by Annette van de Kamp-Wright, Editor of the Jewish Press
You may have noticed: something has been brewing in the canteen area. Space has been blocked off, Friedel Jewish Academy has a new donor wall and a nice set of double doors, while the canteen itself has actual furniture. As in: comfy couches and new tables and chairs and art on the wall.
Then there’s the actual kids’ space. The teen lounge, aftercare: it’s been hidden from view for weeks, and it’s impossible to see what’s going on. Youth Director Corey Kirshenbaum and BBYO Director Leora Azriel have temporarily moved their offices to the CJL’s Kripke Library, and aftercare has taken up residence in the Community Room. We’ve heard suspicious noises, smelled all sorts of things, and wondered about the end result of all that hard work. What, exactly, is it that Mike Silverman means when he uses the word “update?”
“The project is generously funded by the Ann Goldstein JCC Endowment fund,” says Mike, “and we are looking forward to its completion at the end of May. The new enhanced space will provide more room for our teens to socialize, and upgraded and spacious Sit and Fit area, a Lego pit, and many more special amenities.”
That does sound exciting: instead of separate spaces, walls have been broken down to create one large open space, with great flow for a variety of age groups. “In addition,” he says, “with the windows to the canteen corridor, all our visitors who use that entrance will be able to see lots of activity in that space.”
The project has been chaired by Jason Epstein, and, according to Corey Kirshenbaum, has been in the works for about two years. In addition to the generous underwriting from the Ann Goldstein Endowment, support from the Leon Fellman Memorial Trust Fund has made it possible to purchase a Sportwall Xer Trainer. The Xer Trainer will provide our youth with a great interactive system; players, working as teams or individually, randomly or sequentially hit moving lit targets with hands, feet, beanbags, foam noodles, and playground, medicine or sports balls, to achieve their best score.
“The original game room was the only part of the building that hadn’t seen any updates since 1972,” says Corey. “With all the changes, it’s going to be a real showcase for us. Besides Fit and Sit and aftercare, the space can be used for BBYO dances, there is a DJ-and-lighting system, a pool table, ping-pong, shuffleboard, foosball, and bumper pool. The new Lego area holds literally thousands of Lego pieces, and we’ll have a lounging area with a big screen television.”
And it doesn’t stop there. The state of the art space also provides two TVs for the Wii and two computers. Staff will be able to play music to create just the right atmosphere. There are also board games and room for various art projects.
The Fit and Sit hours will remain the same as before: 9 a.m. to noon, Sunday through Friday. The new area will officially open Sunday, June 2, from 1-3 p.m.; all community members are welcome to come and take a look at this great new space. We encourage you to bring your children and explore the new facility and spend the afternoon trying out the equipment. Refreshments will be served.