A family’s shared MJCCA journey brings them closer together
Like a feel-good family movie, Josh and Deb Perlstein’s Marcus Jewish Community Center of Atlanta story is a heartwarming one. It all began about two decades ago when Deb was a volunteer MJCCA BBYO chapter advisor and they met through a mutual connection. The pair dated, wed, and joined the JCC. After their daughter Emma, now 16, was born, the intown dwellers moved to the suburbs to be close to the Zaban Park campus. From that point on, the Perlsteins have maximized their MJCCA involvement.
We all have a sense of comfort and home at the MJCCA.Josh Perlstein
“We started with children’s programming: soccer, softball, dance, gymnastics, childcare, and holiday celebrations,” Josh recalls. Over the years, the family, which also includes Levi, 12, has participated in the Book Festival of the MJCCA, the JCC Maccabi Games®, the Erwin Zaban Leadership Development Program, cooking classes…the list goes on and on. “Staying connected and involved with the MJCCA has become an important part of raising our children,” Josh says. “It gives us a wider breadth of things to share as a family.”
Beyond the quantity of their MJCCA programs has been the quality. Josh’s personal JCC story began when
his family moved to Atlanta in 1979 and he became active in the sports leagues and Camp Barney Medintz. Following in his footsteps, Emma and Levi spend their summers at CBM. “Barney holds a special place in my heart,” Josh shares. “I learned a lot about myself those summers. It’s great to have my kids share that experience.”
Now, 20 years past Deb and Josh’s meeting through BBYO, the plot comes full circle. “Emma lives for BBYO. She has blossomed socially and it makes us so happy,” Deb says. The Perlstein children have also flourished in sports, like their dad. “The MJCCA introduced Levi to basketball at a young age, and he developed a love of the game,” Deb explains. He’s played continuously and recently made the MJCCA’s select team. “The basketball program is fabulous,” she continues. “Levi has developed lasting friendships and amazing skills.” Emma has also enjoyed playing basketball, which culminated in her making the 2019 JCC Maccabi Games team — a “huge accomplishment,” Deb beams.
Because of the MJCCA, the Perlstein kids have “gained independence, confidence, and a strong connection with their Jewish identity,” Josh reveals. “We all have a sense of comfort and home there,” Deb adds. “It truly has enriched our lives.”
96% of parents surveyed said that their child(ren)’s self-confidence increased as a result of attending Camp Barney Medintz.