2021 Will be a Year of Growth
2020 is finally behind us, with over 400,000 Americans succumbing to COVID-19. Perhaps you even lost a loved one or someone else you know. We personally, and as a country, will forever be changed. When we must go out, we continue to wear our masks and try to maintain social distancing from others. When we are home, Zoom and streaming services keep many of us connected to work, family, and entertainment.
2021 began with “some” optimism with vaccinations under way. I pray we all return to a new sense of “normalcy” sooner rather than later. Despite many carry-over challenges from last year, 2021 will be a year of growth for your Federation. Jewish Family Services and the Jewish Community Center, who have partnered with Direction Home of Eastern Ohio, will continue, as funding permits, to deliver mobile meals to those over 60 in Mahoning County and northern Columbiana County. To date, we have prepared over 100,000 of these meals.
To combat the isolation felt by many older adults, staff worked with Levy Gardens and Heritage Manor families to Skype, Facetime or Zoom loved ones and arranged for window visits when possible. We hope full in-person visits will begin soon. Heritage Manor will be adding on to the building later this year to make all rooms private. You will hear more about this renovation in the coming months. JFS counselors changed the way they have traditionally worked with clients and continue to offer teletherapy. And the JCRC is committed to being an advocate for the community, and is staying in constant contact with community leaders and public officials (local, national, and international) to monitor needs and exchange updates.
One of our agencies, the JCC, has already seen some growth this year. January saw the launch of both the JCC Winter Campus and the School of Theatre. The Winter Campus includes an ice rink and curling lane, with reservations required and masks mandatory. A curling league is set to begin in February.
The new JCC School of Theatre began offering classes in January. A racquetball court is being converted to a performing arts space for the school. The School of Theatre joins the School of Dance and the School of Music to complete the JCC Performing Arts options for all ages.
The Paul and Yetta Gluck School of Visual Arts, which opened this past August, is offering art lessons, both in-person and virtual, for students of all ages, including children in our Early Learning Center.
With all that happening at the JCC, I am pleased to welcome Denise Wolf as our new JCC Executive Director, who starts with us on January 29. Originally from Chicago, Denise comes to us with many years of experience, most recently 16 years as the Chief Operating Officer of the JCC of Tucson, Arizona. As COO, Denise oversaw Early Childhood; Children, Youth and Camping Services; Health and Wellness; Special Needs Services; Art and Culture; and day-to-day operations of this large JCC. I know that Denise will be a fantastic addition to our Senior Management team at the Federation. When COVID restrictions are lifted, I encourage you to stop by and meet Denise, otherwise feel free to contact her at the JCC.
Be well and stay safe.
Chief Executive Officer, Youngstown Area Jewish Federation
Tuesday, January 26, 2021
2020 is finally behind us, with over 400,000 Americans succumbing to COVID-19. Perhaps you even lost a loved one or someone else you know. We personally, and as a country, will forever be changed. When we must go out, we continue to wear our masks ...
Tuesday, December 22, 2020
Just before Hanukkah in November 1984 a Jewish miracle happened.
While we slept, a covert rescue operation was taking place halfway across the world from us, in Ethiopia. Between Nov. 21 and early January 1985 thousands of Jewish refugees from ...
Tuesday, November 24, 2020
As 2020 winds down (it can't come soon enough), we know things unfortunately are going to get worse during the holiday season. Tragically, we will see an increase in the number of cases and deaths. The good news is there are better treatments to ...
Monday, October 26, 2020
This month, on November 18, I will celebrate my 35th anniversary with the Youngstown Area Jewish Federation. Much has changed in our local community since Hilari, Sean, and I arrived from Long Island. (Rachel is a Buckeye and born here in 1991.) ...
Wednesday, September 23, 2020
Note from Andy: This month, in place of my regular column, I invited Federation Financial Resource Director Lisa Long to share her thoughts
During these challenging times, I have chosen to continue to see the glass as half full, searching for ...
Wednesday, August 26, 2020
Sundown on Friday, September 18 marks Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year of 5781. Millions of Jews around the world would usually congregate for the beginning of the High Holy Days. As Jews we celebrate the New Year in many different ways, but this ...
Thursday, July 23, 2020
Following the murder of George Floyd, the Federation released a statement. (You can read it in its entirety in the July Jewish Journal Monthly Magazine). As Federation president Rick Marlin and I said at the time, “We are heartbroken and ...
Friday, June 26, 2020
Note from Andy: This month, in place of my regular column, I invited Federation Director of Community Relations/Government Affairs Bonnie Deutsch Burdman to share her thoughts regarding current affairs in Israel.
While all of us in the Jewish ...
Thursday, May 28, 2020
On May 14 we held our first ever virtual Youngstown Area Jewish Federation event. We were able to showcase the ways our agencies are responding to the COVID-19 crisis. Though we couldn’t be together, it was still a wonderful evening of ...
Thursday, April 23, 2020
The current COVID-19 crisis has changed the way we do things – both personally and professionally. But what it hasn’t changed is our connection to one another. We must keep physical distance, but that doesn’t mean we can’t be ...
Tuesday, April 7, 2020
What has not been written about the coronavirus? Our lives will NEVER be the same, but how we deal with this virus will forever define generations to come. It reminds me of the 1962 song by Bob Dylan, “Blowin’ in the Wind,” which ...
Friday, March 20, 2020
March normally brings about the promise of Spring, the excitement of the NCAA basketball tournament, and preparation for Passover. Instead, this year, we find ourselves grappling with the uncertainty of what will happen in the coming weeks and days. ...
Wednesday, February 26, 2020
Youngstown Area Jewish Federation is the umbrella organization overseeing our local agencies, namely the Jewish Community Center, Heritage Manor, Levy Gardens, the Jewish Community Relations Council, and Jewish Family Services. Together we’ve ...
Friday, December 20, 2019
Recently a good friend of mine shared that he has a friend, John*, who is going through a rough time. My friend Bob Lackey, who has moved out of the area, knows about rough times. Six years ago he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. He was ...
Tuesday, November 19, 2019
On Nov. 18, I celebrated my 34th anniversary with the Youngstown Area Jewish Federation. When we arrived in the Valley in 1985, my wife Hilari and I, along with our one-year-old son Sean, found a Jewish community and Federation that has become an ...
Thursday, October 24, 2019
It seems hard to believe it’s been a year since 11 innocent people lost their lives in the horrific shooting at the Tree of Life building in Pittsburgh. It’s even harder to believe we’re still facing threats of violence against ...
Thursday, September 26, 2019
Personally, I’m reflecting on the major challenge in my life over the past year. I would never have guessed 2019 would bring heart surgery for me. But it did. That was a scary and emotional time. But the past year also brought my daughter ...
Friday, February 22, 2019
The Youngstown Area Jewish Federation is the umbrella organization for several agencies. They all provide a variety of much-needed services for the Jewish and general communities. But some are more visible than others. Jewish Family Services, with a ...
December 20, 2019 (Get Up, Dress up, Show Up, and Never Give Up)
November 19, 2019 (34 Years at the Federation)
September 26, 2019 (Reflection and Renewal)
August 24, 2019 (Security is Critical Issue)
July 25, 2019 (Summer's Winding down)
June 24, 2019 (Exciting Changes at JCC main and Logan Campuses)
May 23, 2019 (Thank You For Your Support)
April 23, 2019 (Holocaust Education Important Part of Federation's Work)
February 22, 2019 (Jewish Family Services Offers Much-Needed Services)
January 24, 2019 (Take A Tour With Me)
December 18, 2018 (Supporting Family)
November 20, 2018 (With Your Help, Federation Agencies Can Work Together to Benefit Families)
October 29, 2018 (Personal Reflections of A Tragedy)
October 15, 2018 (Without Federation...)
August 30, 2018 (Changes at Federation and Its Agencies)