her husband David to Staten Island almost 40 years ago. The Sappins soon joined Temple Israel Reform Congregation of Staten Island, where she eventually became President of the Congregation. Through her connections at Temple Israel, Sue was introduced to life at the JCC. Over time, Sue joined the Board of the JCC, where she has served as Vice President, Treasurer, Secretary, and President.
During her first term as President, Sue oversaw many positive changes to our JCC. She played a major role when we restructured our mortgage to reduce debt during the recession—a move that helped us keep our doors open and stabilized our agency financially. Her work led to an expansion of our Early Childhood and First Foot Forward programs, as well as the creation of the Center for Life Long Development (CLLD) for seniors. During her tenure, we installed solar panels in the Bernikow Building, which was instrumental in making our agency greener.
When tragedy struck during Hurricane Sandy, Sue’s leadership helped us create a continuum of recovery services for those in need. That version of Connect to Recovery served as the model we continue to use today to help those hurt by the pandemic.
Perhaps Sue’s greatest accomplishment is cultivating and expanding the JCC’s reach. Her kindness, passion, and giving spirit made her a natural fit to attract people to join the Board of Directors and get more involved with our JCC. During her first Presidency, she advocated for expanding the demographics of our Board to include people of different faiths. She is also directly responsible for convincing Gail Castellano, now a Past Board President, to join. In addition to getting local people involved with the JCC, Sue also fostered a global partnership with the Israeli city of Pisgat Ze’ev, which became our Sister City.
Additionally, Sue is active with UJA-Federation, our partner organization. For more than twenty years, Sue has chaired the UJA Community Breakfast, a cause dear to her. She has served as a liaison to UJA, strengthening their connection with our agency and Staten Island as a whole.
Sue has received several awards for her work in the community, including the First Generation Award at our Nancy Avis L’Dor V’Dor Awards Lunch in 2014.
Sue is the mother of three adult children, Elizabeth, Jennifer, and Edward, and the grandmother of ten. She and her husband David were married for nearly 50 years before he passed away four years ago.
Upon being inducted as president, she told us, “I fell in love with the JCC and the important work we continue to do for the Staten Island community. Serving as president for the second time is just as exciting and inspiring, and I hope others will follow me to continue to build our legacy into the future.”
Based on her work the first time around, we knew she was the right person to lead us through these turbulent times. We are lucky and grateful to have Sue step up to the plate once again!
-Orit Lender, CEO
Meet our three new Board Members!
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.
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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