The Kraft Family Building: A look inside

Robert Kraft, along with sons Jonathan and Dan and Dan’s wife, Wendy, joined us Friday, April 27, to celebrate the grand opening of the Kraft Family Building. Thanks to the Kraft family and other generous donors, CJP’s nine-story Boston headquarters underwent nearly two years of renovations and enhancements.

One purpose of the Kraft family’s contribution was to dedicate two spaces in loving memory to Robert’s late wife, Myra (the Myra Kraft Boardroom), and his father, Harry (the Harry Kraft Center for Jewish Education).

The Kraft Family Building renovation created an open, flexible workspace for our growing staff, upgraded technology, enhanced security systems, and a first floor lobby and second floor conference center with enough space to host both staff and community gatherings.

As you make your way down the corridor of the expanded lobby and reception area, you’re greeted by an inscription from the Torah portion Vayera. Carried over from the previous donor wall, the bold typeface is prominently displayed so we are always reminded of our Jewish values.

The names of CJP donors who supported the original building purchase in 1994 and current renovations are hand-carved in Jerusalem stone. They are set against an artistic rendering of the stones of the Western Wall, connecting that ancient edifice with the beginnings of a new one.

An area on the second floor pays tribute to the legacy of the late Myra Kraft (z”l), who dedicated her life to helping those in need. She served as Chair of CJP’s Board of Directors from 2006–2009 and twice served as Co-chair of CJP’s Annual Campaign among many other leadership roles throughout her life. Beyond the second floor, Myra’s passionate and caring spirit continues to inspire the work we do every day.

A glimpse into the Myra Kraft Boardroom reveals just a portion of the approximately 3,500-square-foot transitional space used for meetings, staff gatherings, and communal activities. These state-of-the-art rooms are equipped with moveable walls and digitally controlled audio-visual equipment.

Though maybe not quite the heart of our home, the kitchen is still an important part of our CJP community in the Kraft Family Building. Our lunchroom is a vibrant communal gathering space shared by staff and the CJP-supported Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC), who reside on the third floor. Aside from lunch, we meet here for weekly Shabbat onegs, birthday celebrations, and mid-day coffee breaks.

CJP launched in 2010, and, since then, it has become a major online destination for all things Jewish in the Boston area. Headquartered on the fourth floor of the Kraft Family Building, the JewishBoston team crafts consumable content from noteworthy news and community events to podcasts and pop culture features.

A teacher and mentor his entire life, Harry Kraft (z”l) was devoted to education and Jewish learning. In honor of Harry’s commitment to Torah, his community, and the importance of Jewish traditions, the Harry Kraft Center for Jewish Education is dedicated to learning and spirituality. The use of hexagons and other geometric shapes in this space (and the entire building) are not simply for aesthetics. They are inspired by the hexagonal columns of the first and second floors, which are original to the building and date back to the 1880s.

From Development and Finance to JCRC, Marketing, and Planning, each department and floor of the Kraft Family Building has a dedicated open-area workspace. These communal work environments lend themselves to creativity and collaboration, while sound masking prevents brainstorming sessions from traveling to neighboring desks. The open workspace means natural light is able to fill each floor, and there are more conference rooms (we now have 30, up from 8) to gather in groups of varying sizes. The flexible nature of the space also allows staff to work at desks, huddle areas, phone booths, or quiet rooms.

CJP's President Barry Shrage is known for being a voracious reader and for sharing wisdom with those he meets by sending out hundreds of books every year — each inscribed with his own trademark commentary of the book. A separate (and sizeable) book closet is needed to house the inventory of books so they can be ready to ship out out at a moment’s notice. 

Want to experience the Kraft Family Building in person? You are invited to join us for our free lunchtime learning program, The Genesis Forum. Our next session is on Wednesday, May 16 at noon and features Rabbi Toba Spitzer discussing Crime and Punishment: What Judaism Teaches about How We Pursue Justice. This event is open to the public but pre-registration is required. We hope to see you soon!