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The Long Journey to a Home of Our Own

 

For longer than Moses wandered in the desert in search of a home, the South Peninsula Jewish community wandered from place to place, seeking a permanent location to call its own.

That dream of creating a central place where we can celebrate the diversity of our Jewish heritage and the breadth of our community's interests was magnificently realized in fall 2009.

The Oshman Family JCC and Moldaw Family Residences now reside on the Taube Koret Campus for Jewish Life, a multigenerational environment where people of all ages can live, learn, play and connect.


We want to recognize those donors who stepped up with lead gifts to make this campus possible.
They are: the Taube Foundation for Jewish Life and Culture and the Koret Foundation joint campus naming gift; the Oshman Family Foundation; The Richard and Rhoda Goldman Fund; Stuart (z”l) and Phyllis Moldaw; and the Jewish Community Federation of San Francisco, the Peninsula, Marin and Sonoma Counties.

Finally, there would be no JCC today without the ongoing vision, tenacity and passionate belief that Carol Saal brought to this project. To everyone involved in creating this new home, our heartfelt thanks.

 
1960s
Palo Alto began some semblance of a Jewish Community Center nearly 50 years ago, originating with a handful of people meeting in a storefront on El Camino Real. In response to increased participation, the JCC moved to a small house downtown and later to another house on Middlefield Road.
   
1970s After outgrowing the house on Middlefield, the JCC leased the former Ortega School site on East Meadow Drive. But as the community continued to grow, we once again needed to find larger quarters.
   
1983 The JCC made its new home at the then-closed Terman Jr. High School site on Arastradero Road, thanks to a generous gift from Albert and Janet (z”l) Schultz for whom the JCC was then named. For nearly 20 years, the ALSJCC offered preschool, after school care and enrichment programs, adult and family activities, summer day camps, émigré and senior services and a popular fitness and aquatics program.
   
1999-2002
With steadily rising school enrollments, Palo Alto Unified School District notified the ALSJCC of the need to reopen Terman as a middle school, and we were left to re-evaluate our living situation once again. We moved to the Cubberley/Greendell campus in 2002 as a temporary solution. From that point on, the ALSJCC continued to provide an outstanding Early Childhood Education program at T’enna Preschool, engaging programs and a welcoming community—but with limited facilities and the knowledge that a permanent home needed to be found.
   
2000-2002 A coalition of Jewish organizations and individuals conceived the idea of creating a multigenerational campus incorporating both the ALSJCC and senior residences in a vibrant, 24/7 Jewish community. That idea became the rallying cry for the successful $140 million Capital Campaign to build the TKCJL and its two cornerstone institutions—the OFJCC and Moldaw Family Residences. The location was the former Sun Microsystems headquarters site in Palo Alto.
   
2005-2007 A remarkable lead gift from Barbara and Ken Oshman gave the Capital Campaign a major boost and gave the ALSJCC a new namesake. The Schultzes graciously continued their unwavering support to build, endow and name the Schultz Cultural Arts Hall on the new Campus. Other extraordinary donors named other facilities, as well as the Campus itself. After almost two-and-a-half years of design, planning and fundraising, the Campus received unanimous approval from the Palo Alto City Council in 2006. The official groundbreaking was held on October 7, 2007.
   
2009 It was a busy year: the ALSJCC officially changed its name to the Oshman Family JCC in January, construction continued on schedule, staff moved to the new Campus in July and we opened our doors on September 1. On October 18, we had a Grand Opening Celebration to share our new home with the entire community!