New and Improved

October 10, 2013
BY Maayan Jaffe
JCC getting facelift, increasing focus on fitness
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A JCC fitness instructor demonstrates use of the new equipment. (David Stuck)

It has been just over one month since the Jewish New Year and for people who want to keep with their resolutions of dropping a few pounds and/or increasing their stamina, now is a good time to do it at the Jewish Community Center.

Both the Weinberg Park Heights JCC and the Rosenbloom Owings Mills JCC have received new state-of-the-art fitness equipment in recent weeks, replacing old treadmills with newer, more accessible machines, adding better bikes and switching out some of the old weight machines.

“It shows we are up to date, state of the art and relevant,” said JCC President Barack Hermann.

The entire Park Heights center is also being enhanced. The lower level has a fresh coat of paint and new carpeting in colors and textures, said Hermann, that make the JCC feel more like “a home away from home.”

Hermann said wellness, fitness, aquatics and recreation are core programs of the JCC, and it is one of the center’s key responsibilities to the community “to provide a place where Jews can work on their minds, bodies and spirits.”

Plus, there’s a lot of competition out there.

“If we can provide a good value proposition, then people want to buy Jewish,” said Hermann. “They won’t buy Jewish and compromise.”

JCC Vice President Phil Miller, who is manager of the Park Heights center, said that in addition to the general fitness area, the JCC is also revamping both the men’s and women’s locker rooms on the Park Heights campus. He said that the women’s facilities should be done in about one week and then work will start on the men’s room.

“It will be absolutely fantastic,” said Miller. “No one will recognize them.”

Through its own funding and support from The Associated: Jewish Community Federation of Baltimore, the JCC will install new tiling,  flooring, paint and accessories.

“This is something we have heard for a long time that we needed to do,” Miller said, describing the work at Park Heights as a demonstration of the growing sense of commitment on behalf of The Associated and The Associated system to the Park Heights Jewish community.

“The Park Heights Jewish community matters to the larger Jewish community,” said Miller. “This just shows how much it is valued, that it is worth a significant investment.”

In addition to the physical renovations, the Park Heights JCC has also launched a series of new fitness offerings targeted specifically to men —
single-gender classes. Miller said that while the center has long offered a
variety of single-gender fitness ins-truction for women, lack of space and funding has kept the JCC from offering the same full menu for men.

Over the summer, the Park Heights JCC began staying open an hour later on Tuesday nights, until 11:15 p.m., for men only. The fitness center and the pool are accessible during that time, and there is a group fitness class called Insanity.

“It’s a real solid workout, and we have been getting a great turnout of 30 or 40 men,” said Miller of the class. “The JCC has an obligation to remember the family, and we want to do as much as we can for mom and dad.”

Starting this fall, the JCC will have at least one males-only fitness class Sunday through Thursday, including yoga and cycling.

“We need membership dollars to do mitzvahs,” said Hermann. “If we are equally competitive and valued, then we will have more money to do very important work.”

Maayan Jaffe is JT editor-in-chief — mjaffe@jewishtimes.com

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