About us

JCC Mission

The Jewish Community Center of Greater Columbus is a human service agency offering a varied program that is Jewish in nature. It is committed to enhancing the quality of individual and family life through the promotion of physical, intellectual and spiritual wellness. It provides educational and cultural programs that reflect the Jewish heritage, health related activities and many services to the community at large.  Through its wide array of programs, the JCC pursues its mission of strengthening the individual, family and community.
– Revised by the JCC’s Board of Trustees on April 16, 2012

JCC Vision

The JCC nurtures a passion for Jewish learning and living. Through programs and services, the JCC provides comfortable and inviting environments in which the community can thrive.
– Revised by the JCC’s Board of Trustees on April 16, 2012

JCC Historical Timeline

1913 – Present


Our Beginnings

  • The JCC has served Columbus’ Jewish community since 1913, when Joseph Schonthal provided meeting rooms to all segments of the Jewish community at 355 South Washington Avenue. The primary function of the center was to help in the integration and settlement of the wave of immigrants coming from Eastern Europe, Russia and Lithuania, and as a center for youth activities.

Camp Schonthal

  • 1927, Schonthal purchased 25 acres of land in Union County to establish one of the first Jewish summer camps in the area – Camp Schonthal, located near Magnetic Springs. In 1949 – 20 years after Schonthal’s death – the property was sold and the monies raised from the sale went toward the building of the new JCC on College Ave.

Breaking Ground

  • in 1935, the United Jewish Fund (the forerunner of the Columbus Jewish Federation) earmarked funds to build a Jewish Community Center. A groundbreaking was held in 1949, and the new center’s cornerstone was laid during a ceremony on Oct. 30, 1949, over which Joseph S. Summer, grandson of Pops Schonthal, presided.

The “New” Jewish Center

  • The “new” Jewish Center, built for $650k, contained an auditorium, bowling alley, basketball courts, a swimming pool, classrooms and a sauna. Its location, just south of Livingston Ave, recognized the movement of the Jewish community from the “Driving Park” district to the East side of Columbus and nearby suburb of Bexley.

Leo Yassenoff

  • The son of another Jewish immigrant to Columbus Leo Yassenoff would play prominently in the JCC’s history. In 1919, Yassenoff founded F&Y Construction Company. A philanthropist in life, Yassenoff left a considerable portion of his assets to JCC when he died in 1971. Groundbreaking for a modern facility at 1125 College Ave., built on the same site as the 1949 structure, was held in May 1981.

College Ave

  • The doors to the newly constructed JCC of Greater Columbus opened on Jan. 6, 1983, and a dedication ceremony honoring Leo Yassenoff was held on Oct. 2, 1983. A few years later, an Early Childhood Education wing was added to serve the community’s preschool population.

Early Childhood Expansion

  • The JCC began operating facilities in Dublin and New Albany, as the Jewish community has grown and expanded. In 1996, the JCC opened an Early Childhood program in Dublin with 20 children. The JCC continues to rent its Dublin facility from St. Andrew’s Church. Two years later, the JCC expanded its ECE program to New Albany, in Temple Beth Shalom and later in the former New Albany School.

Zusman Center

  • The JCC dedicated the Zusman Center, in honor of philanthropists Larry and Leonore Zusman. The Center, used primarily for the JCC’s Summer Camp and JClub After-School programs, features a beautiful multi-purpose room, changing and restrooms, a nurse’s office, and an art room. A few weeks prior, the JCC opened its Sprayground, a water playground for children to cool off with spray jets and fountains during the summer.

New Albany and JCC North

  • Groundbreaking was held on Oct. 5, 2008, for a new 43,000 square feet, $4.5 million facility in New Albany. The new Northeast JCC serves children from 6 weeks old to pre-Kindergarten in the JCC’s New Albany ECE program, as well as K-5th grades at the CJDS. The facility was dedicated on Aug. 23, 2009, with a ceremony that included a “Torah Walk” from the New Albany Elementary School building to the new building.

Further Expansion

  • Groundbreaking for a 16,000 square foot expansion of the College Avenue facility took place on December 6, 2012. The recently completed construction will increase the current fitness, sports, and community gathering space for youth and adults.
March 2020

Virtual J

  • Due to building closures forced by COVID-19, JCC launched Virtual J to keep our members connected. JCC staff worked swiftly and creatively to create new paths for virtual programming, workouts, events and enjoyment for members of all ages.

Traction Rec

  • In December, JCC implemented a new Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software called Traction Rec. This tool allows easy access to all things JCC- including program registrations, appointment scheduling, purchasing of personal training packages, account overviews, access into the building and much more.
Looking for more info?
History of JCC (1913 – 2013) PDF

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