This Month’s Inspiring Story
ROWING MERRILY FOR HEALTH & WELLNESS
At 91 years old, Shulamith (Shelly) Weisman, considers herself lucky to be able to walk and get around independently. But when chatting with Shelly, it becomes clear that luck plays a minimal part. Most of the credit goes to her hard work and commitment to health and wellness.
“I’ve reached an age when many people expect to lose independence, but I haven’t experienced that,” Shelly reflects. “Physically, emotionally, mentally, socially – working out at the gym is of great benefit in every way. It’s extremely enriching.”
A Rutgers University graduate, the Toms River, New Jersey native enjoyed a long career at the Hebrew Home of Greater Washington. Shelly’s first responsibility was to plan for the Hebrew Home’s move from Washington, DC to the Rockville campus in 1968, and helping the residents to adapt and thrive in the new setting. She went on to hold the positions of activity director and development director.
When Shelly retired from the Hebrew Home 23 years ago, she knew that working out consistently was what she wanted to do. And she knew that the Bender JCC was where she wanted to do it.
“Having worked at the Hebrew Home for my whole career, I felt close to the JCC,” Shelly remarks. “I was at the ceremony when the JCC’s doors opened as the facility relocated from Washington, DC to Rockville.”
Shelly recently moved to Ring House. She comes to the Bender JCC to work out three or four times a week.
“I make a beeline for the rowing machine, my favorite apparatus, when I get here!” she laughs, proud that she started at three minutes, and now does 20 minutes at maximum resistance. She then does weights to strengthen her knees, arms and back.
“Sometimes exercising can be a burden – there are other fun things that I could be doing instead – but it’s a priority,” Shelly says, adding, “It’s an investment of time for a great payoff.”
Still, Shelly has managed to carve out a little time between workouts to join a book club at Ring House. For the facility’s newsletter, “Around the Ring,” she writes a “Dear Shelly” column (a take-off on the advice columnist, Ann Landers).
Just as important as the exercise machines, asserts Shelly, is the social aspect of coming to the gym on a regular basis.
“I know everybody and they know me. We’re like a little family.”
Having dedicated her career to serving the Jewish community, Shelly now has time to focus on her own health and wellness. As she rows, Shelly can see the Hebrew Home through the JCC windows. That meaningfulness is not lost on her.