More than 800 people arrived at the Glen Oaks Country Club in Old Westbury to support the Sid Jacobson’s JCC annual Auction for Excellence as it celebrated 20 years of fundraising. Flush with cash and ready to spend, guests got to bid in a silent auction on line while former mobsters from the hit show The Sopranos, Steve Schirripa and Tony Sirico acted as live auctioneers ready to relieve the guests of the rest of their cash, but this time it was for a good cause. The epicurean night featured food tastings from all over Long Island with 40 restaurants donating the food for the event. The 500 items for auction which ranged from gift baskets, to destination sites were also donated to help raise money for the JCC.
Susan Banco, associate executive director of the JCC explained what this evening was about.
“This event raises money for all of our social service programs, those with Alzheimer’s and dementia, special needs children and adults and other people in our community who need help,” Banco said. “We have a number of different programs for those with Alzheimer’s and dementia; we have our young people’s program that starts at age 39 and goes to 60. We have another for 60 and over and we divide them according to their illness. We have a program five days a week, thanks to this event. We are raising scholarship money tonight for our camp, Kehilla, which is our camp for special needs children. Kehilla, which means friendship, is located at Henry Kaufman Campgrounds in Suffolk, and we take children from all over. It is a day camp based on the age, for the little ones it’s social, recreational and therapeutic and for the older ones it is vocational. They learn things about work and they get job placements.”
Chairing the event was Roslyn resident Lloyd Rosenman and his wife, Brooke. The latter has chaired the event for the past three years.
“The funding we raise here is so important to provide the social services that the JCC provides to those that can’t afford it.” Brook Rosenman said, “It feels good to be part of an organization that does so much for the community. They are pioneers of so many vital social services and it feels good to be giving back.” Rosenman recently opened a restaurant, Tocolo Cantina in Garden City, which features Mexican food and was one of the epicurean tastings of the evening.
“I come to this event because I have been a member of the JCC for close to 35 years,” added East Hills resident Debra Buslik. “It is my heart and soul and I am the past president of this agency. I think what we do for those who need makes me feel good when I look in the mirror at night.”
In fact, all of the evening’s organizers and attendees echoed those remarks.
Connie Wasserman, associate executive director of the JCC, greeted guests as they entered the grand hallway.
“This event tonight is absolutely an amazing premier event on Long Island,” she said. “The money that is raised here helps not only support the JCC, but the money raised also goes into the Sheldon A. Sinnett Basics Fund and all the staff at the JCC have an opportunity to apply to this basic grant fund, so we can get money to start up new programs. It allows the staff to dream and to get the money to start a new program and [fund] its all-around specialized services which are programs on the autism spectrum, [and] those with Alzheimer’s support groups, cancer wellness programs. Our newest is our vocational and employment training program for those on the spectrum. Anything that helps the community, we dream it and we can apply for it. Our adult day care program serves 130 families, where they are taking care of someone Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s disease or some other debilitating condition. We just opened a young onset program in Suffolk county one day a week and we are going to be launching a program in Great Neck with Farsi-speaking staff, culturally sensitive for the Persian community. We really do create programs to help meet the needs of the community. That’s what this auction is for; it enables us to start up those programs.”
Newly elected president of the JCC, Michael Rosenbaum, along with his wife Tammy, commented on the night.
“This is our annual auction for excellence, it’s very special because it is our 20th anniversary and is our single largest fundraiser of the year,” added Rosenbaum. “The proceeds from this event will continue to help our social service programs that we offer to the community.”
Bill Greene of Tsontos Furs in Mineola donated a beautiful fur for the night.
“I am a supporter and a donator,” he said. “I have many customers that are supporters of the JCC and I am good friends of the Rosenbaums, so I donated a beautiful fur Rex jacket. I am happy to give things to the cause and it is a wonderful organization. I have been donating to this organization for 16 years.”
Finally, Angela Susan Anton, publisher of Anton Media Group, mingled with guests and explained why she supports the organization.
“I have supported the JCC for many years because it is a good cause that does a lot of good for the community,” Anton said. “I got really involved with Denise Silverberg and the Friendship Circle. This event is fabulous, it raises money for the services that are so needed for the community.”
Guests had an opportunity to try the gamut of food, from steaks, to fusion sushi, cakes, Mexican, Italian, continental, to deep fried, all while bidding on their smart phones for the silent auction items. It was a wonderful event of community spirit coming together to help those in need.