JW3, also known as Jewish Community Centre London, is an arts, culture and entertainment venue, an educational facility and a social and community hub in north London. It is located at 341–351 Finchley Road, London NW3 6ET and opened on 29 September 2013. "Describing itself as a new postcode for Jewish life", the name "JW3" is a wordplay on its postal address, which is in the NW3 postcode area.
Vivien Duffield, whose idea it was, contributed £40m of the project's £50m cost – over the 10 years it took to bring it to reality – through the Clore Duffield Foundation. It was inspired by her 2003 visit to the Jewish Community Centre in Manhattan, New York.
The 35,000 square foot building, which includes a 270-seat auditorium, a 60-seat cinema, a restaurant and bar, a demonstration kitchen, dance studios, classrooms and medical consultation rooms, was designed by Lifschutz Davidson Sandilands. The JW3 campus sits on half an acre of land and includes the community centre/arts venue, an outdoor piazza and a tower block of apartments and offices.
JW3 is run by the Jewish Community Centre for London, a charitable organisation that aims to provide a way into, or back into, active Jewish life for all of London’s Jewish community.
Rooted in Jewish values, the organisation runs a wide programme of events that it launched in 2005. These target all members of the community, irrespective of affiliation or level of observance. Held in various venues across London, the programme aims to be inclusive and is not religious, instead using its events to provide a gateway into Jewish life and foster a cohesive community.
The JCC for London is part of the wider and well established JCC Movement. It started in 1854 when the first Young Men’s Hebrew Association opened its doors in Baltimore, Maryland to offer support for Jewish immigrants, help ensure Jewish continuity, and provide a place for celebration. Similar associations opened soon afterwards, serving as libraries, cultural centres, and settlement houses. JCCs now provide services and programmes that seek to build and strengthen Jewish communal life along with Jewish educational experiences to and for Jews of all ages and orientations.
Currently there are over 1,100 JCCs worldwide, including 300 in North America, 180 in the Former Soviet Union, 70 in Latin America, 50 in Europe, and almost 500 smaller centres in Israel.
JW3 runs a programme of social, cultural and educational events that mix audiences, age groups and content, encouraging experimentation with ideas and attempting to engage people in new issues.
Previous arts and culture events have ranged from modern interpretations of art and music gigs (e.g. an Idan Raichel Project concert) to events such as Kvetch choir (the complaints choir) that encourages people to enjoy their own creativity and a singalong with the pensioner pop group "The Zimmers".
Books-based events have included discussions on books related to the community, with guest author appearances, and debates on topics such as "Has the Left Lost its Way?".
Sounds Jewish podcast
JW3's monthly podcast, Sounds Jewish, produced in partnership with The Guardian, is a monthly magazine-style programme hosted by Jason Solomons. Each "episode" is about 30 minutes in length and many of them are featured on The Guardian's podcast homepage.
JW3 has established an annual volunteering day called "Mitzvah Day". Organising volunteering opportunities that make a difference to the local and London communities, over 1,200 volunteers participated in the 2008 Mitzvah Day. The 2007 Mitzvah Day was also part of the much broader Enterprise Week initiative.
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- Wainwright, Oliver (24 September 2013). "JW3: is London's latest cultural centre 'a new postcode for Jewish life'?". The Guardian. Retrieved 6 January 2014.
- Pollard, Stephen (17 September 2014). "JW3 and LJCC set to unite in historic merger". The Jewish Chronicle. Retrieved 17 September 2014.
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- Review: Idan Raichel Project / Noa
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- Let’s hear it for the Zimmers singing My Generation, The Times Online
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- Mitzvah Day
- Are you ready for Enterprise Week?, The Times Online