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JCC’s 2023 Honorees

The JCC’s Annual Meeting and Gala is happening Sunday, June 4th at 11am at Owera Vineyards in Cazenovia, New York. The organization’s largest fundraiser of the year, this celebration will mark the 160th anniversary of the event.

The Annual Meeting and Gala funds various scholarships that support the Early Childhood Development Program (ECDP), Summer Camp including support for children with special needs, the After School Program, and more. At the meeting, outgoing board members will be recognized and new officers will be sworn in — including a new incoming president. The event will be kosher Va’ad supervised, and back by popular demand a deli meal will be catered by Essen NY Deli. 

The JCC is looking forward to another successful Annual Meeting and Gala. “As our largest fundraiser of the year, it is important that we come together to recognize the hard work of our volunteers as well as raise money to help defray the costs of the many scholarships that we award each year” says Executive Director, Marci Erlebacher. “This is a bittersweet year for the JCC and especially important as we recognize Steven Sisskind and his 10 years of service as President of the Board. He will be passing the torch of leadership to incoming President, Phillip Rubenstein.”

The highlight of the night is recognizing community members as honorees for their service, dedication, and contributions to the JCC. This year’s honorees are:

Steven Wladis, who will be receiving the Kovod Gadol award. Kovod Gadol in Hebrew translates to “Great Honor”. This award is presented each year to honor a single individual or couple who has demonstrated, usually over a period of years, an extraordinary degree of commitment, energy and loyalty to the JCC and greater community. Wladis is the Managing Principal at OneDigital, the VP of finance for Congregation Beth Sholom-Chevra Shas (CBS-CS), is actively involved with The Wladis Hats & Gloves Foundation, and has served on the JCC Board of Directors for nearly 20 years. A graduate of Babson College, Wladis currently resides in Fayetteville with his family. “This is a huge honor for me,” Wladis said. “Growing up, we were raised to help others and give back when we could. I’m not one to seek out recognition and it’s a little uncomfortable to receive it, but this honor is greatly appreciated.”


Shai Jaffe, who will be receiving the Kovod award. The Kovod award, which signifies honor and importance, is awarded annually to those members who have been active in events and programs in an outstanding way. Jaffe is a native of Syracuse who currently works at the JCC with the ECDP, After School Program, and Summer Day Camp. A graduate of Syracuse Hebrew Day School, Jaffe was a camper at the JCC for many years before transitioning to the role of a camp counselor. “I am happy to receive this award,” Jaffe said. “It makes me proud to know that I am doing a good job and I am helping others.”


Steven Sisskind, who will be receiving the Hall of Fame award. The Hall of Fame was established in 2009. It was set up to recognize and celebrate individuals who have dedicated themselves to the Syracuse Jewish community and to the advancement of the JCC. Sisskind is the owner of Sisskind Funeral Service, LLC, and has served as president of the JCC’s Board of Directors for the last decade. He is a graduate of the Maxwell School at Syracuse University and Simmons School of Mortuary Science, and has been a Syracuse resident ever since college. “Anytime you receive recognition from your community is special,” Sisskind said. “It’s a personal satisfaction to know that you’ve made a difference. But what is especially humbling is to receive such an honor from the true heart of my chosen home.”


The JCC will also honor Sisskind as outgoing president of the Board. He will be recognized for his 10 years of outstanding service to the organization. Sisskind is honored to have served as president of the JCC Board for the past 10 years, “I’ve witnessed our JCC grow, endowments and membership multiply and our ECDP and children’s programs flourish,” he said. “We have an incredible team, and they make me extremely proud.” Phillip Rubenstein, president of Syracuse’s United Radio and current President Elect of the JCC board, will be sworn in as the new board president.

To purchase tickets, please contact Erin Hart at [email protected] or 315-445-2360 ext. 112.


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