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!.

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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!

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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.
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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.
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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

Top 5 Reasons To Keep Your Kids Active

by on February 13, 2014


The habits we form as children are sure to either haunt us or help us into adulthood. So, it is very important to provide kids with the decision making tools they need to lead a healthy and active life.

Below are just a few of the reasons to help our children eat wisely and stay active.

1. Active kids develop locomotor, non-locomotor, and manipulative skills when they engage in age-appropriate exercise.
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5 Tips To Organizing Your Home

by on February 11, 2014


The key to being productive is being organized.  Less frustration, less time wasted, more time for fun! Here are a few tips to get you started.

  • There is a place for everything and everything in its place.
    You’ve heard this expression before.  But it is easier said than done!  By creating a place for things like keys, wallets, tissues, and mail you will know when you need to purchase additional items.  I have enjoyed watching many clients happily find books that were ‘lost’, lots of money, and even gift cards!
  • Pick a room or a corner of a room or even just a drawer to start! 
    If you look at your entire home or office as one project you will get discouraged before you start.  Organizing one area will make you feel so successful that you will want to keep going.  I like to start with one drawer.  Remove everything (I mean, every thing!) in that drawer.
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Fitness Tip: Brain Fuel

by on February 10, 2014


Eating to Support Brain Function

Research continues to show that adding specific foods to your diet can help support brain function, memory and cognitive skills. Who wouldn’t want that? The Journal of Neurology recently found that the Mediterranean Diet may reduce small-vessel damage to the brain. Try these healthy tips from the Mediterranean Diet not only for your body, but also your brain:

  • Majority of your diet should consist of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes and nuts
  • Limit red meats and eat fish and poultry at least twice a week
  • Use healthy fats like fish and olive oil. A recent study shows that Omega-3 fatty acid found in fish and seafood boosts memory function by 15%
  • Try cooking with olive oil, canola or walnut oil instead of butter
  • Alternate your protein choices; nuts, nut butters and beans are great alternative sources of protein

By incorporating these healthy foods into your diet, you can begin to benefit from their positive effects on brain function. The Mediterranean diet is a great way to explore a healthy style of eating. Give it a try, what do you have to lose?

1. Welma Stonehouse, Cathryn A Conlon, John Podd, Stephen R. Hill, Anne M Minihane, Crystak Haskell, and David Kennedy. DHA supplementation improved both memory and reaction time in healthy young adults: a randomized controlled trial. Am J Clin Butr May 2013 vol. 97 no. 5 1134-1143
2. WebMD
3. Tsivgoulis, G, et al. 2013. Adherence to a Mediterranean diet and risk of incident cognitive impairment. Neurology, 80 (18), 1684-1692.
4. Science Daily, March 2013

Note: The information presented here is not a substitute for medical advice. Consult a physician before starting any exercise. We suggest that you discontinue exercise immediately if you feel you’re exercising beyond your current abilities.

Healthy Chocolate Recipes? Yes, Please!

by on February 6, 2014


Sweets Without The Guilt

The term “Healthy” has a bad rap!  When we hear the term “healthy” we automatically think “tastes bad”.  Right?  But, just because something has that label doesn’t mean it is any less delicious than the less healthy version!

Chocolate, for instance, can be healthy for us but the sugar that usually accompanies it is not.  By using some healthier ingredient options you can have a delicious dessert that won’t taste “healthy”.   Enjoy!



  • 3/4 Cup Raw Cacao Powder (available at health stores) or Cocoa Powder
  • 2 Cups Almond Meal
  • 1/2 Cup Raw Organic Honey
  • 1 Tbs. Organic Coconut Oil
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Your Heart Loves You. Love It Back!

by on February 4, 2014



February is American Heart month. It represents an opportunity to think of hearts other than in the context of Valentine’s Day.

During the course of my career as an internist, I have cared for hundreds of patients with heart disease. Believe me, it is better to make some simple interventions in your life now than to wait until you have severe problems. Let me give you one example of a patient of mine I cared for about 20 years ago. Roger (not his real name) was in his late 50’s when he sustained his second heart attack. He was an ex-smoker, worked hard every day in his stressful job to support his family, and had little time to exercise or to take the time to eat healthy. After his second heart attack, he could not walk even half a block before he developed chest discomfort. I sent him for various cardiac tests with the hope that the obstructions in his coronary arteries could be
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Running With Penguins

by on January 30, 2014


PJCC Staff Profile

PJCC Personal Trainer Karen Pinckard boasts a credential that isn’t found on many resumes: she’s a member of the Seven Continents Club, an elite travel club that recognizes runners who have either completed or aspire to complete marathons on all seven continents: North America, South America, Europe, Asia, Africa, Oceania, and Antarctica. Only a handful of women worldwide have achieved this goal and Karen is determined to join them. She is simultaneously aiming to complete seven half and seven full marathons on each continent, averaging at least Continue reading

Pantry Makeover

by on January 28, 2014


It’s the beginning of the new year, and there is no better time to take stock of our belongings and reorganize! When it comes to the kitchen, there is no better place to get started then the pantry. This year, I challenged myself, and now I challenge you, to do out with the old and unhealthy, and bring in the new-nutritious.

Make your kitchen pantry work for you, not against you!

Kitchen pantries come in all shapes, but whether yours is a full sized closet or a combination of a bookshelf and a couple of small cabinets (like mine), the pantry is the soul of any kitchen. As fresh foods come and go out of the refrigerator and freezer, the pantry holds all the boxed, canned and bottled goods, whether they are spices, oils, pasta, sauces or soups, that add bulk

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Are You Ready For Ski Season?

by on January 27, 2014

Side Lunge
Prepare to hit the slopes (once we get some more snow) by working those thighs and glutes. One way people generally get injured when skiing or snowboarding is by going to the mountains after a long summer and autumn with likely no pre-conditioning. Avoid muscle fatigue and potential accidents by preparing yourself and your body.  Monique Molino, PJCC Pilates Coordinator, shows us one fitness tip to help you prepare.

Interview with Rabbi David Saperstein – Part 2

by on January 22, 2014

Rabbi David Saperstein

Interview with Rabbi David Saperstein - Part 2

In our second installment of Q&A with Rabbi David Saperstein, Rabbi Lavey Derby asks about his roll and influences.

Q: You’re held in high esteem by colleagues and peers: who do you admire and why?

“Too many to do justice to. I have been blessed to meet and work with so many of the greats over the years. My parents rank alone in their influence on my life: My father, as a beloved rabbi for nearly 50 years in one synagogue and he and my mother as passionate social justice activists. In the Jewish social justice arena, my two most influential Jewish social justice mentors were Al Vorspan, the longtime social justice VP of the Reform Jewish Movement, and at 90, in my Continue reading

Is Kale The New Marsha?

by on January 21, 2014

Kale Grapefruit Salad Recipe

Seems like Kale is the Marsha Brady of the food world with everyone chanting “Ka-le, Ka-le, Ka-le”!  Just like Marsha, the obsession with it is completely justified. Kale has extraordinary nutrient value, is heartily available in the winter months, and is said to defend against cancer and high cholesterol.  Why not take this super food for a spin? Here is a delicious salad recipe that takes advantage of winter produce.

Delicious grapefruit is very low in calories, high in fiber, and an excellent source of antioxidant vitamin-C.
By Jeannie Solomon of the PJCC

Serves 2
1 large bunch of thinly sliced kale (stems removed)
2  tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
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Powerful Force in Washington DC Comes to PJCC

by on January 16, 2014

Rabbi David Saperstein

Interview with Rabbi David Saperstein - Part 1

The North Peninsula Jewish Community is honored to welcome Rabbi David Saperstein, a passionate spokesperson for social justice, as our 2014 Scholar in Residence. Rabbi Saperstein is Director and Counsel of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, representing the Reform Jewish Movement to Congress and the Administration. In 2009 Newseek Magazine named Rabbi Saperstein as the most influential rabbi in the country and the Washington Post described him as “the quintessential religious lobbyist on Capitol Hill.”

Rabbi Saperstein was kind enough to give us this interview so that our community might get to know him better. Continue reading

Dynamic Duos

by on


The Perks of Being a Duo

Simon & Garfunkel topped the charts in the very unofficial hallway poll of favorite famous musical duos I conducted.  “Of course this is the PJCC,” a co-worker warned, should the results seem in any way biased.  If your favorite is Hall & Oates, Sonny & Cher, or Ike & Tina Turner, rest assured you were also represented.

It got me pondering the many ways in which 4 hands can be better than two, musically.  So I went directly to the source and asked our upcoming Up Close performers for their impressions of duodum. Continue reading

Foodie-ism & Meditation

by on January 15, 2014


Dear PJCC Friends and Fans,

A hearty welcome to our inaugural PJCC blog issue. We created this digital publication to serve your needs and interests. Our goal is to help you be better informed, educated, and entertained for your greatest health and wellness.

You can count on receiving blog content that includes everything from raising inquisitive, confident children, to caring for your personal wellness, to experiencing the arts and exploring contemporary Jewish themes. We will sprinkle in fun along the way as we know that lightness is a key ingredient for a happy heart and a healthy community. Continue reading