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Practice Good Sleep!

Sleep is as important to our health as eating, drinking and breathing. Maggie Feinstein, LPC, Director of the the 10.27 Healing Partnership, Pittsburgh’s new resiliency center, recently shared some tips for getting a good sleep: Good sleep often takes practice.  In times when sleep is not going well, it is important to practice a new hygiene routine. Go to bed at the same time each night …

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Call It Child Care!

This week I’m reflecting on something that I continue to feel passionately about. Many of you have heard my thoughts on professionalizing the profession of early childhood and how important it is that we value young children and their early learning experiences. One of the ways we do this is by ensuring our educators have access to professional development opportunities. I’ve also talked a lot over …

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4 More Reasons to Eat More Plants

As we the harvest season continues, here are even more reason to eat your veggies! Lower your risk of heart disease: Some studies show that vegetarian diets reduce the risk of heart disease by as much as 40%. Even if you don’t follow a vegetarian diet, just eating more produce is beneficial. A Harvard study found that people who eat 5 cups of produce a …

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Smartphones, Social Media & Summer Camp

While society has become more reliant on technology, and benefited from it, children’s use of electronics in daily life has also taken off. On average, American children and adolescents spend more than 7.5 hours each day using an electronic device. Emma Kaufmann Camp (EKC) recently participated in a national survey titled, Smartphones, Social Media and Overnight Summer Camp.  We were one of 48 camps that …

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NEIGHBOR IS A MORAL CONCEPT!

As we turn the page on the calendar from Summer to Fall, from vacation to the academic year, from the old Jewish year 5779 to the new Jewish year 5780, the work of the Center for Loving Kindness are all the more relevant to the lives we lead in and around Pittsburgh.  Planned throughout 2016 and 2017 and launched on August 28, 2017, to commemorate …

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The Miracle of the Present Moment

As we conclude our second day of school in the Early Childhood Development Center, I want to thank our families for the joyful beginning we’ve had together. We are never without our challenges or opportunities, and I’m struck by how collaboratively our educators and our parents have worked in learning and navigating through the first couple of days together. I am proud to be part …

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EXERCISE DECREASES INSOMNIA!!! (Just one more reason to GET MOVING!)

For most people who have trouble sleeping, there’s a simple cure: EXERCISE. In fact, when researchers at Stanford University School of Medicine asked sedentary adults with insomnia to exercise 20-30 minutes every other day in the afternoon, participants reduced the time required to fall asleep by half, and increased total sleep time by almost 1 hour. Working out regularly has been shown to reduce episodes of …

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We Prepare Kids for Life’s Journeys

I don’t have many memories from being 4 years old.  Most of us don’t.  I remember moments with family, vague recollections about my preschool class, and “doing art” with my sister in our basement.  One vivid memory I do have is riding on a school bus for the first time to my local JCC.  I wasn’t exactly sure what I was doing on that school …

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Mid-Summer Edition: 5 Best Good-for-You Foods

Here are 5 good-for-you foods - a list that's good 365 days a year with a mid-summer twist. Eat hearty and healthy! GREEN BEANS - High fiber foods like green beans can help you prevent weight gain and promote weight loss - without dieting. Research shows: Boosting fiber by 8 grams for every 1,000 calories consumed resulted in losing an average 4 ½ pounds. Also try …

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Keep Up the Momentum: Summer Youth Basketball

Keep up your momentum this summer at the JCC The “basketball season” has come and gone and much of the sports world will turn their attention to Major League Baseball or NFL Training Camp or whatever sports season is up next. For the coaches, staff and players at the JCC, however, the end of the competitive season simply means that the beginning of the off-season is right …

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7 Things for Kids and Families to do at the JCC

To be honest, there are many, many more things for kids of all ages to do at the JCC! We just wanted to highlight a few things you may not have known.* Most important: We want you to come here and HAVE FUN!!!   Our South Hills branch offers its own brand of fun in its swimming pool, multiple outdoor playgrounds, gymnasium, access to hiking trails in …

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Jason’s Journey: Overweight and Overcoming It!

Absolutely Losing It (part one) - September 9, 2019 CHAPTER 1: The 5 Do’s of My Diet - June 20, 2019 Ideas for a title for the series: Thriving…Not Just Surviving I’m Absolutely Losing It Werking It & Working Out (my favorite) I have never had a super healthy relationship with food. I say never, and I pretty much mean never. I have definitely gotten better over the years, but …

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Stay Safe in the Sun!

As we head into the summer months, I hope you’ll keep your skin’s health - present and future - in mind. Use the following tips to stay safe in the sun. Wear protective clothing. Hats with wide brims not only cover your face, but they also protect other easy-to-forget spots like ears and your scalp. Make sunglasses your favorite accessory. Sunglasses shield your eyes from …

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A Community Conversation on Teen Mental Health

According to a recent report released by the American Psychological Association, mental health issues among young adults have risen significantly over the last decade and social media may be one reason why. The research shows a sharp increase in negative psychological symptoms for young adults born in 1995 or later, otherwise known as iGen. The spike in symptoms occurred in 2011, concurrent with the timing of …

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A Message of Healing and Resilience

March 24, 2019 – Jewish Community Center of Greater Pittsburgh As we continue to absorb the verdict in the Michael Rosfeld homicide case, the numbing impact on our community is palpable. The JCC’s Center for Loving Kindness and Civic Engagement continues to affirm that diverse people and communities can learn from each other’s grief and triumphs, be comforted and strengthened by each other, act in solidarity against …

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A Purim Message For Today

Bigotry, hatred and racism of all forms is wrong no matter what continent it occurs on and no matter the victims it claims. The Jewish community has known this for thousands of years.  After all, this week we are celebrating the victory of the Jewish community of Persia over the hatred state-sanctioned supremacy of its day.  When Queen Esther hesitated to stand up and call it …

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Today, all I have are tears. Tomorrow, maybe we can work to find a solution.

The universe cracks. That’s how you feel when your beloved and peaceful family member is violently torn from this world while they are at prayer.  That’s how more that 40 families feel right now half a world away.  I know because only 6 months ago I was in their shoes.  It’s like I am in a cruel time machine and it’s stuck on a repeating …

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21st Century Inclusion at JCC Camps

Since February 2009, the JCC's Emma Kaufmann Camp has answered the call to action of Jewish Disabilities Awareness and Inclusion Month, a unified national initiative to raise disability awareness and support efforts to foster inclusion in Jewish communities and programs worldwide. Never has focusing on this issue been more important than it is today. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 1 in …

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During American Heart Month: 3 Ways to Decrease Risk of Heart Disease

February is American Heart Month and Go Red for Women. During this time and going forward, it is always helpful to review what you can do to reduce your risk of heart disease. The American Heart Association identified three areas for improvement to decrease this risk and to focus on. They are: Move More - Its not exactly a shocker to anyone that we should all …

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All Your Teen Needs to Know About HIIT Class: It’s FUN

Exercise is an extremely important part of being healthy but your fitness routine probably will not be of interest to your teenager. We have a solution: Our new fitness program for teens, Teen HIIT.  HIIT stands for high intensity interval training and is taught by Personal Trainer, Harrison Bird. The class is offered Mondays and Wednesdays from 4-5 pm in the Garage,  next to the racquet courts. HIIT …

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Let Your Star Power Shine!

“We do not need magic to transform our world. We carry all of the power we need inside ourselves already.” – J.K. Rowling Here at the JCC, in our Girls on the Run program, we talk a lot about our star power.  Our star power is that light inside of all of us.  We talk a lot of about how we can activate our star power …

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Becoming Fit: An exercise-hater starts to train

Still Here - July 18, 2019 I showed up to work out today. I really, really, really didn’t want to, but I showed up. I accidentally told someone who was on a tour that I didn’t want to be here. Apparently I was so badly behaved someone intervened saying, “No, she really does like to be here. You should read her blog.”  I do hope the …

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Let’s Start a Resolution!

Happy New Year! This time of year is great to reflect and plan. What do we want to do with our fresh, shiny new year? Do we want to take that trip we’ve always wanted to, tackle a new challenge, get a new job or career, or continue to work towards some of the goals we have tried before but haven’t quite accomplished yet? It can …

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MORE LIGHT!

Last night I stood in appreciation of the lights of the fully lit chanukiyah, Chanukah menorah.  Having lit 2 chanukiyot in our front window, Barbara and I basked in the light of 36 flickering flames including their reflections.  The lighting of the candles did what it was supposed to do: inform people outside of our house that we celebrate the miracle of light at this …

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Staunton Farm Foundation Grant will Broaden Inclusion at JCC Camps

We are excited to announce that JCC camps, Emma Kaufmann Camp and James and Rachel Levinson Day Camp, received Beyond an Inclusion Policy: Ensuring Children and Adolescents Reach Their Developmental Potential, a $100,000 two-year grant from The Staunton Farm Foundation. Our overnight and day camps will utilize the grant to pilot an innovative community project to broaden inclusion at both camps, and also to define …

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This Chanukah, Celebrate the Community We Aspire to Build

Redefining neighbor from a geographic term to moral concept On Sunday night, members of the Jewish community around the world will begin our annual celebration of Chanukah.  It is the time honored commemoration of the victory of the Maccabees in the 2nd century BCE over the Assyrian Greeks and their allies who wanted to create a homogeneous cultural and religious community in which diversity was neither tolerated …

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Food for Comfort – Pizza for the Soul

In most cultures and religions sharing a meal and cooking are ways in which we share our love for each other. In light of recent events, I wanted to share a  recipe to make with your family, friends, and neighbors. It’s a quick, easy recipe that can be individualized and get everyone involved. I’ve included instructions for a margarita-style pizza but you can get creative …

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“This day seals your destiny as American citizens – as patriots.”

In advance of the exhibit, American Patriot: Photographs by Charlee Brodsky, Poetry by Jim Daniels, now on display in the The American Jewish Museum at the JCC, Melissa Hiller, AJM Director, was the keynote speaker at the Naturalization Ceremony held at the Frick Environmental Center. Following is her speech: You stand here on this rainy but beautiful Fall day because of your fortitude, bravery, courage, your belief in yourself, …

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Building Community: JCC Town Square

The JCC is excited to announce Town Square, the  $1.5 million renovation of the Forbes-to-Darlington corridor, externally and everything in between, that will transform the center of the community into the 21st Century to encourage social interaction with a more contemporary aesthetic , improved ease of access and upgraded security. CLICK HERE FOR UPDATES ON BUILDING ACCESS The JCC’s Town Square is on the Main Floor of …

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6 Things To Do This Summer at the JCC South Hills

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Life & Legacy: Linda Simon’s Story

The Jewish Community Center of Greater Pittsburgh recently sat down with Linda Simon, a JCC board chair from 2004-2007 and hands-on volunteer who has held an almost uncountable number of leadership positions at the JCC. JCC: Linda, you have been an active part of our JCC for years, contributing and leading in so many ways. What got you started? LINDA: I grew up in Philadelphia and came …

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Notes from Emma Kaufmann Camp

An Exciting Year Ahead September 9, 2018 by Rachael Speck Rosh Hashanah presents us with an opportunity to reflect on ourselves and think about what we want for the upcoming year. One of the prayers we say on Rosh Hashanah is that the entire world will come to a deep appreciation of God’s existence, awareness and supervision. By making this a prayer of Rosh Hashanah, the Rabbis are teaching …

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Mid-Year Check-In

We are already halfway through 2018! How are those New Year’s Resolutions going? Have you completely forgotten them or just haven’t had the time to start yet? If you’ve stalled with your goals or haven’t reached them, no worries. We still have 6 months left in 2018 to conquer them! Below are some tips on how to refocus and accomplish more in 2018 than previously thought: …

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Our Kids Deserve Our Respectful Debate

These are extraordinary times. As noted in the Jewish Chronicle’s June 21, 2018, opinion piece, “The purpose of a newspaper,” the more polarized opinions become, the more we need lively, respectful debate over issues that are important to us. I couldn’t agree more. Respectful debate between people seems harder and harder these days.  A 2016 NORC Center for Public Affairs Research study found that that 74 …

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Debunking Common Myths About Dairy

We're at the tail end of National Dairy Month, so I thought I would round up (see what I did there?) some common myths about dairy foods. There are many more myths out there and if you want any more information about dairy, please visit the National Diary Council’s website Dairy produces mucus Myth: Studies have shown that consuming milk and other dairy foods does not …

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I Need Shabbat This Week

I need Shabbat this week because all I have heard is people talking over and through each other. I need Shabbat this week because all I have seen are images of children separated from their parents. I need Shabbat this week because all the values about family and human dignity I thought were foundational to our American way of life are being challenged. I need Shabbat this week …

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New Equipment: Connecting You to New Challenges!

Our new equipment is, of course, state-of-the-art, but these latest additions also bring a new dimension and many new possibilities to your workouts: Connection. Some of our new equipment is in line with the fitness trend for HIIT Classes/ Interval Training, with equipment that lets the user change the intensity of their workout quickly without having to make a lot of adjustments to the machine. First, let's …

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What’s New at EKC?

“Hey, Rachael. What’s new at camp this year?” It’s a question I get every year. At the end of each summer, our team sits around the table and talks about what we want to change for next year.  By November, we have it all figured out, or so we think. Then there is that really awesome program opportunity that comes along in April or May …

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7 Things to Do This Summer at the JCC

Summer is finally here and we don't want you to miss any of the fun at the JCC! Here are some suggestions. For details, check our summer Mini Guides. Splash on! #JCCisforEverybody    

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JCC Spotlight Newsletter

Summer 2018 Our new Mission Statement tells the story of the JCC: NURTURING PEOPLE: Early Childhood When will the cocoons become butterflies? Tatum, 4, and Piper, 3, are guided by their teacher Shardaya to observe, experiment and discuss this as part of a typical day in the JCC’s Early Childhood Development Center. Exploring nature is just one aspect of the child-led learning that educators nurture in our ECDC program—inspired by …

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Transfer the Feeling: The Beginning of Summer 2018

Transfer the feeling.  What feeling?  That feeling we all get when we drive into camp for the first time each summer.  As we crest over the hill and get a first view of the ball fields, there are butterflies, nerves, smiles, excitement.  It’s the feeling in the middle of winter when your parents tell you they signed you up for camp next summer, or when …

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What Does Israel Mean to Me?

I vividly remember the endless bus trip from Jerusalem to Kibbutz Hazorea in 1985.  I didn’t know a soul, spoke fewer than a dozen Hebrew words, and had never traveled overseas. But I had a longing to experience Israel, to learn the language and connect to people on their terms – not mine. The journey took me from the kibbutz to community service work in Ashkelon …

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Get Ready for Summer: It’s Water Safety Month

As summer weather approaches, outdoor pools begin preparing to open and families are packing up to head to the beach. May is National Water Safety Month. This annual awareness campaign, coordinated by multiple organizations, provides critical information to ensure you and your family stay safe when you're in and near the water, while still having fun. Water safety is serious business. Last year, between Memorial Day and …

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The Power of Summer Camp

One of the steepest learning curves in my 16 months as the JCC’s Chief Program Officer has been in the area of summer camp. I grew up with only limited exposure to a day camp that was run out of my local high school in Rockland County, New York, and while I am a parent of two campers, I did not fully appreciate the impact …

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Updating Our Mission Statement

Over the past year, our lay and professional leadership went through the thoughtful and intentional process of updating our Mission Statement. Our goal was simple – to help our members, guests, professional staff, donors, partners and other stakeholders know more than what we do, but WHY we exist and who we aspire to be. Mission statements are more than just assemblies of words. Each word has weight and …

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EKC’s Tush Push: For even more magical Shabbats

Of all the things I love about camp, Shabbat is one of the things I love the most.  There is nothing more picturesque than the amphitheater on a Friday night.  The green of the forest, everyone dressed in white, the natural feel of the bima -- it all goes so well together. There is something so special and pure about it, because it brings a …

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Success is Not An Accident

March Madness has come and gone, and as the city of Philadelphia prepares for a championship parade to celebrate the 2018 NCAA Champion Villanova Wildcats, much of the sports world will turn their attention to Major League Baseball or The Masters or whatever sports season is up next. For the coaches, staff and players at the JCC, however, the end of the competitive season simply …

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Passover is All About Time Travel

Each and every year when we pull our wine stained haggadot off of the shelf and place them on our beautifully set Passover tables, we have two options. The first is the basic plan:  Read through the haggadah, go through the rituals, eat the symbolic foods because this is the way that we have done it for years and we think that we should just maintain …

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Want to feel better? Try exercise (we’re here to help)

If you want to feel better without taking medicine, try exercise. Studies continue to support that exercise at any age provides multiple benefits -- controlling/preventing osteoporosis, relieving stress, reducing heart disease, preventing diabetes and preventing falls. Don’t worry if you've never exercised, or if you have stopped for some reason.  Being physically active can help you to keep doing the things you enjoy and stay independent as …

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Training for the Big Swim

Final Training Report - August 20, 2018 It still hasn’t set in, I don’t think it ever will. It’s crazy, absolute bananas that I swam Lake Erie on August 4. It took me 10 hours 56 minutes and 45 seconds to do. Never did it occur to me that I would have a shot at the record, I was hoping to be around 12-13 hours. I …

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International Day of Youth Service: J-Serve

The International Day of Youth Service, J-Serve, is meant for Jewish (and non Jewish) teens from across each participating community to join together with other teens to volunteer at places within the community. The teens learn not only about ways to get involved, but also why it is a crucial aspect of life in their hometowns. J-Serve Pittsburgh this year occurred on Sunday, March 11, and had …

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Jen’s Fitness Journey: #GymMotivation

Blog #23 Weight Change - October 21, 2018 If you’ve been at the JCC lately, you may have noticed a slew of people wearing “JCC PGH Made of Steel” shirts. The accompanying idea is that Change Happens Here, right at the JCC. From my own experience, I can personally attest to that. But for fitness specifically, how do you measure change? In the beginning of my …

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International Women’s Day – #PressForProgress

As we celebrate International Women’s Day today, and Women's History Month during March, we understand the phrase #PRESSFORPROGRESS is needed more than ever.  We live in a world in which women’s voices have been suppressed when it comes to reporting sexual harassment, domestic violence and sexual assault in all areas of society.  Our contemporary conversations are a mirror of conversations and attitudes that have been going …

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Heart Health Starts Young!

February is American Heart Month. What better time to teach our youngest here at the JCC about the heart: Its function, its importance, its location in the body, and how to keep it healthy! Some of our oldest students in our Early Childhood Development Center began learning about their hearts last week during Special Gym, thanks to a special lesson planned by one of our student interns from the …

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Minestrone Soup for the Soul

Flu season is in full swing. It seems like you can’t go anywhere without hearing about someone who has the flu or at least someone sniffling or coughing. Other than standard precautions of hand hygiene and getting the flu vaccine what can you do to keep yourself from getting sick? Food of course! I’m sure the first thing that came to mind when I said food …

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JCC Camps: Preparing for Life’s Journeys

C O N N E C T I O N S • V A L U E S • G R O W T H • F U N This is our responsibility: To prepare the next generation for the journeys that lie ahead. We hope that every journey will be fair and just. We hope that every journey will be filled with joy and happiness. We hope that …

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Combat Sickness During Flu Season

Each year, the typical adult can expect to contract 2 to 3 colds, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Skip the flu vaccine and you set yourself up for a bout of that as well. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Aside from good hand washing (with soap and water for at least 20 seconds), there’s a lot you can do to …

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Celebrating the Lunar New Year

You might be wondering why the JCC opens its doors to the Lunar New Year celebration. Let me begin by sharing a metaphor I just learned on a podcast by my teacher Rabbi Larry Hoffman of the Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of Religion.  While discussing the tension between being particular (having concern for and being interested in the Jewish community) and universal (having concern …

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Giddy-up y’all: It’s Time for Big Night

We don't want to spill too many beans but if you're wondering why we're making hay about this ole Big Night, jest sit a spell and read on. Big Night...well, it's about you and us. It's our hoedown where we can hoot and holler a big “thank you” for all your support for the JCC. It's your support that helps the JCC provide scholarships that help individuals of all backgrounds, abilities, religious affiliations …

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Tu B’Shevat – How can we celebrate nature and Israel in the cold of winter?

In Israel, another new year will soon be celebrated. Tu B'Shevat, the "New Year of the Trees," is observed on the fifteenth day of the Hebrew month of Sh'vat. Tu B'Shevat is not mentioned in the Torah. According to scholars, the holiday was originally an agricultural festival, corresponding to the beginning of spring in Israel. As in the case with many Jewish observances, a critical historical …

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Why do fitness training 3D?

A lot of us have fitness goals in the gym.  One of the more common goals is to get stronger, which is great as there are numerous benefits to strength training. To get stronger, we need to figure what exercises to do, how much, how often, etc etc…and this is where things can get messy.  We can modify: how high/low how far how heavy how fast …

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NEW: Spartan Comes to the South Hills

Live Awesome! Swinging, Climbing, Jumping, Running….  Individually, these are all fun pursuits. Put them all together in one sport and you’ll have real excitement! Obstacle course racing has taken the sports world by storm, and the industry leader is Spartan Race.  With 100+ Kid Races, and Teen and Adult events of various distance levels ranging from 3 to 26+ miles offered nationwide, there is a goal for everyone …

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Sugar’s Surprising Hideouts

January 15 to 19  is Sugar Awareness Week. The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends limiting the daily amount of added sugar to about 6 teaspoons (24 grams) for women and 9 teaspoons (36 grams) for men. Most of us consume much more: about 22 to 30 teaspoons per day… more than 90 pounds  of sugar per year! Why limit intake of added sugars? Reducing the amount of added sugars cuts calories and …

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People on The Fringes

For thousands if years now, Jewish wisdom has been teaching us that we are not permitted to ignore the needs of the most vulnerable among us.  The authors of the Torah and the Hebrew Prophets that came after them went to extra efforts to remind us that we have a responsibility to treat the orphan, widow and stranger with the same amount of respect that …

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Fitness at the JCC: Back to Basics

NPR recently reported that the top fitness trend for 2018 is a return to the basics: “The latest annual survey of fitness professionals suggests 2018 will find more of us ditching the gadgets and getting back to basics in the way we work out: more resistance training, yoga and jump-ropes; fewer earbuds and iWatches,” according to the article, “Top Fitness Trends For 2018: Back To Basics,” …

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New Year, New Programs!

This New Year has escorted in some seriously cold weather. It's the perfect time for the launch of exciting new sports and recreational classes that will get kids moving and active!  So come join us inside at the JCC and see what these new programs are all about! MINI- MACCABI (grades 3-6) Do you LOVE sports?  Then this is a perfect program for you!  A once monthly …

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New Year, New You: Forming New Habits

As we head into a new calendar year, many people will reflect upon the previous year and look forward to the New Year. We will all be inundated with “New Year, New You!” type of advertisements. So what exactly do you want to accomplish in 2018? Is it something health related such as losing weight, growing your business or starting a new business, or is it …

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Signature Sessions at the South Hills

Maximize results for your specific interests   Mallery Fascetti Positive Psychology and Physiology   In my signature boot camp workout session, I will encourage you to be your best, inside out.     Kelly Letender Couples Conditioning Get in the best shape of your life before your big day! Geared toward couples with a wedding date a few months out.     Steve Manns Primal Lifestyle Fitness Train, eat and live optimally: combat chronic disease manage stress and challenge yourself …

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The Bigger Picture

During the Chanukah season, we are reminded of the importance of light. "Light" is often used in the Torah to mean knowledge and wisdom. Embracing our role in lighting the world can be extremely powerful, both individually and collectively, and there is no better way to do that than “taking the show on the road” - to the JCC Maccabi Games®. Each year, the JCC of Greater …

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It’s about the oil

I'd been making latkes for many years before I finally realized something about this food tradition: Chanukah is the oil holiday - a celebration of miraculous oil that lasted 8 days. For me, good latkes are a small miracle too. Over the years, I've learned a few tricks to making (what I think are) the best latkes. The recipe: Joan Nathan's from her classic book, The …

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Holiday Party: Game Plan for Food!

Everyone is in full holiday mode. Whether you are getting ready for Hanukkah, Christmas, or another celebration you are probably having to navigate through many holiday parties in and out of the office, cookie making and family gatherings. Holidays are synonymous with eating, especially calorie heavy food. It is very easy to gain weight during the holidays without even trying. Due to all the other constraints …

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8 Nights of Light: A Chanukah Menorah Infographic

The menorah is perhaps one of the most widely recognized symbols of Jewish culture and is the centerpiece of the Chanukah celebration. But how much do you really know about it? We’re sharing the fast facts you need to know about the Chanukkiah – from its history and meaning to the logistics of lighting yours – because it’s so much more than just a candelabra!

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Functional Fitness: Key Element in Every Exercise Program

In the four years that I have been a Personal Trainer, I have had all types of different clients, and every client I work with requires their own unique exercise program. No matter who the client is, however, everyone needs functional fitness. Functional fitness has been defined by the Mayo Clinic as “exercises [that] train your muscles to work together and prepare them for daily tasks …

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Sports are so much more than sports!

With the seasons changing and a chill in the air, you might be starting to look at indoor activities to keep your child busy through the cold winter months.  But does your child really need to start learning sports at such a young age? Contrary to what you may think, the word “sports” is just a small part of the class.  The underlying benefits of enrolling …

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Stuff the Turkey, Not Yourself

Though most Americans are likely to gain 3 to 7 pounds during the Holiday season, with some careful planning this does not have to be your story. By implementing a few simple tips you can stay healthy through the Holiday season without gaining weight. Plan time for exercise. Exercise helps relieve holiday stress and prevent weight gain. A moderate and daily increase in exercise can help …

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Three Months of Fitness: A Member’s Experience

Follow Bobby West, age 28, as he focuses on losing 100 lbs. A Coldwell Banker real estate agent and 6th generation Pittsburgher who lives in Squirrel Hill, Bobby says, "I've always been a fat kid. I just love food." Now he's focused on getting his weight to 235 lbs., and he already lost 15 lbs. in his first month. Bobby will be blogging about his workouts with Personal …

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Make Dinner a Family Affair

As you settle into the school year, mapping out your busy agenda - juggling soccer schedules, carpools, and dance classes - don’t forget to include one of the most valuable activities: Family meals. The benefits of sitting down together are remarkable. Children who take part in family dinners tend to eat healthier, do better in school, develop higher self-esteem, eat more nutritiously and have fewer behavior …

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Great Camp = Happy Campers

James and Rachel Levinson Day Camp: By the Numbers We learned a lot from our survey of last summer's camp families. Please join us at Pittsburgh's premier day camp this summer! For more information and to register (it's Early Bird season - get the best rates for summer 2018!) contact Lewis Sohinki, Camp Director, at 412-697-3537, or fill out the contact form and we'll get right back …

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The Conversation Continues – Immigrants’ Stories, Faithful Responses

While our event on Thursday came to an end, the CONVERSATION about strangers, immigrants and refugees continues.  Dr. David Saenz posted this comment on the Pittsburgh Post Gazette web page and asked that we post it on the JCC website. Dr. Saenz began his life as an migrant farmer returning to the US a dozen times before gaining permanent residency.  He articulates a vision of American community that …

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Immigrants’ Stories, Faithful Responses

Rev. Liddy Barlow speaks at Faithful Responses to Strangers, Immigrants, and Refugees Faithful Responses to Strangers, Immigrants and Refugees: A Pittsburgh Conversation - Thursday, November 2, 2017, at the JCC This event, hosted by the Center for Loving Kindness and Civic Engagement, brought together clergy, lay leaders and community members, and refugees and immigrants who shared their stories: Their Stories   "When I first got here, people wouldn't talk to me because I was …

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Everyone’s a Winner…

Admit it, when you read the title, you thought, “Oh, great, another coach giving us their two cents about participation trophies in youth sports today!?!?!?” And while I could go on for hours about that subject, I am more interested in another interpretation of this title – specifically the multitude of physical, emotional and mental benefits that come from participation in team sports. Team sports are …

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An Italian Journey into Early Childhood!

On Thursday, October 19, a team of 60 early childhood directors from Pittsburgh, Chicago, Washington, D.C. and Israel will travel together to Reggio Emilia, Italy, for a ten day intensive seminar in the exploration of the Reggio Emilia Approach through a Jewish lens. The JCC Early Childhood Development Centers are proud to be a part of the local commitment to the study of best practices in Early Childhood …

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Emma Kaufmann Camp: From “CIT’s” to “SIT’s”

Emma Kaufmann Camp’s (EKC) Counselor-In-Training (CIT) program is a 49-day leadership development training program, where young adults learn, through real-world experiences, how to become role models and mentors for children ages 7-15 years old as well as productive members of their home community. A critical component of EKC’s CIT program has been a 3-week immersive experience in Israel so that the CITs can weave their Jewish …

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Rules of the Sukkah

Time to build the Sukkah. Here are some tips...Dr. Seuss Style!

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Renewing the “Ruach”

Although I have only been on the job for a short time as Department Director of Children, Youth and Family Services for the South Hills JCC, I have a number of new and exciting ideas that I would like to share with you. Renewing Ruach We are going to dramatically increase the energy, or ruach (spirit), in all of our programming. Take for example flagpole each morning …

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Fun Facts about the Jewish High Holidays

It's a special time of year, a time to "Start Fresh." To help you prepare, we put together an infographic -- kind of a "fresh" take with interesting facts and information. Wishing each and every one of you Shanah Tovah Umetukah, "A Good and Sweet Year."

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Variety leads to happier and healthier athletes

As both a parent and a coach, nothing frustrates me more than specialization. Gone are the days of the two- or three-sport athlete. The trend over the past decade or two has been for young athletes to begin concentrating on one specific sport from a very young age all the way through their high school and college years as if this punches their ticket to playing …

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Shabbat is The First Labor Law

I was struck by this Samuel Rosenberg Image entitled 'Rest' in the spring when Melissa Hiller, Director of our American Jewish Museum, brought me to the Heinz History Center to see the exhibit "The Gift of Art". "For 100 years, the Friends of Art has purchased art to be given to the Pittsburgh Public Schools and enjoyed by tens of thousands of school children. Seeking to …

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The March on Washington – 54 Years Later in PGH

We are living in very challenging times.  Protesters, advocates, and politicians are trying to spin our moral compasses in such a way so that we have little sense of which way to step.  But we know in which direction we should march: the moral direction that is taught by all of our faith traditions, the direction of “love your neighbor as yourself” and “do not …

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Moral Compass

Elie Weisel taught us: One of the Just Men came to Sodom, determined to save its inhabitants from sin and punishment. Night and day he walked the streets and markets protesting against greed and theft, falsehood and indifference. In the beginning, people listened and smiled ironically. Then they stopped listening; he no longer even amused them. The killers went on killing, the wise kept silent, as …

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Early Childhood Development Center: The Sheva Journey Begins

Sheva (the number seven in Hebrew) has amazing power in Jewish thought and practice. It is also the name of the JCCs of North America Early Learning Framework and represents the seven core elements of exemplary early childhood practice profoundly rooted in the latest research on child development seen through a Jewish lens. What does this mean for the JCC of Greater Pittsburgh and its two …

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Sharing Ideas and History with Warsaw JCC

This week the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh and Buncher Foundation gathered to celebrate 25 years of investing in an international leadership program for professionals and lay leadership through the  American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC) that was launched in partnership with the Federation. In the past quarter century, hundreds of Buncher graduates in dozens of countries have helped build Jewish community.  One of the …

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Tisha B’Av: Our Eastern Walls

Each morning, as I leave my bedroom and head downstairs, I find myself facing east on the midpoint landing on my staircase.  Just before I turn right to make it all the way downstairs, I come face to face with these eternally contemporary words: If I forget you, O Jerusalem, Let my right hand forget itself. Let my tongue cleave to my palate If I do not remember her; If …

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Mindful Eating: An Experiment

Follow-Up - What I've Learned It has been a few weeks since I started my experiment with mindful eating. In that time, I’ve gone on vacation with friends, had multiple visitors to my home, and done lots of other summer activities. It has been a fun and enjoyable summer. And I must say, not having to painstakingly count every calorie that I’ve consumed has helped me enjoy …

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Healthy Recipes for Summer

The poet William Carlos Williams wrote: “In summer, the song sings itself." And it’s true, there is something effortless and bountiful about the colorful vegetables and fruits flowing into the market, and hopefully also our grocery carts and kitchens. Every time you turn around, something else is in season - sweet local strawberries, ruby red chard and glossy zucchinis have already made their appearance. Most of us don’t …

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Giving the Father’s Day Pledge New Meaning

For the fourth year in a row, I am joining scores of regional leaders in signing the Father’s Day Pledge #FathersDayPledge  #SouthwestPASaysNoMore. This declaration calls attention to the urgency to break the generational cycle of violence for children, teens and young adults by changing social norms around gender and partner violence of any kind. I remain engaged in this effort as a parent of two teenagers and …

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Kirshner Family Weekend at EKC

This past weekend was our annual Kirshner Family Weekend at Emma Kaufmann Camp.  More than 35 families came to spend the weekend and get the full camp experience.  Everyone had a blast and the weather couldn’t have been better.  From tubing on the lake to horseback riding and zip lining, we all had so many fun adventures. The weekend kicked off Friday afternoon with swimming in …

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“Next Steps” Program is Part of the Wellness Continuum at the JCC

Completing physical therapy isn’t the end of an individual’s journey back to wholeness. For many making a full recovery from an injury or surgery, it’s just the beginning. The JCC’s Next Steps, a post-rehabilitation program, is designed to help in that transition from physical therapy to long-term fitness and wellness through working with uniquely qualified Personal Trainers, says Jason Stowell, Fitness and Wellness Director. “We’re able to immediately …

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ECDC South Hills “Backyard” Enhances Learning

The South Hills Early Childhood Development Center is blessed with what some call “Our Backyard.” But what people are referring to is more than any old backyard. The JCC South Hills is situated on a huge site that includes three playgrounds, a large field, a grassy hill and direct access to the adjoining Scott Conservancy, and ECDC makes full use of all these wonderful resources. “The …

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JCC Day Campers Will Wish the Summer Would Never End

Kids: Get ready for the best summer, ever, at JCC Day Camps. We’re counting the days, minutes and seconds until the camp season starts in June. At James and Rachel Levinson Day Camp, our flagship day camp at the Family Park in Monroeville, new activities and returning favorites set the scene for each child to learn, create, explore and experience. “We give campers the opportunity to make …

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