Ira Novoselsky spent a lot of his childhood playing sports and attending events at the old Revere Jewish Community Center (JCC) located at 65 Nahant Avenue. There were also Hebrew School classes at the facility.
The building holds a special place in the Novoselsky family’s heart and that of many other Jewish and non-Jewish families who enjoyed activities there.
Novoselsky, the Ward 2 city councillor, is seeking to establish a permanent remembrance of the building that now houses a CAPIC Head Start program. Novoselsky wants to place a plaque at the building honoring the founders, charter members, and builders of the JCC.
The Revere JCC opened in 1953. It became the Chelsea-Revere JCC following a merger before its final name change to the Metro North JCC. Its demise came because of Revere’s declining population of Jewish residents.
Temple B’Nai Israel, the last of three synagogues in the city, closed its door last week.
Novoselsky said he was inspired to install a plaque after CAPIC Executive Director Bob Repucci attended the funeral of Mrs. Florence Novoselsky (Ira’s mother) last year and learned about the history of the JCC building.
“Bob said he hadn’t known the exact history of the building,” related Novoselsky. “So Bob inspired me to undertake this project.”
Ira’s parents, the late Sam and Florence Novoselsky, were charter members. The late Mel Schwartz and Marion Schwartz, Dr. Harry Schwartz and Beatrice (Bregman) Schwartz were also charter members.
Novoselsky has begun an extensive research project seeking to locate the other charter members who helped launch the center 66 years ago. Novoselsky has made trips to the Revere Public Library where he has looked at decades-old copies of the Revere Journal.
“I’ve started the list of names – I’d say there were more than 40 Revere residents at that time who helped start the JCC.” said Novoselsky. “We don’t want to miss anyone. I hope anyone with any information about the founding of the center will contact me.
“When we feel comfortable that we have all the names of the charter members, a plaque will be installed in or on the building remembering their hard work,” said Novoselsky.
The JCC always had a rich athletic history. Paul “Choc” Glazer, one of Chelsea’s greatest athletes, served as executive director after the Chelsea YMHA closed and it merged with the Revere JCC. Joe Merullo was a long-time JCC athletic director. Archie Mellace, Bob Nardone, and Bill Waxman were revered coaches there.
The Revere JCC teams would travel to communities far and wide to play other JCC teams in basketball. Three of Revere High’s biggest stars of the mid-1970’s – Scott Mandell, Randy Shuman, and Danny Schneiderman – formed the starting RHS frontcourt after perfecting their skills at the Revere JCC. Shuman is a well-known attorney with a law practice in Revere.
Novoselsky also remembers playing JCC basketball both in pickup games and for established teams.
“It was a wonderful spot to gather, participate in activities such as basketball, table tennis, and billiards, and socialize with friends and neighbors,” said Novoselsky. “Those were great days and we look forward to honoring those families who were so instrumental in helping the JCC becoming the great community center it became.”