Hepatitis C – A Stealth Killer

by on October 14, 2014


I recall my Great Uncle Sidney.  He loved to devour a delicious steak for dinner.   Eventually he had to undergo coronary bypass surgery for cholesterol-clogged arteries of his heart.   Within a decade he died!  His heart did not kill him.  He died of cirrhosis of the liver because of a blood transfusion contaminated with hepatitis C virus which he received during his bypass surgery.

Hepatitis C (HCV) is one of those conditions one hardly hears about because most people who have it don’t know they do.  Of the 3.2 million Americans who have hepatitis C, only 5-6% of them have been successfully treated.   It is 3 times more common than HIV in this country, and it is the leading cause of liver transplantation and liver cancer.  The mortality from HCV has Continue reading

The Baseball Dilemma

by on October 11, 2014

Hank Greenberg

With the month of October comes the annual race for the pennant. It often coincides with the Jewish New Year and Yom Kippur.  Through the history of baseball Jewish players who find themselves lucky enough to make it to the playoffs have had to make difficult choices between their religious values and their team.  If Yom Kippur happens to fall on the day of a playoff game, it can, and has, ruffled some feathers in the baseball community. Continue reading

Cultivating Good Health

by on October 10, 2014


Any time is a good time to cultivate good health by developing a wellness plan that will help you flourish. Don’t know where to begin? Draw inspiration from your garden and apply the same concepts to your health.

Planning your garden is the first step to its success and the same holds true for your health. Buy a notebook and name it your health journal. Begin by writing down two goals that are attainable and aren’t overwhelming. For example, start preparing your afternoon snacks to bring to work instead of buying from the vending machine. This action alone can save you 200 Continue reading

Sukkot: Traditions of Wonder, Gratitude, & Justice

by on October 2, 2014


Traditions of Wonder, Gratitude and Justice:
Reflections on Sukkot from the PJCC Garden Manager

‘Among the many things that religious tradition holds in store for us is a legacy of wonder.’ –    Rabbi Abraham Yehoshua Heschel

The fall is a season of abundance in the PJCC garden. Thanks to the hard work and heart of many volunteers, our garden is bursting with greens, tomatoes, squash, peppers, figs and strawberries – to name a few. Beginning my new position as Garden Manager during this rich time of year has given me a lot of joy, especially as it coincides with Sukkot. The holiday offers Continue reading

Homemade Honey & Oats Granola Bars

by on September 12, 2014


Healthy, Tasty, Portable.  What’s not to like?

Finding a snack that will provide you with energy and is easy to pack and carry isn’t always easy.  Granola Bars fit the bill but can be pricey. This recipe for homemade granola bars will be satisfying and easy on the pocket book!

And, an added bonus, oats are known to lower cholesterol levels, provide fiber in your diet, Continue reading

Rosh Hashanah: May We Be Blessed With A Happy, Healthy, & Peaceful New Year

by on September 11, 2014


Unlike all the other Jewish Holy Days, Rosh Hashanah, The Jewish New Year, is not linked to the remembrance of national liberation or to the commemoration of a national tragedy. In fact, Rosh Hashanah does not focus on the experience of the Jewish people in history at all. Rather it serves as a lens to examine central universalist themes of Jewish belief and values, such as mortality, change, and meaning, Unlike other holidays, Rosh Hashanah is associated with a mythological moment in time – the creation of the cosmos. The Machzor — prayerbook – for Rosh Hashanah returns to this image again and again with the words Hayom harat OlamToday is the birthday of the world. This is not a story about Jews but a story about humanity. In its most salient formulation, the creation of one world, presupposes one God, and one humanity, which implies that all people are brothers and sisters. This theme of the unification Continue reading

The Meaning of Life – As Seen through The Eyes Of My Patients

by on September 3, 2014


As we approach the High Holidays of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur this month, I find myself becoming more reflective, particularly about what’s important in my life. Twenty years ago I was asked to complete a biographical survey for a physician newsletter about my personal interests, which included questions such as the latest book I read, my favorite movie, etc. There was one question that stood out, “What is the meaning of life?” My response, “God knows.” It occurred to me a few years later that I could delve into a better understanding of this existential question by probing my patients for their stories about what has been meaningful in their lives. You may wonder how during a 15-20 minute visit with patients I could have time for such a discussion. One cannot come out and say, “Tell me the meaning of your life,” but I felt I could approach the Continue reading

Dear New Kindergarten Mom

by on

KSimon-PhotobyTraciBianchi-625Dear New Kindergarten Mom,

This morning, I bundled my boys into the stroller and went out for one last impromptu morning walk. Max will be starting kindergarten next week, and the days spent hanging out in our jammies and meandering to the nearest park or Starbucks are almost over. My best friend texted me a picture of her own 5-year-old a few minutes later, standing in front of his new elementary school. “How did we get here?!” I texted back. It was yesterday that we were pregnant together. Visiting the fire station with toddlers together. Welcoming second babies together. “How did we get here?!”

Well, Mama, I want you to take a break from packing lunches and tucking pencils into binders. Continue reading

What Do Employers Want? Hint—It’s Not What You Think!

by on August 26, 2014


At a recent employer panel on the peninsula, I had the opportunity to ask four high level executives (VP and Director levels) from four large organizations what type of technical training we should be providing our job seekers.

Strangely there was an awkward silence following the question. Finally, the HR person from the large, well established tech firm spoke up. His answer, paraphrased here, was that by the time he saw a candidate that person had already established that he had the technical skills needed. What he needed was someone who had empathy. WHAT?!?!  EMPATHY? What the heck does empathy have to do with tech? Continue reading

Container Gardening

by on August 19, 2014


There’s nothing quite like fresh produce harvested at its peak. Even if you live in a space with only a small patio or balcony, containers provide a wonderful way to enjoy your favorite foods year round.

Make The Most Of The Space You Have
Most plants require between 5 –7 hours of sunlight a day to thrive. Choose a location that receives adequate sunlight, is protected from too much wind and temperature extremes, and is in a convenient location for care and harvesting. One of the benefits of container gardening is Continue reading

Perfect Recipe For Summer Tomatoes

by on August 13, 2014


Don’t know what to do with all of those delicious summer tomatoes? You probably have some day old bread around too. Try this delicious Panzanella Salad. It is the perfect dish for any summer meal!

Panzanella Salad

Serves 8 |  Hands-On Time: 25 m |  Total Time: 25 m

5 cups 1-inch bread cubes
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil1/4 cup red wine vinegar Continue reading

High Blood Pressure – The Hidden Killer

by on August 5, 2014


On April 12, 1945, President Franklin D. Roosevelt was sitting in his living room having his portrait painted by artist Elizabeth Shoumatoff, who later became most renowned for “Unfinished Portrait” of FDR. Also present was Lucy Mercer, Eleanor’s social secretary, but most notorious because of her affair with the president. His dog, Fala, and two cousins were in the room as well according to biographer Doris Kearns Goodwin. At 1:00 pm, FDR complained of “traffic pain at the back of my head,” and collapsed, unconscious. His cardiologist quickly arrived and recognized the signs of a cerebral hemorrhage, a type of stroke. One could argue that one of FDR’s visitors that day triggered his stroke, but it is much more likely that years of untreated high blood pressure led to FDR’s demise at the age of 63.

High blood pressure or hypertension still remains a hidden killer at large. It is estimated that high blood pressure kills approximately 1000 Americans each day due to its effects on Continue reading

Yearning For Peace

by on July 31, 2014


Marla (left) and Stephanie.

I can’t read the news about Israel and Gaza. It is too violent. Too heartbreaking. Too familiar. And I also can’t stop reading the news about Israel and Gaza.

It is too important. Too urgent. Too familiar.

The situation is complex. There are no easy answers. There is no clear right or wrong anymore, except for this: too many people are dead. Too many people are being left to grieve and mourn those they love. Too many fathers are without their children, too many wives are without their spouses, and too many young people have lost their parents, friends, and siblings. Enough is enough. There has to be a better way.

Wednesday, July 31, 2002
The world woke up to news of a bombing at Hebrew University in Jerusalem. It was the first Continue reading

Looking for a Low-Impact Workout? Try Battle Rope Training

by on July 28, 2014

by Christopher Nash, PJCC Personal Trainer

Kevin, a fit software engineer, wanted to pursue cardio training. However, the 50-year old was concerned that running would be hard on his already-bad knees, the collateral damage of a 30-year love for soccer. He had also had a hip replaced the previous year. When Kevin asked me Continue reading

Don’t Let Go Of Hope

by on July 24, 2014


As the violence in Israel and Gaza continues to escalate and claims more victims, the pain I feel is palpable.

My heart aches for the IDF soldiers killed in action, and for the Israeli civilians who suffer an endless torrent of rockets fired at their homes and their children. My heart aches as well for the innocent civilians of Gaza who are killed or wounded, caught as they are in a deepening web of warfare. My guess is that many of you feel this same way. My guess is, too, that the majority of Israelis and Palestinians share the common wish that their children grow up to thrive in the sunshine, without fear of rocket and mortar fire. At the very least, I need to believe that.

And yet, I and so many others are falling into a malaise of hopelessness. In the words of Israeli Continue reading

Summer Smoothie with a Vitamin Boost

by on July 15, 2014


Strawberry Peach Refresher Smoothie
Serves 2

Are you ready for something cool, delicious, and good for you?

This smoothie uses the mild tasting green, bok choy, which is known as a cancer-fighting cabbage because of its good source of beta carotene.  In just one 9 calorie cup of bok choy, you receive 63% vitamin A, 52% vitamin C and 8% calcium of your daily recommended value.


  • 2 cups bok choy, fresh
  • 2 cups almond milk, unsweetened
  • 1 cup strawberries*
  • 2 cups peaches*

*Use at least one frozen fruit to make the smoothie cold.


  • Blend bok choy and almond milk until smooth.
  • Next, add the remaining fruits and blend again.

Pour into glasses and enjoy!



Monkey See, Monkey Do — How Behavioral Modeling Influences Health

by on July 1, 2014


My 2-year-old granddaughter seemed to welcome her newborn baby sister with bland indifference. I observed her as she played with her blocks and other toys and did not appear to be perturbed by the presence of a new member in her family. After she had dinner, I was surprised when she set out deliberately for the couch, wrapped her mother’s pillow around her lap, lifted her shirt, and clutched her bear to her chest. It was dinner time for her bear! While it was fun to watch her precise imitation of breast feeding, it made me stop and wonder how we as adults subconsciously follow patterns of behavior that may not reach our cognitive awareness. Continue reading

Guilt-Free Edamame “Guacamole” Recipe

by on June 27, 2014


Summertime barbeques, Superbowl parties, and taco tuesdays are all great excuses to serve some guacamole.  But, lets face it, we’ve all struggled with a little guilt over how many calories we are consuming chip by chip.  This Edamame “Guacamole” recipe is about half the calories of avocado guacamole and is higher in protein too. Delicious and healthy! You don’t need an excuse to serve this any day.

Edamame “Guacamole”
Half the calories and 3 times the amount of protein of guacamole made with avocados – 86.7 cal., 6.7 g protein Continue reading

Welcoming The Shadow: Dealing With Negative Self Talk

by on June 25, 2014


“When we were one or two years old we had what we might visualize as a 360-degree personality. Energy radiated out from all parts of our psyche… But one day we noticed that our parents didn’t like certain parts of that ball of energy that we were. They said things like, “Can’t you be still?” or “It isn’t nice to try and kill your brother.” Behind us we have an invisible bag, and the part of us that our parents don’t appreciate we, to keep our parents love, put in the bag. By the time we go to school the bag is quite large. Then our teachers have their say: “Good children don’t get angry over such little things.” So we take our anger and put it in the bag. By high school it is our peers whose opinion we value sufficiently to stuff more parts Continue reading

Discover the Bay the Artsy Way

by on June 16, 2014


It’s fun to play tourist in your own backyard. I mean if you are going to staycation, the Bay Area, a major vacation destination is a pretty great place to do it. But this summer, get to better know the sites through site-specific performances.

Now if I suggested you walk across the Golden Gate Bridge and take in the view, you’d rightly say, “Kimberly, thanks, but EVERYONE knows that.” But how much time have you spent under Continue reading

A Healthy Lunch Is In The Bag

by on June 10, 2014


A nutritious brown bag lunch is not only easy to prepare, but economical and healthier than the usual cafeteria fare or fast-food options. Not to mention, a good midday meal can help bolster those notorious mid-day slumps and keep you on your game. Here are a few tips for bagging a healthy lunch.

Think Outside the Box
The healthiest lunches should contain foods from three different food groups: a protein, whole grain, and a fruit and/or vegetable. However, this doesn’t mean you’re stuck with the Continue reading

HIV Awareness: HIV Testing Day is June 27

by on June 3, 2014

HIV-625My twin daughters were born in August of 1981, just two months after a publication from the CDC reported the first cases of a rare lung infection that eventually led to what became known as the AIDS epidemic. Because they were very premature, my newborn daughters required numerous blood transfusions from Irwin Memorial Blood Bank in San Francisco. One daughter received over 40 different transfusions. In 1985, the FDA approved the first blood test to detect HIV antibodies in the blood, and blood banks began their first screening of their blood supply. It was shortly thereafter that my wife and I received a letter from the Continue reading

Summer Fun Safety Tips

by on May 27, 2014

smiley-pool-girl-625by Seth Hazen, PJCC Aquatics Manager

Here are my top 5 tips for both keeping safe in the sun and at the pool.

With summer fast approaching this is a great time to start preparing for fun in the sun!

1. The sun’s UV rays are strongest from 10:00 am – 4:00 pm during the day. Make sure if you are out in the sun during this time period you take frequent breaks to relax in the shade and allow your skin a break from direct sunlight. If you don’t have access to shade, don’t be caught without a shirt! Even blocking the rays with a shirt will give you a much needed Continue reading

For Children, Learning Is Just A Day At The Beach

by on May 20, 2014

child-beach-625by Lisa Elliott, ECE Program Coordinator

A Foundation of Preschool Learning: Water, Sand, Clay, Paint, and Blocks

In a society of over-scheduled kids, the expectation of building your scholastic resume early, and so on, childrens’ play time can seem like a waste of time. What are they accomplishing? How will this add to their academic success? What are they learning? Turns out, they are learning a lot! Continue reading

Strength Training For Healthy Bones

by on May 12, 2014


by Kim Knapp, PJCC Personal Trainer specializing in Strength Training and Osteoporosis Prevention

Did you know…

• Women can lose 3-6% of bone mass annually for the first 5 years following menopause.
• 50% of women over age 50 will have an osteoporotic fracture
• Within a year, 25-30% of hip fracture patients die or end up in a nursing home. This is preventable! Continue reading

Moby Dick: A Legendary Tale Of Poor Workplace Safety

by on May 6, 2014


Captain Ahab is on a mission to avenge the loss of his leg.  Over the course of a year, his crew hunts sperm whales and harvests the oil in huge barrels in the hold of his ship Pequod.  The ship travels all over the world and finally ends up in the equator in the Pacific Ocean, Moby Dick’s home area.  Despite many bad omens, including breaking of navigation instruments and a typhoon, Ahab is determined to pursue the great white whale.  Moby Dick eventually attacks the Pequod, and even while the ship is sinking, Ahab tries to throw his harpoon at the whale.  Instead, the harpoon rope strangles Ahab and leads to his drowning.  All of the crew die except the Ishmael, the narrator.   In short, Ahab and his crew suffered workplace injuries.

Let’s see what we can learn from this story in terms of workplace safety.  These are the elements of worker safety to explore:
1.  The environment
2.  The worker
3.  Extenuating circumstances Continue reading

Doggy Diets: Foods To Avoid & Biscuit Recipe

by on May 2, 2014


These days our pets have it pretty good.  They have their own restaurants, beauty parlors, play dates, and hotels!  But as much time as we devote to them, sometimes we don’t put enough thought into their food choices. We think we are showing love for them by letting them eat certain human foods when many of those foods may cause them harm. Being aware of the types of foods that aren’t good for our canine will help to keep them fit and healthy.

To make sure Fido is eating right, the ASPCA recommends avoiding the  following foods in your dogs diet:

  • Avocado (persin can be toxic)
  • Alcohol
  • Macadamia Nuts (as few as 6 nuts can be fatal)
  • Grapes and raisins (can cause kidney failure)
  • Yeast dough (can rise and swell in the dogs abdomen)
  • Raw Eggs (can cause food poisoning or skin problems)
  • Raw Meat and Fish (food poisoning)
  • Candy and Gum (the ingredient Xylitol can make your dog sick)
  • Onions, chives and garlic (can cause anemia)
  • Coffee, tea, or caffeine (dogs can get caffeine poisoning)
  • Milk and other dairy products (too much can cause diarrhea)
  • Salt (large amounts)
  • Chocolate
  • Human medicines should also be avoided unless prescribed by your veterinarian

Continue reading

How Do You Like Them Apps?

by on April 25, 2014


Compliment Your Fitness Routine With Online Apps

The marriage between technology and fitness isn’t new. Professional athletes have been using computer programs and data for decades to get into the best physical shape for their particular sport. It is only in the last decade or so that the rest of the population has been able to tap into some technologies that make it easier to get and stay fit!

Today even fitness novices like me can access some pretty incredible information with a simple application (app) download. You can tap into just about every type of fitness activity that you can think of from your smartphone or tablet. Continue reading

Creating The Lifestyle We Want

by on April 22, 2014


by Betty Burr

Want to discover some entirely new career?
Looking for meaningful volunteer work?
Hope to retire and travel or work on hobbies?
Want to continue in your current career, but find more time for other facets of your life?

Learn a unique 3-step process that involves balancing the head, heart and spirituality to build the lifestyle you desire. Continue reading

Passover Fun Facts

by on April 12, 2014


Are you hungry for facts and stories about Passover? Here is some interesting information you might enjoy and ponder.

The Burning Bush
We learn in the Passover story that Moses experiences a holy moment with God when he notices a burning bush in the desert. Many historians and scientists indicate that in ancient times, desert brush would catch on fire, spontaneously, quite regularly. This miracle of the burning bush was most likely not that fact that it was burning, but that it was burning without being consumed. This strikes me as a good lesson about the power of observation – sometimes things that seem quite ordinary, are in fact, anything but, and offer us extraordinary opportunities for holiness, and in Moses’ case, finding our destiny.

Continue reading

Happy Trails: Hiking in the Bay Area

by on April 9, 2014


by Rhonda Press
Guest Author, Rhonda Press, is an Adult Program Coordinator at the PJCC and an avid Hiker.

I happen to love hiking.  Being out in nature restores my soul.  Living in San Mateo County, we are lucky to have many miles of hiking trails.  There are hikes that are more like city hikes and others that will take you deep into the redwood forests.  I’ll share 3 of my favorite hikes plus one that is brand new.

Edgewood County Park and Natural Preserve is located in Redwood City and is right off Edgewood Road between Alameda and Highway 280.  There is a formal park entrance with a parking lot but you can also park just immediately west of the 280 overpass at Edgewood

Continue reading

Fitness Tip: Bosu Squats

by on April 7, 2014

Utilizing a BOSU helps to engage a number of muscles that might get overlooked in a normal workout. Standing on the BOSU requires balance which works your core. Add in the squats to work your upper legs while giving your core a good workout.

This fitness tip is presented by PJCC Personal Trainer Cynthia Newman.

Video by Teddi Kalb

Adding An Extra Pinch Of Health To The Passover Seder

by on April 3, 2014


Like the 10 commandments, the passover seder menu can seem like it’s written in stone. Passed down through generations and laden with family tradition, it feels almost sacrilegious to deviate from what our grandparents served their guests. But it’s that very menu, with all the starch, fats and sugar coated desserts (most often eaten for two nights in a row) which can make you feel as if you actually at the stone tablets of the commandments for dinner.

Don’t let the tradition of the seder weigh on you. This year start your own traditions with a lighter and healthier version of two seder classics–Matzo Ball Soup and Flourless Chocolate Almond Cake.

Serves 10

Continue reading

Flourless Chocolate Almond Cake

by on


This amazing dark chocolate cake has ground almonds in the batter and toasted almonds sprinkled on top, making rich in plant-based Omegas.


3 Tablespoons dark chocolate cocoa powder – 65% or higher
½ cup raw almonds
2 Tablespoons sugar
¾ cup date or maple crystal sugar (or regular sugar)
3 oz. dark chocolate, – 65:% or higher – coarsely chopped
½ cup Greek Yogurt
2 egg yolks, at room temperature
1 Tablespoons coconut oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
¼ teaspoon almond extract (optional)
5 egg whites, at room temperature
¼ teaspoon salt
1 Tablespoon toasted slivered almonds (optional)

Continue reading


by on April 1, 2014


“Ahh choo, bless you, ahh choo, gesundheit “ are the expressions one hears this time of year from allergy sufferers and their companions.   People who have migrated to California from other parts of the country are surprised to experience allergy symptoms they never had previously.  Allergy victims march into doctor offices and pharmacies every spring because of the combination of the long growing season here, habitat for many species of plants in California, and windy days. The “bless- yous” and “gesundheits” exclaimed by empathetic bystanders are exclamations based on an ancient superstition to forestall evil spirits from entering the body after one sneezes, but now it seems impolite not to offer consolation.   Sneezing usually heralds the onset of a cold, but can also be triggered by exposure to sunlight or strong odors.  This time of year, sneezing portends hay fever or seasonal allergic rhinitis. You may be one of the estimated 20% of Americans who have this condition and if so, keep reading.

Continue reading

Mindfulness–What Is It & Why Do I Care?

by on March 24, 2014


Ok, now it’s on the cover of Time Magazine. Mindfulness meditation, that is. Mindfulness is everywhere! Newspapers and magazines carry stories on the benefits of mindfulness; medical journals report on the latest research about mindfulness; businesses have mindfulness programs to help combat stress and to increase creativity and productivity; schools have begun to introduce mindfulness meditation to students and mindfulness is even taught is preschools; there are classes in mindful parenting; even commercials refer to mindfulness.

What’s this all about? Why has mindfulness suddenly become a cultural icon?

Continue reading

Amazing Things Happen When We Work Together

by on March 21, 2014

October 2013 was intense around here.  Well, at least for me; and certainly for our Artist-in-Residence, Jay Wolf Schlossberg-Cohen.

The Center was filled with excitement, anticipation and inspiration for me and the hundreds of you who participated in one of our 28 mural painting sessions.

Our community, under Jay’s guidance,  took 1,560 square feet and 8 planter tops of blankness and transformed them into a work of art. A work of art that communicates social justice themes such as Environmental Stewardship, Human Rights & Dignity, Economic Justice, and Food Justice.

Do you remember eating lunch outside by the J café and seeing the steady progression over 15 packed days?  Or perhaps coming back after an absence to notice the work fully realized?  I remember October, but this documentary by Chip Curry brought back vivid details by capturing the communal spirit and offering candid testimonials.  I’m delighted to share it with you.

Continue reading

Asparagus Season!

by on March 18, 2014


Asparagus has always been a delicacy to me. When I was young, my older sister found a large patch of asparagus growing wild in a wooded area behind the neighborhood grade school. Each spring she would forage her way through the pointy stalks, bringing home with her handfuls of this wonderful vegetable for us all to enjoy. For me, asparagus was a taste sensation that came only once a year and I savored each bite because I knew I what I was eating was special.

Continue reading

Mastering The Perfect Shot With Joe Ellis

by on March 13, 2014


It’s that time of year again!  March Madness is sweeping the country, which means rivalries are heating up and fans are reaching new decibel levels.  To celebrate this charged period of competition, why not lace up your sneakers and hit the court yourself?

We spoke to former NBA Golden State Warrior, Joe Ellis, who gave us some tips to mastering that perfect shot:

  1. First up, make sure you have the proper shooting stance.  Have your feet evenly placed about shoulders width apart with your knees slightly bent.
  2. Continue reading

Purim Costumes In A Jif!

by on March 11, 2014


From Hamentaschen to Lego Men, We’ve Have Your Kids Purim Costume Ideas Covered!

Let’s be honest.  We’re all busy.  From working to getting your kids to all of their extracurriculars to finding the time to exercise, life sure can get hectic.  With all of this running around, it can be easy to forget that Purim and its costuming are quickly approaching!  So don’t let this year’s dress-up have you winding up with even more stress.  Here are some costume ideas we found that are simple and cheap, but will have your kid getting tons of compliments:

1. Wings of Whimsy – Who doesn’t want to attache a set of wings and fantasize about being a beautiful butterfly or fairy? It’s fun!.

Continue reading

Fitness Tip: Single Leg Dead Lift

by on March 10, 2014

Whether you are a competitive runner or you are just trying to get your buns in shape, personal trainer April Montgomery shows us a move we can all do to work on our glutes and hamstrings. April is a competitive runner and specializes in track and field training at the PJCC.

Video by Teddi Kalb.

Planting Your Spring Garden

by on March 6, 2014


One of the wonderful benefits of living in our mild California climate is the ability to grow and enjoy fresh food year round. This leaves the home gardener with several planting options they would not generally have in colder climates.

Early spring is a good time to start thinking about what to put in the ground in April and May for a productive summer harvest. And, of course, I always recommend that you grow what you love to eat!

Continue reading

Bone Up!

by on March 4, 2014


On May 12, 1990, I was speeding on my mountain bike down an unfamiliar mountain trail.  All of a sudden, the trail veered sharply to the left while I kept going straight. I went flying over a short wooden fence down a steep mountain hillside, and rolled and tumbled like I was in a bad dream.  When I finally came to a stop, I was surprised I was still conscious.  My bike helmet and glasses frame were cracked, and with the awareness of sharp pain emanating from my left wrist, I feared my wrist was cracked too.  After I was transported to the ER, I found out that I had a broken wrist bone and derangements of the surrounding ligaments.  I needed to have surgery if I was ever to play the violin again.
Continue reading

Rule No. 1 – Warm Up

by on March 3, 2014

We all should know the importance of warming up before a workout. Your body needs to prepare your muscles and joints to withstand the added pressure and to avoid injury. Get your body ready for your workout with this multiple joint warm-up.

This fitness tip from PJCC Personal Trainer, Herman Chan.

Video by Teddi Kalb

The Secret To Being Happy

by on February 27, 2014


It’s not surprising that many people these days are stressed or, dare I say, unhappy.

Take a newspaper, for example.  You’ll find negative, and downright depressing, headlines regarding the state of our government, the environment, even the economy.  It’s license enough to put anyone in a funk.

So what’s the secret to being happy?

The answer is far simpler than you would think.  According to NYU professors, Lerner and Schlechter, the secret to happiness is not one singular secret at all, but rather a series of proactive choices you make to fill your life with joy and meaning. Now for many of us, knowing how to identify those decisions can be difficult.  But the field of positive psychology has shown that the following positive interventions can help give you that “happy” head start:

Conscious Acts of Kindness: Hold the door open for someone, stick a dime in a meter about to expire, volunteer to wash the dishes for your spouse or parent.  These acts may seem small, but they reap big benefits.  According to Lyubomirski, Sheldon, & Schkade’s research in 2005, five acts of kindness during one day can contribute to people feeling much happier – with those feelings lasting for several subsequent days.

Gratitude Visit: Take stock of what you have in your life worth being thankful for.  This can be done in a multitude of ways: Keep a daily gratitude journal in which you write down three things you are grateful for or write a gratitude letter to someone you care about.  Researchers found that actively exercising gratitude significantly raised levels of happiness and lowered levels of depression (Seligman, Steen, Park, & Peterson, 2005).

Exercise: This is a no brainer.  Aside from the physical benefits, exercise also releases neurotransmitters in the brain that enhance mood and act as a natural antidepressant, making exercise the ultimate stress reliever!

Meditation & Mindfulness: Part of the reason why a lot of people are so stressed these days is the busy, hectic schedules we keep.  We’re multi-taskers, which after awhile can tax our mental well-being.  Meditation is a phenomenal way to quiet the “noise” in our minds, to better connect with our bodies and to become more aware of our present.  It also has been shown to improve one’s stress reactivity and recovery, attention, concentration and positive affect.  If you are unsure of how to best practice meditation and mindfulness or want to meditate with a group, the PJCC offers mindfulness meditations led by our own Rabbi Lavey Derby, Thursdays from 1:30-2:30 pm.

Now, go on.  Try something!  You can’t guarantee happiness will happen organically. So start small and see if you find yourself with a smile on your face.


Hunger Isn’t Just A Problem During The Holiday Season

by on February 20, 2014


The importance Of Helping All Year Long

Whatever your tradition, the winter holiday season seems to bring about abundant generosity in everyone – people hold the door for you, spend hours cooking and baking for friends and families and shower each other with gifts. When we think about families who struggle with poverty, homelessness and food insecurity, it’s important to remember that the need for our generosity extends far beyond the holiday season. Aside from the obvious impact of helping others, volunteering has also been know to combat depression, increase self-confidence, and boost happiness. There is no down side to giving! Continue reading

How To Stay Current in the Job Market

by on February 18, 2014


You’ve got a job. No need to worry. Forget about that resume. Ignore those LinkedIn requests. Networking? Nah, way too busy for that.

Now is NOT the time to get lazy about your career.

Sure you are working and are really busy but ignoring your career can result in being passed over for promotions or worse, being laid off or fired.

Here are some quick tips to help you stay current for today’s job market.

  1.  Networking. To borrow a phrase– just do it! First, start by networking within your organization, go to every company event, take time to meet and get to know people both inside and OUTSIDE your department. Get to know the vendors and clients as well. Connect with them on Linked In. Keep active in your professional organization. If possible, assume a leadership role within the organization. Volunteer, do something for others, give some time to help out.
    Continue reading

Presidential Peccadillos

by on February 16, 2014


You can’t deny it.  You always look forward to Presidents’ Day, even though you may not really know what the day is supposed to be celebrating.    While many of us rejoice the day off, here to observe this relatively unrecognized holiday are ten little known facts we found about our nation’s presidents. Continue reading