As central gathering places for the Jewish community for a century and a half, Jewish Community Centers have seen their share of vigorous and even contentious debate about many issues of importance to North American Jews, from education to draft counseling, immigration to religious observance.
In a reflection of the continued struggles of the area's Jewish community centers, the Conejo Valley JCC is slated to close its doors forever on June 30, the second announced center closure in recent months.
Meanwhile, the beleaguered Silverlake Independent JCC might survive. The group that operates the center said that keeping it afloat is now a major priority.
As the Valley Cities Jewish Community Center slips into a coma and the health of other JCCs declines, the Silverlake Independent Jewish Community Center not only has survived but thrived. That makes it all the more strange the center is in danger of shutting down.
Talk about irony.
With the theme "JCCs as Community Builders," representatives from Jewish community centers from throughout the continent will gather at the Century Plaza for four days beginning April 21 for the Jewish Community Centers (JCC) of North America's 2002 Biennial conference.
The close of Todd Morgan's tenure as chairman of the Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles could not have come at a more chaotic time: post-Sept. 11, with the umbrella outreach nonprofit still reeling from recent layoffs and its much publicized and scrutinized role in L.A.'s Jewish Community Centers crisis.
Of the five doomed Los Angeles area Jewish Community Centers (JCC), at least one center's membership is not rolling over without a fight. About 100 members showed up for a Sunday morning emergency meeting Dec. 23 at the Westside JCC's Birch Auditorium, where, in a dramatic turn of events, members raised the lion's share of the $129,000 needed by Dec. 31 to keep most of the WJCC in operation at least until June 30. At the meeting, Paula Pearlman, Westside JCC advisory board leader, shared with the membership the fiscal breakdown of what it would take to keep the center open in the short and long term.
I get hit up, boy do I get hit up. I don't always say "yes," of course, but that's not the point of this story. The point is who is asking me for money.
At the Valley Cities Jewish Community Center, the metaphors were dire. "This is like a horrible accident, and we're the paramedics," Mike Brezner told an advisory committee meeting on Monday night.
We don't shut down something important; we find a solution ("Centers in Crisis," Dec. 7).
As a longtime Jewish Community Center (JCC) devotee and one-time Hollywood-Los Feliz director, I find our community's possible loss of any part of the JCC system as tragic and appalling ("Flourish, Not Fail" and "JCCs in Jeopardy," Nov. 30).
Shock. Disbelief. Disappointment. Frustration. Anger. Cynicism. Sadness. All were in large supply among supporters of the Jewish Community Centers of Greater Los Angeles (JCCGLA) during a round of public meetings held this week to break the news of the JCC financial crisis.
Believe in the Exodus story or not, believe in the Oslo peace process or not, but you have to believe in Jewish Community Centers.