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Munich 11 | finding the next great execs | kivunim

Hurricane Sandy:

JCCs and the Storm


autumn 2012 5773 u`x


inside autumn 2012

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5773 u`x

Dispatches From the Storm Front JCCs Caught in Hurricane Sandy Where Are the Next Great Execs? As Baby Boomers retire, who will take over? The Challenge And the Task The looming talent management problem—and ideas of what to do about it

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Moving In the Right Direction Kivunim program connects the next generation of Jewish leaders


Breaking the Silence How one JCC brought worldwide attention to the ‘72 Munich massacre

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Catching Up with Discover CATCH: Early Childhood More and more JCCs join the battle against childhood obesity

10 Ways to Show Your Staff You Value Them Everyone talks about it—here’s how to do it Whatever Happened to Equal Pay for Equal Work? Good news and bad news about the status of female JCC professionals

Jewish GO! and WHOA! Foods A simple path to better nutrition!

For address correction or Information about JCC Circle contact or call (212) 532-4949. ©2012 Jewish Community Centers Association of North America. All rights reserved. 520 Eighth Avenue | New York, NY 10018 Phone: 212-532-4949 | Fax: 212-481-4174 | e-mail: | web: JCC Association of North America is the leadership network of, and central agency for, 350 Jewish Community Centers, YM-YWHAs and camps in the United States and Canada, that annually serve more than two million users. JCC Association offers a wide range of services and resources to enable its affiliates to provide educational, cultural and recreational programs to enhance the lives of North American Jewry. JCC Association is also a U.S. government-accredited agency for serving the religious and social needs of Jewish military personnel, their families and patients in VA hospitals through the JWB Jewish Chaplains Council. JCC Association receives support from the JFNA National Federation/Agency Alliance, local federations and Jewish Community Centers. ISSN 1065-1551


By and about... Joy Brand Joy Brand is associate vice-president and director of training at JCC Association. She has worked at the Mid-Island YM-YWHA in Plainview, New York, and the Central Queens Y. Joy lives on Long Island. Her e-mail is

Marla Cohen Marla Cohen is currently the editor of the Rockland Jewish Standard and studied journalism at the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University. She has worked at Woman’s World magazine and the News & Observer. She lives in New City, New York. Marla loves the JCC Maccabi Games.

Alan Goldberg Alan Goldberg is a vice-president at JCC Association. He was the associate executive director at the Mandel JCC in Beechwood, Ohio and director of the Youngstown JCC. He currently lives in New York City. His e-mail is

Steven J. Rod Steven J. Rod worked in the JCC Movement from 1968 through 2010, at JCCs in Rochester, New York; MetroWest, New Jersey; Minneapolis, Minnesota; Omaha, Nebraska, and as vice-president of professional development services at JCC Association for 22 years. He is a renowned philatelic authority and has published several books on the subject. He may be reached at

jcc circle: Sr. Vice-President and Chief Marketing Officer Robin Ballin

Chair Paula L. Sidman

Creative Director Peter Shevenell

Honorary Chairs Edward H. Kaplan Ann P. Kaufman Jerome B. Makowsky Morton L. Mandel Lester Pollack Daniel Rose Alan P. Solow

Communications Manager, JCC Circle Editor Miriam Rinn Design Lisa Kaplan Jeremy Kortes

Vice-Chairs Donald Brodsky Ruth Fletcher Brian Kriftcher Noreen Gordon Sablotsky J. Victor Samuels Philip Schatten Stephen Seiden

Secretary David Wax Associate Secretaries Robin Frederick Linda Russin President & CEO Allan Finkelstein

Online Chris Strom Alexandra White


top: Shorefront YM-YWHA volunteers work with the National Guard to distribute water, baby products, jackets, and thousands of blankets to community members in need. center: A volunteer from the Kings Bay Y in Brooklyn looks on as a woman calls her daughter. The woman lives alone on the nineteenth floor in Coney Island. With the power out and no elevator service, she had run out of food and water and had not heard from anyone in four days when the volunteers arrived. below: Volunteers and staff at the Rosenthal JCC of Northern Westchester, NY sorting items to go to the Friedberg JCC in Oceanside, NY, an area heavily hit by the storm. The Friedberg JCC closed with extensive damage, but set up alternative sites for Early Childhood. Opposite: Storm damage near the home of a member of the Edith & Carl Marks Jewish Community House of Bensonhurst, Brooklyn.


Dispatches from the Storm Front W

hen Hurricane Sandy hit on Monday, October 29, southern New York and New Jersey felt the brunt of its fury. Hurricane-force winds blew apart houses on the New Jersey shore and Long Island as well as in the neighborhoods of Brooklyn and Staten Island near the ocean. For the first time in memory, the southern end of Manhattan flooded, knocking out the subway system. A huge swath of New Jersey, New York, and Connecticut lost electric power—in some areas for weeks—just as temperatures began to fall with the onset of winter. Within days, there was a shortage of gasoline and miles-long lines formed at gas stations. In this densely populated urban area, thousands of vulnerable people were trapped in high-rise apartments with no elevator service, no phone, and no heat. This tri-state area includes many Jewish Community Centers, and they struggled heroically to respond to the disaster as many of them suffered damage and power loss. We immediately established contact with JCCs so we could spread information across the JCC Movement. Here are some of the messages we received, edited for length only. Many of these came to us right after the storm and we are sharing them to give you a sense of the situation at that time in their own words.


Shorefront YM-YWHA of Brighton – Manhattan Beach Brooklyn, NY Our area in Brooklyn was hit really hard, and many of the neighborhoods surrounding ours have seen a lot of loss in the form of housing, cars, and most tragically, lives. Our building lost power during the storm. Fortunately, our building didn’t suffer much damage. We offered our facilities to our community members. Many visited us to charge their phones & take hot showers; we offered a day of children’s programs to school aged children in the community. We have spent the past few days collecting food, baby products, toiletries, etc. We are amazed at the amount of volunteers that have helped our staff package these products and deliver these packages to homebound elderly throughout the area. We will continue to do this while we see a need. We are also so grateful that the National Guard has been on our site for a few days now distributing blankets, water, & food to residents.

Riverdale YM-YWHA Bronx, NY We did not sustain any damage and never lost power. We opened to the community on Wednesday and had our gym set up with bounce castle, gymnastics equipment, etc.; had open swim for families in the pool; and ran children’s movies all day in our theater. The outpouring of participation and gratitude from the community was extraordinary. We had at least 500 people each day. We are a NYC warming center, and yesterday were open (many seniors came in). Our chef volunteered to come in and made two giant vats of homemade soup for everyone. He’s a gourmet chef and the soup was great! We are so grateful we remained unscathed and were therefore able to help our community. The staff volunteered and made each “free family day” a wonderful experience, such a light in the darkness, as one participant put it.

Edith & Carl Marks JCH of Bensonhurst Brooklyn, NY It’s a mess down in south Brooklyn. No power, no water, dwindling food supplies, family members far away in New Jersey and elsewhere with no power or gas to come help. Today, the J is their immediate family. We’re starting to see families coming in asking where they will go and who will help now that they’ve lost their homes and everything they’ve worked so hard to build in the 20 years since they fled the former Soviet Union in search of a better life. We’re setting up our response system and continuing to address the needs as we wait to see what FEMA and others will offer in our area. We’re hosting a group of volunteers from the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, among many others, who will be making home visits to homebound older adults. JDC just sent us an e-mail from the director of a clinic in Kharkov asking how he could help his extended Russian-speaking Jewish family in Brooklyn! We have been inundated with requests from synagogues in Brownstone Brooklyn looking for ways to offer a Jewish response. We’re organizing this Sunday as a day of volunteering with folks from these synagogues at the local shelter together with teams of volunteers from the J.

Rosenthal JCC of Northern Westchester Pleasantville, NY We were lucky! We didn’t sustain damage to either our main branch in Pleasantville or our Yorktown branch, and only some trees down at JCC Camp Discovery (that we know about). Our Pleasantville location opened its doors to families as a place to recharge both their spirits and their electronic devices beginning on Wednesday. We had kids playing in our gym and parents working in our lobby. We opened our after school program from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. at no extra cost for our enrolled working families, since most schools were still not in session. Currently, we are serving as a collection site for donations to victims of the hurricane.

Kings Bay YM-YWHA brooklyn, NY A little over a week ago, we placed the mezuzah on the doorpost of our brand-new Kings Bay Y building. Days later, we could only shake our heads at the awesome power that had declared other plans for our new space. An incredible seven feet of water filled our lower level, severely damaging the walls, appliances, furniture, elevator, electrical room and supplies. We don’t know yet how long it will take or


“A Jewish Caring Community knows its individual members, anticipates their needs (social, emotional, economic, etc.) and mobilizes its resources in response in good times and bad. A Jewish Caring Community is defined by strong inter-connections between its members and an inclusive and attentive ethos. A Jewish Caring Community is grounded in Jewish perspectives on dignity and humanity.” — Report of the JCC Association Task Force on JCCs as Caring Communities

top: Families at 92Y in Manhattan make sandwiches for storm victims. Center: The JCC in Manhattan filled over 40 cars with donations for storm victims on Staten Island. left: Volunteers from the Kings Bay Y deliver water and food to homebound seniors in Coney Island.


Top left: Volunteers with a full load of donated supplies, ready to leave the Rosenthal JCC en route to storm victims in the Rockaways, Queens. Top right: Staff and volunteers at the Shimon & Sara Birnbaum JCC, Bridgewater, NJ, prepare a hot meal for 150 community members without power. Right: Volunteers at the Shorefront YM-YWHA prepare donated food for distribution.

how much it will cost to reach that point again. Yet we continue to count our blessings. Everybody is safe. That is the only important thing. The programming at both our main building and Windsor Terrace locations continues. Just last week, someone asked if we were looking into securing a swimming pool for our new location at Emmons. Now we unexpectedly have one. Life is full of surprises.

14th Street Y of the Educational Alliance New york, NY The East Village was mostly affected by flooding, loss of power, water and heat. Our building luckily sustained very little damage. We only experienced loss of power [and] regrettably had to close until the power came back on. During the week we were closed we used Twitter as a tool for finding out what was going on in the East Village. We used Twitter, Facebook and e-mails to send out information on where people could recharge their phones, get a hot meal, grab bottled water and learn more about when subways and power would be restored. We also posted home workouts and got information from local gyms as to where people could go to work out. We got many more Twitter and Facebook followers during this time because people relied so much on social media to get any information. Though it was a trek, some of our members took advantage of JCC of Manhattan’s offer of showers and locker rooms at certain hours to 14th Street Y Members. We’re very grateful for that! We have extended guest privileges so that our members may invite friends and family to shower. We have added some free concerts and sing-alongs for parents who need warm activity for their children. We’re serving hot coffee and bagels all week in our lobby so that people can share stories and rest.


Today is my first day back to work, and though we are without phones or computers, I have my laptop, the WiFi that we have for members is working, and I’m happy to be sitting here and watching our community share stories and ask how they can help.

The JCC in Manhattan New york, NY We have concluded our collection drive—it was much more massive than we had anticipated—and clearly much needed. Now we are responding just to direct/specific needs. Portable heaters for families with children who have returned to buildings that have electricity but no heat, and strollers for displaced families with babies at the shelter were purchased and delivered to the Marks JCH.

Kaplen JCC on the Palisades Tenafly, NJ Fortunately our JCC did not sustain any damage, but we did lose power for a week. Like others, we are making our facilities available to anyone in the community. We have hot showers, recharging stations, Internet and computer access for anyone who needs. We still have many staff and members without power so we are coordinating home hospitality for [those] who need a warm place to stay. We are helping to arrange carpools to help conserve gasoline since even with the rationing program gas is difficult to get. And, since most people have no food in their fridge, and many stores have still not been able to restock their supplies, we are feeding lunch to our staff and to all children in our early childhood center today. Several staff people have volunteered to cook pasta and cut vegetables…it takes a village.

JCC of Staten Island staten island, NY Although the Bernikow JCC was officially closed, the staff directed its time, energy and resources to helping fellow Islanders. We have been working closely with elected officials, Met Council, UJA-Federation, and other organizations in collecting and distributing food and supplies to those who look to our food pantry for support and of course those frail elderly to whom we regularly bring meals and comfort.

The Educational Alliance New york, NY A lot of the Lower East Side is in NYC’s Evacuation Zone A, which means it’s most susceptible to flooding. Many of the local buildings sustained water damage–and many residential buildings do not have heat, which is a huge problem. It’s 40 degrees out right now; immediately after the hurricane it was about 10–15 degrees warmer, which makes a big difference. We’re being told it may take a week or more to restore heat due to the very old infrastructure on the neighborhood. It’s clear that our neighborhood will take a long time to recover. Our programs are surveying patrons and clients over the next weeks so we can assess their needs and how to best help them over the next few months. We’ve established a Hurricane Sandy Fund. This fund has helped us provide gallons of water, hundreds of meals–hand delivered by staff and volunteers to residents, including seniors, many of whom were trapped alone for days in dark high-rise apartments–flashlights/batteries during the blackout. And we’re now using it for the recovery.

JCC of Mid-Westchester scarsdale, NY Our JCC in Scarsdale was fortunate not to lose power, but many in our local area were dark for days–and some are still without power. We have opened the facility to the community, offering use of our shower and locker facilities. We provided space to a local synagogue that has been without power, so they could have their Shabbat services. We opened our gymnasium to children for free play. Our official youth group, BBYO, hosted a free movie at our JCC and today is hosting a community service program and movie for teens, as some of the local schools were still unable to open this morning.

JCC of the Greater Five Towns Cedarhurst, NY The JCC is OK, however we have many staff and families affected by the storm. At this point I am assisting people in applying for FEMA and contacting their insurance companies, providing emotional support, and the JCC can provide a warming center, coffee, cake, and chicken soup for those that have no heat and electricity as yet. I am presuming for the next months that this will be how it will be. We at the JCC are doing the best we can to keep our clients safe and comfortable at this most very difficult time. One day at a time.


Where Are the Next Great Execs? As Baby Boomers Retire, Who Will Take Over? By Allan Finkelstein President & CEO The nurturing of the next generation of Jewish organizational leadership and the challenge in succession planning has long been on JCC Association’s radar screen. JCCs, like most other Jewish communal organizations, and for that matter most institutions, face a generational shift in leadership. The furthest edge of the baby-boom generation is retiring, and they will continue to leave the workplace in accelerating numbers over the next ten years.


Who will take their place? To answer that question, we have built a robust system of professional-development programs at JCC Association to train the future leaders of our centers. The most senior of these is the JCC Association Graduate Scholarship program, which has sent numerous JCC professionals to graduate school who became executive directors. Thanks to the support of the Merrin Family Foundation, we have added the Merrin Teen Fellowship program, which has now trained eight cohorts of young professionals, and just as important, has helped them forge relationships with their peers. JCC professionals don’t exist in a vacuum after all, and the more tightly bound they are to others in the field, the more support they will receive from their colleagues and the more satisfied and successful they will be. Many of our Merrin Fellows have built successful JCC careers, growing into leadership roles. The ranks of our alumni currently include three executive directors, two assistant execs, and seven program directors at JCCs across North America. Recently, we have launched a new program for JCC mid-level professionals with the Jewish Theological Seminary’s Davidson School of Jewish Education. This program, called the Jewish Educational Leadership Institute (JELI), funded by the Jim Joseph Foundation, will help JCC professionals view their challenges and responsibilities through a Jewish lens, which in turn strengthens the Jewish mission of the JCC. But as important as these programs are, they cannot be as effective as they should be without the full, enthusiastic support of JCC executives and boards. Every JCC board must form a committee on executive succession in order to develop a “what if” scenario, which would be implemented in the event

Top to bottom: JCC Association Graduate Scholars, Merrin Teen Fellows, and Jewish Educational Leadership Institute

of an unexpected need for executive transition. Few organizations have effective succession plans, causing unnecessary instability and stress. JCCs are customer-service businesses and their most important assets are their staff. Our Benchmarking data shows that the more meaningful interaction JCC members have with staff, the more likely they are to continue their connection to the JCC. Managers at JCCs must always be on the lookout for staff members who have exceptional people skills and find ways to develop those abilities. JCCs need to compensate star employees


fairly, and in addition provide more training and better supervision. The classic social-work system of close and personal supervision, on which JCCs were founded, still has validity. People who work at JCCs like people — that’s why they are there — and they benefit from attention. In addition to personal attention, JCC managers need to set aside funds for professional development such as the Professional Conference we host every other year and other training opportunities. It’s easy to cut this budget line when things get tight, but that only ensures that promising professionals will not grow and will not stay. We are so concerned that our board established a Talent Management Committee to implement the recommendations of two earlier task forces that were presented at our Biennials in Atlanta and New Orleans: • Executives and lay leaders need to identify high-potential staff members.


• JCCs should assign mentors to high-potential staff to expose them to different areas of knowledge and encourage them on a career path in the JCC. • JCC Association will create opportunities for high-potential individuals to meet people outside their JCCs and to serve on regional and continental think tanks and task forces, in order to grow their commitment to JCC work and the JCC Movement. We recognize that this is a long-term issue and we are prepared to stay with it until we have a deep “bench” of highly skilled JCC professionals to take over the leadership of their JCCs in the next decade. The future of our field depends on it. Of course, we can’t — and don’t want to — do this alone. We welcome comments, suggestions, rebuttals, and great ideas from JCCs. Contact Allan at or Alan Goldberg at

Ensuring That JCCs Go from Strength to Strength: The Challenge and the Task By Joy Brand and Alan Goldberg In a 2010 study of Jewish Community Center executives, 19 percent of all executives reported their plan to retire in the next five years, and an additional 35 percent indicated their plan to retire within 10 years. The same is true in positions throughout the JCC field from early childhood educators to chief financial officers to fitness professionals. The challenge to Jewish Community Centers is complex: •

The growth of two-income families has reduced the number of individuals qualified as executives willing to move from one city to another.

The reduction in the number of assistant and associate directors since 2008, except in the largest JCCs, has led to a smaller pool of candidates with the type of experience that search committees look for.

The satisfaction and success many professionals—such as early childhood directors or fitness directors—find from direct service responsibilities make them unwilling to move vertically in the JCC hierarchy.

The increase in non-Jewish staff at all levels of JCC practice has challenged the selection strategy and candidacy of executives from within the field, with fewer qualified Jewish candidates available at a time when search committees continue to demand Jewish leaders for their JCCs.

The concept of “career” espoused by millennials and generation Xer’s has changed from the more traditional view to that of trying multiple jobs before settling into a final choice.

The demands of working in nonprofit organizations, in terms of working conditions (nights, weekends, hours per week) and starting salaries, attracts only the most committed and idealistic.

What can you do at your JCC? •

Be diligent in providing all staff with meaningful performance evaluations on an annual basis. These evaluations should not only indicate a report of past performance but outline goals for the future, with a clear plan for career advancement where possible.

Chart career paths for high-potential staff members and provide further training where possible.

Make resources available for in-service training and learning opportunities that enhance the skills of current staff. This can be done through a dedicated fund or endowed line.

Monitor local trends and community developments to determine staffing needs for the short-term and long-range future.

Look at staffing grid based on projected needs in the community. Retrain internal staff or hire additional staff to meet increased demand.

For more information, contact



Moving in the right

By Miriam Rinn

Kivunim (Directions) program connects first-year executive directors from JCCs throughout North America for mentoring and networking. Meet the next generation of strong Jewish leaders... 12

ection Kivunim: Class of 2012 (left to right) Janet S. Elam, vice-president & community consultant, JCC Association; Aaron Rosenfeld, Omaha JCC, Omaha, NE; Sara Wagner, JCC of Louisville, Louisville, KY; Vin Kilbridge, JCC at the Alliance, Providence, RI; Jeff Dannick, JCC of Northern Virginia, Fairfax, VA; Janine Krusky, Calgary JCC, Calgary, AB; Richard Zakalik, JCC of Greater Buffalo, Getzville, NY; David Ackerman, senior vice-president, director, Mandel Center for Jewish Education, JCC Association. Not pictured: Andrew Levy, Prosserman JCC, Toronto, ON; Lee Rosenfield, Betty & Milton Katz JCC, Lawrenceville, NJ; Carole Zawatsky, Washington DC JCC, Washington DC


“Knowing other executives and where to go for help can be critical when you’re facing a challenge.”


epresenting different regions of the U.S. and Canada, six executive directors sat around a conference table and struggled to draw three meaningful Jewish experiences on to a timeline of their lives. It wasn’t the experiences that stumped them—they easily recalled the impact of summer camp and time spent in Israel—it was the illustration of those moments. Laughing at each other’s stick figures and lumpy circles, the participants in JCC Association’s Kivunim (directions) program segued into a discussion of how eliciting similar powerful Jewish memories from their board members and staff could inspire a serious conversation about the JCC’s Jewish role in their disparate communities. Mandel Center of Jewish Education Director David Ackerman guided the executives through the study guide for the JCC Movement Vision and Statement of Principles for the 21st Century, pointing out the different activities that accompany each principle. “We had a board session where we introduced [the Statement of Principles],” said Jeff Dannick from the JCC of Northern Virginia in Fairfax, adding that he plans to use the study guide to go deeper into the document. A former nonprofit theater manager, Dannick has been at


the JCC since early 2011. He had never been a member of a JCC and knew almost nothing about the institution before taking the position. In addition, he was new to the community, having come from Florida. “It’s easy to get overwhelmed,” he said, which was one reason Kivunim was so beneficial. “Being among peers is key. There is a mutual understanding that we’re all wrestling with similar issues. That small group environment is unique.“ Funded by the Mandel Center for Jewish Education, Kivunim is designed to support first-year executive directors who are new to their positions. Six members of the first cohort recently completed the program with a three-day meeting at JCC Association’s office in New York City. They first came together, along with three other execs, in January at the Executive Leadership Seminar in Orlando, Florida. Between the two meetings, they also participated in a webinar. The Mandel Center for Leadership and Management partners with the Mandel Center for Jewish Education for Kivunim and provides individualized support through community consultants throughout the first year of a first-time JCC executive director’s tenure. New executives have an opportunity to meet JCC Association professionals

and become familiar with JCC Association resources as well as strengthen their collegial network. “That’s so important,” said Janet S. Elam, JCC Association vice-president and community consultant. “Knowing other executives and where to go for help can be critical when you’re facing a challenge.” As the COO of a functional federation in Louisville, Kentucky, Sara Wagner is responsible for leading the JCC. In her role, it is easy to become consumed with the daily operations of a JCC and ignore the deeper meaning of its leadership role in the Jewish community, she said. “Being with colleagues who are immersed in the whole thing” was so useful, she added, and spending three days talking about the agency’s mission was a tonic. Also, “it feels like [JCC Association] is investing in new execs.”

“Being among peers is key. There is a mutual understanding that we’re all wrestling with similar issues.” Principles,” Ackerman said, “then the professional leadership of the JCC must advocate for that living and learning. If we can help new executives see themselves in that role, we will have strengthened the JCC, and by extension, the Jewish community.”

“We’re all running big and complicated businesses,” said Rick Zakalik of the JCC of Greater Buffalo in New York. He found the ending seminar even more productive than the first because the group had grown to know each other better. “I took more notes than I have at any other seminar,” Zakalik said. While Kivunim aims to help new executives with management and financial issues, its primary goal is to awaken the participants to their role as Jewish leaders and educators. “If Jewish living and learning sit at the heart of the JCC, as we say in our Statement of


WAYS TO SHOW YOUR STAFF YOU VALUE THEM Everyone talks about it; here’s how to do it By Steven J. Rod

Your JCC’s staff is its most precious resource and it merits care and attention. Over the past 20 years, JCC Association has issued a number of reports that highlight this key finding. JCC Excellence: Benchmarking has documented this same truth in more than 70 JCCs. Everybody in the JCC field knows it, yet some JCCs forget to show their staff how important they are. 16

Here are 10 ways to nurture your staff. How many does your JCC practice?


Give Recognition.

Many JCC staff persons report that “no one ever says thank you for my efforts.” I am not suggesting an “employee of the month” program, which often causes more problems than it’s worth, but how about acknowledgements at staff meetings, board meetings, and in the JCC’s blogs and publications? The first step toward staff recognition is for a supervisor and a senior manager to say “Job well done, thank you!”

3 Encourage a Healthy Lifestyle.


Make Havdalah.

Every Saturday evening we make havdalah (literally, “separation”) between the holiness of Shabbat and the week to come. The JCC as a workplace is very intense – especially because most of us work when everyone else relaxes. Enabling staff to separate from the JCC is critical. Not everyone can have 48 consecutive hours off each week due to the JCC’s complex scheduling, but your JCC should insure time off each week for every staff member, and insist that all vacation days be used each and every year.

JCC fitness centers are often the finest in the community and offer every JCC member the chance for a healthy lifestyle. What opportunities does your JCC provide for its staff to benefit from working in such a great facility? Is there “protected time” for them to have their own fitness program? Are they given access to other JCC programs as well?


4 Give Social Media Time. There is a trend in many workplaces to ban or limit access to social media during working hours. Does your JCC utilize The Redwoods Group “Social Media Policy,” which recommends that staff be able to use social media in a responsible way? Intelligent personal use is easier to enforce than an outright ban, which is an impossible goal to reach.

Flexibility 5 Provide in the Workplace. One of the JCC’s attributes as “a great place to work” has been the ability for staff to take advantage of a flexible work schedule based on the odd hours involved in delivering programs and services. Does your JCC encourage your staff to benefit from the flexibility in their professional lives? Are you aware of your staff members’ personal responsibilities, which could be aided through flexible work hours?


Ensure Learning Never Ends.


Introduce the Staff to the Board.

How much money is allocated for professional development at your JCC? Does every professional staff member have at least one opportunity a year to attend a seminar or conference? Where budgets are extremely tight, staff learning can still take place using pro-bono and bartering resources. The key is to schedule your staff learning time. Does your staff take advantage of the many JCC Association training webinars offered? Do you have at least 36 hours a year scheduled for staff learning? That’s only four hours a month for nine months.

Develop a staff-board event to take place twice a year. Begin the new program year by bringing together the board and the professional staff for a retreat where all can get to know one another. Plan an all boardall staff Hanukkah party. Bring individual staff members to monthly board meetings for interactive presentations. Don’t forget name tags for all!



Communicate, Communicate!

Staff often report that they are the last to find out the news. Try weekly Friday morning staff e-mails, which open with a brief summary of the Torah portion (Jewish learning is always a plus), and contain a series of bulleted updates on the goings on at the executive and board level. This weekly publication should welcome feedback and constructive criticism from every employee.

Ongoing Quality Supervision. In Hebrew, the letter tet has the numerical value of 9. It happens that the least common letter in the Torah is tet. The good news is that the first time the letter appears in the Torah (Genesis 1:4) it is in the word good (“tov”). Of all of the items in this list, ongoing quality supervision is the rarest factor found in JCCs. And when we do find consistent quality supervision, it is “good.” Investing in ongoing training of our supervisors brings great dividends and is a major source of staff retention.


Meaningful Performance Evaluation.

JCC Association Benchmarking studies tell us that only about two-thirds of all staff report receiving an annual performance evaluation. Fewer than half of those folks feel the evaluation has a meaningful impact on their growth and development. This is a challenging area to focus and improve on, and often benefits from available outside resources found in your community or from JCC Association.

About the Stamps United States postage stamps from Steven J. Rod’s collection are used to illustrate this article. He may be reached at To learn more about stamp collecting, please go to, a site that Steven helped to write.


What Ever Happened to Equal Pay for Equal Work? By Miriam Rinn

There’s good news and bad news about the status of female JCC professionals: the good news is that many more women are now leading Jewish Community Centers across the U.S. and Canada. The bad news is that they are not getting paid as much as men who hold the same positions. This bad news isn’t exactly new; working women across most fields consistently earn less than men. Unfortunately, in the JCC world, the gap is getting bigger. 20


omen lead 52 JCC Association-affiliated camps and Jewish Community Centers, out of a total of 155. That’s 34 percent, a significant increase over ten years ago. “We are very proud that women professionals have made such meaningful gains,” said Alan Goldberg, vicepresident, professional leadership and governance consulting, “and we have a lot of really talented women in the pipeline moving up.” Those gains have not resulted in equal pay, however. JCC Association’s most recent salary survey confirms that men earn roughly 14-19 percent more than women in comparable jobs at the supervisory level or higher. Disturbingly, these salary differences are larger than in 2003 and 2006, indicating that the gender gap is growing. At the executive level, there was a 6 percent difference in 2003; in 2011, the difference increased to 19 percent. There is less of a gap at smaller JCCs and more at the bigger ones. JCCs are not unique when it comes to paying women less. The same situation exists in other Jewish organizations. In a study called “Jewish Communal Professionals in North America: A Profile,” done by the Berman Jewish Policy Archive for the Jewish Communal Service Association in 2009 and 2010, findings reveal that although women make up two-thirds of Jewish professionals, they trail men in compensation with an overall gap of $28,000 on an average salary of $78,000. (On average, JCC professionals, the majority of whom are women, earn almost $56,000 a year.) Advancing Women Professionals and the Jewish Community, an agency that acts as a “catalyst for change,” has recommended methods to change the status quo, including organizations vowing to pay men and women the same salary for the same position. “To me the question is, what do we want to do about the salary gap,” said Shifra Bronznick, AWP director. “Women are leaving a lot of money on the table, money that they can’t get back.” One of the reasons may be a huge gender gap in negotiation, she suggested. A Catalyst 2010 survey found that women with M.B.A.’s earn less right out of the gate, she noted, and that may be because men and women see and experience negotiation very differently. “Men are received more warmly when they self-


promote,” she said, while such behavior is viewed as unpleasantly boastful in women. Many women wait and hope that they will get an offer or an increase that recognizes their worth. JCC Association Vice-President and Community Consultant Janet S. Elam has organized workshops for female execs at the Executive Leadership Seminar, and reports that women are aware of the pay discrepancy and are concerned about it. “Identifying the problem is the first step,” Elam said. She believes that teaching negotiation skills is important and has recommended the book Women Don’t Ask: Negotiation and the Gender Divide by Linda Babcock and Sarah Laschever to the group. Elam suggested, however, that another reason that female JCC executive directors earn less than men is that a large number of them live in the community or have been promoted from within their JCCs. Search committees may view such candidates as having fewer options and less bargaining power and so make lower offers. Former JCC Association VicePresident Ann F. Eisen agrees that women tend to be local hires. “Whether or not the board does a national search, it changes dramatically when a search committee seriously considers a local candidate. This is especially true if it is a promotion from within. The board has different expectations as to what they’re going to pay,” she said. When women are promoted into an executive position, they bring their lower-salary history with them. “If you start lower, it’s so much harder to move up,” the recently retired Eisen said.


“We will not hold on to the stars of our movement if we don’t pay them what they could make outside of the JCC.” Bronznick sees change on the horizon. Younger women who have grown up with mothers who are working professionals are more comfortable asking assertively for what they want. “I think these younger women are much more ready to change” things, Bronznick said, because they don’t buy into the social contract that men need to make more to support families. That’s not the world they see around them. “I have a 25-year-old daughter who has worked in the Jewish communal world, and what she negotiated in her first and second jobs was incredible,” said Elam. Both Elam and Eisen note that some female JCC executive directors have negotiated excellent packages for themselves, and the movement needs to model their success. Everyone would benefit from better negotiation skills, Eisen said, as would the JCCs who hire exemplary executives. “We will not hold on to the stars of our movement if we don’t pay them what they could make outside of the JCC,” she warned. That applies to women as well as men.

Growing Salary Gap in JCC Executive Director Compensation by Gender













Salary gaps between male and female JCC executive directors have been increasing. This is indicative of a larger national trend at Jewish organizations. Charts are adapted from information from The 2011 Salary Survey of North American JCC Professionals. Predicted mean salaries are adjusted for JCC size and experience.


Breaking through The

Silence How JCC Rockland brought worldwide attention to the ‘72 Munich Massacre — Getting everyone from President Obama to Olympic gymnast Aly Raisman involved. By Marla Cohen



avid Kirschtel had heard it all. “It’s distracting.” “What does it really have to do with the JCC Maccabi Games?” “It won’t appeal to the teens.” “Who besides you cares about the Munich 11?”

Kirschtel, the chief executive officer of JCC Rockland, did indeed care deeply. And he had a gut feeling that others would, too. He wanted to dedicate the JCC Maccabi Games, which Rockland would be hosting in August of 2012, in memory of the 11 Israelis who were kidnapped and murdered at the 1972 Munich Olympics. “For years we had talked about hosting the Games,” says Kirschtel, who could still remember Jim McKay’s somber intoning of “They’re all gone,” from watching the ‘72 Olympics as a 13-year-old. “When we finally were going to host, all these things had aligned,” he says. “It was going to be the thirtieth anniversary of the JCC Maccabi Games. The Olympics would be ending in London just as our Games would be starting. And it was going to be the fortieth anniversary of what happened in Munich.” The JCC Maccabi Games always includes a tribute to the Munich 11 in the opening ceremonies, the only North American athletic event to do so. Kirschtel had heard Anouk Spitzer, daughter of the murdered fencing coach Andrei Spitzer, speak at previous Games during the opening ceremonies. He e-mailed her, not knowing what to expect. Meanwhile, he pressed ahead. The JCC’s board of directors agreed to dedicate the 2012 JCC

Maccabi Games to the memory of the Munich 11. They created Change4Change, a teen coin collection project, the proceeds of which would go for hunger relief in Israel and Rockland County, New York, where the JCC is located. To go along with the project, the JCC began working on a set of baseball-style cards for each of the Munich 11, complete with a small biography and photograph. Then Ankie Spitzer, Andrei’s widow, got involved. Kirschtel told her what was going on in the name of the 11 murdered Israelis. Spitzer was floored. “Only in America,” was how she described it. That fall, she came to Rockland County to attend Rock the Games,

111,929 Total number of signatures received on the online petition started by JCC Rockland on for a minute of silence at the 2012 London Olympics.

the first of 11 events dedicated to the memory of the Munich 11 that the JCC would host over the next two years. During her days in the county, she spoke to Jewish and civic leaders, and middle and high


school students about the events surrounding the massacre. After that, the idea took hold that the JCC should do something significant in the name of the 11 athletes. That developed into the idea of helping the surviving family members achieve what had been an elusive goal — a minute of silence in memory of their loved ones at the opening ceremony of the Olympics, something they had sought almost since the murders took place. In the spring of 2011, the JCC created a direct mail and leaflet campaign asking people to petition the International Olympic Committee for a minute of silence. While that netted about 500 signatures, it became clear that this was not going to catch the world’s attention. But a year later, the idea morphed. In a digital world, there was only one place to find people who might sympathize — and that was online. Micki Leader, the JCC board member who had served as Rockland’s JCC Maccabi Games delegation head from 1988 until 2001, had read a story in the newspaper about a young woman irritated she was paying a fee getting cash from her ATM. She created an online petition at and reached thousands in support, causing the bank to backtrack. “And I thought, ‘Aha,’” says Leader. She contacted the organization and its founder, Matt

Slutsky. “They had a machine, an engine, that could drive hundreds of thousands of responses and they helped us through it; they [helped us] put it together.” Again visiting for an event in March, 2012, Spitzer supported the idea. She was quickly filmed, and the video was posted at along with an ask for people to sign the petition. People began signing, heading toward an initial goal of 10,000 signatures. “I was already overwhelmed when I saw 100 people,” says Spitzer. “It was very nice when I saw the comments, and saw they were from all over the world. And when the ball really got rolling…well, I had no clue. I’m from the pre-Internet era. I didn’t know it works like this.” But indeed, it did work just like that. Steve Gold, a JCC past president and current vice president, had stepped in to chair the Minute of Silence Campaign. With his marketing background, he knew that without broader attention the petition would still fall short of catching the IOC’s attention. Spitzer’s determination to “never forget” reminded him of his father, a Holocaust survivor who had been driven to tell his story in an era when not many did, and he admired her tenacity. “The idea that someone would be so determined for 40 years, this was something that should be done,” he

U.S. Olympic Gymnast Aly Raisman: “I would have supported [a minute of silence] and respected it.”


“We absolutely support the campaign for a minute of silence at the Olympics to honor the Israeli athletes killed in Munich,” Tommy Vietor, Spokesman for President Obama

says. “My idea was that using social media could possibly give them the kick start they needed.” Gold wanted to build a campaign using Facebook and Twitter, but started the old-fashioned way, by reaching out to other Jewish organizations. Kirschtel had already reached out to JCC Association, which had made honoring the Munich 11 an official part of hosting the JCC Maccabi Games in the midnineties. Allan Finkelstein, the president and chief executive officer of JCC Association, then

approached Jewish Federations of North America, the umbrella organization of 155 Jewish federations and more than 300 partner communities in North America. Gold then reached out to William Rapfogel, a relative and the CEO of Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty, who also lent his support. That brought the petition to the attention of the New York Board of Rabbis. “And from there it snowballed,” says Gold. “That’s when I knew that there was something going on. That this could be viral.”

Ankie Spitzer addressing the crowd at the JCC Maccabi Games opening ceremonies in Rockland. The widow of Andrei Spitzer— one of the Israeli athletes murdered in Munich—she has been instrumental in calling worldwide attention to the minute of silence campaign. © Rick Helman Photography & Video (


N.Y. State Senator Kirsten Gillibrand: “Observing a moment of silence…would pay tribute to the slain athletes and coaches and would send a powerful message of unity in the fight against terrorism.”

As e-mails went out to various lists and Facebook posts proliferated, the petition racked up signatures, leaping from a few thousand to 10,000, to 20,000 in a few weeks. Spitzer and the organizers were amazed as they watched the numbers climb, checking the site obsessively. Some days the numbers soared at a dizzying pace, often in relation to media attention. Prior to the petition, only the Rockland County press had any interest in the JCC’s project, covering the unveiling of a memorial sculpture to the 11, and some of the other events dedicated to murdered Israelis. As the Olympics approached, the British media began writing articles recounting what occurred in Munich in 1972, sometimes contacting the JCC through its educational website. Media attention, however, really began to build when the politicians became involved. The first breakthrough came when Rockland’s U.S Representatives Eliot Engel and Nita Lowey introduced a bill in the House of Representatives asking for support of the minute of silence. Paul Adler, a JCC past president and former Democratic Party chairman in Rockland County,


then approached New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, asking for backing. “She immediately pulled up the House Resolution and said, ‘I will sponsor that,’” Adler says. Gillibrand, a Democrat, persuaded Florida’s Sen. Marco Rubio, a Republican, to come on board as a co-sponsor. “Strategically, this made a very bold statement in the Senate,” says Adler. “This was not a partisan play, but an issue about fairness and what is right.” Senate support helped galvanize international support. Parliaments in Australia, Germany, Italy, Great Britain and Israel supported the idea of a minute of silence. Even President Barack Obama and Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney weighed in to support a minute of silence at the London games. Throughout the effort, IOC President Jacques Rogge remained adamant: There would be no such minute during the opening of the XXX Olympiad in London. He kept to his word, even after Spitzer, Kirschtel, Leader and Gold, who all flew to London for a last ditch press event, presented him with a ream of petition papers only days before the London games commenced.

Photo courtesy of Joe Allen

David Kirschtel, CEO of JCC Rockland, speaks in Tel Aviv on the 40th anniversary of the Munich massacre at a memorial service organized by Israel’s Olympic Committee. In the end, there was no minute of silence, although during the opening ceremony broadcast, NBC’s sportscaster Bob Costas spoke about the Munich 11 and the IOC’s recalcitrance when the Israeli delegation entered the stadium. Nonetheless, Spitzer remains impressed and undaunted. She credits the JCC’s effort with getting her and the families farther this time than they have ever gone before in their efforts. The political and media attention really came as a result of the petition, she says.

“When I was in London, people kept saying, ‘I signed! I signed! It spread like wildfire. I don’t know this medium, but it worked like I never expected,” she says. Today there are nearly 112,000 signatures and new ones trickle in every so often, even though the London Olympics are long over. Spitzer says the effort continues to amaze her. “In London, we didn’t get a minute,” says Spitzer. “But certainly, there was no silence.”

“Many people find that denial [by the IOC for a minute of silence] more than puzzling but insensitive. Here’s a minute of silence right now,” NBC Sports Anchor Bob Costas


On December 9, the first Sunday of Hanukkah, spin your wheels as well as your dreidel. Be part of JCCs of North America Cycle for Good and raise money to benefit sports and community. Participants across North America will be riding at the same time, cycling for a good cause and their own wellness. Reserve your stationary bike by the hour and get sponsors to support your ride.

Ride for tzedakah.

Contact your local JCC for more information.

Ride to support the JCC and we will make a donation of at least 20% of monies raised to our designated charity, Special Olympics.


Catching up with Discover CATCH: Early Childhood By Mackenzie Noda We unveiled the Discover CATCH: Early Childhood program to six pilot JCCs last year, and seven more JCCs joined this past summer. Discover CATCH is our response to the need for children to develop healthier eating and activity habits, and to explain to families that Judaism puts a high value on taking good care of our bodies. So far, the response has been extraordinary, and the raves of participating JCCs have led many others to make inquiries. Annie Keith, Associate Executive Director of the Mandell JCC in Hartford, Connecticut wrote, “Coming together to learn the basics of CATCH got all our staff geared up and excited. The teachers and sports staff began implementing the program immediately. For the parents who have a passion for health and wellness, the CATCH program is giving them a platform to get other families involved and make it a full school effort. We are already hearing kids saying things like ‘No, Mom, I really LIKE broccoli’ and ‘We did yoga in gym class’ and ‘Let me show you what I planted in our garden.’” The Discover CATCH “taking it home connection” provides a link between the in-school programming and children’s families. According to the World Health Organization, supportive communities are fundamental in shaping people’s choices and preventing obesity. For our young children, this environment starts at home. Discover CATCH provides materials to help families understand the issues and also provides tools to create and manage a healthier home environment. As the program continues to grow, we look forward to the ability to increase its reach, spreading the program to more JCCs around the continent. For more information about Discover CATCH: Early Childhood, contact Steve Becker at Professionals from JCCs in Akron, Austin, Boston, Delaware, Hartford, and Milwaukee participate in a 3-day training with JCC Association staff, to become Discover CATCH: Early Childhood trainers in their own right.



GO Foods are lower in fat and/or sugar, and are the least processed.

Eat more GO! Foods than WHOA! Foods. That’s a simple mantra to put children on a path to better nutrition—and it’s the message of the “Jewish GO and WHOA Foods” posters we developed for JCCs as part of our Discover CATCH: Early Childhood initiative. The posters, along with a series of parent tip sheets, encourage children to go easy on foods like



WHOA Foods are the highest in fat and/or sugar, and are the most processed.

bagels, latkes, pastrami, doughnuts, hamantaschen and gelt, in favor of lower fat, less processed foods like apples, chicken soup, hummus, Israeli salad, and gefilte fish.



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JCC Circle Fall 2012 | JCCs and the Storm  

JCC Association's tri-yearly magazine about the JCCs of North America

JCC Circle Fall 2012 | JCCs and the Storm  

JCC Association's tri-yearly magazine about the JCCs of North America