Resurrected Westside JCC gets a major facelift


The Westside Jewish Community Center (JCC) has announced plans for an Oct. 29 groundbreaking on its Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Aquatic Center, a $4 million renovation of the center’s pools and related areas. Four-time Olympic gold medalist Lenny Krayzelburg, who operates a swim school at the facility, will join community leaders, government officials and representatives of Lehrer Architects, the project’s designers, at the 3:30 p.m. event.

The aquatic renovation, scheduled to be completed by May 1, 2009, will honor the midcentury facility’s original design, which Los Angeles architect Michael Lehrer calls a “quintessential optimistic Southern California building that basks in sunshine and fresh air.”

The announcement is particularly welcome news to patrons and supporters of the JCC, who have been concerned about the center’s viability since a financial crisis threatened Los Angeles’ JCC system seven years ago. In recent years, the facility’s operators have implemented a new business model, which helped revive programs, increase membership and raise $8 million toward its larger goal — a $20 million master plan to extensively upgrade the complex.

A crisis among many of the local JCCs came to light in 2001, when a $2 million budget shortfall led the Jewish Community Centers of Greater Los Angeles (JCCGLA) — the local JCCs’ parent organization — to consider closing several of its sites, including the Westside facility.

After closing the Conejo Valley JCC and Bay Cities JCC, JCCGLA initially kept the remaining centers open but drastically slashed operating budgets. Centers were forced to cut services and programs, lay off staff and, in the case of Westside JCC, shutter part of its facility.

Regrouping at the Westside JCC began within a year, according to Michael Kaminsky, president of its board. By September 2002, nursery school enrollment was increasing and some senior programs were reinstated. The center also instituted new fundraising avenues, such as its Celebrity Staged Play Reading series.

“The key for us in rebuilding the center was, and is, to put on programs of excellence,” Kaminsky said. “But we had to do so in a financially responsible way…. We couldn’t expand programming unless we were assured that it would pay for itself and generate additional revenue for the center,” he added.

So Westside JCC began partnering with outside organizations to bring in “high- quality, successful programs that fit with our mission,” Kaminsky said.

First, Krayzelburg — who swam at the center after emigrating from Ukraine with his family as a teen — opened his swim school there in 2005. He contributed $115,000 of the $250,000 needed to refurbish and reopen the pool. And while he operates the Lenny Krayzelburg Swim School — hiring staff, handling admissions, paying operating costs — he pays Westside JCC a fixed percentage of the school’s gross revenue.

“The program was so successful, programmatically and financially, that we decided to use it as a basis for other programs,” Kaminsky said.

Westside JCC has entered into similar partnerships with the Los Angeles School of Gymnastics, Segev and Sara’s Super Duper Arts Camp and the Gilbert Table Tennis Center.

The center has operated “quasi-independently” since 2003, became an independent nonprofit in 2005 and has run in the black every quarter since summer 2003, Kaminsky said. Funding from The Federation currently comprises about 9 percent of the center’s annual budget. In addition, an annual fundraising campaign regularly seeks grants from individuals and foundations for ongoing programs and this year is expected to raise approximately $250,000. On Sept. 18, the Jewish Community Centers Development Corporation (successor to JCCGLA) pledged $1 million to the capital campaign, bringing the total earmarked for the aquatic center to $3.3 million.

Facility usage has also risen from 7,700 monthly visits in 2005 to more than 12,000 in the first half of 2008. As many as 1,200 children take swim lessons each week, and another 200 people of all ages participate in lap swim, family swim or aqua-fit programs. While the increased traffic is exactly what the center’s operators hoped for, it has taken a toll on the aging facility.

Architect Lehrer said he believes “the building’s bones from the original design are fantastic,” so his goal has been to revive “the building’s original intention.”

His plan will restore original features that have been altered over the years (opening up patios that became offices, for example) and amplify the spacious, light-filled original architecture.

In the aquatic center, Lehrer’s design will open three of the four major walls. “Along the south wall, there will be 20-foot-high garage doors, which most days will be open to the out-of-doors; it will be more like an indoor-outdoor pool,” Lehrer said. The cross-ventilation and natural air, along with a natural salt purification and filtration system that uses less chlorine and fewer chemicals, will also make the facility greener, he added.

Kaminsky is optimistic that the center’s long-range goals can be met. The second of three planned phases will upgrade and renovate the main Olympic Boulevard building, and is estimated to cost between $8 million and $10 million.

“Basically, we’ve raised enough for phase one without borrowing any money … and we’re looking at coming out of phase one with over $4 million for the remaining work,” he said.

For Lehrer, the main challenge has been “to take limited resources and to do something of consequence, something catalytic and transformative” for an iconic piece of L.A. Jewish history.

“Westside JCC is central to the Jewish community — it’s emblematic of the community’s re-engagement in the heart of the city … in an area that is deliciously diverse, a real city,” he said.

And, Lehrer added, after more than 50 years of being “nearly loved to death,” the renovation will finally “allow the facility to sing again, in its fullest glory, and to make its contribution back to the city at large.”

VIDEO: Heeb Olympics 2008 — Gefilte Fish Wrestling




Four modern-day gladiators do battle for the gold (a lifetime supply of Gold’s mustard) in the Heeb Olympics. For more information, check out www.heebmagazine.com.

Jason Lezak earns first individual medal


BEIJING (JTA)—Jewish Olympic swimmer Jason Lezak followed up his relay heroics with a bronze medal in the 100-meter men’s freestyle.

Lezak, whose late dash in the 4 x 100-meter men’s freestyle relay propelled the U.S. team to the gold medal and a world record, finished in a time of 47.67 seconds Wednesday at the Water Cube in Beijing. He trailed Alain Bernard of France at 47.21 seconds and Australian Eamon Sullivan at 47.32.

For Lezak, at 32 the oldest male swimmer to ever qualify for an Olympic team, it was his first individual medal in his third Olympic Games. He had won five relay medals, including three gold.

“That’s what’s been driving me the last four years since Athens,” Lezak said when asked how it feels to earn his first individual medal.  “It definitely feels good.”

Lezak, of Irvine, Calif., had overtaken Bernard in Monday’s 4 x 100 freestyle relay. Bernard and Sullivan had exchanged the world record in the semifinals.

Irvine’s Jason Lezak anchors 400-meter relay swim team for the gold


“I can’t even explain it, it was unreal. I’ve been a part of the two teams at the last two Olympics that came out behind, and I think I wanted it more than anybody, not just for myself, but to show that we are the nation to be beat in that relay, ” Jason Lezak told the Los Angeles Times

Lezak swam the final lap for the 400-meter team (including Michael Phelps), which won another gold for the U.S. That makes three Jewish medallists to date; Americans swimmer Dara Torres, swimming relay, and Sada Jacobson, fencing, have both earned silver.

Lezak, born in Irvine, has four Olympic medals. He was on a gold-medal-winning medley relay team, and won gold as a member of the medley relay team in Sydney.

He also has a silver medal from swimming on the 4×100 freestyle relay in Sydney and a bronze in the same event from Athens.

Lezak and another Jewish swimmer, Garrett Weber-Gale, comprised half the U.S. squad with Michael Phelps and Cullen Jones. The Americans finished Monday’s race in 3:08.24, erasing the world mark by about 4 seconds.

Lezak swam 46.06 seconds in managing to overtake world record-holder Alain Bernard of France. Lezak, who picked up his third career gold medal, trailed by nearly a second heading into the final lap. His time would have beaten his American record in the 100 freestyle.

Weber-Gale followed Phelps’ opening leg with a time of 47.02.

The U.S. team had beaten the world mark in the qualifying round with a team that did not include Lezak or Phelps but did have Ben Wildman-Tobriner, another Jewish swimmer.

Phelps has now earned two gold medals in his bid to win eight and break the mark of seven set by Mark Spitz, also a Jewish swimmer, in the 1972 Games in Munich.

Swimmer Jaben kicked off Israel’s Olympic team


The only U.S.-born Jew on Israel’s Olympic team has been kicked off after failing two drug tests.

Swimmer Max Jaben, 22, who was slated to compete in the 200- and 400-meter freestyle events in Beijing, tested positive for the anabolic steroid boldenone in separate tests.

Jaben, a native of suburban Kansas City who made aliyah last summer, denies ever taking the drug.

“I’m extremely upset,” he said after his second test came back positive. “I cannot believe that this happened. There has obviously been a mistake somewhere.”

—Jewish Telegraphic Agency

Trio of films offers eclectic choices: sea, spies, punk


“The Guardian”

Raised in a secular Jewish family in Chicago, “The Guardian” director Andrew Davis learned early the values and ethics he continues to believe in.

“My parents taught me war is not a good thing, so do everything you can to not go to war,” he says during a telephone interview. “And it’d be great if the armies of the world could help people and not hurt people.”

“The Guardian,” which opens on Sept. 29, is about the U.S. Coast Guard’s rescue swimmers, of whom there are only about 300 because of the rigorous training and the dangers of the job. Written by Ron L. Brinkerhoff, the film stars Kevin Costner as a heroic but aging swimmer based at Alaska’s Kodiak Island. Assigned to training school, he struggles to teach a brash, possibly reckless young recruit played by Ashton Kutcher.

“At this stage of my life or career, I didn’t want to make a film about how wonderful it is to kill somebody,” says Davis, primarily known for action films, including “Collateral Damage” (2002). “There are no bad people in this movie. Nature and the forces of weather motivate the heroism.

“I’ve done movies about cops and about soldiers, where violence is part of the tension and the entertainment. My most successful movie is ‘The Fugitive,’ which starts off with a woman being killed because her husband was not cooperating in drug protocol. That’s a very dark environment. So I was glad to make a movie where violence is not a part of it.”

Davis’ first work on a feature film was as assistant cameraman on Haskell Wexler’s groundbreaking “Medium Cool,” a political drama shot during Chicago’s 1968 Democratic Convention. His directorial debut was 1978’s “Stoney Island,” based on his brother’s experiences growing up white in Chicago’s racially changing South Side. Davis also directed “A Perfect Murder,” “Under Siege” and “Holes.”

Preparations were under way to shoot “The Guardian” in New Orleans, when Hurricane Katrina hit last year. The crew evacuated to Shreveport, La., amid the chaos.

“We were six weeks away from shooting,” Davis says. “When we arrived at Shreveport, there were 1,000 evacuees at the university gymnasium. So we were in the midst of an evacuation and trying to keep our movie alive. We hired about 200 people all told who had been affected by the storm — cast and crew.”

The Coast Guard, itself, which is part of the Department of Homeland Security, was called into action to help those stranded after Katrina. By all accounts, it performed outstandingly — the Coast Guard’s Leadership News cited 24,135 lives saved by its personnel.Katrina inspired Davis: “I thought it was more important than ever to make this film and really point out what these guys do.”

“We felt the best thing we could do was maybe try to bring more light on these guys, so hopefully the government will fund them better, and there’ll be more of them, and they’ll get better facilities to train in,” Davis says. “It’s an element of the military I do support.”

— Steven Rosen, Contributing Writer

“American Hardcore: A Tribal History”

What would you do if the frustration in your life manifested itself in worries about civil liberties and a lack of freedom of speech, and you felt a combination of repression and depression about the policies and practices of the current political administration? You might be upset enough to write your local government representative or you just might be angry enough to write a punk song.

Steven Blush, author, promoter and now scriptwriter compiled the quotations of around 60 of the most notable American-born hardcore bands in “American Hardcore: A Tribal History.” In the book, Blush documents the history of the more hard-edged, second-generation of punk rock.Following up on the book’s success, Blush has written and produced a documentary using the same format. The fragmented and frustrated feelings that inspired this music are all too familiar to Blush, from his beginnings as a nice Jewish boy to his sub-culturally-inspired adulthood.

Growing up in the Lower East Side of Manhattan, Blush is the son of a typical Jewish family. His parents made sure he was always cared for; he became bar mitzvah and on the cusp of adulthood, they sent him to George Washington University to get a law degree.

One night while in college, Blush went out to a club and became fascinated by something that would change his life — a band called Black Flag. The group was one of a handful of emerging sub-cultural bands made up of and being followed by a bunch of frustrated and wistful kids with backgrounds similar to Blush’s.

Blush remembers, “I had liked groups like the Sex Pistols; they were pure rock ‘n’ roll out of England, known for being rebellious. Although I loved the music, I had trouble identifying with the scene completely, because most of the people who followed them were either artists, bisexual or heavily into drugs. It really wasn’t me; I was just a suburban kid who played basketball.”

But after he witnessed the slam dancing — the raw and often violent tendencies of what was to become standard behavior at hardcore shows — Blush found his calling. He quickly made friends with everyone in the scene by being the first DJ on the East Coast to play the bands on college radio and by letting touring bands stay on his couch when in town. Blush’s life finally had a deeper meaning for him.

He recalls, “My mom tried to give me the best education and surroundings, whatever our resources were, but I never connected to it and never agreed to it. I didn’t feel part of the thing. The values in my high school were materialistic, they weren’t into the big picture, like politics and free speech. When American hardcore music happened, it was like a perfect storm, it took me over.”

Blush was certainly not the only frustrated kid willing to submit allegiance to the hardcore music scene. From 1980 to 1985, the American hardcore subculture rallied support for its cause against yuppies, conservatism, drugs and most especially, the Regan administration.Blush adds, “It turns out I have been shaped by two ethical codes, one from my Jewish heritage, which I learned from my family, and one from being a part of this music scene. Writing the book and doing the movie is studying my life’s path.”

Within Us


Once upon a time, as God created the world, He decided to make beings in His image. As he generated his own reflection in man and woman, the angels got word of the
project, and were consumed with jealousy.

 
“How unfair!” they cried. “Those humans will have it all. They get to experience life on earth with all the perks: laughter, tears, ice cream, wasabi, softness, scratchiness. And as if that ‘being alive’ stuff weren’t blessing enough, they get immortality as well!” (If God is eternal, so, too, would be anything made in God’s image.)

 
The angels were furious; no being should merit both ice cream and infinity. If heavenly beings were denied earthly experiences, why allow humans celestial ones?

 
So, they plotted against the humans. They decided to hide immortality from them, and assembled to determine how it could be done. One angel suggested, “Let’s hide it far up in the mountains; I hear humans don’t like to shvitz much.
They’ll never climb that high.”

 
Another disagreed: “That won’t work. Those granola hippie Jews God put on the West Coast will surely hike to the top of the mountains and discover it. Better we hide eternality far out in the sea. Most folks won’t go farther than a cruise ship will take them.”

 
Again, others dissented. They realized that any God-like being would eventually access the heights of heaven and the depths of the ocean.

 
Finally, a wise old angel made a brilliant suggestion: “Let us hide the infinite between and within the humans. That will be the last place on earth they would think to look for it.”

 
And so it was.

 
Parashat Nitzavim illustrates the result of the angels’ prank. They succeeded in ensuring that the last place we look for God is right in front of us. The text beseeches the people to take a stand “this day” in testament that the “only God is Eternal,” but acknowledges that we have no idea how to affirm that truth. It speaks to our ignorance of accessing the Infinite, and tries to remedy our delusion. We need not struggle to reach the Divine.

 
Lo bashamiyim hi.

 
“No, it is not in heaven,” God explains. “It is very near to you.”

 
Contact with the Eternal is between us and within us.

 
The parsha speaks to our fantasy that we must search far and suffer long to retrieve this blessing. Were it not, the wording would be different. God would simply state: “Hey guys, check out this groovy commandment I’ve placed right in front of you.”

 
Instead, He addresses our misconception that good things are hard to come by. He elaborates: “[It is not] beyond the sea that you should say: ‘Who will cross the sea for us and bring it over to us that we may do it.”

 
In other words: “No need for drama, difficulty or complication; you don’t need a personal assistant to get this for you. Just open your eyes and see: infinite life is right here, within you.”

 
But we remain blind, instead assuming that if something good happens easily, it is suspicious. We spit three times, even knock on wood, or mumble a “God forbid.” We prepare for disappointment, assume a mistake, because in our estimation no blessing comes effortlessly. Life is hard. Good fortune takes work. Right?

 
Not according to the text.

 
Lo bashamyim hi.

 
Our divine legacy is found within us and between us: “See, I have set before you this day life and blessing or death and curse. Choose life.”

 
Easy. Stick with God for an endlessly good time. You’ll receive immortal prosperity through generations that will flow through you, always have what you need, and live a life of endless possibility.

 
Still, we continue cursing ourselves with dissident struggles — idolizing dramas of the difficult and inaccessible rather than recognizing the abundance we have now. The angels shake their heads as we look everywhere for our hats except our heads, running away from God while He waits within us; She is right here between us.

 
We need only see that the trees surrounding us don’t struggle to grow, they just grow; fish don’t try to swim, they just swim. It is their nature. And it is our nature to exist eternally in God’s image.

 
The angels are tired of laughing at us. They forgive us our good fortune and seek to help us remember. We stand this day, testaments of the infinite Divine presence. There’s nowhere else to look, no place else to be, nothing else as perpetually filled with blessing. We need only accept this present of a moment, this gift of being human.

 
We can stand here and now, present to all the feelings that the angels so covet, in eternal gratitude for having them. We can “Choose life, therefore that [we and our] descendents may live – by loving [our] God; listening to God’s voice.”

 
By adoring our experience, by hearing His voice in one another’s words. We choose life and death: by dying to our attachment to what was and will be.

 
By surrendering to this moment as being nothing but what it is, by appreciating the blessing of our curses. We choose it all, for it is revealed to us as One and the same present from our creator. Eternally within and between us, and we don’t have to shvitz or swim to get it.

 
Rabbi Karen Deitsch will be teaching at the University of Judaism’s continuing education program this fall. You can reach her at karendeitsch@yahoo.com.

New Punims in Sports Hall of Fame


Freestyle swim champion Jason Lezak of Irvine and fellow Californian, hot rodder Kenny Bernstein, have been elected to the International Jewish Sports Hall of Fame for 2006.

In all, four Americans, one British Australian and one Brazilian are among the chosen athletes, with a New York sports writer rounding out the seven inductees.

Youngest of the group is Lezak, who won four medals, including two gold, in the 2000 and 2004 Olympic Games. He is the world-record holder in the 50- and 100-meter freestyle.

Bernstein of Forest City is the six-time National Hot Rod Association champion and in 1972 became the first driver-owner to break drag racing’s 300-mph barrier.

Tenpin bowling champ Marshall Holman of Medford, Ore., is the winner of 22 major Professional Bowlers Association championships and the first bowler to top $1.5 million in career earnings.

The only woman in the group, Adriana Behar of Rio de Janeiro, is Brazil’s beach volleyball star. She and her partner won silver medals in the 2000 and 2004 Olympics and ranked as the world’s number one team in 2000, 2001 and 2004.

Two great champions of the past, Al Singer and Albert Rosenfeld, were also elected.

Singer of New York won the world lightweight boxing crown in 1930 with a first-round knockout of reigning champ Sammy Mandell. Singer, who died in 1961, won 61 of his 72 pro fights, 25 by KO.

Rugby legend Rosenfeld started his playing career (1909-24) in his native Australia, but won the bulk of his laurels with England’s Huddersfield Club. His record of 80 tries scored in a single season remains unbroken and he was an original member of the Rugby League Hall of Fame. He died in 1970.

The seventh inductee is Ira Berkow, New York Times sports feature writer and columnist for the past 24 years. He won the Pulitzer Prize for his series “How Race Is Lived in America: The Minority Quarterback,” and also wrote biographies of Hank Greenberg, Casey Stengel, Bill Bradley and others.

The International Jewish Sports Hall of Fame Museum is located on the campus of the Wingate Institute for Physical Education and Sport in Netanya, Israel. Since 1979, it has inducted 315 athletes and sportspersons representing 24 countries.

 

Krayzelburg Dives In to Save JCC’s Pool


Ely Pouget had a solid reason for trekking down last week from her home in the Hollywood Hills to the Westside Jewish Community Center (JCC) on Olympic Boulevard. She wanted her twin daughters to take swimming lessons with Olympic gold medalist Lenny Krayzelburg.

So far, so good — both for Krayzelburg’s new swim school and the community center pool that he paid $115,000 to refurbish.

All told, more than 50 children showed up for the first two days of student evaluations. And why not — with both a great pool and a great champion starring as the twin attractions?

Krayzelburg already was a local hero, having trained at the Westside JCC before winning four gold medals. But now he’s gone a step further, making sure that his old pool can serve generations of future swimmers.

“This is for the kids,” said Krayzelburg, 29. “I always had a dream that maybe I could have some kind of impact on the swim program at the center.”

His own dreams came to fruition at the center, after Krayzelburg immigrated to the United States from Ukraine with his family in 1989. Despite his broken English and newness to the country, he said JCC members quickly took him under wing and made him feel like he had found “a second home.” a

A swimming sensation in Ukraine, Krayzelburg joined the center’s swim team for a couple of years, before becoming a lifeguard there.

His swimming prowess later took him to USC and the Sydney and Athens Olympic Games.

Along the way, the handsome, hulking athlete with piercing eyes became a pitchman for Speedo, Pfizer and Kellogg, among other companies. People Magazine named him one of the 50 most beautiful people in the world in 2000.

But Krayzelburg never forgot the Westside JCC, which is located in midcity, near the heavily Jewish Fairfax District. He vowed that one day he would give something back. And that gift turned out to be the pool itself. His donation funded an overhaul of the plumbing, filtration and heating systems.

Krayzelburg has no idea just how big his impact is, said Brian Greene, Westside JCC’s executive director. The pool had been closed for three years, so Krayzelburg’s donation and his decision to open his swim school at the JCC will do more than offer the prospect of top-flight lessons. The pool’s re-opening also will burnish the Westside JCC’s reputation, Greene added.

“This is the pool the Jewish community’s been waiting for,” Greene exclaimed.

The pool’s overhaul represents the “next piece in the puzzle” in the center’s revival, after its near demise in 2002, Westside President Michael Kaminsky said.

The spruced-up pool smells of fresh, strong chlorine. Freshly painted numbers mark the pool’s varied depths, up to 10 feet.

The grand opening — along with open swimming — is several weeks away. However, the swim school began last week. Parents even stopped by with 3-month-old babies to inquire about lessons.

Pouget’s 5-year-old fraternal twin girls happily splashed about the shallow side pool while getting a swimming evaluation. Rock, a swim school instructor, was impressed enough to high-five both girls.

Another instructor, Molly Martin, a 26-year-old Colorado transplant, said she was surprised to find that despite being next to an ocean, Los Angeles has a relative dearth of public or community swimming pools.

The Westside JCC pool had fallen victim to age, general disrepair and the woes of a financially struggling organization that could not address the problems.

During the hard times, several Southland Jewish community centers closed, including the Bay Cities JCC and the JCC in Conejo Valley. The Westside JCC cut its staff by 50 percent and closed its health and fitness center, including the pool, Kaminsky recounted.

Eventually, the Westside JCC righted its finances, and now, Kaminsky said, the center is in expansion mode, having recently re-opened some classrooms to accommodate demand for its preschool and kindergarten programs, while also bulking up other offerings. At the Westside JCC’s 50th anniversary party in December, hundreds of supporters, including Krayzelburg, turned out to honor the past and celebrate the future.

More importantly, the center has raised nearly half the $14 million needed for an ambitious renovation. In June, the center learned that the city Planning Commission had approved its construction plans.

Nobody is happier about the center’s improving fortunes than Krayzelburg, who used to train at the JCC four to five times a week.

Krayzelburg grew up in Odessa. His accountant mother and coffee shop manager father earned enough to provide a comfortable, middle-class existence. However, anti-Semitism was a source of much pain for young Krayzelburg, who was taunted because of his Jewish last name.

“It wasn’t pleasant,” he said. “It hurt. I got into a couple fights because of it.”

Coming to the United States, Krayzelburg experienced a sense of belonging at the Westside JCC.

Years later, after becoming a U.S. swim sensation, he would reminisce about his time there, and how JCC members had given him support and acceptance at a time when he needed it.

After winning his first three gold medals at the Sydney Olympics in 2000, Krayzelburg said center members, including young children, surprised him by throwing a party in his honor. They feted him like a hero, even though he hadn’t returned in more than eight years. Krayzelburg said their outpouring touched him, and that he could hardly believe they remembered him.

His connection to the Westside JCC re-established, he held a five-day swim camp there the following year. And one day, he decided, he would pursue a joint venture with the center. But what? Among the ideas Krayzelburg considered and discarded was a wellness center, using the pool for rehabilitative work.

Krayzelburg thinks now is the right time for a swim school — both professionally and in his own life. He hopes his name will attract customers to the Westside pool, where staff members trained by him will offer lessons to infants on up. He’s starting a second location at the JCC in West Hills.

Personally, Krayzelburg is going through several transitions. He may soon be leaving behind competitive swimming, and he’s about to enter parenthood, with his wife expecting twins.

Krayzelburg said he’s glad to mentor young Jews who look up to him and feel proud of their heritage.

“To me, it’s special being Jewish,” he said. “There’s a unique culture, a unique religion. There are so very few of us around the world.”


Where to Get Wet

The New Jewish Community Center at Milken, 22622 Vanowen St., West Hills. Indoor Olympic-sized swimming pool available after 4 p.m. weekdays for swimming, swimming lessons, “aquarobics” and swim-team events. For more information, call the fitness department: (818) 464-3311 or visit www.jccatmilken.org.

The Westside Jewish Community Center, 5870 W. Olympic Boulevard, Los Angeles. Refurbished indoor Olympic-sized swimming pool offers swim instruction through Lenny Krayzelburg Swim School. For information, call (323) 525-0323 or visit www.westsidejcc.org. — DF

 

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