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It's that time of year—when, according to Jewish tradition, the community sets aside space for self-reflection in preparation for the High Holiday season. This is a time to take stock of our spiritual and emotional well-being: What were our moments of weakness and regret over the past year, and how can we find ways to greet the new year with strength and openness?

During this time of self-reflection, it can be easy to overlook another equally important measure of our spiritual wellness: our relationship to our bodies. Taking care of our physical selves is known in Jewish life as shmirat ha-guf, or "guarding the body." The notion of guarding our bodies is such an important Jewish value that Moses Maimonides, the renowned 12th-century Jewish thinker and physician, stated that "when keeping the body in health and vigor, one walks in the way of God." Caring for our bodies can take many forms: eating a plant-based diet, working to heal ourselves from illness, committing to regular physical activity, or getting an extra hour of sleep every night. Judaism views our bodies as divine gifts, and the High Holidays are the perfect moment to think about ways that we can better care for, strengthen, and nourish our physical selves.

The Marlene Meyerson JCC Manhattan is excited to offer an array of fall programming that encourages our members to nurture this intimate connection between the body and the soul. We wish you a new year committed to health and wellness—it's a mitzvah!

Rabbi Abigail Treu, Director, Center for Jewish Living
Caroline Kohles, Senior Director, Center for Health + Wellness

For our full conversation, click here.


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Holiday Related Programs

60+/ImmerseNYC: Mikveh and the Cycle of the Jewish Year
Wed, Sep 18, 2–4 pm, Free

Challah Baking
Thu, Sep 19, 6:30–9:30 pm
OR Fri, Oct 18, 10 am–1 pm; $40/$50 per class

Musical Havdallah and Pre-Slichot Kumsitz for Planet Earth
Sat, Sep 21, 8:30-10:30 pm, Free

Holding On and Letting Go: Service of Memory, Hope, and Healing for the New Year
Mon, Sep 23, 4–5:15 pm
OR Thu, Sep 26, 7:15–8:30 pm;
$7/$10 per session

High Holidays Bereavement Program
Mon, Sep 23, 6:30–8 pm, Free

Baking with Honey + Apples for Rosh Hashanah
Fri, Sep 27, 2–3:30 pm, $45/$55

High Holiday Services
All JCC services will take place at JCC Harlem,
318 W 118th St
Mon, Sep 30; Tue, Oct 1; Tue, Oct 8 + Wed, Oct 9

Services Around the City
UJA Federation's High Holidays Services Round-up

Shabbat Shop
Visit us in the lobby to shop our extended line of products in time for the High Holidays.
Thursdays, 8:30 am-6:30 pm
Fridays, 8:30 am-5 pm

Health + Wellness Programs

Be healthy and well—it's a mitzvah! We've gathered a list of programs from our Center for Health and Wellness to help you take care of your mind, body, and soul this new year.

Special Events

Fall Open House: Total Health for Your Body + Brain
Sun, Sep 15, 11 am–5 pm, Free

Fall Open House Keynote Presentation: Successful Aging + Your Brain
Sun, Sep 15, 11 am–12:30 pm, Free

The Mind Matters Series

Z-Health: Body and Brain Connection
Lecture: Thu, Sep 19, 2–3 pm, $10/$20
Workout: 3 Thursdays, Sep 26–Oct 10, 2–3 pm, $90/$120

How to Be Happy
4 Sundays, Sep 22, Oct 20, Nov 10 + Dec 15, 1:30–3:30 pm, $35/$45
Take All 4 and Save: $115/$155

Conquer Your Headaches
Tue, Sep 24, 7–8 pm, Free

Change a Word, Change Your Life
Thu, Oct 3, 7–8 pm, Free

Change Your Brain with Meditation
Sun, Oct 27, 1–3:30 pm, $25/$35

Transform Your Relationship
with Food

Glorious Garlic
Wed, Sep 25, 7–9:30 pm, $95/$105

Reversing Insulin Resistance and Treating the Cause of Diabetes with Diet
Thu, Oct 17, 7–8:30 pm, Free

Simply Delicious Fall Feast
Thu, Oct 24, 7–9:30 pm, $95/$105

21-Day Plant-Powered Jump Start
Sun, Oct 27–Wed, Nov 20, $250

Cold-Weather Grain Bowls + Hearty Salads
Mon, Oct 28, 7–9:30 pm, $85/$95

Transform Your Body with Nia Jam Series
4 Saturdays, Sep 21, Oct 19, Nov 16 + Dec 14,
6–7:15 pm, Free

Self-Compassion in Daily Life
2 Thursdays, Nov 7 + Dec 5, 7–9 pm, $35/$45 per section

Life Coaching

Design Your Life, Design Your Career
Thu, Sep 26, 7–9 pm, $25

Lower Your Risk

HeartMath–The Resilience Advantage
Tue, Sep 17, 6:30–9:30 pm, $35/$45

Versatile Vegan Appetizers
Mon, Sep 23, 7–9:30 pm, $85/$95

Pescatarian Indian Dinner Party
Mon, Oct 7, 7–9:30 pm, $85/$95

Reduce Stress with Yoga for Deep Sleep and Rest
Sun, Oct 13, 1:30–3:30 pm, $35/$45

Senior Fitness

Introduction to Living Well Together at the JCC
Multiple dates and times, Free

Joint Movement for Seniors
Tue, Sep 17, 10:45 am–12:15 pm, $35/$40

Stand Tall As You Age
3 Tuesdays, Sep 17-Oct 8, 1–2 pm, $105/$135

Oh, Those Beautiful Bones
Sun, Oct 20, 10:30 am–noon, $35/$45

Balance and Bones
8 Thursdays, Oct 31–Jan 16, 10:30–11:30 am, $120/$144/$168

Strengthen + Condition
Fitness MPowerment for 20s + 30s

Legs: Sun, Oct 27, 1:15–2:15 pm, $25
Core: Sun, Nov 24, 1:15–2:15 pm, $25
Arms: Sun, Dec 8, 1:15–2:15 pm, $25

Triathlon Swim Series
5 Tuesdays, Oct 29–Nov 26, $195/$245
Level 1: 7–8 pm
Level 2: 8–9 pm

MELT Mini Self-Treatments
3 Fridays, Oct 4–18, 12:30–1:30 pm, $25/$35
Take All 3 and Save: $60/$90

Israeli Dance with Tamar
Ongoing, Thursdays, 8 pm–midnight, $15

Pelvic Floor Workout: Don't Suffer in Silence
Wed, Sep 18, $20/$25
Women Only: 6:30-8 pm
Men Only: 8:15-9:30 pm

Prenatal and Postnatal Water Workout
6 Wednesdays, Oct 16–Nov 20, 8:45–9:30 am, $234/$294

Healing for the Body and Soul—Women Only
Mon, Oct 7, 6:45–9 pm, Free


Daily Facilitated Meditation
Daily, 7:30-8:30 am or 5:45-6:45 pm, Free

How Vision Heals: Shamanic Practices for Mind and Body
Mon, Sep 16, 7:15–9:15 pm, $25/$30

Introduction to Meditation
Mon, Sep 23, 7–8:30 pm, $20

Reiki and Self Care
Thursdays, Oct 3, Nov 7 + Dec 5, 6:45 or
7:15 pm, $20 per session

Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction
8 Thursdays, Oct 17–Dec 12, 9:30 am–noon OR 7–9:30 pm, $410/$420


Relax and take care of yourself this new year with a massage from one of the JCC's licensed massage therapists. Use discount code HH2019 to save 15% on a massage! To book and buy, click here.


Be healthy and well all year long; join the JCC today!


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Share an Apple, Make a Friend: The Power of Connection

As a teacher, I have always found something particularly special in the intersection of Rosh Hashanah with the beginning of the new school year and the message that, as we celebrate the next year of life, we simultaneously step into a new year of learning. As an early childhood teacher in particular, this new year of learning is always intrinsically tied to a new year of friendship, because in the first years of life, each milestone is rooted in a child's growing capacity for connection with others. This need for connection is both deeply biological and deeply spiritual. And so I am reminded, as I watch children enter their classrooms, build trust with teachers, and connect with friends both new and old, that this holiday is a celebration, not only of the creation of the world, but of humanity as well. Both Rosh Hashanah and the start of school provide a profound opportunity to look ahead toward a year of new and deepened human connection.

The annual rituals of separation, exploration, and reunion, which mark the beginning of the school year, are also palpable reminders that this time of year, in the Jewish calendar, celebrates our common humanity and our potential for doing better by one another in the days and months to come. It is often tempting to think of the social-emotional dimensions of school as "soft" skills, valuable perhaps but peripheral to learning. And yet significant research tells us that, in fact, these social-emotional skills and relationships are the most essential features of children's long-term health, well-being, and learning. Some of the most robust data we have available on the long-term measures of children's success, as well as their mental and physical health, clearly illustrates that a sense of connection to others is a defining factor throughout life.

As we step into a new school year and a new Jewish year, we mark the miracle and the sweetness of our shared humanity. And we are reminded that our well-being, from the earliest years, lies in our bonds with one another.

Have a sweet new year,
Alicia Stoller
Director, The Saul and Carole Zabar Nursery School


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Pumpkin Pie Stuffed
Honeycrisp Apples

When I think of fall desserts, pumpkin is always in the forefront of my mind. Combining my love for pumpkin with traditional Rosh Hashanah flavors made me instantly think of apple and pumpkin pie, and this recipe was born.

Luckily, pumpkin is a versatile ingredient that also happens to be high in potassium, vitamin C, and fiber. Though fresh pumpkins and squash are plentiful this time of year, canned pumpkin is an easy-to-use substitute that you can find all year long.

I always like a bit of crunch alongside creamy desserts. This simple granola comes together quickly, but feel free to substitute it with you favorite commercial granola.

With its light sweetness, it can be served warm with ice cream or, just as easily, cold with yogurt for a New Year's brunch treat to kick-start a sweet new year.

Happy and Healthy!
Chef Jen Cinclair


5 medium Honeycrisp apples (or other baking apple) Ice cream, mascarpone, or Greek yogurt for serving

Pumpkin Filling:

  • ⅓ cup Greek yogurt*
  • 2 tbsps honey
  • 1 egg*
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • ½ tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • ½ tsp cinnamon

Pumpkin Seed Granola:

  • ¼ cup oats
  • ¼ cup shelled pumpkin seeds
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 2 tsps honey

*Looking for a dairy-free/vegan option? Replace egg with 2 tbsps ground flax seeds, and yogurt with ⅓ cup coconut cream.

Cooking Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350°.
  • Cut apples in half and scoop out a "bowl" with spoon or paring knife, getting rid of all of the seeds and leaving about ¼ inch of apple flesh from the skin. Place apples in glass baking dish, propping them so the "bowls" are face up.
  • For filling, whisk all ingredients together. Pour filling into apple just to the top, being sure not to overfill.
  • Bake filled apples for 25-30 minutes until filling is completely set and apple is soft to the touch.
  • Meanwhile, combine granola ingredients and bake on a sheet tray for 15 minutes or until golden and fragrant.
  • Serve apples warm with ice cream or mascarpone topped with granola or chill thoroughly and serve with yogurt and granola.
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