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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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“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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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 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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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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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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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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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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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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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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“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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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 in a couple of days - on the eve of Saturday, June 9. 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 …

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New Fitness Equipment / New Challenges!

As I await the delivery of our new equipment to Squirrel Hill Centerfit, I've been thinking about how much has changed!  Cardio equipment has evolved from just providing a great workout to providing a great entertaining workout. Yes, most of our cardio machines already have their own private televisions. We even have machines that simulate outdoor biking. But with this new fleet of machines, we will be …

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Drink your water!

It's Drinking Water Week -- a good time to remind us of the many, many benefits of drinking water. Here are some of the benefits of staying hydrated from Patti Sciulli, our JCC expert on fitness and building a lifelong healthy habits: Improved digestion: Every system in the body requires water to function properly. Water helps distribute the nutrients we consume, making the vitamins and minerals …

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Seder supplements to make your Passover relevant this year

What I love about the seder is that the ritual that began the night before we left Egypt has been transformed thousands of times over throughout the generations.  In fact, the Passover haggadah is said to be the most published Jewish book in history with editions that meet the needs of assorted Jews throughout history.  Just look at how many Maxwell haggadot are featured in …

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“Borcas” — Grandma Cele’s Beet Preserves

Another Passover Recipe My husband's Grandma Cele always talked about making her specialties just before Passover, and as a very old woman, she would bring in "help" to peel carrots for carrot candy and to prepare something she called "borcas." I did not grow up in a home with Old Country food traditions, so I didn't really know what she was talking about. In fact, after she'd …

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“Let All Who Are Hungry Come and Eat!”

Year after year, brisket after brisket, matzah after matzah… this line is the highlight of my Passover experience.  There is something that touches me deep down inside when we lift up that memory-laden-matzah and declare: Ha Lachma Anya This is the bread of affliction, the poor bread, which our ancestors ate in the land of Egypt. Let all who are hungry come and eat. Let all who are in want, …

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March Madness: We Feel It Year-Round at the JCC

Ahhh…March Madness…the time of year where die-hard fans, casual fans and just about everyone in-between focuses their attention on basketball and their NCAA Tournament brackets! Here at the JCC, we are no different – whether it’s Sherree Hall running her annual poll for the staff or the typical conversations between members about their brackets or their favorites to win it all or who they like …

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J-Serve: A Day of Community Service for Teens

This Sunday, for the 12th consecutive year in Pittsburgh, more than 300 Jewish teens in 6th-12th grade will join together at the JCC for a day of community service, learning and fun, as part of J-Serve: International Day of Youth Service. Over six powerful hours, these inspiring teens will engage in Jewish values of tikkun olam, gemilut chasidim and meaningful Jewish reflection. (J-Serve Pittsburgh 2017 …

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Make a Meal of Hamantaschen!

Don't get me wrong; we LOVE traditional hamantaschen. Yiddish for "Haman's pockets" and also interpreted in old legend as Haman's three-cornered hat, some of us consider these delectable sweet pastries as a way to get back at Haman, the villain in the Purim story in the Biblical Book of Esther. To commemorate his downfall, we eat his hat! Miriam Szokovski, in an article on unique hamantaschen recipes, was really thinking outside the box, or …

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National Nutrition Month: Let’s Talk About Food!

OK, it’s National Nutrition Month, so let’s talk about food. Quick: what does a healthy diet look like? If you are like a lot of people, your answer might include a list of Nos. No sugar. No white foods. No salt. No dairy. No junk food. No processed foods. Veggies are good, but no carrots! Yes, eat fruit, but no pineapple! Or no, don’t eat fruit, …

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Heart Healthy Eating

Did you know that heart disease is the number one killer of women AND men? It causes 1 in 3 deaths for woman and 1 in 4 deaths for men per year. That’s a huge number of people!1,2  It's national Heart Health Month. What can you do to help combat heart disease? Add exercise to your daily routine - It is recommended by the Department of Health …

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Community is our Middle Name

February 3, 2017 At this time of challenging and often contentious public discourse, we proudly wear ‘COMMUNITY’ as our middle name. From our founding at the turn of the 20th century, we helped thousands of immigrants and refugees become an integral part of the American dream.  As the work that we began in 1895 continues today in so many ways, we affirm our core value “to welcome …

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J Line – Teens and Jewish Values at Work

“For I, the Lord, love justice.” -Isaiah 61:8   “You shall love the stranger, for you were strangers.” -Deuteronomy 10:19 At J Line, we are proud to connect Jewish values to the pursuit of peace and justice in the world around us. Last Sunday, during Breakfast B’yachad (“together”), in light of Friday’s ban on immigration from seven Muslim-majority countries, I read aloud from a piece published in the Forward. The article tells …

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100 Letters – 100 Days

I would love to read the President's mail.  But of course, that would be illegal without his permission. We do get glimpses of the content of letters sent to Presidents of the past when they have shared stories of citizens as a way of illustrating American values.  They are American values expressed through the voices of citizens. As we begin a new administration, with the anticipation of the …

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The Wellness Continuum at the JCC

One of the most unique things about PT @ the JCC powered by the JAA is our dynamic location. Just steps away from a state-of the-art fitness and aquatic center, we at PT @ the JCC are able to utilize these wonderful facilities to help any physical therapy patient meet his or her goals. Perhaps more importantly is the relationship PT @ the JCC has formed …

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Let Us Turn Our Thoughts to Martin Luther King

As our country celebrates the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., I hope that you see it as a call to action based on long-standing Jewish values.  Join me for a brief video-blog with music, quotes and intention.

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Celebrate the Slow Cooker

Among the many important events in the new year, January is National Slow Cooking Month. The ubiquitous slow cooker - the small appliance that makes it all happen - should not be taken for granted. How wonderful is it to be able to throw a bunch of ingredients into a Crock Pot just before leaving for work in the morning, set it on low, and then come …

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It’s a Chai Birthday Year at the South Hills JCC

On January 29, we will mark the 18th “birthday” of the JCC in the South Hills.  This milestone is traditionally referred to as a “chai” or life event, because the Hebrew letters that spell chai correspond to the number 18. It's been a great 18 years of preschool, summer camps, fitness, recreation, swimming and most important, community building, and we're looking forward to celebrating many more. Like most …

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Mentoring Happens Every Day at the JCC

January is National Mentoring Month, which focuses on how mentors help ensure positive outcomes for our young people. The JCC – a diverse, dynamic community providing services for individuals of all ages—is a place where meaningful mentorship is encouraged and supported, every day. Effective mentorship is based on relationships of trust and the modeling of positive behaviors. Over the past few years, the JCC, recognizing the many …

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Our Resolution:  Helping Older Adults to AgeWell

Typical New Year’s resolutions include exercise, lose weight, learn a new skill, spend less, volunteer more, and spend time with friends.   At AgeWell at the JCC, we have one resolution: To help you with all of those things and more! We hear daily from seniors who have found a home at the JCC; seniors like Allan. Allan joined us just two years ago at the urging of …

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New Year, New Goals!

As the new year begins, many of us are thinking about what we did or did not achieve this past year and what goals we want to set for the future. I am a big proponent of making goals for the New Year, or anytime for that matter! It’s a great time to reflect on the past year and make some decisions about how you’d like next year …

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The Maccabee Way of Thinking

Each year, as I re-encounter the story of Chanukah, I am inspired by the persistence of a small group of Maccabees who fought for their core values in the face of seemingly incredible odds. When confronted with oppression and limitations, they thought broader and wider than any narrow definitions that others might have used to define them. No matter the historical circumstances, that 'Maccabee way of thinking' is …

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Personal Trainer Embodies Jewish Values

As the Membership Director at the South Hills JCC, I often hear comments from our members about the facility, the equipment, the classes, the water temperature in the pool and the instructors. I recently received a compliment about one of our newer personal trainers.  Mallery Fascetti has been a personal trainer at the JCC for less than 6 months.  In that brief time, she has built …

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Holiday Eating Survival Guide

Oh no! Here they come! Are you bracing yourself for cookie trays, gratuitous boxes of chocolates and endless office parties? I just saw my first Whitman’s Sampler yesterday. And that’s just the beginning! But if you think I’m about to advise you to drink a gallon of water before every party, head for the raw vegetable tray at the buffet table, or virtuously decline every …

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Bring on The Light – Chanukah!

As the days get shorter during the end of 2016, Chanukah could not come any sooner. As I prepare for the Festival of Lights this year, I am particularly aware of the eternally contemporary message of the Macabees.  Way back when, around 2100 years ago, when the Assyrian Greeks radically changed the structure of society by not allowing our ancestors to celebrate Shabbat, study Torah nor perform …

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Ask the PT: Hot or Cold?

I am often asked whether heat or ice is better to use for pain or minor injuries.  Like many answers in the physical therapy world, it depends. The first 48-72 hours after an injury is known as the acute phase. There will be localized pain, inflammation and possible redness at the injury site. During this time it is appropriate to use ice.  The goal is to …

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Day Without Art

Day Without Art, begun on December 1, 1989, and recognized annually, makes us aware that we can all be affected in some way by AIDS. The straightforward, potent phrase compels us visualize the bleakness of life devoid of art, creative expression, or artists. To recognize the gravity of the day, museums exercised a form of activism for many years by dimming their lights or covering artwork. These days, …

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Banish those Post Holiday Regrets

Did you maybe eat a little bit too much turkey or stuffing over Thanksgiving and the subsequent weekend? Maybe indulged in one too many pieces of pie? Feeling like you fell off the wagon a little bit? Don’t worry about it! No, really, don’t worry about it. So you could have been better during the holiday, eaten a little less or made better choices for …

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What is Physical Therapy?

"Physical Therapy is an active approach to your wellness via a combination of manual techniques, rehabilitation exercise and movement analysis.  We’re not going to do all it for you; we’re going to teach and educate and show you how to continue to independently maintain well-being and functionality." Scott Rosen, PT, DPT, Clinic Director and Physical Therapist for the new Physical Therapy clinic at the JCC in Squirrel Hill, …

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The Morning After: Be A Role Model

On Sunday, I blogged how I voted.  This morning, as we wake up to a peaceful transfer of power and a celebration of our democracy, I want to share my hope. Every single one of us has to be a role model for the other.  I am still committed to the confluence of Jewish and American values I wrote about on Sunday: We are commanded to strive to …

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Just What IS Mindful Eating?

Sometime in the past several years, you may have seen a flyer for a Mindful Eating class here at the JCC. So here’s a good question: What exactly IS Mindful Eating? And why should you care about it? Mindful Eating is a little less about WHAT you eat, and a little more about HOW you eat. I stumbled on it in the course of my meditation …

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Aging Mastery Program – The Jewish Way!

I am writing to you with wishes that you live until age 120! Pupu…. Many of us know that Jewish wisdom teaches us that Moses lived until he was 120 years old. Oy! Could you imagine? But the thing is, that we often forget the description of Moses at age 120. “ Moses was a hundred and twenty years old when he died, his eyes were undimmed and …

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Meet Deborah Brooks

Hey everyone! Welcome to the third installment of our health and nutrition blog. I’m Deborah Brooks, one of the JCC registered dietitians, and I want to tell you a little bit about myself. I’ve been working at the JCC for about 5 years, counseling and teaching classes.  I also own my own nutrition consulting company, Deborah Brooks Awareness Nutrition. I love the field of nutrition and I’m …

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OY!!??!! What is going on in Politics? A Yom Kippur Exploration

My concern about the US political discourse has been simmering for months.  It all came to a boil this weekend with videos and commentary and photo opportunities and debate and more commentary....  I am simply embarrassed about the level of discourse and wish it would change.  Do you? Without getting political, I did a little soul searching in the the great Jewish wisdom tradition of Mussar, values …

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Recipe Makeover – Rosh Hashanah Edition

With the holiday season upon us, it’s easy to let loose and celebrate with loved ones and food. Lots and lots of food! While it's healthy to make exceptions during times of celebration, you can help yourself by sticking with your goals during the holidays. One food ritual for Rosh Hashanah is eating apples dipped in honey. If you searched for recipes that include both honey and apples, …

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The Jewish Holidays are LATE this Year

Yes, the holidays are late this year...but they are coming. It is the middle of September and I have yet to dunk one piece of apple in a bowl of honey.  How about you? The holidays are late because last year, as a part of the regular calculations to ensure that the Hebrew intercalcualted solar/lunar calendar stays on time (Passover always happens in the Spring) we added …

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Carolyn Martin: 50 Years at the JCC and Counting

Here's an extraordinary story: JCC staff member Carolyn Martin is celebrating 50 years at JCC. Ask Carolyn if things have changed, and she’ll respond with a big laugh. “Yes. Yes. Yes,” she says. “Big time!” Carolyn grew up in the Hill and as a child, attended after-school and day camp (where she had her first train ride on a camp field trip) at the Irene Kaufmann Settlement on Centre …

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