‘It feels so amazing’: Springfield JCC receives community support after electrical fire

Springfield’s Jewish Community Center is undergoing quite the facelift after a devastating fire last November.
Published: Nov. 20, 2023 at 3:42 PM EST
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SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WGGB/WSHM) - Springfield’s Jewish Community Center is undergoing quite the facelift after a devastating fire last November. We’re seeing how the community institution is bouncing back.

This Monday came in with a bang at Springfield’s Jewish Community Center.

367 days after an electrical fire tore through parts of the JCC, they unveiled a new women’s locker room and indoor racquetball courts in the making.

“It feels so amazing,” expressed Sam Dubrinsky, CEO of the JCC. “I am so proud of our progress and the hard work that we’ve done to get us where we are today,”

Springfields’ Fire Commissioner BJ Calvi was one of the first on the scene the night of the fire.

He told Western Mass News that after the extent of damage, this progress is impressive.

“The resiliency of the organization is tremendous,” said Calvi. “To be able to overcome this kind of damage and get it up and running is such a quick fashion. To be able to remediate the whole building and get it up and running in a year’s time is a testament to the hard work of the staff here at JCC and their leadership.”

In addition to the fire department, Educare’s Nikki Burnett and the Wilbraham YMCA’s Dexter Johnson, providing their spaces and services while the JCC got back on their feet.

“Oh my gosh, it was so moving for me as a fairly new leader to this community to the outpouring of support and how things just came together because of their commitment to the community and the care that they have for colleagues,” added Dubrinsky.

“I will say, I always talk about there being beauty from ashes… we created an amazing community there and joined people we probably wouldn’t have joined together,” noted Burnett.

“I have for both of you a gift,” said Dubrinsky. “A mezzuzah that will match the mezzuzah’s at JCC. The mezzuzah is a symbol that protects and connects and unites us as a community… it feels like the perfect gift to share with your agencies.”

“I will most definitely put this up… I can’t wait to learn more about it,” expressed Burnett.

Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno told Western Mass News that although the rebuild is impressive, the support… is not a surprise.

“I’m not surprised by our Springfield community, but the nonprofits that stepped up… Educare… the YMCA,” expressed Sarno. “That’s what Springfield and the surrounding areas are all about. When people are in need, we all come together, whether it’s a fire or a natural or manmade disaster, it always warms my heart… especially during the holiday season…”

Dubrinsky told Western Mass News they have a soft timeline that should allow them to reopen the rebuilt areas by the spring, barring any supply chain or construction hiccups along the way.