JCCSF Matters Newsletter

JCCSF Matters
May 2015
This Month:  Art of Aging Gracefully  9th Staff Trip to Israel
                   Showcase 2015
The Art of Aging Gracefully Resource Fair
Art of Aging Gracefully

Shiva Schulz, Adult Programs Manager at the JCCSF, couldn’t stop smiling. It was Thursday, April 30, and the building was humming with hundreds of people here for the 8th Annual Art of Aging Gracefully Resource Fair. She looked somewhere between proud parent, air traffic controller and a chef who’s just pulled together a complicated ten-course meal.
The event featured more than 60 businesses and organizations presenting invaluable information to support active, creative aging. Also on offer were lectures by well-known doctors and scientists from UCSF. Topics ranged from “What You Can Do for Your Joints” to “Harnessing Plasticity of the Older Brain to Enhance Cognition.” All activities and lectures were free to the public.
“This is the best fair yet,” Schulz beamed. “So much energy. So much positivity!”
That would be high praise for any event, but for one focused on getting older it was especially noteworthy. “Typically our youth-obsessed culture wants nothing to do with aging,” says Schulz. “Yet when you think about it, the term ‘aging’ is relative.”
In Kanbar Hall, Dr. Adam Gazzaley was making a similar point. Gazzaley’s “Harnessing Plasticity” talk featured his work developing video games to improve cognitive function. Gazzaley showed a chart of cognitive capacity over a person’s lifetime. Instead of confirming the commonly held belief that there’s a sharp drop-off after age 75 or 80, the graph showed that cognitive function peaks in the mid-twenties and very gradually declines from that point on.
The good news is that we can all take action to improve brain function. “Brain Boot Camp,” another well-attended session, gave practical tips for keeping your mind in top form. Other talks emphasized the importance of social connection and of learning new things.
Though the brain received its due, the body was by no means ignored in this event dedicated to healthy aging. Talks and workshops on hearing, posture, balance and how to avoid stroke drew healthy crowds, as did opportunities to practice Gentle Yoga, Chair Pilates and Makor Or Meditation.
Schulz took time out during her busy day to praise UCSF Medical Center, the JCCSF’s partner in the event. Beyond the organizations involved, there is a core of dedicated volunteers that make the event possible, not to mention the 500-plus participants who filled the JCCSF with their energy and passion, seeking strategies to move through life’s stages in a positive and proactive way.
Watch the Art of Aging Gracefully talks on video.

The 9th Staff Trip to Israel

9th Staff Trip to Israel

For 12 whirlwind days in April, the ninth cohort of the Staff Israel Seminar explored a country that most of the 12 participating JCCSF staffers had never seen. They sat on the floor of a mosque, had Shabbat dinner in an Orthodox Jewish home and navigated the twists and turns of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. They joked with falafel vendors and floated weightless in the Dead Sea.
Most of all they grappled with the complexities of this Jewish homeland bordered by Arab states. Says Jhos Singer, JCCSF Maggid and one of the trip leaders, “I want participants to come back in a state of respectful confusion, knowing that people in that part of the world are living in political chaos every single day but are trying to make it a better world – though not always agreeing on how to do that.”
The trip, funded by a gift from Sandy and Linda Gallanter, gives a yearly cohort the opportunity to experience Israel first-hand. This year’s travelers kept track of their adventures on a blog. JCCSF Controller Sossena Getachew – herself originally from Ethiopia – writes of an “absorption center,” a temporary home for Jews who have emigrated from Ethiopia. Alexa Hayes, Marketing Studio Manager, tells of being in Israel for Yom Hazikaron, that country’s Memorial Day. Customer Service Manager Justin Rose evokes Shabbat in Jerusalem in words and photos. Regina Aguilar, Athletic Department Administrative Assistant, describes the sense of community at Kibbutz Lavi. Arts & Ideas Managing Producer Jourdan Abel takes us on a mouth-watering culinary tour with descriptions of everything from fresh Hayani dates to spicy pomegranate juice.
The above is only a taste of the fascinating accounts by trip participants; read all of the posts here.
Showcase Dazzles & Thrills

Showcase 2015

On Thursday, May 14, this year’s Showcase rocked the house! Revelers busted their best dance moves, dressed to kill in Michael Jackson-inspired cocktail finery. Foreverland, an electrifying 14-piece band, brought Jackson hits to life, prompting even non-dancers to thank goodness they’d had the foresight to Google ‘how to moonwalk.’
Good food, drink and conversation abounded, and surprises were everywhere you looked. A spot-on Michael Jackson impersonator and his entourage drew more than one double-take.
The annual event, now in its 7th year, raised a record-breaking $685,000, vital funds that allow the JCCSF to keep essential programs accessible to the community.

Showcase 2015 video

“What a great night,” said Development Director Lloyd Sacks, “for an even greater cause. We are so grateful for the support we received from individuals and businesses. It’s only by coming together that we ensure the success of this important San Francisco institution and continue serving our incredible community.”
Check out photos from the fun-filled evening!