Fitness for a Blessing

JCC 5K Trail Run and 1-mi. Family Fun Walk Honors Abe Weinrib’s Memory

“Life is short. Be nice to each other,” Abram “Abe” Weinrib would say.

Just as Abe believed the secret to long life was kindness, he also placed a high value on staying active and physically fit, choosing the Jewish Community Center of Greater Columbus as his home away from home— a place for working out, socializing, and, beginning in his 70s, meeting with friends for a daily run. Abe Exercising

In his honor, the JCC will host the Abe Weinrib Memorial 5k Trail Run and 1-mile Family Fun Walk on April 26, 2015, from 2 pm until everyone crosses the finish line on the JCC’s newly created fitness and nature trail surrounding the JCC grounds.

A Holocaust survivor, Abe passed away on January 4, 2015, at the age of 102. His gentle smile and positive outlook could often be found in the Diamond Family Fitness Center where he would work out and stay fit. “He was working out until he was almost 101-years-old,” his daughter, Ruth Weinrib, explained. “He made physical fitness a priority. It was an important way to stay healthy and alert. He used to say, ‘If you sit down, you finish.’”

Abe and his family joined the JCC in 1954, shortly after moving to Columbus. His children—daughter Ruth, and twins Irene and Bruce—attended the preschool and have fond memories of Rose Schwartz, who headed the preschool when they were little. It was a big part of the family’s life then, and, upon retirement and after the passing of his wife, Anna, the JCC became an even bigger part of Abe’s life, as he became a volunteer in the Senior Meals program. “He was always trying to help people out. He loved everyone there at the JCC,” said his daughter, Irene Wexler.

Even after becoming wheelchair-bound, he continued visiting with friends at the JCC almost daily. “He lived to 102 because he worked out every day. The JCC was a huge part of his life. He was as coherent as he was because of his level of physical activity. They say that physical activity is the best way to stave off Alzheimer’s and dementia, and I think he’s solid proof of that,” Ruth added.

At the JCC, Abe’s presence is still felt—and dearly missed. “He would always say, ‘Be nice! Be nice! Be nice!,’” Irene reflected. “He would talk about the Pirkei Avot and how the only thing you could take with you was a good name. But it was more than that; ethically and morally, he just felt people should be nice. He talked about what he called, ‘hateness,’ and how it was so bad for the world. For him, the JCC represented love and kindness and where he could be surrounded by friends who were kind and good. Everyone was his friend.”

He is well-remembered by the friends he would chat with in the Men’s Health Center. Abe would often offer motivation and support to friends in the Diamond Family Fitness Center. Abe’s son, Bruce Weinrib, explained that for his father, the 5k Run/Walk fits the three areas Abe was most passionate about: education, family, and fitness. “People used to say to me, ‘If Abe could do it, then I could do it, as well.’ He provided quite a motivation for many, many people to continue working out. He understood how important that was to maintain his health,” said Bruce.

Abe’s life and legacy continue to inspire others to this day. His family hopes that people who may have never participated in a 5k run will be inspired to join in the fun, be active, and support the JCC. To help with that, as well, the JCC also created a “Couch to 5k” training program—a pre-race conditioning program for those new to running.

In addition to introducing others to the joys of running and physical fitness, The Abe Weinrib Memorial 5k Trail Run and 1-mile Family Fun Walk will introduce the community to all the outdoor space the JCC has to offer on its grounds. Proceeds from the race will fund improvements to the fitness trail and allow for other necessary improvements to the JCC’s already great facility.

The 5k Trail Run will consist of natural and paved surfaces and be a unique running experience for all skill levels. Also on natural and paved surfaces, the 1-mile Family Fun Walk will be accessible to all fitness levels and jogging strollers.

To register for The Abe Weinrib Memorial 5k Trail Run and 1-mile Family Fun Walk, visit tinyurl.com/ABEWEINRIB5K. To learn more about preparing for the race and using the JCC’s fitness trail and facilities, contact JCC Fitness Director Jason Goggins at jgoggins@columbusjcc.org or call 614-559-6237.