The Ticket to Affordable Jewish Life

When the Jewish Community Board of Akron (JCBA) introduced the J-Ticket three years ago, it was clearly an innovative means to increase participation in Jewish life in Akron.

Four months into his role as CEO of JCBA, Todd Polikoff provides a fresh perspective, reiterating the uniqueness and potential of this program, which speaks to Jewish Akron’s foresight.

“It is astounding to see the lengths that the community has gone to in an effort to engage the next generation of leadership and their children,” he says. “We are one of the only, and may be the only, communities in the country to have tackled the issue of ‘cost of Jewish life’ to the extent that Akron has done.”  

The J-Ticket aims to improve engagement by significantly reducing the cost of a respective school year at the Mandel Early Childhood Education program at the Shaw JCC or The Lippman School. The "bundle of services" also includes Shaw JCC membership, membership at a participating synagogue, and more.

“I think it’s such a unique program that you’d never find in a big city,” says Molly Stock, whose family moved to Akron in July. “It’s really a testament to how this community is evolving and sees the need to engage families.”

“While J-Ticket families pay for their respective J-Ticket programs, we believe that there is more to being a part of the community — collective responsibility,” Polikoff explains.

So, as part of a J-Ticket purchase, participants are expected to make a contribution of at least $180 to the JCBA’s 2020 Annual Campaign.

“Through this contribution, and hundreds like it, JCBA is able to provide essential services to our local and global Jewish community,”he continues. “It is the embodiment of our directive, as Jews, to care for one another.”

Applications for the 2019-20 J-Ticket are now available. Pick one up at the Jewish Community Board of Akron, the Shaw JCC, The Lippman School, or online at The J-Ticket is open to all Jewish families, regardless of financial need. Families with one child in The Lippman School and one child in the Mandel ECE may purchase one J-Ticket in each program for a total of two J-Tickets.  No family may have two J-Tickets in the same program. An application is needed for each child.  Submit all applications and questions to Debbie Zelin, 330-835-0074 or

The J-Ticket is made possible by funds from the Albert L. and Janet A. Schultz Endowment for Jewish Programming.