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JCC Movement Strengthened by Partnerships in California and Minnesota

Addison-Penzak JCC Merges With Jewish Federation of Silicon Valley
Twin Cities’ JCCs Merge to Create Minnesota JCC

NEW YORK — A hallmark of the JCC Movement, and one that was amplified in 2020, is the partnerships and collaborations that strengthen the aligned institutions; enhance shared opportunities and common goals; foster directionality among multiple entities; and promote greater impact in the broader Jewish and at-large communities. Two recent mergers within our movement demonstrate the value of such cooperation in achieving these benefits—and more.

In late 2020, members of the Addison-Penzak JCC (APJCC) in Los Gatos, California, and the Jewish Federation of Silicon Valley, also in Los Gatos approved the merger that created Jewish Silicon Valley. According to its website, the merger, which has been in the works for more than a year, was initiated to:

creat[e] a more efficient and unified organization that could bring together both agencies’ programs and services, leadership development and community-building activities, and communal philanthropy to provide a unified and welcoming experience for all of our members, partner agencies, and the entire community.

Lael Gray is the APJCC CEO and Federation interim CEO. Quoted in a press release about her new position, Gray said:

I will keep the vision of ensuring a vibrant Jewish community in Silicon Valley at the forefront of my work every day. I am especially excited to collaborate with our board, staff, members, and other agencies to bring that vision clearly into focus and work together toward our shared goal.

Michael Waldman, CEO of the Minnesota Jewish Community Center, echoes similar sentiments about his facility, which recently resulted from the merger of the Jewish Community Centers of Saint Paul and Minneapolis. “[B]y combining,” Waldman notes in “The Villager,” an online news source for the Twin Cities, “we’ll have more resources for programs, scholarships and facility development.…The merger allows us to grow and to do new things.”

The Minnesota JCC will continue to operate from two facilities and to use the longtime names of those buildings, which honor the legacies of the philanthropists who made them possible: Martin, z”l, and Esther, z”l, Capp of St. Paul and Robert Sabes of Minneapolis. In addition, the Capp Center, which was founded nearly 100 years ago to help Jewish immigrants adapt to life in America, has a permanent exhibit of photographs on display to sustain the rich, meaningful history and achievements of St. Paul’s JCC.

The merger of the Twin Cities’ two JCCs, like the creation of Jewish Silicon Valley, had been underway for several years—beginning with a joint film festival and proceeding from there—and was undertaken and carried out with tremendous thoroughness, thought, and care. As Waldman declared in this 2019 article on tc | jewfolk: “We’re stronger and better when working together…. a combined JCC with multiple campuses will serve more people with greater impact.”


About JCC Association of North America

JCC Association of North America leads and connects the JCC Movement, advancing and enriching North American Jewish life. With 1.5 million people walking through the doors of more than 170 Jewish Community Centers and Jewish Community Camps (JCCs) each week, the JCC Movement is the largest platform for Jewish engagement on the continent. JCC Association, the convening organization of this dynamic network, partners with JCCs to bring together the collective power and knowledge of the entire JCC Movement, including 12,000 full-time and 41,000 part-time and seasonal professionals. By supporting them, together we enhance and strengthen Jewish life throughout North America. Learn more at or on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.


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