ABOUT JACLA – JEWISH ACTIVITIES CENTER OF LOS ANGELES
JACLA is LA’s only non-affiliated, kosher, shomer Shabbos venue. It has caused a huge ripple throughout the Jewish world because it is a truly innovative approach. What makes it so important is that it’s attended by Jews of every level of observance, background and socioeconomic status. Jews of different circles are meeting at JACLA. Our unique and diverse programming fuses secular quality entertainment and kosher standards. Our atmosphere is truly unique. There’s nothing like it, anywhere.
What is a Jewish activity?
Eating, drinking, learning, giving, loving, arguing, dancing, laughing, growing, returning, connecting, supporting and eating more.
JACLA disseminates Judaism unlike any other organization. JACLA provides a unique physical design and location utilizing colored LED lighting, dance club sound and hi-definition video. It fuses Torah and mitzvot with an unparalleled physical experience.
At JACLA, you’ll see young Jewish adults who never set foot in a synagogue even on Yom Kippur are now keeping Shabbat and eating kosher. You’ll discover a recently converted reform Jewish woman sitting with a Chassidish man. You’ll be dragged off the street for a l’chaim and few minutes of dancing and Torah. You’ll experience a night club atmosphere with kosher entertainment on stage. You’ll see a homeless Jew lounging with a wealthy macher. These – among countless examples – occur daily at JACLA. Can you find this anywhere else?
JACLA is trail blazing an innovative approach to kiruv. Its unique brand of Orthodox Judaism attracts, invites, sustains and influences unobservant Jews unlike any other organization. Countless formerly unobservant Jews are now keeping Shabbat, attending Torah classes and performing mitzvot because of JACLA.
JACLA’s Founder Aryeh Avraham Rifkin models after Avraham avinu: he stands by the door inviting Jews inside. Jews are given drink, food, love, an ear, a couch, advice, encouragement, motivation and inspiration. Aryeh’s desk is not in the back office but rather next to the front door so when he’s not physically inviting Jews inside he’s using social media to attract Jews.
In 2011, Aryeh nearly lost his life to stage 4 cancer of the larynx. He was given just one week to live, but with G-d’s revealed assistance he is free of cancer, C’Y’H. Now without a larynx, he uses action rather than words to influence Jews. He can speak through a prosthetic, but mitigates miscommunication by substituting words for a smile or good deed.
JACLA’s brings the community together. It is well attended by Israelis, Persians, French, French-Moroccans, Ashkenazi, American, converts, etc. Couples have met and married at JACLA. Singles are dating at JACLA. Business owners are networking and hiring at JACLA. Democrats and Republicans are … well, we are not miracle workers.
Astoundingly, JACLA has a worldwide audience. JACLA has had visitors from Israel, New York, San Francisco, Miami, Toronto, Chicago, Denver, South America, South Africa, Australia, and so many other places. On April 14, 2016 a group of 9th graders and their teacher visiting from Tel Aviv were taking selfees outside JACLA’s windows. The teacher said, “everybody has heard of what you do and this was a destination on our trip.”
JACLA has improved the community. It helped clean the streets and improve the safety in the neighborhood. JACLA’s President, Aryeh interfaces with the homeless, drug dealers, prostitutes and even some gangs and tough guys with kindness by getting help or food or just flat out telling a thug that they’re better off not in this part of town. He has worked with law enforcement and social services to assist in the social services component of Pico’s cleanup. Homes and businesses are safer, and Jews are safer now than a year ago.
JACLA is a magnet for Jews in need. On a daily basis, JACLA helps Jews find medical, psychological / therapeutic, legal, financial and physical assistance. We use our social media influence to raise money to get homeless Jewish women and children into hotels. We refer countless Jews in need to others in our expanding network for discounted and pro-bono assistance. We have provided money and delivered medical equipment to the elderly. We help non-observant Jews find hosts for Shabbos. We have matched unemployed Jews with employers. We have hosted many fundraisers for other Jewish organizations.
JACLA works with and supports synagogues and Jewish organizations, and does not infringe on any synagogue or Jewish organization. JACLA’s audience derives from synagogues and members of other organizations. Certainly JACLA’s events overlap others’ events, but JACLA tries to adjust its schedule of events to accommodate.
JACLA is intentionally non-affiliated. Affiliation excludes Jews, and JACLA has does not believe in that. It’s structured has much higher potential.
Support for Israel
The one common thread JACLA possesses among nearly every Jewish organization is its ardent and unwavering support for Israel. JACLA proactively hosts guest speakers from around the world that help bolster awareness and support of Israel.
Attendance, magazine readership and social media numbers are verifiable.
Fundraising (click here)
Most events generate sufficient revenue to cover costs of the event itself, but rarely does it profit. Activities that profit cover losses from other activities. JACLA is under-staffed and terribly under-funded. Aryeh is over worked (average 123 hours per week). Most things are done last minute. Aryeh is trying very hard to solve it. JACLA’s success relies on securing reliable angel-donors to cover expenses. The 22+ events produced per month sustain events financially.
JACLA has applied for and in the process of discovering and applying for grants. JACLA is seeking additional resources to continue and grow.
Financial (click here)
Our financials are updated weekly and are open for review.
JACLA contains 10 streams of revenue: Shabbat meals, venue rental, event admission, event sponsorship, magazine ad sales, grants, donations, tzedakeh box, fundraisers for JACLA and other organizations.
JACLA’s primary expenses include: rent, utilities, food/drinks, printing, cleaning, dry goods (plates, cups, utensils). Currently, JACLA’s workers are unpaid volunteers (including Aryeh).