JCC Global Newsletter | April, 2019
The JCC Global family mourns the sudden death of its dear President, Mark Ramer of blessed memory and sends deep condolences to the entire Ramer family
Mark joined the JCC Global family some fifteen years ago and brought a breath of fresh air and enthusiasm to our cause. He loved the Jewish People and admired the work of Jewish communities around the world. He wanted to share his deep caring and knowledge with all Jews and felt blessed that he could do so. We travelled with him to the four corners of the world where he left a long-lasting impression on many leaders, some of whom became his personal friends for years to come.
For JCC Global he wanted only the best and urged us to think big and embark on a strategic plan and direction. During his tenure, JCC Global enjoyed the best of times with the fruits of the Amitim– Fellows program that reached thousands of Jews around the world. He loved the day to day work of JCC Global and was invested in every decision, big or small. Until his very last days he was so involved with the strategic plan and wanted to see it come to fruition.
We can’t speak of Mark in past tense as his image is so vivid and present in our lives. We can only fill our hearts with his memory and promise to continue working relentlessly to implement his vision of a vibrant network of world Jewry that brings meaning and inspiration to Jews in Israel, which was so dear to his heart, and around the world.
We send our deepest condolences to the Ramer family; may his memory be of blessing.
Menachem Revivi, JCC Global Chair
Jane Gellman, Past President
Ishie Gitlin, Honorary Chair
Linda and Jerry Spitzer, Honorary Presidents and Chairs
Smadar Bar-Akiva, Executive Director and Noa Tal, Program Director
And all the extended JCC Global family members in Israel and around the world
Mark Ramer, JCC Global President, was born in Wajbych, Poland, where his parents were liberated after WWII. At the age of four, the family spent a few months at a HIAS camp in Venice before moving to Israel. After three and a half years in Haifa, the family moved to New York. Mark was a graduate of NYU’s Dental School, practicing dentistry for ten years. He then made a career change and went into the realm of real estate. Mark was the current president of his synagogue: The Jewish Center of Atlantic Beach. Mark was the president of the Schechter Day School in Lawrence Long Island for fifteen years. He was a board member of the JCC of the Greater Five Towns, the Jewish Education Project and contributed to many charities.
Mark is survived by his wife, father, children and grandchildren who reside in New York.
Registration is now open for the 10th World Conference of JCCs and the Amitim2.0 Assembly, Jerusalem, December 2019
We invite you to be a contributing member to the global network of JCCs, a vehicle for inspiration and benefit- all for the sake of ensuring a thriving Jewish future.
the largest gathering of Jews in Latin America with 3500 participants from 20 countries.
For detailed information press here.
Amitim Update: Leadership visit from the Kings Bay YM/YWHA JCC in New York to the Netanya South Community Centers in Israel solidifies global partnership
As part of the Amitim2.0 program, a staff delegation from the Kings Bay YM/YWHA JCC in New York led by Stephen Reinter, Chair and Lenny Petlack, Executive Director paid a reciprocal visit to the Netanya South Community Centers under the direction of Liat Arie. The delegation visited several community centers in Netanya focusing on the absorption of Jews from Ethiopia and integrating adults with disabilities into the fabric of community life. The delegation also toured sites in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and the North. The Netanya South Community Centers Network is an arm of the municipality of Netanya and a member of the Israel Association of Community Centers. It focuses on community building in diverse communities that are comprised of native Israelis, immigrants from many countries and members with a variety of interests in needs. Now that both staff teams had a chance to get to know each other, plans are underway for exchange programs in the areas of youth, early childhood, marketing and more.
Amitim Update: Mono-Logue teen theater 5 partner project- 14th Street Y, Manhattan, NYC; Athens Jewish Community, Athens, Greece; Lamroth Hakol, Buenos Aires, Argentina; Maaleh Yosef Community Center, Israel and Redbridge JCC, London, England- concluded a mini online training course in theater education
Initiated by Ronit Muszkatblit and led by Kendell Pinkney, the study and peer learning sessions focused on the following themes: Understanding the Monologue Model, whereby the individual and their personal experiences are the focus. Where Jewish texts are tools that help dig into deeper questions about what it means to be humans who happen to be Jewish. Then, Kendell taught the participants how to go from text to feelings and ideas and from there to writing personal monologues. Finally, the staff members discussed how to develop the performances themselves. Each JCC will now implement this method in their own community, video tape it and then share it with their peers from around the world. Some of the participating JCCs may be able to augment the online experience with a face to face encounter in London this coming summer. If you are interested in adopting this model in your JCC, contact the JCC Global staff team.
Thanks to an introduction from Doron Krakow we established an initial connection with the Beit Immanuel synagogue/community center in Johannesburg, South Africa. To read more about the community, click here If you are able to share advice on a successful synagogue/JCC model, please contact us.
Passover in Cuba- Hot off the Press- a brand new Haggadah published by the Israel Association of Community Centers depicts stories of 65 individuals who immigrated to Israel from 65 countries, celebrating the multiplicity of identities in Israeli society
One of these stories is about Luba Milgram who was born in Mariano, Cuba in 1950 and immigrated to Israel at the age of 11. One of many Jews who escaped Poland before World War II and since the gates of USA were closed, found themselves in Cuba. As a child, she studied in a Jewish school. In the morning, they studied core education subjects in Spanish and in the afternoon, Jewish history in Yiddish. She recalls that her father was very involved in the Jewish community and supported the Zionist movement. The active Jewish community of some 15,000 Jews preserved the Jewish holidays and traditions and often congregated at the Petronato- a large synagogue and event hall in the center of Havana. Everything changed in 1959 when Fidel Castro came to power. Shortly after, their family store was confiscated, food was scarce and it was time to leave. While the majority of Cuban Jews left to the USA, Luba’s family immigrated to Israel where she resides today with her husband, their two children and four grandchildren. And how did they manage to escape to Israel? In 1961, during a clandestine operation, in return for sending a cargo of sheep, the state of Israel was able to fly to Israel a few hundred Cuban Jews.
We read Luba’s story during the Halel (praise) section of the Haggadah (Psalm 118):
“O give thanks unto the Lord; for he is good: because his mercy endureth for ever…
I called upon the Lord in distress: the Lord answered me, and set me in a large place.
הוֹדוּ לַיהוָה כִּי-טוֹב: כִּי לְעוֹלָם חַסְדּוֹ
מִן-הַמֵּצַר, קָרָאתִי יָּהּ; עָנָנִי בַמֶּרְחָב יָהּ. יְהוָה לִי, לֹא אִירָא; מַה-יַּעֲשֶׂה לִי אָדָם..