JCC of Marine Park Simcha Hall, Coordinator
Location: 3415 Quentin Road
Open since: January 2016
What does your job entail?
I coordinate with the vendors, party planners, caterers, and of course, the bookings. I am also in charge of making sure the deposit and final payments are collected from the baalei simchah. There are no hour constraints to the job- I answer all phone calls about the venue, even if they come at 10:30 P.M. from anxious parents whose child is about to get engaged! Once the hall is booked, I’m happy to share my knowledge about caterers, party planners, and other vendors with overwhelmed baalei simchah. I truly go out of my way to make people feel secure and comfortable so that their simchah will be stress free and memorable.
What are the most common events held in the hall?
We host everything from brissim to bar and bas mitzvahs to vorts and sheva brachos. The hall has been used for company gatherings, lectures, single events, Purim and Chanukah parties…you just name it.
What’s included with the hall rental?
The hall, tables, chairs, and 20 different colors of LED lights, which will enhance the atmosphere and event.
How many people can the hall contain?
Informal seating, like for a vort or kiddush, is really limitless, because people come and go. For sit-down service, I’d say about 150 to 175 guests.
What are some interesting calls you’ve received?
Well, two nights ago, I got a call at 10 P.M. alerting me that a couple of kids had locked themselves into the coatroom! The best calls are from people who are booking for a vort, but are not yet officially engaged and want to remain anonymous. If they do reveal their names, I’m sworn to secrecy!
Which events have been most memorable?
We once hosted a birthday party for a 90- year- old woman. That was memorable! We also held a very beautiful bar mitzvah for a special needs child. I’ll never forget that special occasion.
Does that mean the hall is handicap-accessible?
Yes! Because the entire hall – including the bathrooms – is handicap accessible and ADA compliant, it is very convenient for all guests, including the elderly, babies in strollers, or anyone with physical limitations. One family was able to have their quadriplegic grandmother at their simchah due to the ease of entry. The level of accessibility allows all guests to enjoy each simchah without the loss of dignity that happens when someone has to be carried in.
What do you want people to know before they book the hall?
I recommend visiting and checking out the hall before the actual booking. Once the simchah is in full swing, don’t forget that this is a residential neighborhood and we have neighbors! You don’t want to make a chillul Hashem, so by 11 P.M. loud music and loitering outside the hall should come to an end. Also, make sure to take out everything that’s yours by the following morning.
What do you like most about managing the hall?
I love the engagements. It’s so nice to see everyone all excited, especially when it’s their first child getting engaged. I love being part of that simchah. When I know the people calling, it’s even more exciting.
What have you learned on the job?
Every event has a back story. I get to hear a lot of them. Some are happy, and some are bittersweet – such as the kallahs who are on their own, arranging their own engagement parties. Because the JCC is a community organization, we are here for every person who calls us and help out in whatever way we can.
What do you do with leftovers after a party?
We package and distribute them. On the morning of each event, I text the baalei simchah to let them know that they can leave unwanted leftovers in the refrigerator. My husband and children and I come after each simchah to package the food and bring it to people who can use it. There’s no greater feeling than not only preventing waste, but also providing food for people who can enjoy it.