Liptalk: Changes at Federation and Its Agencies
A message from Andy Lipkin, Federation Executive Vice-President
As we approach the Jewish New Year 5779, it seems to be a good time to reflect on what the Federation and its agencies have been doing and where we’re heading. There is a lot going on – new staff, changes to the campus, and new programming. I’m excited to share it with you.
Levy Gardens has a brand new look. The dining room has been renovated. Old carpeting was replaced with new flooring and the walls were painted. Three custom-made cabinets replaced the ice/water dispenser. The wallpaper in the halls and common areas was removed, the drywall was repaired, and a fresh coat of paint was applied. And all of the outdoor window shutters were replaced.
Heritage Manor will be undergoing lobby renovations to improve security in the building. They also continually look for new programs to make residents’ lives more enjoyable. The bi-monthly Veteran’s meetings are going well and more residents are attending. A car show will be held for the first time at the Home on Sept. 26.
Changes to the campus on Gypsy Lane began with the installation of a state-of-the-art infant/toddler playground. The walking and running trail was also repaved. Work on pickleball courts and a pavilion will begin in the spring. Inside the Jewish Community Center, the gymnasium will get a face-lift with a fresh coat of paint, brand new backboards, crash pads, more ceiling fans, lights and a score board. The fitness center will be expanded. A renovation of the women’s locker room is nearly complete and a men’s locker room expansion will begin in the fall. $350,000 is being invested in security infrastructure upgrades for the whole campus. Included are over 140 cameras, monitoring stations, outdoor lighting and more.
New classes have been added to the JCC schedule, including youth and adult writing. A self-defense class for women was offered for the first time, and about 70 people attended. The School of Dance has doubled its enrollment. The JCC’s health & wellness department has a new director – Laura Weymer – and is expanding and developing new partnerships. New programs, such as Taekwondo and P90X fitness classes, are being added. A collaboration with Mercy Health will offer in-depth health screenings and more. The JCC just had two consecutive record-breaking months for membership, Camp JCC had a 25 percent increase in attendance this summer, and the swim team had 92 members. The Early Learning Center also has a new director, Ben Katz.
Jewish Family Services is providing nearly 1,000 kosher meals a month to people in our community who are, for many reasons, in need of nutritiously prepared foods. For that program, they partner with the Trumbull County Board of Developmental Disabilities for help with the packing and delivery.
Jimmy Tricomi of TCBDD works with a job coach to pack and deliver meals for Jewish Family Services.
The Jewish Journal Monthly Magazine is reaching more people. It’s now available in every branch of the Public Library of Youngstown and Mahoning County and the Warren-Trumbull County Public Library.
The Jewish Community Relations Council has a booth at the Canfield Fair to promote Israel and the Jewish community. There are kids' activities and Federation agencies are promoting their activities. Volunteers are staffing the booth, with our non-Jewish friends working the booth on Shabbat.
Our 2018 Inaugural Event of the Combined Jewish Appeal will be Sept. 13 at the DeYor Performing Arts Center. If you haven’t already registered for this event, please remember to do so by Sept. 6 by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Jeannie and Gerry Peskin are the co-chairs of the event, and Joshua Malina will present “How To Make It In Hollywood & Remain A Mensch” following dinner.
Every day we work to engage the broader Jewish community in a vital, engaged and nurturing renaissance of Jewish life in the greater Youngstown area. These building and campus changes, along with new programming, are some of the ways we’re doing that.
L’Shana Tovah, may the New Year be filled with peace, prosperity and good health.
Executive Vice-President, Youngstown Area Jewish Federation