DCJCC programs relocating during renovations

The Edlavtich DC Jewish Community Center’s 10 months of renovations beginning this summer will lead to a relocation of programs and groups. (Photo by AgnosticPreachersKid/Wikimedia)

The Edlavitch DC Jewish Community Center will close later this summer for 10 months of repairs. The closure will send many programs across 16th Street NW to Foundry United Methodist Church and a townhouse owned by the JCC, among other locations.

Outreach programs like GLOE and EntryPointDC will head to the church, while classes, community programs and offices will be split among the church and the townhouse, said Adina Kanefield, the JCC’s deputy executive director. The preschool will be split between the church and mobile classrooms on the Edlavitch property.

The JCC has partnered with Vida Fitness a block away on 15th Street NW where JCC members will be able to use the fitness facilities, although some fitness classes will also be held at the church. Members will also have use of the pool at University Club a few blocks down 16th Street, said Bini Silver, the JCC’s chief operating officer.

Several independent religious groups will relocate as well. That includes Bet Mishpachah, an LGBTQ congregation that has met at the Edlavitch JCC for 20 years, which will hold services at the church.


DC Minyan, which has met at the JCC for 16 years, “has been working with the JCC to finalize arrangements for an alternate location for next year, as well as doing independent research into other available venues that fit the needs of our community,” Josh Nason, a member of the minyan’s steering committee, said in an email.

Both religious communities are still working out the details with the JCC.

“At this point, the relocation arrangements make no provision for congregational programs or events other than Friday evening and twice-monthly Saturday morning Shabbat services, but discussions on that issue continue,” according to the Bet Mishpachah newsletter.

The church would accommodate some non-Friday services, the newsletter continued, but there would not be classroom or meeting space available.

The JCC has given Bet Mishpachah a move-out date of the last week of August, but the congregation is hoping to move earlier to prepare for High Holidays services. Rosh Hashanah begins at sundown on Sept. 9.

Theater J, which holds performances at the Edlavitch DC JCC’s Goldman Theater, will conduct its 2018-19 season at other area venues, said Artistic Director Adam Immerwahr. Sites will include the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts Family Theater, Arena Stage, GALA Hispanic Theatre and Georgetown University’s Davis Performing Arts Center.

“We decided it was a great opportunity,” Immerwahr said. “We could reach new audiences and people in DC and do projects we otherwise couldn’t have done inside our building.”

Theater J is already planning for its return season in the renovated Goldman Theater, which will include new seats and a box office on the main floor, Immerwahr said.

“We’re trying to look at next year as an opportunity for us to extend our reach outside our walls and be out there in the community,” Kanefield said.

Silver pointed to the Washington Jewish Film Festival as an example of longtime partners also helping out. The festival already has showings across the city in other theaters and next year’s will use those exclusively.

The capital campaign to pay for the renovations of the 1925 building began in 2015 with a $6.5 million gift from Irwin and Ginny Edlavitch, for whom the JCC is now named.

“We feel we owe it to the community to protect this historic building,” Kanefield said, “and the already thriving Jewish community it represents.”

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