Jennifer was born in California and lived there until the 3rd grade, when she moved to Minnesota with her sister and mother. She now lives in Shoreview with her husband John, and their children Ally in the 11th grade, and 8th grader Jake. They have been Mount Zion members for four years, thanks to Ally.

I had grown up riding horses, and I was competing and show jumping pretty competitively for many years.

Do you still ride?
I don’t. Nope. No more.

Why not?
Injuries. The body doesn’t really handle that kind of jarring anymore.

What do you do for a living?
I’m a physical therapist. I went to St. Kates. During my gap year is kind of when I figured that I wanted to be a physical therapist. I had a lot of horse related injuries, so I went to physical therapy quite a bit, and found out – hey – I think this is what I’d like to do.

I guess all the horse related injuries that I had were kind of disappointing because your health and your wellness is important. But that whole experience got me interested in physical therapy. And it’s a great fit for me. My work is my passion, so it’s perfectly aligned that way. So I don’t know that I would have found it. Maybe I would have, but I’m not sure.

Can you tell us about your family?
My mother was an executive for the Carlson Companies, Radisson Hotels. She was a vice president in human relations. My Dad worked in California for the Screen Actors’ Guild.

Did you get to know a lot of movie stars?
No, no.
But my grandfather Sam Gordon was a property master in Hollywood, so he was right in the middle of the motion picture business. He worked on a lot of movies. He did the Greatest Story Ever Told. He did Close Encounters of the Third Kind. He did the Karate Kid. West Side Story.

You knew him?
Oh yeah. My Grandpa? He died when he was 94.

[Editor’s note – according to IMDB, Sam Gordon was the property master for 64 movies during his career from 1943-1989]

What brought you to Mount Zion?
This is the first time I’ve been a member of a synagogue. Four years ago is when our daughter decided she wanted to become a bat mitzvah. And she searched out a synagogue at the age of … whatever you are in 7th grade.

So she found Mount Zion on the internet, and she said ‘Mom you have to see this web page. Come and look – they have a program, and I can become a bat mitzvah. And so I want to go here, and they’re having this open house on Sunday, so I want to go.’

We were not affiliated before that. I didn’t really grow up going to services, or engaged in Jewish learning, but after she decided that, and I started here, coming with her, I went to Hebrew class with Kent Simon, and then I took Cantor Strauss Klein’s chanting class. And now I love chanting Torah, it’s just something that’s very meaningful to me, and I love it. And I love the Women’s Spirituality Group as well. And Sisterhood.

What phobias or fears do you have?
Quite a lot of them, actually.
I’m very, very claustrophobic. Like extremely claustrophobic. So, like MRI tubes.
And getting locked in a bathroom stall in a country club in Edina at my niece’s baby shower was quite anxiety producing. I don’t like feeling trapped, at all. Definitely not.

And I’ve also been stuck in elevators. One time when I was at work I was with an elderly cardiac patient, we were going up an elevator and the elevator got stuck. And so we were stuck in the elevator for like 10 or more minutes, and we were communicating back and forth with the elevator operator person. And finally at the end, they said ‘can you just give the door a good shove, maybe it will open’. And my patient leaned over the railing, like he was slumping over, and I thought he was having a cardiac event. And this little guy, he was like 80 something years old, and he karate chopped the door behind him with his heel. And he opened the door.

It was pretty great.

I told him ‘you’re my hero’.