Short Circuits

For those of us trying to cram in workouts where we can in between work, home, friends, shopping, drinks, parties… Here’s something fun to do with 25 minutes (if 25 minutes is all you get to work with).  I did this one last Saturday and my abs and arms are still feeling it 3 days later.


  1.  5 minutes on the elliptical for as high as you can stand it
  2. Assisted pull up; weight should allow you to do no more than 8-10 repetitions
  3. 12  hanging ab curls.  (this is that thing that looks like a chair with no seat).  Press your back against the padded back rest, press your arms into the arm rests, and lift your knees 12 times (or more if you can)  Don’t forget to pull your stomach in tight against your back!
  4. 5 minutes back to the elliptical (or arc machine…that works great too)
  5. Back to the assisted pull up/hanging ab curls combo
  6. Last 5 minutes on the elliptical


This combination of things keeps your heart rate steadily up for the full 25 minutes, and also allows your arms and abdominals some great attention. 

 The combination of assisted pull ups and hanging curls target biceps, shoulders, triceps, and the full abdominal wall.   Make sure if you’re walking home you use it as your cool down, and don’t forget to do a few stretches while you do. 


Camille Diamond is the Director of Community Engagement and Communications at the 14th Street Y. 

She also likes exercise and is generally too busy for more than 25 minutes at a time



Kudos to Pangs!

At the 14th Street Y, we are proud of our Theater because it’s a unique, green, and  gorgeous black box space.  We love that we get to be a resource to theatre companies such as Untitled Theater Company #61, and heartily congratulate them  on their review in the NY Times  for Pangs of the Messiah.

 According to The New York Times, Edward Einhorn’s direction “crackles with life and energy”, Jane Stein’s set is “gorgeous”, Yvonne Roen is “feisty” and  Elliot Mayer is “charismatic”. “Our empathy and identification with the Bergers – a typical family, with typical hungers and thirsts, squabbles and chores – intensifies our discomfort with their increasing radicalization”

For more information on Untitled Theater Company, Click Here:

Falling off the Treadmill

Not literally. 

Here are some tips about how you can get back into your exercise routine after getting away from the habit.  This particular list was reposted from, but we’d like to add two of our own!

1.  Did you know that you get a FREE personal training session with your membership?  If you haven’t done it yet, now might be the perfect time to work with an expert who can help you create a program.  Contact  to schedule your appointment today!

2.  As #6 in the list states, working out with a buddy can make all the difference.  You may not keep a commitment to yourself to show up, but probably will for a friend!  Take advantage of our Member referral program and tell your friends about us.  You’ll get a free month of membership when they join, and a workout buddy to boot. 

-The 14th Street Y


It’s okay, you can finally admit it. It’s been two months since you’ve seen the inside of the gym. Getting sick, family crisis, overtime at work and school papers that needed to get finished all kept you for exercising. Now, the question is: how do you start again?

Once you have an exercise habit, it becomes automatic. You just go to the gym, there is no force involved. But after a month, two months or possibly a year off, it can be hard to get started again. Here are some tips to climb back on that treadmill after you’ve fallen off.

  1. Don’t Break the Habit – The easiest way to keep things going is simply not to stop. Avoid long breaks in exercising or rebuilding the habit will take some effort. This may be advice a little too late for some people. But if you have an exercise habit going, don’t drop it at the first sign of trouble.
  2. Reward Showing Up – Woody Allen once said that, “Half of life is showing up.” I’d argue that 90% of making a habit is just making the effort to get there. You can worry about your weight, amount of laps you run or the amount you can bench press later.
  3. Commit for Thirty Days – Make a commitment to go every day (even just for 20 minutes) for one month. This will solidify the exercise habit. By making a commitment you also take pressure off yourself in the first weeks back of deciding whether to go.
  4. Make it Fun – If you don’t enjoy yourself at the gym, it is going to be hard to keep it a habit. There are thousands of ways you can move your body and exercise, so don’t give up if you’ve decided lifting weights or doing crunches isn’t for you. Many large fitness centers will offer a range of programs that can suit your tastes.
  5. Schedule During Quiet Hours – Don’t put exercise time in a place where it will easily be pushed aside by something more important. Right after work or first thing in the morning are often good places to put it. Lunch-hour workouts might be too easy to skip if work demands start mounting.
  6. Get a Buddy – Grab a friend to join you. Having a social aspect to exercising can boost your commitment to the exercise habit.
  7. X Your Calendar – One person I know has the habit of drawing a red “X” through any day on the calendar he goes to the gym. The benefit of this is it quickly shows how long it has been since you’ve gone to the gym. Keeping a steady amount of X’s on your calendar is an easy way to motivate yourself.
  8. Enjoyment Before Effort – After you finish any work out, ask yourself what parts you enjoyed and what parts you did not. As a rule, the enjoyable aspects of your workout will get done and the rest will be avoided. By focusing on how you can make workouts more enjoyable, you can make sure you want to keep going to the gym.
  9. Create a Ritual – Your workout routine should become so ingrained that it becomes a ritual. This means that the time of day, place or cue automatically starts you towards grabbing your bag and heading out. If your workout times are completely random, it will be harder to benefit from the momentum of a ritual.
  10. Stress Relief – What do you do when your stressed? Chances are it isn’t running. But exercise can be a great way to relieve stress, releasing endorphin which will improve your mood. The next time you feel stressed or tired, try doing an exercise you enjoy. When stress relief is linked to exercise, it is easy to regain the habit even after a leave of absence.
  11. Measure Fitness – Weight isn’t always the best number to track. Increase in muscle can offset decreases in fat so the scale doesn’t change even if your body is. But fitness improvements are a great way to stay motivated. Recording simple numbers such as the number of push-ups, sit-ups or speed you can run can help you see that the exercise is making you stronger and faster.
  12. Habits First, Equipment Later – Fancy equipment doesn’t create a habit for exercise. Despite this, some people still believe that buying a thousand dollar machine will make up for their inactivity. It won’t. Start building the exercise habit first, only afterwards should you worry about having a personal gym.
  13. Isolate Your Weakness – If falling off the exercise wagon is a common occurrence for you, find out why. Do you not enjoy exercising? Is it a lack of time? Is it feeling self-conscious at the gym? Is it a lack of fitness know-how? As soon as you can isolate your weakness, you can make steps to improve the situation.
  14. Start Small – Trying to run fifteen miles your first workout isn’t a good way to build a habit. Work below your capacity for the first few weeks to build the habit. Otherwise you might scare yourself off after a brutal workout.
  15. Go for Yourself, Not to Impress – Going to the gym with the only goal of looking great is like starting a business with only the goal to make money. The effort can’t justify the results. But if you go to the gym to push yourself, gain energy and have a good time, then you can keep going even when results are slow.

Occupying and Judaism


Our Executive Director, Dr. Stephen Hazan Arnoff can add musician, sports fan, Bob Dylan enthusiast, scholar and writer among his list of talents.   Stephen has his own blog; “Talkin’ Hava Nagilah Blues”, and from time to time we like to re-post from it. Here.   Enjoy!
-14th Street Y
Many talented people have shared in the call to Occupy Judaism as part of the global Occupy Wall Street movement. As these efforts stew, some have complained that Occupy Wall Street is not asking for enough or that it is destructive or misdirected or just plain lazy. Occupy Judaism has been critiqued and praised as well.
Like all elements of OWS, a self-defined Jewish iteration of challenge to the cluster of fiscal and political structures that threaten the health and sustainability of the working, thinking, governing, voting, educating, entertaining, and living, breathing core of our society still seeks definition. But even now the questions that these energizing voices raise are vital and exciting.
Reflection on the meaning of traditional Jewish concepts in the bright light of contemporary concerns offers useful perspective for how to understand them. As has been done for millennia, simply parsing a key term of conflict or curiosity using its classical Hebrew meaning and context in relationship with now urges imagination for solving problems.
In this case, midrash on the term “occupy” offers an opportunity to shape a generative, pluralistic Jewish approach to social critique and action that may serve Jewish causes and be useful to the OWS moment as a whole, too.
There are several classical Hebrew terms which might be applied to “occupation.”
One of them is already loaded from its attempted use in defining the conflict over land and autonomy facing Israelis and Palestinians.  In the Israeli-Palestinian landscape, the typical translation of “occupy” is kiboosh, which implies violent control of the collective will of the occupied. Such language is not fully useful in the work of OWS, and perhaps not in the Middle East as well.
In considering the flow of Occupy Wall Street thus far – more or less non-violent from the perspective of the protesters and distinct in its primary desire just to be in the space of Zuccotti Park as ideas about what comes next develop – a better term might be range of meanings offered by the Hebrew root s-kh-n, broadly meaning “to dwell.”
As I have noted elsewhere, the Hebrew root s-kh-n is the source for the term mishkan (the traveling Tabernacle in the desert which served as a precursor to the Temple), shekhina (a word for God’s most visceral presence), and shakhen and shakhoona, meaning neighbor or neighborhood, respectively.
Consideration of the multiple meanings derived from the root s-kh-n suggests principals that likely make good social, economic, and cultural sense for shaping some of the core values OWS and its Jewish off-shoot.
First and foremost, mishkan, or Tabernacle, implies that communities need a nexus and a praxis for gathering to do their holy work.
Zuccotti Park is a nexus, a geographical site in the very center of Lower Manhattan where Wall Street mythically and to some extent actually lives, but it only comes alive for OWS because it is animated by praxis: the force of music, words, formal gatherings, informal connection and conversation, religious ceremonies, and more. Furthermore, it is open to and planned by and for the people who have marked it as a kind of sacred space. Nexus is marked by praxis – the doing of meaning in a ritually defined communal space.
People enjoying dynamic, open space for rituals of dialogue and expression feel less alienated, trapped, and angry – even when the issues they face are gigantic. So goes religion when practiced well.  Public space charged with generative, peaceful ritual meaning serves as a heart of a society concentrating and dispersing meaning. Like the mishkan in ancient Israel, where any member of the community could have an offering made on its behalf, Zuccotti Park has become a designated communal space for manufacturing and sharing interlocking circles of ritual meaning. This is something every community needs and should aspire to.
Secondly, s-kh-n is the root of shekhina. While this concept has changed its theological meaning over time, shekhina can be understood generally as the emanation or presence of God closest to mundane human experience. Many of my colleagues and friends participated in Jewish ritual work in the park recently in an attempt to suggest the need for an element of divine prescence at OWS. If mishkan or Tabernacle offers a possibility shaped by humans for a nexus and praxis that urges forth meaing, it is shekhina that must become manifest for divine meaning to be felt.
There is a reason why every American politician on nearly any public stage says some version of “God Bless the United States or America” at the close of her or his words.  Cynicism aside, there is nothing wrong with wanting to be blessed, with wanting a sense of the holy in the places where we live and work. This is particularly true in moments when our leaders are sharing their hopes and dreams for our lives together. By inviting the divine into communal space as suggested by the shekhina opens the human heart to meaning in the same way that a mishkan opens physical space to meaning.
Finally, the root s-kh-n is the structure from which are derived the words  shakhen and shakhoona, meaning neighbor or neighborhood, respectively. Preached on bumperstickers or in union halls and or on the big board at fancy D.C. hotels where planning and plotting to capture states red or blue unfolds, “all politics are local” is an essential democractic principal. This phrase means many things, but in context of the concerns emrging from OWS, we can say that politics are and should be about how we all live in our neighborhoods with our neighbors.  Shakhen and shakhoona mean interconnectedness and dependency in a delicate ecosystem. If local or transnational businesses, just like individuals embedded in a vast web of other people and things, addressed our local and global ecosystem more responsibly and fairly – knowing that all the world is our neighborhood now – not only would our world as a whole be far less warped by fiscal, environmental, and cultural disregard, but our local experiences would be more secure, engaged, capitalized, and connected. When a business or person conceives of his or her or itself in isolation, there is no room for mishkan or shekinah. Society unravels because it has no glue. Anger grows. Local and global splinter.
There is nothing simple about the issues addressed by OWS, but close reading of a single ancient concept of how people, place, and the divine are intertwined in a single word shares hints of the possibilities for generative work together. This work carries the chance for vocation and avocation combined – a true occupation of self in partnership with others.  

FAB LOAD OUT! (this friday!)

As you know, Our 14th Street Y Theater has made it a point to be as GREEN as possible whenever we can be.  This means repurposing old props and furniture, breaking down and storing wood from old sets so it can be used again, and when possible, donating theater furniture and set pieces.

Thanks to FAB (Fourth Arts Block) we have an opportunity to donate tons of stuff this week!  Check out the list of what we’re donating:

– large metal desk with 4 drawers about 3′ h x5’w x 2’depth
– 5′ x about 4′ filling drawers
– 3 doors w/ door frames so about 8’x4′
– and about 6 10’x3″ metal kabuki screens

 Are you interested in donating to Load OUT, or maybe in acquiring some of this gently used stuff?  Here’s the Info: 

Load OUT!, A Creative Re-Use Event

November 5, 12pm-3:30pm / MFTA member preview 11am-12pm
FREE curbside e-waste & clothing/textile collection from 11am – 3:30pm
FABnyc and Materials for the Arts invite you to DONATE your gently used clothes, costumes, textiles, books, props, furniture, and electronics to Load OUT!, a creative recycle/re-use & repurposing event. Then, COLLECT all the costumes, props, and furniture you need for your next artistic endeavor. Try your hand at art making with the supplies on site. Sponsored by Materials for the Arts, GrowNYC, WeRecycle!, Eco Action Network, and the NYC Department of Sanitation.