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
SunriseWALKS Staten Island to take place at Staten Island University Hospital “Community Park” on June 26th
On Sunday, June 26, the Joan & Alan Bernikow JCC of Staten Island will host SunriseWALKS to benefit the Lucille & Jay Chazanoff Sunrise Day Camp-Staten Island, a free camp for children with cancer and their siblings.
After hosting virtual “walks” the past two years due to the pandemic, the JCC is excited to bring the annual fundraiser back in-person. This year’s SunriseWALKS, presented by Home Team Mortgage, will take place at a new location—Staten Island University Hospital “Community Park,” home of the Staten Island FerryHawks.
Orit Lender, CEO of the JCC, said, “We look forward to SunriseWALKS every year as an opportunity to raise awareness and funding for our amazing Sunrise Day Camp, and to celebrate our community’s generosity, which allows us to give so much back to children with cancer and their siblings. We’re so excited to be together again this year and we’re planning a really special day for families.”
The itinerary for the day is full of programming to be enjoyed by kids of all ages and their families, including carnival and camp-inspired games and activities such as a dunk tank, face-painting, and relay races, flag football and Krav Maga demonstrations, and running the stadium’s bases. Walkers will also enjoy music and special performances by magician Steve Rose, L.A. Dance, and more.
The walk will be emceed by Staten Island’s own Carmine Giovinazzo, best known for his role as Detective Danny Messer in the hit CBS series CSI: New York. The event will also include special messages from celebrities.
SunriseWALKS is the JCC’s largest fundraiser for the Lucille & Jay Chazanoff Sunrise Day Camp-Staten Island. Recognizing the extraordinary financial demands that a child’s chronic illness can have on a family, Sunrise Day Camp and its year-round programs are provided to families completely free of charge, on a non-sectarian basis.
A proud member of the Sunrise Association, Sunrise Day Camp-Staten Island is the only summer day camp of its kind in New York City and serves children from Staten Island, Brooklyn, Manhattan, and nearby New Jersey.
Sandy Haft, Director of Sunrise Day Camp-Staten Island, said, “Sunrise Day Camp is a special place, where we keep cancer outside the four walls of camp. Your support for SunriseWALKS means the world to us because it helps us bring some sunshine to children who need it most.”
Register for SunriseWALKS here to donate to Sunrise Day Camp-Staten Island. Walkers can also register in-person on June 26 at the stadium, beginning at 10am.
In memory of Karen Saks:
To Manny Saks & family, with deepest sympathy.
In memory of Arthur Francis Olsen:
To Tom & family, with deepest sympathy.
In memory of Arthur Olsen.
-Loretta, Thomas, Nicholas, and Sandra Cerbone
In memory of Arthur F. Olsen.
Last week, we received word of the racially-motivated shooting in a Buffalo supermarket, and our hearts went out to the entire Buffalo community. Yesterday, we heard the horrific news about a school shooting in Uvalde, Texas, which took the lives of 19 elementary school children and two teachers. Yet again, our hearts are broken.
In the face of immense tragedy, it’s easy to feel helpless. But now is not the time to sit back in fear and sadness. Jewish teachings tell us that it is our responsibility to step in when a situation is unjust. Based on these values, we at the JCC are doing all we can to help prevent future tragedies from happening.
Last Thursday, I joined with community leaders to stand against hate in the wake of the shooting in Buffalo. At the JCC, we stand with our community in solidarity against racism and bigotry every time we see it—and our neighbors do the same for us when Anti-Semitic incidents occur. I am grateful that Staten Islanders are not willing to be silent on this issue. We will continue to join together as one community and speak out against hate of any kind.
We have also been working a new initiative called PATH, in partnership with JCRC, to help combat anti-Semitism and hate crimes. Through this initiative, which was funded by the Mayor’s office, we have been providing educational resources and strengthening relationships among diverse and interfaith communities on Staten Island. We know there is more work to be done in this area, and we are committed to engaging different communities in order to fight hate locally.
We also realize that gun violence is a major issue that needs to be tackled nationally and locally. As part of our youth programming, in partnership with UAU and Central Family Life Center, we have begun offering a program focused on gun violence prevention. The program, which is funded by the Governor’s office, supports positive youth development and provides opportunities to youth and young adults at risk of gun violence. In addition, violence prevention is included in many of our after school and weekend programs for tweens and teens.
These grassroots programs are part of a larger effort by our entire community to put an end to these tragic situations once and for all. By joining together, we can regain a sense of our shared humanity and begin to forge a new path forward.
Together, let us hold the victims of gun violence in our broken hearts and work to create a better world to honor them. May their memories be a blessing.
The Joan & Alan Bernikow JCC of Staten Island will host “To Life!” a concert celebrating intercultural connections, on Thursday, May 12th at 7pm. The concert, which is presented in collaboration with the National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene, will take place at the Bernikow JCC, 1466 Manor Road.
“To Life!” represents a celebration of life and friendship among three people brought together from different worlds by a passion for music. Zalmen Mlotek is an internationally recognized authority on Yiddish folk and theater music as well as a leading figure in the Jewish theater and concert worlds. He will be joined by Tony Perry and Elmore James, two prominent African American singers.
Orit Lender, JCC CEO, noted, “We are so proud to showcase diverse performances through our Dr. Esther Grushkin Center for Arts + Culture. We look forward to a wonderful evening celebrating the shared experiences of Jewish and African American communities.”
Tickets to the concert are $18 per person. For those who want to mingle with the stars afterwards, a VIP Dessert Reception costs $54, which includes a show ticket.
“As soon as we started rehearsing this show,” Tony Perry said, “We felt that love, that feeling of this being so much bigger than each of us can be separately. There’s so much power in us coming together!”
The group has performed across the globe to enthusiastic audiences. “To Life!” which celebrates life, love, and hope, was born out of the stress of the pandemic.
“Making music with Tony and Elmore has always been exciting for me,” Zalmen Mlotek said. “I can't believe, after all of our various concerts together, it has taken us this long to finally come together and put this particular program together—full of passion, gorgeous singing, and a genuine love for each other and the material.”
“We must never be afraid of going into each other’s ‘cultural neighborhoods’ and singing each other’s ‘songs!’” Elmore James said. “When we do, we sing with a common humanity. This is why I do these concerts. Through the power of music, we come together in the celebration of love, life and our hopes for a better world.”
Tickets can be purchased here.
On Sunday, May 15th, the Joan & Alan Bernikow JCC of Staten Island will present its highest honor, the Allan Weissglass Distinguished Leadership Award, to David Sorkin and Stephen J. Blumert. The event will begin at 6pm at the Bernikow JCC (1466 Manor Road).
The gala, which is named for the late Allan Weissglass, honors individuals who have supported the mission of the JCC and served as leaders in the Staten Island community. This year’s honorees, David Sorkin and Stephen J. Blumert, have a long history of leadership within the JCC. Sorkin is the JCC’s CEO Emeritus and Blumert is a longtime JCC board member and prominent attorney.
“We are so proud to be able to recognize David and Stephen with this prestigious award. Both of them have been instrumental to the success of the JCC over the past few decades. David and Steve far exceed the criteria for receiving this award for their dedication, leadership, and generosity to the JCC and the community-at-large. They truly exemplify Allan Weissglass’ legacy of service and are most deserving of this award,” said Orit Lender, JCC CEO.
The proceeds from the gala will support the JCC’s Memory Loss Programs—Rosemary’s Place and My Place. These programs are vital to assist those with memory loss and their families as they provide in person services for individuals in need. Both program options allow for individuals to participate in programming that best meets their needs outside of their homes and allow caregivers to receive respite in order to attend work or other activities.
“My grandfather held both David and Steve in such high regard,” noted Allison Cohen, the JCC’s Director of Marketing & Communications and Weissglass’ granddaughter. “Our family could not think of two more appropriate people to honor in his memory. We hope the community will come together to recognize these two distinguished honorees and this important cause by supporting the event.”
Watch videos below about each of our honorees:
This weekend marks an important time for people of many faiths as we celebrate Passover, Easter, and Ramadan. These are joyous holidays marked by family celebrations.
As the story of Passover tells us, even in times of great hardship, we are able to join together to overcome adversity. Our ability to be resilient has kept us going, even through the past few difficult years. Passover is a celebration of freedom that inspire us to work towards a world when every person will be free from hatred.
We are seeing resiliency in the Ukrainian refugees who have been forced to leave their homes and families behind while fleeing a war. Our hearts are with them, and the JCC stands ready to help any families who come to Staten Island. We are already providing services to help them acclimate to America and access everything they need, including benefits, health insurance, ESL classes, food, and jobs. We will be here for them as long as they need.
Jewish values tell us that it is our responsibility to help those in need—globally and at home. To help those in need in our own community, this week, we partnered with MetCouncil, the Hate Has No Home Here initiative, and the Notre Dame Club Club of Staten Island’s Bread of Life Food Drive to provide Passover meals for over 300 families at a drive through food distribution. It was heartening to be able to provide a holiday meal for those in need.
None of this would be possible without our dedicated volunteers and staff who worked in the rain to unpack boxes and distribute the food packages. Their hard work brought out the sun in the afternoon. Thank you to our community partners and our volunteers from the JCC Kosher Food Pantry, Amazon, MetroPlus Health, Wagner College, and the Pride Center of Staten Island for being generous with their time! I would also like to thank Council Member Borelli and representatives from DA McMahon and Assemblyman Tannousis' offices for supporting us during the distribution.
In times of joy and hardship, the JCC continues to serve our community. We are here for you—whether you just need a place where you feel connected, to work out and swim, or send your kids to camp and Early Childhood programs. Everyone is welcome and belongs at the JCC.
I hope you all get a chance to spend quality time with your loved ones over the holidays. On behalf of our JCC family, I wish you a happy and healthy holiday season.
-Orit Lender, CEO
The Joan & Alan Bernikow JCC of Staten Island will host an exhibition of paintings by award-winning artist Anita Cimino. The works will be on display in the Murray Berman Art @ the J Gallery, located on the second floor of the Bernikow JCC at 1466 Manor Road, throughout April and May.
A retired educator, Anita Cimino is active in the Staten Island arts community. She is a member of the South Shore Artists Group, which meets to create and share their art across the island.
Cimino’s work has been featured in many solo, juried, and collective exhibitions in Staten Island and beyond. Besides the JCC, her paintings have also been displayed at other local cultural institutions including the Staten Island Museum and the Noble Maritime Museum.
Cimino is known for her vibrant, abstract paintings that reflect on themes such as aspiration, nature, and relationships. She has received several honors, including an award for her painting, Can You Imagine!, in a St. John’s University juried exhibition, as well as grants for art development from the Council on the Arts and Humanities for Staten Island.
Twenty-five of Cimino’s pieces will be displayed at the JCC’s Murray Berman Art @ the J Gallery during April and May.
As many of the JCC’s in-person programs have resumed, the exhibition signifies another step towards a return to normalcy for the agency. Public art displays at the gallery were put on hold at the height of the pandemic.
Orit Lender, CEO of the JCC, said, “Our members, participants, and staff truly look forward to seeing new exhibitions by local artists at the Murray Berman Art @ the J Gallery each season. We are so happy to bring this program back with an array of beautiful, thought-provoking pieces by Anita Cimino.”
The exhibition is free and open to the public from April 1 through May 30. For more information about the Murray Berman Art @ the J Gallery, please contact Ela Seeley at ESeeley@SIJCC.com.
Marvin’s Camp for Children with Special Needs is set to open for a full summer of fun in the sun! This summer, the JCC is pleased to resume two of its services for Marvin’s campers—transportation and trips—that were placed on hold during the height of the pandemic. Camp families will have the option to have their child transported to and from camp via bus for free each day.
Marvin’s Camp, located at the Henry Kaufmann Campgrounds, provides an educational, creative, social, and safe environment for kids and teens with developmental disabilities. Led by highly experienced staff with degrees in special education, social work, and school psychology, Marvin’s campers participate in a wide array of fun and enriching activities. Campers enjoy swimming, boating, and playing sports, along with hands-on activities like crafts and woodworking. Low staff-to-camper ratios ensure that each child receives excellent care and attention.
JCC CEO Orit Lender noted, “The Joan & Alan Bernikow JCC of Staten Island is committed to the idea that all children—regardless of ability—should have the same opportunity to have an unforgettable summer camp experience. That’s why the JCC is planning another amazing summer for campers in Marvin’s Camp for Children with Special Needs.”
Additionally, the camp will resume offering its Marvin’s M.O.R.E. division for campers ages 15 and up. Marvin’s M.O.R.E. campers will have the opportunity to go on trips to exciting destinations twice a week, with transportation provided. When they aren’t going on trips, campers will enjoy fun activities on the campgrounds.
Ms. Lender said, “We can’t wait to welcome our Marvin’s campers back for another incredible summer! We’re especially thrilled to be able to bring back trips, as we know our Marvin’s M.O.R.E. campers look forward to going on fun, enriching adventures with their friends each year.”
The JCC is currently accepting registrations for Marvin’s Camp for Children with Special Needs. You can learn more about the camp here. To register, contact Laura Irizarry at LIrizarry@SIJCC.com or 718-475-5268. The JCC also offers an inclusion program in its traditional camp for those who would benefit from it. An interview is required for all new Marvin’s and inclusion campers.
This week, we mark the celebration of Purim, which commemorates the story of Queen Esther. Esther was a strong female leader, using her position for the good of her people. In the story of Purim, Esther hid her Jewish faith from her husband, King Ahasuerus. The king’s trusted advisor, Haman, had a plan to kill all the Jewish people in the Persian Empire. Esther had a choice—to stay silent or tell the truth in order to save her people. She acted courageously, risking her life for the good of the Jewish people. During Purim, we celebrate Esther’s heroic actions that saved the lives of so many others.
We have many strong women in our community, like Queen Esther, who have used their power and standing to help others who are less fortunate. As we celebrate Women’s History Month, it is important to acknowledge their contributions to our JCC and the community at large.
One of the most inspirational stories in the JCC’s history belongs to Nancy Avis. Nancy was a barrier-breaking woman who cared deeply about Staten Island. Like many other women interested in making a difference in their community, Nancy began volunteering her time for JCC initiatives close to her heart—namely children’s causes. She became involved with our Camp Committee and took a lead role in the formation of the JCC Nursery School in 1961. As the Women’s Division President, she encouraged and inspired other women to get involved as well. In 1986, Nancy made history as the JCC’s first woman Board President and led the agency through significant expansions. While Nancy is no longer with us, her legacy lives on through the generations of women leaders at the JCC—including our strong female Board Members and Presidents.
Every year, we present the Nancy Avis L’Dor V’Dor Awards to honor women who have made an impact on our community. L’Dor V’Dor, which means “from generation to generation,” recognizes women who have carried on the legacy of those who came before them, while also inspiring the next generation to make the world a better place.
This year is particularly special, as we are honoring Nancy’s granddaughters Sydney, Samantha, and Morgan Avis with the “Nancy Avis Legacy Award.” These three young women are continuing the legacy of their grandmother Nancy through their community service and advocacy of social justice issues. It is so beautiful to see the next generation getting involved and giving back.
Alongside them, we are so excited to be able to recognize other female leaders in our community. The “First Generation Award” will be presented to Allison Romeo, a Speech/Language Pathologist in our Early Childhood Education program, and Stephanie Mizrahi, a CLLD board member. Just as we honor women whose years of service have benefited our community, we will also honor an up-and-coming leader in our community, nine-year-old Maddie French, with the “Next Generation Award.” The “Bridge to the Community Award” will be presented to Dr. Ginny Mantello for her work advocating for health and wellness throughout Staten Island. Each of these special women have made their mark on Staten Island, and we are so proud of everything they have done to improve life in our community.
You can learn more about the L’Dor V’Dor honorees and register to watch the virtual ceremony on April 3rd here.
We are so proud to have a history of strong female leadership at our Jewish Community Center and in the larger Staten Island community. Women like Nancy Avis inspired me in my journey to becoming the first female CEO of the JCC. I am blessed to be surrounded by these strong women leaders, on our board, throughout our organization, and in our local community. I hope that women continue to feel empowered to raise their voices and make an impact. We honor them not just during Women’s History Month, but throughout the whole year.
-Orit Lender, CEO
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