‘The JCC is my way of being Jewish’ | Community Profile

Sarah Sorte is the concierge services manager at the Stroum Jewish Community Center. - Rebecca Mar/Staff Photo
Sarah Sorte is the concierge services manager at the Stroum Jewish Community Center.
— image credit: Rebecca Mar/Staff Photo

Sarah Sorte returned to the Stroum Jewish Community Center three years ago, where she had worked as a receptionist for six years. She is now the concierge services manager and commutes from the Issaquah Highlands. Her sister, Beth Rosen, also works at the SJCC, and her children, she said, “grew up here.” Her teenage son is a scorekeeper at the SJCC, where her daughter has also worked in the reception area. “It’s a great place to raise a family,” she said.

Where are you from: Portland, Oregon.

What are your responsibilities at the SJCC: I do rentals, the internal calendar — daily schedule — and supervise customer service and the cafe, the J Cafe. I have a staff of eight that includes the cafe. I will be a barista, the opening person from 5:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. I was a barista in Oregon. I really enjoy working with people, with the public.

What is your favorite part about your job: Talking with members — the best thing ever, and interacting with members, and I really like it when all the staff can work as a team together; that’s something I work hard for and it’s important that we’re all on the same page. It makes it more enjoyable.

What are the most challenging aspects of the job: Multitasking and staying on top of my game. I tell myself how important it is to work here at the JCC. Every day is a new day, and I try to stay positive in that way. I’m a good multitasker and that’s why I have so many different jobs. I keep a smile on my face every day and that helps from the moment I walk in, to the moment I walk out. If a member stops me, I take the time to talk. What’s important to me is you have good listening skills. Right now, I am totally swamped, yet I’ll take the time for people.

What was it like to work behind the SJCC front desk: I loved working as a receptionist. I had all the kids and parents come in. It was great to say “good morning” to them. (They were) so warm — there was never a day that I would wake up and not want to come to work; to me, it wasn’t work.

Why did you return to Mercer Island: My husband had the opportunity for a new work position. The first thing that entered my mind was the JCC because I’ve always wanted to come back since the day I left. I just never found anything that suited me so well. So I was very excited we were moving back.

How do you like working with your sister, Beth Rosen: I love working with my sister. We actually team up and work out together in the fitness center ... she encourages me more than I encourage her; she pushes me.

What do you want Mercer Islanders to know: Everyone is welcome, no matter your race or religion. We’re open to the public. We want the word to get out. Our location between Bellevue and Seattle is amazing for people. I feel the JCC is my way of being Jewish. Our goal here is when anyone enters our doors, they feel welcomed.

What does the Israeli Pacific Northwest consul general's visit on Nov. 3 mean for the SJCC: He’s very important in the Jewish community. To have him come to us — it’s a gift, an honor, to have him here.

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