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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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Kirshner Family Weekend at EKC

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

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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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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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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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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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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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AgeWell at the JCC Receives Senior Community Center Grant

A state Senior Community Center grant will fund AgeWell at the JCC's pilot of an innovative program for caregivers. The Aging Mastery Program (AMP)® for Caregivers through AgeWell at the JCC, developed by the National Council on Aging (NCOA), will be offered in both Squirrel Hill and South Hills beginning in the fall of 2016.  AMP for Caregivers is a 12-week course that will “wrap around” …

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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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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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Men Boycott Big Night Because of Final Four

We're celebrating April Fool's Day early this year. We hope this got a rise out of you. It is true: The Final Four falls on the same night as Big Night. If you have a case of FOMO, it will be Hoops Heaven in our Final Four Lounge. We will be serving beers from Penn Brewery and there's talk about Manischewitz Vodka Shots. It should be a slam-dunk of an evening. Do yourself a favor, buy …

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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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Who is The Greatest JCC Basketball Player Ever?

Two years ago, Arthur Pitt, my Harry B Davis Coach growing up, sparked the greatest JCC Basketball (Facebook) debate ever. 681 comments by former players, coaches and kids who grew up at the JCC. Who is the best basketball player ever from the Squirrel Hill neighborhood in Pittsburgh. Dan Florian Jimmy Wedner Josh Marks Jordan A. Marks (sorry Jordy), Joshua Schachter, or Freddy Rabner? // // Posted by Arthur …

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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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May I tell you of PFC Nathan Hilu?

Turns out that 90 year-old artist Nathan Hilu, based in New York’s Lower East Side, has Pittsburgh roots. No Hilus remain in the area, however, so the name is unlikely to have a ring of familiarity. Hilu, the subject of American Jewish Museum’s upcoming March exhibition, is an enigmatic character who draws ferociously with any medium he can get his hands on. His writing (drawn memoirs) …

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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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39 S’more Recipes That Will Warm You Up for J&R365’s Next Event

On January 31, our next J&R365 event will take place at the Family Park. Expect a day filled with arts & crafts, sledding, hot cocoa and of course, s'mores! To get you ready, we came across this Buzzfeed listicle of amazing s'more recipes that we will try out, but we won't blame you if you can't wait and go ahead and test cook some beforehand. Don't forget to register by January …

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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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Winter Camp: Hands-on creativity and fun for kids

As we prepare for the New Year and the kids enjoy a break from their daily school routines, Winter Camp at the JCC is in full swing (although it feels like summer). Winter Camp offers kids an opportunity to get hands-on with new skills, way beyond the classroom. Last week, Winter Camp included of a rotation of three specialty classes: Exploration and discovery with Mad Science, paint and crafts with guest artist Erica …

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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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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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#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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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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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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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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Sherree Hall’s Silver Anniversary

This year marks the Silver Anniversary (25 years) that Sherree Hall has been part of the Jewish Community Center of Greater Pittsburgh. At the Annual Meeting September 9, we will recognize her continuing impact here at the JCC. Sherri began working at the JCC about the same time I started attending as a kid. I remember her tiny office in the Kaufmann gym, where my friends and …

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Squirrel Hill Night Market is Big Hit!

Destination Awesome: Squirrel Hill Night Market Where will you be Saturday night? We're heading around the corner from the JCC for a new community event: The Squirrel Hill Night Market. Located on Murray Avenue, between Forbes and Bartlett Streets, the first Squirrel Hill Night Market will be Saturday, August 29, from 6-10 pm. The Squirrel Hill Night Market will feature some of the city’s best shopping, music, food, art …

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Stop Hunger Now

This year, we will challenge ourselves by translating the words from our mouths into the actions of our hands. The World Food Program reports: Some 795 million people in the world do not have enough food to lead a healthy active life. That's about one in nine people on earth. The vast majority of the world's hungry people live in developing countries, where 13.5 percent of the …

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JCC Annual Meeting – Celebrating 120 Years

Join us for our Annual Meeting - Wednesday, September 9, 2015 The JCC's Annual Meeting will include the launch of a year-long celebration of the JCC's 120th anniversary with a special video to commemorate the event.

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Jane Haskell: Drawing in Light

An exhibit at the American Jewish Museum at the JCC October 20, 2015-February 19, 2016 Opening Reception: Saturday, October 24, 6-9 pm Jane Haskell: Drawing in Light surveys the career of artist and philanthropist Jane Haskell (1923-2013), who made Pittsburgh her home for nearly 50 years. Curated by Vicky A. Clark and Melissa Hiller, the exhibition includes 30 sculptures, paintings and drawings. Haskell mined the physical, experiential and phenomenal …

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Celebrate Chanukah at the JCC

The Jewish Community Center of Greater Pittsburgh is the place to be for Chanukah, with activities for all ages at the JCC in Squirrel Hill and the South Hills. The eight-day holiday, commemorating the rededication of the Jerusalem Temple by Judah the Maccabee around 164 B.C.E., begins at sundown on Sunday, December 6, 2015. Special activities include: JCC Squirrel Hill, 5738 Forbes Avenue, Squirrel Hill Mitzvah Menorah Visit our Mitzvah …

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Alan Paul Returns to the JCC

Author Alan Paul, a native of Pittsburgh, will speak about his book, “BIG IN CHINA: My Unlikely Adventures Raising a Family, Playing the Blues, and Becoming A Star in Beijing,” on Monday, June 27 at 1:15 p.m. in the Jewish Community Center of Greater Pittsburgh’s Levinson Hall, 5738 Forbes Avenue, Squirrel Hill. There is no fee and the event is open to the community. Light refreshments will be served and …

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