Category Archives: Healthy Living

What To Do The Next Two Weeks In Baltimore

Check out these great events for the whole family sponsored by The Associated or Associated agencies.

IMG_6822Fitness Party Free Classes!
Sunday, July 21
8:30-11:30 a.m.
Shaping up this summer has never been so easy. Join the JCC’s fitness celebration and take part in some free calorie burning classes. Enjoy BODYPUMP™ (using weights), BODYSTEP™ (using a step), SH’BAM ™ (using dance), BODYCOMBAT™ (using martial arts) or BODYFLOW™ (using yoga, Pilates and tai chi). Event will be held at the Weinberg Park Heights JCC, 5700 Park Heights Ave.

3-kids-iStock_000002002226LargeHow To Talk To Your Kids About Death and Dying
Tuesday, July 23
6:00 – 7:30 p.m.

Loren Walsh, Jewish Community Services Community Connection Facilitator, will lead a discussion on how to talk to your children about death and dying. This program is part of a JCS monthly parenting series, targeting families of children of all ages.
This free program, also sponsored by the JCC, will be held at the JCS Owings Mills location, 3506 Gwynnbrook Ave. Babysitting is available for a small fee. For information and to register, contact Lorna Walsh at 410-843-7568 or

iStock_000006638950MediumPearlstone Center’s Family Farm Camp
July 26 – July 30
Step away from your busy life and bring your family for a week of farming, learning and celebrating at the Pearlstone Center, 5245 Mount Gilead Road. Harvest fresh produce, milk and feed the goats and prepare snacks and meals using ingredients from Pearlstone’s five-acre farm. Participate in skills workshops, such as cheese-making, soap making and pickling. Enjoy traditional camp activities, including swimming, sports, yoga and arts and crafts. The event kicks-off with a special family-friendly Shabbat.
For more information, email Lisa at

childrenhomePJ Volunteer Info/Coffee session
Thursday, August 1
10:00 a.m.
Macks Center for Jewish Education
8:30 p.m.
Parke at Mount Washington

Join PJ Library for a volunteer information session and enjoy coffee, snacks and giveaways. If you are a passionate PJ Library parent or grandparent who would like to be more involved in our activities and events, this session is for you. Learn more at


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Welcome to Kveller, Baltimore!

By Deborah Kolben

If you’re reading this from Charm City, then Kveller has some great news for you. We’re very excited to announce the launch of the brand new Kveller Baltimore site. It’s got everything that’s made Kveller a hit worldwide, but with some added bonuses just for the Jewish families of Baltimore, Maryland.

So what does this mean? If you live in Baltimore, every time you visit the Kveller homepage you’ll be automatically taken to the Kveller Baltimore site (isn’t the internet magical?). There, you’ll find all the blog posts, recipes, holiday ideas, and updates from actress Mayim Bialik that bring Jewish parents to Kveller every day, but you’ll also find an entire calendar of events for young Jewish kids in the Baltimore area as well as extensive local resources. Whether you’re looking for a mohel, preschool, day school, synagogue, kosher supermarket, or great place to drag your kids on a rainy day, Kveller Baltimore has you covered.

We’re very thankful to the Center for Jewish Education and THE ASSOCIATED: Jewish Community Federation of Baltimore for championing this new project. We spend a lot of time reaching out to Jewish families online, but it really makes us kvell when Jewish parents interact with other Jewish parents and organizations in a meaningful way, in real life too.

We’d like to welcome all our new readers coming to us from Baltimore. We’re super excited to have you as part of our Kveller community and hope you make yourself at home. As a bonus, here’s Mayim Bialik with a special welcome message:

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Filed under Families, Healthy Living, Jewish Learning, Volunteering & Advocacy

What Adam Sandler Didn’t Know

Family TogetherBy Esther Apt
Jewish Community Center

Too bad Adam Sandler didn’t live in Baltimore during the holiday season. If he had, I bet he wouldn’t have been so upset to be, “the only kid in town without a x-mas tree.” To quote his well-known Hanukah Song, here are some ideas to help make the season more…“fun-akkah!”

This Dec 25, nix the movies and Chinese food (or maybe just enjoy them later in the day).  From 1:00-4:00 p.m. the Rosenbloom Owings Mills JCC will be having their annual family event complete with games and entertainment for all ages. At Peace, Love & JCC, families can don their bellbottoms and love beads to have some 60’s style fun. The day will include plenty of arts and crafts projects, a slinky obstacle course, a moonbounce and a GIANT Twister game!

What about the rest of the week when the kids are off of school and you have to work?  Instead of spending their vacation time roaming the malls, teens in grades 6-8 can get a can get a taste of the JCC’s popular TNT summer program. “This is a great opportunity for kids to get in some community service hours while gaining leadership skills,” says Brad Kerxton, JCC Middle School Program Coordinator.

The first installment of TNT for a Day takes place on Wednesday, December 26 from 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. at the Rosenbloom Owings Mills JCC. The morning will be spent working in the preschool and the afternoon will consist of fun group activities.

After all the fun is done, buckle down and resolve to be healthy this year. As we all know, ‘tis the season to make those New Year’s resolutions!
Both JCC’s are offering an eight-week Weight Loss Program from January 6 to March 1, 2013. There are four levels to choose from and the higher the level the more personalized attention and guidance you will get.

For example, if you take charge of your own weigh-ins and weekly measurements but want to receive weekly motivational emails, “On my Own” is the program  for you. For eight personal training sessions and a food journal review, pick the “Crown Me Champ” option.

Check out the different weight loss program options>>

Learn more about Peace, Love & JCC>>

To register for TNT for a Day and for information on additional January and February dates, contact Brad at .

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Filed under Families, Healthy Living, Teens, Women, Young Adults

Solutions to Elder Care

iStock_VisitingElderly_10352745MediumBy Jacqueline Kreinik, R.N., M.S., CMC,
Manager, Elder Care Services
Jewish Community Services

With so many people living longer today, most of us eventually are going to be taking care of an aging relative, whether it’s a parent, spouse or other family member — if we aren’t already doing so. No matter how good our relationships with our loved ones may be, the responsibilities and stresses of care-giving can feel overwhelming, and they’re intensified when we feel we have to handle things alone.

Caregivers say they are most concerned about:

  • Safety: Will Dad fall? What if Mom can’t climb the stairs in her house any longer? Will she forget to turn off the tea kettle or oven? Should my spouse still be driving?
  • Medication: Who will reliably fill prescriptions? Is Dad managing his medications and taking them on time?
  • Navigating the health care system: Who can keep track of so many doctors’ appointments, forms to fill out, and differing advice? How do you get to the person you need to speak to?
  • Isolation: If Mom can’t drive any longer, how will she get to important  appointments and see her friends?
  • Finding resources: What alternative housing arrangements are available? When is it time to move to a facility that provides support services? How to find a reliable companion or home health care service?

The good news is that you don’t have to deal with these challenges alone. There are resources to help families.

One of the best is Elder Care (or Senior Care) Management. Many people aren’t familiar with this comprehensive service. Simply put, Elder Care Management supports older individuals in their desire to continue living in their own homes or in other settings (assisted living facilities, CCRC’s, or skilled nursing homes) with maximum independence and dignity.

A certified Elder Care Manager can become a caregiver’s best friend. When families first contact an Elder Care Manager (ECM), they learn that this professional, who is also a licensed nurse and social worker with expertise in aging, can visit their elder’s home to assess safety factors, as well as their loved one’s current physical, emotional, cognitive and social health.The ECM can then make recommendations and design a personalized plan of care.

With a wealth of expertise, knowledge and connections, an ECM can cut through red tape, navigate the health care system, coordinate medical care, and get results, saving you time and many headaches. The ECM advocates for your older relative and collaborates with the family, almost like becoming part of a team. The ECM can gather information and resources and help you make informed decisions that are right for your family.

A good Elder Care Manager is someone to lean on, someone who is always there for you. By taking many responsibilities and dilemmas off your shoulders and by helping you plan for the future, the ECM allows you to focus on your relationship with your loved one and ensure him or her the best quality of life.

If you are a caregiver who would like some support, we invite you to call an Elder Care specialist and learn more about how Elder Care Management can help you.

For more information, call Jewish Community Services, 410-466-9200.

Check out “Caring for Elders Leads to New Profession,” a profile on Jacqueline in the December issue of The Beacon>>

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Is NOW the Best Time to Buy a New Home?

5 Ways to Prepare for Buying Your Bargain Dream House
By Shelley Weinreb

More and more, we’re hearing reports that the housing market is making a comeback. Ask any realtor and they’ll tell you that people are starting to buy again. And with good reason–prices are still very low and there are plenty of quality, bargain properties on the market.  So could this be the perfect time to shop for your dream home?

If you’re thinking of buying a new home, here are five smart insider tips you can start doing now to maximize your success:

  1. Get your credit in shape. Nothing kills a good deal like bad credit. The last thing you want is to lose out on a fantastic home because of “issues” with your credit.  Now is the time to examine and correct any errors or negative items before they sabotage your chances.
  2. Study, research, inquire. Thanks to the Internet, information on just about any real estate topic known to man is available in seconds.  Want to know about housing prices, tax rates, schools, shopping and even the lifestyle of a particular neighborhood? It’s all searchable online. Websites like and provide insight into many aspects of a neighborhood’s character.
  3. Attend CHAI’s Smart Homebuyer’s Workshop. Every month, CHAI offers its three-hour homebuyer’s workshop packed with no-strings-attached information and advice for first time and seasoned homebuyers alike.  Want to know which credit report website to trust (that’s not trying to sell you something)? How to get homebuyer grants, awards and interest-free loans? What to know what to look out for to avoid common and costly mistakes?  CHAI is your source for unbiased, great information to help you find and afford a home.
  4. Stash your cash. Stow away as much as you can for your down payment and closing costs. Even if you think you’ve saved enough, tighten your belt and pile up a few extra pennies. That cash cushion will come in very handy for repairs and those inevitable expenses that pop up once you move into your new home.
  5. Get rid of what you don’t need. Lighten your load. Sell, donate, give away what you’ve been holding onto but don’t use. You’ll have less to move and more space to live in.  Plus it’ll feel great to start off in your new home with less clutter.

Perhaps the best advice for the hopeful homebuyer is … patience. Your dream home is out there. Don’t grab the first thing that comes along if it’s not what you really want. It’s still very much a buyer’s market. Also, now’s not the time to make any major financial changes like starting a new business or buying a new car. Hold off on big purchases until after you’re in your new home.

Get more details on CHAI’s next Smart Homebuyer’s Workshop>>

For more information on how CHAI can help make your dream of owning a home come true in northwest Baltimore City, call 410-500-5309.

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“It’s Easy Being Green”

By Morris Panitz
Program Director, Kayam Farm

Kermit the Frog has been misquoted! Sure, he said “It’s not easy being green,” but, if you listen to the whole song, you’ll remember that’s not all he said.  After recounting the difficulties of “being green,” he shifted his attitude and sang (or croaked):

But green‘s the color of Spring
And green can be cool and friendly-like
And green can be big like an ocean, or important
Like a mountain, or tall like a tree.

Kermit looked himself in the mirror and realized that “being green” can be understood much more broadly than he once imagined. Let’s join Kermit on that journey of self-realization (yes, I realize Kermit is a Muppet) and expand our notion of what it means to live a green life. Here, we can turn to our tradition for insight into how to live an environmentally and socially conscious life.

As Abraham Joshua Heschel famously said, “Wonder rather than doubt is the root of all knowledge.”  When we take the time to notice the beauty of nature, the complexity and interconnectedness of the living world and the simple fact that we are living, loving creatures, we create the foundation for a life of awe and amazement, gratitude and awareness. With this foundation, we encounter the world and strive for solutions to the social and environmental issues that threaten our sustainability.

We mistakenly think that environmental and social causes belong in different conversations; whereas, in reality, the interconnectedness of our social and environmental issues demands our full, undivided attention. While pesticides degrade our soil and contaminate our water sources, poisoning vital soil biology and aquatic life, poor communities suffer the health consequences of cheaply produced, processed food and contaminated water. When we advocate for fair distribution of food, we must also ask the fundamental questions of how that food is grown and at what cost to the health of our planet.  Being green and being a social justice advocate are two sides of the same coin.

Our Jewish calendar and the holidays we celebrate throughout are based on the natural cycles of our planet and the agricultural rhythms our ancestors knew so well. Imagine a Judaism that went beyond Tu B’Shvat as the only day of the year in which we examine our connection to the Earth. As we celebrate Sukkot in the upcoming holiday season, let’s reclaim the agricultural roots of the holiday. Known as the Harvest Festival, Sukkot is a time to express our gratitude for the water that animates life, the food that sustains us and the opportunity to gather as community to celebrate our countless blessings.

When green is all there is to be
It could make you wonder why, but why wonder why
Wonder, I am green and it’ll do fine, it’s beautiful
And I think it’s what I want to be

Join us at the Pearlstone Center, October 5-7, for our 20’s and 30’s Sukkot Retreat>>

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You’re Number One

By Amy Schwartz
Fitness & Wellness Director, Jewish Community Center

Is your life about volunteering for school, cleaning up messes, making snacks, planning meals, driving to school, scheduling play dates, etc.? Do you feel guilty when you do something for yourself?

Making “you” a priority helps the whole family. Having a family is one of the greatest joys in life. But it can also be one of the hardest parts of your life to integrate with your exercise routine. Why? Because people often put their families before themselves – often going so far as to forget their own needs.

Since most of us already know that we should take care of ourselves—but often have trouble figuring out how to do it—here are some guidelines for getting there:

  • Protect the “physical” you with adequate sleep, regular exercise, and good nutrition.
  • Value the “emotional” you as much as the physical, with a support system of friends.
  • Schedule fun activities often—it’s just as important to plan pleasure as it is to plan work.
  • Combine family time with exercise—go for a hike, ride bikes, play Frisbee, go to the park.
  • And finally, learn to say “No!” Reserve your “yes” for the things that are most important to you.

Just remember – you are as important as your kids. Yes, your family needs your time and energy. Taking care of yourself sets a great example. Positive energy creates more positive energy. The happier and healthier you are, the happier and healthier your kids and spouse will be.

There are so many time efficient ways to get in at least an hour of fitness that will help you be healthy. Group fitness classes provide a social atmosphere, great energy and extra motivation – or hire a personal trainer to help you meet your personal fitness goals.

Want to learn more about group fitness classes or personal training at the JCC? Contact Lynn Rosen-Stone (Owings Mills JCC) 410-559-3535 or Jackie Foreman (Park Heights JCC) 410-500-5919.

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