When the pandemic began, the Zeftel family packed up their New York City apartment and headed to Kenmore to ride out the uncertainty. Jon, a native Buffalonian, and his wife Jenni married in April 2017 and their daughter Violet was born last December. With a new baby, the Zeftels knew they would be safer staying at Jon’s parent’s home.
Jon grew up in Kenmore (Ken West class of 2005) and after graduating from Penn State in 2009 with a BA in sociology and French, he spent a year in Buffalo working at a Baker Victory residential treatment facility for adolescents. He then spent a year in Montpellier, France, teaching English to high school students before moving to New York City in 2011. Jon then received his master’s degree in Urban Policy and Leadership, with a specialization in non-profit management at Hunter College in December 2015. He became the Manhattan Region BBYO Director in Fall 2017 and is currently responsible for engaging Jewish teens in meaningful Jewish experiences in Manhattan and the Bronx.
Jenni joined the Foundation for Jewish Camp in October 2017 as the Director of Day Camp and Strategic Programs after a six year tenure at lower Manhattan’s 14th Street Y (where she also met Jon). At the Y, Jenni advanced from Assistant Director/Program Coordinator of the Y’s largest Jewish day camp program, New Country Day Camp, to Director of Youth Programs overseeing all program departments serving ages 5-18. Jenni holds a Master’s degree in Early Childhood Education from Hunter College. Jenni is passionate about “Open Tent Judaism” a platform she helped to develop at the 14th Street Y used for building Jewish identity while celebrating diversity and inclusion.
Since shuffling off to Buffalo, the Zeftels have enjoyed walking around the Kenmore, North Buffalo, Elmwood Village and Allentown areas – hitting up Grindhaus coffee shop, Lloyds, Churn and the Bidwell Farmers Market (to name a few!). They even ventured up to Becker Farms for a mini family retreat. They’re hoping to join in on some of our PJ Library programs this fall!
When asked how life in Buffalo compares to New York City, the Zeftels said there is no comparison! “The space, the pace of life, the air, the ease of getting from place to place, all this has made Buffalo a wonderful place to be!”
It’s hard to imagine what life will look like for everyone in a post-pandemic world. We hope the Zeftels will keep a little bit of Buffalove wherever they go!