Celebration Ball Honoree


The Merage JCC Celebration Ball honors our MVP, Merage JCC CEO/President, Dan Bernstein, for his sixteen years of service in the big leagues and dedication to the Jewish community of Orange County. Through his leadership, Dan has created the Jewish “home base” in Orange County. His consistency with our community partners and visionary leadership of the JCC team has made the J what it is today.


Daniel M. Bernstein, who has worked in the Jewish Community Center field since 1982, serves as the President/CEO of the Merage Jewish Community Center in Orange County, California since 2003. 

Dan served as the Executive Director and President/CEO at the Flanzer Jewish Community Center in Sarasota Florida for fourteen years, as Athletic Director at the Phoenix JCC for four years, and as the Assistant Executive Director at the Michael Ann Russell JCC in Miami for four years.

Dan, a native New Yorker, was recently awarded the Florence G. Heller Award for distinguished professional service by JCCA at the 2018 Biennial in Memphis, Tennessee. Dan was also named by the Jewish Community Centers of North America to take part in the Mandel Executive Education Program in 1993 and as an Israel Scholar in 1994.  He served as the National Treasurer for the Association of Jewish Communal Professionals from 1994 to 1999 and served as National Vice President until 2006.  He holds a Masters degree in Secondary Education with a concentration in History from Austin College in Texas.

Dan served for many years on the JCCA National Board and is so proud of the Jewish Community Center field and the colleagues and friends that have impacted him as a professional and in turn the Orange County and Sarasota Communities.

Previous to his JCC career, Dan served as the Assistant Basketball Coach at Southern Methodist University, Austin College and Marist College for nine years.  While at Marist, Bernstein was named and served as the head coach of the United States Pan American Maccabi Team that won the Gold Medal in Mexico City in 1979. 

Bernstein considers his greatest triumph in the JCC field as hosting the JCC Maccabi Games and ArtsFest for the eighth time this summer….opening up two different resident camps and opening up two separate JCC’s that helped build two separate Jewish Communities.

Dan now resides in Orange County with his wife, Lynn.  Their daughter, Beth, is a Jewish communal professional at the Merage JCC.  His son Scott and Scott’s wife, Laura, live in Washington, D.C, where Scott, is an attorney with the esteemed KaiserDillon Law firm, along with his beautiful granddaughter, Sutton Miriam.


Proceeds benefit:

The Merage JCC Celebration Ball raises funds to provide scholarships for children and families in our community to open up opportunities to attend summer camp, preschool, teen and after school programs.

For more information about the Celebration Ball, contact JCC Special Events at (949) 435-3400 ext. 306 or ext. 328 or email