The Jewish Center of Jackson Heights centennial was recognized by Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez during a one-minute-long speech on the floor of the United States House of Representatives.
Now a community anchor in one of the most inclusive neighborhoods in Queens, the center has a nomadic history beginning 100 years ago when a small group of Jewish families sought a location to worship.
“The center was founded as the Queens Independent Society in 1920 when a few Jewish families looked for a space to congregate in Jackson Heights,” Ocasio-Cortez said. “It was first called the Queens Independent Society because the term ‘Jewish’ was not permitted at the time. The original building itself was based in Woodside because at the time Jews were not welcome in the neighborhood of Jackson Heights.”
In 1928, the center was able to rename itself the Jewish Center of Jackson Heights and in the late 1950s, they officially moved their brick-and-mortar home into the community they are today. Its current location at the corner of 37th Avenue and 77th Street opened in 2000.
“Today it’s known as an inclusive and accepting space, hosting community events throughout the year as well as housing our beloved Queens Center for Gay Seniors,” AOC said. “I ask our colleagues to join me in recognizing the Jewish Center of Jackson Heights. Thank you for your ongoing service to our community.”