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3rd Annual Star of David Awards

November 15, 2017 @ 6:30 pm - 9:00 pm

Jerry Grushkin was born to a family of modest means and raised in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.  He always knew education would lead him on a path to a successful life.   He worked his way through the New York City public school system and the City College of New York where he earned both Bachelor of Science and Bachelor of Architecture degrees.  At Pratt Institute, he earned his Master’s degree in Urban Planning.  Shortly before graduating City College he met his future wife, Esther, whom he married in 1966.

Jerry and Esther had three sons:   Orren, Ailon and Danny.  Orren and his wife, Trish, have two daughters:  Alexandra, 13 years of age and Charlotte, 10 years of age.  In January 2017, Ailon and his wife Jennifer welcomed their daughter, Alexie.   Sadly, after nearly fifty years of marriage, Esther passed away in October 2015.

In 1970, Jerome L. Grushkin, Architects, AIA was launched.  In the course of his lengthy career, Jerry was also a builder and interior designer so his projects could benefit from all facets of his expertise.  Over the years, Jerry achieved leadership positions in many professional organizations.  He was president of the Staten Island Chapter of the American Institute of Architects and a delegate to the American Institute of Architects’ convention for several consecutive years.  He was a member of the New York City Homebuilders’ Association, treasurer of the Council of Architects, Engineers and Surveyors of Greater New York, Inc. and financial secretary of the South Gannon Homeowners Association.

Jerry received many awards for excellence and achievement for craftsmanship and natural beauty of his buildings from the Staten Island Chamber of Commerce.  He has had media coverage in the New York Times, NJ Star Ledger, SI Advance and other publications pertaining to various projects in the metro area.  Always a believer in community service, Jerry was awarded the B’nai B’rith Torch of Liberty Award for Contribution to the Community and Mankind.  He is a past president of B’nai B’rith, past board member of the JCC of Staten Island, chairman of the Construction Committee of the Staten Island Zoological Society and a Board member for over 25 years, and 2nd Vice-Chairperson for the Staten Island Museum of Arts and Sciences, and is currently on the boards of the Staten Island Archaeology Society and Congregation B’nai Jeshurun.  Jerry is an active member of Building Bridges Coalition of Staten Island, an interfaith organization dedicated to fostering understanding and acceptance of the practices, values and tenets of the many religious groups in the borough.

Jerry enjoys reading, gardening, traveling and attending lectures, movies and the theater.  An avid amateur photographer, he has won awards from the Staten Island Photography Society.  As an artist, Jerry explores the use of various media such as pencil and ink drawing and oil, watercolor and acrylic painting.  For the past thirty years, Congregation B’nai Jeshurun has been an integral part of his life attending services every Saturday morning.

As a tribute in memory of Esther, a Staten Island based educator and Hebrew scholar who devoted her life to the teaching of biblical archeology, Jewish literature and the Hebrew Bible, Jerry and his family established, with the support of the JCC, an endowment for an ongoing Jewish lecture series.  The Dr. Esther Grushkin Seminars for Adult Jewish Education (SAJE) is committed to funding lectures that will include topics of religious inquiry, community service, Biblical and Near Eastern language, literature, history, art, music, philosophy and archeology.  It is Jerry’s dream to bring the best of Jewish education to the Staten Island community.

Jeffrey was born and raised in the Flatbush section of Brooklyn to Harriet & Murray Ganz. He attended elementary school there. Just prior to his 13th birthday the family moved to the Georgetowne section of Brooklyn which was a community of new homes. Upon being one of the first full 4 year graduates of South Shore High School, he attended Brooklyn College studying Business Management. Unfortunately, his mother passed away suddenly at a young age. After a short leave from school he continued his studies, and then his father took ill with leukemia. Having to transport his father twice a week to Sloan Kettering for treatments and checkups, he was forced to take a leave of studies again to care for him and the business he owned. Eight months into his illness his father passed away just three years after his mother. Having to petition the courts to become legal guardian of his younger sister Helene, he took a job with a travel agency in Canarsie. After establishing himself in the position, he returned to Pace University at night to complete his education.

In 1980 he met the love of his life, Shariann, on an arranged blind date. Together they purchased a retail confectionary and gift shop in Bensonhurst. Prior to the arrival of their first son Matthew he took a position with Liberty Travel where he worked for 26 years. He was a Branch Manager for 25 of those 26 years managing locations in Brooklyn and Staten Island. He left that position in 2009. After a brief stint with Raymour and Flanigan furniture it was discovered he had cancer. Having to take a year off to receive treatment and recover he explored his options. Upon returning to the workforce, he sought a position with the NYC Department of Education. Teaching was always a calling he felt he had. Currently he works at P.S. 78 in the Stapleton section of Staten Island. He is dedicated to his students at school trying to instill valuable life lessons.

Jeff and Shariann have been married for 36 years.  He credits his wife with instilling the love of temple and being part of a temple community. Both he and Shariann and their two sons, Matthew, 33 and, Bryan, 28 have been members of Temple Israel Reform Congregation for 25 years. He has held the position there of Board of Trustee member, Treasurer, Financial Secretary, President of the Temple and Brotherhood President. Currently, he is Treasurer and co- chair of the Ritual Committee.

 Without the support of his loving family, Jeff feels he could not accomplish all the he undertakes.

Glenn Wechsler grew up on Staten Island.  He attended the Jewish Foundation School and Susan Wagner High School.  Afterwards, he attended SUNY at Buffalo where he majored in Judaic Studies before earning law and social work degrees from their law and graduate schools.  More recently, Glenn received a master’s degree in Jewish Education from the Jewish Theological Seminary.

Professionally, for the past 15 years Glenn has been employed by the JCC, Arden Heights Boulevard Jewish Center, and Kuhn, O’Toole, and Maietta, LLP.  At the JCC, Glenn serves as the Director of Youth and Camping Services.  He is the Hebrew school principal at Arden Heights and is a staff attorney specializing in Social Security Disability law at Kuhn, O’Toole, and Maietta, LLP.

The JCC is in the Wechsler Family DNA.  His mother, Edith, was a long-time receptionist at the North Shore building, sister, Barbara, was a Women’s Division President, sister, Carrie and niece, Sara are both  Camp Directors.

Glenn and Melanie, his wife of 20 years, have two children Yoni, who attends Ohio State University (Go Buckeyes!) and has worked at the JCC camp staff for the past four summers, and Aiden who attends the Golda Och Academy in West Orange, New Jersey and was a new addition to the JCC camp staff this summer.

Kevin Brosnick became the Director of Individual Giving for the Jewish Community Center of Staten Island on July 14, 2011. As the Director of Individual Giving, he was responsible for directing the agency’s Individual Giving, Special Events, Sunrise Camp and Sustainability campaigns, with a responsibility of nearly $1,000,000 to the operating budget. He also was a member of the JCC Executive Cabinet in addition to supervising the JCC’s Department of Special Needs Services. Before joining the JCC, Kevin served as the Executive Director of the American Diabetes Association’s (ADA) New York City Market beginning in August 2010. In this position, he oversaw the Market’s $2,400,000 budget, directed 28 professional staff and managed offices in New York City, Long Island and Westchester. Prior to this role, Kevin, as the ADA’s Director of Development, he supervised a staff of four fundraising professionals and raised over $1,000,000 for the NYC Market. He held this position for just five months before being selected, Executive Director to direct the New York City Market’s key operations which included staff, budget, fundraising, program, community outreach, and board development responsibilities.

Prior to the ADA, Kevin was selected to serve as the Borough Scout Executive of the Staten Island Council, Boy Scouts of America on January 1, 2005. As the Executive Director of the Staten Island Council, he oversaw all Traditional programs, a dedicated staff of three scout professionals, and more than 1,500 volunteers serving nearly 3,000 boys and girls and recruited and managed the Executive Committee and Board. In addition, he had primary responsibilities to the councils operating budget, raising nearly $225,000 annually in support of council initiatives. During his nearly 15 year career at the Boy Scouts, Kevin also served as a Finance Director with the Greater New York Councils, Boy Scouts of America Development Department from 2003-2005, giving support to the council’s Special Events fund-raising and to its Learning for Life programs for disabled individuals. As a Finance Director, he developed new sources of funding including community-based campaigns, corporate and foundation gifts, major gifts and the establishment of new special events including the first corporate golf outing for the Learning Life division, directly supporting programs for at-risk youth.

Prior to this, from 1996 -2003, Kevin served as a successful District Director for the Learning for Life division, managing schools in Staten Island and Brooklyn with a professional staff of two and a membership base of more than 10,000 youth members. He also held key leadership positions as the Program Director and Camp Director of Camp Kernochan at the Ten Mile River Scout Camps. In these positions, Kevin was involved in helping form the division’s Break-A-Ways program: a joint venture between the Boy Scouts and the Department of Education, serving students in the five -boroughs with a year-round, educationally based/camping experience.

Before beginning his professional career with the Scouts, Kevin was a Teacher of Speech Improvement for the New York City Board of Education, working with students with Autism and multiple disabling conditions. He additionally worked 15 years with On Your Mark’s recreation and residential programs on Staten Island, assisting the organization in starting its first group home for the disabled in 1990. Prior to joining On Your Mark, he worked as a Teacher’s Assistant at the Eden II School for Autistic Children, gaining his interest and training in working with children and adults with speech and hearing difficulties.

Because of his knowledge and experience in the not-for-profit and special needs communities, Kevin was recently hired to be the Executive Director of the Grace Foundation which serves individuals with Autism on S.I.

Kevin currently serves on the Board of Trustees of Congregation B’Nai Israel and is a past member of the South Shore Rotary Club. He is a past Cubmaster and Troop leader of Pack and Troop 118 at the JCC. He still remains active in Scouting, through the Metropolitan Fire Association Explorer Post.

Kevin is a native New Yorker, residing in the Annadale section of Staten Island with his wife Michelle and their two boys, Lee and Jeremy. He has been recognized with the Staten Island Economic Development Corporation’s “Top 20 under 40″ award and the Menorah Award for community service from the Jewish Community Center of Staten Island.


invites you to celebrate the achievements of our



6:30 p.m.

Joan & Alan Bernikow JCC
1466 Manor Road, Staten Island, NY

Couvert: $75 per person

RSVP by November 7, 2017

Dietary Laws Observed

For more information or to make reservations,
contact Sylvia Cohen at 718.475.5246 or scohen@sijcc.com


November 15, 2017
6:30 pm - 9:00 pm
Event Category:


Staten Island, NY + Google Map


Sylvia Cohen

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Membership Services 718.475.5223 

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