1. How do you feel JW3 has added value to the Jewish community?
In just a few months since opening, JW3 has become a centre promoting Jewish arts, education and culture in an environment that is vibrant and attractive. We are delighted that so many people have visited and taken part in activities. On average, we are seeing over 4,000 weekly visits to JW3 and we have over 2,500 households signed up as members. Zest has established itself as one of London’s best kosher restaurants.
2. What have been the greatest challenges since opening?
From a standing start we have established a cinema, bar, café, restaurant and over 120 activities in a typical week. Dealing with all of these at the same time has put considerable strain on all those involved. Fortunately, we are blessed with a fantastic group of staff, led by the incomparable Raymond Simonson, who have put in an incredible amount of effort to get us into the position where the centre is now an integral part of London Jewish life.
3. How has NW3 and the wider communities adapted to JW3?
Our immediate neighbours have welcomed the arrival of JW3. The concerns about transport seem to have abated and it is great to see lots of people just sitting and “schmoozing” over a coffee and some of Zest’s fantastic food. Getting a booking in the restaurant can still be difficult and we hope that more people will use the cinema as we increase the number of screenings.
4. Being the new Chair of JW3 what are you hoping to achieve when working with the JLC?
As a community it is important that we become more “joined up” in our thinking and planning. Being able to sit with other organisational heads and discuss the future of the community is vital as we face the challenges of today.
5. What has JW3 got in store for the next year?
We will continue to provide a varied programme of activities that will cater for a broad section of our community. These will be interspersed with some larger events such as the beach that currently fills the Piazza or the return of the ice rink in December. Some of our original productions such as “Listen we’re family” will give producers the opportunity of putting on cultural events that are not possible anywhere else. The message to the community is clear – we are here for you, come and tell us what you like us to do!