An Evening of Celebration + Inspiration

November 12, 2023 @ 5:00PM — 8:00PM Eastern Time (US & Canada) Add to Calendar

Joan & Alan Bernikow JCC : 1466 Manor Rd Staten Island, NY 10314 Get Directions

An Evening of Celebration + Inspiration image

An Evening of Celebration + Inspiration

SUNDAY, November, 12th 2023, 5:00 P.M

Honoring Kim & Victor Avis and Peter Whitehouse


Martin Fletcher

Martin Fletcher is known to many as the long-time NBC News Mideast bureau chief and correspondent, based in Israel.

He has won almost every award in TV journalism, including five Emmies, He won the du Pont, which is the TV Pulitzer, several Overseas Press Club awards and the Edward R. Murrow award for excellence several times.

Anderson Cooper called Martin Fletcher “For decades the gold standard of TV war correspondents.”

He walked across the Hindu Kush mountains from Pakistan into Afghanistan with the Mujahideen, he was the only television reporter to join the Khmer rouge in Cambodia, the only reporter to enter the American embassy in Tehran when Iranians held American diplomats hostage for 444 days.

He now devotes himself to writing books. His second book “Walking Israel” won America’s National Jewish Book Award for non-fiction. His last novel, Promised Land, was a finalist. He is the only writer to be recognized in fiction and non-fiction.

Our Honorees

Kim & Victor Avis

Kimberly and Victor have been contributors to the Staten Island Jewish community and the Staten Island community at large over the 33 years of their marriage.

Their community involvement has also had a positive impact on our Island’s JCC. Their 3 daughters started their schooling at the JCC Nursery School in the building named after their grandparents, Nancy and Ronald Avis. Kim was initially a member and then president of the J’s Women’s Division which championed targeted causes of the JCC through fundraising and community building events. Her role there led to an invitation to join the JCC board of trustees…a position she has held for 26 years. In 2023, Kim was elected as Co-President of the JCC Board of Directors.

After a decade of coaching his daughter’s JCC youth basketball teams, Victor joined Kim on the JCC board for several years. Together they have served and/or chaired multiple committees, supported events, and contributed philanthropically to the JCC’s myriad community and social service programs and projects. Victor also served on the board of Staten Island’s only independent school, Staten Island Academy, from 2007-2022, and was board president for three years.

In 2009, Kim and Victor became co-chairs of the Chai Society of Wagner College. Initially founded to support Jewish life at Wagner, establish and support scholarships for deserving Jewish students, re-establish a campus Hillel, and establish a Rabbi in residence, the Wagner /Chai partnership expanded its scope to help develop and support the creation of the Wagner College Holocaust Education Center (WCHC). The WCHC and its programming has developed a local, national, and international reputation for action and thought leadership with regards to the Holocaust and human rights education and scholarship.

In 2021, Victor and his daughter Sydney founded The Airway Revolution Foundation. Airway disorders (sleep apnea, upper airway resistance syndrome, snoring, and others) are epidemic, conservatively affecting 25-33% of the national and global population, and a root cause for many of today’s foremost chronic health issues. The not-for-profit, 501c3, Airway Revolution Foundation leads five key initiatives to revolutionize awareness, care, education, research, and public advocacy. With the help of a unique public-private partnership with Columbia University, the Foundation will transform the future education of dentists, physicians, and allied health professionals with respect to airway disorders; create prevention and treatment programs for underserved persons, and develop the first collaborative, multi-disciplinary Center for the diagnosis and treatment of airway disorders. An important feature of the Airway Revolution Foundation, Airway: The Battle to Breathe, is a documentary series that is slated to be released in 2025.

Kim and Victor work together in their third-generation dental practice. A brand of dentistry that is truly distinctive, the Avis Alternative represents excellence not only in the multiple specialties of dentistry, but also boasts an extraordinary dedication and commitment to their patient’s overall health and wellness. Their visionary approach to health care is to lead and affect their patient’s health in such a way to improve both the quality and quantity of their lives.

Through all their community work and involvement, the most rewarding aspect for Kim and Victor is to see their daughters developing as impactful leaders. In April 2022, Sydney, Samantha, and Morgan were honored by the JCC with the Nancy Avis L’dor v’dor Legacy award for their acts of service and community engagement.

Our honorees are awed and grateful to Ron and Nancy Avis who taught, through their actions, a model for kindness, service, and philanthropy.

Kim and Victor are humbled by your support and grateful to Jerry Grushkin and the JCC for the wonderful programming of the Esther Grushkin Foundation.

Peter Whitehouse

As a youngster, Peter Whitehouse always wanted to be a teacher and coach. To do both at the same location? Well that’s what dreams are made of, he thought. Get the degree, find the right school and get it on. Simple, right? Yup and yup. And so his dream came to pass, and that would be a life!

Did it happen the way he thought it would? No. Better. And that’s why people call him lucky. But rewind here a bit. To be lucky one has to be able to survive a close call, or be in the right place at the right time, or find friends who could gently teach what a person badly needs to learn, or be born into a loving family. He had all that. Now that’s truly a life!

Being born on Staten Island in 1942 makes Peter eighty-one today. Behind him now was a teaching career full of days of joy. He never wanted to be absent. He’d miss the fun! He rose to the mythical apex of the teaching ladder and successfully taught advanced placement European History for many years. After classes each day he’d descend to the athletic field and coach track and field. His teams were perennial champions locally and frequently city-wide and state-ranked always. He coached seven state champions.

When he retired… well, he didn’t. That is, he continued to indulge in his joyful pastimes still. He worked part time as a teaching mentor, school administrator for sports, website writer, track and field clinician, teacher of remarkable Senior adults at the College of Staten Island and the Bernikow JCC, and along the way established the Christopher Whitehouse Foundation for disadvantaged students.

Receiving tonight’s recognition, he says, “Makes me feel a little guilty, as ever. I’m being rewarded for doing something I love. But that doesn’t stop me from feeling deeply honored and appreciated. Thank you, most sincerely.”

A big thank you to our sponsors!

Platinum Sponsor
Jerome Grushkin
Silver Sponsor
Runit Systems
Bronze Sponsor
Kimberly Avis
Susan Bender
Daniel Grushkin
Journal Underwriter
Marcia Kulick
Decor Underwriter
Ruth Greenwald
Program Underwriter
Murray Berman
Orit Lender
Angie Master
Stephanie Mizrahi
Annette Perri
Alan Poritz
Full Digital Slide
Fiore Law Firm
Stern Stern and Fruchtman Attorneys At Law
Wagner College
Wagner College
Staten Island Academy
Iris Baum
Jay Chazanoff
Valerie Harris
Eli Malka
Edward Meckeneck
Michael Ostroff
George Pudlo
Half Digital Slide
The Dr. Ronald Avis Foundation for Temple Israel
Victory Cleaners
Sheldon Blackman
Allison Cohen
Sylvia Cohen
Joseph Harris
Ruth Lasser
Judith Lessing
Henry and Jon Salmon
1/4 Business Card Slide
Josephine Ferrandino
Anne E. Targownik
Shahla Tehrany
Friend Listing
Charles & Mimi Brandwein
Carol Brody
Dawn Christie
David & Sylvia Friedman
Delia Gramprey
Deanna Jacobs
Rosalind Kurland
Mark Levy
Judah Newberger
Mary Ann Seery & Robert Podolak
Barry Pomerantz
Art Rocklin
Lois Schwartz
Tara Seagriff
Shirley Wissemann
Eleanor Zorfas

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