Beginning on January 9, 2016 the JCC Fitness, Tennis and Aquatics facilities will be open on Saturday mornings at 7:00 AM.

How was this decision reached?
A year ago, Scott Reisch, Chair of the JCC Board of Directors, appointed a Task Force to address questions related to Jewish programs and policies at the JCC. Rabbi Bernard Gerson, Rabbi of Congregation Rodef Shalom and past JCC board member, and Rich Cohn, a current JCC board member, chaired the Task Force. Members of the Task Force included local rabbis and lay leaders who represent a wide range of Jewish practice.

Several months ago, the Task Force began to discuss Shabbat policies and practices, which included consideration of extending Saturday hours in the Fitness Center (as well as the JCC aquatics programs and tennis center), which currently are closed on Saturdays until 1 pm. The Task Force met regularly between January and December. Discussions in the meetings represented a variety of opinions and were characterized by very respectful and open conversation.

Members of the Task Force examined data from other JCCs, opinions of JCC and community members, including the Rocky Mountain Rabbinical Council, issues of customer satisfaction and financial sustainability, the implication of opening on Shabbat morning in the context of the Jewish mission of the JCC, and related topics. The idea of individual choice, an important feature of the general philosophy of the JCC, was one of the key factors in the final consensus decision of the Task Force.

On December 8th, the Task Force made a recommendation to the JCC Board of Directors that the Fitness, Tennis and Aquatics facilities be open on Saturday mornings. The Task Force also recommended that limited program spaces at the JCC be made available to local Jewish agencies and synagogues for Shabbat programming to enhance the communal awareness of their organization and observance of Shabbat. After a thoughtful discussion, the Board of Directors approved the recommendation.

As a result of the Board’s action, the JCC Fitness Center (including aquatics and tennis) will be open from 7:00 am to 7:00 pm on Saturdays beginning January 9th for those members who choose to utilize JCC fitness facilities. The other areas and program spaces of the JCC not related to fitness will not be open on Shabbat, except as offered to Jewish agencies and synagogues for Shabbat programming.

For more information or questions on this topic, please contact Debbie Goodman, director of Jewish Life and Learning at the JCC at dgoodman@jccdenver.org.