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Thursday, July 9, 2020

17th of Tammuz: Destruction + Renewal

Posted by: Mary Beth Rohlf on Thursday, July 9, 2020 at 7:37:00 am Comments (0)

The 17th of the month of Tammuz is observed as a minor fast day, with eating and drinking forbidden from dawn until sundown. Like Tisha B’Av, which comes just three weeks later, the 17th of Tammuz is said to commemorate not to just one calamitous event in Jewish history, but several tragedies of the Jewish people:


  • Moses broke the tablets of law he had been given on Mount Sinai
  • The priests in the First Temple stopped offering the Tamid (daily) sacrifice because Jerusalem was besieged and they ran out of sheep
  • The walls of Jerusalem were breached by the Romans in the Second Temple Period
  • A Roman general named Apostomos burned a Torah scroll
  • An idol was erected in the Temple by the Romans.


The minor fast also begins a period of mourning that lasts through Tisha B’Av, the major fast day that commemorates, among other things, the destruction of both the First and the Second Temples. During this three-week period some people abstain from listening to music, getting married, and cutting their hair.


From MyJewishLearning.com

Monday, July 6, 2020

Welcome, Caleb!

Posted by: Mary Beth Rohlf on Monday, July 6, 2020 at 7:00:00 am Comments (0)

New Manager for Meshugge CrossFit

Caleb Smith has joined The J Team as Manager, Meshugge CrossFit.  Caleb shared a few things about himself:

  • From Grain Valley MO
  • Previously worked at CrossFit Cerberus for the last three years as a full time coach
  • Enjoys being active and helping others achieve their goals
  • Definitely a dog person
  • Go Chiefs!

Welcome, Caleb!  We're glad to have you at The J.

Thursday, July 2, 2020

Aquatics Receives Recognition

Posted by: Mary Beth Rohlf on Thursday, July 2, 2020 at 7:00:00 am Comments (4)

Mazel Tov!

Congratulations to our Aquatics managers Hannah Rank and Carrie Monaghan and to our program for receiving the Top Training Provider Award for 2019 from American Red Cross.

Aquatics earned this award by providing the most and best American Red Cross Lifeguarding, Water Safety Instructor, and CPR trainings in our region. For the 2019 season, we trained 200 Lifeguards, 22 Water Safety Instructors, and 36 people in Adult & Pediatric First Aid/CPR/AED.

Hannah said, "We’re pretty lucky to be able to serve our community by providing these trainings!"  We say we're pretty lucky to have such a great Aquatics program!

Wednesday, July 1, 2020


Posted by: Mary Beth Rohlf on Wednesday, July 1, 2020 at 5:00:00 pm Comments (0)

Congratulations to Regina Butel for winning the random drawing on National Creative Ice Cream Flavors Day.  Regina suggested "Pistachio-Coconut-Mocha-Fudge...or anything with Peanut Butter!"

Thanks to everyone who participated.  And here's a link to a recipe for Pistachio Ice Cream with Nutella Fudge Swirls (pictured).


Hot Summer Trivia

Posted by: Mary Beth Rohlf on Wednesday, July 1, 2020 at 7:00:00 am Comments (2)

Somewhat Random and Just for Fun

  • The hottest day on record in Kansas City is August 14, 1936, when the thermostat reached 113 degrees.
  • It’s unlikely you can cook an egg on a hot sidewalk because when the egg hits the pavement, it cools the surface slightly.  Cooking an egg on the hood of a hot car is possible, however.
  • Male fireflies typically fly through the air in search of a female by emitting a species-specific flashing pattern. The females sit on the ground and wait until they see an impressive light display. They show their interest by responding with a single flash.
  • Dogs have sweat glands in their paw pads, but sweat doesn’t do a lot to cool them down.  Panting is what controls most of their temperature regulation.  And contrary to what you might think, your dog’s coat doesn’t make him or her hot – it acts as an insulator and keeps your dog cooler in hot weather (don’t shave your dog).
  • Only female mosquitoes bite humans because they need nutrients in the blood to produce eggs. Male mosquitoes eat plant matter.
  • The first ice cream truck was credited to Harry Burt of Youngstown, Ohio, who was the creator of the Good Humor brand. Burt was already delivering ice cream from a motorized vehicle when he had the idea to place chocolate covered ice cream bars on a stick. His new Good Humor ice cream "sucker" was easy and clean to eat, which gave him the idea to sell it directly from his truck to consumers on the street.
Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Kansas Travel Restrictions Expanded

Posted by: Mary Beth Rohlf on Tuesday, June 30, 2020 at 4:00:00 pm Comments (0)

Florida and South Carolina Added to List

Several staff members have asked about traveling and whether it triggers a quarantine period upon return.

We are following the Kansas Department of Health and Environment Travel-Related Quarantine Guidelines.  They were last updated June 29, 2020 and can be found here:

If you travel to an area with widespread community transmission, you will be required to home quarantine for 14 days upon return.

  • If you plan to travel, please let your supervisor know and watch the KDHE website for updates.
  • If you need to quarantine, make sure to let me know so we can determine whether FFCRA paid leave applies.

Thank you and let me know if you have questions!

Monday, June 29, 2020

Creative Ice Cream Flavors Day

Posted by: Mary Beth Rohlf on Monday, June 29, 2020 at 9:00:00 am Comments (19)

Give Us the Scoop: What's Your Flavor?

July 1st is national Creative Ice Cream Flavor Day and we're celebrating with a contest.

If Ben & Jerry's hired you to create their next featured flavor, what would it be?

Share your answer in the comments section by 5:00 pm on July 1st to be in a drawing for a $25 gift card.

Friday, June 26, 2020

Virtual Dogs at Work

Posted by: Mary Beth Rohlf on Friday, June 26, 2020 at 8:45:00 am Comments (4)

Thanks to everyone who shared a dog (and that one cat!) photo and suggested J jobs for their furry friends.  Click here to see your virtual coworkers and their roles.

The winner of the random drawing is Jared Schultz from our Fitness + Sports department - congratulations!

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Zoom Fatigue: It's Real

Posted by: Mary Beth Rohlf on Wednesday, June 24, 2020 at 9:30:00 am Comments (1)

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced us to rely on technology and remote communication like never before.  It’s also brought us a new term and phenomenon: Zoom fatigue.  The struggle is real - virtual interactions can be extremely hard on the brain.

  • We miss nonverbal communication, which often says more than words alone can convey.  This makes feeling connected and achieving emotional intimacy much more difficult.
  • Gallery views challenge our brain by forcing it to focus on many people at once, which can reduce meaningful exchanges.
  • Zoom calls can leave us feeling exhausted, but as if we’ve accomplished nothing.
  • Group video chats feel less collaborative than in-person group meetings.
  • People with autism are reporting both positive and negative reactions to virtual meetings.  For some, the remote format reduces challenges while for others it makes communicating more difficult.

One suggestion for combating Zoom fatigue is to shut off your camera periodically and focus on listening only.  If you have other remedies for remote communication burnout, share them in the comments section.

Read the entire article on National Geographic.


Jews and Civil Rights: A Proud History

Posted by: Mary Beth Rohlf on Wednesday, June 24, 2020 at 9:00:00 am Comments (1)

The J stands for inclusivity, for providing a warm welcome to all and for treating others with loving kindness.  This reflects a long history of Jews supporting civil rights and, in fact, during the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960’s, many Jews stepped forward to play critical roles in the fight for equality.  The beginnings of this support started even earlier in the United States.  Here are a few highlights:

  • As far back as the 19th century, Jewish storekeepers were virtually the only Southern merchants who addressed black customers as “Mr.” and “Mrs.” and permitted them to try on clothing.
  • In 1929, Louis Isaac Jaffe, editorial writer for the Norfolk Virginia-Pilot won the Pulitzer Prize for his denunciation of lynching and the reactionary Harry Byrd political machine.
  • Julius Rosenwald, chairman of Sears Roebuck, contributed more generously in behalf of Southern blacks than did any philanthropist in American history.
  • At the height of the anti-integration effort, in 1957, Rabbi Ira Sanders of Little Rock testified before the Arkansas Senate against pending segregationist bills.
  • Northern Jews were among the earliest supporters of the fledgling National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.
  • Jews also were the earliest supporters of the Urban League, founded in New York in 1911 to help newly arrived black migrants from the rural South.
  • In the landmark 1954 Brown v. Board of Education ruling itself, the Supreme Court accepted the research of the black sociologist Kenneth Clark that segregation placed the stamp of inferi­ority on black children. Clark’s study had been commissioned by the American Jewish Committee.

Click here to read more from MyJewishLearning.

Photo: Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel (second from right) marching in Selma in 1965.


Job Posted: Specialist, Accounting

Posted by: Mary Beth Rohlf on Wednesday, June 24, 2020 at 8:00:00 am Comments (0)

Bobby Boresow, CFO, recently shared that Renee Heflin has officially assumed a new role as the Supervisor of Campus Operations & Accounting, reporting directly to Rob Bolt.  Renee has been supporting many of the accounting functions since we took on the management of the Campus back in January, 2019.  Earlier this year, she took on the duties of Campus operations (in addition to her many responsibilities for The J).   Renee has done an outstanding job stepping in and getting the Campus books and operations back in line.  Her hard work and dedication have brought about many positive changes over the last couple of months in this interim role.

We thank Renee for all of her efforts, particularly these last several months, as she literally has helped “keep the lights on”! 

Any accounting or NG questions should be directed to either Krisandra or Bobby.

The J is seeking to fill Renee's previous role in J Accounting.  You can view the job posting here.

Tuesday, June 23, 2020

Virtual Bring Your Dog to Work Day

Posted by: Mary Beth Rohlf on Tuesday, June 23, 2020 at 8:00:00 am Comments (14)

Give Your Dog a Job

Friday, June 26 is national Bring Your Dog to Work Day.  We can't have actual dogs at The J (sorry), but we can have a little fun imagining our doggos as colleagues.

There are two ways to play:

  • In the comments section, tell us what job you'd assign your dog.  Is she a super-friendly receptionist type?  Chief Napping Officer material?
  • Send a photo of your pooch to Mary Beth for an online photo album that will be shared on JNet.

Everyone who participates will be entered into a drawing for a $25 gift card of choice.  The deadline is Thursday at 5:00 pm.

Friday, June 19, 2020

Juneteenth Celebrates Freedom

Posted by: Mary Beth Rohlf on Friday, June 19, 2020 at 8:30:00 am Comments (0)

Juneteenth is the oldest nationally celebrated commemoration of the ending of slavery in the United States.  Dating back to 1865, it was on June 19th that the Union soldiers, led by Major General Gordon Granger, landed at Galveston, Texas with news that the war had ended and that the enslaved were now free. Note that this was two and a half years after President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation - which had become official January 1, 1863. The Emancipation Proclamation had little impact on the Texans due to the minimal number of Union troops to enforce the new Executive Order. However, with the surrender of General Lee in April of 1865, and the arrival of General Granger’s regiment, the forces were finally strong enough to influence and overcome the resistance.

As an organization that values diversity, inclusion and being welcoming to all, The J thanks you for everything you do to demonstrate loving kindness to Members, guests and each other.


Nominate The J for $ From Scheels

Posted by: Director of HR on Friday, June 19, 2020 at 8:00:00 am Comments (0)

SCHEELS OP Community Campaign

Overland Park SCHEELS has decided to donate $10,000 to the community and is asking for help deciding which organizations to support.

Click here to nominate in seven different categories.  You might consider nominating The J under "Outdoor Recreation and Sports Organizations" and Jewish Family Services under "Human Services Organizations."  You can also nominate organizations in the Youth, Environmental and Animal categories.

Thursday, June 18, 2020

KC SuperStar Finalists Announced

Posted by: Felice Azorsky on Thursday, June 18, 2020 at 9:00:00 am Comments (0)

KC SuperStar is The J's largest fundraiser and the donations given through SuperStar enrich the lives of those in need. Hundreds of seniors, children and families depend on The J for financial assistance so they can partake in vital programming, education, transportation, health and the arts.

This year, the Semi Finals were held virtually and over 11,000 votes were cast!  Thanks to all who competed and voted.

Click here to learn more about our 10 Finalists.



New Entry Provides Updated Welcome

Posted by: Mary Beth Rohlf on Thursday, June 18, 2020 at 8:00:00 am Comments (0)

Thank you for maneuvering around fences, demolition and construction to reach our main entrance this week.

We'll soon have a refreshed entry that provides an attractive and warm welcome.  The accompanying rendering shows what will soon be a reality!


Tuesday, June 16, 2020

Last Snack Standing: A Contest

Posted by: Mary Beth Rohlf on Tuesday, June 16, 2020 at 9:05:00 am Comments (27)

The vending machine in the main Lobby is slowly emptying of its contents.  Guess which snack will be the last available and win a $25 Amazon gift card.  In case of multiple winners, a drawing will be held.

Put your guess in the Comments section.  It will remain "private" for this particular contest.  Your choices:

  • Lays Classic Potato Chips
  • Cheez-It
  • Gardetto’s
  • Dry Roasted Almonds
  • Almonds & Walnuts
  • Cashews
  • Almonds
  • Corn Nuts
  • Trail Mix

Members Appreciate Your Efforts

Posted by: Mary Beth Rohlf on Tuesday, June 16, 2020 at 9:00:00 am Comments (0)

The J uses software called Listen360 to continually gather feedback from members.  We received this compliment today, which highlights the value of our new health and safety protocols.  Thanks to everyone for wearing masks, taking temperatures and helping with cleaning processes.  It is noticed and appreciated!

"You have going the extra mile to make the place clean and inviting during the pandemic. You should be commended for your hard work and the results."

Monday, June 15, 2020

Jewish Superstitions

Posted by: Mary Beth Rohlf on Monday, June 15, 2020 at 4:00:00 pm Comments (0)

As have all cultures, Jews have developed numerous superstitious practices applicable to a variety of occasions. The following are some of the most common:

  • Spitting Three Times
  • Chewing on Thread
  • Pulling or Tugging One’s Ears When Sneezing
  • Sneezing on the Truth
  • Closing Books That Have Been Left Open
  • Placing Salt in Pockets and Corners of the Room
  • Wearing a Metal Pin on Clothes When Embarking on a Trip
  • Knocking on Wood

Want to learn more about the origins of these superstitions and find out if they're truly "Jewish"?  Check out MyJewishLearning for details!


Outdoor Pool Open: New Reservation System

Posted by: Mary Beth Rohlf on Monday, June 15, 2020 at 9:00:00 am Comments (0)

Outdoor Pool

The J's outdoor pool opens today with new health and safety protocols in place.  Reservations are required for pre-set, socially-distanced spaces around the pool.

If you plan to enjoy the outdoor pool, please familiarize yourself with the reservation process and time slots.

Free Swim/Open to All J Members

Pre-Arrival Registration Required

View Registration Instructions  Registration Link

Monday - Thursday | 2:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Friday | 2:00 pm - 6:30 pm
Saturday - Sunday | 10:00 am - 7:30 pm



Posted by: Director of HR on Monday, June 15, 2020 at 8:45:00 am Comments (0)

Congratulations to Jenna Drake for winning last week's drawing for a $25 gift card of her choice.  Thanks to everyone who found the hidden number in one of last week's JNet posts.

It pays to read JNet!

Friday, June 12, 2020

Win $25!

Posted by: Mary Beth Rohlf on Friday, June 12, 2020 at 10:30:00 am Comments (21)

A JNet story from sometime this week ends with "Shabbat Shalom" followed by a three digit number.  Find the number, type it into the Comments section, and you'll be entered into a drawing for a $25 gift card of your choice.  Deadline to enter is today at 5:00 pm.



Health + Safety Reminders

Posted by: Mary Beth Rohlf on Friday, June 12, 2020 at 10:00:00 am Comments (0)

The J has been partially reopened for four weeks and members are slowly returning to Fitness + Sports, Campers have started their summer adventures on-site, J Baseball/Softball players have resumed play and the outdoor pool opens to members next week.

All of these steps have been carefully planned and are contingent upon all of us following new health and safety procedures.

Please continue to follow these important rules:

  • Wear your face mask in common spaces and everywhere required by your department
  • Maintain six feet from others whenever possible
  • Stay behind a physical barrier if your work station has one
  • Wash or sanitize your hands frequently
  • Stay home if you have symptoms of COVID-19
  • Tell your supervisor or HR if a household member has symptoms of COVID-19

It takes all of us working together to reopen The J as safely as possible.  Thank you for working with new policies and procedures.  Thank you for being a member of The J Team!


Thursday, June 11, 2020

Kudos for CDC

Posted by: Mary Beth Rohlf on Thursday, June 11, 2020 at 8:00:00 am Comments (2)

The J uses a program called Listen 360 to gather feedback from members and customers every day.  Today, we received this awesome praise for our Child Development Center:

"I love the communication from the teachers, notes and pictures. I have never felt more secure about where my son has gone to daycare/preschool. Plus they are always doing different activities to keep him learning and engaged. I could not be happier in my choice of where to send him."

Our CDC Teachers, Teaching Assistants, Paras and Administrators put their hearts into their profession - and it shows!  Thank you, CDC team, for building this wonderful community for our smallest members and their families.

Wednesday, June 10, 2020

Welcome, Emily!

Posted by: Mary Beth Rohlf on Wednesday, June 10, 2020 at 8:30:00 am Comments (2)

Jewish Federation offers a paid internship program called Leadership Tomorrow to help college students experience work in the nonprofit sector.  The J is grateful to partner with Jewish Federation and serve as an internship site each year.  This year, we welcome Emily Birger, who is interning virtually with Kandi Gerdes in Marketing Communication and with Felice Azorsky in Development.  We asked Emily to share a little about herself:

"Hello! My name is Emily Birger and I am currently a sophomore at the University of Kansas. I have been going to The J since early birds at Camp and vacation days after school. I am so excited to be interning here and getting to see all the ins and outs of such an amazing community. Thank you for having me!"

Tuesday, June 9, 2020

Jewish 101: A Mourning Ritual

Posted by: Mary Beth Rohlf on Tuesday, June 9, 2020 at 9:00:00 am Comments (1)

Why Do Jews Put Stones on Graves?

The Jewish tradition of leaving stones or pebbles on a grave is an ancient one and its origins are unclear. It is a custom or tradition, rather than a commandment, and over time many interpretations have been offered for this practice.

Warning To Kohanim (Jewish Priests)

During the times of the Temple in Jerusalem, Jewish priests (kohanim) became ritually impure if they came within four feet of a corpse. As a result, Jews began marking graves with piles of rocks in order to indicate to passing kohanim that they should stay back.

To Keep the Soul in This World

The Talmud mentions that after a person dies her soul con­tinues to dwell for a while in the grave where she was buried. Putting stones on a grave keeps the soul down in this world, which some people find comforting. Another related interpretation suggests that the stones keep demons and golems from getting into the graves.

Stones Last Longer Than Flowers

Flowers, though beautiful, will eventually die. A stone will not die and can symbolize the permanence of memory and legacy.

Many people take special care in choosing a stone to put on the grave of a loved one. It may be a stone from a place that was significant to the deceased, a stone that was chosen at an event during which the deceased was especially missed, or simply an interesting or attractive rock. Because there is no commandment to fulfill here, placing a stone on a grave is an opportunity for you to create your own ritual, or do things in the way that feels most meaningful to you.

From MyJewishLearning.com

Monday, June 8, 2020

Former J Team Member Sends Thanks

Posted by: Mary Beth Rohlf on Monday, June 8, 2020 at 8:00:00 am Comments (2)

The J is a Special Place to Work

DD Gass, Director of Camp + School-Age Services, received this message from a part time employee who recently left The J for a full time job at KU Medical Center.

"The JCC will always be a place I consider a second home, and I cannot express how appreciative I’ve been of my team and the Community Center the past 10 years. I’m thankful to have been a part of a great team – one that I truly felt knew how to bring out the best of qualities in each other, work cohesively, and express appreciation. A large part of who I am I owe in part to my kiddos and The J. Ten years of giving my best to kids of so many different backgrounds and personalities brought growth and healing to who I am today. A lot of my best days were spent at work with both the toughest and the most carefree of situations. I am so beyond grateful of having the opportunity of working with coworkers that really care. You don’t find a community or team like you do at The J. Thank you!"

A huge "thank you" to DD and her team for creating a workplace culture that inspires this type of feedback.

And thanks to every member of our J Team family for living J Values.  YOU make The J a very special place.

(Shabat Shalom 612)

Friday, June 5, 2020


Posted by: Mary Beth Rohlf on Friday, June 5, 2020 at 1:45:00 pm Comments (0)

Congratulations to Kathleen Cuddy for winning the drawing for a $25 gift card.  Thanks to everyone who shared what gives them the heebie jeebies!

Shabbat Shalom and may your weekend be free of snakes, spiders, clowns, liver, rats, mice, chewing gum and whatever else makes you shudder.


Stay Safe in High Heat

Posted by: Mary Beth Rohlf on Friday, June 5, 2020 at 8:00:00 am Comments (0)

Summertime means outdoor work for many J Team members. Help keep our employees and program participants healthy during hot weather by knowing how to prevent and respond to heat-related illness.

Click here for a quick overview of several heat-related health issues including heat stroke – which requires emergency care.

Common sense actions:

  • Provide breaks from the heat
  • Reduce physical activity if outside
  • Ensure access to drinking water
  • Regularly check on employees and participants who spend time outside
  • Review the signs of heat-related illness with your team and how to respond if someone in their care becomes ill



Thursday, June 4, 2020

Member Feedback: Praise for Fitness + Sports

Posted by: Mary Beth Rohlf on Thursday, June 4, 2020 at 8:00:00 am Comments (1)

The J uses a program called "Listen 360" to elicit regular feedback from our members.  Hearing what's going well and how we might improve is always helpful.

We received the following comment today:

"Love the variety of services especially sports and fitness. Great job with the group exercise classes during the closing period because of Covid. I am grateful to the instructors and staff and all those people behind the scenes who made it happen."

Thanks, J Team, for all the extra work during our closure.  It made a difference for our members!

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