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 Tuesday, July 25, the Joan & Alan Bernikow JCC of Staten Island, alongside its partners from Met Council, UJA-Federation of New York, and Jewish Communal Fund announced the upcoming launch of online ordering at its Kosher Food Pantry.
As the home of the borough’s first food pantry supporting online ordering, the JCC looks forward to offering more convenient access to nutritious food for Staten Islanders in need.
Powered by Market by Met Council, online ordering is the JCC’s latest innovative effort to better serve its clients. During the pandemic, the JCC joined an app that gave clients the option to book their appointments online, reducing wait times and food pantry lines.
The new, fully digitized system, which launches on August 1, will offer greater convenience and confidentiality while empowering users to “shop” for their food, similar to grocery pickup services like Instacart.
Orit Lender, CEO of the JCC, said, “One of our priorities across the social services we offer is to ensure that our clients not only get the help they need, but experience the dignity and compassionate care they deserve. We are excited to launch our digital pantry, which will allow us to deliver an even higher level of service to more Staten Islanders in need, while empowering those we serve to make healthy choices for their families.”
The JCC’s Kosher Food Pantry serves an average of 2,000 individuals monthly, with a rising number of individuals seeking assistance with food insecurity.
“The JCC runs a top-notch food pantry and we hope that by joining our Market by Met Council platform for online ordering, the impact of the food pantry will reach many more Staten Islanders,” offered Jessica Chait, Managing Director of Met Council Food Programs.
“UJA-Federation seeks to make food accessible to those who need it in a dignified and efficient way, ensuring that we uphold our clients’ humanity during difficult moments in their lives,” says Alexandra Roth-Kahn, Managing Director of UJA’s Caring Department. “Market by Met Council promotes choice and autonomy, which is why we are delighted to be working with our partners at Met Council and the JCC of Staten Island to bring this resource to the community.”
The agency plans to migrate their existing clients into the new digital system—custom-built on the Salesforce platform—before it launches on August 1. New clients who enroll in the system will also have the opportunity to assess their needs and connect with other valuable resources including benefits assistance, career training, and more.
Click here to register! Individuals without access to a smartphone can call 718-475-5242 for assistance enrolling.
This June, the Joan & Alan Bernikow JCC of Staten Island will host the Beatrice Victor Senior Olympics (BVSO).
The annual event, which brings together hundreds of Staten Island seniors, will take place from June 11 through June 15 at various locations across the borough.
In addition to traditional Senior Olympics events like pickleball, Predict-A-Pace, basketball shooting competitions, tennis, swimming, bowling, cornhole, horseshoes, and croquet, the BVSO also features unique events designed to appeal to a wide array of seniors. These events include challenges like darts, canasta, Mah-Jongg, pinochle, pocket pool, and more. The JCC is also excited to add new events to the lineup, such as ballroom dancing.
The BVSO will conclude with a closing ceremony and brunch on June 16 at 11am at the Bernikow JCC, located at 1466 Manor Road.
After taking place virtually during the height of the pandemic, the BVSO resumed in-person operations last year.
Orit Lender, CEO of the JCC, said, “One of our priorities here at the JCC is empowering seniors to stay active and engaged—physically, mentally, and socially. The Senior Olympics is one of our favorite traditions because it gives us a special opportunity carry on Bea Victor’s legacy by celebrating our older adults.”
The BVSO is named for Beatrice Victor, a community leader who founded the Senior Olympics in 1987. Victor continued to direct the program for 20 years and was involved with the event until her passing.
Through its COVID-19 Connect to Recovery program, the Joan & Alan Bernikow JCC of Staten Island continues to provide critical social services to Staten Islanders experiencing hardships brought on by the pandemic.
Orit Lender, CEO of the JCC, said, “As we approach what might be a second wave of the virus, we want you to know that we will still be here for you and we are prepared to serve you with compassion and care throughout this crisis.”
With temperatures dropping and positive case rates rising, many are worried about a severe winter, especially for the vulnerable senior population who may be isolated and unable to shop for themselves. The JCC recently held a virtual food drive—a safer alternative to traditional collections of canned goods—to raise money to provide free, grab-and-go meals to seniors for the next six weeks.
Since moving its wide range of social services under one COVID-19 Connect to Recovery banner in May, the JCC has also connected thousands of Staten Islanders with access to food, health insurance navigation, legal help, mental health support, and much more. Upon contacting Connect to Recovery, clients complete a remote, initial comprehensive intake and assessment with a JCC social worker. The program is open to everyone, regardless of religion, JCC membership affiliation, or other identifiers.
Samantha—a Connect to Recovery client whose name has been changed to protect her privacy—is an example of the kinds of help available at the JCC. Samantha used to clean houses for a living, but once the pandemic struck, her customers were afraid of exposure to the virus and stopped using her services. Out of work, she contacted Connect to Recovery to get food from the Kosher Food Pantry. During her initial conversation with a social worker, she mentioned that she had over $10,000 in credit card debt that she could not pay due to her situation. The JCC put her in touch with a New York Legal Assistance Group financial counselor to discuss her options. She also received referrals for SNAP benefits and other social services. Now that Samantha has been diagnosed with COVID herself, the JCC has even arranged to have her neighbor pick up food from the food pantry and deliver it to her.
“I was unaware of the positive impact that one phone call to the JCC would have on my life,” Samantha noted.
Like Samantha, many clients first contact Connect to Recovery for help with one problem but, through their conversations with the JCC’s social workers, realize that assistance is available for other hardships they are facing.
Neshama Marcus, Chief Program Director of Community Based Programs, said, “Individuals in crisis don’t need added difficulties right now. Connect to Recovery makes it easy to get all the help you need from our caring staff members.”
If you or someone you know is in need of any assistance from Connect to Recovery, you can contact Carolyn at COVID19@sijcc.com or 718.475.5264. For more information, click here.
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.
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 Wednesday, May 20th, the Joan & Alan Bernikow JCC of Staten Island, in partnership with UJA-Federation of New York, announced the launch of COVID-19 Connect to Recovery. The program will allow Staten Islanders to access social services to help them recover from the effects of the crisis.
COVID-19 Connect to Recovery was created in response to the current and growing needs of the Staten Island community precipitated by the coronavirus crisis. All participants in the program will have an initial comprehensive intake and assessment to see what services they are eligible to receive.
Orit Lender, Deputy Executive Director and Incoming CEO of the JCC explains, “We know that so many people on Staten Island have been hurt by this crisis. We created COVID-19 Connect to Recovery to provide a one-stop shop experience for people in need. Through our intake process, we can identify people’s needs and refer them to services that they may not know they qualify for. During these difficult times, we want to ease the burden for as many families as we can by making it as simple as possible to access these crucial resources.”
Services provided by the program include access to the JCC’s Kosher Food Pantry, health insurance navigation, financial and legal counseling, and ESL and HSE classes. Participants will be screened and enrolled for benefits and entitlements, including SNAP benefits, utility assistance programs, and other services. Individuals in crisis will also be referred to partner organizations for short term loans, cash assistance, and other social services.
Mental health services include support groups for people of all ages, remote weekly meditation and mindfulness classes, and additional therapies such as art, music, theater, and dance. There will also be special support provided for essential workers.
Seniors will be able to receive grab-and-go meals and referrals for clinical counseling treatment through Weill Cornell. Specific services for Holocaust survivors, including providing Kosher food, will also be available.
The JCC’s COVID-19 Connect to Recovery will be helmed by Neshama Marcus, LMSW, Chief Program Director of Community Based Programs, and Amelia Winter, MPS, ATR-BC, LCAT, Director of Senior Centers. The JCC has a great deal experience in recovery services for the Staten Island community. Following Hurricane Sandy, the JCC sprang into action, launching a similar service to help people displaced by the storm.
JCC CEO David Sorkin noted, “After Sandy, the JCC was here for Staten Islanders, helping long after the storm surge had subsided. We plan to do the same during and following this current crisis. We hope to provide a lifeline to those struggling and help get Staten Islanders back on their feet.”
The program is supported by UJA-Federation of New York, the Robin Hood Foundation, Verizon, Con Edison, National Grid Foundation, Mannix Shop Rite Stores, United Way, Food Bank NYC, Met Council, the Brooklyn Home for Aged Men, the Mother Cabrini Foundation, Northfield Bank Foundation, M&T Charitable Foundation, Borough President James Oddo, and DYCD. COVID-19 Connect to Recovery programs will take place in conjunction with Met Council, NYLAG, Hebrew Free Loan Society, Project Hospitality, and Weill Cornell.
For more information on COVID-19 Connect to Recovery services, click here or contact Carolyn Magliolo at COVID19@sijcc.com or 718.475.5264.
On Monday, May 11th, the Joan and Alan Bernikow JCC announced the donation of meals, flowers, and candy to program participants and staff from local developers David Berman and Murray Berman. The father and son purchased the items from their tenants, who are struggling due to the crisis. The goal of the donation was to benefit the JCC while also helping small businesses on Staten Island during this difficult economic time.
The donation consisted of 60 roast chicken dinners for families who attend JCC programs at the Gerard Carter Center, Todt Hill Community Center, and Richmond Terrace Community Center; 40 flower arrangements to be donated to Holocaust survivors in the JCC’s Café Europa program; and 50 candy baskets for JCC staff who are doing essential work through the crisis.
The donations came from La Rosa Chicken & Grill, 1172 Victory Boulevard, Langdon Florist, 1263 Clove Road, and Rocket Fizz Candy Store, 2955 Veterans Road West.
“We are so thankful for this generous donation to our program participants and staff,” said Orit Lender, JCC’s Deputy Executive Director and Incoming CEO. “We appreciate David and Murray Berman’s commitment to the JCC and to local businesses on Staten Island during this difficult time.”
For more information on JCC social services and the Families in Need fund, click here.
On Monday, April 20th, the Joan & Alan Bernikow JCC of Staten Island announced that, thanks to the generosity of local foundations and utilities, hundreds of Staten Islanders will be able to receive free meals and other social services from the organization.
“Recognizing the level of food insecurity in NYC, especially for the isolated and medically-fragile elderly, the Joan and Alan Bernikow JCC, with the funding support of Con Edison, the Robin Hood Foundation, and Verizon, is ramping up the preparation, distribution, and delivery of nutritious Kosher and Halal food for seniors and others in need in our community,” said JCC CEO David Sorkin.
The funding for the program comes from a $25,000 grant from the Robin Hood Foundation, a $5,000 grant from Con Edison, and a $5,000 grant from Verizon. These grants will allow the JCC to provide hundreds of meals to seniors and other vulnerable populations, as well as provide funding for other emergency services during the COVID-19 crisis.
“From the bottom our hearts, we thank you for these funds, which will help us sustain our emergency programs. We are so grateful to these foundations and utilities for their commitment to the JCC and Staten Island,” said Orit Lender, Deputy Executive Director and Incoming CEO.
Since the coronavirus crisis began, the Joan and Alan Bernikow JCC of Staten Island has stepped up to ensure that Staten Islanders in need had resources and support during this difficult time.
Following the closure of JCC facilities to the public, staff members have been distributing thousands of meals to seniors, as well as others in need through its Kosher Food Pantry. The JCC recently established “grab-and-go” meal pickup sites, including the Gerard Carter Center in Stapleton.
In addition to providing meals, the JCC continues to provide social services to those in need during this crisis. JCC social services have gone completely virtual, with staff members providing health insurance navigation, mental health services, legal support resources, and other COVID-19 resources over the phone and email.
JCC staff members have also reached out to 300 seniors a day by phone, including those who attend the JCC’s three senior centers and individuals enrolled in the JCC’s Family Solutions to Memory Loss Programs. In addition to food, staff began providing resources and supplies to seniors isolated in their homes.
Other community services, including ESL classes and community afterschool programs, have also gone virtual, with activities taking place over Zoom. The JCC has also begun to offer free classes and lectures on its social media pages to entertain and educate those stuck at home.
Lender noted, “In these troubling times, when it feels like things are changing so quickly, we can be thankful for the things that will never change—like the JCC’s commitment to our Staten Island community. We are especially grateful for the heroes in our agency who have risen to this most challenging occasion. They remind us that our JCC is not just a building, but a force at the heart of our local community.”
To provide financial support for these programs, the JCC has also established Families in Need, a special COVID-19 emergency fund. The money raised will support the JCC’s social service programs.
Click here for more information on JCC social services.
For more information on the Families in Need fund, click here.
Like many of our programs, our ESL (English as a Second Language) and HSE (High School Equivalency) classes have moved online so that students can continue learning while at home. Check out some photos of our teachers during their virtual lessons!
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