The 2017 Greater Washington Jewish Community Demographic Study reported that the Greater Washington area is home to the third largest Jewish community in the U.S., and 41 percent (121,500) of those Jews live in Northern Virginia. Community institutions at all levels have been taking this data and running with it to engage more Jews than ever before in communal life, and private donors are getting involved as well.
On March 1, the Jewish Community Center of Northern Virginia (JCCNV) announced that Norman Pozez and Melinda Bieber bestowed a significant gift to the JCCNV’s capital campaign, including a matching challenge grant of $300,000. The purpose of the gift, according to the announcement, was both to infuse new resources into the Northern Virginia Jewish community and provide new energy as the JCC moves toward the end of its capital campaign. During the course of March and April, a multi-tiered effort will be launched to encourage the community to participate in the matching grant.
“Strategically, the J’s goals are to meet people where they are — physically, spiritually, emotionally, and intellectually — building Jewish connection, community, and a sense of belonging to the Jewish people,” said JCCNV Executive Director Jeff Dannick. These goals are closely aligned with the direction of The Jewish Federation of Greater Washington, which recently completed a strategic planning process that yielded three priority areas of focus: Northern Virginia, Next Generation Engagement, and Adult Jewish Learning.
In 2015, the J completed wide-ranging renovations to its lobby, front entrance, Bodzin Art Gallery, and restrooms. Now in Phase II, construction is underway on the JCC’s original building to transform it into the Smith-Kogod Cultural Arts Center, a contemporary, flexible-use space. Additional Phase II projects include a new 3,800 square foot fitness center, upgraded personal training studio and locker rooms; overhauling the air quality system and installing
energy-efficient lighting throughout the building; upgraded security systems, and more. Significant investments will also be made in community programs such as the j.family Ambassador and Growing Jewish Families programs.
Another Phase II project is the J Trolley, a vehicle that will help further engage Northern Virginians in Jewish life outside the four walls of the JCC throughout the Jewish community.
“With the capital campaign nearing its close, the J will work in partnership with the Federation to continue to identify needs and develop programs that will help identify, connect, and engage a greater percentage of the Northern Virginia Jewish population,” said Dannick.
For more information about contributing to the capital campaign, visit jccnv.org/capital-campaign/donate-now.