November 2013

JCCSF Matters - November Edition

Renovation Appreciation
Fitness Center Upgrades
Thanks to upgrades in the JCCSF Fitness Center’s lower level, Members are enjoying more of everything: more changing rooms, more showers, more grooming stations and more lockers. Renovations took place in the Family Changing Area, including the Boys’ and Girls’ Changing Rooms, the Men’s and Women’s Locker Rooms – even the Spa got a facelift. Convenient amenities and dedicated spaces for adults and families have made the Fitness Center a more convenient, comfortable, relaxing and rejuvenating place for Members to meet their fitness goals.

We would like to thank some very generous funders: The Herbst Foundation, Inc., Jewish Community Federation and Endowment Fund and the Koret Foundation. Along with donations from other generous members of our community, their contributions helped to make the renovations possible.

“We are deeply grateful to the philanthropic community for their support with this transformation,” says Foundation Relations Officer Heather Frank. “Our Fitness Center is essential to our mission of strengthening and enriching the community. These changes ensure that our new and returning Fitness Center Members receive the highest quality of service as they work toward their wellness goals.”
Teen Power

Teen Power

Every week, five Bay Area high schools play host to Jewish Culture Clubs – part of the San Francisco Teen Outreach Program (SFTOP). The JCCSF’s SFTOP Coordinator Lauren Greenberg meets with groups of teens, both Jewish and non-Jewish, at their schools to connect and explore Jewish culture in modern, multicultural ways. “These clubs are all about meeting teens where they’re at,” says Greenberg. “We’re letting them know that they can have Jewish experiences anywhere, on their own terms. We come to them. That’s the first step in empowering these teens.”

Sometimes the JCCSF’s teen center serves as the destination. That’s the case for the Queer Jewish Teen Group or “The Q,” as it’s commonly called, a new initiative that creates a safe space at the JCCSF for teens exploring their sexuality and looking to connect and dig into issues that interest them. “Some teens have an identity at school that doesn’t allow them to grow and change,” says Greenberg. “Here these teens are given the support to discuss the fluidity of gender, or sexuality, without fear and without reservation.”

Teens also have the opportunity to travel to other communities with the JCCSF to investigate global themes. This year’s Pray with Your Feet Initiative is taking teens to New Orleans to learn about institutional racism, food justice and social activism. “We’re identifying needs in other communities, connecting them to the needs of our own community, recognizing that needs are universal and all communities deserve to have them met, then working to address those needs.”
Language Learning

Kinder Spanish

Along with Hebrew classes, Spanish classes are popular at the JCCSF. And not just for adults. Now four- and five-year-olds are learning the language in Kids Spanish enrichment classes, and toddlers as young as one year old are being exposed to it in Kinder Fun Klub’s new KinderSpanish class.

“These programs just make sense for the JCCSF," says Youth Recreation Programs Manager Suzy Palmer. “Our community is receptive to new entries to learning, and parents here are often even ahead of the game in investing in new educational opportunities.” Palmer has built strong relationships with the parent community, after over 30 years helping to create and manage programs, classes and activities for children.

In fact, it was a group of parents that approached Palmer about starting a Spanish class for kids. Now on Tuesday afternoons children are learning a second language at the JCCSF. The teacher, Alejandra Rassvetaieff, is a native speaker and uses art to educate. At the end of each class, kids leave with a finished project and some new Spanish words to add to their growing vocabulary. Rassvetaieff also leads KinderSpanish, a program she planned with Palmer.

“This is inventive and organic learning at its best,” says Palmer. “It’s interactive, immersive, and of course, since it’s a JCCSF program, fun!”
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