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Friends Spotlight: The Ellis & Born Families

by Beth Zaleon

This month, meet the Born and Ellis families.  Wendy and Ross Born, along with their daughter and son-in-law, Lisa and Andy Ellis, and their two children, epitomize three generations of philanthropists, leaders, and active community members at the JCC. They truly embody this year’s theme of “there for you at every stage of your journey.” Wendy and Ross were also honored last month with the Association of Financial Professionals of Eastern Pennsylvania’s Lifetime Achievement Award for their work across the Lehigh Valley.

When did you first become involved at the JCC?

Ellis Family: Lisa’s mom was in charge of the Mothers of Young Children group, attended all of the events with her, and went to the JCC day camp for 10 years. Our children both attended ECE from baby room to kindergarten. We continue to watch them enjoy being involved at the J whether through Stagemakers shows, J’s Got Talent, basketball, or attending the Dip N Disco.
Born Family: When we moved to Allentown in 1978, Ross thought the Center would be a good place for us to find activities and friends. Wendy used the indoor pool to cool off that summer. We met then Assistant Executive Director Terry Neff who told us a Young Marrieds group was starting at the JCC and we met some of our best friends through that group. Many remain our friends today and most of us became leaders of local Jewish organizations.

Why is it important to you to give back to the community? The JCC specifically?

Ellis Family: As members of the Lehigh Valley Jewish community, it’s up to us to support our own Jewish agencies and organizations if we expect them to survive and thrive. The JCC is truly the social and cultural center of our Jewish community, where Jews from all backgrounds and denominations come together.
Born Family: We both strongly believe that life is all about giving and make this a top priority in our daily lives. Our goal in giving is to strengthen the lives of others. We give our time, skills, and knowledge along with financial contributions. We believe the JCC is a critical Institution in our community for people of all ages.  It’s a gathering place infused with Jewish values that builds community through education, socialization, sports and fitness activities.

What do you think of when you hear “the JCC is there for you at every stage of life”?

Ellis Family: We instantly think of the tagline often used to describe our JCC and others, “From babies to bubbies,” but it’s definitely true! From the ECE infant room through Friendship Circle, there’s something for everyone here.

Born Family: We love that phrase because it is so accurate. Our family has experienced the programs of the JCC as infants and toddlers, preschoolers, school-age children, newly marrieds, couples with young children, adults attending classes, films, and lectures, community-wide gatherings and lots of board meetings of various Jewish organizations. As we are aging, we see the value of JCC programs for seniors so they can keep active, healthy, and involved with other people. We are so glad there is a JCC in our community which is ready to serve people at every stage of life.

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