Jewish Life

The Louis S. Wolk Jewish Community Center of Greater Rochester prides itself on our deep commitment to Jewish values, culture, and traditions. We are proud of our diverse programmatic offerings, our strong partnerships with community organizations, agencies, and synagogues, and our pivotal role as a portal of entry into Jewish community life. Please stop by our Jewish Life Table, located to the right of the Main Desk, for information about upcoming holidays, Jewish programs and events, and Interfaith programs happening throughout the community.

The JCC strives to infuse Jewish values, cultures, and traditions into its programming organically. Please look for programs with a Jewish twist throughout the website. In addition, please feel free to contact Joy Getnick to discuss Jewish Life at the JCC, or inquire about upcoming programs and events.

What's New? 

It's a season of reflection, festivities, and joy here at the Louis S. Wolk JCC.  Our second annual Israeli Sukkah Shuk market and celebration is this Sunday, October 1 (10:30am-3pm).  Please join us as we transform Kozel Way and feature the sights, smells, sounds, and tastes! of the holidays.  Remember the that the JCC Sukkah will be up and running for the duration of Sukkot - October 4 through October 13 - and is open and welcoming to all.  A lulav and etrog are available at the Main Desk. 

Looking ahead, October and November are full of exciting opportunities for learning and connecting with Jewish traditions.  Join us for the next session of Yiddish and Yiddishkeit beginning October 10, or perhaps our new class - Writing Your Own Ethical Will - which begins on Monday, October 16.  Art more your thing?  Join us for Hamsas and Haagen Daz, painting with a Jewish twist!, Tuesday, October 24.  Or perhaps you're looking to learn more about your roots?  Consider our "Who Do You Think You Are?" intro genealogy class on Wednesday, October 25.  Don't forget the kick-off of the Federation's Israel @ 70 Series, for which we are proud to partner, with internatinally reknowned communications and Israel expert, Neil Lazarus, at 7pm on Monday, October 30.  And that's just October!  November begins with a new session of Learn to Read Hebrew in Just Four Weeks! with Rabbi Dovid Mochkin, and of course November is the 25th anniversary of the JCC Lane Dworkin Rochester Jewish Book Festival!   What a diverse line-up of offerings to help usher in an exciting new year.  L'Shanah Tovah!  Happy New Year. 

Rochester-Area Community Resources

The Rochester Jewish community is fortunate to have so many Jewish agencies, synagogues, and options for kosher food of varying hashgacha (supervision). Please never hesitate to contact Joy Getnick, JCC Jewish Program Director, with questions about accessing the larger Rochester Jewish community and all it has to offer.



Kosher Food Establishments

Adult Jewish Life and Learning

The JCC offers a wide variety of Jewish-themed programs and classes for adults of all backgrounds, Jewish and non. Please check out our Adults - General Interest page for a full listing of upcoming programs and events.


The JCC deeply values the "People of the Book's" commitment to reading and life-long learning. As such, we maintain many separate library spaces within our building. Please click here to learn more about our many JCC library spaces.

The JCC also has an extensive archive of Jewish Rochester. A huge thank you to Phyllis Kasdin for meticulously maintaining this archive for so many years. We are happy to help community members access the archive and find items of interest by appointment.

To learn about Rochester Sports for Israel and visit our impressive online Hall of Fame, please click here.

Children and Families

The JCC offers a wide variety of programs for children and families, many of which include Jewish values and themes. Throughout the year we offer special family holiday events, film and book programs, workshops, and more. We host a weekly "Shabbat Sing" in Auditorium C for preschool aged children, and partner with the Jewish Federation on many great PJ Library events and programs (including Shalom PJ Baby and PJ Our Way) for children aged 6 months to 11 years. Our early childhood center, after school care program, and camps all strive to infuse Jewish traditions into daily activities in a pluralistic way that is welcoming and accessible for children with a variety of Jewish backgrounds, as well as their non-Jewish friends! Please check our weekly e-blasts for upcoming events, or click on any of the links below to learn more about our many programs for JCC children and families.

Jewish Culture

The JCC offers many opportunities to celebrate Jewish culture and tradition, both through ongoing programs and signature events. We have annual Book and Film Festivals, supplemented by occasional events throughout the year. We have a full-season professional theatre called "CenterStage," an ongoing Israeli Dance program, and weekly Yiddish cultural offerings and language instruction. We also offer a wide variety of classes, film screenings, holiday programs, and more through Jewish Life.

Interfaith Outreach

The Resource Place at the JCC employs a full-time social worker with expertise in supporting interfaith families. Our Interfaith Connection program helps connect interfaith couples in a welcoming, informal atmosphere. The Mothers Circle helps provide resources, education, and support for non-Jewish women raising Jewish children, while The Grandparents Circle provides a place for Jewish grandparents of interfaith grandchildren to learn how to share their Jewish heritage and nurture their grandchildren's Jewish identities. Click here to learn more about our many resources for interfaith families, or contact Michele Ruda.


Holidays are special times here at the JCC. Our Wolk Children's Center classrooms celebrate the Jewish holidays with crafts, songs, games, books, special activities, and more, as does our Gesher After School Care and Kindercrew programs.  Jewish Life offers opportunities for holiday-themed study with local rabbis, as well as holiday-themed film screenings, lunches, and other special holiday celebrations.

The Resource Place "Hachnasat Orchim" ("Welcoming Guests") program strives to match individuals who are new to our area or don't have family with welcoming hosts. If you are need of a host for an upcoming holiday – Jewish or secular – or would like to open your home to a new friend, please contact Michele Ruda.


The JCC is committed to helping all members of our community connect with Israel as both our spiritual homeland and a modern nation-state in meaningful and personal ways. Jewish Life and Learning often features special Israel-themed programs, including but not limited to film screenings, classes, presentations, meals, community rallies and solidarity walks, and more. Yom Ha'atzmaut, Israel's Independence Day, is celebrated with much fun and festivities for all, from children in our Wolk Early Childhood Center through participants in our programs for senior adults. Our annual Jewish Book and Film Festivals consistently feature Israel-themed programs, and our CenterStage theatre looks for opportunities to feature Israel on stage.

18 Ways Israel is Changing the World

Israeli Dance

The JCC has been the proud hosts of a weekly Israeli Dance program for over 40 years. Led by instructor Dr. Max Steiner, this group meets each Sunday night in the JCC dance studio. 6:30-7pm is beginner instructor, with advanced instruction and opening dancing immediately following from 7-9pm. This program is open to all members of our community. It is free for JCC members. Non member participation is $6/ week.

Camp Seneca Lake (CSL) in Israel

Camp Seneca Lake's "CSL in Israel" program is our immersive Israel experience for 16-year-olds/ entering high school juniors. This month-long program exposes participants to the beauty, depth, and complexity of Israel from the inside out. Click here to learn more about this wonderful component of our Camp Seneca Lake programming for teens.


Israel: Staying Informed, Staying Connected

The Holocaust

The JCC is deeply committed to honoring the memory of the six million Jews who perished during the Holocaust, as well as the lives and legacies of the many survivors and their families. The JCC maintains a beautiful, peaceful Holocaust Memorial Garden and Courtyard in the center of our building, and proudly hosts the annual community Yom HaShoah service for Holocaust Remembrance Day, organized by the Center for Holocaust Awareness and Information at the Jewish Federation of Greater Rochester. Our Book, Film, and CenterStage programs frequently feature Holocaust-themed cultural arts events, and in the spring and summer of 2012 we were the proud hosts of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum exhibition "Nazi Persecution of Homosexuals: 1933-1945."

JCC Holocaust Memorial Garden and Courtyard

Dedicated on April 25, 1982, the JCC Holocaust Memorial Garden and Courtyard was created by Rochester-area Holocaust survivors to remember the more than 2,800 members of their families who perished in the Holocaust. We are currently in the process of creating a memorial to honor the lives of survivors who made their homes here in Rochester. Click here to learn more about this special place.

Center for Holocaust Awareness and Information at the Jewish Federation

The Jewish Federation of Greater Rochester is home to The Center for Holocaust Awareness and Information (CHAI). CHAI works to ensure that the Holocaust and its lessons are not forgotten. Its acronym, CHAI, meaning "life" in Hebrew, reflects the mission of The Center, to keep alive the memory of the Holocaust through the life stories of local survivors and their families. To learn more about CHAI click here, or contact CHAI Director Bonnie Abrams at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

Jewish Board Game