Remembering the Past: Young Men’s & Young Women’s Hebrew Association

Remembering the Past by Diane Norek Harrisonby Diane Norek Harrison

HIGHLAND PARK-The following is from Michael Johnson after my June 7 column. “Diane, I enjoyed your column in the recent NJTODAY.NET ┬áissue about ‘Remembering Highland Park.’ I am a former part time staff employee at the YM-YWHA of Raritan Valley, which was located on 2 South Adelaide Avenue. The Y was not mentioned within the article and I feel it should be recognized.

“I do not have much info or history about the YM-YWHA, but I found an article from March 4, 2008 from the NJ Jewish News. The Y originated in New Brunswick in 1911 and moved to Highland Park in 1955. At that time on 2 South Adelaide Avenue, there was the 150-year-old Meyer Rice Mansion. I believe the Y expanded upon the mansion.

“The Y remained in Highland Park until approximately August of 2006. Initial plans were to renovate and expand the facility but there was strong community opposition. Membership reduced from 1000 – 100 participants. According to the NJ Jewish news article, the Y was then planning on moving to East Brunswick. The property was then sold to Atlantic Realty. I am unsure of the current status of the YM-YWHA.

It is a shame that Highland Park does not have a Community Center such as the Y. While a staff person at the YM-YWHA for 18 years, I was also a full time staff person at the Westfield Area YMCA. I am currently at the YMCA of Eastern Union County, located in Elizabeth. As a Y professional, I recognize the importance and necessity of a Community Center. Hopefully, one day a Community Center will return to Highland Park.

While in Highland Park, the YM-YWHA at one time, had a strong community presence. This should still be recognized.”

If you have your own memories of the past in Middlesex or Union counties, email me at or send copies of your material to me c/o CMD Media, 1139 East Jersey St., Suite 503, Elizabeth NJ, 07201

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