Since arriving in the United States from Kiev, Ukraine 20 years ago, Alex Budnitsky has been working in the Jewish communal field and currently serves as the CEO and Executive Director of the Edith and Carl Marks Jewish Community House of Bensonhurst. Alex holds master's degrees in journalism and social work from Columbia University. He is a graduate of the Institute for Non-profit Management – a joint program of Columbia University School of Business and UJA-Federation of New York as well as the Executive Development Training Program administered by JCC Association of North America. During his Marks JCH tenure, Alex has been behind many ground-breaking initiatives serving the emigre community and has brought a unique perspective to the agency's strategic vision. His efforts and dedication inspire many others from similar backgrounds to undertake Jewish communal work, both as professionals and as lay leaders. His international involvement continues through his extensive consulting in the former Soviet Union on strategic planning, professional and program development, leadership development and training for the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee and AVI CHAI Foundation.
Gelena Blishteyn, Chief Operating Officer at Marks JCH is one of the founders of the Tot Tussovka and Kibbutznik initiatives. Gelena holds a Masters in Social Work from Columbia University and is a graduate of the Muehlstein Institute program of UJA-Federation of New York and Lekhu Lachem project of JCC Association of North America. She has served as the director of family programs, the afterschool center, the summer day camp, and the entire program services division; and has recently undertaken expansion efforts of Marks JCH.
Max Slutsky is a JCH prodigy and poster child. Beginning his career in the camp when he was six years old, Max was critical in robotics classes and ga-ga championships. As a teenager, Max was an active volunteer, and as faith would have it, became a club leader and an overnight camp B’Yachad Madrich at JCH, while getting his Bachelors of Arts in Psychology and Social Work from Long Island University. Upon graduation, Max has joined our Marketing and Communications team and has developed the JCH social media strategy; but missing teens and field work too much, has joined the Artel Teen Fellowship and led an immersive hi-tech and Arts seminar for teens, in Israel. Max is currently in the process of finishing a master’s program in Social Services and Advanced Media Marketing at Fordham University. Taking on a new role in the Kibbutznik Program, Max is excited to grow its offerings to new areas, while maintaining its uniqueness and community.
“I view working with children as the greatest privilege and most important work in the world. I am happy to dive with them into the unknown world starting with every lesson, exploring and learning every day. I had amazing summer at Camp Kibbutznik – we spent the summer traveling to space, teleporting to Israel, traveling to Italy by train, and building Noah’s ark. I am incredibly inspired and appreciative to have the opportunity to work as one of the lead educators at The Marks JCH Kibbutznik enrichment program.”
My son loves his “Russian school". We’ve been to different preschools and camps before and I’ve never seen him so excited to go somewhere in the morning. I hope this becomes a tradition for him and (eventually) his sister.