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Making history!

JCC Maccabi Games & ArtsFest bring 900 teens to Israel 速


AUTUMN 2011 5772 u`x JCCA.ORG

BRETT LOEWENSTERN: The American Idol finalist (and JCC Maccabi ArtsFest alum!) rocks opening ceremonies

inside AUTUMN 2011



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If You Will It... Allan Finkelstein on fulfilling a dream

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Raising the Bar on Nutrition at JCC Summer Camps Bidding a fond farewell to the greasy grilled cheese

We Made History The JCC Maccabi Games & ArtsFest travel to Israel Our Own American Idol Jennifer Garvin talks to singing-sensation—and JCC Maccabi ArtsFest alumnus—Brett Loewenstern

Kosher Food and Wine...With a French Accent The Betty & Milton Katz JCC built a memorable event around JCC Journeys informal Jewish education

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JCCs of North America Fantasy Football Challenge Dozens of JCCs kickoff our inaugural season

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The JCC’s New V.I.P. Connecting with Millennial Moms

Learning Never Ends Staff members from 93 JCCs get energized at the JCCs of North America Professional Conference 2011

We’re Bringing Them Home Jewish Chaplains memorialized at Arlington, at last

For address correction or Information about JCC Circle contact or call (212) 532-4949. ©2011 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. governmentaccredited 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... Barbara Lerman-Golomb Barbara Lerman-Golomb is our consultant on greening and the environment. The former executive director of the Coalition on the Environment and Jewish Life (COEJL), Barbara conceived the campaign known as “How Many Jews Does It Take to Change a Light Bulb” and has been urging the Jewish community to care for the environment for more than fifteen years. Brett Loewenstern Brett Loewenstern began his singing career at the JCC Maccabi ArtsFest in his hometown of Boca Raton, Florida when he was just 13, and has carried it all the way to television’s American Idol. Brett participated in four different ArtsFests, and just performed at the first-ever JCC Maccabi Games/ArtsFest in Israel. He’s just 17, so he’s got a lot of singing left to do. Rabbi Harold L. Robinson Retired Rear Admiral Rabbi Harold L. Robinson is the director of JWB Jewish Chaplains Council. Before he left the U.S. Navy, he was the Deputy Chief of Chaplains for Reserve Matters and Director of Religious Programs for the Marine Force Reserve. Rabbi Robinson long served as the rabbi of the Cape Cod Synagogue, where he has a home. He’s an avid sailor and marathon runner, too. Michael Rowland Born and bred in London, Michael Rowland has worked most of his life in New York as a brand strategist with advertising agencies, corporate clients and non-profits. JCCs call on Michael to help navigate today’s marketing landscape, and to improve how they connect with members and prospects. Michael provides guidance through consultation visits and also his weekly Thought Starter e-mails, which contain insights into new trends and opportunities.

jcccircle: 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 Peter Shevenell Jeremy Kortes

Vice-Chairs Lisa Brill Marvin Gelfand Gary Jacobs Virginia A. Maas Noreen Gordon Sablotsky Philip Schatten Andrew Shaevel

Secretary David Wax Associate Secretaries Dana Egert Linda Russin President & CEO Allan Finkelstein

Online Chris Strom



“If you will it...“ A long-held dream comes to life for many of us... and brings 900 North American Jewish teen athletes and artists to Israel How many of us get to see the realization of a significant dream? For 29 years, the JCC Maccabi Games, and then the JCC Maccabi ArtsFest, have connected young Jewish athletes and artists to an exciting and meaningful Jewish experience. For all those years, we brought Israel to North America, through young shlichim (emissaries), Hang Time activities to give kids a fun way to learn about Israel, and through the presence of Israeli teams and teens from partner communities integrated into our teams. But our ultimate dream was to bring these successful programs to Israel, giving teens the time of their lives in the Jewish homeland. I am still riding high after seeing nearly nine hundred North American kids, plus coaches, chaperones, parents (about 1,200 people in all) live and breathe Israel, while they enjoyed their sports competitions and work with professional artists in residence. We did it in Kiryat Shmona in the far north of Israel, adding a special dimension by being in a town that had suffered shelling for years. As our kids painted and freshened up daycare centers and community centers, they saw the bomb shelters equipped to take young children to safety in the case of an attack. They felt the love and welcoming atmosphere of the city of Kiryat Shmona, which had never seen anything quite like the Opening Ceremonies. Each of the participants spent a weekend in the home of an Israeli family in partnership communities, either through their local Federation or through our sister community centers in Israel.


The common reaction was, “Why didn’t you let us stay longer? These are our new families!” We moved on to Jerusalem for a beautiful closing ceremony and medal rounds at Hebrew University, and then toured the country for three more days. As exhausted yet energized delegations boarded buses for the airport, they left, as kids always do, with new friends, a newfound love for Israel, and many commitments to return on other programs as soon as possible. It could not have been more exciting and meaningful. I want to personally thank our partners at Maccabi World Union in Israel, whose commitment to this program led to significant funding to make it possible and to the creative program that resulted. Our appreciation to the many donors and sponsors who saw this as a worthwhile investment is deeply felt. And a special thanks to an incredible group of JCC Association staff who went way beyond the call of duty and worked tirelessly both before and during the program. I also want to recognize Philadelphia and Springfield, who hosted the JCC Maccabi Games in August, making this fabulous event possible for yet another 2000 teens. The JCC Maccabi Games and ArtsFest rely on local hosts like these and many other communities who step up and assure the incredible experience for our kids year after year. Every JCC should strongly consider hosting , as we rely on your partnership to continue what is about to be a 30-year tradition. B’shalom,

Allan Finkelstein President | JCC Association


Bring your ideas to the table:


We made We brought the JCC Maccabi Games and ArtsFest to Israel for the first time... and nearly 1,000 North American Jewish teens came with us!


The 14—17 year-old athletes joined over 200 teens from Israel for a groundbreaking 12-day journey. The event featured everything that makes the Games and ArtsFest great — fabulous opening ceremonies, intense athletic competition, and varied arts specialties with top-notch Israeli artists-in-residence. They enjoyed Shabbat visits to Partnership 2000 communities throughout the Jewish homeland,

history. and learned firsthand the critical importance of the North American relationship with Israel. The faces above represent a portion of the young Jewish athletes and artists who made this historic journey (to see all the participants, visit, and experienced the competing, creating, and exploring presented in images on the following pages.








1. The historic event kicked off with a high-energy opening ceremony, featuring dozens of talented Israeli performers. 2. Home base for the first days of athletics and art was the town of Kiryat Shmona, in northern Israel. Its beautiful new swimming pool afforded

a stunning view of the neighboring hills. 3. The girls’ volleyball final in Jerusalem drew a capacity crowd. 4. ArtsFest rock bands entertained artists and athletes alike at Har Va Guy. 5. An ArtsFest performer, ready to go on stage! 6. Dancers work with

Israeli artist-in-residence, Claude Dadia, honing their skills and developing choreography for their final performance. 7. Boys’ basketball champs savor the taste of success.













5 1. Day of Caring and Sharing, an opportunity for teens to practice tikkun olam, is a JCC Maccabi tradition. The town of Kiryat Shmona, was damaged by shells in the last Lebanon War. Athletes and artists took a time out from competing and creating to help rebuild and beautify the town. 2. Boys’ soccer competition was fierce! 3. Participating in an



archeological dig at Beit Guvrim. 4. ArtsFest dancers performing. 5. After the final competitions and performances were complete, teens explored Israel, including a trip to the Kotel. 6. A photo from the final exhibition of work by ArtsFest’s digital photographers. 7. Teens bonded with the land of Israel, and with each other, building connections that will

last a lifetime. 8. The closing ceremonies at the beautiful amphitheater at Hebrew University’s Givat Ram campus in Jerusalem. 9. Teens enjoyed the energy and excitement of Tel Aviv, before heading home.




Our Own

By Jennifer Garvin

“I’ve had a very good year,” said high school senior Brett Loewenstern softly. No kidding. The 17-year-old made it to the final 24 on this year’s American Idol, opened the Florida Junior Maccabi Games in his hometown of Boca Raton, and entertained a thousand screaming teens at the Opening Ceremonies of the JCC Maccabi Games/ArtsFest in Israel. A very good year, indeed.

More Brett! Scan the QR code above with your smart phone, or go to to watch our interview with Brett, recorded live in Israel at the JCC Maccabi Games and ArtsFest.

The red-haired phenom got his singing start at the JCC Maccabi ArtsFest at the Adolph & Rose Levis JCC when he was 13, and participated for several years after that. “It was the best part of my summer,” he recounted. “I was surrounded with friends that were cheering me on while doing what I love most — performing.” ArtsFest was the first time he sang in public, and he quickly began to write his own songs. The program gives Jewish teens the chance to spend a week in intensive arts workshops in various disciplines and culminates with a grand performance. Brett noted that ArtsFest boosted his vocal confidence, “It was thrilling to perform on stage with a band behind me. Every summer was a blast; I couldn’t have asked for a better experience.” This past summer, JCC Maccabi ArtsFest, along with the JCC Maccabi Games, took place in Israel for the first time. Although it wasn’t Brett’s first visit to the Jewish state, he was eager to go. “I’m very excited. Being Jewish is more than a religion,” he said, and a very important part of his life. “I get to be in the homeland, and I get to come back to my music.” Brett performed at Opening Ceremonies, singing a song for Gilad Shalit. From the moment America met him at his first American Idol audition, Brett Loewenstern had the audience’s ears and hearts. “I would describe myself as a red apple in a pile of green apples,” he told American Idol judges. When asked to name his favorite pop artist, Brett responded, Lady Gaga. He then belted a line from “Born This Way,” Lady Gaga’s most recent hit, which speaks volumes for what he believes in: “I’m on the right track baby, I was born this way.” Brett is a long-time American Idol fan. “I’ve always wanted to try out ever since I was little,” he said. “I love American Idol.”


Brett not only helped kick off the Games and ArtsFest in style, with his performance at the opening ceremonies — he also surprised this year’s rock performers by dropping in on their rehearsals to sing and share his experiences with them. Of his Idol experience, which he described as surreal, the best moment was finding out he made the Top 24, while building friendships along the way. When asked about his worst moment, he replied with great sincerity, “I didn’t have one. I spent the whole time enjoying myself. I made friends with everybody.” Viewers remember Brett’s kindness to Jacee Badeaux, who couldn’t find a group to join. The eventual winner, Scott McCreery, even noted Brett’s generosity. Brett loves to write music, including a very motivating song called “Bulletproof Vest,” about the importance of loving and accepting yourself. Brett has had to deal with bullying in school, although that’s much less of an issue now that he’s famous. “Some people [in my school] look at me as the same kid, but a lot of people have more respect,” he says. “A lot of people didn’t know I could sing.” Once he graduates from high school next year, Brett hopes to attend a performing arts college in either New York or Los Angeles. Music remains at the center of his universe. “I’m doing what I love to do,” he said, “performing in a lot of different places, like Major League Baseball games and Jewish community events. I’ve grown up at the JCC and I’m happy I can still be a part of it.” Jennifer Garvin is the marketing coordinator at the Adolph & Rose Levis JCC in Boca Raton, Florida.


Raising the bar on nutrition at JCC summer camps By Barbara Lerman-Golomb Social Responsibility Consultant, JCC Association



hink back to lunch at summer camp. Remember that first bite of greasy grilled cheese, the bread saturated with oil, the hot cheese oozing out. It was usually accompanied by a bowl of canned tomato soup, each sip sweeter and saltier than the next. So good! But guess what? It wasn’t good for you. Heavily processed, high in sodium, fat and chemicals, the food we ate at camp lacked not only nutritional quality, but “spiritual” quality as well. Few of us were thinking about our relationship to our food back then though. We were busy licking the grease off our fingertips. How things have changed. This summer, JCC day and resident camps served 85,000 kids, many of whom toss around the word foodie and the names of the hosts of cooking shows. With an abundance of healthy, organic and/or local products and a well-founded concern about wellness, JCC camps are interested in providing healthier, more nutritious meals, and the information and tools our children need to be more mindful eaters. When it comes to today’s camp, “salad days” is no longer just an expression, but a menu option! Betty & Milton Katz JCC’s JCC Camps at Medford in Medford, New Jersey posted their menus online. According to Camp Director Aaron Greenberg, “We put all of our lunch items online for parents’ convenience, and nutritional info and ingredients primarily for those with food allergies and limitations.” Among some of the healthier items on the menu were unsweetened cereals, sun butter (a sunflower spread alternative for children with peanut allergies), items with less sodium and additives, as well as gluten-free items, including gluten-free challah for Shabbat! Medford also served fresh fruit and vegetables with all meals, and fresh fruit for snacks. “This year we bought a commercial pasta [maker],” Greenberg said. “Some items that we used to buy frozen — baked ziti, macaroni and cheese — are now made with fresh sauce and cheese, with fewer preservatives and junk in it. Kids like pasta. Making it ourselves is healthier and saves money — a winwin all around.” Camp Tawonga in Northern California has been working to make their kitchen healthier and more sustainable for awhile. Kitchen Manager Molly Austin, who studied nutrition and culinary arts focused on cooking for kids, said, “The camp no longer uses boxed mixes for cakes and cookies. We hired a baker to make almost all of our bread products, including sandwich bread, focaccia, pizza crust, cornbread and challah. Everything is made from scratch.” Austin explained that their menu is slowly shifting to fewer meat dishes and more plant-based meals, a way of eating that’s recommended by many food scientists. Sample menu items included vegetable curry tofu and lettuce wraps. Towanga’s alternative-foods chef (a job category unimaginable even 20 years ago) addresses specific gluten free and allergy issues. “We are continuing to


RAISING THE BAR FOR NUTRITION AT JCC CAMPS replace refined grains with whole ones,” Austin said. For example, the camp serves only organic brown rice. In their efforts to reduce the refined sugar in campers’ diets, they serve only fresh fruit for dessert at lunchtime. They’ve also started receiving a weekly produce delivery from an organic farm in the area. All of the camp’s kitchen staff worked in the garden about two hours a week and by the middle of the camp season, they began daily harvests, which were incorporated into campers’ meals. A way to make campers and staff more mindful about the food they’re eating is through camp garden programs. Over a year ago, JCC Association initiated JCC Grows, a healthy food and hunger-relief initiative. JCC Grows encourages community gardens at JCCs (with the majority of the produce being donated to food pantries), fresh food collections, and connections to Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) programs and farmers markets. As a partner of First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move initiative, JCC Association has committed to a goal of one-third of JCCs and camps involved in food-related projects within three years. With over 40 programs underway, we are on track to meeting our goal. Several JCC camps had vegetable gardens on site tended by campers and integrated into the camp’s educational and/or nature programs. The hands-on lessons offered campers an opportunity to work in the garden, then cook and eat the foods they helped produce. At Camp Pinemere in Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania, bug juice is out and healthier food is in. The extensive garden program headed by Stacey Grossfeld, a master gardener and “garden mom,” helped campers understand where food comes from (not from the fridge!), as well as waste, diversity, and eating local. Campers participated in the planting, watering, and weeding, and kids who helped out in the garden got to harvest the produce. Grossfeld also taught lessons in bal tashchit, the Jewish mandate not to waste. Using bruised fruit, which would have been discarded, to make a delicious peach cobbler, she asked campers to go beyond how the peaches looked on the outside. Grossfeld and the campers made lemonade with lemons, honey, and strawberries. Then she pulled out a container of commercial lemonade and pointed out the chemical ingredients. Once the kids did a taste test, the homemade lemonade won hands down. The JCC of Greater Baltimore’s day camp, Camp Milldale, enjoyed fresh herbs that grew in planters created during last year’s JCC Maccabi Games and ArtsFest. Camp Milldale shares land with Kayam Farm, which created a wonderful partnership that embodied social and ecological responsibility. According to Program Director David Mitnick, “Gardening is one of our most popular camp activities. Every camper plants and harvests, and whenever possible, the camp tries to incorporate the farm food into programming.” For example, a foodie specialist introduced the campers to making their own fruit smoothies, granola, cheese (from milk and lemons) pizza in a solar oven, and whole wheat challah (campers even ground their own wheat). These cooking projects were interwoven with mindful Jewish teachings on brachot (blessings), more consciousness about where food comes from, and the connection between human beings and the land and nature. The simple daily act of eating can be a profound catalyst for good health and wellness and for spiritual growth. It has the potential of nourishing our children in so many ways.


Kosher food and wine... with a French accent Miriam Rinn Everybody likes to eat, right? Most people enjoy a good glass of wine, too. Building on those universal interests and using one of the units from the Mandel Center of Jewish Education, the programming staff at the Betty & Milton Katz JCC in Cherry Hill, New Jersey created a kosher Gourmet Wine and Dine event, which showcased top area chefs and featured a member of the renowned Philadelphia Orchestra. The Katz JCC was one of a dozen JCCs throughout North America invited to pilot


JCC Journeys: Adult Jews Living and Learning, the adult-engagement program created by JCC Association’s MCJE. Thus far, the four Journeys program units have focused on Jews and Food, Jews and Humor, Israel through the Arts, and Jews and Relationships. The Katz JCC is the only JCC to have put extensive programming behind all four units. A multi-sensory journey through French Jewish culture, the Gourmet Wine and Dine event included live music by Nitzan Haroz, principal trombonist of the Philadelphia Orchestra, with his rendition of French classics, as well as information on the contributions to society of French Jews. The main attraction, however, were the kosher cocktails and hors d’oeuvres, and the gourmet three-course French dinner with dessert, specially created by celebrated local chefs Matt Levin of Adsum, Kevin Kramer from The Capital Grille, and Classic Cake maestro Robert Bennett. This evening of kosher fine dining was the first of its kind in the Delaware Valley, and in a community with few kosher restaurants, offered a rare opportunity to partake in kosher cuisine other than pizza and Chinese food. Over 220 people came to sample the delicacies. For those who enjoy eating at fine restaurants, the opportunity to taste signature dishes was unique. For those who keep the Jewish dietary laws, it was a treat not to be missed. It was surprising to see the wide array of individuals who keep kosher and who were elated to have an opportunity to enjoy kosher food at a level of quality that is not easily accessible outside of the New York area. The participating chefs collaborated to create a French menu that accommodated kosher guidelines, within a reasonable budget. The chefs were enticed to participate for the opportunity to broaden their culinary skills and break out of their comfort zones by working within kosher restrictions. “I enjoyed working with the rabbi in the kitchen and learning more about the laws of kosher cooking,” said Chef Kevin Kramer. “It was a wonderful experience and I enjoyed the challenge of learning something new.” Preparing for the program became an educational opportunity for the


community as well. To maintain the elegant level that the committee wanted, the Katz JCC decided to invest in tableware for this long-term program. Following the guidelines of the local Vaad, which supervises the kitchen at the JCC, all new dishes, glasses, pots and pans, and utensils needed to be submerged in the mikvah. The adult department created a highNumerous volunteers from ticket event with an inclusive approach the local Orthodox day school, synagogue, and to Jewish education and lifestyle. mikvah, took over 800 dishes, 600 glasses, and 1800 pieces of flatware to the mikvah. This often overlooked step in kashruth observance became a conversation starter among the professional staff and community, and served as a stepping stone toward great Jewish dialogue. Challenged with producing programming that engages young adults, baby boomers, and active seniors, the adult department created a high-ticket event with an inclusive approach to Jewish education and lifestyle. The professional staff used this opportunity to promote the various cultural events throughout the year as well as to stress the importance of senior programming. Proceeds from Gourmet Wine and Dine will help fund the daily senior meal program, as well as social and recreational programming and transportation for seniors. From that perspective, Gourmet Wine and Dine also highlighted the Jewish value of caring for those in need. Cultural Director Sabrina Spector said the evening was better than she ever imagined, and that folks were already asking for the next one. “It was amazing to see people of all ages come together to enjoy a social evening around kosher cuisine. For those who keep the Jewish dietary laws, the amount of gratitude [expressed] to have such an opportunity was overwhelming,” said Spector. “On a personal level, it was gratifying to expose the community to the idea that gourmet kosher cooking can be achieved.” David Ackerman, director of the Mandel Center for Jewish Education, said, “The staff of the Katz JCC did just what we hope JCC professionals will do with the JCC Journeys units — they took information that resonated with their community and brought their own creativity into play. All the Journeys units are designed to be adapted to different community interests and to different facilities. This is a great example of what can be done with the program.”


Kicks off! This year, we launched an exciting new program for JCCs­—the JCCs of North America Fantasy Football Challenge (FFC). Leveraging the reach and grassroots organization of JCC Association, leagues in JCCs throughout the country formed to compete against friends, family, and participants from the local community and on a continental level. We even fielded a league at JCC Association! fantasy-sports expert Matthew Berry (the “Talented Mr. Roto”) is the honorary commissioner of the Challenge. League prizes include Kindles from Staples and Ab Coasters, and grand prizes and weekly prizes are being provided by Coca-Cola partners Disney, Southwest Airlines, Six Flags and American Airlines, as well as the Peabody Hotel in Orlando. The biggest prize may be bringing hundreds of new people into the JCC community.

60% know the other participants in their leagues and live within 150 miles of each other

86% of players play online

To learn more and receive updates, follow the JCCs of North America Fantasy Football Challenge on Twitter @JCCsFanSports and “Like” JCCs of North America Fantasy Sports on Facebook.

The following JCCs are participating in the inaugural 2011 season: Calgary JCC • Calgary, AB Tucson JCC • Tucson, AZ Oshman Family JCC • Palo Alto, CA Contra Costa JCC • Walnut Creek, CA The JCC at Milken • West Hills, CA Boulder JCC • Boulder, CO Greenwich JCC • Greenwich, CT Stamford JCC • Stamford, CT Mandell JCC • West Hartford, CT Jewish Community Alliance • Jacksonville, FL


Michael-Ann Russell JCC • No. Miami Beach, FL JCC Suncoast • St. Peterburg, FL Marcus JCC of Atlanta • Dunwoody, GA JCC of Indianapolis • Indianapolis, IN JCC of Greater Kansas City • Overland Park, KS JCC of Louisville • Louisville, KY New Orleans JCC • New Orleans, LA Springfield JCC • Springfield, MA Worcester JCC • Worcester, MA Rose & Max Rady JCC • Winnipeg, MB

JCC of Greater Washington • Rockville, MD Sabes JCC • St. Louis, MN JCC of the Greater St. Paul Area • St. Paul, MN Jewish Community Center • St. Louis, MO Charlotte & Dick Levin JCC • Durham, NC Raleigh-Cary JCC • Raleigh, NC Betty & Milton Katz JCC • Cherry Hill, NJ Milton & Betty Katz JCC • Margate City, NJ JCC of Central NJ • Scotch Plains, NJ JCC Metrowest • West Orange, NJ

Fun Fantasy Football factoids:

22% of US adult males, ages 18-49, with internet access play fantasy sports


of fantasy sports players say that fantasy sport participation increases the camaraderie among employees in their workplace


of US population plays one or more fantasy sports

27.1 million Americans (ages 12+) played fantasy sports in 2008. 20.3 million of these Americans play Fantasy Football.

Meet the average fantasy sports player: Participates in approximately 2 different sports leagues Played for at least 10 years Average of 6 leagues per year Spends an average of $467.60 per year on fantasy sports

Riverdale YM-YWHA • Bronx, NY Suffolk Y JCC • Commack, NY The JCC in Manhattan • New York, NY Barry & Florence Friedberg JCC • Oceanside, NY Mid-Island Y JCC • Plainview, NY JCC of Staten Island • Staten Island, NY JCC of Greater Columbus • Columbus, OH Jewish Federation of Greater Harrisburg • Harrisburg, PA Scranton JCC • Scranton, PA

Memphis JCC • Memphis, TN JCC of Austin • Austin, TX Barshop JCC of San Antonio • San Antonio, TX JCC of Northern Virginia • Fairfax, VA Weinstein JCC • Richmond, VA Harry & Rose Samson Family JCC • Milwaukee, WI

Educated professional living in suburban America with average annual income of $94k 75% play with people they know 68% married Average age: 37 75% male / 25% female


JCCs of North America Professional Conference:

learning never ends Miriam Rinn

Alan Goldberg, JCC Association’s vice-president, Mandel Center for Excellence in Leadership & Management, leads a session on anticipating business trends.


How do you get from sketch comedy to coaching JCC professionals? Listen very, very closely. Professional coach Deborah Grayson Riegel learned everything she needed to know about listening, not when she was in kindergarten, but when she was a standup comedian in her twenties. “Improv is wonderful training for anything that involves opening your mouth,” Riegel said, adding that listening is an essential part of improvisational comedy, as well as any other human interaction. “You have to agree and add.” Riegel was one of the outstanding speakers at the JCCs of North America Professional Conference in Orlando last spring, packing the room at her seminar on Personal Behavior for Supervisory Success. Riegel, along with Laura Guitar, Vivian Gussin Paley, Jan Sparrow, Scott Asalone, and many other renowned trainers and speakers, taught 341 JCC professionals (continued on following page)


LEARNING NEVER ENDS from 93 JCCs how to be more effective, more engaged, and more empowered. When Riegel finally got to Columbia University’s school of social work, she realized that she already possessed the listening skills her professors were teaching. “Most of us treat listening as waiting for our turn to talk,” she said, but a more sophisticated approach is to listen both to content and affect, the psychologist’s term for emotion. The highest level of listening involves all the senses and includes what’s not being said as well as the words spoken. Managers don’t have to come up with a response right away when they are struggling with how to deal with people they supervise. “Paraphrase what they’ve said, both the affect and the content,” Riegel said. “Their body language will tell you more than anything else.” When supervising, managers should start a conversation with a positive intention — I want to help you be more successful — rather than criticism. Beware of amateur psychoanalyzing: don’t interpret; that’s the surest way to make an enemy. Your interpretation of their behavior is based entirely on your own feelings. Instead, make a specific request, stating the positive impact it can have. Riegel believes that everyone working at a JCC is working in customer service, and “customer service requires you to focus on what the customer needs and wants, not on yourself.” That can be empowering for many people. No matter their job description, employees value three things: purpose, mastery, and autonomy. They want the opportunity to do something well, and they want autonomy over time, over task, over technique, and over team. Since employees want to feel that what they do has a higher impact, supervisors need to align what staff does with the mission of the JCC. Luckily for JCC professionals, JCCs have a mission to serve people, to enrich their lives, so it isn’t hard for people who work at JCC to feel they have a higher calling. The JCCs of North America Professional Conference is the best place for JCC staff to enhance their skills to meet that call.

JCC Association President & CEO Allan Finkelstein delivers the opening keynote address.



What they’re saying: Excerpts from the Professional Conference blog... A recipe for a delicious JCC professional staff conference Lauren Friedman | Levis JCC Preparation: • Prebook 2 Rosen hotels • Book really funny Jewish comedians • Order a lot of kosher parve dessert Ingredients: • 350 JCC professionals • the best JCC Association staff • drink coupons • preferred vendors • really cold ballrooms

Listening, Learning, Seeing, Meeting, Reflecting Tracey Dorfmann | JCC of Greater Washington The JCCs of North America Professional Conference is an outstanding opportunity to meet up with friends old and new. Ideas bloom around every corner and discussion abounds. Amazing how much we all have in common even though we are from all over North America. Conference is well planned and the hospitality adds to the experience. Sessions are also well planned and engaging.

What I learned, up to now… Jonathan Fass | JCC of Houston The most important learning I have experienced in the past two days has been about recognizing who I am as a professional and celebrating how much I have grown. At my last professional conference, I was only six years in the field and still learning what it really means to make working in the JCC movement a career. Now, with 100% more years under my belt, I feel I understand the field much better and that my participation in the conference is an affirmation that I am making the JCC world my home. Thank you to everyone who worked so hard to make this conference a success. Working at the JCC has been a terrific professional and Jewish journey.


The JCC’s new V.I.P.

Activist Influencer Citizen marketer Self-publishing journalist

Millennial Mothers have always been important to the JCC. Usually the top purchasing decision-makers for their families, they determine where the dollars go, and where their children will go to preschool and to camp, where they will take ballet or play T-ball. Today’s young mother still plays this essential role, but as part of the vast, techno-savvy generation known as the Millennials, she is, in many ways, very different from her forebears, and for the JCC to reach her and gain her confidence, we must learn to meet her on her own terms. The Millennial mom is above all a communicator. Raised with the Internet, texting, and instant messaging, she is a natural multitasker, someone who embraces new technology to integrate every aspect of her busy life. Her most trusted source is “someone like me.” She seeks out the wisdom of her peers online when making decisions, and posts at least one review of her own every week. There is a good chance she has her own blog, where she shares her life, including her experiences with brands that interest other mothers with young children. We spoke to Michael Rowland, JCC Assoctiation’s consultant to JCCs on marketing, to learn more about the Millennial mom—and how to connect with her and learn from her to ensure the JCC becomes as important to her as she is to us.




BUSINESS What challenges do JCCs face in connecting with Millennial moms? Michael Rowland: If you look at things from a purely business standpoint, most JCCs are dependent upon Millennial moms as their target audience for potential members; they are mothers of kids who potentially could go to a JCC camp, to an early childhood program, to an afterschool program. These are mothers who were born in the 1980s, and they see the world very differently than — for the most part — those who are leading and running the JCC. So there’s a bit of a generation gap in that regard. Millennial moms have different expectations, different priorities, and different ways of sifting through information. It starts with technology. They were born into a world where most moments in life were photo ops, including birth, a world where graduation from [preschool] was accompanied by a barrage of video cameras. By the time they achieved adulthood, with all the gadgets we have at our disposal, they were incredibly reliant on social network media. They believe in sharing information — not just hearing about things, but also talking about things. For them, media is a two-way stream; there’s a feedback loop in everything that they do. According to recent research by Edelman P.R., 90 percent of Millennials make recommendations of brands and purchase decisions online to their friends, and to social networks. We talk about this being a generation that is perpetually “on” — perpetually connected. The hard number is that the vast majority of them are only “off,” or offline, one hour a day or less. They’re on the entire day, not just when they’re sitting in front of a screen. What that means from a marketing point of view is that the old model of attacking people with marketing no longer works. Unless you actually enlist people as part of your process, enlist your membership, and enlist the people who are peers of your target audience to participate in your marketing, you’re going to look like a dinosaur. That’s what has really changed: it is now essential to recruit cohorts from the Millennial generation to be on your side as part of your marketing effort,

Eight steps to reaching the Millennial Mom: 1. Start and maintain a dialogue 2. Give her a voice 3. Reach her via mobile device 4. Be clear about your social purpose and offer ways for her to personalize and engage 5. Facilitate her need for instant gratification 6. Let go of total control of your key messages; allow for collaboration with you, and with each other 7. Connect with her as a multi-dimensional Mom 8. Enlist her as co-marketer Source: Edelman P.R. “Connecting with Millennial Moms”


BUSINESS and to create that sort of reverberation effect of online comments and recommendations. It’s an approach that requires listening and talking in a way that is not the way that most leaders of JCCs grew up with. So communicating with Millennial moms is an issue. What about the product JCCs are offering them? MR: JCCs in general could do a better job of listening and of acquiring input from this generation in not only their marketing but also in the structure of a lot of their offerings. One of the things I’ve been recommending to JCCs is that they set up membership panels, recruited from the rank and file who are regular users — including Millennials. People who are not necessarily ready to commit time, money, or energy to being board members — in fact, they may even be intimidated by the notion that they be enlisted as board members — but people who will rise to the occasion when you ask them their opinion. What I mean by a member panel is a group of 15-20 people who have been handpicked because they represent a particular demographic within the JCC. They meet every month or so, casually, over a cup of coffee. Use that as a forum for getting into what their issues are: their life issues, how that relates to things the JCC could or should be doing. It’s a great way to bridge the gap between the older generation running the JCC and the younger generation that makes up the majority of our target audience. It creates a buzz, in and of itself. There’s the opportunity, once you’ve enlisted people in a member panel, to rely on them to spread the word through their own friends and families and social networks. It creates a positive halo effect. Is there a difference in how this generation makes their choices? And in what they’re looking for from their involvement in the JCC? MR: Growing up in a gadget-laden, technological world, the Millennials are seeking advice and hearing about things online — in their hand-held devices, or otherwise, and through that, learning about what their friends are doing. That in itself is a hugely important dynamic that the JCCs need to latch on to. It is increasingly likely that a decision to send a child to a pre-K or a camp is going to be preceded by a search of online recommendations that have been made by other parents, criticisms by other parents. Which is why we recommend strongly to JCCs to have their own satisfied camp attendees post cheerleading recommendations. Because without them, you look kind of lonely and dead online. From a marketing point of view, this creates a new way of generating positive momentum for a JCC. You enlist a group of people from a peer group to validate that “this is a good place to send your kid, this is a good place to work out, this is a good place for camp.” That matters much, much more than self-proclaimed, monolithic advertising. It has higher credibility. All of the social surveys point to the fact that there is no higher value in marketing than peer recommendation.


In May, the U.S. Congress approved a resolution to place a memorial to Jewish military chaplains who had died while on active duty in Arlington National Cemetery. This resolution was the result of years of work by JWB Jewish Chaplains Council and critical Capitol Hill advocacy by the Jewish Federations of North America and other groups. Rabbi Harold Robinson was in the Capitol when the resolution passed the House of Representatives.

We’re Bringing Them Home By Rabbi Harold L. Robinson Director, JWB Jewish Chaplains Council After three years of planning, fundraising, and advocating, we were finally sitting in the gallery above the chamber of the U.S. House of Representatives, waiting for a vote on a resolution to place a memorial to fallen Jewish chaplains in Arlington National Cemetery. Although we had run into major obstacles along the way, we were finally to achieve our goal. The House of Representatives was about to pass the resolution, and then it would go to the Senate. Those 14 chaplains were almost home with their comrades in arms. I was as excited as my fellow attendees — Ken Kraetzer, Sol Moglen, David Engle and his family, and Shelly Rood from JFNA. This project, which has consumed so much time and energy, began when Ken Kraetzer, a member of the Sons of the American Legion, called to ask why there was no memorial to Jewish chaplains on Chaplains Hill. Ken knew the story of the four chaplains who gave up their life vests on the USS Dorchester during World War II, and he knew that both Catholic and Protestant chaplains who had died while on active duty had memorials at Arlington. I recognized the need for another memorial right away, and we began our efforts to make it happen. Sol Moglen of Caldwell, New Jersey, helped us raise the funds we needed, and Shelly Rood worked tirelessly in the last few months as a liaison with Congress. The son of one of the chaplains who died during



REMEMBERING JEWS AT ARLINGTON the Vietnam conflict, David Engle brought his wife and sons to see the culmination of our work. We had arrived prior to the debate to meet with Representative Jeff Miller, (R-FL), chair of the veterans’ affairs committee. Although I spent plenty of time at the Capitol during my Navy career, it was truly a privilege to have a reception room to ourselves. To our surprise, Representative Miller and his staff thanked us for having given them an opportunity to do something like this before Memorial Day, and of course we thanked them for their support. The thanks continued during the debate. Republicans thanked Democrats, and Democratic representatives read our names and pointed out that we were in the gallery. Although that broke a House rule, it was a high honor to be referenced on the floor, an honor earned by the sacrifice of 14 colleagues. The bill passed on a voice vote, but then we were treated to an instance of the wonderful complexity of our system of government. The voice vote was retracted so the bill could pass later on a recorded vote. That allowed the representatives to come into the chamber and vote in person. Since the AIPAC conference was taking place that evening with Prime Minister Netanyahu scheduled to speak, representatives streamed in wearing evening clothes. The highlight of the evening may have been when we were escorted to the members-only exit. We shook hands with the representatives as they filed by, and many of them thanked us for the opportunity to pass such an important resolution. It was almost like being the father of the bride at a wedding! When the resolution went to the Senate, we ran into another of those glitches so common to bureaucracy. Another item had been added to the resolution which would establish a presidential commission concerning all future memorials at Arlington. An anonymous senator’s hold put on this particular item brought everything to a screeching halt. Luckily, I was able to call a rabbi and a minister who called the right people on the committee to work out a satisfactory arrangement. From 11:30 that morning until 4:30 in the afternoon, when unanimous consent was finally given and the resolution passed, were among the most anxious moments of my life. Everyone was so eager to get it done before Memorial Day. Our next step was to take the design to the U.S. Fine Arts Commission, a group of seven highly qualified presidential appointees who approve everything relating to art in the Federal Government and the D.C. district, including all coinage minted by the U.S. We listened as the commission discussed one side of a coin of Sacajawea. I was astonished at the spectrum of philosophic and aesthetic concerns they raised. When our turn came, we were asked about all aspects of the design, and we told the story of the four chaplains to explain why we were seeking to erect the memorial. We asked them to approve the design as well as the concept, and in unprecedented fashion, they did so in record time, asking for only one minor change. Now, we’re eagerly looking forward to a dedication in October. That gives us time to bring the memorial plaque with its quotation from the Book of Samuel, “They were swifter than eagles, mightier than lions,” to JCCs and other community organizations. We hope that community groups will want to organize events around a viewing of the memorial. No better tribute could be made to the memory of these brave men.



This stained glass window at the Chapel at the Pentagon is one of several around the United States that pays tribute to the memory of the four chaplains.

One of the transformational moments in American life was the heroic sacrifice of the four chaplains of the USS Dorchester, which was transporting 900 soldiers and civilian workers to the European front when it was sunk by German torpedoes off the coast of Greenland on February 3, 1943. Each of the four chaplains on board spontaneously gave his lifejacket to another soldier, and the chaplains perished together as they prayed and sang hymns to men in lifeboats and in the icy water. The chaplains represented three faith traditions — two Protestants, a Catholic, and a Jew— and their death marked the first time the term “Protestant, Catholic and Jew” was used to describe America. Three of the four are memorialized on Chaplain’s Hill, but neither Rabbi Alexander Goode nor any of the other rabbis who died in other active service situations are so remembered— until now.

Jewish Chaplains Memorial Dedication Ceremony Memorial Amphitheater Arlington National Cemetery October 24, 2011 1:00 p.m. EDT The public is invited to the dedication ceremony for the Jewish Chaplains Monument at Arlington National Cemetery as we honor the memories of 14 Jewish chaplains who died in service to the United States of America. This monument is the result of collaborative efforts between JWB Jewish Chaplains, the Jewish Federations of North America, the Sons of the American Legion, and the Brooklyn Wall of Remembrance. The dedication takes place as we mark the 150th anniversary of service by rabbis in the U.S. Armed Forces.



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JCC Circle Autumn 2011  

The JCC Maccabi Games and ArtsFest travel to Israel, staff from 93 JCCs get energized at the JCCs of North America Professional Conference 2...