SCARSDALE, N.Y. – Ophira Cukierman says she spends a lot of time at the JCC Mid-Westchester. She teaches spinning classes in the fitness center, heads up the pre-school PTA, and serves on the Jewish Community Center's Board of Directors.
Tuesday, May 22, the JCC will honor Cukierman for her contributions with the Young Leadership Award at the annual Gala, to be held at 7 p.m. at Old Oaks Country Club, Purchase, N.Y. Stand-up comedian Susie Essman, who plays Susie Greene on the HBO comedy series "Curb Your Enthusiasm," will provide entertainment. The evening will include cocktails, buffet dinner (dietary laws observed), raffle, silent auction and dancing.
Cukierman, who grew up in Irvington, joined the JCC in 2009 after moving to Scarsdale from Manhattan. "At the time, there was no PTA," said the mother of three young children. "It was a great preschool, but there wasn't a lot of parent participation." Cukierman stepped in and, with Julie Dorfman, organized the PTA, giving parents a conduit to the JCC to make suggestions regarding programs, and providing a social network for non-child-related activities.
It wasn't long before she was asked to join the board. "There was no young family leadership," Cukierman said, "not that I'm that young. But they wanted to hear what was being said among the preschool parents; what parents want, what they don't want.
"I'm not doing anything groundbreaking here, just trying to make what we do better."
Cukierman, who is also a member of the UJA Federation's Young Trustees Roundtable, used to attend winter camp at the JCC location when it was the YMCA, she said, and finds it ironic that she has found a home there since moving to Scarsdale. "It's a great place. It's not fancy, not the newest, but the closest friends I have are the people I've met through the preschool."
Cukierman said the Gala is celebrating the JCC's revitalization. "Just look at the guest list," she said. "A lot of young families are coming." The JCC serves 20,000 people a year, Cukierman said, and the Gala "is a convergence of all those people. It gives them a chance to meet in a social setting. There's a lot of excitement in the building" about the event.