History of the Peninsula Jewish Community Center (PJCC)
Founded by a group of enthusiastic Jewish community members, the PJCC was brought to life in a rented home in Burlingame in 1948. A place of compassion and a symbol of unity to all, the PJCC quickly became popular among many San Mateo County residents. With demand for the Center growing by leaps and bounds, the tiny house was soon too small to support the needs of its membership, so the Center was moved to a storefront in San Carlos. By 1960, due to the Peninsula’s increasing population, the Board of Directors eagerly set out to find a new home yet again. In 1963, the PJCC purchased and opened a much larger facility on a 4+ acre site in the Belmont hills where it remained for the next 40 years.
First formed in the 19th Century to enable new immigrants to learn English, find housing, and promote community building, Jewish Community Centers soon became a hub of activity for people of all ages. Small classes for toddlers became early childhood departments; pools and steam rooms grew into full-fledged health, wellness, and recreation departments; and, as the population aged, information and services for seniors grew.
Currently, there are over 250 JCCs (Jewish Community Centers) in North America, including 17 in California alone. Although each center is unique, they share the goal of providing programs and services that reinforce the life-affirming values and proud traditions we embrace.
A Peninsula Tradition Continues
The PJCC proudly opened its new 12-acre home in Foster City in May 2004. This momentous occasion came as the result of years of hard work, contributions and the dedication of hundreds of individuals banding together. For over 55 years, the PJCC has worked to inspire a sense of community in San Mateo County. That dream has become a reality.
In Belmont, the PJCC operated an expanded and broad range of programs in response to growing and diversifying community needs. However, by 1993 our membership was once again exceeding capacity and our Board went in search of a more spacious home for the Center. A lease was signed with the City of Foster City in 1998, and the plan to build our new campus was born.
Joining the PJCC on this tremendous 12-acre campus are the Jewish Day School of the North Peninsula, the Jewish Community Federation and Jewish Family and Children’s Services. Together, we proudly celebrate this long-awaited dream becoming a reality for the entire community in 2004.