Tuesday, May 03, 2005

The Silver Lake Jewish Community Center Lives

The Silver Lake Jewish Community Center will keep its doors open! Due to financial problems and disagreements between the Jewish Federation and the Jewish Community Center of Greater Los Angeles, the center's existence was in doubt. Nothing would hurt Silver Lake quite like the loss of the popular SLJCC, which offers day-care and interesting classes, open to all community members. At a time when the city is trying to increase the amount of available day care, it would mean a public policy loss as well.

For much of my first term in office, I was involved in “shuttle diplomacy” between all of the parties involved, seeking a solution. (I had the excellent help of Jenny Isaacson and Julie Shullman, two concerned members of the center.) Things started to look bad; developers started to wonder about converting the site into other uses entirely. Meanwhile, the offerings at the center grew more robust: while facing closure, the center added ballet and flamenco dancing classes and the day-care center's waiting list surged.

Finally, help came from an unlikely source. Bishop Jon Bruno, the head of the L.A. Diocese of the Episcopal Church, stepped forward and offered to rescue the Jewish Community Center! The deal that the Episcopal Diocese and the center struck gives the Diocese 49% ownership of the facility, which they will use for community services and classes in conjunction with the JCC. (I asked the Federation to support the deal.) Bishop Bruno has emerged in all this as a real hero – as I told the L.A. Times, I think they'll make him an honorary rabbi.

Read more about this exciting victory in the Jewish Journal and in the Los Angeles Times.

Photo by Jacob Shavit for the Jewish Journal

Photo by Jacob Shavit for the Jewish Journal