Chicago Jewish People’s Institute Closed; Was Largest Jewish Center
Menu JTA Search

Chicago Jewish People’s Institute Closed; Was Largest Jewish Center

Download PDF for this date

Chicago’s largest and most active Jewish educational and recreational center, the Jewish People’s Institute, has closed its doors to make way for a public school.

The center, which has served tens upon tens of thousands of men and women of all ages, was built in 1927 at a cost of $2,000,000. It was recently purchased by the Chicago Board of Education for $300,000. The JPI was an agency of the Jewish Federation of Chicago. At the time it was opened, the JPI was the largest and most modern center of its kind in the United States.

Over the years, the center has featured varied programs including theatrical productions, lectures, forums and a multitude of clubs. At one time during the depression, when the City of Chicago was forced to close down its junior colleges because of financial inability to operate them, a People’s Junior College was opened at the JPI and was operated until 1963 when the city was again able to assume financial sponsorship of its junior college program. The program of activities which was in operation at the JPI when it closed will be continued in other Jewish community centers in this city.

Founding Funders

The digitization of the JTA Archive would not have been possible without the generous support of the following donors:
  • The Gottesman Fund
  • Righteous Persons Foundation
  • Charles H. Revson Foundation
  • Elisa Spungen Bildner and Robert Bildner, in honor of Norma Spungen
  • George S. Blumenthal
  • Grace and Scott Offen Charitable Fund