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
On Monday, July 12, the Joan & Alan Bernikow JCC of Staten Island hosted its 41st Annual Golf and Tennis Classic at the Richmond County Country Club. Over 170 players participated in the event.
The JCC’s Golf and Tennis Classic benefits the Isador Aberlin-Ed Rovner Memorial Scholarship Fund. This fund provides scholarships for the JCC’s day care and summer camp programs to families experiencing financial hardship. Some of the scholarships support children in Marvin’s Camp for Children with Special Needs.
Orit Lender, CEO of the JCC, said, “These past 16 months have been difficult for everyone, but especially for children from families struggling financially. Children have been isolated from each other, making summer camp and day care extremely important. We’ve seen the need for camp and day care scholarships rise, and we are proud to be able to provide childcare options for families in need.”
“This was a challenging year for a lot non-profits, including the JCC,” noted Rob Myers, Senior Vice President of IDB Bank. “We’re happy to be by their side and to continue to support them.”
The day’s festivities included brunch, lunch, and a $10,000 raffle prize drawing.
Lender continued, “Families need us now more than ever to help them navigate and come out of this stronger, and we’re extremely grateful to all of you who’ve helped support us in making that possible. Special thanks to our event co-chairs Alan Poritz and Lenore Schwartz, as well as our presenting sponsor IDB Bank for all of their support.”
To see a full list of golf winners and more pictures, click here.
On Sunday, June 27th, the Joan & Alan Bernikow JCC of Staten Island hosted its Virtual SunriseWALKS celebration, presented by Freedom Mortgage. SunriseWALKS raises money for Lucille & Jay Chazanoff Sunrise Day Camp-Staten Island, a free camp for children with cancer and their siblings. As part of the event, participants were encouraged to watch the virtual celebration and then walk with friends and family in their own communities.
Sunrise Day Camp brings back the joys of childhood to children struggling with cancer, transforming months of loneliness and isolation into summers filled with friendship, laughter, and happiness. After a year of virtual experiences, in-person camp will resume this Thursday, July 1st, at Sunrise’s new home on the campus of Staten Island Academy.
“For children with cancer and their siblings, the isolation we’ve been facing during the pandemic is now new,” noted Orit Lender, JCC CEO. “That’s why we are incredibly excited to bring back Lucille & Jay Chazanoff Sunrise Day Camp in person this year.”
SunriseWALKS followed several smaller in-person events, including a socially-distanced, tailgate-style Pep Rally in the JCC parking lot. Local families enjoyed an afternoon of music, food, and photo opportunities with the Humble Heroes of FDNY.
Lender added, “We are grateful to our community partners for all of their support. So far, we have raised over $275,000 for Sunrise this year, and that wouldn’t have been possible without the generosity of so many in our community. Thank you to all the donors and sponsors who made camp a reality for these children.”
David Roberts of Freedom Mortgage said, “We are so proud to be sponsoring SunriseWALKS again this year. Day camp is a paramount place for kids to develop all of different types of social skills, and the bonds and relationships that form over a summer with different friends are so important. Sunrise is a great place, and we love to help the kids!”
Recognizing the extraordinary financial demands that a child’s chronic illness can have on a family, Sunrise Day Camp and its year-round and in-hospital programs, Sunrise Sundays and Sunrise on Wheels, are provided completely free of charge to campers’ families. Sunrise Day Camp-Staten Island proudly serves children with cancer and their siblings from Staten Island, Manhattan, Brooklyn, and nearby New Jersey on a non-sectarian basis.
The Joan & Alan Bernikow JCC, which operates Sunrise Day Camp, raises funds for the camp through donations and community events. The Lucille & Jay Chazanoff Sunrise Day Camp-Staten Island is a proud member of the Sunrise Association, whose mission is to bring back the joys of childhood to children with cancer and their siblings worldwide.
To watch the Virtual SunriseWALKS celebration and learn more, click here.
On Monday, July 12th, the Joan & Alan Bernikow JCC of Staten Island will host its 41st Annual Golf and Tennis Classic at the Richmond County Country Club.
The JCC’s Golf and Tennis Classic benefits the Isador Aberlin-Ed Rovner Memorial Scholarship Fund. This fund provides scholarships for the JCC’s day care and summer camp programs to families experiencing financial hardship.
Orit Lender, CEO of the JCC, said, “Our programs offer children nurturing environments in which to grow and play—something they need more than ever after this challenging time. Funds raised at our upcoming Golf and Tennis Classic will help us serve even more families in our community, including those hit hardest by the pandemic.”
Last year, the pandemic forced the JCC to postpone the Classic until the fall. With the situation returning to normal across the city, the organization is eager to host the event in July once again this year.
“With every in-person event we’re able to have, it’s a step in the right direction. We are looking forward to spending a nice day outdoors together while we raise money for this important cause,” said Lender.
The Golf and Tennis Classic, presented by longtime sponsor IDB Bank, will also include brunch and a raffle drawing for a $10,000 prize.
To purchase tickets, sponsorships, and journal ads, please visit https://www.sijcc.org/golf.
The Richmond Rockets running club and the Joan & Alan Bernikow JCC of Staten Island are partnering to present the We Heart Our Seniors Virtual Race. The race, which will take place from February 6 to February 20, will support senior citizens through the JCC’s Seniors in Need initiative, as well as high school seniors through the Richmond Rockets Scholarship Fund.
Participants are encouraged to run a 5K or 10K at their own pace, outdoors at a local park or indoors on a treadmill. Participants can record their running times and submit them to the race coordinators to compete for best pace awards.
Registration fees collected from the race will not only fund scholarships for track athletes but will also help vulnerable senior citizens. During the pandemic, the JCC has distributed thousands of free, healthy meals to seniors through a contactless, grab-and-go pickup program. These meals reach hundreds of individuals who may be facing social isolation, financial hardship, and difficulty shopping for themselves due to the pandemic.
Orit Lender, CEO of the JCC, said “Seniors in our community rely on these meals. It’s so important to us that we can continue to make sure they don’t need to worry about where their next meal will come from.”
A registration fee of $25 can provide three healthy pre-packaged meals for seniors. Registration options include individual sign-ups and sweetheart packages for couples.
Ms. Lender added, “Right now, we only have enough funding to run the program through the end of January. With the help of this event and our Seniors in Need campaign, we hope to be able to continue the grab-and-go program throughout the winter. We are grateful to partner with our friends at the Richmond Rockets on this fun and important virtual race.”
The event coincides with February’s designation as Heart Health Month. Lisa Lubarsky, president of the Richmond Rockets and staff member at the JCC, said, “This race is a wonderful way to promote heart health while also opening our hearts to those in need in our community, especially seniors who have been impacted by the pandemic. We miss the excitement of running races together in-person, but it feels great to know that so many people on Staten Island will be out there getting healthier and doing some good for others.”
To register for the race, visit https://www.eventbrite.com/e/the-richmond-rockets-jcc-presents-we-heart-our-seniors-virtual-race-tickets-135576257235.
Learn more about our Seniors in Need campaign here.
The Joan and Alan Bernikow Jewish Community Center of Staten Island will host a virtual lecture with international journalist Paul Alster, who will discuss his debut novel Kin or Country. The event will take place on Thursday, October 22nd at 2pm. The lecture is presented by the Dr. Esther Grushkin Seminars for Adult Jewish Education.
Paul Alster is an Israel-based journalist who has covered both sports and political news for a variety of international outlets. His work has been featured in The Jerusalem Report, The Investigative Project on Terrorism, Forbes, DailyMail Online, The Hill, The New York Post, and others. Alster previously served as the regional correspondent covering current affairs, intelligence, and terrorism in the Middle East for FoxNews.com, where he continues to be a featured commentator.
Most recently, Alster penned his debut novel, Kin or Country, published this summer. A thriller set in 2048 Israel, the novel weaves together political intrigue and a murder mystery. Drawn from the author’s experiences living and working in Israel, the story highlights tensions between secular and religious groups and raises questions about the nation’s future.
The JCC will host Alster on Zoom for a presentation and Q&A on Kin or Country. The event is sponsored by Eileen and Alan Bernstein in memory of Miriam and Eli Cohen. The fee for the program is $10 per household.
“When I wrote Kin or Country last year, I genuinely believed it might take until the end of the 2040s for the massive demographic challenge presented by the growth of the ultra-Orthodox communities to reach a head. However, recent events prompted by the Coronavirus-driven financial crisis and its fallout have already seen many of the issues I envisioned rush to the fore much faster than expected. Seismic changes in the way Israel is governed and in the attitude of the many peoples living within its borders need to take place very soon to avoid a scenario similar to the premise of my book,” Alster said about his book.
This upcoming program joins several lecture series and standalone events hosted by the Dr. Esther Grushkin Seminars for Adult Jewish Education at the JCC. Also known as SAJE, this endowment created by Jerry Grushkin in honor of his late wife allows the JCC to host various events that promote intellectual curiosity and the pursuit of knowledge.
When the pandemic began, the JCC quickly adapted its programming to an online setting and continues to add new virtual programs on a variety of subjects. Recently, the JCC hosted SAJE lectures on the evolving “Jewish American Princess” stereotype in Hollywood films, the roots of Christianity in Judaism, and leading contemporary Israeli artists. All lectures were led by experts in their respective fields.
Given the online nature of these events, the JCC has been able to reach beyond the Staten Island community to welcome virtual guests from across the country and around the world to enjoy its programming.
Orit Lender, CEO of the JCC, said, “We feel so fortunate to be able to host these interesting, thought-provoking events on a diverse range of topics. Our Cultural Arts team has truly made the most of these challenging times, not only by keeping our members connected with each other, but also by connecting them with amazing speakers worldwide and showing people from around the world all that our community has to offer.”
Upcoming SAJE lectures include:
On Sunday, February 23, we hosted our second annual #RememberMe Brunch, which benefited the JCC’s Family Solutions to Memory Loss—a catalog of programs for seniors suffering from memory loss and their caregivers.
Our Family Solutions to Memory Loss programs include discussion groups, memory stimulation activities, and art therapy classes for adults with recently-diagnosed to mid-stage Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias. Recognizing the emotional and physical toll that caring for a loved one with memory loss can entail, the JCC also offers programs for caregivers, including support groups, workshops on self-care, and assistance with coordinating care.
Program Ambassador Arnold Roth spoke movingly about what these programs have meant to his family. His beloved wife, Carol, participated in therapy activities with the JCC’s My Place memory center for over 7 years. Arnold credits this program with giving his wife something to look forward to and smile about even as her health declined, stating, “For me, it was one of the happiest periods in our lives. Carol thrived at the JCC.” The Caregiver Support Center also provided Arnold the respite he needed to care for himself while serving as his wife’s primary caregiver.
While it was a somber afternoon, it was also an inspiring one as we honored four individuals who have dedicated themselves to serving those impacted by memory loss with compassion and dignity. This year, we were proud to honor Cherine Hanna, Adele McMahon, LCSW-R, Jackie Reiter, LMSW, and Rabbi Stephen Stern, PhD.
As Rabbi Stern so aptly put it in his speech that afternoon, our loved ones with memory loss are worth remembering. We are grateful to all who help us to remember our seniors with memory loss and their caregivers through their generous support of our programs.
Check out some more photos from the event below.
On January 26, we enjoyed a beautiful afternoon at the 4th Annual Sunshine Sunday Gala benefiting the Lucille and Jay Chazanoff Sunrise Day Camp-Staten Island.
At the event, we honored Marie DiTommaso; Rosemarie Stazzone, RN, MS, CNE; and the Sunrise Walk Basket & Event Committee: Dawn Petermann, Debbie Monello, Andria O’Leary, and Joanne Vitale. We are grateful to all six of these women for their devotion to Sunrise Day Camp and the children we serve. We also heard from Mercedes Rivera-Habib, the mother of two of our Sunrise campers, who spoke about what our camp has meant to her family. It was a moving reminder of why we work so hard to ensure that children with cancer and their siblings have a place to experience the joys of childhood each summer.
Throughout the afternoon, we enjoyed musical entertainment by local favorite Cause and the Effects, who made sure everyone had a great time out on the dance floor. The event concluded with a live auction and over 30 raffles, donated by generous members of the community.
Thank you to all who attended and worked hard to make this event a wonderful success—thanks to your generosity, we can give our amazing campers a summer full of sunshine and laughter!
To see pictures from the gala, click here
We've got several great upcoming events in January and February!
First is Sunshine Sunday, our annual event benefitting Lucille and Jay Chazanoff Sunrise Day Camp! This year, we are proud to recognize Marie DiTommaso; Rosemarie Stazzone, RN, MS, CNE; and our Sunrise Walk Basket & Event Committee: Dawn Petermann, Debbie Monello, Andria O’Leary, and Joanne Vitale. The event will take place on Sunday, January 26th at the Old Bermuda Inn from 1-5pm.
Learn more and buy tickets here
We will also host the #RememberMe Brunch on Sunday, February 23rd from 10am-1pm at the Joan & Alan Bernikow JCC. At the event, which benefits the JCC’s Family Solutions to Memory Loss, we will honor Cherine Hanna, Adele McMahon, LCSW-R, Jackie Reiter, LMSW, and Rabbi Stephen Stern, PhD.
Learn more and buy tickets here
We hope to see you at our events this winter!
Throughout the year, the JCC is proud to offer family-oriented programs that bring children and their families together to create special memories. The most recent in our great lineup of events was a Hanukkah party on December 15.
The Cultural Arts department put together a fabulous party with activities for everyone to enjoy together. Partygoers were entertained by a clown and a magician, who performed an act with a live rabbit. The entertainers also painted the children’s faces and made balloon animals! Everyone got into the Hanukkah spirit with the help of a costumed dreidel character. Families decorated Hanukkah-themed gingerbread houses with candy and gelt. No party would be complete without food, so guests were treated to delicious latkes and soufganiyot.
Thanks to everyone who came to celebrate the Festival of Lights with us! We wish you and your families a very happy Hanukkah!
On Wednesday, November 13th, the JCC of Staten Island honored five local men for their commitment to Judaism as well as their accomplishments within the JCC and in the Staten Island community.
This year’s honorees were:
Ofer B. Nacmias
Spirit of Judaism Award
Rabbi Michael D. Howald
Rising Star Award
The event benefitted the JCC’s KIDS IN NEED programming. For thousands of Staten Island children and young adults, these programs provide a lifeline–whether it is helping them deal with disabilities, cancer, food insecurity, or severe economic hardship. The programs include special education for preschool children, afterschool activities for children and teens with developmental disabilities, day habilitation for young adults with developmental, cognitive and physical disabilities, a food pantry for children and families with food insecurities, and camps for children with cancer or special needs.
Congratulations to our honorees and their families!
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BERMAN EARLY CHILDHOOD CENTER
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