Fall is approaching and that means one thing…the holidays are coming! That is the time of the year when we begin to eat all that yummy comfort food and warm up our bodies under those layers of clothing. But, just because the weather drops doesn’t mean we have to drop our exercise routine with it. There are simple things we can do that will keep our bodies ready when those sweaters come off.
Every time you do a chore think of it as a mini workout. When you clean, get into workout clothes and try to break a sweat. When you’re walking up the stairs with groceries, start curling those bags to give your biceps a quick workout. Do a 15 minute Hight Intensity Interval (HIIT) workout or a few sprints up and down your block. It’s shocking how many calories are burned from a short duration HIIT workout. If you can’t make it to they gym, that’s okay! A 15 minute HIIT workout or breaking a sweat doing those chores is just as good. If your week is looking a little hectic and you want some solid gym time, just mark it in your calendar as if it were a doctor’s appointment.
Local fitness classes are also a great way to stay in shape on a tight schedule. Find a class that is fun, something you don’t think of as exercise. In the past decade, the fitness industry has doubled in size with thousands of new workouts. There is a workout for everyone; you just need to find what sparks your interest. Find something you enjoy and soon you will be having workout dates instead of dinner/lunch dates. Exercise is supposed to be enjoyable which is why my husband and I took the activities that we love to do and brought them indoors.
Sandbox Fitness was started by my husband, David, and myself. We both have injuries but that didn’t stop us from wanting to stay active. We would drive to the beach to do sand training which has been around for many years and has been used by professional athletes all over the world. The drive got long and the weather wasn’t always suitable, even though we live in LA, so we figured, “why not bring the beach to us?”
Sandbox Fitness is a boutique fitness studio in the heart of Sherman Oaks right on Ventura Blvd. It features a huge indoor sandbox where all of our classes take place. The sand offers extra resistance and is forgiving on the knees, ankles, back, and other joints. We offer Beach Yoga, Bootcamp, and our featured classes, Surfset® and TRX®. Surfset® was featured on ABC’s Shark Tank and is a workout like no other. It utilizes unstable surfboards which mimic the instability of a surfboard on water. It triggers all the stabilizer muscles and your core with every workout. TRX® is suspension training which uses body weight and gravity to provide an unforgettable experience. All of the classes use the natural resistance of the sand and help tone and build functional strength.
If you’re interested in Sandbox Fitness, check out their website at www.sandbox-fitness.com
Nothing Matters More Than This
We live in a world where FOCUS is even MORE important than your INTELLIGENCE.
From our never-ending Facebook feed, to our freshly-updated YouTube subscription page, to our email inbox, we live in an abundant world of information.
However, is it really necessary to consume all of this general information?
Will it ever be useful? Will it ever make any difference in your life?
No. Most likely not.
Learning a little about a lot of different things doesn’t really amount to much.
Instead, you should FOCUS.
Focus on learning and applying ONE skill as intensely and deeply as possible.
Focus is where mastery kicks in.
Kobe Bryant wasn’t the best basketball player that ever played because he was the best all-around person.
Kobe Bryant was world-class because he was absolutely great at ONE thing and one thing only: playing basketball.
So instead of consuming as much general information as you possibly can… instead FOCUS.
FOCUS on one topic. FOCUS on one task. FOCUS on one goal.
Because today, more than ever, focus is way more important than your intelligence.
New Initiative Launched to Restore Memories and a Legacy
On Tuesday January 30th, Thirty Years After (30 YA) hosted the Legacy Launch, one of their largest, most innovative and interactive projects to date, at the Ahyra Fine Arts Theater in Beverly Hills.
Sam Yebri, President of Thirty Years After, explains the Legacy Project, “The Project is a grassroots initiative that will help preserve and honor the Iranian Jewish experience through video for future generations, and provide an opportunity for every family to capture their parents’ and grandparents’ most compelling memories and anecdotes before it is too late.”
Doors opened to guest at 7:00 pm where they were greeted with smiles from 30 YA volunteers and staff members. The lobby was packed with guests who were treated to wonderful Iranian street food not often seen or eaten in the United States. The delicious cuisine included Labu (beets baked in their own juice, and typically served steaming hot in a street cart during the dead of winter), Baghali (beans topped with spices, typically served the same way as Labu), Dizi (a meat mash/stew– usually made with lamb, but made with beef and chickpeas at our event), Shohleh Zard (saffron rice pudding), Chos-e-fil (otherwise known as popcorn) and Mahi-Cheh Polo (herbed rice with beef shanks).
The large number of attendees was a testament to the genuine and unprecedented support for the new generation of leaders of the Los Angeles Iranian-American Jewish community. The printed program for the event listed over 25 generous families and businesses that supported the Legacy Launch and congratulated 30 YA on celebrating their 10 year anniversary.
This event was magical because of the broad range of emotions experienced just by being shoulder to shoulder with grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins born in Tehran. Sadness is one emotion that could have been felt while standing in the room, because of all of the untold stories that were not recorded, told or heard. How many stories have we “missed out” on because family members have passed away, younger generations have gone off to college, or simply because we took time for granted? At the Legacy Launch, time stood still for a few hours for the sake of a community recording the past, but very aware of time, embracing beloved memories on video, but also progressively moving toward the future.
Yebri explained, “Our history informs our present and powers our future. This is especially true when our families and community have such a rich legacy of inspiring memories and experiences in Iran and during our exodus to America. 30 Years After is thrilled to launch ‘The Legacy Project’ as part of the organization’s 10th anniversary celebration.”
Bobby Zolekhian, former President of Nessah Young Professionals expressed, “It was one of the most inspirational events I have been to. I am recruiting people to share their stories. This is something extraordinary!”
Featured guest speakers during the screening included Mrs. Susan Azizzadeh, President of the Iranian American Jewish Federation, Dr. Saba Soomekh, Assistant Director of Interreligious and Intercommunity Affairs at AJC, Megan Nemandoust, Margalit Rosenthal, Liora Simozar and 30 YA President, Sam Yebri.
The dynamic presentation of the screening and its intimate interviews clearly validated that the second and third generations of Iranian Jews growing up in the United States are confidently embracing their unspoken responsibility to record the stories of generations before them for a purpose with a greater cause– maintaining their identity, culture, and traditions.
Learn more about preserving your legacy with 30 YA at https://legacy.30yearsafter.org/
The Honorable Mensch’n: Shanel Melamed
A true essence of Persian grace and humility, this issue’s honorable mensch is Shanel Melamed, Executive Director of the nonprofit organization, 30 Years After. When she’s not bridging the gap between subdivisions of our own community, Melamed travels and trains in Capoeira (a Brazilian martial art) but always makes sure she is home in time for Kabob dinner with her grandparents on Thursday nights.
30 Years After promotes the participation and leadership of Iranian American Jews in American political, civic and Jewish life. In the last decade, they have become the doorway for anyone who wishes to reach out and build a relationship with Persian Jews, from political candidates, to universities or other nonprofit organizations. While the nonprofit often organizes socio-educational events for the community, its flagship program is their six-month long “Maher Fellowship”, which trains young Persian Jewish professionals in developing leadership skills and educates them on their cultural history and Jewish Los Angeles today. Shanel explains that the fellowship’s mission mirrors the Jewish concept of L’dor Vador, instilling a sense of pride upon first generation Iranian American Jews and subsequently creating a ripple effect on the rest of the community. Melamed intends for graduates of the fellowship to embrace their heritage, and as they enter their first stages of their professions and parenthood, feel entitled to pass on their legacy for generations to come. Shanel believes that,
“People of our generation should be knowledgeable and capable of cross-coding, of how to be American in the Persian Jewish world and how to be Persian Jewish in the American world. There’s no need to be only one of the three…it takes education on identity, culture, and history and our work doesn’t always have short-term return on investment. We’re in it for the long run, but that’s the spirit of what we do. My hope is that as our generation starts having kids, and as they educate them at home, it’ll be very similar to how we grew up- in terms of traditions and values, but maybe with an American mentality.”
Shanel works to make sure that the organization is “educating, empowering and connecting a community of like-minded people that can then be multipliers within their contemporaries of embodying what it means to be all three and how to leverage every aspect of that identity.” She advocates that Iranian American Jews cherish their roots as they serve well in the United States.
In the effort to maintain Jewish values in a modernized world, Melamed believes in letting go of certain outdated mentalities; such as not speaking about the things that plague us or seek guidance and support without fear of backlash from the community, deeming us as “unmarriageable” or tarnishing our family name. The Persian Jewish community is not immune to adversities of the human experience. Shanel explains, “It takes time for the community to evolve. It took the Jews 40 years in the desert. Our generation is in a very tough situation, but we need to embody the changes that we want to see. Since Jewish America has been on the decline for a variety of reasons and Persian Jews arrived here only about 40 years ago, we have a lot to give.” She hopes that the organization impacts the Persian Jewish community to eventually feel empowered enough to “open doors within existing institutions to allow those institutions to welcome our voice as well.” Shanel often noticed that Jewish events in Los Angeles are not very inclusive of Persian Jews, despite their large presence. She explains, “We need to be embraced…not to be forced to change in order to feel comfortable somewhere…it is very uncomfortable to go to a Jewish event and words are being thrown around in Yiddish, and you have to ask what they mean. You don’t feel like you fit in.” Melamed finds it unfortunate that Persian Jews have been underserved for so long and that consequently the greater Jewish community has not been able to benefit from the wealth of Jewish connection and “fierce Zionism” that Persian Jews have to offer. This is where her work with 30 Years After comes in, to “teach young Jews what the Jewish landscape is and how they fit in.”
On the topic of Saturday morning synagogue congregations dwindling, Shanel emphasizes the significance of keeping Friday nights holy: “Because the home has been the epicenter of Persian Jewry, I think we keep the community alive through Shabbat dinners.” Melamed reflects on a quote by Ahad Ha’Am, “‘More than the Jews have kept Shabbat, Shabbat has kept the Jews.’ Persian Jews are the epitome of what that means in a modern society, and I couldn’t be more proud to be a part of that story.”
Nothing Matters More Than This
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The Honorable Mensch’n: Shanel Melamed
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