Launching Our New Access Control System

We’re excited to announce that we’re moving to a new building access control system the weekend of July 7-8, replacing our current system of swipe cards and keypads with proximity-based cards and scanners. This new system will help us better control building access, ensuring only designated people can access each door.

Below is an FAQ with helpful information about the new system and the changes you’ll see around the building.

We hope you’ll stop by for Member Appreciation Week, July 9-13, to get your new access card and to enjoy some delicious treats as a thank you for being part of our community!

Thanks in advance for your flexibility and understanding during the transition. 

If you have any questions, contact Senior Director of Marketing and Facilities Heidi Turner at or 206-232-7117.

When is the change happening?
The new system will roll out this weekend. Starting Monday, July 9, you’ll need a new access card to get into the building.

How will I get my new access card?
Stop by one of our roll-out events! Staff members will be out on the breezeway throughout the week of July 9-13 (between 8-10 am and 3:30-5:30 pm), and it will just take a few minutes for us to assign your new card and take your photo  — and for you to enjoy some treats!

If you can’t stop by then, don’t worry! Someone at the Welcome Desk can assign your card the next time you’re in the building.

How are the cards different?

  • The new membership credentials are proximity-based instead of barcode swipe cards like we currently use, meaning you will hold your keytag up to the reader to access a door.  
    • You will be issued a “prox tag”—a small, adhesive disc that’s slightly larger than a quarter. You can stick the prox tag to your cell phone case or other non-magnetic surface, or we will put it on an SJCC-branded keytag, which you can put on your keychain.


Please continue the practice of “one swipe, one entry” and always swipe your membership card, even if someone is holding the door open for you.

What changes will I see at the doors?

  • Entry/Exit Doors
    • The entry and exit doors will be swapped, so you should always walk through the doors on your right (just like driving a car!). The doors will be clearly marked. This change will lessen confusion and help with traffic flow in the lobby.
    • The card reader at the entrance door has been moved further away from the door to reduce tailgating.
  • Early Childhood School
    • The keypad at the main ECS doors will be removed and ECS families will need their cards to access the door.
    • The tall glass doors from the cafe patio to the foyer will now require an access card 
    • Families with children in Room 101 will now use their membership card to access the classroom.
  • Locker Rooms
    • Access to the men’s adult locker room from the pool will require a card (rather than a code); the card reader will be on the upstairs door.
    • The card reader for the women’s adult locker room will now be at the door to the actual locker room, rather than at the door in the hallway.


What if I lose my card?
Notify us immediately so we can deactivate it. Replacement cards cost $10.

Can I share my card with someone?
No; please do not share your card with anyone. Your card is unique to you, and you are responsible for all access gained by it. If someone on your membership needs a card, have them stop by the Welcome Desk and we can assign them one.

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Attend a Community Meeting, July 16, 2018

Learn about the SJCC’s zoning request for the City of MI

Herzl-Ner Tamid Conservative Congregation and the Stroum Jewish Community Center of Greater Seattle have been serving the community from our Mercer Island locations since just around 1970. The French American School of Puget Sound moved to Mercer Island in 1999. Together we serve thousands of people at all phases of life.

Our three organizations have worked in close partnership over the years to maximize the space we currently have and work together to meet all of our needs. As we look to the future, our much-loved and well-used facilities are aging, which has financial, operational and maintenance impacts for each of our non-profit organizations. We’ve realized we need to think about a long-term plan that addresses these challenges and allows us to plan for the future while continuing to serve our community with the mission, excellence and heart for which we are known. While we are just starting this process, our intent is to stay within a similar building footprint as we have now.

As we started this project, we met to discuss optimal ways to work together in the best interest of the broad community. We then enlisted the help of land-use professionals and quickly learned the wide mix of zoning under our properties carries restrictions that will make it challenging to collectively update or redevelop our buildings. Therefore, in an effort to invest in our future with the greatest benefit to the community, neighborhood and our organizations, we have requested that the City of Mercer Island consider a new zoning designation, termed a ‘Private Community Facility.’ This new designation would reflect the uses and needs of our combined, community-focused properties. It would also allow us to optimize our shared properties in a manner consistent with the programs and services we deliver, while continuing to be responsible citizens and neighbors in addressing key requirements of modern development.

As noted at the Planning Commission meeting on June 6, 2018, a new zoning designation also equips the city with a set of design parameters for managing future uses in a way consistent with an organization’s needs and in harmony with neighbors. We have prioritized being good neighbors for 50 years and will continue to do so. We love our neighbors and neighborhood and want to approach these discussions as openly as possible to get to the best outcomes for all.

We are very early in what will be a lengthy process and expect that there will be many opportunities and challenges to discover, discuss and resolve throughout. We would like your ongoing input to help shape an exciting and productive future.

In an effort to open a dialogue about our approach with our neighbors, we’re hosting two community meetings in mid-July. Our hope is that this is a first opportunity to learn about and discuss the proposed ‘Private Community Facility’ designation with the goal of increasing understanding and encouraging dialogue. We hope you can join us.

Monday, July 16   9:45 am
Herzl-Ner Tamid
3700 E Mercer Way, Mercer Island 
OR Monday, July 16   6 pm
3801 E Mercer Way, Mercer Island

If you cannot attend and would like to give your input, or for more information, feel free to contact us at

Laura Mousseau
Board President, FASPS
Zane Brown
Board President, Herzl-Ner Tamid
Liz Friedman
Board President, SJCC
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Paving the path to the future

Recently, public discussion has surfaced around the future development of the properties owned by the Stroum Jewish Community Center (“SJCC”), the French American School of Puget Sound (“FASPS”), and Herzl-Ner Tamid (“HNT”) on Mercer Island. While in the early stages of this process, the discussion has included possible options for how to use these properties, how to share resources, and how best to meet the needs of several different organizations. Consideration is being given to those involved and to the Mercer Island community. Along the way, we will work hard to reach out to the community to provide clear and accurate information, and create multiple opportunities for community discussion.

As we set off on this path, here is an overview of where we are in the process:

  • Early Stage Discussions:
    • Discussions began in early 2017 with various organizations, including the SJCC, FASPS, and HNT, all of whom currently own property and reside south of I-90 in the northeast section of Mercer Island. From these conversations emerged the idea of creating a campus to house various organizations.
  • Working Teams:
    • Recently, a working team with representatives from various organizations and community leaders has been assembled.
    • Along with several working sub-groups, this team will devote considerable time over the next few months to evaluate options, review feasibility of ideas, discuss what organizations might be included, review options for the best use of the land, and develop various funding structures.
  • Zoning:
    • In an effort to facilitate optimal site development, SJCC, FASPS, and HNT submitted a request for a new zoning designation on Mercer Island, a process involving several steps. Given the City of Mercer Island Planning Commission’s calendar, the initial request for a Comprehensive Plan Amendment was submitted in October 2017.
    • As one step in this process, a public hearing was held on June 6, 2018. Additional public hearings will be held in the coming months as calendared by the City of Mercer Island.
    • As part of the zoning review process, a set of illustrative site plans accompanied the review request. These documents were prepared to serve only as an illustration of what the site might look like; the conversations about how the sites will be used continues to be a work in progress and will likely evolve as the dialogue continues.


As we proceed, we look forward to including our collective communities in the dialogue, and we invite you to share your ideas, questions, and concerns. As this plan progresses, we will prioritize outreach to our constituents, communities, and neighbors.

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Educator Chip DeLorenzo

We’re excited to have educator Chip DeLorenzo come to the J for professional development for our teachers and a workshop for parents. His bio is below.

Chip DeLorenzo has been a Montessori educator since 1995, and is the Head of School at the Damariscotta Montessori Schoolin Nobleboro, Maine.  He is a Certified Positive Discipline Trainer and has been using Positive Discipline in his classrooms since he was a new teacher.  As a trainer and presenter, Chip has worked with hundreds of Montessori teachers and parents in teaching the principles and practices of Positive Discipline through various workshops and lectures.  He holds Early Childhood, Lower and Upper Elementary AMS certifications, and has worked extensively with Montessori Adolescent students.  Chip is the father of four Montessori children.  

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