The YJCC in Washington Township just announced that it has sold its building.
The building, on Pascack Road, has been closed since August 2015, although it has continued to house the YJCC’s administrative staff and to provide it with a mailing address.
The YJCC, on the other hand, has continued to provide programs and services to the community it serves. It has become a more mobile institution, and its plans include the ability to adapt more to very specific local needs as it moves beyond the anchor of real estate.
Bethany Church has bought the building, and will lease space to the YJCC, at least for now, so the YJCC’s offices and address will remain unchanged. The church, a member of the loosely knit Pentecostal group called Assemblies of God, has “a couple of campuses in the Northern New Jersey area, including a building in Washington Township less than half a mile from us,” Abby Leipsner, the YJCC’s CEO, said. “They decided they would take a leap and a jump and buy a bigger building.”
So much for the past. What about the future?
“We created our strategic vision and are finalizing our business plans,” Ms. Leipsner said. “We plan on relaunching a variety of programs, most likely in the fall.”
Instead of being moored to its building, the YJCC will offer programs in what Ms. Leipsner called “public spaces” — parks, stores, malls, rooms in municipal buildings, spaces in the wide range of venues that people go to in the course of their lives, places that are both convenient and comfortable to them — and in synagogues.
The YJCC’s catchment area is vast — it is, Ms. Leipsner said, all of Bergen County that is not within the territory of the Kaplen JCC on the Palisades in Tenafly. The goal, she said, is “to make sure that every Jew in Bergen County is covered; that every Jew in Bergen County can have the services of a JCC.” The YJCC’s area covers 48 towns, she added.
The range of programs that each area needs is wide; the YJCC has done surveys that show them that. “To give just one example, look at Fair Lawn and Upper Saddle River,” Ms. Leipsner said. “Fair Lawn has more need for senior programming for the older adult population. They have more of a need for group exercise programs, although not necessarily a gym. We found in Upper Saddle River that there is absolutely no need for any kind of fitness programs. There are great options there.”
The programming the YJCC plans to continue in as many places as possible throughout its catchment area will be aimed at new parents, tweens, teens, families, children with special needs, empty nesters, and active senior adults, Ms. Leipsner said; the institution plans to use the funds it gets from the sale of the building, along with the allocations it continues to get from the Jewish Federation of Northern New Jersey, to beef up its offerings.
It also is looking for volunteers as it continues to work out the details of its new mobile model.