Parashat Chukat (Numbers 19:1-22:1)

“And from there to B’er; that is the well about which God said to Moses, ‘Gather the people together, and I will give them water.’” (Numbers 21:16) Parashat Chukat appears to be the climax of a string of rebellions: Miriam and Aaron, the ten spies, Korach and his band, and now…Moses himself. When the Israelites […]

Parashat Korach (Numbers 16:1-18:32)

“And fire came forth from the Lord and devoured the two hundred and fifty men that offered the incense.” (Numbers 16:35) The rift in communal solidarity that begins three weeks ago with Aaron and Miriam complaining, continuing last week with the spies complaining, becomes a complete rupture this week in Parashat Korach. Korach leads 250 […]

A first Birthright trip for JCC young professionals

birthright on camel commute

With a goal of enriching JCC staff knowledge of the Jewish homeland and enhancing its presence at their community centers, 20 young JCC professionals participated in JCC Association’s first Birthright trip organized specifically for this cohort. The trip was unusual, as participants ranged in age from 22 to 29, somewhat older than typical Birthright participants. […]

Parashat Sh’lach L’cha (Numbers 13:1-15:41)

“The whole community broke into loud cries, and the people wept that night.” (Numbers 14:1) Parashat Sh’lach L’cha continues last week’s breakdown of authority. Moses sends twelve spies to tour the land. When they return, ten spread fear among the Israelites, who then challenge Moses’ authority. Only two spies, Caleb and Joshua, believe the land […]

Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, Parallel Cities

When I had originally planned on this month’s message, I had no idea that I would open it with a prayer for the safety and well being of three Israeli boys who were kidnapped by terrorists on their way home from boarding school. Since early Friday morning, these three students have become all our boys. […]

Steve Becker honored with President’s Council on Fitness, Sports & Nutrition Community Leadership Award


New York— Steve Becker, JCC Association’s vice president of health and wellness has received the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports & Nutrition (PCFSN) 2014 PCFSN Community Leadership Award.  The award is given annually to individuals or organizations that improve the lives of others within their community by providing or enhancing opportunities to engage in sports, […]

Parashat B’ha-alot’cha (Numbers 8:1-12:16)

“Not so with My servant Moses; he is trusted through My household.” (Numbers 12:7) The first chapters of Bamidbar (Numbers) are all about organizing the Israelites to cross the desert. Every tribe has its role and its place and the “org chart” is… perfect. Parashat B’ha-a lot’cha describes the plan’s implementation and how everything falls […]

A taste of Israel—JCC Style


JCC Association’s first Taglit-Birthright trip aimed specifically at Jewish professionals has been a tremendous success. We brought 40 “professional Jews” to the Jewish homeland with a goal of increasing their connection to and understanding of Israel. The trip featured a whirlwind itinerary – developed by our Israel office and our partners at Amazing Israel – […]

Kol Hakavod!


We’re wishing a well-deserved mazal tov to Steve Becker, JCC Association’s vice president of health and wellness, and Marla Cohen, communications manager, for recent recognition for outstanding work in their respective fields. Steve has received the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition Community Leadership Award. The award is given annually to individuals or organizations […]

Parashat Naso (Numbers 4:21-7:89)

“The Lord bless you and protect you.” (Numbers 6:24) Reading from the Torah is an exacting skill because it must be precise; no errors are permitted. To ensure the reader’s accuracy, two gabbaim (an Aramaic term for community wardens; singular is gabbai) stand on each side of the shulchan, or table, and follow closely. If […]