The Surhoff’s JCC Denver Story 

Written by Shlomit Ovadia of JCC Denver

Molly and Austin Surhoff moved to Colorado three years ago looking for a way to get assimilated into Denver culture. Yet, they ended up finding much more at JCC Denver—fitness, friendship, Jewish community, and a home away from home.  

“When my landlord told us about a nearby JCC, I thought it was a good way for us to get involved and meet people, since I grew up going to the JCC in Baltimore. We joined a few months after moving here and it’s been great,” Molly shares. 

After getting pregnant with their first daughter, Molly and her husband signed up for Jewish Baby University’s (JBU) month-long educational program, which prepares expecting parents for all aspects of pregnancy, from birth to raising children.  

 “Jewish Baby University wasn’t one of those basic parenting or labor classes, but also covered post-partum and what life with a child is actually like” she explains. 

“It was cool for [my husband] to learn all these parts of Jewish culture like baby naming and have a better understanding,” of their interfaith marriage. Through JBU, Molly and Austin met other interfaith couples as well as families from a variety of different Jewish observance levels. “It was a good mixture.” 

“There was a lot about the family unit which provided an even deeper look into parenthood and what traditions we might want to instill in our child, things that my husband and I hadn’t even talked about before, but this class encouraged us to.” 

As a mom, Molly now enjoys being a regular at JCC’s Baby Café, a weekly supportive meetup group for new parents to bring their babies to. 

“It’s a nice way to not feel so alone with a newborn especially with your first baby, when there are lots of unknowns and ‘is this normal,’ or ‘is my baby right on track’ kind of questions? Baby Café is not only good socialization for infants but for parents as well,” of the shared experience for parents. 

Baby Café brings in a rotation of speakers like sleeping and lactation consultants, which Molly admits “gave really helpful solutions that were a gamechanger for my newborn.” 

The Surhoff’s have also been staying active through the JCC Fitness and Aquatics Center. Molly is a regular at Stacey Young’s spin classes Tuesdays and Thursdays as well as Molly Harris’ Body Pump class on Mondays and Wednesdays.  

“Every class is different. It’s not just the same routine but gets switched up which is nice. Usually, a lot of the same people go so you get to know everyone’s faces and names.” 

Meanwhile, husband Austin opts for JCC’s pickup basketball on Tuesday nights and Sunday mornings. 

“He’s met some really nice people and made good friends. He’s not Jewish and never went to a JCC before moving here, so he was pretty surprised to learn how inclusive it was,” she divulges.  

Recently, the couple was looking to purchase their first home. “We made it a priority to be able to keep our JCC membership,” the couple tells me. When considering houses a bit farther away, Molly recalls her husband saying, “as long as we can still drive to the J!” 

JCC Denver is proud to offer a host of activities, programming, education, events, and culture for all ages and stages of life, framed by timeless Jewish values. Stop by today and learn what other ways you can get involved and try something new! Between art classes, comedy shows, live music, sports, and cultural events, there is no shortage of fun and growth to be had at the J.