Wednesday, September 9, 2020. Issue 33.

What's it like
to exercise outside
at the J?

It's being called a resort-like paradise. But don't just take our word for it. Check out this short video of happy, healthy members:
Activate your membership today to enjoy healthy outdoor workouts in fitness stations with a view.

Jewish Peoplehood
Welcome, Jason Harris!

We are excited to welcome Jason Harris as Acting Director, Center for Jewish Peoplehood.

Jason most recently was Associate Director of HaMaqom, (formerly Lehrhaus Judaica) a premier Jewish learning institution serving the Bay Area. Prior to that, Jason spent five years as a program manager at the Jewish Community Federation and Endowment Fund in San Francisco where he directed the Federation’s Birthright Israel program. He is also the creator and host of Jew Oughta Know, a popular podcast on Jewish and Israeli history.

Jason has a joint Masters Degree in Near Eastern & Judaic Studies and Jewish Communal Service from Brandeis University and a Bachelors degree from UC Davis.

Jason is a native resident of Marin County, grew up attending JCC programs, and worked at the JCC running teen programs in the early 2000’s.  
Adult Learning & Living
As part of the JCC Literary Consortium, we are thrilled to offer our new Book Fest!  From the comfort of your living room, enjoy these live conversations with noted authors and literary giants via Zoom.

Upcoming programs include:

peas love carrots
Danielle Renov
Peas, Love & Carrots: The Cookbook 
with Host Holly Firfer

Wed, Sep 9: 10:00am

Join in this cooking demolive from Israel with Long Island, NY-native, and Israel-resident Danielle Renov. With half Moroccan and half Ashkenaz heritage, Renov will prepare Moroccan Matzah Ball Soup from and discuss her new cookbook. To register for this free event, click here. 
Fredrik Backman
Anxious People: A Novel 
In conversation with Holly Firfer, CNN Journalist.

Fri, Sep 11: 11:00am

From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of A Man Called Ove and "writer of astonishing depth" (The Washington Times) comes a poignant, charming novel about a crime that never took place, a would-be bank robber who disappears into thin air, and eight extremely anxious strangers who find they have more in common than they ever imagined. Presented in partnership with the JCC Literary Consortium. For details & tickets, click here.
Ken Follett
The Evening and the Morning 
in conversation with Erica Jong, New York Times Bestselling Author 

Wed, Sep 16: 10:00am

Thirty years ago, Ken Follett, the #1 New York Times bestselling author published his most popular novel, The Pillars of the Earth. Now, Follett's masterful new prequel, The Evening and the Morning, takes us on an epic journey into a historical past rich with ambition and rivalry, death and birth, love and hate, that will end where The Pillars of the Earth begins. For details & tickets, click here. 
Fred Guttenberg
Find the Helpers: What 9/11 and Parkland Taught Me About Recovery, Purpose, and Hope 
in conversation with Holly Firfer

Tue, Sep 15: 5:00pm

"Always look for the helpers. There will always be helpers. Because if you look for the helpers, you'll know there's hope." - Fred Rogers.
Fred Guttenberg loved watching Mr. Rogers with his daughter and his son when they were young. Their favorite piece of wisdom was: in the midst of tragedy and catastrophe, find the helpers. Find the Helpers tells the story of Fred Guttenberg's journey since his son's death and how he has been able to get through the worst of times thanks to the kindness and compassion of others. For details & tickets, click here.
Ruth Ware
One By One 
In conversation with David Baldacci, New York Times Bestselling Author

Mon, Sep 14: 11:00am

"The Agatha Christie of our generation," Ruth Ware, the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Turn of the Key and In a Dark Dark Wood offers a new, suspenseful thriller set on a snow-covered mountain. For details & tickets, click here.
Jodi Picoult
The Book of Two Ways: A Novel 
In conversation with Judy Blume, New York Times Bestselling Author

Wed, Sep 23: 5:00pm

From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Small Great Things and A Spark of Light comes a riveting novel about the choices that alter the course of our lives. For details & tickets, click here.

Youth & Family
Watercolor DIY
Rosh Hashanah Cards 

As we near the Jewish Holiday of Rosh Hashanah or Jewish New Year, we are preparing by creating our very our Rosh Hashanah cards for our family and friends. 

We invite you all to do the same!

We chose to use watercolor as our medium and it has proven to be a very fun experience. Don't be shy. Practice your designs in advance and be sure to play with mixing colors!

This is a fun and easy way to send family and friends well wishes for the New Year. We encourage you to use watercolor to create beautiful and personalized Rosh Hashanah Cards. Before you hop into the card creation, spend some time practicing with the paint and designs of your choosing! As your cards are drying, select people or families that you would like to send your cards to and address and stamp the envelopes! When the cards are dry you can fill them out and send! 
Materials Needed:

Cultural Arts & Trips
Italian Experiences and Broadway Backstage
Forget a long flight, TSA hassles & mask-wearing, let me zoom you across time zones on three marvelous trips!Join me for:
Still Traveling: Venerable Venice: Foreign Communities
Wednesday, September 9 
11:00am to 12:00pm
via Zoom
With raves for last week’s “trip,” don’t miss our return to explore the sites connected with various foreign communities and the wise, open-minded Venetian politics governing them.
Want to join in the remaining 3-visits? The series is still less expensive than single visits! For details & tickets, click button below.
Broadway Backstage:
Caitlin Kinnunen – The Tony Nominee
Thursday, September 10
1:00 to 2:30pm
via Zoom
Let me sneak you in the Stage Door to go “backstage” on Broadway to meet this delightful singing actor, who brings her unique expertise, experiences & insights to our exclusive, behind-the-scenes visits. Come learn, off-stage, what makes the magic happen on-stage!
Want to join in the remaining 3-visits? The series is still less expensive than single visits! For details and tickets, click button below:
Adult Learning & Living
Coffee Talk
Grab a cup of coffee (or tea, or whatever), pull up a chair, and join others for an engaging chat.

Book Banter
Wednesday, September 9 — 2:00pm
via Zoom
Join me and others for a "no reading book discussion!" Gather to hear and share recommendations, commentary and connections! Whatcha... reading? Fiction? Non-Fiction? Best sellers? Short works? Where do you find reviews, recommendations? Share your latest, greatest find, champion an old/classic favorite or just hear what others are reading.

Documentaries & Discussions
“The True Cost”
Wednesday, September 15 — 1:00pm
via Zoom
Watch the documentary, then bring your reactions, ideas, point of view & questions to join Paula Love, me & others to discuss “The True Cost” of fashion! Thanks to our donors, this program is free! Advance Registration Required!

To watch this month's documentary - The True Cost - for free, click button below.
To register for the discussion, click button below.
Advance registration required.
Minimum of 5 registrants required by 10:00am the morning of the event.
You will automatically receive an email confirmation. If the email is not in your inbox, please check your “junk” or “spam” folders. Still no confirmation? Please re-register making sure to enter the correct email. Still no confirmation? Please contact Danielle at
Thanks to our donors, this program is free!
Be a part of rebuilding our programs. Donations of any amount help make free and low-cost programs such as this possible. Visit and designate your gift to Adult Learning & Living.

Jewish Peoplehood
Feed the body and the soul!
Kitchen Chevruta: Rosh Hashana
with Gabi Moskowitz and Evan Wolkenstein
Thursday, September 10 7:30pm
Free Advance RSVP Required
Join us for an innovative program that integrates Jewish text and cooking for a soul-nourishing, delicious evening. Each one-hour class includes a cooking demo with lively dialogue exploring relevant Jewish texts and conversation.

Registrants will receive the ingredient list, recipes, and Jewish texts before each class.

The holiday Rosh Hashana contains within it the word "head." Many Jewish communities eat something resembling (or from) head-related foods to end the previous year and kick-off the new one. However, our tradition cautions against forgetting the lowly feet (or tail) as we chart our course. So we'll make sure our food is focusing on the head—while bringing along the tail—with roasted carrots with carrot-top pesto and Labneh.

Sign up for upcoming Kitchen Chevruta dates:
Kitchen Chevruta: Sukkot
Fig and Ricotta Flatbread with Honey and Thyme
Thursday, October 1 7:30pm
Kitchen Chevruta: Simchat Torah
The Cyclical-Linear Time Paradox of the Torahand
Challah Cardamom-Cinnamon Rolls
Thursday, October 8 7:30pm
Health & Fitness
More Classes for Virtual Group Fitness!
We are adding more classes! We will be going from 14 classes to 21 classes a week and bringing back some of your favorite teachers!
New Classes

Senior Strength - Kathy Catalano - 11:15a
Piloxing - Alison Morris - 6:00p

Circuit - Julie Van-Hook - 6:00a
Tai Chi - Calvin Ahlgreen - 7:30

Tai Chi - Calvin Ahlgreen - 7:30a
Strength Training - Jaronimo Wright - 6:00p

Piloxing - Jenine Stilson - 11:15a

Active membership required.
If you would like to restart your membership to use the pool and/or outdoor fitness, please click here.
I am a film critic.
Recently, there was a national study: male film critics outnumber female film critics by more than 75 per cent. This came as no surprise to me since I have been making a living in this profession for well over 25 years and still feel the loneliness of my gender. I often wonder if it is the “men don’t like smart women” syndrome? “Just be quiet and be pretty.” “You look so much better when you smile.” Back in the seventies, I was among the first women Associate Directors at a TV network, told that no women ever got this prestigious job because men did not like to accept orders from a female. Perhaps it is the same with our opinions.

It is difficult today for me to find a young woman to mentor in the field of film criticism, though every time I find a woman of any age doing this work, I read or listen with special interest. One of the first books I devoured about movies was written by my favorite film critic, Molly Haskell. Her seminal work From Reverence to Rape: The Treatment of Women in the Movies still sits proudly on my bookshelf. Rob Carver’s insightful documentary (2018) What She Said: The Art of Pauline Kael has us celebrate this controversial but groundbreaking critic. Of course, there have been many others whose shoulders I stand on, as far back as the 1920’s.

When the dismissive term “chick flick” became a part of our vernacular, I was outraged. Does that mean we can only appreciate romantic comedies, that war or adventure films are off limits to us? Can men not find their emotional centers with dramas or “weepies.” I could not find anyone to go along with me on this, and to this day will not use this offensive category in my writing or broadcasting.

The other night I was watching a Bette Davis classic: Now, Voyager. George Cukor directed the story of a woman who transitions from fearful to confident, falling deeply in love along the way. Her change from powerless to powerful is appreciated by both men and women. My husband, a war movie fan, sat down and joined me as the waves of great filmmaking swept over us. Davis’s character crossed all gender lines, as does Auntie Mame or Norma Desmond. Will young men now only see a certain genre of film because it is a “chick flick” to see anything else? This idea is satirized in Nora Ephron’s Sleepless in Seattle, but the truth is not as funny.

Good movies are good movies, and gender has nothing to do with it. From Field of Dreams to Saving Private Ryan, from I Remember Mama to Gigi, we all celebrate and appreciate great cinema. All of us who review movies have our special passions. If a film has an LBGTQ theme (Priscilla Queen of the Desert, Pride, The Celluloid Closet) I will do my best to bring it to everyone’s attention. When a movie is made, all too rarely, about an amazing female (Harriet, Frida Kahlo, Madame C. J. Walker, Harold and Maude, Madame Curie) I am front and center to critique it. There are powerful women in Hollywood today who have their own production companies. It is rewarding when someone like Reese Witherspoon reminds us that she is doing what she said in her Oscar acceptance, quoting June Carter: “I’m just trying to matter.”

I would tell my sisters in any field of endeavor: have opinions. Back it up with critical thinking, with reasoning, and supporting arguments. Find that niche that makes you different and worth listening to, and make it fun. I’m not a female film critic, I am a movie critic. A showbiz critic. I hope someday there will be more of us.
Stay well, Friends. We miss you!