Thank You... To and From Our Community

Special Needs Culinary

JCC Executive Director Rabbi Joy Levitt asked our community, "What are you grateful for right now? We want to know. It's gratitude that will help us get through these challenging times." 

Let us know what you are grateful for here.

Here are some of your responses:

Hi Abby, Sheila, Peter and Michele,
During Sheila's meditation "sit" this morning, her prompt and kavanah focused on the qualities of the sphirot, and that today is the 49th and final day of the Omer. 
I was particularly struck by this number, and the entire period of counting, as it is also the 11th week of my (and most of our) work from home lives, and the start of my taking up meditation, after a 27 year hiatus. 
I wanted to share with you what a blessing, meaningful anchor, and rich experience it has been to meditate with you during this time. I have so appreciated your poetry choices, dedication of the merit, prayers for healing, blessings of gratitude and other wisdom that you have each brought to our morning gatherings. Who knew that the 7:30 am hour could provide such sustenance? ;)
The truth is, that I could never have made the trip or the time to meditate in person, but the coincidence of the MMJCCM's zoom meditation with the COVID-19 crisis has been an incredible moment of fresh learning, thoughtful mindfulness and light, during these challenging and unprecedented times. 

(In response to The Great Indoors email, June 16)
Thank you for these beautiful words of Torah.
When we moved out of the city 20 years ago, one of the things I was most sad to leave was JCC, and one of the greatest gifts of the pandemic has been my ability to join some of your classes.
Thank you for all you do to bring joy and meaning and purpose in these tough times.
We are so blessed to be part of the jewish community!
Kol tuv

Dear Coach Andrea,
Our daughter, Ananke, is a 2s Together student in the Little Green Room. Since you and Coach Shereef started the virtual coaching sessions Ananke has been a regular participant. She might not have always looked like she was participating (especially early on), but even when she was quiet she was taking it all in in preparation for imitating your moves later on. During her time in 2s Together she has become much more physically adventurous. In just the past two months we've noticed her being bolder about running and jumping. She's also really honed her "head, shoulders, knees, and toes" skills. Thank you for your in-person teaching during the first 2/3 of her program and for being there for her (and us) during a challenging time. Be well and take care.
Kim and Sat and Ananke

I'm grateful for the close connection with friends and family. Now it is virtual instead of in person, but it makes all the difference in the world!
Helen Jacobs

I am grateful that I am well and able to take advantage of the classes being offered by the JCC, those I attended in person and those being offered online.

My family--looking forward to the time we can be together in the same place.
Karen Korman

I am grateful for my aunts and uncles who are checking in on me. 

On September 4th, 2019, I had a hip transplant. I was slow to heal and also not exercising as much as I should have. I kept wondering if I would ever walk again without a cane. I am so grateful that shortly before COVID-19 began, I was able to walk without a cane. I am thankful every day for that boost to my mobility and ability to care for myself.
Menorah Rotenberg

My faith, my friends, and the safe shelter of my home.
Lisa Sanetra

My ability to breathe. 

Caroline Kohles and her Lunch & Learn programs, as well as the two meditation hours each day have transformed my life! Thank you, JCC!
Margi Hirshberg

For the essential workers, for the health of myself and my family, to be working, and for the 7 pm NYC cheer, when I get to see neighbors in their windows and on balconies across the street.
Elena Lister

I am grateful for my warm and generous Upper West Side community, and for our nightly 7 pm clap for our brave first responders.
Riva Atlas

I'm grateful for Adaptations programs on Zoom! I'm so appreciative of the CSN staff and what they do!
Ian Knight

I’m grateful for my apartment, this wonderful neighborhood, and so many friendships I’m lucky to have enjoyed for so many years. I’m blessed with my adorable dog, who takes me out for walks every day.  I’m fortunate to have enough money to eat fabulous food, and I have health insurance. When I see what some people are enduring lately, I would be crazy to complain about anything. The friends I’ve made at the JCC have enhanced my life beyond expectation. Even though we’re older, when we start laughing and telling silly stories, we sound  like teenagers again!

Paul, my husband.

I am still alive!

I'm grateful for the beautiful spring awakening in Central Park and for the walks I can take  in the Ramble with my Golden Retriever, Lily, for whom I am also grateful. 

I’m grateful to be able to get on the 104 bus--even though the MTA still hasn’t sent me a new Metrocard as promised--so I could shop in Zabar's.

As a senior, I’m grateful when strangers kindly offer help when I need it.

Ben Gamla Hebrew Charter School, my girls' AMAZING school on the campus of Alper JCC in Miami. They are so supportive and on the ball. They went to online learning without missing a beat.
Shira Kirsner

I am grateful for fresh air, sunshine, and good health. And a good belly laugh now and then. 
Ruth Lynn Frommer

I'm so grateful that I am alive and well. I am grateful that I live in a a comfortable home where I sleep, eat, and feel safe. I am grateful that I am able to take care of myself and, sometimes, others. I am grateful that I have wonderful friends whom I love, and who love me. I am grateful that I can go into the park and enjoy nature at its most splendid during spring. 
Miriam Rakowski

I am grateful for my mom; my dad; my grandma (LaLa); Coco (my dog); God; Jesus; my staff aides Taisa, Jackie, Alyssa, and Ally; Crossroads (my young adult group at church); Calvary Baptist Church (my church); all the programs and groups I attend; Taylor (head nutritionist at Camp Pocono Trails, where I went last summer); the food that I receive and eat; that I am still alive and healthy; the area that I live in (that God made); my apartment, Taisa being a sister In Christ; George; George being a brother in Christ; and Jamar (my personal trainer). 
Natasha Greenbaum

NYC will recover from the economic and physical wounds. However nothing stops the importance of a good education. I am grateful for the Schechter Manhattan staff and families for quickly adapting to full time online classes and business. Our Jewish educators are busy preparing the leaders of tomorrow. 
Pete Webb

My family and dog :)
Sarah Hausler 

Chair Yoga, Tai Chi, and Mindful Movement have kept me aware and alive.
Madeline Cohen

Laughter. Breath. Song. Resilience. Creativity. My child. Peloton.


I am grateful for arts and entertainment and LGBTQIA+ culture.
Gena Hymowech

Community, which allows us to hold each other while social distancing.

I am a Holocaust survivor. During these dark days of COVID-19 I am reminded of what my life was like as a child during the Holocaust. I am grateful for my family keeping healthy and safe and G-d willing remain healthy. For myself I’m grateful for every little thing. After all, I’m not hungry, I’m not cold, and I’m not  ill.  What more can I ask for?
Lucy Lipiner

I have long list; here's a short part: I am grateful for learning that my kids were right---I WAS running around too much, using volunteer involvement with terrific organizations to not do the more emotionally challenging work of paying close attention to my family. I am grateful to the AMNH for the riotous planting of colorful tulips on the Columbus Avenue side of the Museum park--walk by and watch the flowers cavort! And I am so grateful to my rabbis and community leaders (Yes, JCC!) reminding me to stop, breathe deeply, and think about the silver linings of this difficult time.

I am grateful for my daughter's warm welcome to her farm in Maryland while I stay away from New York and miss my friends and the JCC.
Judith R. Birsh

A roof over my head, enough food to eat being healthy, and for social media--to keep in touch with family and friends AND being able to receive this wonderful outreach from you, THE JCC!!! Daily prayers are getting me through this event. Thank you.
Sharon Pope

I am grateful that everyone in my family and those I know are staying home and are well. 
Nancy Goldberg

For your lunch and learn sessions. They are heartwarming and life- enhancing. I so appreciate your generosity in opening them up for nonmembers like me. And I am very, very grateful to Megan and Phoebe of Wholebeing Institute for inviting me to the sessions initially, providing an opportunity for one hour of quality uplifting time at noon to look forward to each day. 
Josephine Aquan-Assee

I am grateful to have this inside/inner time in order to let go of what no longer serves me, so that I can be open for what is to come.

A-Z: A, Aya, my granddaughter and Acceptance; B-Bicycle; C-Compassion; D-Daughters; E-Ehab-My coffee cart man who stays home; F-Faith and Friends; G-Grace; H-Health; I-Imagination; J-Jewish; K-Kindness; L-Laughter; M-Mindfulness, Michael, and Moshe; N-Necessities; O-Optimism; P-Perseverance; Q-Quiet; R-Richard; S-Serenity; T-Trust; U-Usefulness; V-Virtue; W-Willingness; X-Xylophones; Y-Yoga; Z-Zen 
Barbara Litt

I am truly grateful that there are doctors and scientists who have the courage to speak out against establishment with real facts and that I still have access to their information even when their voices are being suppressed by various forms of censorship. 

That my husband is being treated for cancer.

Discovering that Piccolo, our local Italian restaurant, was preparing food for hundreds of hospital workers at Mt. Sinai. Grateful for Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer who engaged Fresh Direct. Very grateful for Fresh Direct which provided 3 weeks of service free delivering food to seniors and others in need in the borough, and now has a contract to do those deliveries, ensuring that people get full nutritional food deliveries. Also, the New Plaza Cinema, which continues to make movies available for home viewing, and which today also urged people to support West Side Campaign Against Hunger. A generous spirit.
Ruth Messinger

The Marlene Meyerson JCC Manhattan, everyone associated with it, and all it represents.

I'm grateful for virtual meetings, where I'm becoming reacquainted with old friends and also making new ones.
Meryl Weiss

I'm grateful to be well and to be cared for by my daughter, who came to celebrate my 92nd birthday the first week in March--a big family affair weekend--and then couldn't fly back to LA because of the pandemic.These many weeks of living together have given us time to truly see each other with fresh eyes, to reconnect with understanding and acceptance. For this special gift,  I'm very grateful.
Ronnie Tuft

I am grateful for more time with my grown-up children than I thought I would ever have again. I am grateful for all the health care workers, from the doctors to the cleaning teams in the hospitals, all of whom risk their lives every day. I am grateful for the farmers who still till the land to feed us and are willing to take care of our earth through environmentally  sound farming practice. I am grateful for my granddaughter, whose smile wakes me many mornings now and reminds me to be grateful to be alive. 
Judy Bernstein Bunzl

It may sound strange, but I am grateful that we were given another opportunity to  change.  Although it is a very painful one. I am praying that after this pandemic passes, the world will become a better, more unified  place to live. Unfortunately this  didn't happen after 9/11. After a few short  months it was ”back to business  as usual.” (I am a survivor of two terrorist  attacks: in 1993 and on September 11, 2001; in both cases being on the 82nd floor in 1WTC – North Tower, saved by two persons.)

I am so grateful for the friends and family who reach out several times a week to make sure sure I'm not lonely, although I may be alone. 
Donna Weinstein

I am grateful that I am well and that I live across the street from Central Park, where I can take wonderful walks.
Susan Bonhomme

We are grateful for our health, a roof over our heads, and to be able to put food on the table! We feel so grateful for our families and friends, whom we love and care about and are always calling to check on each other. 
Shira and Shai

"A Sign from God"

My son sent me via UPS
five boxes of matzos, 
Manischewitz since 1888.

The box, orange and blue
with squares of striated white.
I scrub it with Lysol wipes,
estimate I’ll use a box every two weeks.

Matzo brei, matzo with apple and cheese,
pizza matzo with red sauce and sausage,
peanut butter on matzo, buttered matzo, 
matzo balls, matzo kugel, matzo farfel. 
A merciful sign from God,
ten weeks, five boxes, the plague ends
or a new unleavened bread diet.

Harriet Shenkman, Poet of The Corona Collection

I am grateful for my daughters’ and my friends’ friendship and support during this time. I am grateful to those citizens who are going out there every day to help those in need, especially in the health care system. I am grateful to those in government, especially our governor, Governor Cuomo, who tell the truth, provide inspiration, and lead responsibly. I am grateful to the responsible news outlets who report the truth and the science. And I am grateful to be able to go outside, briefly, once a day, to get fresh air and see beauty and nature. 

My job, health, friends, steady internet, Brian Lehrer, New Yorkers coming together in innovative ways to create community in difficult times.
Ann Kemper

I am grateful for the health and well-being of my husband, family, and friends, for the frontline health care workers and all the vital police, fire people, transit folks, and food service workers of this city, who are the true heroes, helping us get through this crisis. I am also  grateful  for the chesed shown by our Governor Cuomo, Mayor de Blasio, and our wonderful JCC, who inspire hope and light in this current period of darkness and fear.  Shalom and love to all. 

I am grateful for learning to be a yoga teacher so that I can help others breathe and move during this confining time.

We're so grateful for the Center For Special Needs and the amazing, kind, compassionate, and creative people working with the teens there. They've been a lifeline as well as lifesavers for our son, John, during this very difficult time. We love all of them so much.

Despite all the losses and all the rain, the sun continues to rise each morning and the spring continues to blossom.
Lauri Grossman

Helping neighbors in need to be fed hot meals.Planting a plot of land with vegetables as part of the Peconic Trust My grandson, a former JCC nursery school kid, is picking vegetables for poor families. including refugees.We all have to be grateful for recoveries and ability to assist those who have job losses and no food on their tables
Your leadership in this effort is encouraging.
Catherine Freudenberg Traykovski

From your JCC friends around the world, we support, strengthen, and salute to all that you are doing. 
JCC Global

Netflix, Sondheim, Jane Austen, and friends.

Being part of a nurturing, connected community. Knowing that we will get through this time more resilient and grateful than before. Savoring all the wonderful times at the JCC (six mornings a week) since the day it opened and looking forward to returning to my "home away from home" once we are able to physically be together.  In the meantime, thanks for offering Luis' pilates class virtually.  
Lisa Buksbaum

My health, family, and job.
Shawn Ezhaghi

I am grateful that my family is healthy and that I am with them right now.

My life. I'm blessed to be a part of the JCC community as a member and as staff. I'm grateful for family, friends, food on my table, a roof over my head, my health, the internet, my phone & computer, art, music, trees, grass, sky, rain, and sunshine. I'm grateful for the things I'm learning and discovering about myself and the world during this time.  And there is a special kind of gratitude for the banging and shouting of pots at 7 pm. That magical moment, when across every kind of barrier imaginable we can hear, feel, and appreciate each other and the magic of this city and, strangely, the magic of this unusual time.
Whitney Chapman

I am truly grateful for this pause. My kids are closer than ever, and they finally have the time and appreciation to do chores around the house.  I think they will be better human beings as a result of this special time.

We are grateful that we have remained in good health, have enough food around, and most  of all have the support of the community that surrounds us.

My support system.

The Center for Special Needs staff team is grateful that our team is intact and are all working productively and creatively. We are grateful that the communities we support have moved forward with us in this virtual world, and appreciate their positive feedback. The reciprocity we share allows us to do our job, and inspires us to grow programming in new and exciting ways.
The Jack and Shirley Silver Center for Special Needs team

I'm grateful to be a frontline public city hospital worker at this time so I can provide support and care to patients who need it the most.
Elyse Schunkewitz

"After the Pandemic"

When this is over
And it will be, someday
I will go to shul

I will listen to the ancient Hebrew prayers
They will wash over me
Purifying me
Like waters of ablutions
For the sacrifices at the ancient Temple

I will pray myself
The words will fly out of me
In loud staccato drumbeats
Forceful, warlike
Proclaiming I came through the battle and I am here
I am here, now
The words will flow out of me
In soft feathery wisps
Gentle, quiet
Like notes of a sweet lullaby
Rocking my soul to peace

I will gather with other congregants
Who are both celebrants and mourners
I will notice who among us
Is no longer here
And who among us is transformed by grief
And who among us stands in unadulterated joy

I will share hugs
And marvel at how human touch
Both excites and quiets my nervous system
The cells of my body
The follicles of my hair
My earlobes and my tastebuds

I will break bread which is challah
Thinking as I eat it how life is braided with death
Kindness with selfishness
Fear with security
Generosity with greed
Illness with health
Poverty with riches
War with peace
And how always, always this is true

And I will sit with you
And I will study with you
And I will ask you
What have you learned?
How have you changed?

And I will listen to your answer
Deeply, with my heart
And I will breathe with you
In fiery, life-affirming breaths
And we will hold each othersʼ hands
And we will hold each othersʼ gaze
And together we will say “Amen”

Beverly Jane Pincus

I am grateful for my amazing husband, and his sense of humor. I am grateful for my job, Adaptations, friends, lunch & learn, and the JCC community through Zoom, my brother, and daily chats with my father. I am grateful for all the virtual programs and for funny cartoons. I am grateful for beautiful flowers and trees.
Amy Rosenfeld-Kass

We're grateful for our family and friends, near and far, new and old. We're grateful to be able to connect to our “Connections family” daily via Zoom! We love being able to connect and support one another and share lots of laughs. We're grateful for frontline staff who are working hard so we can stay home and stay safe. We're grateful for our health and strength and this opportunity to slow down a little (and sleep in!).
JCC Connections

We're grateful to be able to see our Transitions family on Zoom. We're grateful that we are able to go new places together and explore when we are not in quarantine. We are grateful that we can show up to group on good days and not so good days and feel supported.
JCC Transitions

I'm grateful for a lot of virtual Adaptation Programs, and Alex who's been bringing these programs to life. It's a great way to connect even if we're apart right now. I look forward to coming back once you reopen. I miss going there and seeing everyone.
Yael Smith

I’m grateful for Caroline Kohles. Her Lunch & Learn series brought me something to look forward to that was worthwhile and helpful at this time. Caroline rocked it by partnering with the Whole Being Institute. She created a virtual family. It was amazing how quickly Caroline mobilized the technology and has delivered every single day.Her passion shines through always and has given me tools and chizuk at this time. I feel proud to be a part of the JCC family.
Lisa Brandes

I'm grateful to have a home with my husband, not feeling alone, there's food on the table, and clothes on my back. Of course technology so we can communicate with love ones friends & do activities remotely. I'm also grateful that I didn't get the virus, yet thankful for our health care workers and other essential workers keeping our city safe and going; and of course working at JCC for many years.
Jennifer Garcia Mintz

I am grateful for the health and well being of my husband, family and friends, for the frontline healthcare workers and all the vital police, fire people, transit folks and food service workers of this city, who are the true heroes, helping us get through this crisis. I am also grateful for the chesed shown by our Governor Cuomo, Mayor de Blasio, and our wonderful JCC, who inspire hope and light in this current period of darkness and fear.

It's not too late to submit. Let us know what you are grateful for here.

What are YOU grateful for at this time? Submit your response at the link below.