JCC opening: A little of the old, and a lot of new

In the mid-1990s, Jewish Community Center of San Francisco leaders concluded that a new facility would be required for the organization to survive in the long-term.

So early in 1998, a group of leadership donors came together to jumpstart a capital campaign to build a new facility. That group included Richard Goldman, Gerson and Barbara Bakar, Bernard and Barbro Osher and Claude and Louis Rosenberg.

Six years later, with the contributions of thousands of individuals and families, the vision is reality.

Construction of the JCCSF’s new building meant razing the previous structure, built in 1933 to house what was then the San Francisco JCC. Saying goodbye to that building was bittersweet for the community and center staff.

To honor the organization’s history, the new JCCSF includes restored tiles from the old lobby as well as a video history from 1933-2001.

During construction, the center relocated to the Presidio in San Francisco. Most services continued during this transition, including the full-time preschool and after-school programs and adult enrichment classes.

Perhaps the most notable interruption in service during the transition was the lack of a JCCSF fitness center. The new building features the Koret Center for Health, Fitness & Sport, with membership open to the entire community. This fitness center includes all new weight-training and cardiovascular equipment, two basketball courts, plus teaching and lap swimming pools.

Another major addition is the Eugene & Elinor Friend Center for the Arts. Already into its inaugural season, the program presents a wide array of performing arts events, lectures and family performances.

While some programs are new, ongoing programs also continue. Thousands of children and their families continue to be involved in the Claude & Louise Rosenberg Early Childhood Education program, youth sports, recreation and an after-school program. Adults can connect with others through arts and Jewish education courses.