Michael Feinstein to step down as head of Bender JCC

Michael Feinstein talks to Gil Preuss, CEO of The Jewish Federation of Greater Washington, at the agency’s Pitch Night.
Photo by Audrey Rothstein Photography. Courtesy of The Jewish Federation of Greater Washington.

Michael Feinstein, CEO of the Bender Jewish Community Center of Greater Washington, announced he will be stepping down from his position at the end of the year.

Feinstein has been working at the Rockville-based center for 15 years, 12 of them as CEO. During his tenure he raised more than $17 million to renovate the facility. He also expanded the JCC’s camp and after-school programs for special needs kids and the family engagement program.

“We’ve completed our renovation and just finished our new strategic plan,” Feinstein said. “I feel it is a good place to pause and have new leadership come to take that plan forward.”

His own plans are unclear, he said.


Feinstein said inclusion was a high priority during his time leading the Bender JCC.

“There’s a big focus and priority on having the JCC be a hub for [the Jewish] community,” he said. “We’re really focused on creating a more inclusive community.”

One of Feinstein’s final projects will be the launch of the Wandering J van, which will travel around Montgomery County to bring Jewish programming to people.

Bender JCC board chair Arthur Polott said he’s enjoyed working with Feinstein. “His breadth of knowledge and understanding and tireless energy is tremendous. He’s incredibly patient and thoughtful. He’s always eminently prepared. I think he’s a mensch.”

The center has established a committee to search for Feinstein’s successor. Polott said the board is looking for a person who will “continue with the next stage of the strategic plan and take the community forward.”

Added Feinstein, “I think one of the most important qualities to have is the openness and desire to partner and collaborate with other organizations. That really drives the JCC.”

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