JICNY Newsletter, February 2016

Chairman Letter

JICNY had a strong finish to 2015 with a successful year-end online match campaign. Thank you to everyone who helped us close out the year and start 2016 on a positive note.  It is hard to believe we are already in February, with 15 JICNY programs having already taken place, and now we are beginning to prepare for Purim. 

On behalf of the board of directors of JICNY, it is with great optimism that I announce the newest member of the JICNY professional leadership team, Director of Development, Julie Bernstein (click here for her bio).  Julie has worked in the profit and non-profit arenas, and she will be working on various fundraising campaigns with you, our current and prospective donors, to ensure we can achieve JICNY’s mission.  For any fundraising related matters, please reach out to Julie at julie@jicny.com

JICNY continues to operate and thrive on a shoestring budget because of its supporters and its volunteers.  According to Merriam-Webster’s online dictionary, a volunteer is one who renders a service or takes part in a transaction while having no legal concern or interest.  From hosting Shabbat meals to teaching classes to phone banking, JICNY could not continue to provide the wide variety of programming it does without its volunteers. For that, we thank you.  If you would like to sign up to be a volunteer in 2016, click here.

JICNY is truly a special organization that offers something for everyone. It is my honor to serve as chair of the board and I look forward to your partnership in leading the organization with continued strength and success in the year to come. 

May 2016 bring you continued health, happiness and success!

Jeff Stier

Chairman, Board of Directors, JICNY

Shabbat Across America, Fri, March 4th

We are seeking UWS Dinner Hosts

To HOST contact Steve Eisenberg:


GALA 2015

JICNY’s 11th Annual Gala Honorees (from left to right) Sasha Krasny, Steve Eisenberg, JICNY Co-founder, Sasi Elya, Dana Lilienthal Elya, Lydia Sarfati, Jacob Kimchy, Jodi Samuels, JICNY Co-founder

We had an amazing team of people to help us plan our gala held on Tuesday, December 1, 2015.  We are looking for volunteers to join our 2016 gala committee.  If interested, please email Julie at julie@jicny.com


CLICK HERE to Register for this Connections Mega event,
An Evening with Ron Torossian,
Public Relations Mogul
For Jewish Singles Ages 35-50


02/17 Women's Dating and Marriage Class with Devorah

02/22 Mon NIght Classes @MJE

02/24 Parenting Class for Women with Slovie

02/25 Mexican Cooking Class

02/26 Carelebach-JICNY Dinner for Americans and Internationals

02/26 Connections Passport Rotating Shabbat Dinner

02/28 Connections MEGA EVENT Dessert & Wine event

03/01 Networking event

03/01 Drinks Party (for 20s and 30s)

03/02 NYC Couples Class with Slovie Jungreis-Wolff

03/04 Shabbat Across America- DINNER FOR SINGLES

03/05 Shabbat Across America - COUPLES LUNCH

03/08 Couples Cooking Class with Chef Shlomo Schwartz

We look forward to seeing you at a JICNY event in 2016.  Click here for a full list of programming.

WHOs WHO AT JICNY, Rebecca Akselrod

I have an American passport and was born in West Caldwell, New Jersey.  Together, my parents and grandparents instilled the importance of family, education, ‘chesed,’ and a good name. As the grandchild of Holocaust survivors, I grew up with a robust sense of history, Jewish identity, models of resilience, and an affinity for languages.

Currently, I hold a dual Master’s Degree from NYU and am in the process of acquiring a second Master’s Degree in Educational Leadership. I am an English as a Second Language (ESL) teacher in Sunset Park, Brooklyn. At 31, this is my seventh year teaching a class of Kindergarteners how to read and write. Fortunately, my career path integrates my interests and allows me to work with recent immigrants who are new to the American school system. In many ways, my job reflects my own family history and my role has been described as the ‘ambassador to a child’s American dream.’

It is noteworthy that I first encountered the JICNY, when I was living on the Upper West Side. In my opinion, JICNY is an extraordinary organization because it offers a prism into the diverse demographics of New York City through the lens of the Jewish community. Every time I attend an event, I am simply enamored by the living mission, as it exists in reality because it transcends the anonymous nature of New York and in turn makes such a powerful impact on countless individuals.

As a globetrotter, I am always stepping outside of my home country in order to experience the beauty of Jewish communities in other countries. When I lived in Ecuador for example, I remember going to a Passover Seder in the North of Quito where the same songs were sang yet, the conversation about the familiar story was in Spanish and the food was spicier. Without packing a backpack, JICNY has replicated the magic of a Latino, Jewish experience, which I deeply desire, within the microcosm of my own home.

Thank you JICNY! Rebecca




JICNY Newsletter

Winter 2016

Letter from the Founders


Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has. –Margaret Mead

We are proud that the JICNY celebrated its 15th anniversary this past December.  As a volunteer driven non-profit organization, we marked this occasion at our 11th Annual Gala – thank you to everyone who joined us at Highline Ballroom and supported the event.

Just as we did 15 years ago, we are looking forward to the future and hoping for continued success. JICNY is now running programs in 2 countries-USA and Israel. In 2016, we have already had 15 events including challah baking, Shabbat dinners and a Tu B'Shvat holiday Seder.  And of course, Steve’s Monday night learning class held weekly at Manhattan Jewish Experience (MJE) continues to attract many Jewish professionals in New York.

Always staying true to our mission statement, the JICNY continues to be a place to meet and connect to the one thing that unites us from all corners of the world - our Jewish heritage.  We hope that you will continue to join us on our journey of learning, networking and growing together as individuals and as an organization.

Wishing you all the best for a happy, healthy and successful 2016!

Steve Eisenberg, Jodi & Gavin Samuels

Launch of new Support Donation/Sponsorship Page

As a volunteer driven organization, JICNY relies heavily upon its donors and volunteers to keep the organization operating. 

Please take a moment to visit our new support page where you can make a general contribution, sponsor an upcoming event or sign up to volunteer with JICNY.  If you have any questions about supporting JICNY, please contact Julie at julie@jicny.com

Steve Eisenberg Job Assistance Board Website

In memory of Walter Eisenberg (z'l)

Steve's job assistance website is a serious job placement site that assists Jews to find jobs that match their skills.



THANK YOU for Your Feedback

Last summer, Elizabeth Levi, MA, MPA, Nonprofit Management Consultant, interviewed the individuals serving on the JICNY Executive Board, Emerging Leadership Board and many other event participants.  JICNY also sent out a survey to all of its supporters under Elizabeth’s guidance – thank you to everyone who responded. Your feedback will help us improve our programming at JICNY.  Here are some key takeaways from Elizabeth’s final report to JICNY:

What Do Respondents Seek at a JICNY Event?  A dramatic majority (72%) of respondents is seeking to ‘meet new people’ and over 57% are ‘looking for a mate.’  It is notable in the comments section here, and elsewhere in the survey, that Steve Eisenberg’s teaching and active assistance to participants are highlighted by respondents.

Personal Sense of Commitment to JICNY Every person interviewed expressed sincere commitment to JICNY and its purpose in bringing together Jewish professionals in NY.  JICNY offered these individuals an opportunity to achieve a much-desired connection with other Jews, particularly those internationals who found themselves living or working in New York City, and who were seeking community. 

“I felt comfortable going to JICNY events... [JICNY did not pressure me]… to get more Jewish or religious…Jodi and Gavin engaged [me] personally.”  A key point of differentiation for JICNY to several key informants is that it is not run by Rabbis, unlike some peer organizations (e.g., Chabad, Aish), making JICNY much more comfortable.


Why I Volunteer for JICNY? Gedalia Mendlewicz

I am originally from Antwerp, Belgium.  I am multilingual - fluent in English, French, Hebrew, Dutch, German and Yiddish.  I have been living in New York City for seven years. I am currently a realtor, and studying marketing at Touro College.  I am a 3G (third generation holocaust descendant); my grandmother and great-grandmother survived Auschwitz.

I volunteer for Steve Eisenberg’s uplifting classes on Monday nights and volunteer for the JICNY Galas. I met Steve Eisenberg four and a half years ago at his Monday night class on the Upper West Side.  I have come to know Steve Eisenberg as being a very unique person who does not judge people and does so much for the community as a volunteer; he is a real blessing in this world. Steve Eisenberg is my master, teacher, rabbi, leader, mentor, friend, holy brother and hero. Steve Eisenberg chose to co-found an organization that would help the survival of the Jewish people. 

The question should not be ”why I volunteer for JICNY?” The question should be “why wouldn’t I or anyone volunteer for this wonderful organization?” I would like to take this opportunity to thank, from the bottom of my heart, Jeff Stier, Alisa Adler, Jodi & Gavin Samuels, and Steve Eisenberg for their tireless efforts.  May G’D bless you all with all the blessings. It’s people like them who make a difference in this world.

Gedalia Mendlewicz

If you would like to volunteer for JICNY, please visit our volunteer/support page.

JICNY is now having events in Jerusalem

In 2015, JICNY began to hold various programs in Jerusalem.

If you are visiting Israel or making Aliyah, please join us at these events held in Jerusalem – click here to view events under ‘Ongoing Programming’


Please email events@jicny.com to join the Jerusalem email list.



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Jewish International Connection is a not-for-profit public charity recognized by the IRS under 501(c)(3)
JICNY reserves the right to ID all participants at our events & to turn anyone away that is not in the appropriate age group.