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 Thursday, April 27, the Joan & Alan Bernikow JCC of Staten Island hosted a free family festival to celebrate Israel’s 75th anniversary.
The festival featured performances by the Israeli Dance Institute and by students from local schools including Staten Island Hebrew Public Charter School and Staten Island Hebrew Academy. Families had the opportunity to participate in interactive Krav Maga, Hebrew calligraphy, and crafts workshops.
The JCC also brought a taste of Israel to Staten Island as it transformed its social hall into a shuk, or food market, where families sampled Israeli cuisine.
The festival was co-sponsored by Hillel of CSI, Staten Island Hebrew Public Charter School, and Temple Israel Reform Congregation of Staten Island.
Orit Lender, CEO of the JCC, said, “We’re excited to celebrate this special milestone not only for Israel, but for the global Jewish community, by bringing Israeli culture to the forefront. Whether you have a connection to Israel, or just want to learn more about the culture, we hope to see you at our family festival!”
The festival was just one part of the agency’s yearlong celebration of Israel’s anniversary. The celebration also includes a comedy show, live music performances, film screenings, and art exhibits, with more to come throughout the year.
Coinciding with Israel’s 75th anniversary, the JCC of Staten Island is proud to announce new global partnerships with Jewish community centers in Moldova and Binyamina, Israel. During the festival, the JCC of Staten Island community was greeted with special video messages from their counterparts abroad.
On May 9, the JCC also presented "Am Israel Chai”: A Celebration of Israel in Song. This National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene performance featured Israeli-American singer Magda Fishman and Greek-born legend Avram Pengas, led by Artistic Director Zalmen Mlotek.
This summer, the JCC will send a delegation of high school students for a trip to Israel, where they will immerse themselves in the country’s history and culture.
On Tuesday, November 22nd, the Joan & Alan Bernikow JCC of Staten Island hosted a Thanksgiving dinner for afterschool students and their families at the Gerard Carter Center.
Families got to enjoy a free soul food-inspired Thanksgiving meal provided by local restaurant Shaw-naé’s House. In addition to turkey, families enjoyed mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, green bean casserole, mac & cheese, and sweet potatoes. For dessert, attendees were treated to sweet flavors of cornbread, including chocolate chip and blueberry.
Volunteers and staff helped serve the meals, including notable faces like JCC CEO Orit Lender and Councilwoman Kamillah Hanks.
“This was a great evening full of fun, food, and family time,” Lender noted. “This party was a fantastic way to kick off Thanksgiving week. Seeing all of our participants smiling and enjoying time with their families warmed my heart. This is what the JCC is all about, bringing families together.”
The event took place in partnership with The Gerard Carter Foundation, Richmond County Black & Minority Chamber of Commerce, and Literacy INC.
The Gerard Carter Center, which is operated by the JCC, provides free year-round out of school time activities for youth ages 5-21 as well as adult programming. The Carter Center is part of the Cornerstone Community Center program, which is funded by the NYC Department of Youth & Community Development (DYCD). For more information on the JCC’s Cornerstone programs, click here
As we approach Thanksgiving, it is a time to show gratitude. The Jewish value of gratitude, or hakarat hatov, instructs us not only to be grateful for what we have, but also to see and acknowledge the good all around us.
It is in this spirit that we celebrate National Family Caregivers Month. This month, we honor and recognize the hard work that people do to take care of their loved ones. Caregiving can be extremely exhausting, stressful, and expensive. Caregivers often don’t have time to take care of themselves, and caring for someone else often takes a physical toll on the caregiver.
For those in need, the JCC provides care for both the caregiver and the care receiver at no cost to families. Our memory loss programming provides stimulating, specialized day programs for individuals with Alzheimer’s Disease/dementia. Knowing that their loved ones are safe and cared for during the day allows caregivers to have time for themselves and gives them peace of mind.
One of our caregivers noted, “It is a comfort to know that my mother is not home alone all day and is actively participating in activities like games and dancing. The JCC’s memory loss programs fill a void in the Staten Island community for caregivers and their loved ones.”
Additionally, our Caregiver Support Center offers services to help caregivers access benefits, coordinate home health assistance and long-term care, and get supplies. The Caregiver Support Center also provides emotional support for caregivers to help them through these difficult times. Our joint enrichment programs for caregivers and care receivers allow them to relax and have fun together.
Earlier this month, we held our Falling into Fun carnival at our Avis/South Shore location. Grandparents, parents, and children got to participate in carnival games, face painting, Zumba, chair yoga, line dancing, sittercise, and quilling together. It was heartwarming to see these families get to shake off their everyday stresses and just have some fun!
We are grateful to all who joined us, as well as our Carnival Sponsor, Enexia Specialty Pharmacy, for their support. We couldn’t do any of this without the support of our donors and funders, who allow us to provide these free programs for members of our community with memory loss. We are able to serve Staten Islanders in need through the generous support of NYC Aging, Northfield Bank Foundation, Richmond County Savings Foundation, and Michael Manzulli.
Knowing the demand for these programs is far greater than our current capacity, and our desire is to continue expanding these services, we need your help. This Giving Tuesday, please consider supporting our memory loss programs. Your support is important to us. Together, I know we can help those with memory loss and their families. You can learn more and donate here.
Thank you for being an instrumental part of our JCC and this great Staten Island community. Without your continued commitment, we would not be able to provide these vital services. I want to personally thank you for always being there for us, and please know that we are here if you ever need us.
On behalf of our JCC family, I wish you and your families a safe and happy Thanksgiving!
-Orit Lender, JCC CEO
As we say goodbye to summer, fall gives us an opportunity for a fresh start. Fall marks the beginning of the school year, and I loved seeing our newest Early Childhood students walk through our doors for their first day of school. To me, there’s nothing better than knowing that we get the opportunity to help young minds learn and grow as they begin their educational journey.
I am also extremely proud that we were able to expand our Early Childhood services for children with disabilities by adding two new classrooms to our First Foot Forward program this year. You can read more about the expansion here.
Fall also brings the Jewish New Year, which we are celebrating next week. During the weeks before Rosh Hashanah, we traditionally reflect on the year that has passed and share our hopes for the year that is to come. It gives us an opportunity to review, assess, and renew.
At the JCC, this has meant reflecting on what’s most important to our Board, staff, and members. As we looked through all of our programs and services, as well as the needs of our community, one word continued to jump out to us: family.
In this spirit, we are beginning this year with a focus on bringing families of all shapes and sizes together and providing them with the programming they want and need. Throughout all of our programs, we embrace and demonstrate Jewish values, which are truly universal values. This year, we have decided to pick different values to specifically focus on each season. Fittingly, this season’s Jewish value is reflection, return, and renewal.
As we focus on new beginnings, we will kick off our family programming with our Fall Harvest Festival on Sunday, October 9th. We are offering a festival full of fun that the whole family can enjoy. For those who attended our inaugural festival last year, I promise that this year’s will be even bigger and better! Click here to learn more about the free event.
The family fun doesn’t end there—we also have more activities and programs planned for people of all ages and abilities beginning this month. You can learn about all our fall programs in our Program Guide.
We have plans to add even more family programming as the year progresses. Stay tuned for some exciting new programs and classes!
I hope you all had a great start to the school year, and I want to wish L’Shana Tova U’Metukah to all who celebrate. May you all have a sweet and healthy new year!
-Orit Lender, CEO
I hope you were able to take some time during the fall holidays to relax with your family. As we’ve learned over the past year and a half, family is truly something to be cherished. At the JCC, we feel especially strongly about the importance of providing programs for the entire family to enjoy.
A few weeks ago, we welcomed hundreds of families back to the JCC at our Fall Harvest Festival. It was wonderful to see familiar faces as well as many new ones. Our staff and I really enjoyed seeing kids play, sing, dance, and have fun outside with their families and friends.
The festival kicked off a season of fall programming that is designed with children of all ages, interests, and abilities in mind. From sports to aquatics to School’s Out and Sunday Funday activities, we have something for everyone. We are also offering programs that the whole family can enjoy, like our parent/child music classes, self defense classes, and Pet ‘n Play event with Wild Side Zoo. For more information on all of our fall offerings, check out our Program Guide here.
In a few weeks, we will host Kids Front & Center, a virtual event honoring the work done on behalf of children throughout the pandemic. At the event, we will honor three local leaders, Lt. Rafet Awad, Rose Kerr, and Miriam Prat-Jerez, for their transformative work with children. Their tireless efforts have improved the quality of life for so many kids and families in our community.
We will also recognize all the work our own JCC staff has done for kids throughout the pandemic. While many others were forced to close their doors, we were able to serve hundreds of children with in-person programs throughout the past year and a half. Our programs were a lifeline for families of essential workers struggling to find childcare options. Kids Front & Center will benefit our programs for kids and will make sure we can keep them running throughout the rest of the pandemic and beyond. You can learn more about the event here.
I hope to see you, either in-person or virtually, at one of our many fall kids events!
-Orit Lender, CEO
The Joan & Alan Bernikow JCC of Staten Island kicked off its new programming season with a free Fall Harvest Festival on Sunday, September 19 at the Bernikow JCC.
Children enjoyed inflatables, carnival games with prizes, and fall-themed arts and crafts. Live entertainment included a performance by the Honeychild Band and story time with author Denise Cesare. Rep. Nicole Malliotakis sponsored a covid vaccine clinic in partnership with Walgreens.
During the festival, families had interactive opportunities to learn more about the JCC’s programs. Kids also got the opportunity to participate in fitness and music demos.
Since the pandemic began, the JCC has continually provided active, engaging programs for participants of all ages. The festival signifies a return to the new normal, as the community organization plans to offer a full slate of both in-person and virtual programs this fall.
Orit Lender, CEO of the JCC, said, “We were thrilled to see over a thousand people at our first event of the new season. This is just the start of a full year of fun programming for the whole family!”
For more information on future JCC programs, click here!
The Joan & Alan Bernikow JCC of Staten Island will kick off its new programming season with a free Fall Harvest Festival on Sunday, September 19 from 12pm-3pm. Families are invited to stop by the JCC, located at 1466 Manor Road, for an afternoon of outdoor fall fun.
Children will enjoy inflatables, carnival games with prizes, and fall-themed arts and crafts. Families can also pose for festive photo-ops. There will be a live performance by the Honeychild Band at 2pm. Food will be available for purchase. In case of inclement weather, the festival will take place inside.
During the festival, families will also have interactive opportunities to learn more about the JCC’s programs. Staff members will hold a sports and fitness sampler to give guests a taste of the recreation activities available to JCC members and participants of all ages.
The Dorothy Delson Kuhn Music Institute of the JCC will also present free demonstrations to introduce preschool and elementary school-aged children and their parents to upcoming programs. These programs include two parent-child keyboarding classes—Music in Me (ages 3 to 4) and Harmony Road (ages 4 to 6)—as well as Drama Adventures (ages 3 to 5) and Music Adventures with Ms. Bo (ages 3 to 5). The music demonstrations will take place inside. As space is limited, participants should register for the demonstrations by emailing Ela Seeley, Director of the Dorothy Delson Kuhn Music Institute, at ESeeley@sijcc.com.
Since the pandemic began, the JCC has continually provided active, engaging programs for participants of all ages. The festival signifies a return to the new normal, as the community organization plans to offer a full slate of in-person programs this fall.
Orit Lender, CEO of the JCC, said, “Our Fall Harvest Festival is a chance for us to get back to doing one of the things we love most, which is creating fun activities for the whole family. We know that many families are ready to get back out there, so we invite them to enjoy a fun afternoon with us and get to know the wonderful programs we have in store for them this season.”
There is no registration required for the Fall Harvest Festival. To learn more, click here.
We are proud to annouce that we will host Sunrise Circle of Friends, a virtual interactive show for kids, on Wednesday, July 29th from 5-6 pm. All proceeds from the event will benefit the Lucille & Jay Chazanoff Sunrise Day Camp Staten Island, a free camp for children with cancer and their siblings.
The event will feature performances and demonstrations by Brian Wild & His Interactive Animals, Steve the Magician, Tiger Schulmann's Martial Arts, and Music with Patrick. The event is being produced in collaboration with JMT Media and is chaired by Ilana French.
As a special treat, the Staten Island Wine Fairies will deliver a wine basket for mom and dad to enjoy during the show for an additional fee. Basket deliveries are open to Staten Island residents only, and sign-ups for the wine deliveries close Wednesday, July 22.
“The JCC is thrilled to be able to provide virtual entertainment for families while also raising much needed funds for Sunrise Day Camp,” said Orit Lender, CEO of the JCC. “We are so grateful to our volunteers and performers who are donating their time and talents to put this special afternoon together.”
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 are offered completely free of charge to all children being treated for cancer and their siblings, on a non-sectarian basis. The camp, which is celebrating its fifth year of service to children with cancer and their siblings, has been running virtually this year due to the campers’ health concerns.
Lucille & Jay Chazanoff Sunrise Day Camp-Staten Island is the only day camp for children with cancer in New York City and serves families from Staten Island, Brooklyn, Manhattan, and New Jersey. The JCC raises funds for the camp through donations and community events, including the annual SunriseWALKS.
A member of the Sunrise Association, Sunrise Day Camp-Staten Island is one of several camps in a growing network dedicated to providing safe, fun summer camp experiences for children with cancer and their siblings.
The virtual event costs $10 per household, with the option to add on a $25 wine delivery. Tickets and wine deliveries can be reserved here. For more information, contact Evett Shulman at email@example.com or 718.475.5256.
Our members and staff recently celebrated Purim at several fun events!
First was the Café Europa Purim Celebration for Holocaust survivors. Children from the JCC’s after school program performed Purim songs and made baskets for the survivors. Everyone also celebrated Rabbi Romi Cohn’s 94th birthday! It was a touching event dedicated to keeping the light glowing.
On March 8, we had our Under-the-Sea-themed Purim Carnival. Kids had a fin-tastic time dressing as their favorite sea creatures, doing arts & crafts, making hamentaschen and more! Check out some pictures from our shell-ebration!
Last Tuesday, JCC staff members dressed to impress with their Purim costumes! The costume contest winners were the ECE staff, who dressed as “Tired Workers in PJ’s,” and the Marketing department, who sported their best country-western wear!
We hope you had a happy Purim!
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!
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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