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.

stories from Fall 2022

JCC Art Studios Reopen After Nearly Three-Year Pause

"I believe that our ceramics studio is a beautiful showcase of what our community is all about. It's about the heart."

- Udi Urman


16th Annual Other Israel Film Festival Opens at the JCC

"We are excited to re-engage with our audiences and host these timely conversations, with hopes of activating people and changing perceptions."

- Carole Zabar


stories from Summer 2022

After a 2-Year Delay, Chef’s Table Makes Its Cafe Debut

For Bruce Soffer and Ava Lang, husband and wife and business partners in the family-owned catering company Chef's Table, the path to running the JCC's cafe took somewhat longer to travel than expected.


These Upper West Siders Call the JCC Home

In the 21 years they’ve been coming to the Marlene Meyerson JCC Manhattan, Lenore and Steve Sherman have enjoyed a range of classes and programs together, from Zumba, Board30, and Pilates to jewelry-making, films, and conversations. They’re also regulars at the fitness center. “I’ll try any class the gym has to offer,” says Steve.


Shomer Collective to Keep “What Matters” Flame Burning Bright

From the time it was introduced at the Marlene Meyerson JCC Manhattan in 2015, What Matters: Caring Conversations About End of Life has helped countless people record and communicate their end of life wishes to family, friends, and healthcare professionals.


stories from Winter 2022

Dogs Lend a Paw in Kids’ Literacy Skills

When 10-year-old Leo logs on to his weekly Zoom call with Brooke Helburn, he doesn’t waste time on small talk. After an enthusiastic “Hi!” he cracks open his copy of Beverly Cleary’s classic Ribsy and, once Helburn reminds him where they left off the previous week, starts reading. “He’s all business,” she says, laughing.


stories from Spring 2021

BBYO Leaders Take Skills to New Levels

As members of Empire AZA and L’Dor Vador BBG, the two chapters of BBYO Manhattan based at the Marlene Meyerson JCC Manhattan, Zachary Traum, 17, and Daniela Koplin, 16, have proven themselves to be capable and innovative leaders.


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.