JCC stories

The Marlene Meyerson JCC Manhattan is actively shaping 21st-century Jewish life. The stories in this section, which also appear in our seasonal program guides, serve as an introduction to some of the people and programs that represent that change, that make us so much more than a community center. We hope they inspire as well as inform.

Several of the stories that appear here have short video companions. To watch these videos, click the link in the sidebar of each story. To watch all of the videos now, click here.

Story Editor: Sherri Lerner

stories from Spring 2021

Crafting Tzedakah in Pandemic Times

You could say that the impetus for Jordana Manzano’s recent act of tzedakah benefitting the Marlene Meyerson JCC Manhattan was the Basics of Crochet class she and her son Zach signed up for in February 2020. But its roots actually go back to 2004, when JCC Chief Executive Officer Rabbi Joy Levitt agreed to officiate at the wedding of Manzano (then Sandler) and her husband, David.


stories from Winter 2021

New Fund Expands Israel’s Film Horizons

As a leading presenter of Israeli films in America, the Marlene Meyerson JCC Manhattan has been a pioneer in bringing groundbreaking films from Israel to US audiences.


Engage Volunteers Take English Overseas

Until recently, members of the Marlene Meyerson JCC Manhattan’s Engage Jewish Service Corps, a major component of the new Wechsler Center for Modern Aging, volunteered to help those in need through organizations in their own community—or at least a neighboring one. In December 2020,Engage, made up primarily of participants age 60 and beyond, expanded its range—by about 5,700 miles.


At 99, Muriel Mandell Still Has Plenty to Teach

If you think mastering today's technology is just for the young, think again. In the 20+ years since nearly 1,000 classes in personal technology have been offered to seniors at the Marlene Meyerson JCC Manhattan, close to 2,000 have learned skills ranging from computer, tablet, and cell phone basics to photo editing and streaming by tech-savvy peers like Muriel Mandell.


stories from Fall 2020

Megan Whitman’s New Role Is Picture Perfect

Even if she hadn’t been working remotely when she was hired as chief program officer (CPO) at the Marlene Meyerson JCC Manhattan this fall, Megan Whitman wasn’t likely to have encountered the same issues people taking a new position often do.


Virtual Journeys Give Connections Members a Passport to the World



When opportunities to travel locally closed up this year for participants in the Marlene Meyerson JCC Manhattan's Connections group, they didn’t let it slow them down. Instead, they embarked on a global adventure.


For Jewish Journeys Students, Plan B Was the Great Outdoors

When the seventh graders enrolled in the Marlene Meyerson JCC Manhattan’s Jewish Journeys B-Mitzvah class began their final year in the program in September 2019, they, like everyone else, had no idea the turns 2020 would take.


stories from Summer 2020

Remembering Judy Fettman

Adaptations, a group for those in their 20s and 30s that was one of the earliest innovations out of The Jack and Shirley Silver Center for Special Needs, played a key role in enhancing the life of Judy Fettman over the past 12 years. All those who know her would agree that she did the same for Adaptations.


A Community that Cares

For some, it was finding food for Passover. For others, it was finding a way to obtain needed medications. For some, it was the desire to find a substitute for their weekly bridge game. And for many, it was just the need to know that they had not been forgotten in isolation. Times are uncertain. Community is not.


JCC Harlem’s Meg Sullivan Honored for Her Commitment to Strengthening Reflective Community

Written by Cynthia Ceilan

"The fellowship of women from around the world who are making truly impactful change is not to be underestimated," says Meg Sullivan, director of JCC Harlem. "For someone like me, who is still in the early stages of my career, it's a particular honor to be among such giants."