The latest dance craze for JCC professionals


Deborah Grayson Riegel If you were to see me attempting to slow dance, do the “Single Ladies” hand wave, or even the hora at a bar mitzvah or wedding, you would never guess that I have, in fact, taken dancing lessons. My first dance lessons – tap, jazz and ballet – started when I was […]

Kicking off a celebration of TAG


The Jack, Joseph, and Morton Mandel Center for Jewish Education (MCJE) is celebrating the 10th anniversary of TAG: Daily Living through a Jewish Lens™ with a #TAGyoureit challenge. JCCs across the continent are encouraged to do a TAG activity at their JCC, such as in their afterschool program, at teen events, or during a staff […]

Service at the J takes center stage in honor of MLK


Abraham Joshua Heschel said that his “legs were praying,” as he marched arm-in-arm with Martin Luther King, Jr. across the Pettus Bridge from Selma to Montgomery, Ala. They made history; the photo of the bearded rabbi and the dapper minister has become iconic, just as Heschel’s words celebrate the idea that Judaism and action are […]

Woman of the book


Jewish Book Council director takes her bow By Marla Cohen She won’t select a favorite book. And she’s mum about preferring one author over another. “I’ll never say that,” says Carolyn Starman Hessel, who has steered the Jewish Book Council (JBC) for 21 years and will be retiring in March. “So many of them are […]

Honoring those who serve


The final plenary of the Jewish Federations of North America’s General Assembly (GA) took place on Veterans Day this year, and JWB Jewish Chaplains Council took center stage. Four JWB chaplains, each representing a branch of the United States armed forces, and one Canadian chaplain, Capt. Bryan Bowley, Royal Canadian Air Force, spoke of their […]

Say niseah tovah


JCC Boarding Pass trips are tailor-made Nyla Harper had never been to Israel. As someone who attends synagogue weekly and volunteers at her JCC in Austin, traveling to the Jewish homeland was something she wanted to do. But she wanted to go and “just be myself,” she says. So when Aliza Orent, director of Jewish […]

CATCH is catching


Mandel JCC Palm Beaches spreads the word for signature early childhood program Timothy Wingate Jr. was worrying about his kids. As chief executive officer of Apostolic Child Development Centers, Inc. he worried that they didn’t know how to make good food choices; that they didn’t get enough exercise. He figured they were setting themselves up […]

From reel to real


Telling Israel’s story through film By Einat Kapach Films are among the greatest tools for teaching, primarily because they are so enjoyable. When people sit in a darkened room watching a story unfold, they have come to be entertained. But they often gain something so much deeper because they are connecting with characters, the struggles […]

The Israeli touch


How schlichim bring Israel into the J, every day By Marla Cohen Hosting an Israeli, coached to serve as an emissary, is a powerful tool for engaging your community with Israel. A trained shaliach helps integrate Israel throughout the JCC, infusing programs as diverse as early childhood, sports, adult education, and arts with a taste […]

Parashat Vayechi (Genesis 47:28-50:26)

“And Joseph called to his sons and said,’ Come together that I may tell you what is to befall you in days to come.’” (Genesis 49:1) Parashat Vayechi is the last parasha (portion) in the book of Genesis. It concludes the story-cycle of Joseph and his brothers. Much of the parasha is taken up with Jacob’s […]

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