About the J
The J is a non-profit membership organization where people come together as a community to learn, share and celebrate. We inspire and connect people of all ages, faiths and backgrounds through social, educational, cultural, fitness and recreational opportunities in a warm and welcoming environment. The J represents a feeling of home for kids, families, teens, singles and everyone in between.
The J houses preschool, child care and camp programs, as well as a state-of-the-art fitness center, indoor pool, gymnasium and racquetball courts. Our thirty-two acre family campus offers a wide array of outdoor recreational services. The J is also home to Jewish holiday celebrations and cultural arts programming.
The J is proud to be part of the Family of Communal Agencies funded in part by the Jewish Federation of Delaware, United Way of Delaware and JCC Association.
When you join the J, you are joining a community. We host several special events and programs throughout the year that educate and enrich our members and families of all backgrounds about Jewish life, culture, and Israel. We celebrate our Jewish Heritage while welcoming every person of every faith and background
The mission of the J is to be the hub of Jewish life in our region. We strengthen the greater community by nurturing Jewish belonging and encouraging social, physical, and intellectual growth in an environment guided by Jewish values and culture.
If you are a member of the press, we invite you to add your name to our Press Contact list by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org or 302-478-5660.
- October 31, 1901 – Rosa Topkis called a meeting at her home on King Street. From that meeting was born the YMHA. Ten officers were appointed. Rooms were rented on the northeast corner of 3rd and Market Streets.
- 1911 – A building was made available to house the “Y” at 3rd and King Streets, where it remained for the next six years.
- October 1920 – The “Y” is amalgamated with the Jewish Welfare Board.
- June 29, 1922 – The constitution of the Jewish Community Center was passed at a mass meeting. The YMHA ceased to exist. Seven hundred Jewish families enrolled at the JCC and evening programs regularly drew 400 attendees.
- 1933 – A challenge was issued to find at least 50 interested young men to reopen the Center on French Street.
- March 15, 1954 – The YM-YWHA officially changes its name to the Jewish Community Center. Community leaders begin to recognize the need for a new building. A successful campaign was started and completed, raising money to purchase ten acres on Garden of Eden Road and build the new facility.
- May 3, 1970 – The new JCC officially opens. The Center maintains an expansionist philosophy of growth in service to the community.
- 1979 – 1980 – The New Castle County lease for the Bellefonte property the houses our day camp will expire soon, so the search for a new location for Camp JCC begins. After an extensive search, it is decided that the ideal location for the new Family Campus is the current site of the JCC.
- 1980 – 1988 – A multi-million dollar campus capital campaign is successfully launched and completed.
- June 5, 1988 – The Family Campus officially opens.
- September 1991 – The health and fitness facilities were renovated. State-of-the art equipment, a new aerobics studio and highly-trained fitness staff were added to enhance the Center’s recreational facilities.
- 1999 – A strategic plan was adopted by the Board of Directors to focus efforts on four areas: 1) endowment development; 2) outreach to Newark and Southern Pennsylvania communities; 3) services for interfaith families; 4) strengthening Jewish education and increased adult cultural programming.
- November 2000 – The first JCC website was up and running on the internet.
- October 12 – 14, 2001 – The JCC celebrates 100 years of service to the community – “Celebrating Our Past… Launching Our Future.” A Community Shabbat Dinner is held to kick-off the weekend festivities. Over 360 people attend the Shabbat Dinner. The Presidents Ball is held honoring all of the JCC Presidents and welcomes over 250 people for Havdallah services, cocktails and a formal dinner. The Community Blast is held on the grounds of the Family Campus. Many family-related activities and programs are held in conjunction with the launch of the Community Capital Campaign.
- August 2003 – Phase I of the Garden of Eden Road Complex construction begins to build the new Fitness Center and Early Childhood Wings.
- June 27, 2004 – The JCC is renamed the Bernard and Ruth Siegel Jewish Community Center at its 70th Annual Meeting.
- June 2005 – The new Pincus-Grant Fitness Center and Early Childhood Center wings open to the membership.
- September 2005 – Phase II of the Garden of Eden Road Complex construction begins. This phase included renovations to some of the existing facilities in the lower level and main levels of the JCC.
- November 2008 – Audio visual, sound and lightening enhancements were made to the JCC’s Auditorium and Board Room.
- May 2009 – Outdoor toddler pool at the Family Campus was totally refurbished and included a specialized surface coating and the addition of entry steps and handrail.
- 2013 – The JLoop, a ½ mile paved track, was installed around the back fields on the campus.
- 2014 – Three high-quality sand volleyball courts were added to the Outdoor Campus.
- 2015 – Partnering with Naamans Little League, an indoor batting cage was opened. The same year, an outdoor high ropes course was created, enhancing our youth recreational offerings.
- 2016 – A state-of-the-art Ultraviolet Disinfection System was installed in the Indoor Pool, allowing the use of significantly less chlorine and making a cleaner and healthier environment for all of our swimmers.