NW Division expansion warrants facility growth

The Jewish Federation of Southern Arizona and its Northwest Division recently announced the expansion of its Oro Valley facility to larger premises. Due to increased participation in the many programs at the Northwest’s Ruth & Irving Olson Center for Jewish Life, this summer the center will move to 180 W. Magee Road, adjacent to the current facility.

The division has grown to become a regional focus for Jewish life. Division Director Phyllis Gold describes it as a community center with weekly and monthly activities, and special events that are outgrowing the existing 1,500 square foot facility at 190 W. Magee Road.

“Increasing programs for young Jewish families is a high priority,” says Alan Kendal, the Northwest Division’s advisory council chair. “Over the coming months, the new, 2,200 square foot space will be remodeled to include a reception area and director’s office separate from the main event area. A larger kitchen and two restrooms will be added. The move also will allow for better security at the entrance. As at the present facility, there will be access to a common outside space where we can erect a Sukkah and hold other outdoor activities.”

The center’s name honors the late Ruth and Irving Olson’s contribution in 2012 to establish and sustain Jewish activities in the Northwest. “The Federation is very grateful to Carolyn and Michael Stelman, the Olsons’ daughter and son-in-law, and to Kathryn Unger, a dear friend of the Olsons, for providing the resources to further the Olsons’ support of the Jewish community in Northwest Tucson,” says Stuart Mellan, JFSA president and CEO.

The center serves residents of Oro Valley, Marana, SaddleBrooke, Catalina, Oracle, and other northwest Tucson communities.

The move also will allow for increased collaboration with community partners.

“The Tucson Jewish Community Center looks forward to working collaboratively with JFSA and the dedicated group of volunteers and staff in the JFSA Northwest office to create activity and connection,” says Todd Rockoff, president and CEO at the J. “We, at the J, realize that not all activity needs to take place at our facility.”

The last special event at the existing facility will be the Yom HaShoah Remembrance on Thursday, May 2 (see p. 29). Weekly activities (chair yoga, knitters, mah jongg) will continue until the move. Details for the new facility dedication and open house at 180 W. Magee Road will be forthcoming. For additional information, call 505-4161.