2018-01-31 / Voice at the Shore

Adult programming is booming at the JCC in Margate

COMMUNITY CORNER
By JOSH CUTLER,
Program Director, Milton & Betty Katz JCC, Margate


JOSH CUTLER JOSH CUTLER Over the past two decades, the Jewish population of Atlantic County has been quietly but steadily shifting. The community of young families that thrived here in the 1990s is transforming into a more mature demographic. In addition, we now have a large population of local retirees and baby boomers who are moving to the shore area as new year-round residents.

As a result, the JCC is seeing a greater demand for programs focusing on active adults.

In September of 2017, I took on the new position of JCC Program Director. In this new role, I am now doing much more programming for adults and seniors— and loving all the wonderful possibilities that exist in serving the needs of this growing group of community members.

What does this mean for local residents and visitors to the shore? It means that the JCC will be offering a lot more fun and interesting programs, including more social, cultural, educational, and travel programs for adults.

The JCC has already begun offering more adult travel opportunities. Last autumn, the JCC offered its first-ever trip to Central and Eastern Europe, which afforded an eye-opening look at these countries’ past and present, including the rich Jewish culture and overwhelming tragedy experienced there by our people.

In 2018, we are running many more trips. This includes two trips to Israel—one in March (which sold out instantly), and another over the Chanukah holiday (November 29 – December 9). With an early bird cost of only $3,600 per person including airfare, we expect this trip to be a sell-out as well. The JCC is also offering a South Africa Sukkot Safari September 23 - October 3, which sold out before the brochure was even created. Clearly, JCC members and guests are eager to take part in these exciting and affordable expeditions. Soon we will begin promoting 2019 trips, which will include many new and exciting adventures.

Several exciting new adult cultural programs have also been planned for late winter and spring. The amazing world of Jewish music will be highlighted in three upcoming programs— on February 20 and April 17 and 24—that will feature Yiddish and Europeanthemed music, with performances by a live violinist as well as a vocalist (contact the JCC or visit our website for more details on these). The Keshet Chaim Dance Ensemble, an American- Israeli contemporary dance company, will celebrate the inclusive spirit of Israeli culture in a performance at the JCC on March 12 at 7 p.m. These programs represent just the beginning of the new stream of Jewish- and Israel-themed cultural programs that we plan to offer in the future.

JCC members and guests can also expect to see an increase in the programs that they already enjoy. Our successful Brunch & Learn programs will continue to feature interesting speakers from places like the Middle East Forum, One Family Fund, and Jewish National Fund, as well as professors from Stockton University and other academic institutions.

This year, unlike in previous years, the JCC’s many successful adult social programs will continue through the busy summer months. These programs include our very popular Mahjong Brunches; our Coffee Klatches, which afford opportunities for lively political discussion; and our Dinner & Movie events.

And of course, we will continue our popular summer entertainment series. This summer’s lineup includes stars like Melissa Manchester and Tom Arnold, to name a few. For me personally, expanding adult programming through my new role as JCC Program Director is a welcome and exciting challenge. After thirteen amazing summers as Director of JCC’s Camp By The Sea, I was excited and ready for a professional evolution when I took on this new direction. At the same time, I have also made another major life change by returning to graduate school; I am now getting my master’s degree in Holocaust and Genocide Studies at Stockton University.

The Famous Jewish author Shmuel Yosef Agnon once wrote: “If you change the language, you change the content.” This is certainly proving true for me, as my new role at the JCC and my Stockton studies enrich the content of my life, expand my horizons, and bring me in contact with many new people in our community.

In the words of the Jewish- Polish scholar and poet, Yitzhak Levi Satanov, “The nature of the community is but the sum-total of what there is in the individuals.” In my new role at the JCC, I look forward to harnessing the ever-changing nature of the shore community as I establish and grow relationships with adult and senior community members.

For more information about any of the programs I have mentioned here, or any other JCC programs, please contact me at (609) 822-1167 or jcutler@jccatlantic.org. s

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