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Mission & History

The JCC's mission is to enhance Jewish identity and perpetuate Jewish values through excellence in cultural, educational, social and recreational programming and resources that embrace and involve the entire community.

The Jewish Community Center of Greater Ann Arbor became a part of the Ann Arbor Jewish community in 1984 when a group of founders decided that a JCC was vital to our growing community.  The Center was located on East Stadium in a rented facility until moving into our present building on Birch Hollow Drive in 1987.  

Timeline of JCC Significant Events
May 29, 1984:
Organizational meeting to discuss reasons for starting JCC, proposed facilities, and implementation plan. 

July 10, 1984: Discussion of 2300 E. Stadium as location for Center.

September 1, 1984: Establishment of founding Board of Directors.

January 13, 1985: Beth Israel Nursery School and Raanana Day Camp became part of Center.

June 12, 1985: Programs and activities include: Preschool/ Toddler program, Day Camp/ Holiday School, Community Volunteers, Kid's Peace Corps, Business People's Club, Book Club/Fair, Seniors Club. Committees include: Public Relations, Fundraising, Membership, Facilities and Operation, Business and Finance, Executive Committee.

July 21, 1985: Four series of events planned to sustain community support (self help, cultural, entertainment, feature series).

January 19, 1986: Decision to have six policy making committees of the board (public relations, membership and fundraising, programs, facilities and operation, business and finance, personnel).

August 13, 1986: Decision to purchase Clinton School building (2935 Birch Hollow Drive).

September 7, 1986: Board of Directors expanded to 21 members.

February 1987: Moved into building at 2935 Birch Hollow Drive. Began lease arrangements with Hebrew Day School and Jewish Cultural School.

May 1987: Education of community about new Center and tours of building.

February 1988: First Collossal Computer Sale.

March 1, 1988: First Executive Director hired.

March 20, 1988: Plans to incorporate Beth Shalom Nursery School into parent- child development center including half day nursery school, full day child care, kaleidoscope programming, and parent child workshops.

May 1, 1988: Dedication of Center and presenting of plaques.

June 1988: Raanana became JCC Camp.

September 1988: Senior program began Thursday Lunch Brunch, First Apples and Honey and Lots, Lots More. Singles Group became part of JCC.

December 1988: Mezuzah dedication ceremony. Outing Club formed.

November 1989: Organization of Black/ Jewish Coalition.

January 1990: Completed The Million Dollar Campaign.

August 1990: Co-hosted opening ceremonies of JCC Maccabi Games with Detroit.

September 1990: Opened Infant/ Toddler room. Began lease arrangement with Temple Beth Emeth.

March 1991: First Magical Mystery Meals.

July 1993: Report: Planning Survey.

May 1995: 10th Anniversary Celebration. Announcement of Capitol Building Campaign.

May 1997: Ground- breaking.

April 1998: Moved into expanded JCC.

March 2000: Nancy Margolis retires Center separates Executive Function from Federation and hires own Executive Director.

November 2001: Leslie Bash is hired as Executive Director.

May 2002: First Jewish Film Festival.

July 2002: Israeli Scouts come to Ann Arbor for the first time.

August 2002: Israeli Expo to help Israel's economy is held with Apples and Honey.

November 2002: Joined Jewish Book Council and doubled size of Book Fair.

February 2003: Family Havdalah program is held. First family program sponsored by the Benard L. Maas Foundation.

April 2003: JCC Gala Auction raises $46,000 for Gym renovation.

May 2003: Second Film Festival is held and attendance almost doubles.

July 2003: JCC begins Gym Fundraising campaign.

August 2003: Apples and Honey hosts 500+ attendees.

September 2003: JCC adds Univeristy of Michigan Sol Drachler intern to staff.

April 2004: Gym renovation begins.

September 2004: Gym renovation completed and Mezuzah ceremony is held at Apples and Honey.

May 2005: JCC Gala Auction raises $50,000 for renovation of the Maas Lounge and the building of an elementary- age playground.

November 2005: ECC and HDS hold first Family Literacy Night.

May 3, 2006: 5th Annual Jewish Film Festival has sell-out screening at the Michigan Theater.

July/ August 2006: Camp Raanana has its largest enrollment ever.

September 2006: Apples and Honey hosts 700+ attendees.

January 2007: Renovation to the Monkey Room completed, funded by the Benard L. Maas Foundation.

March 2007: JCC Auction raises $55,000 for Elementary-age playground campaign.

Spring 2007: ECC begins partnership with High Scope Educational Research Foundation and incorporates their teaching practices into the curriculum.

November 2007: Largest Book Festival.

June 2008: JCC Gala held to honor Founders Chuck & Sharon Newman and launch JCC Endowment Fund for the Future.

August 2008: New Elementary Playground installed and Maas Lounge renovated.

September 2008: Center hires full-time Jewish Cultural Arts and Education Director

March 2009: JCC Gala Auction netted $34,000 towards new roof.

May 2009: Installed new fences around early childhood playground and new school age playground from Homeland Security Grant.

June 2009: Name changed from the Jewish Community of Washtenaw County to the Jewish Community Center of Greater Ann Arbor

July 2009: Installed new shatter proof glass in front of building from Homeland Security Grant.

September 2009: New roof installed.

August 2010: JCC completes lounge renovation

September 2010: JCC By-laws are revised

March 2011: JCC Gala Auction netted proceeds of $31,000

August 2011: ECC Bunny infant/toddler room reconfigured

January 2012: ECC Duck infant/toddler room reconfigured

January 2012: New gym floor installed

June 2012: Second Homeland Security Project completed

June 2012: Camp Raanana moves to new camp site in Chelsea

June/July 2012: JCC raises funds to install new PA System