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Old 01-31-2013, 02:18 PM
 
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I've just found out that the JCC in Bridgeport is closing at the end of August and am wondering if anybody knows why? I wonder if this is is a sign that the Jewish population in Eastern Fairfield County is decreasing. Stamford and Woodbrige have JCCs, but it seems strange that there will no longer be any in between. Does anybody happen to know about the size of the Jewish community in the Fairfield area? Thanks.
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Old 01-31-2013, 04:37 PM
 
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Not closing, building another facility - click on link


Jewish Ledger | Serving Connecticut's Jewish Communities Bridgeport Jewish community charts a
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Old 01-31-2013, 05:08 PM
 
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Phew. Thanks for sharing that!
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Old 01-31-2013, 06:18 PM
 
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No, they are closing...in a sense. The Jewish Home for the Elderly--a nursing home currently located about a mile away--will be constructing a new facility on the grounds of the old JCC. There will be some space dedicated to the JCC and its activities but not much.

My daughter went to preschool at the JCC and while we loved a great many things about it, it was no surprise that the organization was struggling. With the caveat that I have zero data to support this, my sense is that it's not an indication that the Jewish population is waning but rather that "the Jewish population" is no longer one monolithic group requiring, or willing to support, such an organization. It's a huge piece of land and costly to maintain. It takes money, fundraising, etc. and the will is not there. I don't know, maybe the population is decreasing. Or maybe they're well-integrated and don't find a need or are "less Jewish" than their parents (As an unaffiliated Jew married to an atheist who was raised Catholic, this is how I feel! )

In any event, yes, it is closing in that the JCC of Eastern Fairfield County will not be anything like it was for the past 50 years. In terms of Jewish-affiliated daycare/nursery schools, The Jewish Home will be running one (they currently have one on their campus, though oddly enough, there is no Jewish education component) and B'nai Israel (Reform congregation on Park Ave) will be expanding its program.
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Old 01-31-2013, 07:49 PM
 
Location: Live in NY State, work in CT
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Perhaps it reflects more that the Jewish population of the area is not focused in Bridgeport itself and is a lot more spread out throughout the suburbs compared to 50 years ago. For example, back in Westchester, Yonkers and Mt. Vernon used to have JCC's galore, and they've pretty much all closed down. But I'd hardly consider some of the more Jewish populated surrounding towns (i.e. Scarsdale, Ardsley, Greenwich for that matter to use a CT example) to be losing their Jewish population, it's just spread out more into more and more far-flung suburbs. Local to Bridgeport I think you simply see a lot more (but in a spread out way) in Trumbull, Fairfield and Westport.
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Old 01-31-2013, 07:59 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 7 Wishes View Post
Perhaps it reflects more that the Jewish population of the area is not focused in Bridgeport itself and is a lot more spread out throughout the suburbs compared to 50 years ago. For example, back in Westchester, Yonkers and Mt. Vernon used to have JCC's galore, and they've pretty much all closed down. But I'd hardly consider some of the more Jewish populated surrounding towns (i.e. Scarsdale, Ardsley, Greenwich for that matter to use a CT example) to be losing their Jewish population, it's just spread out more into more and more far-flung suburbs. Local to Bridgeport I think you simply see a lot more (but in a spread out way) in Trumbull, Fairfield and Westport.
I understand that Bridgeport itself probably doesn't have a huge Jewish population, but that JCC was meant to service Fairfield, Bridgeport, and Trumbull. As far as Greenwich, there actually is a tiny JCC there (I think it's more of an organization than a building though), but the difference there is that Stamford's JCC is right around the corner. There's nothing comparably close to Fairfield since the other JCCs are a good 30 min drive...
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Old 02-01-2013, 07:21 AM
 
Location: Live in NY State, work in CT
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Quote:
Originally Posted by elinyc View Post
I understand that Bridgeport itself probably doesn't have a huge Jewish population, but that JCC was meant to service Fairfield, Bridgeport, and Trumbull. As far as Greenwich, there actually is a tiny JCC there (I think it's more of an organization than a building though), but the difference there is that Stamford's JCC is right around the corner. There's nothing comparably close to Fairfield since the other JCCs are a good 30 min drive...
But I bet some in Fairfield and Trumbull are turned off to going because it's in "Bridgeport" (BTW when I used to work in Bridgeport for 2 years I drove by it every day on my commute, it's actually in one of the nicer parts of town) or mistakingly think it's in a bad part of town and are scared to go there. If they were smart they'd move it to Fairfield or Trumbull, the Jewish community there isn't the size of Greenwich/north Stamford or the Westchester towns, but it's hardly nonexistant either, it's still bigger than the "Jewish" suburbs of many other big cities that have a JCC (for example, Williamsville, NY near Buffalo where my sister lives).
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Old 02-01-2013, 08:18 AM
 
Location: Connecticut
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Part of the problem with the Bridgeport JCC is that the building is now 50 years old and need of major repair. The building has been somewhat neglected and the organization has not invested in significant upgrades in a long time.

The Jewish Home has been looking to move for years now but has not found a good location for what they hoped would be a larger facility. Their efforts for moving to Monroe met with significant sanitary sewer issues that could not be overcome. The Park Avenue property that JCC occupies allows them to build a modern facility with few issues. The Jewish Home property will be sold to neighboring Sacred Heart University which has almost maximized its existing campus.

It will be sad to see the JCC building go though. Jay
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Old 02-01-2013, 10:02 AM
 
Location: New London County, CT
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I used to go to the Center a lot when I was growing up in Trumbull. They had Sunday programs and school vacation camps that I went to ... There are a number of reasons that the JCC is closing...

- The Center has been in financial trouble for years
- As Jay indicated the building is in need of a multi million dollar renno, for which there is no funding
- The work out facilities, which are a membership driver in New Haven and West Hartford, are more antiquated and not as convenient

It's a shame to see it go.
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Old 02-07-2013, 12:05 PM
 
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I went to preschool and kindergarten at this JCC in the late 80's, along with summer day camps and other activities; lots of good memories there.

Sad to hear its closing but glad to know its not for keeps.
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