Not only do we use the bus for the Before and After School Program, but our new bus will also be used throughout the year for field trips and all of Summer Camp! If you see us out and about, give our driver Ms. Sandy a wave!
The Tzofim Friendship Caravan brings excitement and energy through friendship and performance! Each Caravan is made up of a group of five girls and five boys and their two leaders. They are chosen to be members of the Caravan based on their maturity, fluency in English, and of course their talent! After several rounds of competitive auditions and interviews, the scouts spend a year training and rehearsing for their exciting summer.
JFAM at Camp Zeke is an all-inclusive camp family weekend. Experienced camp staff provide activities for all ages, and you will enjoy three meals (plus snacks galore) a day surrounded by your family and new friends. Your family can relax and recharge all while enjoying the beautiful outdoor setting.
Camp Zeke is located at 31 Barry Watson Way, Lakewood, PA 18439, about a two-hour drive from Central New York, straight down 81 South. The camp offers comfortable rooms including linen and towel service, air conditioning and central heating. All have private bathrooms with stall showers and can be set up in a combination of ways to accommodate family sizes.
Throughout the weekend, families participate in programs geared to toddlers, older kids and adults. There is boating and swimming in Camp Zeke’s heated pool and 60-acre spring-fed lake. Joyful musical services are held lakeside and fitness and strength training are offered in a full gym. There are nature walks, circus arts, theater games, lakeside campfires and more.
The cost for a family of four for the weekend is $250 and is all inclusive. Federation subsidizes all other costs. Twenty families with one child under the age of 8 are welcome to apply. Places are reserved for three families from each of our community’s synagogues with an additional eight slots open to all.
JFAM believes that every Jewish family belongs at camp and welcomes all family structures, families with members who do not identify as Jewish, families of all races, ethnicities, sexual orientations and gender identities and families with children and/or adults with disabilities.
To apply for Camp Zeke, please email [email protected]and include your name, address and the names and ages of people in your family. You must have one child under the age of 8 to be eligible. Please indicate If you are a member of a synagogue. (Please note: There will be no proselytization of any kind at the camp.)
Purim is right around the corner and the Sam Pomeranz Jewish Community Center of Syracuse is ready to celebrate. This year, the Jewish holiday begins at sundown on March 6 and ends the following nightfall on March 7. The JCC celebrations will include food, lots of activities for the children, and the annual Purim Carnival.
As you know, Purim commemorates the survival of the Jews of Persia from Haman, thanks to the bravery of Queen Esther. The joyous occasion focuses on four mitzvot (commandments): Megillah (hearing the story of Purim), Mishloach manot (giving food gifts), Matanot l’evyonim (giving to the poor), and Seudat Purim (enjoying a festive meal).
During Purim, the JCC is transformed to bring the tale to life with colorful decorations and balloons. The Early Childhood Development Program hosts a parade and party to celebrate. Children embrace the spirit by dressing up in a variety of costumes from Esther and Haman to superheroes and princesses. They will have a chance to show off their creativity to parents in a parade around the gym. The festivities continue in the classroom, where the story of Purim is read and a traditional snack of hamentashen is served.
Children who participate in the After School Program will also snack on hamentashen. The fun will continue with a “paper chain” race to see who can construct the longest chain. Whoever does will win tickets to the JCC’s annual Purim Carnival! During the week, seniors will be able to partake in a special holiday lunch as well.
The annual Purim Carnival will take place on March 5 from 12-4pm. We are excited to invite the entire community back to the JCC after hosting a socially distant “Car”nival the past few years due to the pandemic. It just wasn’t the same, so we look forward to resuming the full experience that is unlike any other, and to reconnect and make new memories as a community during the most joyous Jewish holiday!
The fun-filled event will include carnival games, bounce houses, magic shows, and story time for the children. Make sure the kids hold on to their tickets after each game, so they can exchange them for cool prizes. Parents can also get in on the fun by dressing up.
Esther’s café will also be open in the auditorium and feature a kosher menu. Menu items will include corned beef, knishes, and hamantaschen cookies. Community organizations are invited to host an information table. Reach out to Amy Bisnett at 315-445-2360 or email@example.com to learn more.
“It’s always happy to see families coming together to enjoy a holiday with the community,” said Cindy Stein, director of Senior and Adult Programs at the JCC. “Honestly, the kids need this. They need to come back to be able to have special times with their families and to enjoy Jewish traditions.”
Flour, water, oil, and joyful group laughter were part of the recipe for a recent challah baking class at the Jewish Community Center. Roughly a dozen Syracuse Hebrew Day School (SHDS) students from the fourth and fifth grade classes gathered in the auditorium of the JCC in early December to bake bread. Marci Erlebacher, executive director of the JCC, led the class, and Assistant Director Erin Hart and Chef Donna helped organize the event.
“Baking bread is really very scientific,” Erlebacher said to the group as she asked them to channel their inner scientists. The students were up for the challenge! They mixed the ingredients, kneaded the dough, and covered it to let the dough rise, before shaping the challah. Once the bread came out of the oven, it was clear their hard work paid off!
Each student left with their own challah and received got challah? t-shirts. The challah was enjoyed by the entire school at the School Wide Shabbat program the following day.
“They did an amazing job,” Erlebacher said following the class.
Erlebacher’s love for baking challah developed gradually. Growing up she baked with her mother, but avoided bread because it scared her. It wasn’t until her late 20s, when a friend convinced her to give it a try and it stuck. Every Friday night Erlebacher and her family made challah for Shabbat on the table. The words of a Rabbi to “make Shabbat special,” inspired the new tradition. It’s a lesson she hopes to instill on future generations.
“Baking Challah isn’t just about baking. It is significant for the religious purpose, there’s science to it, and there’s the physical working and kneading of the bread,” she says. “Baking to me is an artform. We covered so many different views of life while baking bread. That’s what we wanted to impart on the kids.”
See the recipe Erlebacher uses below. She’s made some tweaks over the years (she doesn’t use food coloring or saffron) to make it her own.
This festive, seed-studded braid with its glossy brown crust and delicate flavor is called challah (sometimes spelled “hallah”). Now a popular deli-catessen item, challah has long-standing religious significance for the Jewish people, who enjoy it at Friday night Sabbath suppers, and sometimes adorn it with a sugar glaze and candied fruit or candies for special holidays. On Rosh Hashanah-the Jewish New Year-a custom is to dip a slice of challah into honey, symbolizing sweetness to be hoped for in the year to come.
1 pkg active dry yeast
1 1/4 cups warm water (about 110*)
1 tsp salt
1/4 cup each sugar and salad oil
2 eggs, lightly beaten
Pinch of saffron (optional)
5 to 5 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 egg yolk beaten with 1 Tbsp water
About 1 Tbsp sesame seeds or poppy seeds
In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in water. Stir in salt, sugar, oil, eggs, and saffron (if used). Gradually beat in about 4 1/2 cups of the flour to make a stiff dough.
Turn dough out onto a floured board and knead until smooth and satiny (5 to 20 minutes), adding flour as needed to prevent sticking. Place dough in a greased bowl; turn over to grease top. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled (about 1 1/2 hours). Punch dough down; knead briefly on a lightly floured board to release air. Set aside about 3/4 cup dough and cover it.
Divide remaining dough into 4 equal portions; roll each between your hands to form a strand about 20 inches long. Place the 4 strands length- wise on a large greased baking sheet (at least 14 by 17 inches, or put two sheets together, overlapping ends and wrapping the overlap with foil). Pinch tops together, and braid as follows: pick up strand on right, bring it over next one, under the third, and over the fourth. Repeat, always starting with strand on right, until braid is complete. Pinch ends together and tuck underneath loaf.
Roll reserved dough into a strand about 15 inches long; cut into 3 pieces and make a small 3-strand braid. Lay on top center of large braid. Cover and let rise in a warm place until almost doubled (about 1 hour).
Using a soft brush or your fingers, spread egg yolk mixture evenly over braids; sprinkle with seeds. Bake in a preheated 350* oven for 30 to 35 minutes or until loaf is golden brown. Let cool on a rack. Makes 1 loaf.
It’s easy! Simply download the PDF below, fill it out, and drop it off at the JCC front desk! Then pick up your gift cards in time for the holidays! All gift cards available are listed below for your convenience!
2023 ORDER DEADLINE: Wednesday, December 7th.
Gift cards will be available for pick up December 18th.
Chanukah is closer than you think. The passing of Rosh Hashanah brings a new year with new opportunities. In the spirit of the new year, the JCC is looking forward to providing a sense of normalcy that has been missing these last few years. The pandemic gave everyone an appreciation for the feeling of fellowship and strengthened the bond within the community. Now that people are beginning to feel a semblance of safety, the JCC hopes to bring a party that is warm and familiar through ritual and celebration.
The JCC’s annual Community Chanukah Party is making its return. The event will be held on Sunday, December 18th from 12:30pm – 3:00pm and is being sponsored by the Jewish Federation of CNY. Families will be invited and welcomed to join for a fun-filled afternoon. The eyes of the children will brighten as soon as they walk through the doors and see inflatables, crafts, face painting, balloon twisters, a photo booth and more. Refreshments will be provided and delicious food will be offered including latkes, bagels, fruit, and everyone’s favorite sufganiyot (jelly donuts).
The After School Program will be hosting their Chanukah Party Tuesday, December 20th during the program. Children will get to play dreidel, pin the fork on the latke, eat sufganiyot and more. Each child will get a Chanukah goody bag to take home.
As usual, the Early Childhood Development Program will be celebrating Chanukah. All classrooms will celebrate the holiday at their own developmental level within the classroom. The wings of the classroom will be decorated for the holiday and will have special materials for the occasion. On Wednesday, December 21 the classrooms will have their own Chanukah Celebration all day with special activities, crafts, latkes and sufganiyot.
Chanukah for the Senior Department will be celebrated on Friday, Dec 16th. A special lunch and sufganiyot will be served. We will have entertainment for this celebration. Reservations are required.
Finally, the whole community is invited to join us for nightly menorah lightings at the JCC. Children from Early Childhood and School Age programs come together to sing the blessings and watch as the lights are lit. Those without family to bring can find family within the comfort of the community. We will light the menorah at 4:30pm each weeknight during Chanukah.
The JCC is hosting a night of shopping! Take the opportunity to support women owned businesses and local vendors. This is the perfect place to purchase holiday gifts for loved ones. Wine will be available and the event is open to the community.
The JCC along with most child care and early learning centers are struggling to find quality assistant teachers. We at the JCC are very fortunate to have a great base of teachers with all Lead teachers having been with us for past school years!
Along with everyone else in the nation there is a real shortage of workers especially in the early childhood field. We are actively looking for qualified assistant teachers in all age groups in the Early Childhood Program as well as Before and After School counselors in our school age program. If you know anyone that would be a good fit please send them our way.
We offer competitive salary, full benefits, paid time off and opportunities for continued education and growth.
Reach out to Amy Bisnett and send resume if applicable please. No end date as we need a lot of staff.