Cultural Heritage Tours

A project of the ETHNIC HERITAGE CENTER

Downtown Tour

Young Men’s Hebrew Association

200 Orange Street

(demolished)

YMHA occupied a loft in this United Workers and Organized Charities Building, c. 1914. Courtesy New Haven Museum.

The story of the Jewish Community Center of Greater New Haven (JCC) begins at this site with the founding of the Young Peoples’ League in 1912. This organization, which changed its name to the Young Men’s Hebrew Association, or YMHA, in 1913, held its meetings in a loft at 200 Orange Street. The Orange Street building also headquartered several of New Haven’s charitable organizations, a fact which reflects the JCC’s connection to charitable activities from early on.

In June 1915, the Young Women’s Hebrew Association was formed. YWHA members organized activities including piano lessons, sewing and gymnastics, and often invited guest speakers from Yale University to their meetings at 301 George Street (home of Congregation Adas Israel, also known as “The Bolsheviki Shul”). The YMHA remained at Orange Street until 1918, when it purchased a one-family house at 304 Crown Street which would become its new headquarters. In 1921 the YWHA joined the YMHA on Crown Street, hired the first paid director to plan for the community, and finally had a building of its own. Space was limited and many felt it was time for a new modern building. The new era finally began in 1935, when the YMHA and YWHA merged to become the Jewish Community Center, headquartered at 7 Dwight Street, a building contributed by the Hebrew Institute. The JCC moved to Chapel Street in 1954 (Downtown, #18), then to Woodbridge in 1993.

  • Text source courtesy Jewish Historical Society of Greater New Haven Archives.

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