Blog of the Barshop JCC

And Yet, I Act

Brandi Hollsten, Guest Blogger on Wednesday, July 29, 2015 at 4:00:00 pm in Arts & Culture 
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Some guy once said to me “If you have a passion for anything other than acting, choose that instead.” As an Aries, I feel it’s my duty – nay, my responsibility – NAY, MY DESTINY – to challenge Mr. Passion-Quote-Man and his statement.

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Join Us for A New Spin On!

Rachel Rustin, Director of Jewish Journeys on Thursday, July 16, 2015 at 12:00:00 am in Community is our Middle Name 
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I like to multi-task. With life being so busy, why do only one thing when you could be doing two things at the same time? This thought is one of the things that lead us to introduce an innovative series, called A New Spin On, here at the JCC. How often have you been exercising and felt like you could be doing so much more with your brain?

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Join Us for YOUR JCC Community Dinner!

Aliyah Kuchinsky, Director of Arts & Culture on Wednesday, June 24, 2015 at 8:00:00 am in Community is our Middle Name 
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Y’all Come! Don’t Cook, Don’t Clean - Just Make Reservations and Join Us!

Kids aged 5 and under eat FREE, 6-11 $10 and 12+ $15.

You have been busy here at the JCC. Campers are cheering, swimmers are lapping, tennis players are swinging and the basketball players are dribbling. Let us make your Thursday night simple and social…

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Summer at the J

Allison Cornwell, Marketing & Sales Coordinator on Wednesday, June 10, 2015 at 12:00:00 am in Community is our Middle Name 
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“School’s out for summer!”

There aren’t many among us who have not uttered that phrase or sung that lyric with unbridled enthusiasm as the final bell chimes, announcing the end of the school year and the beginning of summer vacation. When I think of summer, visions of beaches, pools, road maps, journals, reading, and camp dance through my brain.

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Poise in the Face of Adversity: What Our Troops Can Teach Us About Spotty WiFi, Starbucks Lines, and Bad Drivers

Mark Lee Greenblatt, Guest Blogger on Tuesday, May 19, 2015 at 12:00:00 am in Arts & Culture 
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This post is featured on Mark Lee Greenblatt's website and is used here with his permission.

As we approach Veterans Day, our thoughts naturally turn to the men and women who have served our country and their sacrifices on our behalf. This year, let’s take it one step farther and contemplate what we civilians can learn from the experiences of our military men and women.

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STARZ Actor Moves from Stage to Production Team

Miriam Bernstein, Guest Blogger on Tuesday, May 12, 2015 at 8:00:00 am in Youth Programs 
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My t-shirt from NOVA’s 2008 production of Alice in Wonderland, my fifth and final NOVA performance, has a special place in my room, along with my shirt from NOVA’s How to Eat like a Child, and my STARZ shirts from Singin’ in the Rain, Honk! and Beauty and the Beast.

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A Day at the J

Aliyah Kuchinsky, Director of Arts & Culture on Wednesday, April 22, 2015 at 8:00:00 am in Community is our Middle Name 
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What does your day at the J look like? Surely each of us can paint a very different picture. For some, their day may be playing a tennis match followed by relaxing at the pool. For others, part of their day could be enjoyed on a calming walk on our nature trail prior to attending a meeting on Campus. 

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JCC Staff Culinary Adventures, Passover-style!

Aliyah Kuchinsky, Director of Arts & Culture on Wednesday, April 8, 2015 at 12:00:00 am in Community is our Middle Name 
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Matzah Pizza, a go-to Passover staple, amateurish maybe. It can easily be prepared in a toaster oven in a dorm room, a microwave at the office, or even prepared cold and uncooked (yes, people do that, ask Rachel!).

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Join Us for a 6th Night Kosher for Passover Dinner

Aliyah Kuchinsky, Director of Arts & Culture on Monday, March 23, 2015 at 8:00:00 am in Community is our Middle Name 
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What to prepare for dinner?

When you are responsible for feeding other people than yourself, it can be a tricky question. Add Passover into the equation and now the query is even more complicated, especially towards the end of the holiday when your Matzah supply may be low. Passover is certainly a feasting holiday, but one with many restrictions, especially on some of the most easy weeknight meals to prepare for busy families, such as pasta, quesadillas, or even a frozen pizza.

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Rabbi Returns to JCC for Third First Night Seder

Rabbi Steve Fisch, Guest Blogger on Tuesday, March 10, 2015 at 12:00:00 am in Community is our Middle Name 
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It hardly seems possible that this will be the third year I am honored by being the Rabbi for the JCC’s community Seder.

When I accepted the invitation for my first Seder with y’all (I am still a southern boy at heart), I had no idea what to expect. Would my jokes and offhand remarks be well received?

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The JCC Culinary Creativity Continues!

Aliyah Kuchinsky, Director of Arts & Culture on Wednesday, March 4, 2015 at 12:00:00 am in Community is our Middle Name 
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Cooking for others is even more satisfying than cooking my favorite meal all for myself.  Whether it be for my family, friends, co-workers, or the teachers at the Block and Dreeben School for Young Children, I am often in the kitchen, preparing at least one of the three daily meals, sometimes a snack, and most often, a dessert.

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The Four Mitzvot to Purim

Rachel Rustin, Director of Jewish Journeys on Monday, March 2, 2015 at 8:00:00 am in Holidays 
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Purim is known for costumes and cookies, but there’s a lot more depth to the holiday.

There are actually four mitzvot to Purim, or four things we are supposed to do to celebrate the holiday. Having a feast is indeed one of them, as are listening to the story (The Megillah Esther), giving gifts to friends (mishloach manot), and giving to the poor (matanot la’evyonim).

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An Adventure to My Never-Visited 2nd Home: The Western Galilee

Samantha Mazuz, Coordinator of Teen & Young Adult Services on Monday, February 23, 2015 at 8:00:00 am in Community is our Middle Name 
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Living in Israel, traveling throughout the country numerous times, and leading Birthright Israel trips, one would think my connection to all parts of my homeland is strong and meaningful. However, part of having a connection with people, forming real memories on the land, and understanding its importance truly brings you much closer to the place.

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Tu B'Shevat

Rachel Rustin, Director of Jewish Journeys on Wednesday, February 4, 2015 at 8:00:00 am in Community is our Middle Name 
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I have too many books.

I’ve got bookshelves at home and bookshelves at work. I have books I’ll never look at and books I should have given away long ago.

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The JCC & The Vex: The Perfect Pair as an Actor Prepares

Kathy Becker, Guest Blogger on Tuesday, February 3, 2015 at 8:00:00 am in Arts & Culture 
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My family and I moved here from Pennsylvania in August and even before we arrived, we had researched the JCC online. The tour of the facility we took on our very first day in San Antonio included a stop at The Vex, where I chatted with Ken Frazier and Dylan Brainard while my kids played on the set of One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest. 

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Choosing Movies at the J

Wendy Barker, Guest Blogger on Friday, January 23, 2015 at 8:00:00 am in Arts & Culture 
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Once again, we're upstairs at the "J," in the JCC's Conference Room. There's just enough light coming from the hallway and the flat screen before us that I can make out the faces in profile of the other members of the Film Festival Committee. It's not just seeing two movies a week from the end of June till mid-October that makes me smile—it's the chance to spend time with a group of congenial grown-ups kibbutzing a few minutes before we start the movie of the day, and then, best of all, to join in the lively discussions that follow.

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The New Diaspora

Victoria Aarons, Guest Blogger on Monday, January 19, 2015 at 8:00:00 am in Arts & Culture 
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The New Diaspora: The Changing Landscape of American Jewish Fiction represents the best in American Jewish writing over the past fifty years. From the post-World War II writers to the present, this anthology of diverse and lively fiction reveals the changing landscape of American Jewish thought and suggests the evolving responses to Jewish identity in America. 

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Why I Learned to Meditate: An Excerpt

Carla Naumburg, Guest Blogger on Wednesday, January 14, 2015 at 8:00:00 am in Community is our Middle Name 
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In my mind, meditation was for hippies who didn’t have their sh*t together and mindfulness was just a fancy word for reformed hippies who barely had their sh*t together. I was happy to spend an hour each week in the confines of a therapy office, but meditation was an entirely different proposition. In my mind, it was just one step away from shaving my head and handing out flowers at the airport.

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Mystery School Bus Teen J-Schmooze

Samantha Mazuz, Coordinator of Teen & Young Adult Services on Tuesday, January 6, 2015 at 1:00:00 pm in Teens 
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With compliments to the annual J-Serve event for teens, this new collaborative event, J-Schmooze, will be another outlet for teens to gather from all around San Antonio to experience something fun and Jewish. This event will allow teens from different backgrounds, Jewish experiences, schools and social circles to come together to connect  through a fun filled evening with Jewish tradition in celebrating Havdallah, socially interacting, and connecting to one another on a deeper level.

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Local Actor Feels at Home on Vex Stage

Scott Leibowitz, Guest Blogger on Friday, January 2, 2015 at 8:00:00 am in Arts & Culture 
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I’ve been acting, on and off, for a bit over 40 years now, in school and at several San Antonio theaters.  The stage has always been a second home, a place I’m compelled to return to now and again to keep me grounded. I first auditioned for a show at The Vex back in 2002. 

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Is Richard Strauss Treyf?

Steven G. Kellman, Ph.D. on Monday, December 29, 2014 at 8:00:00 am in Arts & Culture 
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Was Richard Strauss an anti-Semite? Is Strauss’s music anti-Semitic? Should the personal flaws of an artist affect our experience of the art?  These are some of the questions that Maxine Cohen, David Gross, and I will confront in a public discussion at the JCC on January 4 as part of the San Antonio Symphony 2015 Strauss Festival. 

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Pre-Kindergarten Cultural Friendship Exchange – It’s So Much More than Just a Field Trip

Cynthia Baker, Assistant Director ECD on Wednesday, December 24, 2014 at 8:00:00 am in Early Childhood 
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Our Cultural Friendship Exchange Program, funded by the United Way of San Antonio, has been moving full steam ahead since its inception in the late 1990s, when another child care center director asked our Block and Dreeben School for Young Children director, Alissa Levey Baugh, to share some of the traditions of Hanukkah with their class.

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Live Up to Your Resolutions in 2015!

Allison Newsom, Marketing & Sales Coordinator on Monday, December 22, 2014 at 8:00:00 am in Sports & Fitness 
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Every year, we resolve to be better the next year. Better at singing, better at writing, better at communicating, better at eating healthy, better at working out. We promise to start taking new classes - art, music, fitness. We vow to read more books - perhaps by joining a book club. 

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JCC Staff Get Culinarily Creative for Chanukah

Aliyah Kuchinsky, Director of Arts & Culture on Tuesday, December 16, 2014 at 8:00:00 am in Community is our Middle Name 
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Walking into my office to find a few boxes of latke mix, I knew the challenge was on. Rachel Rustin, Director of Jewish Journeys, and I had been tossing around interesting latke ideas for a few days. Would we celebrate with a fry off in the JCC Boardroom? Cook at home and deliver a feast for co-workers? We had plenty of ideas to recognize the most delicious of holidays but hadn’t solidified plans yet.

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Thanksgiving Thoughts from YOUR JCC Fitness Instructors

JCC Group Exercise Instructors on Tuesday, November 25, 2014 at 9:00:00 am in Sports & Fitness 
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Thanksgiving only comes once a year, so there's no reason to let it sabotage everything you have worked hard to achieve. Most people gain at least one pound over Thanksgiving, some more, and then the cycle continues - it's New Year's Eve and you're vowing to amp up your fitness center attendance and to not let it happen again next year. Instead of getting in this never-ending rut once again, here are a few tips from YOUR JCC's Group Exercise instructors to take with you over the holidays!

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The Merchants Jazz Up the Main Event

Mark Greenwald, Guest Blogger on Tuesday, November 18, 2014 at 11:00:00 am in Community is our Middle Name 
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It is hard to express how happy and proud I am to sing with the Merchants of Jazz for the JCC Main Event. We have been working hard to put together a super program of classic jazz standards that will have everyone tapping their toes and dancing. Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett, Bobby Darin are the kings of vocal Jazz standards, and we plan to bring their cool adult vibe to liven up the party. Our playbook is heavy with songs and music everybody knows and loves.

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Your Tranquility Begins Here

Roberta Varela-Hein, Fitness Instructor on Monday, November 17, 2014 at 9:00:00 am in Sports & Fitness 
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“Physical activity is like a tranquilizer…” thoughts passed to me by Dr. Habib Nathan. We were discussing recent information on exercise from the AMA. OH YES! We can all use a little tranquility since stress will occur. Being physically active is great for mental, physical, and emotional health. There are so many opportunities at the J. Just get up, get out, and get going.

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CHORUS - The Trojan Women

Rose Cohen-Brown, Guest Blogger from The Vex on Wednesday, November 12, 2014 at 9:00:00 am in Arts & Culture 
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I have participated in numerous theatre productions over the decades, both on stage and behind the scenes. Each is unique and from each there is always something to learn. The Sheldon Vexler Theatre has some of the best community theatre productions I have seen – and I have seen theatre in many parts of the U.S. and performed in Minnesota and New York, as well as San Antonio and its surroundings. For The Trojan Women, I would like to talk about the Chorus.

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My Love for Israel is Complicated

Samantha Mazuz, Coordinator of Teen & Young Adult Services on Friday, November 7, 2014 at 9:00:00 am in Community is our Middle Name 
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I like to look back on my upbringing, and when I do, what stands out the most are the Jewish events and celebrations that my family took part in. I completed Hebrew School and Sunday School, I had a Bat Mitzvah that was like a wedding, and I was confirmed during my high school years. My family’s involvement in our Jewish Community was what I would call completely immersed. 

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Body Back® - Meredith's Story

Meredith, Body Back® Participant on Tuesday, November 4, 2014 at 9:00:00 am in Sports & Fitness 
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I completed two sessions of Body Back® and believe it is the best thing I have ever done for myself. I was an athletic youth and in-shape twenty-something, but pregnancy and babies put me in a place where I did not make time to take care of myself. With my first pregnancy, I gained 70 pounds and with the busy schedule and uncertainty of a first-time mom, I was overwhelmed and depressed.

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