How Vancouver’s Jews are fundraising for one of the most expensive Jewish building projects in Canadian history

An artist's rendering of the new Jewish Community Centre of Greater Vancouver. (Image courtesy of the Jewish Community Centre of Greater Vancouver)

When Vancouver’s current Jewish community centre opened in Oakridge in 1962, the local community numbered about 8,000. Today, Vancouver’s Jewish community is the third largest in Canada and nearly four times as big as it was back then—about 30,000 people. But the JCCGV is used by more than just Jews, with about 40,000 regular visitors.

That’s why the campus is undergoing one of the most expensive renovations for a Jewish building project Canada has ever seen. With two phases costing a total of $450 million over 10 years, the new site, dubbed JWest, will eventually be home to 20 Jewish agencies, a new Holocaust education centre, a performing arts theatre, a library, a daycare and 500 affordable rental units.

While various governments have so far contributed the bulk of the funds, organizers are turning to Vancouverites to pitch in the remainder, to the tune of $125 million for starters. To discuss the scope and hopes of this project, we’re joined by Alex Cristall, head of the JWest campaign; Eldad Goldfarb, head of the current JCC; and Ezra Shanken, CEO of Vancouver’s Federation.

What we talked about:


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