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
We share the shock and outrage that so many have expressed about the events that occurred in Washington, DC yesterday. Our country’s democracy is based upon a peaceful transition of power, and any attack on that process is an affront to everything we hold dear as Americans. I am grateful that our elected officials, their staff, law enforcement, and members of the press were kept safe during this ordeal.
Now is the time for us to come together as a community to condemn the violence and hatred we have seen. Hate speech and violence have no place on Capitol Hill or anyplace else in our country.
At our JCC, we believe in unity and inclusion, welcoming people of all walks of life. We serve our community in over 31 locations around the Island, which means we meet and work with people from different backgrounds. At every single location, we are committed to providing an inclusive environment for every person who walks through our doors. When we see imagery of people who proudly display hate symbols and racist slogans attacking our government, it is incredibly hurtful.
Despite all of this, history has shown us that we can persevere through these difficult times. I know that we, as a community and a country, will get through this if we work together.
As we navigate the next few days, we want everyone who enters our doors to feel safe and secure. Though there are no specific threats to our JCC, we are prioritizing keeping our facilities safe. Through our partnership with UJA, we are a part of the Community Security Initiative at the Jewish Community Relations Council. Their representative, Terence Byrne, Staten Island Regional Security Manager, has been in regular contact with the NYPD Intelligence Bureau on our behalf and is keeping us apprised of any updates that impact us.
Let us all hope for peace and healing in our country.
-Orit Lender, CEO
There’s no question that we are in difficult times right now. Though we work every day to navigate the uncertainty around us, as we celebrate a new year, we are looking towards the future. The JCC has been an important part of our community for over 90 years, and we will continue to be there for you and meet your needs for years to come.
That’s why I’ve unveiled my plan for what I’m calling the JCC’s Centers of Excellence, which was created through listening sessions with our board, staff, and community members. The plan reconfigures the way our agency operates, grouping similar departments into new teams and assigning each Center equal importance. These eight Centers of Excellence will strengthen our structure by creating a stronger foundation of which to build off.
The Centers of Excellence are:
We feel that these new Centers of Excellence will allow us to be more user-friendly while also pushing the agency to grow and evolve. Operating in a team approach will help us ensure collaboration and that we’re engaging community members as we develop programs. It will also allow us to create a vision for the future of the JCC that will sustain us long after we have passed the current moment of crisis.
We also want to help our staff, who have been working tirelessly throughout the pandemic, find easier ways to share resources and solve problems through teamwork. Additionally, you can support the JCC by joining a committee, volunteering your time teaching classes, or sharing your thoughts and ideas with us. We believe you play a vital role on our team and are partners in our success. With your assistance, our agency will grow and change as we continue to move through this unprecedented era.
My overall goal is to give you, our members and participants, the best experience possible and meet your needs. We hope this new layout will allow you to more easily connect to our services and programs, whether it’s on the phone, virtually, or in person. We love hearing from you, and it helps us understand your wants and needs as we move forward. Together, our agency will grow to be stronger into the future.
As 2020 comes to an end, I am writing to wish each of you a happy and safe holiday season and to express my gratitude for all that you have done in this most difficult time.
Though this year has been one of great pain and loss, I’m so proud of the work we’ve done to come together as a community. We had to change the way we operated, with protocols taking over our lives—from social distancing to contactless pickups to new reservation systems. For many of us, we got more acquainted with technology and learned the most important lesson of 2020: how to hit the mute button on Zoom. We wore masks, washed our hands, and navigated ever-changing rules. But through it all, we’ve been able to persevere. We’ve worked hard to continue to provide our community with vital services, meaningful connections, and heartfelt care. This is, truly, something to be thankful for this holiday season.
I ask that, as we continue celebrating joyous moments over the holiday season, you continue to do your part to stop the spread of COVID-19. We know that small gatherings have been a major source of transmission, and we are seeing higher rates on Staten Island than in the rest of the City. In order to help keep our JCC family safe, please do not enter any of our facilities if you’re not feeling well, have been exposed, or are living with someone who is experiencing symptoms. Though we can now see the light at the end of the tunnel, until the vaccine is readily available, we still need to be vigilant about protecting our community.
We are grateful for your continued care and patience as we continue to navigate the next phase of this crisis. Thank you to all our donors, members, participants, volunteers, and partner organizations for sticking with us throughout the past year. We were only able to succeed because of your unending support, and that is a tribute to how much it means to have you as part of our JCC family.
I wish you and your loved ones a happy and peaceful holiday, as well as a healthy and joyous new year!
As the holidays and New Year approach, we reflect back on the unprecedented events of this year. There is no doubt that the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic will be etched into our collective memories forever. Through it all, the Joan & Alan Bernikow JCC has been here for our community, through our in-person and virtual programs, as well as through our work helping those hit hardest by the pandemic.
While we know that this has been a hard year for everyone, for seniors who have been isolated for months, it has been even harder. We were proud to be able to bring back grab and go meals to help seniors access healthy food options in a safe way.
Thanks to the generous donations we received from our Virtual Food Drive, we will be able to provide these meals through the holiday season, and we hope to secure enough funding to continue them throughout the winter. Learn more about our Virtual Food Drive here.
We’ve also hosted virtual social events for Holocaust survivors through our Café Europa social club. In the fall, we held a Sukkot celebration where we celebrated the 100th birthday of one of our survivors, Margot Capell. Her family and friends from all over the country were able to join us virtually for this special evening.
To celebrate Chanukah, we’re hosting another special event for our Holocaust Survivors this Monday at 6:30pm. The event will include a candle lighting ceremony, music, art, and more. All are invited to join us at this Zoom celebration.
This Chanukah, we compelled more than ever to do good for others as we face these tough times. This week, on our social media accounts, we will be highlighting eight values for each night of Chanukah. Though these values are based in Jewish tradition, they are universal to the human experience:
This year, more than ever, we can see the importance of these values in everything we do, from wearing masks to protect those around us to checking in on those who are isolated. We at the JCC will continue to follow these values as part of our core mission, and I hope you will continue to include them in your own daily life.
While this season naturally leads us to care for others, I also want to remind everyone that, now more than ever, it’s important to take a moment for self-care. Whether it takes the form of meditation, exercise, watching a movie, or even just taking a long breath at the end of the day, it’s crucial to take some time for yourself this holiday season. For me, spending time with my husband and kids reenergizes and rejuvenates me on my days off. I hope you can experience the same joyful time with family, either in-person or virtually, this holiday season.
On behalf of the JCC family, I wish you a happy and safe holiday season.
This year has taught us to be even more grateful, not just for what we have individually, but for the community around us. We’ve seen essential workers step up to the plate and take care of our community. I want to say a special thank you to our staff members, who have been doing this essential work day and night over the past few months. Without them, the JCC would not have been able to weather the storms and continue to serve our community.
Through this work, we can see that so many of our friends and neighbors are still hurting. Over the past few weeks, we’ve seen an uptick in cases through our Resource Navigator program, which links those who test positive with needed services. The need for our Kosher Food Pantry has quadrupled over the past few months. Our other social services, including navigation for health insurance, benefits, and legal services, have also been in high demand.
For anyone in need, the JCC is here for you. Our COVID-19 Connect to Recovery services are free and available remotely to anyone who has been negatively impacted by the pandemic. We are excited that we were able to restart our Grab & Go meal distribution for seniors this week, and we are prepared to provide additional services as needs arise throughout this next wave of the pandemic.
While we work together to heal the wounds caused by the crisis, my hope is for all of us to continue to do our part to help keep our community safe. Our individual actions can help keep others—even those we’ve never met—healthy, and I hope you will continue to stay vigilant during the holidays.
As this is the season of thanks, I could not end this letter without thanking you, our members and participants, for sticking with us over the past year. Our board and staff are so thankful to all of you for continuing to support us throughout these difficult times. Your commitment to our mission is a major part of what makes the JCC so special.
Wishing you and your families a safe and happy Thanksgiving!
In a year that has already made history in so many ways, the upcoming elections on Tuesday, November 3 are set to be historic. As we approach Election Day, it is more important than ever to be informed and prepared to vote.
Making our voices heard with our votes is not only our right, but also a responsibility that connects past, present, and future generations of Americans. It is our duty to be informed voters. While the presidency and Congress are certainly important, we also need to be engaged in state and local elections that have significant impacts on our day-to-day lives. Sample ballot tools, like this one from Ballotpedia, are a great way to stay informed on all the elections you can expect to see on your ballot.
In an unpredictable year like this one, it is just as important how you plan to cast your vote as it is who you choose to vote for. I encourage you all to make a voting plan, as you may be submitting your ballot in a different way this year.
For more information, check out this guide created by our friends at the Marlene Meyerson JCC on your voting options and make your voting plan as soon as possible!
This evening begins, Yom Kippur which means “Day of Atonement” in Hebrew. This is the holiest Jewish holiday of the year and ends the ten days of High Holidays which began with Rosh Hashanah. In Jewish tradition, on Rosh Hashanah, the Book of Life is written, and on Yom Kippur, a person’s fate is sealed. Yom Kippur is a time for forgiveness, reflection and for wiping the slate clean to start fresh. This year in particular, we look forward to closing this chapter and beginning a new one.
As we look to the future, there is so much to be hopeful for, despite all the challenges we have experienced in recent months. I am inspired by the young people in our community. On Friday, I attended the unveiling of a new mural, created by students at our Gerard Carter Center over the summer. We often look toward our young people to lead the way, and there’s no better example of that than this mural.
Working together, they were able to create a vision of what they want to see in their community. When I saw the drawings of what the mural would look like, I was blown away by the creativity and thoughtfulness that went into this project. I want to thank these students for their commitment to this project. I also want to recognize our devoted staff members who guided the way.
Seeing our kids’ aspirations for a better community is the light we need in these dark times. I know as we pass the baton to the next generation, they will continue the work needed in the community to bring their vision to life.
I wish all who observe Yom Kippur a meaningful day and an easy fast.
This weekend marks the celebration of Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year. The Hebrew month of Elul precedes Rosh Hashanah and is traditionally a period of reflection and introspection. This gives us time to take stock of both the year that has passed and our goals for the future. This year in particular, we have so much to hope for.
After many months of not being able to hold in-person gatherings, we are finally able to safely reopen many of our programs. We welcomed back our Early Childhood Education students, who we missed teaching in person. Earlier this week, we reopened our fitness center after being closed since March. And later this month, we will be joined by new students as part of the Learning Bridges hybrid learning program for school children.
As we celebrate the new year, we also celebrate the fact that we are finally able to see many of our members and participants in person once again. Though everyone is wearing a mask, please know that we are smiling behind them and are incredibly excited to welcome people back into our buildings. We look forward to reopening even more of our programs throughout the fall.
For those programs that are not yet functioning in-person, we continue to offer many virtual options to connect with our community. You can see all of our programs that are currently running in-person and remotely in our Fall Program Guide.
We know that as we commemorate this new year, so much opportunity lies ahead. I want to wish Shana Tova to all who celebrate. May you all have a sweet and healthy new year!
Today marks the last day of camp for the summer. Though this year was certainly different than past summers, we are proud that we were able to successfully serve hundreds of kids in a safe environment. Getting to see our campers reconnecting with friends, taking part in activities, and having fun was an important reminder of why we do what we do at the JCC.
While we are all sad to see summer go, we know new beginnings lie ahead this fall. As things begin to reopen, we know we will have to navigate changing regulations, but it will be worth it in order to bring as many of our programs back as possible.
One of the things I am most excited about is the new school year starting. In addition to welcoming back our Early Childhood Education and First Foot Forward students, we will also be hosting students through the City’s Learning Bridges program. The program will allow us to serve students in the Department of Education’s blended learning model on days they are out of school. Our staff will facilitate remote learning as well as lead group activities, including sports and music. We are looking forward to this program starting and getting to work with some new and familiar faces throughout the school year.
As you may have heard, plans are also in the works to reopen our fitness center. We continue to work alongside City and State officials to make this happen sometime this fall. Other programs, like our cultural arts lectures, music lessons, and senior programs, will continue to operate virtually to ensure that as many people in our community as possible can access JCC programming.
On behalf of our board and staff, we are grateful for your patience as we continue to move forward. I am incredibly hopeful that this fall will bring new opportunities for the JCC and all of our members and participants.
While this summer has certainly been different than past years, so much remains the same. Although our programs have had to change to accommodate new safety protocols, it has been amazing to see our members and participants having fun. Campers still arrive home with smiles on their faces. Families are still able to take in some sun and pool time at our summer swim club.
We are excited to be able to bring back even more of our programs. Marvin’s Camp for Children with Special Needs and day care returned last week, and we are beyond thrilled to get to work with these children again. We look forward to the reopening of our day habilitation program for young adults with disabilities later this month.
Our goal is to serve everyone we can on Staten Island, so we will continue to provide virtual experiences for those in our community we can’t see in person. We were proud to see over 100 people at our recent Tisha B’av lecture series—just one of many cultural arts opportunities we have offered online.
We appreciate your flexibility as we adapt to changing guidelines. Without your understanding and adaptability, we would not be as successful as we have been over these past few months. While we don’t yet know when we will be able to fully reopen all of our programs, we continue to be hopeful. I thank you for all your support and hope that we will be able to see you again in person very soon.
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.
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