JCC Without Walls

2016 JCC Without Walls - A Huge Success! 

By Marcia Reinhard, JFEC Assistant Director

On Sunday, November 20, following a morning at the Denison Pequotsepos Nature Center where 80 people participated in the Jewish Day of Learning, 110 people arrived at the Mystic Y for an afternoon of food, fun and friendship!

The day began at noon with a delicious lunch cooked by Nelly Nersesyan and her parents Marina and Gregory Nersesyan of hamburgers, veggie burgers, hot dogs, two chilies’ (one vegetarian), corn bread, Israeli and American salads, guacamole, chips, fruit, and other delicious foods. The burgers and dogs were cooked on the grill by two members of the Temple Emanu-El brotherhood, Scott Zettler and Mike Reinhard under the supervision of Rabbi Sternberg.

At 1pm, our Young Emissaries, Tal & Guy, opened their Israel room. It was quite amazing to see them give such a broad view of Israel through the many stations they created in their room. While most emissaries have about 6 weeks to put their ideas into motion and create their programs, Tal & Guy had to deal with a holiday-filled October and then one week before JCC Day, they were away at a seminar. That left them less than three weeks to get everything done. They worked around the clock and on weekends. Tal & Guy were determined to get everything done in time. And they did!! See their article in this paper for all the details.

Jennifer Zettler, the Federation’s PJ Library Coordinator held a PJ Library story and craft program around 1pm for about 45 minutes with 8 children in attendance. At around 1:20pm, instructors and students from ABD Self Defense in Norwich returned for a third year in a row and gave an interactive demonstration of Krav Maga. They broke into smaller groups and many of children, a few adults and Coast Guard cadets participated.

Ya’ara Moses, an Israeli Artist in Residence at Conn College, came to the Mystic Y to give people a chance to hear and experience a short workshop of her unique style of movement called “Gaga” that she teaches in Israel and now teaches at Conn College.

The swimming pool was a big hit and was used by many until 5pm.

During the day, many adults enjoyed having time to relax and schmooze together – something many of them don’t get to do very often.

There are many people to thank who made this day possible. To start with, Nelly Nersesyan and her parents spent many hours on Thursday and Sunday preparing the food for everyone to enjoy. Nelly took over this role from Deb Schwell who was the “chef” for JCC Day for many years. We thank Nelly and her parents for all their hard work and Deb & Jerry Schwell for stopping over at Ahavath Chesed to see how things were going.

A very special thank you to the Mystic Y and their many staff members who helped make our event such a huge success. Thank you to John Sutcliffe, who has worked with us for the past four years, Mark Guerin - for jumping in at the last minute, Dave the custodian who has also been with us for the past four previous years and who worked tirelessly to get everything ready in time and finally, Ann at the desk who was our "partner in crime" all day long. Thank you to the front desk staff as well for helping us with any request throughout the day. You all really made our day quite wonderful and we thank you!

Jonathan Rowe, Scott Zettler and Mike Reinhard of Temple Emanu-El’s Brotherhood, loaded chairs and tables from Temple Emanu-El into Jonathan’s truck and brought them over to the Mystic Y. Seven Coast Guard cadets helped with many areas of the day. They helped with set-up and break down of the day, served the food, played basketball with some of the kids and assisted Tal & Guy in their Israel room. A few of them also helped Scott, Mike & Jonathan return tables and chairs to Temple Emanu-El.

Rachel Sheriff and Rebecca Morea also arrived early at the Mystic Y to help with set- up as well as assisting Tal & Guy. Rebecca also stayed long enough to help with clean up at the end of the day. Daniel & Yarden Sackett were also on hand helping Tal & Guy. Jerry Schwell helped Tal & Guy by making the wood stands for the signs in their room. Thank you also to the Connecticut College Hillel students who did face painting and the Young Emissaries Ron and Aviv from Springfield and Noam and Eliav from Hartford who also came and helped Tal and Guy. Finally, thank you to Mimi and Ed Perl for handling everyone’s check-in at the Y.

Thank you to all who attended our JCC w/o Walls Day and supporting this very important and fun community event.


Pictures from annual JCC Without Walls on Sunday, Nov. 11 at the Mystic YMCA

l-r: Becca Leaman, Connecticut College '18; Becca Smith, Connecticut College '19; Raven Luxenberg, Mitchell College '16 participated in the JFEC’s JCC Without Walls Day on Sun., Nov 15 at the Mystic Y.  Both Hillel chapters had over a dozen members helping with arts and crafts projects with the kids. In addition, Cadets from the USCGA were on hand to help serve lunch and hang out with the kids in the gym.