As you may know, The 14th Street Y is hosting an OPEN green HOUSE on Sunday, September 18th from 10:00-3:00.  As an organization, we are collectively passionate about caring for the community, neighborhood, city – and ultimately world in which we live. 

Long before the Y began gathering our resources to green our building, Membership Assistant Jane Hong was preaching the good word and walking the talk.  As we gear up for the event featuring music, green goods, food and fun, we asked Jane to share some of her favorite green thoughts.

As a JCC, we can’t help but love that it focuses a bit on guilt.  Enjoy!

-The 14th Street Y


The Y is going green! And on the road towards eco-friendliness, we may hit some bumps. It’s natural that even with the best intentions, we may not feel as though we’re doing enough.

I used to chase down every empty bottle and aluminum can in the building to recycle until I had to stop because the office was getting very cluttered and sticky. This forced me to wipe down my computer station with disinfectant wipes every morning and led to copious amounts of hand washing. All of which resulted in a lot of paper towel and water waste. That was my “Green Guilt” and it’s as normal as schadenfreude.

Danny Seo, a professional environmentalist, loves to upcycle everyday items. He turns old tea sets into a cupcake tray and the likes. Although he admits the glue he uses on these projects is the antithesis of non-toxic and eco-friendly, he can’t seem to find a better product to do the job.

Eric Corey Freed, founder of organicArchitect, based in San Francisco is obsessed with saving water. He wanted to install composting toilets in his home but his wife wouldn’t let him. Instead, he has low-flow toilets. Why is he so obsessed with saving water? Because he has a pool in his backyard.  

Bea Johnson is living an almost waste-free lifestyle. She shops for her family in bulk and farmers’ markets to avoid packaging, never gets junk mail and composts as much as she can. All so she can off-set her annual flights home to France.

Eco-conscious parents are torn by an inevitable decision: cloth or disposable diapers? But relief is in sight! There are plenty of hybrid diapers out there. Our own fitness coordinator, Adja Diarra, used gDiapers after her daughter was born. They are available with either a washable fleece or compostable liner. But she had to switch because her daughter outgrew them too fast. Now she uses Nature Babycare products.

It can feel very overwhelming and that progress is slow – the little act of recycling a bottle may seem worthless compared with glaciers receding at 17m per year. But we won’t get discouraged. Many little acts can amount to something larger. Keeping a local mindset, while thinking of your home and workplace as ecosystems that you are improving, is a good place to start and enough for right now.

Articles I love:,2239/

-Jane Hong is a Greening advocate, goddess of recycling, and incredibly valued Membership Assistant at the 14th Street Y

Not Your Grandma’s “Fiddler”


I mean, everyone loves Fiddler on the Roof, a fantastic way for everyone to relate to jewish tradition and history.  Very innovative for it’s time.  On September 25th, Jewish Plays Project is having a launch party to discover the next innovative and creative way to tell stories through a Jewish lense.   Admission to this fab party is just “one idea”.  Do you have one?  Join the Party on September 25th!


For more information about this event, visit

Our Exec and Dylan- Together Again

 I am proud to have contributed a chapter to the new book Dylan at Play. Published by Cambridge Scholars Press, Dylan at Play offers a range of fresh approaches to Dylan’s work from an eclectic group of scholars. My chapter looks at Dylan’s vision of covenant and salvation through the lens of good buddies Saint Augustine, Max Weber, Blind Willie McTell and a variety of Jewish sages of Late Antiquity.

Dylan at Play is available for purchase from the publisher here and at Amazon and all the rest.

Read the whole article with a sneak peak from the chapter here.


Dr. Stephen Hazan Arnoff, Executive Director

14th Street Y

Strength For Running

Fall is such a Fantastic time to begin running!  If you’ve ever wanted to run, or even started a program and then had to stop due to injury, you might benefit from the exercises below.   These were re-posted from an article written by Brendan Brazier.  You can do all these exercises in our Fitness center at the Y in between those long runs outdoors in the gorgeous weather.  Go to it!

-The 14th Street Y


This workout is for functional strength gain. It will keep you lean and will improve strength-to-weight-ratio and therefore efficacy, endurance and ultimately running performance as a whole. This is taken from my latest book Thrive Fitness: Mental and Physical Strength for Life.

Lower body
• Lunges: 3 sets of 15 reps
A good all round exercise that helps develop the stabilizer muscles. Particularly important if you periodically run on uneven ground. Also serves as a good warm-up.
• Leg press: 3 sets of 6 reps
This is an ideal exercise to quickly increase over-all leg strength without putting your back in jeopardy, as is common with squats.
• Leg Extensions: 3 sets of 6 reps
Strengthens the knee-supporting muscles, thereby reduce the chance of developing knee injuries. Particularly important if cycling is not part of your cross-training routine.
• Ball hamstring curls: 4 sets of 15 reps
Builds hamstring strength and efficacy while boosting abdominal strength
• Calve Raises: 3 sets of 15 reps
Strengthens them, and in doing so improves their efficiency with each toe-off.
• Crunch combined with reverse crunch: 3 sets of 15 reps
Strengthens core, and in doing so helps improve posture, form and breathing.

Upper body: 3 sets of 15 reps
Reduces oxygen usage of the upper body while running, thereby lowering heart rate and improving endurance. Also helps to maintain proper, efficient form, even once fatigue had set in.
• Incline Dumbbell Press
• Lat pull downs with lat row handle
• Upright rows
• Dips
• Bicep curls
• Crunch combined with reverse crunch

* Workout specifics: Perform lower body exercises two times per week, immediately following your hard runs. The upper body portion can be performed two to three times per week, on alternate days. Rest 90 seconds in between lower body exercises and 60 second in between upper body ones. You may choose to do abdominal exercise in between upper body sets.


Read the whole post here:

Stop Slouching!

Sometimes it’s the simple things we do everyday that make a huge difference in our general wellness.  Hunching over our computers and smartphones not only gives us the appearance of a gollum-like form, it also contributes to our feeling like that!

This article from Men’s Health tells it like it is.  Now pull your shoulders back!

– The 14th Street Y 


Shoulders back, chest out. Your mom has told you a million times and, believe it or not, she’s not just saying it to nag—she actually has good reasons. Slouching not only makes you look less attractive, it can also affect your health. And, look around your office, most cube workers are guiltily of bad posture.

“People who sit at a desk for a long period of time tend to roll their shoulders in and hang their head forward,” says Dr. Jason Queiros, a Chiropractor at Stamford Sports and Spine in Connecticut. “Every inch you hold your head forward, you add 10 pounds of pressure on your spine. Let’s say you’re leaning into your monitor by just two inches, that’s 20 extra pounds that your back and spinal column have to endure.” How much damage can those 20 pounds cause? Lots!

Constantly holding that extra 20-pound weight forces your neck and back muscles to work overtime. “They become overused and tired,” says Queiros. Then, when you finally relax them (say, at home after work), the muscles tense up and could spasm, causing nasty tension headaches.

Jaw pains
A misaligned spine puts extra stress on your jaw joints. The lower jaw shifts forward and the upper and lower teeth don’t fit together properly. This can cause lower jaw pains as well as muscle pains in the back of the head.

Picture your comfiest position when you’re driving a car or sitting in your desk chair: Chances are, you favor one side of your body and lean toward it. “The muscles on that side are taking the brunt of your weight and stress,” warns Queiros. With poor posture, one side of your body is tight and spastic and the other side is loose. “That will throw off your body’s biomechanics.”

Spine alignment issues
If your spine isn’t aligning properly, it can affect your rib cage, which can damage your heart and lungs, and ultimately lead to gastrointestinal issues.

It’s easy to slouch if you’re not constantly thinking about your posture (in fact, you’re probably even doing it while you read this article), but there’s good news: Your slouch is reversible. “As long as you catch it before you’re a 60-year-old decrepit man,” jokes Queiros. Of course you’ll need to arrange your desk properly (get a headset for your phone, center your monitor, lower your armrests, etc.), but there are also some easy exercises you can do to help correct your slouch and get your mind thinking about posture.

Scapula retraction
Scapula retraction is a fancy way of saying to squeeze your shoulder blades together. “People kill their chest at the gym but you’ve got to work out your back as well,” Queiros points out. Grab resistance bands in front of you and pull the bands to your chest. Squeeze your shoulder blades together and concentrate on stretching your upper back. Come back to your natural position and repeat in three sets of 20.

Chin pulls
Sitting at your desk, suck in your chin. (“It’ll feel like you’re giving yourself a double chin,” says Queiros.) Feel the stretch in the back of your skull and then relax. Do a set of 10 to 20 at least three or five times throughout the day.

Small neck stretches
To loosen up the muscles at the base of your neck while sitting at your desk, bring one ear to your shoulder and let the weight of your head hang. With your opposite arm, grab the bottom of your chair and pull up while your head still hangs—you’ll feel the stretch in the exposed side of your neck—hold for 30 seconds. Repeat on the other side and do the entire stretch three or four times a day.

Extended arm stretch
Put your arms behind your back and lock your hands together. Bring your arms out and let your head hang down. Hold for 30 seconds and feel your neck and shoulder stretch. Repeat three or four times a day.

And a few things to remember at work: Take a 20-minute break every four hours and take five-minute micro-breaks every 30 minutes. Get up and walk around and refresh your position. “You don’t want to be in the same position for more than 30 minutes,” says Queiros.

Theater Lobby Progress

Our Theater renovations continue with some attention to the Theatre ‘Lobby’, which is actually a wide hallway just outside the theater.   How do you pull a Theatre Lobby out of the hallway? Make it retractable! Here, see the mock-up of the tables that will be available in our theater lobby during intermissions, but folded nicely away during busy basketball games.  (This hallway outside of the theater also leads to the basketball gym)

Fitness Tips for Men

Since last week we reposted some Fitness tips for Women, we thought this week we’d post Fitness tips for Men!  This blog comes from ABC News,  and we’re delighted with all the tips.  Our favorite is the directive to eat more.  Nice.

Six-pack abs. Who doesn’t want them? It should come as little surprise that one of the most asked questions that personal trainers get from guys is: “How can I get six-pack abs fast?”

Sure, a flat stomach is great. But it does not indicate good health. Many individuals who have a thinner physique are naturally thin because of their genetic makeup. They burn fat quickly, while the bodies of others are slower at this.

Moreover, whether a man has six-pack abs or a flat stomach tells you nothing about his flexibility, cardiovascular health, strength, digestive system, immune system, respiratory system or central nervous system. In short, if you see a thin person, don’t assume he or she is in shape.

So, if you are a man and you would like to be in shape, what goal should you seek to achieve besides the coveted washboard stomach? After working more than 17 years in the fitness industry and coaching a number of individuals on diet and other aspects of health, I can offer four simple steps:

First, when eating, eat like a man.

Second, when exercising, don’t be delicate; explore and discover.

Third, keep your blood sugar levels stable.

And last but not least, pay attention to the balance between your carbohydrate and protein intake.