Kaplen JCC holds ceremonial groundbreaking for major renovation

Kaplen JCC holds ceremonial groundbreaking for major renovation

Hundreds gathered at the Kaplen JCC on the Palisades on Sunday to witness the symbolic groundbreaking that marked the start of a major facility renovation two years in the planning.

To date, the JCC has raised more than $23 million toward its $26 million campaign begun in early 2007. The campaign received early boosts from a $5 million gift from Bill and Maggie Kaplen and a matching grant from the Russell Berrie Foundation.

“We are thrilled by these results and look forward to achieving our goal,” said Robin Miller, JCC president. “We are fully positioned to begin our renovations and to grow our endowments to support important programming and services that make us the vital social service agency we are. It was a day in history we will all remember.”

Maggie and Bill Kaplen join Daniel Rubin, center, immediate past president of the JCC, as he announces the official dedication of the agency name in their honor. The new entrance signs to the JCC, which bear their name (shown here), were displayed for the first time as part of the groundbreaking ceremony.

In recognition of the Kaplens’ gift, the JCC changed its name in 2007. The groundbreaking included the formal dedication of the new agency name with new signs on the building and Clinton Avenue. The building itself was dedicated in memory of Leonard Rubin, a founding member of the JCC.

Past presidents and current trustees Eleanor Epstein and Charles Klatskin provided overviews of JCC history and traditions while Avi A. Lewinson, the JCC’s executive director, collected children’s drawings depicting their dreams of the future JCC, and placed them in a time capsule.

The Shirah Community Choir, led by Mathew Lazar, performed during the ceremony, which also included a blessing by Rabbi Jordan Millstein of Temple Sinai of Bergen County in Tenafly; an invocation by Rabbi Shmuel Goldin of Cong. Ahavath Torah in Englewood; a d’var Torah by Rabbi Reuven Kimelman, a scholar-in-residence at the JCC; and a benediction by Rabbi David-Seth Kirschner of Temple Emanu-El in Closter.

From left, Avi A. Lewinson (JCC executive director); Danny Rubin; Robin Miller (JCC president); Bill and Maggie Kaplen; Pearl Seiden (chair of the Gift of Community Capital and Endowment Campaign); and JoJo Rubach (chair of the Renovation Committee) conduct the symbolic groundbreaking.

The event culminated in the symbolic groundbreaking itself, when two children solemnly blew shofars to “bring down the walls” and set the tone for the auspicious moment when community leaders placed their shovels in the ground.

“We were thrilled to hold this community-wide event and are eager to begin construction on a project that will renovate our facility into a modern, state-of-the-art facility that will meet the growing demands of the 21st century,” said Pearl Seiden, chair of the Gift of Community Capital and Endowment Campaign

Renovations are expected to begin in late fall. Upgrades will include a nursery school in two secured areas, an enlarged fitness center, renovated locker rooms, family changing facilities with bathrooms and showers, an enhanced Youth and Teen Center, new administrative offices and multipurpose meeting rooms, an enlarged and renovated café, cyber cafes throughout the building for easy Internet access, and a new entrance and lobby featuring a two-story atrium displaying art, Judaica, and a donor wall with the names of all JCC contributors.

“Placing the shovel in the earth to ceremoniously mark the beginning of a new era was a momentous occasion in JCC history,” added JoJo Rubach, chair of the Renovation Committee.

For information about the capital campaign, call Elliot B. Karp, campaign consultant, at (201) 569-7900, ext 251.

For additional photos, see www.jstandard.com/index.php/photogallery

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