Loading...

Jewish Resurrection 

A deal’s within reach to save community centers in Silver Lake and Sherman Oaks

Thursday, May 27 2004
Comments

In a 1999 rampage, white supremacist Buford Furrow poured 70 rounds of gunfire into the Jewish Community Center in Granada Hills, wounding five. But he didn’t shut down the bullet-riddled North Valley JCC. That unproud task fell to pillars of the Jewish community itself, which allowed North Valley and other JCCs to be mismanaged, underfunded, shut down and sold off over the last three years.

The same fate now looms over the JCCs in Sherman Oaks, Silver Lake and Conejo Valley. But a rescue plan for two of these JCCs is tantalizingly within reach, the Weekly has learned. An anonymous benefactor has come forward with an offer to buy and save the Valley Cities center in Sherman Oaks. And community leaders in Silver Lake are close to pulling off a similar scenario, though without a deep-pockets philanthropist.

WEB EXCLUSIVE:

Related Stories

  • Best Live Music in L.A. 7

    Los Angeles has some of the best live music venues in the city. Take these, for example.  But what if one prefers to enjoy bands in the cozier settings of a bar or restaurant?  Here, then, are the 10 best L.A. bars and restaurants with live music.  10. Casey's Irish Pub...
  • Hipster Lakes Battle 9

    Whether you wish to join their ranks or avoid the nuisance, the precise location and behavior of the phenomenon known as "hipster" seems to be a matter of dire importance to all Angelenos. These gentrifying, culture-conscious creatures can be found preying on vintage purses, foraging for craft beers, avoiding basic bitches and...
  • Silver Lake Murder 4

    A man was fatally shot at a Silver Lake Del Taco today, police said. The attack on a busy stretch of Sunset Boulevard near Hollywood was reported at 10:55 a.m., Los Angeles Police Department Det. Meghan Aguilar told us. The killer was described as a teenage boy, not older than...
  • "Secret" Chinese Delivery Hits Silver Lake and Los Feliz 4

    While there's a whole world of Chinese food in the San Gabriel Valley, it's a common complaint among residents of the rest of Los Angeles that the sketchier stuff can be difficult to find. I'm talking about the kind of crappy but delicious Chinese food that's incredibly common in most...
  • Pine & Crane

    If you don't want to travel to the SGV for excellent dan dan noodles, scallion pancakes and mapo tofu, wel l... you're kind of out of luck. But Silver Lake now has a decent option for these things, in the form of Pine & Crane, a Taiwanese restaurant owned by Vivian Ku,...

Undone by Debt and Negligence: Bills, not bullets, killed the community center that survived a racist attack. Other centers are trying to hang on. By Howard Blume

One way or another, both centers will be sold — either to community members who want to keep them going or to developers who will tear them down. Deliverance hinges on whether the mismanaged nonprofit that oversaw the community centers can and will accept less than full-market value for the two properties. Either way, the nonprofit parent is poised to go out of business, which is the most applauded move it’s made in years.

For L.A.’s Jews, especially less religious ones, the JCCs’ role has been to make the margins of Judaism comfortable and welcoming. They’re a place where it’s assumed that you don’t keep kosher, and that you may not know exactly when and how Purim and Passover are supposed to be celebrated. And their programs, facilities and jobs are open to everyone.

“In our center, you see black children, Hispanic children, Asian children,” said Michael Brezner, a lay leader of the Valley Cities JCC. “We also cater to children with special needs. We have autistic children here. We’re a non-religious organization. Our charter is to enrich people’s lives and promote Jewish culture. Children in our programs learn that everyone’s alike. They learn tolerance. And they learn how to get along with people in the world. The place is magic.”

And difficult to replace. There’s something obscene about closing child-care programs that have waiting lists — in a city desperately short of quality child care. The same goes for the threatened razing of Silver Lake’s full-sized gym, which could be serving neighborhood children and adults.

L.A. City Councilman Eric Garcetti, who represents much of Silver Lake, has brokered meetings involving the two key parties to the denouement: the JCCs’ own parent organization, and the Jewish Federation, its major creditor.

“The time to close this deal is now,” said Garcetti. “The Silver Lake JCC shouldn’t be held hostage for any larger concerns now that they have an offer on the table.”

Related Content

Now Trending

Los Angeles Concert Tickets

Slideshows

  • Comic-Con's "Celebrity" Autograph Area
    A sometimes overlooked (but still incredibly unique) aspect of San Diego Comic-Con are the celebs available to sign autographs, as well as the autograph seekers themselves. If you've ever wanted to meet the Soup Nazi from Seinfeld or the guy who played Michelangelo in the original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, chances are, as you wander the Autograph Area, you'll be able to connect with someone you didn't even realize you were waiting your whole life to meet! All photos by Rob Inderrieden.
  • Real Madrid Soccer Practice at UCLA
    Fans came out to greet world champion soccer team Real Madrid as they practice at UCLA. This is the first time that soccer star Cristiano Ronaldo has practiced with the team this year. All photos by Jeff Cowan.
  • Here's What Happens When President Obama Comes to L.A.
    President Obama came to town again to rake in some funds and clog some traffic. The only view of his visit you probably saw were the brake lights of the car ahead of you in the traffic jam he caused, but here's what was really going on. All photos by Ted Soqui.