TORONTO — The Jewish Urban Meeting Place (JUMP) is making some big changes, including cutting half its staff and moving from its mid-town Yonge Street location to a much bigger space on Avenue Road north of Bloor Street.
The Dec. 1 move is part of an effort to cut costs at the organization, which runs programming for Jewish young adults.
By working with developer Mark Mandelbaum of Lanterra Developments, JUMP has been able to save money while at the same time moving to a larger space near upscale Yorkville, said Rabbi Joel Wardinger, JUMP’s director of education.
The new space is 3,100 square feet, compared to the current location’s 1,800 square feet.
“By assuming a more urban location and perspective, [Mandelbaum said he] would get behind our work as an investor,” Rabbi Wardinger said. “It’s an opportunity that is positioning us to open up our further engagement with donors, local donors, to allow us to have a sustainable base.”
The rabbi said the changes will make the six-year-old organization bigger and more relevant to young Jews.
“We would like to continue, enhance and ramp up the work we’ve been doing,” he said, explaining that he hopes JUMP will eventually be able to host weekly Shabbat dinners – they’re currently monthly – and have much more programming happening in JUMP’s space.
In a statement sent out to JUMP’s mailing list, Rabbi Wardinger said the organization has achieved many milestones over its six years in operation, including serving some 6,000 Shabbat dinners and offering 1,200 programs.
An average of 400 people come through the centre each month, he told The CJN, but he said in the statement that JUMP is reorganizing due to what he called “a mix of new challenges and opportunities.”
The statement also alluded to “key personnel changes” – referring to the departure of director of strategic development Alana Kayfetz and managing director Shlomo Buzaglo.
Kayfetz said she’s still working with JUMP as a consultant on an upcoming event, a Chanukah party at the Britt – the former Sutton Place hotel, which has been turned into a condominium building by Mandelbaum’s company – but she’s no longer a JUMP employee.
She said she’s confident about the direction of the organization, including its relocation to a new physical space.
“It’s the right move, and I am so excited to take my career to the next level,” she said. “JUMP gave me some amazing opportunities to create real Jewish community engagement pieces, and I look forward to its continued successes.”
Buzaglo declined to comment to The CJN on the changes or his departure.
In addition to the two staff cuts, Rabbi Wardinger said JUMP has added a “consultant on ongoing upper-admin and strategy” who would prefer to remain anonymous.
Rabbi Wardinger said he’s confident about JUMP’s future, because although, like other organizations, he works hard to get people out to events, he said JUMP is a known commodity in the market and people are interesting in its programming.
“I think that this place is so relevant to the future of Jewish life and I think… building it along with community partnerships is an answer to a lot of the concerns we have generally in the Jewish communal continuity questions,” he said.