JCC Annual Meeting Celebrates Year’s Accomplishments, Looks to Future
The Jewish Community Center (JCC) of Greater Columbus held its annual meeting on May 28, honoring inspirational leadership and creative programming that has gone at the JCC during the past year. Shana and Michael Levin returned as co-hosts of this year’s meeting, in which the theme,
“JCC – You Inspire Me” was celebrated. Several vignettes of inspirational moments that have taken place and that happen every day all around the JCC between members and staff. The Levin’s opened the event by noting how the JCC touches “truly offers something for everyone, and touches the lives of so many people each day.”
“We touch lives through senior programming, preschools, cultural art programming, fitness and wellness, recreation and camps, and on and on. Annually, the JCC touches the lives of one out of ten people living in the Greater Central Ohio area,” Shana Levin said.
After their opening remarks, Shana shared three short vignettes as told by JCC staff members of the ways they interact with members, and how their experiences inspire others to make the JCC a welcoming community for all.
JCC Executive Director, Carol Folkerth gave a “State of the JCC” address, beginning with a recap of the many programs, events and projects that occurred during the past year at the JCC, as well as the opening of the new 16,000 square foot addition and the continuation of the JCC 100 celebration. In addition, she recognized the many leaders, volunteers, and staff who inspired her throughout the year. “Tonight we honor the leaders, volunteers, and staff who make all this possible,” she said.
After her remarks, Folkerth presented the Joel Dinkin Professional Development Award to Chris Teaford, JCC Maintenance Supervisor, for his 13 years of service to the JCC. The award, established in honor of former JCC Executive Director Joel Dinkin, recognizes an outstanding JCC staff member who has shown exceptional commitment to the JCC. In presenting the award, Folkerth said, “Chris has worked at the JCC for 13 years, and in that time, has proved to be one of our most valuable talents. Chris can be counted on in any emergency and at any time, day or night, to be there and do the right thing.”
Nikki Henry, ECE Director shared her “My Trip to Israel with Sammy Spider” story summarizing her recent 11 day trip to Israel as part of the JCC Association’s Early Childhood Education Leadership Seminar. Henry traveled with 23 professional colleagues from 20 JCC’s across the U.S. “The program was created to enhance one of the essential core elements of SHEVA: JCCs of North America Early Learning Framework: “Israel as the Story of the Jewish People,” she explained.
To help bring a little bit of Israel back to our JCC preschoolers, Henry brought “Sammy Spider” with her to Israel. Sammy is well-known to the children at the JCC thanks to the beloved PJ Library storybook, Sammy Spider Goes to Israel. So, Henry thought, “Why not bring our stuffed Sammy Spider to every site we visit and take photos, so the kids can see where Sammy went?”
“I took him everywhere. I took a photo with him by the water at Caesarea. I tried my hardest to take pictures and place him in areas that are kid-friendly. I made a slideshow of my trip to Israel with Sammy. So when we go to talk about Israel, we now have something tangible that we can share with the kids,” Henry said.
The meeting then proceeded with the presentation of the year’s awards, including:
The Shehechyanu Teacher of the Year Award to JCC College Avenue Preschool Teacher Debbie Adelman. Established by the Brad and Holly Kastan family, their son, Sam, and daughter, Rebecca presented the award on behalf of the family. This is the 16th year of the award, and Adelman was selected to receive the award from nominations received from all three early childhood sites. Adelman has worked at the JCC as a preschool teacher at the JCC College Avenue site for almost 13 years. In presenting the award, the Kastan’s noted Adelman’s love and commitment to each of the children and their families. In accepting the award, Adelman said, “I enjoy working at the JCC because I love seeing the world through the eyes of a child, and teaching Jewish values.”
The Rabbi Nation and Sylvia Gaynor Jewish Cultural Award, honoring a JCC program that recognizes excellence in Jewish programming, was awarded to Gallery Player’s production of “Elijah’s Angel” and presented to Michael J. Rosen. The production was based on Rosen’s award-winning and beloved children’s book of the same name. Rosen spoke of his deep appreciation for the JCC and how it has had an impact on his life from the time he was a child and being actively involved in JCC and programs since the time he was a child growing up in Berwick. What made receiving the award extra special, he said, was the fact his family, and the Gaynor family, were neighbors while he was growing up.
The Helen Nutis Volunteer Mitzvah Award, established by long time JCC volunteer, Helen Nutis, recognizing outstanding volunteer contributions of individuals or groups at the JCC, was presented to Heidi Levey and Gary Cheses for their many years of dedicated support to the JCC, helping to secure the continued growth and success of the agency. In addition to the many areas of volunteer service Levey and Cheses have provided, during the past year, they led the effort of the JCC 100 celebration, serving as co-chairs for the year long festivity of programs and events. In accepting their award, both Levey and Cheses commented that their volunteer efforts are done with pride and happiness in being able to help the JCC meet its mission to provide programs that are Jewish in nature while strengthening individuals, families and the community.
The Lawrence D. Schaffer Shem Tov “Good Name” Award to JCC Board of Trustees member Lindsay Schottenstein. The award was established in honor of Larry Schaffer and his outstanding contributions to the Central Ohio community. It is presented to an individual who represents the next generation of community leadership. Schottenstein has been a board member for three years and serves on the Early Childhood committee, and is co-chair of the 2014 S ports Spectacular/FUNtacular.
In addition to her work on committees, she has been instrumental in the creation and nurturing of the Nevatim and Nitzanim Preschool classrooms that offer a more Judaic enriched curriculum. She is also active as a parent at Columbus Torah Academy and in her synagogue, Congregation Torat Emet, and active in the Columbus Bikur Cholim and Columbus Community Kollel Women’s groups. Additionally, Schottenstein also was recently part of the Columbus delegation representing the JCC at the JCCA Biennial held in San Diego.
After the presentation of awards, JCC Immediate Past President Joe Sniderman gave the Nominating Committee Report and introduced the new slate of Board members nominated to serve a three-year term. They are: Jenny Grischkan, Sid Miller, Kurt Malkoff, Ginna Rinkov, Pam Young and Mitch Alter. Re-elected Board members are: Stacy Beckman, Rachel Berger, Cheri Friedman and Seth Hoffman. Continuing Board members are: Ali Senser, Caroline Cohn, Heidi Solomon, Jill Eisenberg, Karen Shore Meyer, Mark Ungar, Rachel Lichten, Andrew Smith, Chuck Shenk, Ilissa Eiferman, Jon Segaloff, Ken Rubin, Miriam Portman, Randi Lewis, Barry Igdaloff, Gary Cheses, Ira Nutis, Julie Cohen, Lindsay Schottenstein, Pam Gurwin, Stacy Leeman, Shana Levin, Greta Zidel, Jamie Topolosky, June Frankel, Marc Leder, Patty Schiff and Wendy Cohen.
Current Board President Lisa Newmark will serve with Board Vice Presidents Jennifer Cammeyer, Rick Meizlish, Rick Barnett, and Laura Weiser, as well as Secretary/President Elect Ben Zacks, Treasurer Richard Williams, and Immediate Past President Joe Sniderman. Fred Luper is Honorary Trustee and Marc Fishel serves as the Past President Representative. Ex-Officio are Geri Ellman and Heidi Levey. Concluding his remark, Sniderman thanked retiring Board members Marilyn Cole, Todd Delman, Jeff Levy, Stephanie Schiff and Dan Zager for their work and efforts as Board members.
The Annual Meeting continued with a few brief remarks by JCC President Lisa Newmark, including a list of programs, events, and partnerships being worked on for this year and the future. Newmark also presented Carol Folkerth with a special gift to acknowledge and honor Folkerth’s 30 years of service to the Columbus JCC.
In keeping with the evening’s theme, “JCC – You Inspire Me” the annual meeting concluded with a vignette as a fitting end to an evening honoring the many people that are behind the scene to make all that happens possible.
For more information or to download a copy of the JCC’s 2013-2014 Annual Report, visit the JCC’s website at www.columbusjcc.org or call (614) 231-2731.