March 2019 -- Adar I-Adar II 5779,  Volume 25, Issue 3

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Shames JCC Celebrates its 90th Anniversary with a Roaring 20’s  Gala

In 1927, several philanthropic men and women, who formed the Yonkers Jewish Council, decided to build a center for their growing Jewish Community. And so, with great fanfare, the Yonkers Jewish Community Center opened its spectacular building in 1929.


As the years went by and as the Jewish Community moved north to the Rivertowns, The Yonkers JCC moved with it. Without a building as an anchor, but with a new name, “The Jewish Community Center of the Rivertowns”, they rented a storefront in Dobbs Ferry and then space in a building in Ardsley. From there they ran early childhood programs and camp and recreation activities in area schools, synagogues and churches—wherever they could find space


Growing rapidly, the “J” bought its own 17,000 sq. ft. building in 1995 in Tarrytown. Its growth continued and after bursting at the seams, the Harold and Elaine Shames Jewish Community Center on the Hudson, opened its doors in 2017. The first new JCC to be built in Westchester in over 40 years, the new 75,000 sq. ft. building is now home to over 6000 members.


To commemorate 90 years of serving the community, the Shames JCC will kick off 90 days of celebration with its Anniversary Gala on Saturday, April 6 at 7:30 PM. The event with a Roaring 20’s theme, will honor 5 individuals who were instrumental in each phase of the JCC’s growth.


Representing the Yonkers years are Beth and past board chair Jamie Geiger of Tarrytown who represent  four generations of JCC members.   Representing the Storefront years is Irvington resident Nancy Lonky, a past board chair and also treasurer, who was instrumental in growing the agency when it functioned without a centralized home.


Susan Tolchin, a White Plains resident and the first board co-chair of the Tarrytown era, is being honored for guiding and supporting the J’s development when it first moved to and through the Tarrytown years. Irvington resident and board member Allen Halpern is being honored for his outstanding expertise and key support of the new building.


Gala attendees are encouraged to dress in the 1920’s style as they drink, dine and dance to the jazz music of the era. There will be an auction of goods and services with the proceeds going to support scholarships, professional development, and new children’s programming.


For more information and to buy tickets  go to