News & Events

JCC's Continuing Education program wins prestigious award

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Mike Rothman mkrothman@tribune.com June 6, 2012

The Lore & Eric F. Ross Jewish Community Center's Academy of Continuing Education continues to astound.

The academy, which operates at 8500 Jog Road in Boynton Beach, recently received a prestigious honor, winning a JCC North America award - the Zahav Award. Only a little more than 10 percent of the programs submitted for such an honor actually win.

"It's Hebrew for gold standard," said JCC spokesman Jeff Trynz. "It is only given to programs that have a maximum impact for change and are considered visionary."

He said the academy is in its third year and gives folks an opportunity to learn in multiple areas, offering more than 100 different classes.

"We currently have more than 500 active members signed up," Trynz said. "It only continues to grow each day." He said the academy, taught by retired professors, teachers or industry experts, has more volunteers to teach than it can handle. There's a waiting list for guest lecturers to speak for free.

"Some are still active professionals in the community, like doctors, lawyers, who are looking to get new clients in trusts and financial security," Trynz said. "Then, we have art, music, politics, Jewish culture and are working on a new theater program."

He said that many of the participants are seniors looking for mental stimulation.

"Then, there are other classes, where we have panel discussions, for example, with three rabbis, including reformed, conservative and orthodox," he said. "They talk on different topics involving Israel."

Trynz said the best part of being honored by such an award is that it means the JCC will try to replicate the program at other sites. He has already been getting calls from other clubs like one in St. Louis.

He said the summer series started a few weeks back andthe next full semester begins in October.

"One of the coolest things that we had was a live broadcast of the 92nd Street Y, where you could ask questions through a laptop and their speakers could answer them," he said.

A student of the academy, Roberta Martel, has been approached to teach a course on personal shopping. She was in retail for more than 30 years.

"I just heard about it this past October," she said. "These classes just open up your mind."

She said that it's hard to meet friends as one gets older, so the classes are a great opportunity to do that. "The women gravitate into little groups and they are very nice ladies," she said. "Discussions like those on the Holocaust fill the lecture halls of about 300."

At 68, Martel said some students are even in their 80s.

"My favorite class is the current events," she said. "I also enjoy the politics. I'm not interested in the lawyers talking about giving money to grandchildren though."

During the regular semester, classes run multiple times during the day such as 12:30 and 2 p.m., and Martel can often be found at both.

"I go five days a week," she said.

Call 561-740-9000.

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