Steve Wendell to head Bridgeport JCCS
Steven Wendell has been named president and CEO of the Jewish Community Center and the UJA/Federation of Eastern Fairfield County (JCCS), it was announced recently by Hal Rosnick and Rob Berkowitz, co-chairs of the JCCS board of directors. The appointment of Wendell as the next JCCS head comes just weeks after announcement of the departure of the agency’s present CEO, Eli Kornreich.
Kornreich, who has been with the agency for close to 13 years, nine as president and CEO, left the agency last week to become executive vice president of Lincoln Square Synagogue in New York City.
“The JCCS is in the midst of actively planning for transformational change,” Kornreich wrote in a letter to the board, “a change that is going to re-position the agency to provide many more decades of valuable programs and resources to the thousands of people we serve. I am already envious of Steve, who will see this plan come to fruition, and who will have the pleasure of leading this organization into a new model of service to the community.”
Born and raised in Darien, Wendell is no stranger to the greater Bridgeport community. He spent the first eight years of his career at the Bridgeport JCC – first as director of senior high activities, then as youth director and director of Camp JCC at the Stepney campus. Along the way, he married his wife, Charlene, bought his first home in Trumbull, and welcomed his first child, Adam.
Since leaving the Bridgeport JCC, Wendell has spent more than 25 years in senior executive positions in the Jewish communal field. He has served as executive director of the Federation and JCC in Hazelton, Penn. and Charleston, S.C.; as regional director for the Jewish National Fund in Pittsburgh, Penn. and as associate executive director of the Pittsburgh JCC. More recently, Steve served as national director of American programs for Young Judaea/Hadassah in New York City, while his wife Charlene served as continental consultant on camping and youth services for the JCC Association of North America.
The Wendells moved back to Trumbull ten years ago. Members of Congregation B’nai Torah, they are the parents of three children and the grandparents of two. Several years ago, they both gave up their four-hour, daily commute to Manhattan. Most recently, Steve served as the director of development and operations for Ezra Academy in Woodbridge.
“I am honored, humbled, but most importantly tremendously excited at the opportunity to utilize my years of experience as a Jewish communal professional to help guide the JCCS during this time of transformation,” says Wendell. “The energy exhibited by the many volunteers responding to Thriving Jewish Community initiative, as well as the volunteers and staff who continue to selflessly serve the Federation and JCC year in and year out, should give all of us a renewed confidence in the future of Jewish life in Eastern Fairfield County. I can think of no better time to be president of the JCCS or a member of this community.”