Jewish Federation temporarily relocates to Holyoke following JCC fire
HOLYOKE, Mass. (WGGB/WSHM) - The Jewish Federation of Western Massachusetts has moved into a temporary office space in Holyoke just weeks after a fire damaged part of the Springfield Jewish Community Center.
For the federation’s Nora Gorenstein and Bobby Naimark, it is the start of a temporary new normal. A recent fire at the JCC in Springfield impacted the federation’s main office inside the building. Though not damaged, operations had been stalled.
“What we’ve done in the meantime is try to pivot our operations to enable us to continue to finishing out the year and completing our 2022 annual campaign, but we also have been very cognizant of the safety of our staff, our volunteers, and then of course, the donors who would regularly be coming in the office,” Gorenstein said.
For a short time after the fire, federation staff and volunteers did a little work virtually. That was until a local businessman, Ned Barowsky, offered to give them a temporary space at Venture X in Holyoke. It’s a flexible workspace facility that opened in 2021 where people can rent office and desk space.
“We had given them a tour and they told us how many people they needed space for and we were able to find them the space that they needed within a week or two accommodations,” said Venture X sales manager Andrew Serrenho.
Serrenho told Western Mass News that the facility is happy to help out during this time of need.
“Ned Barowsky, he was very excited to have them here. He is Jewish as well and he likes to give back to the community as well. He’s very supportive of them coming here and we appreciate having them here,” Serrenho explained.
The federation is thankful for the opportunity to continue their work in-person, with Naimark saying his main takeaway is kehillah, which is Hebrew for “community.”
“If something bad happens in the community, like the fire at the JCC, we really are able to come together and have a true community that really cares about what the federation’s work is all about,” Naimark added.
“We are here to really change with the times and meet the needs of our community and I really feel that the idea of co-working spaces is really the way of the future. This is something that meets people’s needs, whatever they are,” Gorenstein added.
The hope is for the Springfield JCC to reopen in early January and for the Jewish Federation of Western Massachusetts to return to its main office as soon as possible, while also continuing its relationship with Venture X.
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