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Congratulations for Meeting the Fitness Challenge!

Even in challenging times, we prevail! We are proud to announce that our JCC placed and won in several areas in the JCC Association of North America's annual 100 Days of Summer fitness challenge. And it's you, our members, and your dedication to living a healthy lifestyle, that deserve huge congratulations! Our JCC won in the Metro Division, which is made up of the largest JCCs across the …

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Thanking Our Front Line Helpers

Who’s on the front line? Thanking our JCC front line workers. Many thanks, Faith! Though they were already hard at work making bagels and pastries for Pigeon Bagels, when Faith Hayes heard the AgeWell at the JCC Meals to Go program needed volunteers, they jumped at the opportunity. Since July, Faith has been volunteering weekly to help package meals for distribution to seniors in the community. “I …

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Healthy and Sweet – A Recipe for Rosh Hashanah

Apples & Honey Quinoa Salad This salad is an easy, fun, and healthy way to enjoy apples and honey this Rosh Hashanah! Prep time: 15 minutes Serves: 4 Ingredients for Salad: ¼ cup brown rice ¼ cup quinoa (I used a microwavable brown rice & quinoa blend) 1 15 oz can chickpeas, drained and rinsed 2 cups arugula 1 granny smith apple, diced ¼ cup chopped walnuts ¼ cup …

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Performing Arts Camp 2020: Showcase

Resilient and Resourceful: Our young actors learned, created and grew as they adapted during the Covid19 pandemic. Message from Kathy: Performing Arts Camp( PAC ). What does it mean to so many creative kids at the JCC? It means connecting with old friends, it means making new friends, it means creating something together, learning how to express oneself in a positive safe environment while being encouraged by …

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Jewish Healthcare Foundation provides $2.5 million to JCC for COVID Relief

We are excited to share the announcement from the Jewish Healthcare Foundation (JHF) of a $2.5 million dollar emergency grant awarded to the Jewish Community Center of Greater Pittsburgh over two years. In making the announcement, JHF stated: "The current pandemic is historic, and it is wreaking havoc—medically, financially, socially, and mentally. The Jewish community of Pittsburgh is working on a coordinated response in coordination with the …

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COVID Update and Shabbat Shalom

Dear JCC Members and Families, We hope that all of you remain physically and emotionally well as we weather the latest spike of cases here in Allegheny County. We want to assure you that we remain open to serve you and are continuing to operate under *modified hours as our regular and life sustaining services continue for our community. This means that we are keeping current and …

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The Ground Beneath Us Is Very Hard

“The ground beneath us is very hard.”  That was our big learning as we began our gardening work today at East End Cooperative Ministries (EECM) in East Liberty. The ground beneath us is very hard because of the dry heat we have been experiencing for too many days to count. The ground beneath us is very hard because of the harsh realities of racism and privilege that …

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“You are a part of me I do not yet know.”

I recently learned this moral and spiritual truth by reading it in See No Stranger, by Valarie Kaur, a civil rights activist and spiritual leader at the forefront of progressive change. I continue to learn this truth along my journey of meeting others who are a part of me I do not yet know. PART 1 – A Pastor, Imam and Rabbi: For the past 6 months, I …

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Shabbat Shalom

June 26, 2020 As I walked into the office just after 7:30, I was greeted by music coming from the patio outside of Levinson Hall. What did I see? Creativity and a new way to do spinning in a socially distanced way. Two creative spinning classes got another 20 people back to the JCC this morning – several with tears of gratitude in their eyes. Why? …

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Congratulations to Our Dance Graduates!

To the Dance Seniors of The JCC School of Dance The lights go out….and your heart is about to beat out of your chest. You have been dancing since you could walk but still you get those butterflies before going on stage. The suspense builds and you wait for the music. The lights come up, the music begins. This was supposed to be your last performance before going …

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Neighbor is a moral concept.

The death of George Floyd and the protests across America that followed have been a sobering reminder of how deep our society’s wounds really are.  As I reflect on this tragedy, I am reminded just why we created the Center for Loving Kindness three years ago and the enduring Jewish values universally applicable to love your neighbor as yourself.   We do this in a non-partisan …

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I am on an Anxiety Roller Coaster

June 2, 2020 Once again, far too quickly, frequently and painfully, the curtains covering systemic racism have been pulled back and we see that which is too painful to look at and acknowledge.  The inequitable impact of COVID19 on low income communities and communities of Color is painful enough.  And yet there is more.  The series of injustices perpetrated against members of the Black community in …

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A Message from the Center for Loving Kindness

The JCC Pittsburgh Center For Loving Kindness was founded in August 2017 in response to the violent, racist and anti-Semitic march in Charlottesville Virginia. We gathered our interfaith and interracial community on the anniversary of the August 1963 March of Washington to make a declaration.  More than 200 spiritual leaders signed it. We believe the events of this past week serve as a reminder of the importance of that …

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It Could Be You!  You have an UPstander inside of you

June 2020 It could be you!  That’s right.  Don’t look to the right or the left, in front of you or behind you for someone else to stand UP and make a difference.  You have the ability to be an UPstander in your own right. It really is quite simple.  Take the East End Cooperative Ministries (EECM) located in East Liberty.  Just read Carole Bailey’s words: "Since becoming …

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Cheesecake – The Taste of Shavuot

Holidays, especially Jewish Holidays, are not the best time to enforce a weight loss diet. Take Shavuot, which this year begins on the eve of Thursday, May 28. For reasons that some attribute to parsing of Jewish law and others, to a tradition that evolved amongst Eastern European Jews, cheese and one of its sweetest uses, cheesecake, is a Shavuot treat. And so, a good excuse to …

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Mindful Monday

Mindful Monday Coloring Projects to Help You Enjoy the Moment August 31: Houses Houses to color pdf August 24: Guitar Guitar to Color pdf August 17: Flamingos Flamingos to color pdf August 10: Sunflower Sunflower to color pdf August 3: Feather Feather to color pdf July 27: Abstract Design Abstract Design to color pdf July 20: Birds Birds to Color - pdf July 13: Books Books to color - pdf July 6: Houses Houses pdf to Color June 29: Rows Rows to Color   June 22: Circles Circles …

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Virtually Fit

You may remember the blog, Jen's Fitness Journey: #GymMotivation. We're delighted that Jen is starting this new blog, "Virtually Fit." Enjoy! June 5, 2020 “Exercise should be regarded as a tribute to the heart” -Gene Tunney Somehow, it’s June. The impossibly fickle months of March and April have wrapped up, May has started and finished. The mornings where I would look out of my bedroom window to assess whether or …

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Stuck at home? Bake the Best Challah!

As we self-quarantine during this pandemic, many of us are re-focusing on domestic arts, especially baking. This shabbat, why not try your hand at baking challah? I contend that this recipe, shared many years ago at an NCJW meeting by Charlotte Sadofsky, is the best challah recipe, ever. It has all the eggs, oil, honey and sugar to make it the richest of all challahs. I …

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Can you avoid stress?

Stress is definitely a fact of life for all of us lately and for now, there is no end in sight. We may not be able to do anything about the source of our stress, but we can find ways to lower it. Try some of these ideas: Manage your time by making lists each day and then prioritizing. I have always been a big …

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Practicing Kindness and Social Distancing

I just finished editing our church’s response to the coronavirus pandemic. It has taken me awhile to complete it because I keep receiving one email and text after another canceling events and engagements. Our church members' responses range from extreme denial (“It’s a hoax”) to extreme concern. At this point no one is panicked – yet. But we are taking precautions as a congregation to …

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“From Caring Comes Courage,” and the Courage We Need Comes From Knowing We Are Standing Together, as One Community and One People

The Heinz Endowment’s President Grant Oliphant shared some heartening thoughts about the power of community that we want to reiterate. We would like to thank him for his compassionate leadership in this difficult time. You can read his entire blog post here. “It is important for us all to remember that this moment will pass. Those of us who have been around a while know that. …

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Coronavirus Has Not Reached Pittsburgh, but Fear and Racism are Spreading

Over the last few weeks, I’ve watched anti-Asian sentiment spike not just around the country as China fights to contain the coronavirus on the other side of the world, but right here in Pittsburgh, in the city I call home. The panic about a sudden, deadly virus can be understood and even expected. But this panic has exposed a deep-seated xenophobia in the West, and with …

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Campaigns, Civility and Conversation

First, a confession: I am a news junkie, a Twitter addict and a political wonk. It comes from my years of working in TV news in Washington, DC. It used to be part of my job. Now it’s just part of me. I left DC and moved home to Pittsburgh for many reasons. One being how difficult it was to have a civil discussion in what …

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We are still dreaming. Let’s ensure every person is counted

"I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.” As we celebrate the life and legacy of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., his dream that every person be judged for their character and not the color of their skin …

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31 Days to Unbreakable Resolutions

Behavior experts say that it takes about 1 month to form new habits, and many people try to create (or break) habits at the start of each year. With the right attitude and focus, you can stick to your New Year’s resolutions and achieve long-term success. Here are just a few tips to help you do exactly that. Are your goals specific and positive? Rather …

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Reflecting on World Kindness Day and Planning for February’s Random Acts of Kindness Day

Although I have only been in Pittsburgh for two years, I have come to identify with and take pride in being a Pittsburgher. When I first arrived in Pittsburgh, I was overwhelmed by the sense of community and openness as a new resident and college student. I am a Master’s in Social Work student at the University of Pittsburgh, specializing in Community Organizing and Social Action …

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A Chanukah Greeting: “Be the Shamash”

As we celebrate the 8 nights of Chanukah, also known as the Festival of Lights, we usually like to consider the meaning of this holiday. There are a lot of different Chanukah stories out there, and many interpretations of why we celebrate for eight days. One thing we believe is that Chanukah commemorates the rededication of the Temple in Jerusalem after the Syrian Greeks were …

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Young children and the stresses of the long winter ahead

With colder weather upon us and shorter periods of light outside, I’ve found myself thinking about the long winter ahead and what kinds of things I’ll do with my kids in the evening and during the weekends. That line of thinking often gets me lost in the Bermuda triangle of internet surfing and so I’m sharing a few articles that feel relevant. The topics are …

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Disney – The Happiest Place on Earth!

Last week, not only was I able to escape the cold of Pittsburgh, but I also had the opportunity to conclude my 18-month Generation Now Fellowship with a full-day Disney Institute Leadership Excellence workshop in sunny Orlando, FL. An immersive, world-class experience designed for ambitious professionals who are interested in changing the landscape of Jewish teen education and engagement, the Generation Now Fellowship seeks to …

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Shining Light on that “They Lived”

I Lived, We Live: What Did We Miss? was an exhibit about the community of Hazelwood organized by Hazelwood residents and presented last winter here at the JCC's American Jewish Museum. While the origins of our relationship stem from loss and trauma, our two communities have forged bonds, shared experiences and built meaningful friendships. Center of Life’s Geraldine Massey shares her story about losing her …

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An Unprecedented Year

I distinctly remember two phone calls my wife and I received shortly before 10 a.m. that day. “Are you in shul? The street is blocked by police cars,” the congregant inquired. We replied that we were out of town and not at synagogue. A minute later the phone rang again. It was Sam Schachner, president of Tree of Life, who informed us of an active …

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JCC Staff Reflection in Commemoration of October 27, 2018 – One Year Later

At 5:30 am this morning, we reopened our doors with renewed commitment to live up to our mission -- for you, for our neighbors and for our community. From last October 27 until this October 27, we strived to live up to our mission: We nurtured people with hugs and kisses and hugs and hugs and hugs… with puppy love and handshakes and listening ears and …

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Basketball at the JCC: A Unique Approach to Changing the World for the Better

Pay it forward: An expression for when the recipient of an act of kindness does something kind for someone else rather than simply accepting or repaying the original good deed (https://www.dictionary.com/e/pop-culture/pay-it-forward/). So what do the JCC’s youth basketball program and Catherine Ryan Hyde’s 1999 novel, Pay it Forward, have in common? Simply put, the JCC intentionally engages former basketball players as active participants in changing the …

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The 2020 Census: Everyone Counts!!!

The 2020 Census - Every Person Counts! This is the essence of the constitutional requirement to count all people every 10 years.  The results of the census directly impact the ways we are represented in Congress, the amount of federal funding our community receives and the many ways that public, private and not-for-profit organizations serve our neighbors. This is the essence of redefining ‘neighbor’ as a moral …

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The Concept of Forgiveness

When Rabbi Ron Symons invited me back to Pittsburgh for Yom Kippur, the day of Atonement, to worship with our Pittsburgh neighbors and to participate in a community event at the JCC, I did not hesitate to say yes. The slogan “From Parkland to Pittsburgh, Stronger Together” has heartfelt meaning for me, as our two communities forged an unbreakable bond when we first came together …

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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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