We are delighted to announce that construction has begun on the next phase of The Larry & Mary Greenspon Family Campus for Jewish Life. The campus will open in phases next winter, spring and summer.
The seminal act of the first Jews, Abraham and Sarah, was to open their tent on all sides to welcome strangers regardless of what direction they came from. As our center for Jewish life, the campus will “welcome the stranger.” Jews and our neighbors will meet, learn from one another and celebrate together. We will enjoy inspiring programs for all ages, including a new day camp. It will be a home for conversation and education about the Jewish people, our history and ideas; Israel; the sources of antisemitism and hatred, and how to fight them.
In 2019, the Federation engaged Brandeis University to conduct a demographic study. It showed that ours is one of the America’s fastest growing Jewish communities. We also have unique needs: Only 10 percent of local Jewish children are receiving any formal or informal Jewish education. Less than 20 percent of local Jewish community members belong to local synagogues. Yet the majority are interested in connecting Jewishly. We designed the campus, to address these unique needs.
The Campus will provide:
- A hub for community building – a warm place to nurture friendships and engage volunteers and community leaders;
- An oasis of learning and respectful exchange – where all are safe not only physically but also emotionally and culturally, because diverse viewpoints are welcome;
- An incubator for arts and ideas – building on our Jewish community’s vast contributions to the region’s arts and intellectual treasures; and
- Premiere spaces to celebrate life events – meeting the demand for life-cycle and event venues;
The Morganroth Event Center will host gatherings that celebrate family, volunteers, community leaders and philanthropists, as well as business conferences and retreats. It will be customizable, featuring the latest acoustics and lighting, and will include:
- The iconic Epstein Family Chuppah to welcome everyone;
- The open and airy Mitchell Family Welcome Center to host pre-event receptions and provide a living-room environment where old and new friends can socialize;
- The Kaplan Community Hall, will accommodate 500 guests at banquet-style events and 1,000 guests in a lecture-style setup;
- The Joy Moravitz Rooms will be ideal for a variety of events; and the Stulberg Art Gallery will display traveling exhibits
Ritter Wolk Security & Training Center
Law enforcement, community leaders and volunteers will use this training space for threat assessment, emergency planning, and other critical needs. The center will also host meetings and events for local organizations.
Chaifetz Holocaust Memorial Garden
This peaceful sanctuary will feature moving sculptures, an eternal flame, a butterfly garden, fountains and walking paths around a reflecting pond. The Garden will host educational groups to promote awareness of the evils of antisemitism and hatred and to inspire ethical behavior.
Jewish day camp
Jewish day camp is one of the most high-impact Jewish-identity-building experiences. Here children will build new friendships surrounded by Jewish and Israeli music, activities and fun. At the Marcy & Michael Klein Pavilion, campers will gather for morning flag-raising, Kabbalat Shabbat, theater and more. The Pavilion will also house the Esther & Bob Heller Israel Center, providing education and advocacy for Israel year-round.
We are thrilled to host two outstanding non-profits that share our values of education, inclusion and collaboration. Both will contribute to the maintenance of campus athletic facilities outside camp season.
- The regional headquarters of the Special Olympics, which provides year-round sports training and competition in a variety of sports for children and adults with physical and intellectual disabilities.
- Sarasota Academy of the Arts, a public charter school, will renovate and maintain the former JCC building.
Both partnerships will contribute to the campus’ financial sustainability while expressing our cornerstone value of being open and welcoming.