Member Spotlight: Inge Johnson

Posted on Wednesday, March 1, 2017 at 12:00:00 am

Inge Johnson, 87 years young, was born in Germany and left with her family in December 1938 at age 9. She grew up in Central California (Tulare) and lived for 40 years in the San Francisco bay area where she was a teacher and the mother of three children, two girls and boy. She made Aliyah (moved to Israel) in 1988 and lived in the beautiful seaside city of Netanya until 2002. Inge had a very interesting life in Israel (and she has written a book all about it!), including being a volunteer in the Israel Defense Forces three different times: once stationed near Lebanon, once near Haifa (where she was taken out on a nuclear submarine!) and once near Ashkelon.

In 2002, Inge decided to move back to California to be near her family. Inge’s daughter, Linda, lives here in Long Beach, and she found an apartment close by. Inge joined Temple Israel right away and she absolutely loves the community there. She’s an active member of TI and is in their Purim Shpiel every year. This year, dressed in her duck costume, she also celebrated at the AJCC Purim Carnival (see her picture on the AJCC Facebook page)! 

She lived in her apartment for a little while and then, she explains, “I won the lottery! Menorah house in Long Beach was opening, and with over 900 applications for 65 slots, my name was chosen! It’s right on the corner of Willow and Atlantic, and it was so much closer to the JCC, which I was coming to as often as I could. Eventually, even though I loved my apartment, every time I came to the J, I thought to myself how nice it would be to live in Federation Towers [which are right next door to the J]. So for the last four years, I have lived walking distance to my favorite place.

“When I first moved to Long Beach, I learned about the JCC and their exercise programs and their lectures and other offerings.  My favorite program when I first came was the Senior lunch, and I made a lot of friends that way. When I moved to Menorah house, I got more involved and came more frequently. Then about 10 years ago, I became the bridge teacher on Wednesdays, so I was here all the time. I teach bridge for the fun and the sociability of it rather than for the competition. It’s a great group of people, and I’m happy to teach anyone who wants to learn! 

“I’m glad that there are so many wonderful activities here at the J. I enjoy the lectures, and I still do some of the exercise classes; when the weather is nice, I enjoy the swimming pool. I think it’s great that the J is here for other organizations. I happen to be a fire ambassador, and I’m also a member of NCJW [National Council of Jewish Women] and Hadassah. It’s so nice that they all meet here. And even though I belong to Temple Israel, last Friday I went to Shul by the Shore, which has started having their services here. I really like Rabbi Perelmuter.  I love the staff at the JCC. The custodial staff is wonderful. And of course Jeffrey Rips, Susan Mathieu, Ronnie, and Shlomit are all a big part of what makes this place so warm and inviting.” 

Inge has four grandchildren and three great grandchildren, and she feels blessed that she gets to see them as often as she can. We feel blessed to have Inge as a part of our Alpert JCC community!  

Blog by Erika Silver Hillinger

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