AJCC Stories and Interviews

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Staff Spotlight: Shlomit Jackson

Shlomit Jackson has been a part of the JCC since she was in high school and worked as a camp counselor. Beginning in high school, she also taught Hebrew and Judaic studies at various temples in the area. “I have always kept my close relationship with my faith and with Israel and my family. I can’t see myself doing anything else. When I had my daughter, Danielle, I became a member here again because I wanted her to be in the preschool (ECE). When my son, Noah, started here, it was the perfect time to start working again, and where better than the ECE? ...

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Posted by: Erika Silver Hillinger on Thursday, December 1, 2016 at 8:00:00 am Comments (0)



Evva Vale Reception

On November 3, 2016, the Alpert Jewish Community Center was buzzing with excitement from the artist reception for the Evva Vale Community Art Show. Throughout the months of October and November, the art show has been going on in the Zena and Pauline Gatov Gallery at the JCC.

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Posted by: Erika Silver Hillinger on Thursday, December 1, 2016 at 8:00:00 am Comments (0)



Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Staff Spotlight: Susan Mathieu

When Susan Mathieu was a teenager, her family came to the JCC pool every day. She loved growing up here at the J, and she participated in the teen programs, including camp and Summer Stock (she was in Bye Bye Birdie where she had one line!). In those days, the teens had a senate which trained them for leadership roles in the community. “The senate program was my foundation for leadership. I was also a camp counselor for five summers when we had the resident camp, Camp Kadimah. There was a program called CLEW, (Center Leadership Educational Workshop) where they taught the teens to be leaders. We traveled to different Jewish centers throughout the southwest and stayed in people’s homes, and they would come here and stay with us. It was a great exchange program...

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Posted by: Erika Silver Hillinger on Tuesday, November 1, 2016 at 8:00:00 am Comments (0)



AJCC Member Spotlight: Nancy McLain

Nancy McClean first came to the AJCC three years ago and has become invaluable to just about every department. Her hard work and dedication earned her this year’s Stanley V. Goldin Senior of the Year award at the AJCC Annual meeting. Nancy grew up in Long Beach, went to CSULB for a degree in Physical Therapy, “and then I lived and worked in the San Fernando Valley for a good while. I lived and worked in the Central California Mountains for 20 years before moving to Northern Virginia in 1998. I came home to Long Beach to retire in November 2013. I discovered the JCC in March of 2014 while I was looking for a Tai Chi class and found not only the perfect class, but the place I wanted to spend my time. I don’t go anywhere else. The Alpert JCC is ‘my center for life.’ ...

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Posted by: Erika Silver Hillinger on Tuesday, November 1, 2016 at 12:00:00 am Comments (0)



Saturday, October 1, 2016

AJCC Member Spotlight: Jax Cole

When Jax Cole was looking for a pool to train in for her swim across the Catalina Channel, she decided that the Alpert Jewish Community Center would be perfect for her needs.  She went to Pre-K and Kindergarten at the AJCC circa 1983-84, so she was already connected to the Center.

Jax says she loves being a member here...

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Posted by: Erika Silver Hillinger on Saturday, October 1, 2016 at 8:00:00 am Comments (0)



Staff Spotlight: Gayle Ehrenberg

Gayle Ehrenberg has been a part of the Alpert Jewish Community Center since she came here with friends when she was in middle school. She always thought it was a great place to hang out, and she enjoyed being a part of the community. When she had her first son, Asher, she enrolled him in the Early Childhood Education program, and that’s when the fun began! In 1999, Gayle was offered an administrative position with Lynne Rosenstein in the adult department. She has a degree in instrumental music (she plays the sax!) from Cal State Long Beach with an emphasis in Special Education, so it was natural that she eventually became a part of the ECE staff...

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Posted by: Erika Silver Hillinger on Saturday, October 1, 2016 at 8:00:00 am Comments (0)



Thursday, September 1, 2016

Staff Spotlight:: Susan Paletz

Susan Paletz grew up at the Long Beach JCC. She was involved with teen programs, summer stock (she made her debut as a bird) and she was extremely active in BBYO (BBG). She went to Chapman University Semester at Sea, a phenomenal experience traveling around the world for seven months. This experience, Susan explains, is “what really shaped me and motivated me to get involved with a non-profit. Seeing different cultures and different challenges that people around the world were facing really made an impression on me and I wanted to give back.” ...

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Posted by: Erika Silver Hillinger on Thursday, September 1, 2016 at 8:00:00 am Comments (0)



Monday, August 1, 2016

Staff Spotlight: Fred Johnson

Fred Johnson came to the AJCC this past January with a background in fitness and personal training consultation. Originally from Los Angeles, Fred has had a varied and fascinating career! Fred went to high school in Atlanta and got his Bachelor of Science degree in Sports Management from North Carolina State. From there he moved to San Diego and then played professional baseball in Japan for three years. After some injuries, he finally hung up the sneakers and cleats. Because of his own experiences with sports rehab, he developed a passion for personal training by learning about Occupational Therapy and Functional Sports Therapy. “That’s when I fell in love with the fitness industry,” Fred says. “And I got my certification in personal training from National Association of Sports Medicine.” ...

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Posted by: Erika Silver Hillinger on Monday, August 1, 2016 at 12:00:00 am Comments (0)



Friday, July 1, 2016

Staff Spotlight: Natalie Chernik

Natalie Chernik truly grew up at the Alpert JCC. She starting coming here in preschool at age 2 and participated in Camp Kadima until age 10. Her mom worked here as Joe Parmet’s (Executive Director from 1973 – 1998) assistant, and because Natalie would hang out after school here, Joe decided that it would be good to have an afterschool program for older kids (what is now Kids’ University). As a young teen, Natalie frequently volunteered at different events at the JCC, and she would help out serving water and coffee. When she was about 15, Susan Paletz asked if she wanted to work at summer camp. She said, “Sure!” and has been here ever since!...

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Posted by: Erika Silver Hillinger on Friday, July 1, 2016 at 8:00:00 am Comments (0)



Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Staff Spotlight: Irene Velasquez

Irene started working at the JCC in April 2012 and has been going full force ever since. She started in babysitting and then decided she would like to move into member services. In her second year here, Jeffrey Rips identified her potential and her wonderful ability to shine around people, and she became the customer service lead. Irene was trained on schedule and payroll, and then she became Customer Relations’ Supervisor. In 2013, she became a part of the membership department and she began to do tours and rentals.

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Posted by: Erika Silver Hillinger on Wednesday, June 1, 2016 at 8:00:00 am Comments (0)



Friday, April 1, 2016

Member Spotlight: Mike Henderson

After 17 years as one of the J’s most popular fitness trainers, Mike Henderson said a bittersweet goodbye last month as he and his wife, Marge, headed to Northern California and new adventures. More than 80 people gathered on Tuesday afternoon, March 15, to wish Mike a heartfelt Goodbye and Good Luck!  Many people expressed their gratitude for how much he helped them over the years, but along with the gratitude were stories about how they met Mike, how much Mike taught them, how Mike inspired them to keep going when it was the last thing they wanted to do. Some people had tears in their eyes as they expressed how much Mike means to them and how much they will miss his warmth and sense of humor. And more than one remarked on his great laugh.

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Posted by: Erika Silver Hillinger on Friday, April 1, 2016 at 8:00:00 am Comments (0)



Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Staff Spotlight: Alayna Cosores

We are proud to announce that, after an extensive search from all over the country,  Alayna Cosores has been named the Alpert JCC’s new ECE Director! Alayna grew up at the JCC, where she began attending the preschool when she was three. Alayna enjoyed her summers attending our summer camp programs and summer stock. In 1996, she joined the ECE staff with her first JCC job working as a Teachers’ Assistant in the afternoon preschool. She then became a Teacher when we moved to the new building in 1999.  She received her BA in Child Development from CSULB in 2003. Alayna also has her AA in Culinary Arts and loves to cook...

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Posted by: Erika Silver Hillinger on Tuesday, March 1, 2016 at 8:00:00 am Comments (0)



Monday, February 1, 2016

Staff Spotlight: Maureen Lawrence

Maureen Lawrence, or Ms. Maureen as she is known here at the J, has lived in Long Beach for 24 years and has been working at the JCC for almost 17 years. Ms. Maureen began here at the J as a Side by Side (now Yad B’Yad) teacher, and eventually became the Moving On teacher, a position she held for 10 years. About 3 years ago, Maureen was asked if she would be interested in doing the Movement program, and she was delighted. She brought to that her love for theater and music, adding “Music” to become the “Movement & Music” specialist...

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Posted by: Erika Silver Hillinger on Monday, February 1, 2016 at 8:00:00 am Comments (0)



Friday, January 1, 2016

Staff Spotlight: Ignacio Berumen

Born and raised in Los Angeles, Ignacio began his Aquatics career working for the City of Los Angeles Department of Recreation and Parks and the American Red Cross 22 years ago. He joined the team at the Alpert JCC in October of 2014.

Although he enjoyed his time working for the City of LA, he jumped at the opportunity to work for the AJCC, where he says the position has “met and exceeded all my expectations.

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Posted by: Erika Silver Hillinger on Friday, January 1, 2016 at 8:00:00 am Comments (0)