SPRINGFIELD – Three teens were honored at the recent Springfield Jewish Community Center’s annual meeting, held in May. The Paul Smith Award, which recognizes teen leadership and services provided to JCC youth programs, was received by Mallory Judson for her commitment to the children at the JCC. From working in Kids Space to volunteering for community service projects such as Adopt A Village and Rays of Hope and Out of Darkness walk-a-thons, Mallory is a favorite counselor to kids at the J. “The J has been a second home to me since I was a K Ton Ton camper,” says Mallory. Of her volunteer roles she says, “I am grateful to help those who don’t know where their next meal will come from.”
The Marcia Rosen Award recognizes outstanding abilities in the JCC Aquatics Program. This year’s recipient is Max Rubin, a member of the JCC since age six, who swam with the Cudas Swim Team for 10 years. He has mentored other swimmers and became a lifeguard as well as a swim instructor at the JCC. “Other than home and school, I spent more time in the J pool than anywhere else,” says Max. “I truly consider the JCC my home away from home.”
The Sivek Family Scholarship Award, which recognizes a college-bound senior’s leadership in sports programs, was given to Noah Hurwitz. Noah learned to play sports at the JCC, served as basketball team captain, coached Lil Dribblers, and represented Team Springfield at the JCC Maccabi Games (2010-2013). He also coached the tennis team in the first Mini Maccabi Games. “The JCC taught me to win with humility and lose with pride,” says Noah, who recalls playing in a set of JCC Maccabi Games where his team was unevenly matched with another team. “Instead of playing an unfair match, our team decided to mix the teams and play a pick-up game.”
This year, two J staff members were also recognized, Ila Shebar and Irena Luzhanskiy. Ila has been with the JCC for more than 23 years as a group exercise instructor. She teaches a 6 a.m. class to a strong following of members. “They walk in at 6 a.m. with melatonin left in their bodies and leave class feeling energized and ready for the day,” says Ila, whose children participated in the J preschool and youth programs.
Irena has been in the JCC’s accounting department for more than 20 years. She has been incredibly helpful, and has blossomed from one who integrated into American society in adult life. “I was terrified of computers and the telephone,” says Irena, who expressed her gratitude to coworkers who help her as much as she helps them.
CAP: At the Springfield JCC’s recent annual meeting, from left, Noah Hurwitz, Max Rubin, and Mallory Judson each received awards based on their leadership and volunteer efforts at the Springfield JCC.