JCC looks to future in meeting

JCC looks to future in meeting

BY JILL KASSANDER, SPECIAL TO THE JEWISH LIGHT

The Jewish Community Center recently held its 126th annual meeting with a look to building for the future. Several community leaders were present at the program. The evening included the installation of new board members along with several awards and presentations.

Before a member of the Jewish Community Center is elected to the board they have often served the agency through their hard work on committees and task forces. The annual Emerging Leaders Award was created to recognize those individuals for all their hard work and support of JCC staff, services and programs. Wendy and Mark Gellman presented the Emerging Leaders Award to Marianne Chervitz and Joy Fisher.

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Chervitz has been the chair of the Shalom Baby Program and the parenting conference raffle and has assisted with several other committees and programs. She recently accepted the position as the chair of the Jewish Holiday Committee. Fisher has committed herself to welcoming newcomers to the JCC community. “The most outstanding aspect of Joy, is how she continues to play a leadership role in creating a sense of community within the J for young families,” said Rabbi Brad Horwitz. She has revitalized the out-of-towners group and served as co-chair of the Women’s Spirituality Group, including the Women’s Shabbat Retreat.

This is the 40th year I.E. Millstone has presented the I.E. Millstone Award at the annual meeting. Millstone has twice served as president of the JCC, is past president of the World Federation of YMHA’s and Jewish Community Centers, Honorary President of the Jewish Federation and has received many additional honors throughout the years. “Much of what we have accomplished over the past seven decades is a direct result of our relationship with I.E. Millstone,” said event co-chair Stacy Siwak. “The honor he enjoys the most, however, is bestowing the I. E. Millstone Award.”

The award is presented annually to a youth group at the center for their outstanding service to the community. “Opportunities for our youth to learn the importance of volunteering is crucial for the future of our community,” said Millstone. The award was given to members of the Yachad Chapter of the B’nai B’rith Youth Organization. The group’s community service program was called “Jewelry Making in the Loop.” The members used donated beads to make bracelets which they delivered to a battered women’s shelter.

The Richard S. Weiss Presidents’ Award was created in 1984 and named for the first recipient to receive the honor. This year the award was presented to Marc Alper by past board chair Harvey Brown. “Few lay leaders have earned the respect that Marc Alper has amassed over the past two decades of efforts on behalf of the JCC,” said Brown.

Alper has been involved with the camps, clubs and activities of the JCC his entire life.

“The same with my wife and kids,” Alper said. “The J is really a unifying institution whether you are Orthodox, Conservative, Reform or just have a Jewish background. It blends everything in a Jewish setting. Most people at some point use the J for some sort of athletic or fitness component.”

Incoming board chair Michael Staenberg shared his vision for the future of the agency. “We are now a mission based institution, it’s no longer our fathers’ JCC,” Staenberg said. “We need to reinvest, update and focus. The J is really the center of our Jewish community and a strong J makes a strong Jewish community. Just having a building doesn’t do it. We must provide a facility that will attract people and have the right programming. We are committed to our five lines of business: camping, adult day services, early childhood, fitness and our cultural arts/Judaic mission. We can really do something good for the community.” Future plans also include improving the lighting, landscaping and signage on the Millstone campus, reinvesting in Camp Sabra and the Marilyn Fox Building.

Stacy and Siwak served as chairs for the annual meeting along with committee members: Jeff Fox, Amy Gallant, Wendy and Mark Gellman, Marty Oberman, Lenore Pepper and Myles Tenzer.