Hyper-attuned to the needs of a diverse neighborhood, JCC Harlem opened in January 2017 as an initiative of the Marlene Meyerson JCC Manhattan and UJA-Federation. The storefront, 6,000-square-foot loft space is located on West 118th Street and offers family programming, arts and culture, health and wellness, and Jewish life.
We talked to Meg Sullivan, director of programs + community engagement, JCC Harlem, and Dava Schub, chief program officer, Marlene Meyerson JCC Manhattan.
(Q) What was the need JCC Harlem was looking to fill?
(Dava) Before we opened, we talked to neighborhood people about what they wanted. At least one person at each of those gatherings would say: My family is interfaith; my family is multiracial; we don’t have the same economic resources as others. We took those voices very seriously. And we thought about how we make a space that would welcome and serve more of these normally underrepresented voices.
(Q) How does JCC Harlem celebrate Shabbat and other Jewish holidays?
(Meg) We partner with dozens of organizations for holiday celebrations, which allows us to invite people with different backgrounds at the same time. We want to help you do Jewish in the way you do Jewish.