FIDF Special Briefing

The Friends of the IDF and the JCC of Syracuse Invite you to a briefing with special guest speaker and a former IDF Spokesperson Lt. Colonel (Res.). An insider view on the operational and strategic situation in Israel, and the challenges and opportunities that Israel is facing. Thursday, March 14th , 7PM at the JCC. Space is limited. Registration is required in advance.
Portrait of former IDF Spokesperson Lt. Colonel (Res.) Jonathan Conricus

Jonathan Conricus is a recently retired IDF Lieutenant Colonel, who served in the IDF for 24 years as a combat commander in Lebanon and the Gaza Strip, as a military diplomat, foreign relations expert and international spokesperson. He was the first IDF officer to be seconded to the UN HQ in New York where he provided strategic analysis for UN peacekeeping. He has extensive hands-on experience with international media (hundreds of interviews), think-tanks, NGOs, legislators, militaries, industries and institutions. In his last role in the IDF, he served as the International Spokesperson.

General JCC

A Message from the JCC, October 2023

We are all numbed by these unprecedented times. We are all in shock, the world is in shock. It goes without saying that our hearts are weeping for the horrific loss of life. We also offer our support and prayers to all those who are dealing with loss or the anguish of not knowing about loved ones in Israel.

Our position and focus over the past week has been to secure our institution to the best of our ability. Security of buildings and communities must continually adapt to be successful. In light of the recent events taking place in Israel, we have focused on keeping our building and members secure during these troubling times. Our goal is to remain open and be a safe place for our community to congregate.

The JCC is part of a wider security network called SCN (Secure Community Network). SCN is the official safety and security organization for the Jewish community in North America. We receive daily reports, and have been kept apprised of the situation in not only Israel, but here in America and the entire world. We are given updates on a continual basis as needed, and have followed their recommendations. The authorities have assured us that there is no credible threat to the public in our community related to the ongoing Israel-Hamas war. SCN stresses that what we have all seen in the last several days is a lot of misinformation on social media; it is propaganda designed to provoke fear. That being said, it’s absolutely critical that we recognize how dynamic the environment is and that we stay prepared and vigilant.

You should have received the correspondence yesterday regarding the additional level of security for our campus with the added Armed Security Detail Monday-Friday from 7am-6pm. Our job is to protect the JCC campus; it’s staff, members and visitors daily. Safety and security is of the utmost importance.

Now is the time for our community to come together in strength. We owe it to Israel to be united in this effort. This will be a long struggle, but our job is to remain open, safe and thriving as a Jewish Community.

Am Israel Chai

Marci Erlebacher                      

Executive Director    

Phillip Rubenstein

Board President  

Children & Teens

ECDP: The Pandemic And The JCC

The new normal hasn’t been easy for anybody. The risk of contracting the virus led to extreme precautions. Many of these precautions necessitated social distancing and the use of masks. Many adults themselves would tell you that the isolation made the pandemic a traumatic time to live through. Grown-ups were left longing for what once was. Children on the other hand are enduring the pandemic during their formative years, and do not have memories of a time before Covid to long for. For many kids, the pandemic is normal.

It has become clear that social distancing has affected the population’s socialization in general. Many took a long time to get reacclimated as friendly members of society. Children of this era are being thrown back into normal life without a chance to get acclimated, to begin with. 

“A lot of kids don’t want to take their masks off,” said Amy Bisnett, Associate Director of the JCC’s Children’s Programming. “It’s not that they’re all worried about getting sick, a lot of them just don’t want to show their face”. The pandemic allowed many kids to stay in their comfort zone, making it easy to hide or remain unseen.

“Communication isn’t just verbal, it’s visual. They have to learn to read facial expressions”, said Pamela Ranieri, Assistant Director of the JCC. She regretfully shared that many children are behind in picking up cues. Bisnett proudly shared that to expedite the learning process without endangering the kids, the JCC gave the kids transparent masks to wear during the height of the pandemic. 

Technology brought great convenience during these times, but that convenience proved to be a double-edged sword. Many kids found themselves working behind a computer instead of working with people.

While technological skills flourished, many teachers found themselves playing catch up in developing students’  interpersonal skills. On top of that, they’ve seen more speech delays in kids than ever before.

 The JCC is lucky to have excellent teachers who understand kids and what it takes to help them succeed. In response to their lack of experience with other people, teachers at the JCC prioritized group work and let the children lead the way. Teachers assigned tasks that promoted socialization. They wanted to teach children to speak for themselves and communicate with their peers, even when it might not be easy for them. 

With all that said, there is only so much making up that can be done for lost time. Children repeatedly find themselves in unfamiliar territory that was supposed to be discovered years ago. “A lot of them had never even been on a field trip”, shared Bisnett. “They didn’t know how to sit on a bus, a lot of them were terrified to get on and others spent the whole time crying on the way there,” she expanded.

The pandemic brought adults back into their cocoons. Many were left longing for the life that they knew outside of their shelter. Kids on the other hand do not know the outside world. The JCC is doing its best to show kids that it’s ok to break out of their shells.