Jewish Journal

American Jewish World Service moves to J Space

by Ryan Torok

May 10, 2011 | 6:10 pm

American Jewish World Service (AJWS), a nonprofit that provides humanitarian assistance to developing countries, recently signed a lease for office space in Los Angeles, and on May 6, a ceremony marked the organization’s move into the office.

At the ceremony, Ruth Messinger, president of AJWS, affixed a mezuzah to the doorpost of the new Los Angeles office, and Rabbi Sharon Brous of IKAR recited a blessing.

“This is a huge step forward for American Jewish World Service in Los Angeles,” Messinger said. “We’re a nice-size organization, doing what I think is very, very important work around the world, but this is a big country, and we had to figure out strategically where to be located.”

Until now, the West Coast administrative activity of AJWS — which promotes health, education, economic development and disaster relief in 34 countries in Africa, Asia and the Americas — has been done out of its office in San Francisco, along with limited operations in Los Angeles.

“Allison [Lee, Los Angeles regional director of AJWS], “has been operating AJWS-LA out of her house and car,” Messinger said.

The new space, known as J Space, is set up by the nonprofit Jumpstart to become a multitenant nonprofit center with shared office space for multiple Jewish organizations.

The office is located in a Westfield Corp.-owned office building in Century City.

Jumpstart co-founders Shawn Landres and Joshua Avedon also attended the ceremony. AJWS moved into one of the two closed-door offices at J Space — Jumpstart occupies the other — and the move reflects AJWS’ faith in J Space’s mission.

It was “not just [about] getting a physical space,” Messinger said, “but getting a physical space that has meaning.”

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