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Monday, August 19, 2019

J Values in Action

Posted by: Mary Beth Sloan on Monday, August 19, 2019 at 11:00:00 am Comments (5)

Sometimes a photo says it all.  Thanks to Leslie Bitterman for capturing this moment.


Work Anniversaries August 18-24

Posted by: Mary Beth Sloan on Monday, August 19, 2019 at 7:00:00 am Comments (0)

Happy Work Anniversary to These J Team Members: 

  • Debbie Ball – Membership (12 years)
  • Marlena Jackson – CDC (5 years)
  • Shannon Bergin – CDC (4 years)
  • Lori Glaser – B’nai Jehudah (2 years)
  • Caroline Ehren – Aquatics (2 years)
  • Nancy Wootton – CDC (1 year)

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

Friday, August 16, 2019

Chiefs Tix Winners!

Posted by: Director of HR on Friday, August 16, 2019 at 4:09:00 pm Comments (1)

Congratulations to David Green and Mitch Martin, winners of the drawing for tickets to the Chiefs versus San Francisco game on August 24.

To enter the drawing, J Team members shared their favorite game time snack.  The clear winner was Nachos and Buffalo Chicken Dip came in a distant second.

Watch J Net for more contests and games!


Why Does The J Serve Challah on Fridays?

Posted by: Mary Beth Sloan on Friday, August 16, 2019 at 9:00:00 am Comments (0)

You may have noticed that The J sets out trays of challah (bread) on Fridays.  That’s because the Jewish sabbath begins at sundown on Fridays and challah is traditionally served at Shabbat dinners.

What does it mean?

The Hebrew word for challah means something like “sacrifice.” It refers to the portion of the dough separated out during baking to remind the baker of the sacrifices in the holy Temple in Jerusalem in ancient times.

What’s in it? 

The braided or round bread that Ashkenazi Jews call challah is a white bread, often enriched with egg and sweetened. Sometimes raisins are added, in particular on Rosh Hashanah.

When do you eat it? 

Shabbat and other Jewish holidays, excluding Passover. Round challah is traditional on Rosh Hashanah. 

What’s it like? 

Fragrant and often sweet white bread, sometimes with raisins. If you hang out in Jewish communities, you’ll hear a lot of small children asking for more challah.

From www.interfaithfamily.com


Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Donate Birthday Party Supplies!

Posted by: Mary Beth Sloan on Wednesday, August 14, 2019 at 9:00:00 am Comments (0)

Help us Make "Birthday in a Bag" Happen!

When parents visit Jewish Family Services' food pantry seeking birthday party supplies for their kids, we want them to leave with a Birthday in a Bag.  Every kid deserves a birthday party!

Please support our J Team service project by donating cake mix, frosting, paper plates, candles, table cloths...anything that helps a parent provide a birthday party.

Thanks to those who've already donated!


Welcome, Baby Dawson!

Posted by: Mary Beth Sloan on Wednesday, August 14, 2019 at 8:00:00 am Comments (10)

Congratulations to Daniel Marklewitz and his wife Madison on the birth of their son, Dawson Ryan.

Dawson is three weeks old, gaining weight and doing well.

Welcome to the world, Dawson!

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Ask Jill: Why a Tree of Life?

Posted by: Jill Maidhof on Tuesday, August 13, 2019 at 7:00:00 am Comments (0)

The Meaning Behind the Art

Yesterday, we shared that a sculpture has been donated to the Campus by TEVA Pharmaceuticals.  The art is a "tree of life," so we asked Jill Maidhof, Director of Jewish Experiences, about its meaning.  Jill shared:

"The new sculpture in our theatre lobby is much more than a stunning piece of art. Trees hold meaning in almost every culture and religion. In Judaism, we refer to the Tree of Life, which represents the attributes through which God reveals Himself and which form the foundation of Jewish mysticism. At the same time, the Tree of Life symbolizes the wisdom and immortality of the Torah, as it is written: “Its ways are ways of pleasantness and all its paths are peace.  It is a tree of life for those who grasp it and those who draw near it are fortunate.” Proverbs 3:17-18.

How lucky we are to be the guardians of this treasure!"


Giving Campaign Grand Prize Ideas???

Posted by: Janice Malin on Tuesday, August 13, 2019 at 6:00:00 am Comments (3)

In November, we'll hold our annual giving campaign to raise money for United Way and Jewish Federation.  Payroll deduction makes giving easy and supports two organizations that provide important services to our community.

During the campaign, we'll have daily drawings for small prizes and everyone who donates at least $192 will be entered into the Grand Prize Drawing.

We need ideas for the Grand Prize!  What item or experience would motivate you to donate about $8 per paycheck next year?

Share your ideas in the comments section below.

Thanks and stay tuned for more information about our campaign.

Monday, August 12, 2019

Artwork Donated to Campus

Posted by: Jim Sluyter on Monday, August 12, 2019 at 11:00:00 am Comments (2)

The Jewish Community Campus has a new art installation in the Theatre lobby.  The piece was donated by TEVA Pharmaceuticals.

TEVA commissioned the piece when it opened an office in Overland Park.  When they decided to close their OP location, they wanted to find a new home for the sculpture, which represents the Tree of Life.  

The piece weighs approximately 1,100 pounds and its highest branch reaches 13 feet.  We are installing glass around the base/roots and will install a plaque in the near future.

We hope you and all Campus visitors enjoy this new piece of art.


Win Chiefs Tix for August 24 Game

Posted by: Mary Beth Sloan on Monday, August 12, 2019 at 7:00:00 am Comments (18)

Name Your Favorite Football-Watching Snack to Enter Drawing 

A generous donor has given The J free tickets to the Saturday, August 24 Chiefs vs 49ers game at Arrowhead.  The seats are Field Level, Section 101, Row 13 and the game starts at 7:00 p.m.

We have two sets of two tickets, which means we'll draw two winners from a random drawing on Friday, August 16 at 4:00 pm.

To enter, share your favorite football-watching snack in the comments section.  (If you're not feeling hungry, just enter "Chiefs" and you'll still be in the drawing.)


Work Anniversaries August 11-17

Posted by: Mary Beth Sloan on Monday, August 12, 2019 at 6:00:00 am Comments (1)

Happy Work Anniversary to These J Team Members:

  • Natalie Phongphanh – Accounting (24 years)
  • Iwen West – CDC (13 years)
  • Laura Shingleton – CDC (10 years)
  • Caroline Monaghan – Aquatics (6 years)
  • Traci Ismert  - Group Exercise (5 years)
  • Mary Keegan – CDC (5 years)
  • Andrea Madouras – CDC (5 years)
  • Meghan Thille – Aquatics (3 years)
  • Tilley Mario – CDC (2 years)
  • Sarah Mondry – B’nai Jehudah CDC (2 years)
  • Rebekah Burrow – CDC (1 year)
  • Carrie Roark – CDC (1 year)
  • Robin Wahlquist – Paraeducator (1 year)
  • Alicia Worley – CDC (1 year)
  • Kristin Worely – CDC (1 year)
  • Claire Figlo – B’nai Jehudah CDC (1 year)
  • Spencer Lower – Soccer (1 year)
  • Ricardo Carvajal – Soccer (1 year)

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

Friday, August 9, 2019

Donate Items for "Birthday in a Bag"

Posted by: Mary Beth Sloan on Friday, August 9, 2019 at 9:05:00 am Comments (0)

Need Birthday Party Supplies

As you're shopping this weekend, please consider buying a few items for the "Birthday in a Bag" project to benefit Jewish Family Services.  We're donating 25 bags of birthday party items for families who use the food pantry. We need:

  • Cake mix
  • Frosting
  • Candles
  • Plates, napkins, forks
  • Tablcloths
  • Party favors, stickers, markers, etc.

On August 21, we'll gather in the Social Hall from 1:00 to 2:00 pm to decorate bags, sign birthday cards, get our new J Values t-shirt and enjoy some birthday cupcakes.


Construction Update: Circle Drive Closed Monday

Posted by: Brenda Estell on Friday, August 9, 2019 at 9:00:00 am Comments (0)

On Monday (August 12), the front circle drive will be closed to all car traffic. There will be sidewalk access for those walking from the parking lot.

Please share this with your staff.


J Family Album: New Eagle Scout

Posted by: Mary Beth Sloan on Friday, August 9, 2019 at 7:00:00 am Comments (4)

Congratulations, Seth Franke

Seth Franke, a J Team member who works in Camp + School-Age Services and son of Alley DeWitt, was awarded his Eagle Scout last week.  Seth is a member of Troop 61, which is sponsored by Beth Shalom synagogue.

Eagle Scout is the highest achievement in the Boy Scouts of America program.  Since its inception in 1911, only 4% of Scouts have earned this rank.

Mazel Tov, Seth!

Thursday, August 8, 2019

Welcome to the World, Baby Zev

Posted by: Mary Beth Sloan on Thursday, August 8, 2019 at 4:00:00 pm Comments (5)

Lauren Levin Becomes a Grandma

Lauren Levin, our Jewish Experiences coordinator, became a grandmother yesterday when her daughter Libby Garrett gave birth to Zev Michael Garrett.

Congratulations to Lauren, Libby and their entire family on the birth of Zev!

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

Local Hospital Pays Ransom for Its Own Data

Posted by: David Green on Wednesday, August 7, 2019 at 9:00:00 am Comments (1)

You Are Our Best Cyber Security

I know that many of you get a little tired of me talking about cyber security. I know that most of you would prefer not to take the required yearly training. Unfortunately, cyber security threats are very real and very possible in our personal lives as well as here at work. This is just the reality that we live in as Truman Medical Center just found. Just yesterday (8/6/2019) they were hit by ransomware. The news article doesn’t provide a lot of details, but their files were encrypted, and they ended up paying the ransom, so they could access their files. The link to the news article is below.

Please remember that you are our best security defense tool. Pause, think and question emails, links and attachments. If you have any doubt call me at x18857 or send me an e-mail at davidg@thejkc.org.

Link to the article

Tuesday, August 6, 2019

New Jobs Posted

Posted by: Mary Beth Sloan on Tuesday, August 6, 2019 at 7:00:00 am Comments (0)

The J has several new job postings.  Please refer your friends who would be great additions to The J Team.

  • Maintenance Technician (Full Time, Benefits)
  • Indoor Lifeguard (opening shift, starts at 5:00 a.m.)
  • Teaching Assistant (part time, afternoons M-F)

The J has several new job postings.  Please refer your friends who would be great additions to The J Team.

  • Maintenance Technician (Full Time, Benefits)
  • Indoor Lifeguard (opening shift, starts at 5:00 a.m.)
  • Teaching Assistant (part time, afternoons M-F)
  • To see postings and apply, visit www.thejkc.org/careers

Monday, August 5, 2019

Work Anniversaries August 4-10

Posted by: Mary Beth Sloan on Monday, August 5, 2019 at 8:00:00 am Comments (0)

Happy Work Anniversary to These J Team Members:

  • Debra Levin – CDC (14 years)
  • Molly Morrisey – Aquatics (11 years)
  • Susan Tribble – Aquatics (5 years)
  • Melissa Andrade – CDC (4 years)
  • Renee Lawrence – B’nai Jehudah CDC (4 years)
  • Ryanne Anthony – CDC (3 years)
  • Jennifer Drake – CDC (3 years)
  • Sarah Johnson-Zaman – B’nai Jehudah CDC (2 years)
  • Emily Strauss – B’nai Jehudah CDC (2 years)
  • Elinor Loe – Youth Training Zone (1 year)
  • Elizabeth Meyers – Youth Training Zone (1 year)

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

Friday, August 2, 2019


Posted by: Mary Beth Sloan on Friday, August 2, 2019 at 7:00:00 am Comments (0)

Congratulations, Roslyn Zuniga!

Thanks to everyone who shared his/her favorite game in honor of National Mahjong Day!  Roslyn Zuniga, Manager of Personal Training, won the random drawing for a $25 Target gift card.

Watch for another drawing for Chiefs tickets next week!

Thursday, August 1, 2019

See "Peter Pan Jr" Today and Support Theatre Camp Kids!

Posted by: DD Gass on Thursday, August 1, 2019 at 7:00:00 am Comments (1)

The J Camp Summer Stock Theatre Campers have been working for four weeks on their production of Peter Pan Jr.  The show is at 2:15 and 6:00 p.m. today. J Campers and parents will be viewing the show at 2:15 p.m., and the Theatre will be very full. If interested, you may be able to sneak in the back for some back row seats.  

From auditions, to call backs, to cast announcements and more - the campers of Summer Stock went through everything a Broadway Actor goes through when doing a show. Additionally, they learned theatre basics, audience etiquette, and more!  The campers not only rehearsed a show, but saw two outside productions, went swimming every day and more!  J Camp is the place to be for youth theatre!  

Special thanks to Keith Wiedenkeller and the White Theatre staff for making this fabulous experience possible for our campers – to be onstage in the White Theatre – with a real theatre production!


Live Up Awards

Posted by: Janice Malin on Thursday, August 1, 2019 at 7:00:00 am Comments (1)

Congratulations to Jill Maidhof and Alley DeWitt for winning Live Up Awards at yesterday's staff meeting.

Jill was nominated by Mr. Mike, who works in the CDC.  Mike was visiting Jill in her office when he suffered a stroke.  Jill immediately recognized the symptoms, called for emergency medical help and cared for Mike until EMT's arrived.  Jill's calmness and quick-thinking helped to ensure a successful outcome.

Alley was nominated for showing kindness to a young athlete at our Youth Triathlon.  The girl finished the swimming and biking parts of the event, but gave up on running.  Alley offered to run with her and kept her talking and engaged the entire route.  The Triathlon look place on a hot day and running on the pavement wasn't in Alley's volunteer role description, but she jumped-in to help a young J member who needed a little extra encouragement.

We are proud of our Live Up Award winners, who received recognition and $50 Target gift cards.  To nominate a coworker who demonstrates J values, use the "Live Up Nomination" button located in the navigation bar at the top of this page.

Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Wow! Awesome Member Feedback

Posted by: Mary Beth Sloan on Wednesday, July 31, 2019 at 8:00:00 am Comments (0)

We constantly gather feedback from our members using a program called "Listen 360."  We received this wonderful compliment today:

"I pretty much tell everyone I know that joining the J has been one of the best decisions our family has made. We love the childcare, the friendly staff and the facility. We love being part of the Meshugge CrossFit community and the lifelong friends we have made there. It really has been one of the best investments we have made."

Congratulations to all of the departments who made a great impression on this J family!

Monday, July 29, 2019

Exciting Updates: J Construction Project

Posted by: Jim Sluyter on Monday, July 29, 2019 at 7:00:00 am Comments (1)

You may see signage around The J that highlights our current fundraising campaign, which means you might get questions from members and guests about it.  We want you, as J Team members, to personally have the scoop and to feel you’re prepared to answer questions from members.

  • The J is running a fundraising campaign to raise money for a construction project that will provide a new gym, indoor turf field and much more for Fitness + Sports + Aquatics and other J departments.
  • As with many construction projects, the costs have increased from the original plan, which means our fundraising goal has also increased.
  • When we started the fundraising campaign, our goal was $10 million.  Our new goal is $11.5 million.  The increase is due to decisions to make the new space bigger with more amenities and the addition of new pool features for children and families.
  • So far, we’ve received pledges/donations of $10.4 million.  We are fortunate that people who love The J are still approaching us about donating – which is a sign that our community is excited about the project and our supporters want to help make it happen.
  • To date, 24 J employees have donated to the campaign, which is very meaningful and very appreciated.
  • The next step in the construction project is to submit permit request to the City of Overland Park on August 13th.  We’re not sure how long it will take to get approval from the City, but construction will begin once we receive it.
  • A ceremonial “ground breaking” is tentatively scheduled for September 17th, even if actual construction doesn’t begin until later.
  • Before we begin construction on the building addition, we will remove some of the tennis courts and add more parking.

If you receive questions about the fundraising campaign or the construction project and you don’t know the answers, please ask your supervisor for assistance.  We want all J Team members to be informed and ready to talk about this exciting project!


National Mahjong Day: A Contest

Posted by: Mary Beth Sloan on Monday, July 29, 2019 at 6:00:00 am Comments (16)

Mahjong is a tile-based game that was developed in China during the Qing dynasty and has spread throughout the world. It is commonly played by four players.  Mahjong is a game of skill, strategy, and calculation and involves a degree of chance.

So how did a game from ancient China become a favorite of contemporary Jewish players?  No one has reached a definitive answer, but here are some theories:

  • Could it be connected to the formation of the National Mah Jongg League (NMJL) by a group of Jewish women in 1937?
  • Or to its popularity among Jewish wives during World War II while their men were away?
  • Or the game’s prominence at Jewish bungalow colonies in the mid-20th century?
  • Or else, as NMJL president Ruth Unger believes, that selling mah-jongg cards functioned as a fundraising source for synagogue sisterhoods and Hadassah chapters?

Whatever the reason, the game has remained a fixture in the Jewish world ever since it came to the U.S. in the 1920's.

In honor of National Mahjong day on August 1st, tell us your favorite board game and be entered into a drawing to win a $25 Target gift card.  Drawing ends Thursday, August 1st at 4:00 pm.

Sunday, July 28, 2019

Work Anniversaries July 28-August2

Posted by: Mary Beth Sloan on Sunday, July 28, 2019 at 3:00:00 pm Comments (1)

Happy Work Anniversary to These J Team Members:

  • Sydney Jones – CDC (24 years)
  • Pamela Beasley – CDC (11 years)
  • Marion Batnitzky – CDC (8 years)
  • Judy Lager – Group Fitness (6 years)
  • Justin Jennings – Aquatics (4 years)
  • Blair Armstrong – Encore! (2 years)
  • Christina Coffey – Encore! (2 years)
  • Terrah McFadden – Personal Training (2 years)
  • Madeline Thelen – Encore! (2 years)
  • Lindsey Whigham – Encore! (2 years)
  • Morgan Marti – Encore! (1 year)

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

Friday, July 26, 2019

Chief Tix Winners!

Posted by: Mary Beth Sloan on Friday, July 26, 2019 at 4:06:00 pm Comments (0)

Congratulations to Katie Sutton and Sarah Unterhalter - winners of our random drawing for tickets to the August 10 Chiefs game.  Contact Mary Beth Sloan in HR to get your tickets.

Thanks to all who submitted names for their imaginary new NFL teams.  We received some creative answers:

  • Kansas City Burnt Ends
  • Boston Beagles
  • KC Crushers!
  • Denver Dachshunds
  • Johnson County Jaguars
  • Momma Bears (Don't mess with them - they are FIERCE!!!)
  • Kansas City Crocodiles
  • KC Blues
  • KC Crusaders
  • Paola Pugs (I think Paola could handle the crowds)
  • KC Grillers
  • Hillsdale Hellions

Shabbat Shalom!

Posted by: Mary Beth on Friday, July 26, 2019 at 8:00:00 am Comments (0)

We’ve already learned about saying “Shabbat Shalom” on Fridays to wish our Jewish friends a peaceful sabbath.  Here’s a little more about Shabbat.

  • Shabbat takes place every week from just before sundown on Friday through sundown on Saturday – a 25-hour period.
  • Shabbat is meant to be more than just a day off from work; it’s also a day of joy and relief from life’s day-to-day struggles.
  • A central focus of Shabbat is family and being home with family and guests.
  • Shabbat celebrations in the home start with a candle-lighting ceremony and include a “kiddish” – a ceremony of prayer and blessing – recited over wine.
  • Shabbat also includes one or more meals, which typically include a type of rich egg bread called challah, wine and meat, although there are many other options for traditional and contemporary main dishes and sides.
  • Synagogues have Shabbat services on Friday evenings and Saturdays.

Whether or not you personally celebrate Shabbat, you are welcome to say “Shabbat Shalom” at The J, especially to our Jewish members, guests and colleagues.

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Jewish Perspective: Respect Your Elders

Posted by: Mary Beth Sloan on Wednesday, July 24, 2019 at 8:00:00 am Comments (2)

A J Team member recently shared her experience visiting her elderly parents.  Helping aging parents is a life experience shared by people of all faiths, but there is a Jewish perspective on how to treat our senior population.  This is taken from Hillel.org.

Jewish history puts much emphasis on its elders and the wisdom they bestow. In fact, ancient tradition forbids the study of Kabbalah until the age of 40 - the supposed age of understanding. Jewish teachings are clear: "You should rise before the elderly and honor the aged." (Leviticus 19:32). 

The Hebrew word for elderly is "zaken" which is an acronym for "zeh shekaneh chachma" -- a person who has acquired wisdom.

The respect we pay to age is specifically because the physical forces are no longer what they once were. In youth, the body's physicality tends to control a person. We are prey to self-serving impulses. As those physical forces weaken, that which is distinctively human about us, our soul, becomes the influential drive in our lives. Our divinely given intelligence gains control over our base instincts. This is the wisdom we attain in old age, and why the Torah commands us to rise in respect for the elderly. 

The J's Heritage Center demonstrates our commitment to seniors. The mission of The Heritage Center is to encourage senior adults age sixty-five and above to participate in educational, cultural, spiritual, fitness and social programs in order to decrease the potential for isolation and to increase connection to the Jewish community. 


J Cafe: Poolside Meals + Snacks + Treats

Posted by: Kelly Wolf on Wednesday, July 24, 2019 at 7:00:00 am Comments (0)

Burgers, Dogs, Fries, Ice Cream and More

Our J Cafe offers poolside lunch, snacks, drinks and treats.

J Employees receive a 20% discount.

To see the menu, click here.  See you at the J Cafe!

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

J Camp Needs Bottle Caps ASAP

Posted by: Katie Sutton on Tuesday, July 23, 2019 at 10:30:00 am Comments (0)

J Camp is in need of 20-30 plastic bottle caps (soda bottles, water bottles, etc.) by tomorrow (7/24) for a project.

Please contact Katie Sutton if you can help.


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