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Thursday, June 20, 2019

Summertime: A Contest

Posted by: Mary Beth Sloan on Thursday, June 20, 2019 at 8:00:00 am Comments (6)

First Day of Summer is June 21

Summer is The J's busiest season...Camp, baseball, softball, aquatics, family musical and more.  For many of us, it's also a time for lake trips, outdoor fun, family vacations and experiences that make life-long memories.

What's your favorite summertime memory?  Share in the Comments below by 5:00 pm June 21 and be eligible to win a $25 Target gift card.

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

A Bissel (Little Bit) of Yiddish

Posted by: Mary Beth Sloan on Wednesday, June 19, 2019 at 8:00:00 am Comments (5)

Passing on Jewish Culture + History

Language and culture are intertwined, which is why we learn a little about Yiddish when we work at The J.  Yiddish is the language spoken by Jews from Central and Eastern Europe and their descendants.  It’s a mix of many languages including German, Hebrew, Aramaic and more.

You probably already know some Yiddish:

  • Our Meshugge CrossFit program is named for “Meshuggeneh” – which means crazy, ridiculous or insane.
  • “Nosh” (which we do often at The J) means to eat or nibble.
  • “Schmooze” is to chat or make small talk.  We encourage all J Staffers to schmooze with our members.  We know from surveys that members feel most connected to The J when they engage in this type of informal conversation with employees.

Do you have a favorite Yiddish word or expression?  If you do, share in the comments section.


Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Welcome, Rob Bolt!

Posted by: Mary Beth Sloan on Tuesday, June 18, 2019 at 8:00:00 am Comments (8)

New Director of Campus Operations

Welcome to Rob Bolt, our new Director of Campus Operations.  Rob shared a little about himself:

"I have been in Facilities Management for over 25 years, working in both for-profit and non-profit organizations. Throughout my career, I have held many positions and my last position was the Manager of Engineering for the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art. I am a father of two daughters and stepfather of a daughter and son.  I have three grandchildren who are the apples of my eye. I feel blessed to be a part of the family here at The J and look forward to working with all of you."

Rob's office is in the Campus suite.  Please stop by to say hello and introduce yourself.

Monday, June 17, 2019

Work Anniversaries June 16-22

Posted by: Mary Beth Sloan on Monday, June 17, 2019 at 8:00:00 am Comments (0)

Happy Work Anniversary to These J Team Members:

  • Barry Birkmeyer - Camp + School-Age Services (6 years)
  • Daniel Deiter - J Baseball/Softball (3 years)
  • Seth Franke - Camp + School-Age Services (2 years)
  • Max Gershon - J Baseball/Softball (1 year)
  • Josh Gleeson - Arts + Culture (3 years)
  • Daniel Head - Fitness + Sports (2 years)
  • Hope Lancaster - CDC (2 years)
  • Olivia Reel - Aquatics (2 years)
  • Dakota Remington - Personal Training (6 years)
  • Oleha Verlander - Personal Training (2 years)

Thanks to all of you for sharing your time and talent with The J and our members!

Thursday, June 13, 2019

A Jewish Perspective on Father's Day (And a Contest!)

Posted by: Director of HR on Thursday, June 13, 2019 at 12:45:00 pm Comments (12)

Father's Day Mitzvah

“Mitzvah” means two things: (1) a commandment, or (2) a good deed done from religious duty.  Father’s Day is a reminder and opportunity to live out both definitions.

The mitzvah (commandment) to “Honor thy father and thy mother” is one of the most fundamental commandments of the Torah.  In this sense, every day should be Father’s Day.  It’s also a mitzvah (good deed) to show special appreciation to fathers and father figures on Sunday, June 16th.

To all J Team fathers, step-fathers, foster fathers, honorary fathers, etc. – thank you for the love and guidance you provide.  We hope your Father’s Day includes the things that make you happy (and no ugly ties).

And, for a little fun, we’re borrowing an idea from writer Larry Smith, who asked his readers to describe their fathers in just six words.  Some responses were funny (“Never, Ever Wear Pants After 5:30pm”) and some were sweet (“He lives generously. That’s my inheritance.”)

Describe your father in six words in the Comments section.  Everyone who participates by 5:00 pm Monday, June 17 will be entered into a drawing for a $25 gift card.



Anne Frank Birthday Anniversary

Posted by: Mary Beth Sloan on Thursday, June 13, 2019 at 7:05:00 am Comments (0)

June 12th marked the 90th anniversary of the birth of Anne Frank, author of The Diary of a Young Girl, a book of writings from the diary Anne kept while she was in hiding for two years with her family during the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands.  The family was apprehended in 1944 and Anne died a year later in the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp. 

The book has been published in more than 60 languages and is considered one of the most important books of the 20th century.

If you’ve read the book, visited the Anne Frank House or have a comment, please share below.


J Family Album: First Day in the CDC

Posted by: Mary Beth Sloan on Thursday, June 13, 2019 at 7:00:00 am Comments (5)

Fallon Follows Sister's Footsteps in the CDC + Camp

Maggie Nicholls, Manager of our Encore! program, has two daughters.  Logan is a CDC graduate and now a J Camp-er and baby sister Fallon just had her first day in the CDC! 

Maggie shared, "We are so happy to be at The J!  By day three, Fallon ran through the CDC doors and turned around and waved, said “bye, bye, mama”, and went to into her classroom.  Seeing her sister at the pool always helps!"

We love serving families at The J!

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Welcome, Leadership Tomorrow Intern

Posted by: Mary Beth Sloan on Wednesday, June 12, 2019 at 7:00:00 am Comments (4)

The J traditionally serves as an internship site for Leadership Tomorrow - a paid summer internship program sponsored by Jewish Federation.  This year, our Leadership Tomorrow intern is Sarah Unterhalter.

Sarah is from Leawood and will be a sophomore at the University of Michigan in the fall. She is majoring in business, with an interest in technology. She loves to cook, walk her dog, and watch hockey. This summer, she is the marketing intern for The J. She will be working on various projects throughout the summer, including marketing the Fit Van, securing businesses for the Member Rewards Program, and posting content on the Fitness, Sports, and Aquatics social media pages.

Welcome, Sarah!

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

J Family Album - Wedding Photo

Posted by: Mary Beth Sloan on Tuesday, June 11, 2019 at 7:05:00 am Comments (10)

Mazel Tov, Roslyn!

Congratulations to Roslyn Zuniga, our Manager of Personal Training.  Roslyn and Thomas Reiter were married on May 31st.

Best wishes to the beautiful bride and her groom!


Work Anniversaries June 9-15

Posted by: Mary Beth Sloan on Tuesday, June 11, 2019 at 7:00:00 am Comments (1)

Happy Work Anniversary to These J Team Members:

  • Matthew Baron - CDC (4 years)
  • Lucy Behm - Aquatics (2 years)
  • Rachel Bolter - Camp + School-Age Services (6 years)
  • Courtney Carvajal - Aquatics (2 years)
  • Patricia Caviar - Heritage Center (19 years)
  • Jackie Creviston - Member Experience Desk (3 years)
  • Colby Evans - Group Fitness (2 years)
  • Peter Graeff - Aquatics (3 years)
  • Jordan Gripe - Jewish Experiences (3 years)
  • Jessica Hamberg - CDC (9 years)
  • Lauren Hoeft - Group Fitness (1 year)
  • Robert Horn - Aquatics (1 year)
  • Steve Iliff - Heritage Center (1 year)
  • Alix Jacobson - Group Fitness (24 years)
  • Lindsay Lanaman - CDC (4 years)
  • Megan McGrevey - Aquatics (2 years)
  • Patience Peterson - Aquatics (1 year)
  • Tina Shea - CDC (9 years)
  • Kristin Smith - Aquatics (2 years)
  • Misha Smith - Camp + School-Age Services (6 years)
  • Isabel Starkel - Aquatics (1 year)

Thanks to all of you for sharing your time and talent with The J and our members!

Monday, June 10, 2019

Doughnut Day Winner: Delaina Melton

Posted by: Mary Beth Sloan on Monday, June 10, 2019 at 7:00:00 am Comments (0)

Congratulations to Delaina Melton (Receptionist, Heritage Center) for winning our Doughnut Day contest!  Delaina wins a $25 gift card of her choice.


Friday, June 7, 2019

Why Do Jews Eat Dairy on Shavuot?

Posted by: Jill Maidhof on Friday, June 7, 2019 at 7:00:00 am Comments (0)

It’s traditional for Jews to enjoy cheese and other dairy products on Shavuot—but why?? As usual, there are many answers and here are just three:

Reminder: The J is closing at 6:00 pm on Saturday and is closed all day Sunday for Shavuot.

Thursday, June 6, 2019

Remembering D-Day and Jewish Lives Lost & Saved

Posted by: Mary Beth Sloan on Thursday, June 6, 2019 at 7:05:00 am Comments (1)

Today, June 6, marks the 75th anniversary of the D-Day landings in Normandy. Operation Overlord, which began the liberation of Nazi-occupied France, eventually led to the liberation of Nazi concentration camps across the Western Front. 

The Jewish lives saved as a result of these operations make D-Day particularly significant to Jews around the world. Thousands of the Allied soldiers who stormed the beaches were Jewish themselves.

Among the 9,387 graves at the American cemetery in Normandy at Colleville-sur-Mer (just next to Omaha Beach), 149 are marked as Jewish graves.  Instead of crosses, these burial sites bear marble Stars of David.  



Contest: National Doughnut Day is Friday

Posted by: Mary Beth Sloan on Thursday, June 6, 2019 at 7:00:00 am Comments (23)

Tell Us Your Favorite Doughnut and Enter to Win a $25 Gift Card!

Each year on the first Friday in June, people participate in National Doughnut or Donut Day.  This day celebrates the doughnut and honors the Salvation Army Lassies, the women that served doughnuts to soldiers during WWI.

In 1917, the original “Salvation Army Doughnut” was first served by the ladies of the Salvation Army.  It was during WWI that the Salvation Army Lassies went to the front lines of Europe.  Home cooked foods, provided by these brave volunteers, were a morale boost to the troops.

The doughnuts were often cooked in oil inside the metal helmets of American soldiers.  American infantrymen were then commonly called “doughboys.”

Tell us your favorite doughnut flavor or doughnut store in the Comments section by 5:00 pm Friday, June 7th to be in a drawing to win a $25 gift card for the doughnut store (or other merchant) of your choice.

Wednesday, June 5, 2019

Work Out Over Lunch

Posted by: Brandi Ventre on Wednesday, June 5, 2019 at 7:00:00 am Comments (4)

Lunchtime Group Fitness: Convenient + Fun

Did you know that The J Group Fitness Program offers a variety of classes over your lunch hour so that you have no excuse not to get your workout in?  How lucky we are to have amazing instructors right here in the building to lead you in a workout.  No thinking or planning what to do, just show up and get your workout in!  Here are our weekly lunch time classes:

Tuesday, June 4, 2019

Guess Who Answers and Winner

Posted by: Mary Beth Sloan on Tuesday, June 4, 2019 at 10:45:00 am Comments (1)

Congratulations, Krisandra Spell!

We had two perfect answer sheets in our "Guess Who?" photo contest - Natalie Phongphanh and Krisandra Spell.  Krisandra's name was pulled from the drawing for the $25 prize.

Click here to see the photos and the answers.  Thanks to everyone who played!


Upcoming Holiday: What is Shavuot?

Posted by: Mary Beth Sloan on Tuesday, June 4, 2019 at 7:00:00 am Comments (0)

Holiday Hours:

Saturday, June 8 - The J closes at 6:00 pm

Sunday, June 9 - The J is closed for Shavuot

Shavuot combines two major religious observances. First is the grain harvest of the early summer. Second is the giving of the Torah to Moses on Mount Sinai seven weeks after the Jews' exodus from Egypt.

  • Work is not permitted during Shavuot.
  • It is customary to stay up the entire first night of Shavuot and study Torah, then pray as early as possible in the morning.
  • It is customary to eat a dairy meal at least once during Shavuot. There are varying opinions as to why this is done. Some say it is a reminder of the promise regarding the land of Israel, a land flowing with "milk and honey." According to another view, it is because our ancestors had just received the Torah (and the dietary laws therein), and did not have both meat and dairy dishes available.

 Click here to learn more.

Monday, June 3, 2019

Caution: Children Walking Through Parking Lots

Posted by: Mary Beth Sloan on Monday, June 3, 2019 at 8:00:00 am Comments (0)

Children Walking in All Parking Areas

We are welcoming 290 CDC campers to preschool summer camp this week - in addition to older campers, baseball/softball players, pool-goers, etc.  Parents are parking in areas usually used primarily by staff, which means small children are walking in areas you may not expect.

PLEASE be aware and free from distractions as you drive in all of our parking lots.

Here's to a safe and happy summer at The J!


Jewish Culture: Food + Friendship

Posted by: Mary Beth Sloan on Monday, June 3, 2019 at 7:00:00 am Comments (1)

Molly Morrissey, a Group Fitness instructor at The J, was recently featured in the Kansas City Star's "Come Into My Kitchen" section. 

Molly shares the story of her friendship with a Jewish woman, who taught her to make mandel bread.  Mandel Bread is a Jewish cookie that's twice-baked, so it's crunchy - it's similar to biscotti.  If you attended the recent J Values lunch, you may have sampled mandel bread that was made by either Stacey Belzer or Cindy Bodker.

Jewish culture and history are often tied to food, its role at holidays and recipes that are shared from generation to generation.  Thanks to Molly for sharing her story of food and friendship.

Friday, May 31, 2019

Jewish 101: Jews Around the World

Posted by: Mary Beth Sloan on Friday, May 31, 2019 at 7:00:00 am Comments (0)

As we launch our J Value of Passing on Jewish Culture + History, let’s look at the Jewish population around the world.

Today, there are 14.7 million Jews in the world.  Here are the countries with the largest Jewish populations:

  • Israel – 6.6 million
  • USA – 5.7 million
  • France - 453,000
  • Canada - 391,000
  • United Kingdom - 290,000
  • Argentina - 180,000
  • Russia   172,000
  • Germany   116,000
  • Australia   113,000
  • Brazil 93,000
Thursday, May 30, 2019

Guess Who? Photo Matching Contest

Posted by: Mary Beth Sloan on Thursday, May 30, 2019 at 4:45:00 pm Comments (1)

Match Faces with Photos and Win $25

Click here to see 18 fabulous photos from J Team members and match the photos with their owners.  Click here to download and print your entry form.

Entries are due (to HR)  by 5:00 pm Monday, June 3rd.  The winner receives a $25 gift card of his/her choice.  In case of a tie, we'll draw one winner from all correct entries.

Good luck and thanks to everyone who shared a photo!


Raffle Winners!

Posted by: Mary Beth Sloan on Thursday, May 30, 2019 at 4:00:00 pm Comments (2)

Thanks to everyone who attended our launch of "Passing on Jewish Culture + History."  Congratulations to our raffle prizes winners:

  • Taja Robins - Schlep Tote Bag
  • Hannah Rank - "Oy Vey" Coffee Cub
  • Nancy Lynn Wooten - Jewish Holidays Coloring Book and Pencils
  • Julie Gregory - Kiddish Cup
  • Brea Lovelace - Schlep Tote Bag
  • Mike Silverman - Candlesticks and Mezuzah
  • Matt Multer - 10 Commandments Sticky Notes
  • Bekah Burrow - Candles and table runner
  • Brandi Ventre - Jerusalem Cookbook
  • Jana Silverman - "Eat My Schwartz" Book
  • Sandi Sandborn - Hamsa
  • Lauren Levin - "Shalom" Welcome Mat

Please come to the Admin offices to collect your prizes.  Thanks to everyone who played!


New J Value Kicks-Off Today

Posted by: Mary Beth Sloan on Thursday, May 30, 2019 at 7:00:00 am Comments (3)

Passing on Jewish Culture + History

We launch the J Value of Passing on Jewish Culture + History today with a lunch (noon to 1:00 pm in the MAC Room) and new t-shirts.  We'll also begin a daily J Net post that helps to educate staff members about Jewish culture, history and traditions and how they influence J programs and activities.

We will also answer your questions about all things Jewish through a new feature "Ask Jill."  Jill Maidhof, our Director of Jewish Experiences, is happy to field questions.  To submit a question, email Jill or post in the Comments section.

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

J Cafe Opens for Lunch Today

Posted by: Kelly Wolf on Wednesday, May 29, 2019 at 7:00:00 am Comments (1)

The J Cafe Opens Today 11:30-2

The J Cafe, our outdoor, poolside cafe. is open for lunch today from 11:30 am to 2:00 pm.  Stop by to purchase a snack and help our J Cafe staff train before the busy summer rush.

Click to see the J Cafe Pool menu.

Cash, credit and debit cards accepted.

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Work Anniversaries May 26 - June 1

Posted by: Mary Beth Sloan on Tuesday, May 28, 2019 at 7:00:00 am Comments (1)

Happy Work Anniversary to These J Team Members:

  • Anna Elliott - Aquatics (1 year)
  • Abigale Elyacharshuster - Aquatics (14 years)
  • Samantha Feinberg - Group Exercise (17 years)
  • Will Grefrath - Sports + Recreation (3 years)
  • Colleen Groener - Fitness + Sports (4 years)
  • Bob Hennecke - Sports + Rec (23 years)
  • Maggie Herr - Fitness + Sports (3 years)
  • Kylie Jackson - Fitness + Sports (1 year)
  • Marie Messerli - Fitness + Sports (1 year)
  • Matthew Multer - Sports + Rec (7 year)
  • Nicole Ochs  - Group Exercise (1 year)
  • Jackson Sanders - Fitness + Sports (6 years)
  • Twyla Sanders - Child Development Center (5 years)
  • Katie Sutton - Camp + School-Age Services (1 year)
  • Alex Towler - Fitness + Sports (1 year)
  • Jennifer Vossman - Child Development Center (6 years)
  • Eryca Zaiser - Fitness + Sports (3 years)

Thanks to all of you for sharing your time and talent with The J and our members!

Friday, May 24, 2019

Live Up Award for Michelle Lanaman

Posted by: Mary Beth Sloan on Friday, May 24, 2019 at 8:00:00 am Comments (1)

Living J Values

Congratulations to Michelle Lanaman for receiving a Live Up Award today!  Michelle manages the Resource Room in the CDC.  She recently organized a move of the Resource Room due to construction and went above and beyond to ensure it didn't disrupt her coworkers.  Michelle is also known for being a supportive, caring and encouraging coworker who exemplifies the J Value of Treat Others as You Wish to be Treated.  Thank you, Michelle!

Pictured are Gayle Levin, COO (left) and Michelle Lanaman.


Memorial Day + Jewish Military Service

Posted by: Mary Beth Sloan on Friday, May 24, 2019 at 7:00:00 am Comments (0)

Memorial Day is an American holiday, observed on the last Monday of May, honoring the men and women who died while serving in the U.S. military. Memorial Day 2019 occurs on Monday, May 27. 

Originally known as Decoration Day, it originated in the years following the Civil War and became an official federal holiday in 1971. Many Americans observe Memorial Day by visiting cemeteries or memorials, holding family gatherings and participating in parades. Unofficially, it marks the beginning of the summer season.

American Jews have a long history of service to our country.  To learn more, click here.

We hope you enjoy this holiday weekend.  If you're working at The J, thank you for keeping this "home away from home" open for our members and guests.

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Listen 360: Comment of the Day

Posted by: Mary Beth Sloan on Wednesday, May 22, 2019 at 7:00:00 am Comments (0)

The J Makes a Great First Impression

We regularly survey our members to get feedback.  This recent comment is from a brand new member, who joined after his gym closed earlier this month:

"I am fairly new to The J, having joined after ACOP shut its doors on May 3, 2019. What most impressed me when I joined was the cleanliness of the facility. Secondly, the newer equipment also amazed me. I train with Carl on Monday and Wednesday and it is rare that we have to wait for a particular piece of equipment. There is always another machine that can perform the same function as the busy one. The people are friendly, too."

Thanks to everyone in Fitness + Sports who welcomes members and ensures they have a great experience at The J!


Free Tables from After School Care

Posted by: DD Gass on Wednesday, May 22, 2019 at 7:00:00 am Comments (0)

The After School Care room needs to make room for new tables and is giving away four wooden tables for free.

If you can use one or more (for personal or J use), contact DD Gass.

Tables need to be taken by Thursday, May 30. Let's reuse and recycle!

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Jewish Wisdom for Your Overworked Brain

Posted by: Jill Maidhof on Tuesday, May 21, 2019 at 7:05:00 am Comments (0)

Free Webinar from The Institute for Jewish Spirituality

The Institute for Jewish Spirituality presents HardWired Habits: How to Use Jewish Wisdom Traditions to Outsmart Your Overworked Brain

This live, online event will be presented by the Institute for Jewish Spirituality on Wednesday, June 5th at 7:00 p.m. Join the conversation as Institute for Jewish Spirituality (IJS) executive director, Rabbi Lisa Goldstein, and founding IJS board member and mindfulness teacher, Larry Schwartz, offer a fascinating, one-hour look into how your unconscious habits and constant busyness may be hardwiring you to be more distracted and spread too thin – and how you can use Jewish spiritual practices to find some ease amidst all that anxious overdoing . . . and wake up to the sacred moments and meaning of your life.There’s absolutely no cost to register or participate—just click here.

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