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Renewing the “Ruach”

Posted by Jason Haber on September 13, 2017

Although I have only been on the job for a short time as Department Director of Children, Youth and Family Services for the South Hills JCC, I have a number of new and exciting ideas that I would like to share with you.

Renewing Ruach

We are going to dramatically increase the energy, or ruach (spirit), in all of our programming. Take for example flagpole each morning at camp, where singing and cheering will be moving to another level! Whether it’s a Boker Tov! (good morning) or a unit’s cheer, our campers will be celebrating every morning! Dance parties, birthday celebrations, Hatikvah, and raising our American and Israeli flags will become an exciting routine at flagpole.

Emphasizing Middot

Through greater attention to middot (character development) in our programming, we will work to build our youth into role models for the broader community to leverage. Whether during a day at the JCC when school is closed or at a Saturday evening program, we will weave the notion of values and strong character traits into all that we do. We will celebrate youngsters who demonstrate a specific middah by rewarding them with a bracelet with that value inscribed on it. We hope the values they learn at the JCC translates into “menschy” behavior at home as well!

Aspirational Arcs at Camp

Aspirational arcs is a programmatic term used to define the progressive learning levels that campers go through every year. Next summer, daily activities for each unit will inspire growth through achievement as well as seeing what the older kids are up to. While we will maximize the experiences our campers have on a daily basis, we will also give them a glimpse of what is next in their South Hills Day Camp journey, from swimming to activities to private programming space.

Exploring Our Local Community and Beyond

It is important that all of the children attending a program at the JCC have the opportunity to get out and experience what our community has to offer. Over the next several months, I will be reviewing our existing itinerary of field trips and will be looking to enhance and diversify those important moments we spend away from the branch. One option I am particularly excited about is to bring our South Hills campers to Monroeville for a day of fun and excitement at J&R Day Camp (

Enhanced Communication

Communication is important to us, and I know it is important to you. Throughout the year, we will work tirelessly to keep you informed on all that we have going on for you and your family at the JCC and the fun that your children are having while they are with us. Email blasts, Facebook posts, photos and videos, personalized notes from Unit Heads at camp – we are going to pull out all the stops to make sure that we keep you engaged and up-to-speed.

I look forward to getting to know each one of the families that make up the fabric of our South Hills JCC and to working with you to expand the impact we have across the entire community.

I welcome your ideas and input about how to make our children’s and family programs even better. Please stop by the branch and introduce yourself and your children; give me a call (412-278-1782) or contact me by email (contact form is below).

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