Lois Zuckerman

Travel photo journalist Lois Zuckerman (center left) shared some of her treasured tales, gifts and photos from South Africa with visitors to the community center on July 11. 

This fall, Valley of the Sun Jewish Community Center (VOCSJCC) will roll out new cultural, social and educational adult programming, including technology classes, cultural excursions and day trips. To meet the rising demand, The J has hired Cheryl Blumenthal as director of adult programs, according to chief executive officer Jay Jacobs.

Some of the new offerings include a visit from Phoenix Symphony musicians, a panel discussion about breast cancer with Arizona Center for Cancer Care physicians and a talk by local author Marcia Fine.

For the first time, The J will offer a monthly Active Culture & Learning Membership for nonmembers age 65 and over so they can participate in active adult programming at the member rate without having to purchase a full membership.

The J also offers a variety of fitness and aquatics activities for older adults, including “Fit For Life” for flexibility and strengthening exercises; chair and gentle yoga; and “Aqua Fit” water aerobics as well as personal training sessions.

In addition, The J holds PWR!Moves classes taught by certified instructors for those affected by Parkinson’s disease. The classes, open to members and nonmembers, feature exercises designed to improve functional movement, including techniques to improve mobility and balance and reduce fall risk. Participants can also take Parkinson’s boxing classes to improve stamina, speed and coordination, and Parkinson’s cycling classes to strengthen the lower body and improve motor skills.

Also new this year, The J will offer cooking classes in its recently completed state-of-the-art teaching kitchen. The classes will encompass all demographics, from children to active adult seniors, said Andrea Quen, director of development.

The J will bring in area chefs to teach the classes, some of which will be health- and wellness-related, Quen said. A survey of members revealed they wanted classes on gluten-free cooking and healthy eating on the go.

“We’re also thinking about couples classes, hands-on cooking, kids classes like Cupcake Wars and Chopped and girls’ night out. The opportunities are endless,” she said.

The community center boasts a 50,000-square-foot fitness facility with the most up-to-date cardio and weight equipment; heated competition and activity pools; basketball, volleyball and indoor soccer; racquetball and pickleball courts as well as a 2,500-square-foot splash pad. This year, The J will launch a kickball league for teens and adults.

Members and guests use the heated pool year-round for swimming lessons, lap swimming, swim clubs for all ages, water polo, fitness classes and other water activities. The center just finished eight weeks of free Sunday pool parties for members and their guests, Jacobs said.

To enhance The J’s fitness experience, the staff is developing a fitness concierge position to help members and guests register for programs, learn how to use the equipment and to answer questions.

Jacobs invites the community to visit The J and see what the center has to offer. “The J is an open and inclusive community center welcoming people of all ages, faiths and abilities. We remain committed to providing the best possible programs and services while being creative, visionary and just a little bit different.”

Valley of the Sun Jewish Community Center is located at 12701 N. Scottsdale Road, Scottsdale. For more information, visit vosjcc.org.