Sid Jacobson JCC’s Executive Director David Black has served in this role since 2011.
Prior, David served as the associate vice president of Yeshiva University, chief executive officer of the French Institute Alliance Française, and the executive director of JCC Manhattan.
He founded the popular New York celebration of the Quatorze Juillet on 60th Street and was awarded the title of Chevalier, Order National Du Merite, by the French Government in 1998.
David is also the founding president of the American Friends of Yahad In Unum. This national non-profit, associated with the work of Father Patrick Desbois, locates the killing fields of eastern Europe related to the Holocaust, videotapes witnesses to the crimes committed against the Jews, and exposes modern-day genocide wherever it occurs.
In his professional tenure at SJJCC, David founded Long Island’s only Center for Israel, now serving 38 institutions, responsible for the largest celebration of Israel on Long Island, attracting over 5,000 people.
In addition, he vastly expanded the Nancy Marx Cancer Wellness Center, now open five days a week, serving as the only non-hospital hub of caring for people diagnosed with cancer for free.
And lastly, David merged several departments to create the Center for Community Engagement, a multi-purpose center designed as a connection point for volunteerism and social justice issues serving as a food distribution center for area food banks in coordination with Island Harvest.
David deeply believes that community centers exist to enable life to flourish, the mantra of Sid Jacobson JCC, the North Shore’s only full-service JCC operating out of Jewish values for the benefit of all cultures and all peoples.
Our role is to evolve as needs evolve. Since the pandemic and the tensions manifested in these tumultuous times, SJJCC’s next venture is establishing a center for psychological resilience.
The center will teach individuals of all ages and stages the tools we all need to reduce stress and live resilient lives. We will start with our extraordinary staff, who put their lives on the line during the pandemic and continue to give, serve, and connect daily. We are also seeking to break down barriers between all people we serve through the art of storytelling.
Through shared stories, we build empathy and connect us to the common humanity and everyday struggles that can best be faced together. How do we see our agency evolving due to changing times? It is to double down on human connection and belief in the humanity of our fellow travelers.
Posing the question of what makes David a top leader, Jaime Teich, vice president of brand strategy + communications, responded, “David gives with his whole being. He leads his team with passion, compassion, humanity, and a connection that guides us to accomplish greatness while dreaming of visions that make us even greater. David leads with his heart, with an openness to hear our ideas and challenges; he pushes us to see beyond our own individual confines that may hold us back while teaching us how to run a thriving agency. All of this has created an organizational foundation that has propelled us into being all we can be – the heart of our community.”
When asked what advice he would give to people in positions of power, David shared, “Be accessible, simplify wherever and whenever possible, get out of the nonsense of the left vs. the right and get back to right vs. wrong; care deeply about your employees and their patrons – and remember to wear sunscreen!”