why choose j

Why I choose the J

90 and going strong! Why I choose the J

Juliette Schmerler


The JCC has been a central part of our family's life. My kids enjoy the dance classes, swimming lessons and summer camp. We also have our youngest at the daycare. I love the fitness classes and the gym. Above all, it's the warm atmosphere and the friendly familiar faces I most enjoy at the JCC. It's wonderful to see the generational mix as well. From newborns to teenagers to grandparents, the JCC really is about connecting community.

 A letter from a parent

It's hard to believe that the end of the school year is almost here!

I've been spending some time lately reflecting on this past year in Bet Preschool and all of the wonderful memories that the children have experienced together: music and art classes, Israeli dancing, field trips, celebrating the Jewish holidays and Shabbat, just to name a few. These highlights won't soon be forgotten, but it's the beauty of the day to day routines in class that I want to hold in my heart and remember forever. The friendships that have formed between the children and with their teachers, Jen and Carmen, and the skills and learning that have developed right before our eyes. When I think back to the first day of Bet Preschool when I dropped Sydney off, a shy and quiet girl who was very unsure about her environment, I am amazed to see how much she has grown and thrived within the Bet classroom over the past two years. It has truly been a memorable and fun filled year and it has been such a pleasure being the Parent Liaison for our classroom during this time. I will sincerely miss you all!

Thank you Jen and Carmen for loving our children so much and creating such a rich and full environment in which they can learn and grow.

Susan Lazarus

A letter from Or Chadash participants
 Written on their way back from Miami, FL

All of the dancers In Or Chadash/Or Atid have a passion for dancing but it isn't just about learning Israeli dance. It is a program that immerses us in the Jewish community and connects us to our culture and heritage in so many fun ways. Dancing and performing in and around Vancouver is amazing but we also have incredible travel opportunities such as being able to go to Miami and Israel. Through these trips we have made life long friendships with dancers from all over the world! These trips give us the tools to discover new cultures, and traditions.

As well as the opportunity to take part in their local festivals. They help us see that across the globe there are Israeli dance communities just like us. Being able to dance and travel with our friends creates deep bonds between us that will last forever. Along with the wonderful trips we have the opportunity to take part in, we also have various opportunities throughout the year to work with amazing visiting choreographers from across the globe.

Visiting choreographers, great teachers and choreography, fun trips, life-long friendships, and knowledge of our roots are just a few of the reasons why the Or Chadash and Or Atid programs are amazing and one of a kind.

90 and going strong! Why I choose the J90 and going strong!

Long time member Fred Cavanaugh celebrated his 90th birthday recently, by treating his JCC friends to coffee and dessert in the form of a handmade Nava gift coupon.

When asked what he likes about the J, here was Fred's reply: “I’ve been coming to the JCC for 18 years! I come 3 times a week, suffer in the exercise room and I keep coming back because everyone is so nice!!!”

Here's to another 90, Fred!

Michael Gelmon - new Youth Outreach CoordinatorWelcome to Michael Gelmon 
new Youth Outreach Coordinator

After all these years, coming to the JCC connects me back to the community I had lost touch with as a teen. This is where I learned to swim, made friends and celebrated many Jewish holidays. I thought about working here because of those fond memories, but I committed to a position when I walked through the doors and immediately felt welcome. I'm excited to be part of such a warm environment and to bring everything I can to the role of Youth Outreach Coordinator and to the Jewish Community Centre.

My interest, for as long as I can remember has been in Psychology. Since completing my degree in Counselling, I have had many opportunities to engage with members of the community and to learn about challenges that people, young and old are facing everyday. Previously, I had the chance to work with the Ministry of Children and Family Development as an outreach worker to families with child safety concerns, and more recently I took on a role as a Guardianship Social Worker attending to the needs of children and youth in the foster system. For the past three years, I have volunteered in Vancouver's LGBT community having run groups for those struggling with issues around life transitions, as well as providing one-on-one counselling.

I strongly believe in promoting diversity, inclusion and safety for all members of the community and that, with these values, we lay the foundation for good mental, emotional and physical health. As the new Youth Outreach Coordinator, I look forward to bringing these values to my work and addressing the needs of young people by being a visible part of the community, and developing relevant programming and educational opportunities.

Why I volunteer at the Library

Did you know that we have almost 30 volunteers at the Library? The Thursday morning Library volunteer shift consists of 4 women who have been helping in the library anywhere from a few weeks to a number of years. One of our volunteers is Sharna P., who has been volunteering for 3 years. Sharna began volunteering after she moved to Vancouver at the age of 70 from Ontario. Originally from Winnipeg, she felt a bit lonely when she first arrived in Vancouver. A serendipitous meeting with a neighbour in her building soon had Sharna volunteering in the Annual Telethon where she met Karen Corrin (our librarian). Karen recognized the makings of a great volunteer, and before long, Sharna found herself volunteering every Thursday. She loves the interaction with the people she meets at the Library.

Thank you, Sharna, for helping out at the Library! We couldn't do what we do without you.

Walter Groschler - a father's story
For some people, the JCC runs through their life like a thread. From major changes to minor events, through generations, through thick and thin - it is the place they turn to and refer to for all their needs, the place they come together with their friends, family, “tribe”.

For Walter Groschler, the JCC may well be providing the full cycle - this formerly active senior has now joined, at 92, the L’Chaim Adult Day Centre program located within the JCC, our therapeutic day centre for the home-bound elderly. But before that, his daughter remembers him avidly participating in the Aquafit program even before she was born - first at the Montreal YM-YWHA, then at our Vancouver JCC, where the family moved in 1996, when Walter was already 75.

My dad continued his 3 days a week Aquafit at the JCC”, describes Erica Groschler, “he played bridge every week - both together with his good friend of many years Gunther Ehrlich who now lives in the Louis Brier Home. My dad only stopped using the weight room about 5 years ago - prior to that he was doing weights before Aquafit!

Not only did Walter enjoy the fitness and Seniors programs the JCC offers, but he brought the entire family: his daughter Erica joined the JCC and her children were part of the day care and pre-school program, as well as Camp Shalom. Erica fondly remembers joint workouts with her father, and misses them, now that she has moved to White Rock. However, despite the distance, she has embraced her father’s love of the JCC and continues to send her children to Camp Shalom: “this year my son Zachary will do junior counsellor and my daughter Nicole will come for 2 weeks of the “Halutzim” camp - they will bus in and back every day” Now that’s community!

Much More Than Hockey in Israel
Much more than hockey in Israel - read more about the experiences of the JCC Ice Hockey Team.
click for full story

Ken Freedman joined the JCC in June 2013. A couple of weeks ago he came to Alexis (Membership Director), sat in a a chair and then stood up - no assistance needed. He said he couldn't do that before he started working out here. He was so happy!

"Prior to joining the JCC I had great difficulty on a physical level... I had trouble walking and moving in general. I had a program set up for me in the fitness centre. I am now able to stand straight up from a chair holding on to 10 lb weights. I have improved muscle tone and leg strength. I highly recommend the JCC for any of your physical problems. "

The Feldman family fell in love with Camp Shalom in their very first summer. But waiting for non-member registration to open, not knowing if they will get in, convinced them to become members in 2012.

"Camp Shalom is an experience unlike any other. Our family has tremendous loyalty toward this nurturing, fun and action packed summer camp. Shirly, Ben and their team of wonderful counsellors are the reason why we return to Camp Shalom every summer. The programming is so diverse and encompasses the interests of all children; each day is an exciting one at Camp Shalom. Camp Shalom is the reason why we are members of the JCC." —Wendy & the Feldman family