Oy Bay!

"My heart is in the east, and I in the uttermost west." — Yehudah Ha-Levi

JTA: Up-&-coming Palo Alto JCC to get $10 million pledge

Posted by Oyster on June 6, 2006

Logo for the Palo Alto JCCThe new Palo Alto JCC just received a $10 million pledge, as reported by the JTA. It's a very exciting project, because it will create a "Jewish town square" in the Jewish part of Palo Alto (so-called because of all the synagogues and Jewish schools in the area). Palo Alto in general has the greatest density of Jews living there than any other part of the Bay Area, though there is still no overtly Jewish neighborhood in all of northern California. This campus is exciting, because it will house the Kehilla High School, a Jewish day school, the JCC itself, a retirement / assisted-living community, and office space for various Jewish organizations. Man, if I could afford it, I'd love to live in that part of town! My friend Gradish works with a youth group near the soon-to-be-completed site, and he is excited about being able to use the facilities as a way to increase the capacity for activities in his organization.

The under-construction JCC is the latest in a string of renovated or rebuilt JCCs in the Bay Area. The Marin, San Francisco, Foster City, and Silicon Valley JCCs have all been overhauled in the past 5 years. While this is a good thing, I recall visiting the Foster City one (looks like a mango airplane hangar from afar) with my friend Brigadier-General Eli-G, I was a bit unsettled by the gigantic fitness complex inside, and the distinct lack of Jews. The people running the facilities weren't Jewish, and I'm certain that a good number of the users weren't Jewish.

It reminded me of another wide-spread quasi-religious institution that promoted physical fitness, and then over the years lost all connection with its religious/cultural underpinnings: the YMCA. And I really don't want the JCCs to go the way of the YMCA…

Close to home, the magnificient Levy Family Campus (aka San Jose / "Silicon Valley" JCC, though it is in Los Gatos… ) is still not payed for. Quite the shonda, when you think of all the big makhers in Silicon Valley that could easily part with some of their dough. But such is the problem when you have very low affiliation rates in the Bay Area. Jews are around, but not tied in to existing Jewish organizations. Link will be forthcoming…

UPDATE: The J just published this editorial on the donation to the Campus for Jewish Life. They're a little slow getting out of the gate… 🙂


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