MY J STORY
We hear from people all the time about what the J means to them. Some people fondly remember attending preschool with us decades ago, some met their soulmate at one of our famous dances in the gym. We love hearing your J Story and want to fill this section of our website with your beautiful words, tributes, (and pictures if you've got them)!
Tell us what you love about the J or why it has played a special role in your life or the life of someone you care about.
Rose Kastner (my mom) had a couple of JCC ‘firsts’
1. She was the first woman to brave Sunday morning all-male fitness class, opening the door to co-ed; and
2. she’s pictured getting (the first woman to receive) a Fitness Award.
Well deserved since she was known for taking two, three and sometimes four classes a day! (Wish I could tell you who the fella giving her the award and the year was, but alas, these details are lost to time. The award also came with a clock, inscribed with her name but that, too, sadly, lost.
My parents, Marilyn & Alvin Abram met in 1957 at the (then called) Y Lounge on Spadina and two weeks ago (in October 2020) they celebrated 60 years of marriage!
To commemorate this milestone event, my family wanted to donate to an organization that had meaning to them. Not only does the Miles Nadal JCC hold a special place because it is where their lives together started, but it also supports their lifelong commitment to community service and giving back. Congratulations to Marilyn & Alvin Abram on 60 years of togetherness, laughter, happiness, friendship, love, respect and a whole lot of wonderful memories!
--Lori, Phil, Ally & Skyler
MARILYN & ALVIN ABRAM
There are so many to choose from, but the standout memory is playing with my older brother at the back of the main gym while my mother, Eleanor Levine led fitness classes in the early '70s.
Sometimes we would try to follow the routines, but we would inevitably get bored and go back to playing with each other. As we got older and turned into teenagers, she turned to us for musical suggestions that would appeal to the younger demographic. We no longer attended very often, but I clearly remember feeling very proud that my old (to me) mother was still at the front of the room leading those classes!
I love the sense of community at the MNjcc. You feel as though you belong there the moment you walk in the door. No matter what your background is, the MNjcc makes you feel welcomed and a part of the family. The friendly staff lead to this immense feeling of inclusiveness, and the excellent programming is just the icing on the cake!
When I think of the MNjcc I think, “family.”
From 2013 to 2018 I worked at the JCC in the after-school program, various children’s camps and athletic programs, the daycare, preschool, and the indoor jungle gym. I regularly saw families use the JCC as a safe place to meet, learn, and play. During my time there, I saw it as a space for a larger kind of family - a diverse community of coworkers, friends, staff, clients, and passersby.
For me, the JCC is the space where my literal family began. There, I met my wife, who is the love of my life. We recently married and started a little family of our own. Our son's name is Miles.
I remember coming down to the Miles Nadal JCC with Ephram.
I couldn't wait to get there to show him the bouncy castle, gym and be with all the other kids, and parents.
When we got there, he burst out of my arms and ran into the bouncy castle. He also had a great time on the gymnastics equipment and more. The smile on his face, and him laughing made me so happy and warm. It was his first time and mine, for my younger son, and I enjoyed every minute of it!
--Michelle Winter Fleishman
MICHELLE WINTER FLEISHMAN
I was first introduced to the MNjcc through a job opportunity with Stella's Place. I was hired as a Peer Support worker to help run a program that Stella's and the J coordinated together. This program was called "OnTrack" and it focused on building a community through fitness classes with young adults who identified as having mental health challenges.
I was nervous; I had never worked with young adults in a mental health setting before and I did not know how this was going to pan out. Luckily for me I was supported by an amazing team of employees at the MNjcc. Every single person I encountered met me with a warm smile and a welcoming manner. I felt safe, comfortable, and able to contribute to an amazing community initiative. No one judged me for disclosing that I too had a mental health diagnosis, and everyone helped me work towards the (sometimes steep) learning curve of creating a safe space for the participants of the program. There were bumps along the road but overall I would say the OnTrack program was a huge success. I measure success by the relationships and memories that are fostered through a program; the participants and I had many wonderful classes and we learned to connect with each other in the often scary journey that having a label of mental "illness" brings. I will never forget the formative times at the J and am so happy to have connected with the community of support this centre created. Thank you!
Just a short note to say thank-you. Previous to this lockdown my limited involvement with Miles Nadal JCC was sitting at The Second Cup waiting to pick-up a grandchild from Paul Penna [DJDS]. I always enjoyed sitting and waiting because of the wonderful atmosphere, the diversity of people young, old, various ethnic groups, homeless people taking refuge from the elements (and being treated with dignity and respect) a true reflection of the surrounding community.
I did take one Opera Course which was amazing. Since the lockdown, I am an On Demand subscriber and partake in yoga, Pilates etc, book [club], numerous presentations and courses. I cannot express my gratitude for the quality and variety of programming. They are scheduled into my day and have truly made a difference to me.
In a strange way, I feel very connected to the JCC and when all this is over I hope to meet the instructors and leaders in person and become an active member of the JCC.
I cannot even imagine how challenging this time has been for you and the JCC staff however be assured you are all doing a wonderful job and it is appreciated