Deprecated: Function set_magic_quotes_runtime() is deprecated in /hermes/waloraweb001/b397/moo.jhsgwo/exhibitions/online/goldberg/textpattern/lib/txplib_db.php on line 14 Through the Lens | Jewish Community Centers

Jewish Community Centers

For almost 50 years, Washington’s first Jewish Community Center was a central gathering place for Jews of all ages and backgrounds.

Young Jews had founded the YMHA and the YWHA during the 1910s. In downtown clubhouses, they sponsored dances, lectures, and World War I USO canteens.

By the 1920s, Washington’s Jewish community needed a larger place for athletic, cultural, and social activities. The Jewish Community Center’s first home was a prominent 16th Street building in view of the White House.

To serve a growing suburban population, Jewish leaders built a new Rockville campus for several major Jewish organizations. In 1969, the JCC moved to the Rockville campus. The D.C. government bought the aging downtown building.

Today, the Jewish Community Center of Greater Washington in Rockville and the Jewish Community Center of Northern Virginia serve the Washington metropolitan area.

Jewish residents who had stayed in or returned to the city formed a new downtown JCC in the late 1970s. They met in rented sites until purchasing the original 16th Street building. After a major restoration, the Washington DC JCC reopened in 1997, bringing a panoply of activities back to the historic Jewish site.

Links

Young Men’s Hebrew Association

Click to view larger

1. Young Men’s Hebrew Association

Predecessor to the JCC, the Young Men’s Hebrew Association was formed in 1912, followed a year later by the Young Women’s Hebrew Association. The YMHA met at a number of clubhouses before moving to this building at 11th and Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, in 1918.

JHSGW Collections
Cornerstone laying for the Jewish Community Center, 1925

Click to view larger

2. Cornerstone laying for the Jewish Community Center, 1925

President Calvin Coolidge spoke during the cornerstone laying ceremony for the new Jewish Community Center on May 3, 1925. Developer Morris Cafritz and local Jewish leader Joseph Wilner led the $500,000 building campaign.

JHSGW Collections
Jewish Community Center, 16th and Q Streets, N.W.

Click to view larger

3. Jewish Community Center, 16th and Q Streets, NW

Architect B. Stanley Simmons’s granite and limestone building blended well with its monumental neighbors. Inside, a large ballroom, state-of-the-art stage, gymnasium, billiard room and swimming pool beckoned. A red-tiled roof garden provided pleasant leisure space.

Photographs by Jeremy Goldberg
Show on map
Architectural rendering, Jewish Community Center of Greater Washington, 1965

Click to view larger

4. Architectural rendering, Jewish Community Center of Greater Washington, 1965

In 1965, the Greater Washington Jewish Agencies, led by developer Charles E. Smith, launched a $5.3 million campaign to build the twentyone- acre campus on Montrose Road in Rockville for the JCC of Greater Washington, the Hebrew Home of Greater Washington, and Jewish Social Service Agency.

®Washington Post; Reprinted by permission of the D.C. Public Library
Show on map
Groundbreaking, Jewish Community Center of Nothern Virginia

Click to view larger

5. Groundbreaking, Jewish Community Center of Nothern Virginia

Holding the shovel at the groundbreaking ceremony is Stephen A. Bodzin, a supporter and later president of the JCC of Nothern Virginia. The building was named for Henry S. Reich, whose wife Anne can be seen to the left of Mr. Bodzin.

JCC of Northern Virginia Collections
Jewish Community Center of Northern Virginia

Click to view larger

6. Jewish Community Center of Northern Virginia

Courtesy of Jewish Community Center of Northern Virginia
Show on map
Renovations begin on the 16th Street Jewish Community Center, 1995

Click to view larger

7. Renovations begin on the 16th Street Jewish Community Center, 1995

Renovations begin on the 16th Street Jewish Community Center, 1995 The Washington, D.C. JCC officially opened its newly renovated building on January 12, 1997.

Washington, D.C. Jewish Community Center Collections
Show on map