JCC, LifeBridge expand partnership to support Orthodox community

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Sherri Zaslow
Sherri Zaslow will be the LifeBridge community wellness coordinator based out of the Weinberg Park Heights JCC. (Courtesy of LifeBridge)

By Lisa Woolfson

The JCC of Greater Baltimore and LifeBridge Health are expanding their partnership at the Weinberg Park Heights JCC to support the area’s growing Orthodox community.


A key part of this expanded partnership will include the establishment of a new position, a LifeBridge community wellness coordinator, who will be based out of the Park Heights JCC. The position will be held by Sherri Zaslow, who will act as a liaison between the Park Heights JCC and LifeBridge. In this role, Zaslow will coordinate wellness and health programs and serve as a resource for members seeking further health information. Her office space will be adjacent to the Sinai Health and Wellness Suite, a new room dedicated to wellness educational programming.

Zaslow lives in Pikesville and is a new member of Beit Yaakov.

“We have a lot of really wonderful things planned that we’re really looking forward to,” Zaslow said.

Barak Hermann, the CEO of the JCC of Greater Baltimore, said the partnership allows the JCC to offer more services and programming to the community.

“We felt it was imperative that we provide health education and not just be a place where people exercise but proactively learn about ways to take care of their health,” said Hermann, who attends Baltimore Hebrew Congregation and Bolton Street Synagogue.

To determine what the partnership should focus on, staff consulted with rabbis, took surveys and spoke with Orthodox community members. They found a need for more guidance when it came to women’s health, nutrition education and chronic disease management.

To address this, the expanded partnership will include several new fitness classes at a new workout facility specifically designed for women’s needs. There will also be lactation support, free screenings during pregnancy and neonatal and infant classes. Nutrition classes and live and prerecorded cooking demonstrations will also be provided and will cover how to cook healthy kosher meals for large families in a short amount of time.

LifeBridge will also install an electronic heart monitor kiosk at the Park Heights JCC. LifeBridge health care providers will present either at the JCC or virtually on disease management on topics such as diabetes, hypertension and heart failure. Additionally, a LifeBridge liaison at the JCC will be able to direct community members to an Orthodox cardiologist if needed.

Brian Deffaa, LifeBridge Health chief marketing officer, said several LifeBridge team members involved are Orthodox community members themselves.

The partnership is “a wonderful opportunity to take our health care out of the four walls of a hospital and put it to where people are really maintaining their health,” Deffaa said.

Sinai Hospital, LifeBridge’s flagship location located near the Park Heights JCC, will have a part in the partnership, by having nutritionists, clinicians and experts participate in classes either in person or virtually. Employees at Sinai Hospital are particularly experienced in working with the Orthodox community.

“We have a variety of accommodations at Sinai Hospital in particular that cater to the needs and the beliefs of the Orthodox community, from kosher meals to Sabbath accommodations on elevators,” Deffaa said. “We have lots of ability to accommodate the Orthodox community both inside and outside of our facilities.”

Lisa Woolfson is a freelance writer.

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