Nearly 20 years after the Jewish Community Center of Southern Nevada arrived in Las Vegas, it finally has a permanent home.
“We’ve sort of been the wandering Jews of Las Vegas,” jokes Jewish Community Center of Southern Nevada executive director Neil Popish.
Since the organization was founded in 1991, it has bounced from location to location, conducting programs in libraries, theaters and out of the Adelson Educational Campus. Now, Popish’s self-described “JCC without walls” is forever in Summerlin.
Temple Sinai donated an existing 3,000-square-foot facility to the group, and the building received a $60,000 retrofit financed by donations and through a grant from the Jewish Federation of Las Vegas.
The refreshed facility recently opened its doors, and a formal grand opening party is planned for the fall.
U.S. Rep. Shelley Berkley, D-Nev., joined rabbis Felipe Goodman and Malcolm Cohen on Aug. 29 for an intimate dedication ceremony, when the three placed a ceremonial mezuzah on the front door.
The Jewish Community Center, at 9001 Hillpointe Road, includes a 2,000-square-foot multi-purpose room, two offices, a boardroom and a small classroom that is shared with Temple Sinai. The group plans to use it to conduct educational, social, athletic and cultural programs.
“We’re looking at early childhood education—mommy and me classes, not preschool, necessarily—plus fitness classes [and] art classes for every age group, from students to seniors,” Popish says.
The center isn’t just for Jews.
“We’re opening our doors to the community,” Popish says, noting, “Many of our members of the Jewish Community Center aren’t even Jewish.”