Brodsky Center Opens Doors After Long Journey to Completion

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The new Jewish Family and Children’s Service Barbara and Harvey Brodsky Enrichment Center in Bala Cynwyd is ready for visitors.

Now that the Jewish Family and Children’s Service (JFCS) Barbara and Harvey Brodsky Enrichment Center is open for business comes the true test.

The $7.2 million, 18,000-square-foot state-of-the art building in Bala Cynwyd means a lot of things to a lot of people, and the organization is intent on delivering.

“This is certainly the pinnacle of my career to be able to have built this site with a remarkable team of people, professional staff and donors,” said JFCS president Paula Goldstein, who’s worked in Jewish service agencies for 30 years. “But the best is yet to come.

“Because if we’re doing what we said we’re going to do in this building, we’re going to be building relationships by bringing volunteers and people that we serve together. Everybody wins. Volunteers feel a sense of meaning. And the people we serve make connections and feel more a part of the community.

“That’s really what this building is all about.”

It’s a building that has something for everybody, including a full kosher teaching kitchen, a children’s den, an art therapy studio and several conference rooms for individual counseling and support. Add a library, a wall of history in the large community room and other touches, and JFCS hopes it makes visitors feel welcome.

Other areas of interest include a parents’ waiting room, a financial empowerment center and educational options for people of all ages, from children to seniors. And where else will you find 26 different mezuzahs — brought to the center by 18 different rabbis?

The building is equipped with not only the latest technology but luxurious furniture and plenty of space for those who rely on wheelchairs or walkers.

And in the lobby you can’t help but notice “Chai,” Debra Kapnek’s moving portraits of 18 women who survived the Holocaust.

As for the location — on Montgomery Avenue not far from synagogues of all denominations — JFCS has no complaints.

“We’re in the hub, and we wanted to be in the hub,” Goldstein said.

“We know this area of the city is identified as one of the fastest-growing Jewish communities in North America.”

The Brodsky Center becomes JFCS’ fifth area base of operations, joining facilities in Elkins Park, Northeast Philadelphia, on North Broad Street and in Center City. And while there are multiple offices and service organizations vying for funding, there’s little competition, according to Goldstein.

“We all tend to do different things,” she said. “There’s not as much of an overlap as you might think.

“We are partners with KleinLife, which does a phenomenal job as a senior center providing meals and a place for older, frail adults to go. That’s their mandate. We’re much more involved in the counseling and care management business.”

And having just bought an 18-seat bus, the center will be able transport those in need of a ride.

“The whole goal was to be able to bring people to this building who need transportation, in addition to what we usually do — taking older adults shopping and to their medical appointments. It’s going to be a busy everyday bus.”

Contact: [email protected]; 215-832-0729