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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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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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Pittsburgh and Israeli Teens Connecting Through Jewish Music

Imagine 390 Jewish teens coming together from around the world, to perform original, and classic, Jewish choral arrangements – from V’hi Sheamda, to Hallelujah, to Tfilah L’Tzahal - to a full house at Carnegie Music Hall, which had sold out months in advance. What a moving vision that would be! Fortunately, this vision becomes a reality every spring, when 27 international HaZamir chapters descend on New …

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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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Creating Chutz-Pow

Artist Marcel Walker illustrates Superheroes of the Holocaust I recently visited the studio of artist Marcel Walker, one of the illustrators behind Chutz-Pow: Superheroes of the Holocaust. Chutz-Pow is a graphic novel series developed by the Holocaust Center that focuses on civilians during the Holocaust who resisted Nazi ideology and risked their safety by coming to the aid of victims. Marcel and I had just met at …

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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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I’m Thinking of Spring

Even as we dig our way out of our first (and hopefully last) major snow storm of the winter, I am thinking about SPRING. After all, Tu biShvat begins on Sunday, January 24 at sundown. If you have cabin fever and want to bring spring into your world, might I suggest three things: Plant a tree in Israel!  No need to wait for your next trip, just click …

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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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What Have We Been Up To On the J Line?

At J Line, we often recognize a reflection of our own lives, and most pressing questions, in the stories we encounter – in the text, in film, in humor, and even in Hebrew. (And we even enjoy ourselves while doing so!) Under the guidance of Ronit Pasternak, our Hebrew students learn Hebrew as a modern language. In early January, advanced students began discussing the concepts of …

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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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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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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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“Shed a Little Light” – We need it so bad

It has been quite a run of lights. It all began back on the 25th of Kislev when we began to bring more light to a dark world. ‘Dark’ is the operative word. It was dark back on December 6 when the first Chanukah candle was lit because of the national conversations around immigration and gun violence. It was getting darker with each night as …

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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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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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We need more light!

Ain’t it the truth.  We can’t seem to tune on the news, pick up our phone or read the paper without feeling a great sense of darkness nowadays.  Shootings in Colorado Springs, San Bernardino and Pittsburgh, let alone Paris and the challenges of refugees fleeing their homelands for fear of their lives… we need more light! Thank God for Hanukah.  Every year, as we enter the …

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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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How quickly will our pulse return to normal after Paris, Beirut, Sinai…?

Yet again, we are under attack.  The attack is two-fold. It is life-threatening.  People across our globe are being killed and oppressed because too many of us are not embracing the concept “Love your neighbor as yourself” as a way of life.  The devastation in the Sinai, Beirut and Paris (just to mention a few of our current challenges) are the recent expressions of this hatred. It is also …

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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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The Dodgers are Still in Brooklyn

My Hat of Choice: Brooklyn Dodgers My Dad, Jerry, still thinks that the Dodgers play in Brooklyn! He won’t give up on that reality even though he and I, along with my son Micah, have actually been to a Dodgers game in Los Angeles. It is my Dad’s honor that I wear a Brooklyn Dodgers hat as my baseball hat of choice (except when I am …

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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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What will they say when?

What if they are writing my eulogy today? Not to be morbid, but it is time for me to start thinking about what they might say at my funeral.  Trust me, I have many years left, (God willing), but it is still time to think. I got to thinking about this when I stood in front of a replica of the very simple mule drawn wagon that …

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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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If I Still Shout Today…

When is Enough Enough? I had a moment this summer.  I went to one of my favorite big box stores to buy some screws for a project.  The middle-aged salesman helped me politely and then asked what type of drill I had.  I told him that I have a regular drill.  He clarified for me that I would need a hammer drill to install these screws …

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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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“You Didn’t Build That!” – “We Built That!”

Who Started Your Journey? The political theater of the 2016 election has made me nostalgic for an earlier time: the 2012 election. You might remember that President Obama made the comment in Roanoke, VA, "You didn't build that." He intended to point out that every generation builds on the successes of previous generations.  The Republicans countered with the phrase, "We built that!" Not only did the …

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Walking Tall

We all know people, we might have even done it ourselves…. There are times in our lives when we stand tall, above all the rest, because we know that we must.  Maybe it was easier to do way back when on the playground, “That’s not fair!” we might have yelled.  It took a little more courage to do in the high school locker room, on …

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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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A Simchat Torah Message

As we prepare to celebrate Simchat Torah (the annual ending and beginning of the Torah reading cycle in synagogue), I want to let you know that there are 304,805 letters in every Torah Scroll.  Each and every one of them is a handcrafted work of art written by a scribe with special quill, ink and intention.  If one of these letters were to be missing, …

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Sukkot – Yet Another Holy Day

Just when we thought we made it through the Holy Days, here comes another one: Sukkot. I find it ironic and insightful that Jewish Wisdom gives us the impression that with the end of Yom Kippur we are secure, well written in the Book of Life. Yet, just a mere 5 days later, we place ourselves in a hut (Sukkah) whose roof is liable to blow off …

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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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The End of an Era: Saying Goodbye to Kaufmann’s Department Store

For those of you who know me well, I am a lover of history (though I often quote American Jewish theologian, Mordecai Kaplan who stated that the “the past has a vote, not a veto.”)  What that means to me is that we need to acknowledge, respect and draw from our history as we move into the future. This is a special anniversary for the JCC. …

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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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Entering the Season of Books

As our finger tips scroll through the rest of the summer weeks listed on our phones, we are preparing to enter the season of books. Our students are anticipating the end of summer reading assignments – so many pages divided by so many days… ‘I can do this… tomorrow’. Our business leaders are preparing to close the books on the 3rd quarter of 2015 and open …

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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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Minecraft Camp Helps Round out STEM Learning this Summer

The growing trend in STEM education is something we pay attention to at the JCC. This summer, we made sure to incorporate more STEM programming into our Specialty Camps. Next week -- August 10-14 -- is our last week of Specialty Camps, including two STEMulating programs. It's no surprise about the popularity of Minecraft camp. It sold out for both of the weeks that it was offered! For Minecraft camp, we …

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Dealing with Stress

Are you stressed-out and too busy to notice? If you feel like you’re always rushed, never get a break, don’t have enough time, and are dissatisfied with your relationships, chances are you’re stressed. Stress has become so normal that most people don’t even recognize it. Stress can manifest as physical symptoms, such as stomach aches and chest or back pains. Though people often believe they’re …

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Shabbat Shalom from J&R Day Camp

Shabbat Shalom J&R Day Camp Families, What an incredible ending to our 1st week of Camp as we welcomed in our 1st Shabbat! It’s incredible to see how much our campers have done in only one week. Some of our weekly accomplishments include: We have planted, maintained, and cooked with all of our veggies and herbs in our very own sustainable garden. We have returned to the nature of …

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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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JCC to Participate in Summer Food Service Program in Squirrel Hill and Monroeville

Monday, June 15, 2015 The Jewish Community Center of Greater Pittsburgh is participating in the Summer Food Service Program. Kosher and kosher-style meals will be provided to all children, ages 18 and under, without charge and are the same for all children regardless of race, color, national origin, sex, age or disability, and there will be no discrimination in the course of the meal service. Squirrel Hill Come …

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Rabbi Ron Symons Appointed New Senior Director of Jewish Life

May 14, 2015 The Jewish Community Center of Greater Pittsburgh is pleased to announce that Rabbi Ronald B.B. Symons has been appointed to the new position of Senior Director of Jewish Life, effective July 1, 2015. The position will oversee key initiatives that enhance the JCC’s mission and core values to enrich Jewish life, tradition and community. Amongst his duties, Rabbi Symons will oversee the JCC’s …

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My Baby & Me and PJ Library at the Family Park!

My Baby and Me and PJ Library head to the Family Park in Monroeville for extra fun this summer. My Baby and Me Swim Times are Wednesdays and Fridays, 10 am to 1 pm, through August 14. Bring your little ones (age 4 and under) and plenty of sunscreen; we will provide snacks and water. (No Swim Time Friday, July 3) No fee; JCC members and Splash Pass …

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Shabbat Message – June 26, 2015

Rabbi Paul Tuchman,Temple B’nai Israel, White Oak June 26, 2015 | 9 Tammuz Water for body and soul Parshat Chukat, Numbers 19:1-22:1 The day before this is published I will have returned safely, God willing, from a visit to my beloved native Arizona desert. It is a place of austere grandeur and a fascinating ecosystem. I find it effortless to sense God’s presence there. But it is not without difficulties. …

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Kirshner Family EKC Weekend

August 21-23, 2015 Experience the excitement of camping with the entire family at Emma Kaufmann Camp in Morgantown, WV. We have private bathrooms in every cabin and a new gluten free kitchen! Weekend Highlights include: Swimming in our Aquatics Center *3 pools, diving boards, waterslides Lake Activities *Tubing, canoeing, kayaking, "The Blob" and "The Rave" Ropes Challenge Course *Cargo net, climbing tower and zipline Arts & Crafts projects Sports *Basketball, tennis, archery, soccer and many more! Horseback …

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JCC had a great basketball season

In addition to all of the in-house basketball leagues, camps and clinics, the JCC has “travel teams” which participate in the Metro USA League (5th-8th grades) and the Greater Pittsburgh Independent Basketball League (GPIBL) for our High School teams. These teams put on the JCC uniform with pride and travel all over the City of Pittsburgh and surrounding communities to compete against school districts and …

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Aquatic Guidelines

Swim Lessons: Parent & Participant Tips & Guidelines Lesson Format & Schedule: The JCC follows the American Red Cross Water Safety Program that is a nationally recognized program, developed by experts and field tested by American Red Cross aquatic instructors. Each level of swim lessons has specific goals that the children are to meet prior to moving to the next level. Every child progresses at their …

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Lack of Physical Activity

Many of the health and weight problems that people face today are related to a lack of physical activity. Although we are “on the run” during the day, we’re sedentary as we drive, work, watch TV and use the computer. On top of that, modern technology gives us time-saving shortcuts like dishwashers, car washes, escalators and remote controls that encourage us to do even less. …

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May is National Osteoporosis Awareness and Prevention Month

A time to remember the importance of preventing osteoporosis, a disease that causes bones to become weak and brittle. Half of all women (and one-quarter of men over 50) will break a bone due to osteoporosis, according to the National Institutes of Health. But this disease is largely preventable through healthy lifestyle choices. Strengthen your bones from this month forward by starting with these simple …

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7 Ways to Measure Progress

Start an exercise diary. Write down what you did and how it made you feel. Take a "before" picture and post it on your refrigerator, then taken an "after" picture shot every month or so and compare. Try on your skinny jeans every other Friday. Do push-ups twice weekly; once weekly, write down your number of reps. If your energy level is up and you're sleeping better, something is …

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Six Reasons to Get Off the Couch

Physical activity helps you lose weight by burning calories, boosting resting metabolism and buffering you from bone and muscle loss that can result if you diet alone. High levels of physical activity can decrease your risk of colon cancer by 40-50%. Exercise helps you get better sleep. In one study, people who walked more than 6 blocks a day had 1/3 fewer insomnia problems than their less …

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31 Days to a Healthier Diet

Drink water. It’s the only beverage your body really needs and craves. Gradually replace soda, flavored coffees, sugary drinks and other high-calorie drinks with water. Aim for 6-8 cups each day. Too busy to cook healthy? To save time, use your crockpot, cook and freeze large batches of food. Buy pre-cut or pre-cooked ingredients, and keep an organized grocery list. Avoid trans fats. They increase your risk …

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You Are What You Eat

You’ve probably heard the phrase “you are what you eat.” While it’s true that food is fuel, it’s also true that food is broken down and transformed into cells, hormones, muscles and YOU! When you think of food in this light, it can make it easier to make healthy and nutritious choices for your body. March is National Nutrition Month-a time to focus on making …

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Heart Disease is the #1 Threat to Women.

Breast cancer is foremost in many women’s minds, but heart disease is the nation’s number one killer, and women are the prime target. Every year, more women than men die of heart disease and stroke. The overall lifetime risk of dying from breast cancer is 3 percent. For cardiovascular disease or stroke, it’s nearly 50 percent. While the numbers may be stacked against women, it’s possible …

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Heart Disease

Focus on one small thing at a time to help you lower your risk of heart disease and improve your quality of life. Don’t smoke. Smoking damages more than just your lungs. It hardens the arteries, raises the blood pressure and causes an irregular heartbeat. Find a smoking cessation program and kick this habit. Monitor your cholesterol intake. Your body needs cholesterol, which is found in animal …

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Stick to Your Resolutions

If you’re still holding firm to your resolutions, give yourself a high five-you’re almost half-way to sticking to them for good! The reason: it takes roughly 30-60 days to make or break a habit. The bad news: temptation grows, not decreases, as you begin to change your behavior. Knowing that the next couple of months will take more commitment than ever, here are a few …

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Realistic Timeline

Make a realistic timeline to stay on track. Deadlines turn wishes into goals. Give yourself adequate time to complete each action step and choose a date to reach your overall goal. If you haven’t started working on your goals…TODAY is the day! “I know the price of success: dedication, hard work and an unremitting devotion to the things you want to see happen”. Frank Lloyd Wright  

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Creating SMART Fitness Resolutions

It is now the second week of January. You have vowed that THIS will be THE YEAR! You are going to make it to the gym, eat more vegetables, and work on your stress. And then, life happens. You slip back into old habits and once again feel frustrated at yourself for not keeping your promise. Albert Einstein advised us that, “insanity is doing the same …

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New Year. New You.

January… the time of year we get to start fresh and define what we want to achieve in the upcoming year. But how many years have you set a goal only to falter part way through the process? It happens often because we tend to set goals that are too lofty. That’s not to say that we shouldn’t aim high, but we do need to …

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Plan now to do less, spend less, worry less… and enjoy more!

Keep things simple. Don’t compete with last year’s events-or the next door neighbors. Let go of unrealistic expectations. Underbook yourself. Allow more time than you think you need. Take a few quiet moments for yourself each day. Think about your purpose in life and how you express kindness and love. Breathe deeply. Take time to smell the gingerbread. Spend time with people who truly care about you. Set a budget for …

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Healthy Holiday Habits

The Holiday season does not have to mean weight gain. Here are a few healthy habits that are easy to follow during the holidays to keep you on the right track to a healthier lifestyle. Keep a food diary. If you write down what you eat, it will make you think twice about overindulging. Be aware of beverages. Alcoholic drinks are easily 100-300 calories or more per …

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Holiday Meals

This holiday is a bit of a challenge for most highly-health conscious individuals. All that good food and drink can add up and before you know it, you have consumed well over a day’s worth of calories in just one meal.  Honestly, a once-per-year day of overeating isn’t likely to sabotage your diet plans, though sustaining this eating behavior throughout the Holiday season might lead …

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The Best Ways to Find Your Motivation

You can read hundreds of articles and talk about getting healthier until you’re blue in the face, but all the knowledge in the world won’t do you any good unless you’ve got the motivation to go with it. And even though getting motivated might sound like the easiest part, it’s actually the trickiest. It’s all too easy to plop down on the couch instead of …

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Two Steps Forward

Not long ago, you were energetic and determined to start your healthy lifestyle. Starting with enthusiasm and hope, you watched your food intake diligently, tracked your blood sugar religiously and exercised like it was going out of style. You were confident in your ability to stick with a heart-healthy lifestyle. Then certain tragedy struck! You ate the piece of birthday cake and blew it. Or worse, …

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Unexpected Ways to Track Your Progress

You’re committed to a healthy lifestyle. You started exercising, ditched the soda for water and brought healthy fruits and vegetables back to the center of your plate. Then you step on the scale, only to find that you haven’t lost a single pound after all your hard work. And now you’re asking yourself, “Is it even worth it?” Of course the answer is YES! Although weight …

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Where Do the Days Go?

How often do you ask yourself, "Where did the day go?" Is this a common question in your life? Many of us pack so much into our daily routines, there's no time to relax-let alone exercise. Lack of time is one of the most common excuses for not having a decent fitness regimen. But do you realize that in the time it might take you …

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Healthy habits – Healthy Living: Science-backed Tips to Help You Stay Healthy and Feel Great!

Choose power-house veggies: Those are the ones that are the most nutrient-dense, pack lots of vitamins and minerals into every calorie, and are strongly associated with reduced risk of chronic disease. According to a recent study that analyzed 47 fruits and vegetables the top 10 power-house veggies are: watercress, cabbage, chard, beet greens, spinach, parsley, romaine lettuce and collard greens. The fruits and vegetables that …

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Get Moving Today!

If there's one magic bullet to being healthy, and wise, it's exercise. So the next time you think that you'll just work out tomorrow, check this list of research-proven facts to remind yourself to get moving today! Physical activity helps you lose weight by burning calories, boosting resting metabolism, and buffering you from bone and muscle loss that can result if you diet alone. High levels of …

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It’s Not About BMI Anymore

All the research now shows that the biggest health risk is belly fat. To keep risk low, experts say a measurement of under 35 inches for women and 40 inches for men is best. Research has found that women who have waists over 37 inches have an 80% higher risk of various conditions, including heart disease and cancer. Scary, right? The best way to keep your …

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Sodium

Sodium gets a bad rap-and deservedly so. Our bodies do need this mineral, but in much smaller amounts than we normally eat. To prevent high blood pressure and heart disease, a healthy sodium goal to strive for is no more than 1,500 milligrams per day. Keep in mind that sodium doesn’t just come from the salt shaker; processed foods, frozen entrees, common condiments (like ketchup), …

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Resist the “Magic Monday” Syndrome

How tempting it is to say, "I'll start over on Monday." It's the first day of the week and it seems ideal, right? Wrong! Any day is a good day to start (or recommit to) eating well and exercising. Don't let one junk-food-laden party or skipped workout derail you for days. Think of it this way. If your car suddenly started skidding, you wouldn't wait …

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Eat Mindfully… Every Bite Appreciated

All food is good. Remove the "good" and "bad" from your food vocabulary. You can't completely enjoy that piece of cake if you're telling yourself it is bad for you. There is no such thing as a bad or wrong food. If you get rid of the judgmental language around food, it becomes less stressful. When making food decisions, try replacing "I should" or "I …

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The Why List… 10 Reasons to Exercise

1. You want to fight disease. Exercise reduces your risk of a number of conditions, such as cancer, osteoporosis, cardiovascular disease and diabetes. 2. You want to lose weight and keep it off. This is a given, but it means that people who maintain weight loss work out regularly. They don't just exercise until the weight comes off, then go back to being a couch potato. …

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Quit Smoking

You probably know the effects of smoking, but do you know the wonderful effects of quitting? In 20 minutes, your heart rate and blood pressure drop In 12 hours, your blood's carbon monoxide level returns to normal In 2-12 weeks, your circulation improves and lung function increases In 1-9 months, coughing and shortness of breath decrease, and your lungs regain the ability to clean themselves and reduce the risk …

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Still Need More Reason to Make Fitness a Habit?

You hear all the time that exercise is good for your health and heart. Here’s more motivation to start getting fit: If you’re inactive, you’re twice as likely to develop Heart Disease as people MOVING on a regular basis. Regular exercise naturally decreases the LDL (bad cholesterol) levels in your blood while increasing the HDL (good) cholesterol levels. Exercise lowers blood pressure and helps with blood sugar control, …

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Sitting is the Smoking of Our Generation

As we work, we sit more than we do anything else. We’re averaging 9.3 hours a day, compared to 7.7 hours of sleeping. Sitting is so prevalent and pervasive that we don’t even question how much we’re doing it. And, everyone else is doing it also, so it doesn’t occur to us that it’s not okay. Of course, health studies conclude that people should sit less, …

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GO MEATLESS ONE DAY A WEEK….

Meat in the Middle. Instead of going completely vegetarian one day, try to go two-thirds vegetarian almost every day. It’s fairly easy to eliminate meat from a couple of meals a day. Try enjoying meat for your lunch only. A salad a day. Try a roasted root vegetable salad. Root vegetables have a meaty flavor, they’re substantial, and when you roast them, they have a natural …

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