2016-04-27 / Columns

Our community is growing at The Commons on Springdale Road

Jewish Federation CEO

This Passover, I resolved to take a moment to reflect on where we’ve been and where we’re headed here in our South Jersey Jewish community. When the Jews fled Egypt all those thousands of years ago, they left a life of slavery behind them and journeyed toward freedom and a land of their own to call home. And that’s what we’ve been doing here in South Jersey—building a home for ourselves.

We outgrew our building on Route 70 nearly 20 years ago and made the move to our current location. There was some opposition to us building here at the corner of Springdale and Kresson Roads, but we overcame that and have become a truly valuable community resource to both Jews and non-Jews over the years. Now, we’ve even outgrown this building and thus, the purchase of The Annex at 1721 Springdale Road. Looking to the future and what that may hold, we’re unveiling a new name for that building and property: The Commons: Part of the JFed Family. Already, we have such a variety of essential programming there that keeping the name “Annex” seemed to diminish the importance of what we’re doing just down the street.

The Commons is home to the JFCS Soups & Sweets program, providing culinary training for adults with special needs to help them learn new job skills and find paid employment. The added bonus to all this? The amazing soups, sweets, sandwiches, and more that you can buy for your next event!

The Commons is home to the Philly Art Center, which offers after-school and summer camp classes for kids in partnership with the Katz JCC, as well as classes for adults in the evening. Philly Art Center was looking for a home in South Jersey and they found one here at The Commons. It’s been a wonderful partnership all around, and JCC members can enjoy a discount on classes.

The Commons is home to Politz Preschool East, bringing a Modern Orthodox preschool experience to the east side of Cherry Hill. This partnership with Politz is just one of the ways the Jewish Federation helps to support the Jewish day schools in our South Jersey community.

The Commons is home to Camp Gan Israel Cherry Hill, an affiliate of Chabad of Camden and Burlington Counties, both last summer and again this coming summer. The camp hosts all of its programming for young kids at The Commons, while older campers visit to use the gym and fields.

The Commons is home to the JFCS TOPS (To Our Positive Success) program, providing an enriching day program for adults with special needs. TOPS teaches life skills, social skills, creative arts, music, cooking, exercise, and so much more. Day trips and evening outings round out the activities at hand.

The Commons is home to the Jewish Federation’s Mobile ReSale Boutique. This is where our Mobile ReSale staff and volunteers collect, sort, and get ready for sale all of the donations that come in to support our mobile thrift shop.

The Commons is home to the JFCS SAIL and Katz JCC ACHaD sports teams for individuals with special needs, using the gym to hone their basketball and athletic skills to the max.

The Commons is also home to a number of other community groups that rent out the classrooms and soccer fields for their own programming.

We bought The Commons because we were bursting at the seams here at 1301 Springdale Road and because we saw the potential for a new home for so many vital programs and services in our community. We have exciting plans in the works for The Commons and we’re looking forward to sharing them with you soon!

Happy Passover to you, your family, and your friends! . jweiss@jfedsnj.org

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