Jyl Jurman is retiring as CEO of the Silicon Valley Jewish Federation, which is merging with the Addison Penzak JCC; both are located at the Levy Family Campus in Los Gatos (right).
Jyl Jurman is retiring as CEO of the Silicon Valley Jewish Federation, which is merging with the Addison Penzak JCC; both are located at the Levy Family Campus in Los Gatos (right).

Silicon Valley Federation in talks to merge with Los Gatos JCC as longtime CEO retires

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The Jewish Federation of Silicon Valley, which can trace its roots back some 90 years, announced this week its intention to merge with the Addison-Penzak Jewish Community Center. The two institutions already share an address on the Levy Family Campus in Los Gatos.

At the same time, longtime Federation CEO Jyl Jurman announced she will retire on June 30, having worked for the agency for 32 years, half of that as CEO. A San Jose native, Jurman, 65, was named CEO in 2004.

Lael Gray
Lael Gray

Lael Gray, the current CEO of the APJCC, will step in July 1 as the Federation’s interim CEO. On the job for one year, Gray previously led the Asheville JCC in North Carolina. The plan is that she will become permanent CEO of the merged institutions once the process is completed, which is expected to happen before the end of the year.

Until then, Jurman said she will continue to serve the Federation for one or two days a week as chief transitional officer.

Though the coronavirus pandemic has hit the two organizations hard, Jurman said the merger is coming from a position “of strength.” The deal had been in the planning stages for several years, and was not influenced by fallout from the pandemic.

“The JCC was a committee of the Federation years ago,” she noted. “[The merger] makes sense because we’re looking to expand our programming. There will be no overlapping of positions. The finance department will be one, the marketing department will be one and there will be one CEO. We hope this will bring the community together.”

Jurman said the combined agencies will be renamed, with the new name currently under discussion. The Jewish Federation of Silicon Valley itself underwent a name change about 15 years ago after being known for decades as the Jewish Federation of Greater San Jose. It was founded in 1930 and reorganized in 1950, according to the 1995 edition of the American Jewish Yearbook.

“We will all miss Jyl’s hard work, leadership and unrivaled dedication to our community as Federation CEO for the better part of two generations,” Gray said in a statement, “and we wish her all the best in her retirement.”

Santa Clara County was an early Bay Area hotspot for Covid-19. The APJCC closed its doors, suspended membership fees and accepted a nearly $1.1 million loan from the federal Paycheck Protection Program.

Earlier this month, it reopened its outdoor pool and tennis courts,  and plans to open its summer camps on June 29, according to the APJCC website.

The Federation owns the Levy Family Campus, which also houses Yavneh Day School, Jewish Family Services of Silicon Valley and the only community mikvah in the region. The APJCC includes a fitness center, aquatics center and tennis complex, and hosts a preschool, camps, after-school programs, adult education and cultural events; in its main lobby is a cafe run by House of Bagels.

A significant part of the Federation’s grant-making, including more than $2 million in in-kind grants in 2018-19, goes to providing several of these institutions with free or reduced rent on the campus, according to an impact report published on the Federation’s website.

An online celebration of Jurman’s years of service will take place Tuesday, June 30 at 5:30 p.m. For details about participating, contact Roni Wolfe at [email protected].

Dan Pine

Dan Pine is a contributing editor at J. He was a longtime staff writer at J. and retired as news editor in 2020.