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Living in the Prime of Your Life at the J

People smiling

“It’s a restart,” Jewish community member Abby Schwartz said when talking about the new Mayerson JCC program, J Prime. “Now that we’ve reached another stage in life, we are finding new ways to get involved and meet new people again like we did when we first arrived 46 years ago.”

Abby and her husband David have been deeply engaged in the Jewish community ever since moving to Cincinnati. With their children and grandchildren living out of town, retirement for David, and a shift to flexible consulting for Abby, they are looking for new and engaging ways to fill their time. J Prime is a new initiative for people like the Schwartzes, and others who are aged 45 and beyond. The program is designed for people who are in the prime of their life: parents with high school or college students, new empty-nesters, individuals, or couples with or without adult children, recent retirees, and all others who are looking for active, creative, and social programming and events.

“As we evaluate what we do well at the J, we know that we have programming for people in their 20s and 30s, families, and seniors, but we don’t have as many dedicated offerings for those in between,” Programming and Engagement Professional and J Prime organizer LuLu Gordon said. “Once people’s kids are grown up and out of the house, or when people retire, there is sometimes loss of a natural opportunity for engagement and involvement. J Prime is for people to get re-engaged during a new stage of life, often when they have more free time.”

Before the program became a reality, the J hosted three focus groups to better understand the demographics and learn about programming that would be interesting for them. Each of the three groups represented different interests and age ranges. Throughout all of the groups, a clear theme emerged: wanting a sense of belonging and feeling engaged in community. Many of the participants stated that they wanted to meet new people, engage in the arts, explore the outdoors, and more.

Interestingly, several people in the focus groups said they would see flyers for JCC 20s & 30s events and wish the J offered something similar for them. They want to engage in that type of programming, but with people closer in age.

For this reason, it made sense to bring Gordon into the mix. When she was hired at the J, she only coordinated events and programming for people in their 20s & 30s, but after learning there was interest in similar programs outside that age range, she wanted to take that on. Gordon has formed a committee to learn more about what people in the community are looking for and what events they want to attend.

J Prime committee member and recent empty nester with adult children, Claire Eichner, is eager to see this new program grow.

“Speaking for myself, I am excited about the J Prime committee and program because I think that there’s a segment of the population, such as empty nesters, who are, for lack of a better phrase, too old to be young professionals, but not so old that they aren’t able to get out and do more active programming,” Eichner said.

Another committee member Linda Berger identifies with having adult children and being a recent retiree. Berger is an avid volunteer in the Cincinnati community, serving and chairing boards surrounding homelessness and food insecurity. In addition to her other community activities, she is excited to become more involved in the Jewish community.

“It will be nice to create times to see current friends and new groups of people during the week in a lighter, fun atmosphere,” Berger said.

“I’m eager to expand my circle and continue to run, play, and do,” Schwartz said.

Events are currently being planned by Gordon and the committee for this early fall and beyond. They will be listed on the Mayerson JCC website.

“We are planning to make these events diverse enough for anyone to find something that interests them,” Gordon said. “I think J Prime is just what we need for the local Jewish community – and it’ll be a lot of fun!”

Thank you to our committee members, Wendy Pelberg, Rini Levy, Linda Berger, Gil Kaufman, Scott Joseph, Abby Schwartz, and Alan and Claire Eichner.

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