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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 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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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“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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J-Serve Pittsburgh: Teamwork in Action

Last June, four collaborating agencies – BBYO, Repair the World, the Volunteer Center of the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh and the JCC – came together to begin planning the largest Jewish teen service event of the year. Calendars were managed, Steering Committee applications were drafted, and each organization’s role was clearly determined and defined. Several months later and following a competitive application process, 17 incredible Jewish …

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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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PJ Library Celebrates Authors & Illustrators Week

With the week of February 5th being Children’s Authors and Illustrators Week, what better opportunity than to highlight a few of my favorite PJ Library books!  As the director of PJ Library in Pittsburgh, I get the privilege of receiving nine wonderful, high quality Jewish children’s books every month - one for each age group from 6 months to age 8, and then one for …

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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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I voted as a proud American Jewish citizen. Will you?

I live in Pennsylvania, where things matter this year in presidential politics, and I already voted through absentee ballot because my schedule won’t allow me to vote in person. Sitting on my family room couch as I looked at the ballot, I took into consideration my shared identity as an equally proud American and Jew, as I cast my vote.  I want to share with you ‘how’ …

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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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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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Nutrition Classes Will Promote Healthy Lifestyle

Hello! And Welcome! I’m Brittany Reese, a registered dietitian, personal trainer, group exercise instructor and food lover. I am excited to start this blog series about helping people to achieve their health and wellness goals. This blog will provide information and support concerning nutrition, health and wellness to our community at the Jewish Community Center. It is a platform to get people talking, thinking, debating and supporting each other. While …

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Rachel Marcus: A Lifetime of Service to the Community

“Take a look at these photos,” says Rachel Marcus, handing over a snapshot of three campers in T-shirts, smiling broadly, and a beautifully composed black and white photo of a young girl sitting on a counselor’s lap, both laughing gleefully. “Happy kids,” Rachel says, characteristically matter-of-fact. “That’s what we’re about.” Marcus, JCC Associate Executive Director,  has been focused on providing programs that enrich the lives of families and children …

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The Untold Story of Gino Bartali – Le Tour de France Legend

For the next three weeks Le Tour de France will dominate all conversation in my household where race coverage will be blasting from every electronic device from sun-up to sun-down. Most discussions center on routes, team tactics, doping scandals and tour favorites. My thoughts every July, though, turn to Italian cycling champion and humanitarian Gino Bartali. Italian cyclists have been crowd favorites since the Tour began …

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Millie’s Homemade Ice Cream

If you're wondering what that long line is across the street from Casbah on Highland Avenue, people are waiting to try Millie's homemade ice cream. It's worth the wait. Millie's is the brainchild of husband and wife duo Lauren and Chad Townsend. Chad was the executive chef at Salt of the Earth. Before opening their brick-and-mortar storefront in Shadyside, the couple made ice cream out of their home in Wilkinsburg, …

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Father and Son: Klezmer Insights

PSO Brings Music for the Spirit to the JCC The JCC's Katz Theater will be the site of a special Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra Music for the Spirit event - Father and Son: Klezmer Insights on Wednesday, June 15. Noah Bendix-Balgley, the former Concertmaster of the PSO, will share a behind-the-scenes look at Klezmer in anticipation of the June 17-19 world premiere of his new violin concerto, Fidl-Fantazye: A Klezmer Concerto. …

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CDS Artwork Shines at AJM

The artwork included in Community Day School’s (CDS) Student Art Show at the American Jewish museum, organized by CDS art teacher Jeremy Lerner, reverberates with playful exploration and buoyant energy. The works are based on curriculum around aesthetics, the principles and elements of design, and analysis of the methods and concepts artists throughout history have used. Some of the student artists reference specific artists including Constantin …

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Israeli Cuisine: A Culinary Feast

We're all proud (and sometimes surprised) that Pittsburgh has been anointed a culinary capital, but a recent JFilm presentation of the film In Search of Israeli Cuisine, hosted by once Pittsburgher Michael Solomonov, reminded me that the 'Burgh may not be at the very epicenter of the food universe. Israel may well be. Solomonov, now a famous Philadelphia restaurateur (Zahav, Federal Donuts, Percy Street Barbecue), leads us to eateries all over …

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Dayenu! Have we done enough yet?

On Friday night, as my family and guests retold the time-honored story of our journey from slavery to freedom, my son Micah inserted his seder gift into the festivities.  He explained how he had been studying Civil War history in school and thought that it might be appropriate to read the Emancipation Proclamation at the seder. The Emancipation Proclamation January 1, 1863 By the President of the United …

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Yummy! Matzah

So many of us have an ongoing relationship with matzah.  You might be one of those people who loves it so much that you eat Tam Tams all year round.  You might have a preference for a brand either out of habit or as the result of an intentional taste test.  You might be dedicated to a particular type: Egg, Whole Wheat, Lightly Salted….  You …

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Scenes from History: Koerner and the Levinsons

Pittsburgh’s 200th anniversary celebration has me thinking about the JCC’s part in Pittsburgh’s story, and the portraits I recently stumbled upon of James and Samuel Levinson, tucked away in a JCC office, resonated with me. The subjects’ outsized proportions, crossed arms and straight-on gaze are characteristic of all ‘master-of-industry’ style images. There are, however, captivating Pittsburgh narratives beyond the surface. James Levinson (1863-1917), a first generation American and …

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Big Night — BIG FUN

Big Night 120 - Celebrating Yesterday, Imagining Tomorrow, was a blast! Take a look at how we partied:

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Get your tickets now: JFilm festival  opens tomorrow

Opening tonight is one of my favorite events - JFilm: The Pittsburgh Jewish Film Forum. Every spring, JFilm brings in a whole range of films from Israel and around the world—true stories, comedies and dramas that often wouldn’t make it to town otherwise, some provocative, some moving, some roaringly funny and almost all, a treat. For me, one of the most enjoyable films from previous festivals is …

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Pet Memberships now Available

Imagining Tomorrow: Pet Memberships Let me share an interesting stat with you. According to a recent study by the USDAW, 34% of family households in the United States own a pet. When you narrow this geographic range to Pittsburgh, this figure jumps to 47%. Given the growing trend in pet ownership, the JCC has recognized an opportunity to spread our impact through the animal community. That is why I am pleased to announce the JCC will begin …

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An Illustrative List of the 613 Commandments.

Community Spotlight: Classic Lines Bookstore The book "The 613" immediately caught my eye as I perused the shelves at Classic Lines, the cozy bookstore located on Forbes Avenue, adjacent to Commonplace Coffee. Wondering whether there was a connection with the 613 Jewish Commandments, I asked the proprietor Dan Iddings if in fact there was one. That is exactly what the book is about, he told me. Mr. Iddings says he is …

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PJ Library Launches New Program: PJ our Way

PJ Library, a program of the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh in partnership with the JCC, is expanding! A new program, PJ Our Way, will provide books to children ages 9-11 who live in the Pittsburgh community, bringing Jewish books into older children’s lives as effectively as PJ Library has done with younger children over the last ten years. Building on the success of PJ Library, which …

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Which Purim Character are you ?

Purim is the Jewish equivalent of Halloween--in Spring We dress up in costumes, have our faces painted and eat homemade hamantashens. Still deciding on a costume? Take this quiz, find out which Purim Character you are and pick your costume accordingly. Then come join us--we have planned quite the extravaganza. The JCC will host Peace * Love * Purim at the JCC in Squirrel Hill on Sunday, March 20, from 1-4 pm. There …

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Square Cafe–With Love

Community Spotlight: Sherree Goldstein, Community Champion It’s often said that it takes a village to raise a child. It’s no stretch to say that it takes a Sherree Goldstein to raise a community. “In 2003 I had the vision to bring fresh seasonal and local food to Regent Square,” Goldstein writes on the restaurant’s website. “The quality and tastiness of the food were as important to me …

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Community Spotlight: The Wilson Group

Community and Philanthropy Key to The Wilson Group's Success The Wilson Group LLC functions as much more than a vendor of workflow solutions. With a commitment to Western Pennsylvania as a locally owned and operated company, its Golden Rule to treat customers the way we would want to be treated, and a record of giving back, this fast-growing young firm is truly a partner in the community. …

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AJM shines light at First Fridays on Penn

Unblurred: First Fridays on Penn is a monthly event sponsored by the Penn Avenue Arts Initiative. It is a chance for folks to come check out amazing art and meet the artists and the gallery owners. For last week's Unblurred, the JCC's American Jewish Museum partnered with artist Lori Hepner to create a series of interactive workshops that will evolve as an exhibition over the next month at Assemble, a community …

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Landau Eugene Murphy Jr. Will Knock Our Socks Off at Big Night

Landau Eugene Murphy Jr. has invoked Frank Sinatra more than once to sing his way through adversity. As a West Virginia boy transplanted to the violent streets of Detroit, where, he says, “you could lose your life in a fight on a basketball court,” he’d calm down his buddies by singing Fly Me to the Moon. ”They would bust out laughing,” he says. “They thought …

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Squirrel Hill Celebrates the Chinese New Year

Chinese New Year celebrations began Monday and for the next couple weeks -- it's a 15-day celebration -- a multitude of events celebrating Asian culture and diversity will take place around Squirrel Hill. This is the Year of the Monkey, which is the 9th animal in the 12 animal cycle.  People born in the Year of the Monkey include 2004, 1992, 1980, 1968. The Chinese New Year, also known as the …

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Repair the World: Living the Value of Tikkun Olam

Tikkun Olam or to “Repair the World” is a continuing theme through different movements in Judaism. In all of these, a common thread has to do with the universal value of taking responsibility for the welfare of others. Like the Dao of eastern philosophy states, “Love the world as yourself; then you can care for all things.” And the revered 12th century rabbi and physician Moses Maimonides, "Whatever I want for myself, …

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Beverly’s Birthdays Spreads Cheer Across Pittsburgh

One of my best birthdays was a party I had at the JCC. I spent that day with my friends swimming, playing basketball and deck hockey. After three hours of non-stop activity, we congregated in Room 301 to eat kosher pizza (remember Yacov's?) and cake. Of course, presents! I still remember it like it was yesterday. When I first heard about Beverly's Birthdays in Next Pittsburgh's article, 5 People Making Pittsburgh a Happier Place, the …

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Are there any mentschen on the grid-iron?

You and I have heard it described as 'our generation's immaculate reception'.  What happened on Saturday night in Cincinnati electrified Pittsburgh.  I saw the game slipping away from the Steelers throughout the 4th quarter to only be surprised with the victory. Victory wasn't the only thing slipping away.  Morality slipped away too.  Marc Hardin described it well: ...Call the late and fateful penalties and all of the …

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PJ Library: Creating Community All Around Town

How many books does it take to grow a community? PJ Library, a Jewish family engagement program of the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh in partnership with the JCC, seems to have come up with the formula. In December, PJ Library reached a huge milestone: 1,000 children in the Greater Pittsburgh area are now active subscribers. The milestone caps a growth of 38% in the past year. Expansion has not only occurred in the …

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CreativeMornings: Breakfast of Creatives, in the town of Champions

Our Pittsburgh community is full of creative minds. The CreativeMornings monthly lecture series, a short talk and breakfast that's free and open to all, offers a chance for us to share ideas. This month's CreativeMornings theme is Time and the December event was held at the Hill House, which formerly was home of the JCC. The name Irene Kaufmann Settlement is visibly inscribed on the facade. It was my first time visiting this beautiful structure, …

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I am Not Done SCREAMING!

Will you SCREAM with me about HATE SPEECH and how it can lead to HATE ACTION? Elie Weisel teaches 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; …

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Countdown to our 10th Big Night

If our past Big Night events have anything to tell us about what to expect at our special 10th anniversary Big Night on April 2, it’s that you never know what you’ll encounter when you arrive. You might be greeted by hippie protesters (2011: Peace, Love and the IKCs) and when you walk in the door, get stared down by Men in Black (2010: Party with …

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Yiddish at the JCC: Keeping Memories Alive

Mary Marks keeps memories alive. Once a week for the past 20 years, she has volunteered to lead a Yiddish Conversation class. “She gets a mob,” said one of the students at a recent session. The class was started in 1989 by Ann Cohen, whose hand-written transliterations are still being used today. When Cohen passed away in 1995, Marks became the class leader. The class starts with …

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Cycle for Good

Spin your wheels for a great cause! This Sunday, December 13, we're participating in the JCCs of North America Cycle for Good, which benefits the Squirrel Hill Community Food Pantry. Between 8 and 11 am, participants will bring in food items to donate and ride a stationary bike in the Squirrel Hill Centerfit Spinning Room for an hour. Participants all across North America will be riding at the …

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At the JCC, the First “C” is for Community

There’s a lot of disturbing talk these days, talk that is designed to play on people’s frustrations and fears. It’s talk that seems to free some people from their common decency, from tolerance and acceptance of others. It’s talk that breeds the hatred that destroys community. It won’t happen here. The JCC is a diverse, welcoming community. Our members come from down the street and all over …

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STAND UP! Be the SHAMASH

Each and every year, as we light the candles for Hanukah, we are very particular to ensure that the shamash serves its purpose. You know what I am talking about: the shamash (helper candle) is supposed to a light the fire for all eight days.  It has a weighty responsibility, that shamash, when it comes to the rituals of Hanukah.  Without a shamash, the other 36 …

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The JCC Last Minute Gift Guide

Hanukah starts Sunday evening and Christmas is just around the corner, so we took some time to explore some awesome ideas for those still looking for the ultimate last minute gifts for friends and family. Successful last minute gift shopping is a skill. Nothing to feel bad about; we've all been there. Let us help. We have compiled some great options that range from online to something you can …

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“Self Portrait” — a Portrait of Hope

As we retreat into the warmth of family and holiday tradition, we’d like to share a poem that envisions the shared values of our community. Self Portrait The Day After The Paris Massacre Today I identify with my All-Clad colander on the granite counter between my kitchen and the table where sits my racially, all-clad American family. I pour a boiling pot of noodles through the colander into the sink. The water runs off but the noodles stay, ready for …

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412 Food Rescue Boards the J Line

A special program at the JCC with J Line on Sunday defined for me the positive direction in which we’re moving, and our own potential and enthusiasm to bring Jewish learning to life for teens. Last Sunday morning, in partnership with 412 Food Rescue, nearly 40 J Line teens and staff met at the JCC to pack more than 120 bags of food for local students in …

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#GivingTuesday – A Chance to Think Beyond the Turkey

#GivingTuesday – A Chance to Think Beyond the Turkey You’ve made it through Thanksgiving dinner. You’ve fought your way through the spend-so-you-save shopping on Black Friday and Cyber Monday. You’ve had a chance to start working off Thanksgiving bounties at the JCC. You’ve had a weekend to recover and a day back at the office. Now it’s time to think beyond the turkey. Join us, Tuesday, December 1, …

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Thankyou for Our Families and our Nation

An adult study partner of mine recently turned me onto a new author, Anne Lamott. She suggested that I read Anne’s Help, Thanks, Wow (2012), a beautiful exploration of the essence of prayer. I was hooked, and read 2 or 3 more of Anne Lamott’s books making my way through her Christian references to find the essence of humanity within the books and each other. …

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Pittsburgh Pizza — Who Knew?

My jaw dropped when I looked at the food column in the New York Times last Sunday. One of my favorite food writers, Mark Bittman, chose to make his farewell column, entitled "Slice of Heaven," about Bread and Salt Bakery in Bloomfield. Not Queens. Bloomfield, Pittsburgh. I'm not going to lie; I was confused. First, because I've been in Pittsburgh long enough to enjoy its under-the-radar-ness, …

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Girls Just Want to…Run!

As I was reviewing the curriculum for our Girls on the Run team, I realized that we are now more than halfway through the program. We have such an amazing group of third to fifth grade girls from five different schools, and with so many different personalities.  It got me thinking about the vision of the program: “We envision a world where every girl knows and …

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Carnegie Museums Turn 120

Last week I saw a tweet that the Carnegie Museums are celebrating their 120th year anniversary: I made a new dinosaur friend @CarnegieMNH #CarnegieClash https://t.co/kTLPMIECek — Sally Wiggin (@SWigginWTAE) October 19, 2015 How cool is it that both the Carnegie Museums and the JCC share the same birthday! To celebrate this historic anniversary, the Carnegie Museum of Art, the Carnegie Museum of Natural History, the Carnegie Science Center and the Andy …

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Jane Haskell Exhibit Brings Special Glow to the JCC

As the seasons change from summer to fall, a similar transformation is taking place in the JCC Palm Court, where  the walls of the American Jewish Museum have turned fluorescent and neon. After almost two years of preparation, the American Jewish Museum is opening a special exhibit this week -- Jane Haskell: Drawing In Light.   Curated by Melissa Hiller, Director of the American Jewish Museum, and Dr. …

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J Film Presents ReelAbilities Film Festival

Next week begins a week-long festival in Pittsburgh "Celebrating the Lives, Stories and Artistic Expressions of people with Disabilities." 80% film, 20% photography, the festival runs Thursday to Thursday, starting on October 22. Two amazing photography projects will be on display: Change How You See, See How You Change Rick Guidotti’s non-profit organization, Positive Exposure, utilizes photography to transform public perceptions of people living with genetic, physical and behavioral differences. The …

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Take Action Against Domestic Violence

In observance of Domestic Violence Awareness Month, the JCC has partnered with Southwest PA Says No More and their new partnership with Verizon to support the HopeLine Program, which collects no-longer-used wireless phones, batteries, chargers and accessories in any condition, from any service provider, and turns them into support for domestic violence awareness and prevention organizations. This ties directly with the JCC’s tikkun olam (repair the …

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Meet us at the corner of Darlington and Murray

We'll see you at the next Squirrel Hill Night Market We are really excited about being a part of the second Squirrel Hill Night Market, this Saturday, September 26, from 6-10 pm. Stop by the JCC table in the First Niagara parking area on Darlington, just off Murray Avenue, for Night Market Membership Special Offer coupons (we're waiving the processing fee -- a savings of $149!) and …

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Community Spotlight: Girls on the Run

Girls on the Run: Pittsburgh's Coolest Running Group For our first community spotlight post, we want to highlight an awesome fall activity going on at the JCC in the 'Burgh. Have you heard of Girls on the Run? GOTR is a national organization reaching millions of girls between 3rd and 8th grade. There is an affiliate here in Pittsburgh associated with Magee-Women's Hospital. "Our mission is to inspire girls to be …

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