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The Erdel Family’s Decade at the J

A mosaic featuring photos of the Erdel family

To understand just how at home the Erdel kids feel at the J, one only had to watch them as they arrived at the Sablosky Pavilion, the location for the (masked and socially distanced) interview and photo shoot to prep this piece. Audrey (9) and Evan (7) immediately ran over to picnic tables their Summer Care groups painted last year …

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Filiberto Learns to Swim

Filiberto Cruz Mancera (Hispanic man in his 40s) in the Regenstrief Natatorium

Growing up in Mexico, Filiberto Cruz Mancera loved sports. Basketball, volleyball, almost anything athletic – except swimming. When Filiberto was about six years old, his younger brother fell into and was swept away in the strong current of a creek where Filiberto, his brother and an older sister were playing. Filiberto and his sister frantically chased after their little brother …

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Cathy Kravitz, Renaissance Woman

Cathy Kravitz (Jewish white woman with blonde hair in her 60s wearing an ivory sweater and mask) standing in front of a colorful mural

Having been a member for over 30 years, Cathy Kravitz is something of a JCC celebrity. As a daily lap swimmer who has also participated in dance aerobics and tennis programs, taught art to the kids in the Early Childhood Education program and even exhibited in the JCC’s art gallery, she has a finger in several JCC pies, so it …

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Joe Johnson is All Heart

Joe Johnson (a mustached Black man in his 60s wearing a yellow shirt) working out on a machine in the Mordoh Fitness Center

To look at Joe Johnson, you might not guess that he had a heart transplant just over 11 years ago. The way he tells it, his exercise routine hasn’t even changed that much from before the transplant: “It’s just that I can do more reps now. I got stronger.” Making sure that new heart stays healthy is why Joe has …

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George Heslin, Firefighter-in-Training

George Heslin (a 23-year-old white man with dark hair and large arm muscles) in the Mordoh Fitness Center training to become a firefighter - climbing a Stairmaster wearing extra weight on his back, pushing a heavy weight around the track, and lifting a barbell, all while wearing a mask to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

George Heslin has enjoyed the J’s facilities recreationally for years — at summer camp as a child and more recently utilizing the gym and the pool as he tried on teaching and culinary careers before realizing they were not what he wanted. But as he embarks upon his journey to becoming a firefighter, the JCC (and specifically the Mordoh Fitness …

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Meet the Wippers

“Passover is a perfect way to introduce Judaism to those who are not Jewish, because there’s so much participation,” said Hannah Wipper, a lifelong JCC member who was raised proudly Jewish by her Jewish father and Catholic mother. Growing Up Multi-Faith  As a child, Hannah was exposed to both Judaism and Catholicism. She attended Hasten Hebrew Academy but also celebrated …

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Youth Soccer at the J with Coach Jennie

Jennie Carr (white woman in patterned sweater and maroon leggings) talking to a young girl in a yellow JCC soccer shirt, striped leggings and bright pink shin pads and cleats, as other children in yellow and green JCC soccer shirts take a water break.

Jennie Carr and her family have been JCC members for almost eight years and throughout that time have come in to the facility at least five days a week. The kids have been involved in several areas of the J — early childhood, afterschool care, camp, basketball, martial arts, dance, gymnastics — but the family has found their niche in …

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A Week at the J with the Calilis

Between the five of them (mom Laura, dad Rotem and kids Noa, Rahm and Oren), the Calilis are at the J virtually every day: Laura and Rotem work out with a trainer or on their own, the kids participate in one of the many athletic activities the J offers, or they come in as a family to swim in the …

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The Incredible Gzibovskis: One Year Later

Andy and Laura Gzibovskis standing on a Stairmaster, with other JCC members working out in the background

A year ago, the J Magazine cover story and accompanying blog post featuring Andy and Laura Gzibovskis (and their two kids, Olivia and Luke) called them “The Incredible Gzibovskis,” touting the fitness journey the family has been on since the beginning of 2018 and the 160 pounds lost between them at the time. Now? “We’re still incredible, but like any …

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