The Transformation of the Kings Bay Y

By Leonard Petlakh

Jewish Communal Service Association of North America (JCSA), Winter 2010

The author of this article became executive director of the Kings Bay Y in December 2006 when the agency, which had a long history of serving the community, was on the verge of extinction. It had been running a major deficit, staff morale was low, and programming was stagnant, failing to take into account the major demographic changes that had taken place in the catchment area in the past 15 years. The programs were geared toward only one segment of the community: native-born senior citizens. The facility itself had fallen into disrepair, and its swimming pool and locker rooms had not been renovated for many years. The Y lacked creativity, energy, passion and proactive thinking. We had to develop a new strategic vision that focused on serving the different Jewish subcommunities in our area: secular American Jews, Russian Jewish immigrants, and young Orthodox families. We defined our mission as concentrating our efforts on the growth, not just mere survival, of the Jewish community and on strengthening our connection with Israel and Jewish peoplehood. We believed that our community center could serve as a laboratory of Jewish integration, creating meaningful programs that could offer our children a sense of their Jewish identity and of belonging to the Jewish people and could help them form a lasting connection to Israel. UJA-Federation was there to guide us in the development of both our short-term plans and our long-term vision.

Topic: Programming, Organizational Development, Jewish Community Centers, Soviet Jewry, Organizational Philosophy, Leadership, Governance, Demography, Community Centers

Name of Publication: Journal of Jewish Communal Service

Editor: Naron Chalew, Gail

Volume/Issue: Vol.85/No.1

Page Number(s): 57-58

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Genre: Article

Coverage: New York, New York , United States

Language: English

Copyright Holder: Publisher

Copyright Information: Download for personal use, freely distribute link

Bibliographic Information:
Petlakh, Leonard. The Transformation of the Kings Bay Y. Journal of Jewish Communal Service. Jewish Communal Service Association of North America (JCSA). Winter 2010: 57-58. http://www.bjpa.org/Publications/details.cfm?PublicationID=8110


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