Judith Stubbs is a retired educational therapist who is active in the arts and in giving back to the community. A Palo Alto native, her life journey took her near and far in the world until fate brought her back home to Palo Alto, and “things began falling into place.” Read on about what the OFJCC community has meant to Judith.
Q: You’ve said the OFJCC now feels like home to you. Can you tell me a little about that journey from your first involvement with the OFJCC until now?
A: It has been a gradual, wonderful process which started about four years ago when I moved back to Palo Alto and was searching for ways to reconnect after so many years away. I knew I wanted to have a connection with the Jewish community in some way in addition to our synagogue, so the JCC was a natural fit and close by. At first I just wanted to exercise at a pleasant facility. Little did I know that, within months, my experiences at the JCC would be expanded and I would be delighted by the educational and cultural programs as well as by feeling part of a community.
Q: What was your first experience here like?
A: My first contact was the tour of the state-of-the-art gym. I had some physical challenges that required physical therapy and personal attention as I worked out, so the OFJCC was literally just what the doctor ordered! Then I saw the two beautiful pools with a lovely sundeck, (I grew up around Palo Alto pools!), topped the day off in the Nourish Café with Chef Roberto’s cauliflower soup and I was hooked!
Q: What programs are you currently part of and why?
A: Since I recently retired from educational therapy, I have enjoyed many of the adult programs: the Tuesday concerts [as part of Community Tuesdays] and [Music at Noon] speakers with lunch, the planned trips to Carmel Bach Festival and the Cliff House; the spiritual holiday celebrations of Women’s Seder; educational classes about Israel; I sang with the community choir in a performance of Broadway songs and happily recently became involved in the terrific Jewish preschool on campus as a volunteer.
Q: Why is your involvement important to you?
A: First of all, this is the first time in my life that I have been consistent with a workout program and it has made a huge difference in my balance and strength, as well as quality of life! As we age, this is vital!
Secondly, the J has helped me reconnect with the local Jewish community and my own roots. It has grounded me with a special place in the community. I have always enjoyed giving back to the community and recently joined the Chai Giving Circle, which researches and gives donations to local organizations in need. Although many of my involvements here have been Jewish-related, you certainly do not have to be Jewish to enjoy all of the wonderful programs here as many folks do!
Q: What advice do you have for others to take advantage of programs at the JCC?
A: If you want to keep your mind and body active, expand your experiences in a positive environment, come explore the many offerings here. Try something new! The “standouts” for me have been the excellent quality of each program and the welcoming connection the staff/speakers/events create, whether it’s in the gym, the classroom or in the large auditorium. A bonus: you might just find yourself connected to a new, warm community!
What’s the great piece of life advice or quotation, original or not, that you’d like to share with us?
These are all forms of positive living, by which I try to live:
“The thoughts you give attention to are the ones that grow.”
“What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson
“My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style.”