Thursday, February 14, 2013

Who Are The Healthiest People on Earth?

With our upcoming Health & Wellness series starting on March 21, I began to wonder who the healthiest people on earth were. If you guessed it was the Japanese, then you guessed correctly.
If you live in Japan the quality of health there is ranked number one in the world according to a decades-long study funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Unfortunately, the United States is not ranked as high-we score high on the money spent on health care though, close to billions more than any other country.

So, what is Japan’s secret?

  •  They follow strict dietary practices.
  • They have strong family and social support in their lives.
  • They stay close to their culture and values  
  • They routinely devote part of their day to prayer and spiritual study. They strive to be kind and forgiving, calm and patient.

Therefore, it's not just one secret that the Japanese follow.  It’s more of a healthy state of mind.  The secret to vitality and longevity is incorporating these habits into your daily life.
Join us this spring for several lectures at the FAU Lifelong Learning Society that will put you on the path to being one of the healthiest people on earth.

What is Craniosacral Therapy?
Mar. 21
9:45 a.m.

Enhancing Your Golf Performance
An Innovative Approach to Staying Fit and Healthy for the Game
Mar. 28
9:45 a.m.

Ancient Solutions to Modern Problems
How Acupuncture Has Become Part of the Establishment Whilst Changing Its Very Fabric
Apr. 4
9:45 a.m.

Inflammation, the True Silent Disease
How the food you eat is increasing your arthritic pain and chronic diseases
Apr. 8
9:45 a.m.

To register for the lectures, visit

Friday, February 8, 2013

Defiant Requiem

On February 24, 2013 at 4 p.m. the FAU Lifelong Learning Society in Jupiter will be present Defiant Requiem, a feature-length documentary film which illuminates the extraordinary, untold story of the brave acts of resistance by the Jewish prisoners at Terezin.

In late 1943, a chorus of 150 Jews imprisoned in a Nazi concentration camp engaged in 16 performances of Verdi’s Requiem—learned by memorization from a single vocal score and accompanied by a legless upright piano—before audiences of other prisoners, SS officers, and German army staff members. Their purpose: to sing to their captors words that could not be spoken.

Lifelong Learning is honored to be the first venue in South Florida to showcase this remarkable story of Rafael Schachter, a brilliant young and passionate Czech opera-choral conductor who was arrested and sent to Terzin in 1941.  This film explores, with testaments from surviving members of the choir, the singer’s view of the Verdi music as a work of defiance and resistance to the Nazis. Schchter instructed the choir to “sing to the Nazis what they could not say to them.”

Concevied by Murry Sidlin, a distinguished conductor, educator and artistic innovator, Defiant Requiem was directed by executive producer Peter Schnall, the founder of Partisan Pictures. Mr. Schnall is a six-time Emmy Award winning film-maker who specializes in creating high quality films and non-fiction programming. Murry Sidlin and Ambassador Stuart E. Eizenstat, who has dedicated his career to providing justice for Holocaust survivors and served as a supporter and advisor to the film, will conduct a discussion following the film.

The Honorable Ann Brown will serve as a moderator for the discussion. Ann, and her husband, Donald Brown, are sponsoring a reception to follow the presentation.

Tickets are $20 for members, $25 for non-members and are available online at

Friday, November 30, 2012

Music to the Ears: It’s Great for the Brain

Music has been explored as a way to encourage social interaction, encourage self-expression, and enhance the overall well-being of those who fight illnesses such as Alzeimer’s, dementia, memory loss, and other cognitive impairments.

Many find it fascinating that individuals with memory loss and cognitive impairments are able to sing a song in its entirety despite the fact that they are unable to have a complete conversation or remember the names of common things or even the names of their family members. While no one knows for sure why this is possible, experts have suggested that it might be that musical activities are unique because they require use of every area of the brain.

People feel connected and have an increased sense of belonging. Music brings about a feeling of independence and individuals enjoy life day-to-day and gain a greater sense of fulfillment. Music also allows individuals with cognitive impairments to express themselves and engage in activity that brings focus and the chance to be completely immersed in something that interests them.
Many research studies indicate that musical activities have several positive benefits. People are reported to have better moods, be more sociable, eat better, and react more calmly to stressors. Experts say it’s the “cognitive workout” for the brain that brings on these positive traits.

So, with all the great benefits that music has for your health, why not take advantage of Lifelong Learning’s Winter Opening Week?

We have a variety of programs that include music, such as:

  •  JudeoJazzistico with Aaron Kula and the Klezmer Company Orchestra on Monday, January 7, 2013 at 7:30 p.m.
  •  The Prester Piano Duo in Concert: A Program of Four-Hand Piano Music featuring Robert and Marcia Prester on Wednesday, January 9, 2013 at 2 p.m.
  •  Songs That Made History with Rod MacDonald & the Humdingers on Thursday, January 10, 2013 at 7 p.m.
  •  Ragtime Revisited: A Look Back presented by Robert Milne on Saturday, January 12, 2013 at 2 p.m.

To view additional programs during our 2013 Winter Opening Week, visit

Friday, November 9, 2012

The Last Resort in the Catskills

When the idea to bring in the documentary film, Welcome to Kutsher's: The Last Catskills Resort, was presented to Lifelong Learning I had to do a little research as my knowledge of Catskill resorts was limited. I was familiar with the Dirty Dancing-era Catskills experience, but I was unaware of how it changed American pop culture in the comedy, sports and vacation industries. This documentary captures a last glimpse of a lost world as it vanishes before our eyes.

The Kutsher's Country Club is the last surviving Jewish resort in the Catskills. One of the legendary Borscht Belt hotels during its heyday, Kutsher's has been family-owned and operated for over 100 years. In 1907, Max Kutsher founded Kutsher's Country Club, the Catskills resort that (as legend has it) inspired the film “Dirty Dancing,” employed Wilt Chamberlin as a bellhop before he played for the NBA and launched the careers of stand-up comedians like Billy Crystal and Jerry Seinfeld. 

Award-winning filmmakers Caroline and Ian Rosenberg illustrate how Kutsher's thrived at the center of all this growth and excitement. This film premiered at The New York Jewish Film Festival at Lincoln Center and won the Best Documentary Audience Award at the Miami Jewish Film Festival in 2012. Lifelong Learning is excited to bring this award winning film to the FAU community during the 2013 winter semester. The filmmakers will introduce the film before the screening and afterwards answer questions about their experience making the documentary over the last five years.

This film shows how the Catskills left an indelible mark on popular culture — from comedy to sports to everything we take for granted as standard fare on a family vacation.

To register and learn more about this one-time screening at FAU's Lifelong Learning Society in Jupiter, visit

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Brain Training: It’s Never Too Late To Start!

While age is something that we cannot control, we can certainly control its effects on our body and our health. Aging often brings some issues with bones, muscles and memory. Therefore, it is important to not only exercise your body, but to exercise your brain as well!

The American College of Sports Medicine and the American Heart Association set guidelines for the exercise of older adults. The basic recommendation is 30 minutes of aerobic exercise five days a week with some muscle-strengthening activity for healthy aging. As people age, they also tend to challenge their brain less frequently. As a result, they are not able to maintain the mental sharpness they once utilized. The statement: "If you don't use it, you lose it" holds some real truth in this case.

Part of Lifelong Learning’s mission is to keep your mind active, but we also know that physical activity is important too. So, why should you exercise your brain as often as you exercise your body? Below are some very good reasons to start those brain exercises today.

  • Just like brushing your teeth, or going for a walk in the morning, it is wise to spend just a few minutes a day investing in your mind. Brain fitness should be incorporated regularly. You may notice a great difference after only one week or so!
  • The mind is much more capable of self expansion than we think! Recent studies indicate that the mind is malleable and physically grows and shapes with proper stimulation. New neuron connections are literally created and old neuron pathways are reinforced.

The good news is that it's never too late to start exercising your brain. In fact, the mind can always grow and expand. Seniors today can utilize mental exercises regularly that can have long lasting positive results on their brain and lifestyle.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Ten Ways to Keep Your Brain Healthy

Lifelong Learning is always promoting the benefits that come with participating in lifelong learning programs. Keeping your brain sharp and preventing mental decline involves more than just the brain itself. Healthy practices in many areas of life will help you keep your brain, as well as your body, in tip top shape. Here are 10 easy ways to help keep your brain healthy now and prevent illnesses later:

1.               Lead an active life.  Regular exercise helps prevents memory problems that often come with aging. Physical activity can actually improve the brain function of people with mild cognitive impairment.

2.               Exercise your brain. Take lifelong learning classes! An active brain stays sharp and continues to produce new connections between nerve cells. Studies have shown the benefits of regularly working crosswords and other brain challenges.  Other things to consider are reading, playing games such as chess, and learning a new hobby. 

3.               Get a sufficient amount of sleep. According to the National Sleep Foundation, adults need between seven and nine hours of sleep each night.  Sleep enables the body and brain to heal and recharge so that you are healthier and are able to think more clearly.  Sleep also helps you have a better long-term memory.

4.               Eat a healthy diet.  A diet that is low in saturated fats, sugar, bleached white flour and junk foods and which has an abundance of colorful fruits and veggies will keep your brain healthy as well as keeping your body trim and protect you against diseases such as cancer, diabetes and heart disease.

5.               Include plenty of antioxidants in your diet. Numerous studies have shown that a diet rich in antioxidants helps prevent and slow age-related declines in memory and learning. Among the very best sources of antioxidants are blueberries, dark grapes and pomegranates.

6.               Avoid and manage stress.  Stress can damage your brain by releasing destructive hormones.  Some of the best ways to manage stress include simplifying your life, avoiding stressful situations, volunteering for an organization you care about-how about Lifelong Learning? And, utilizing special techniques such as yoga and meditation.

7.               Integrate plenty of essential omega-3 fatty acids in your diet. Omega-3s help to guard the brain against age-related decline and maintain proper brain function throughout life.  Some of the best omega-3 sources include fatty cold water fish such as tuna, sardines, mackerel, and herring.

8.               Make time to be social! Interacting with other Lifelong Learning members keeps your brain active and sharpens thinking.

9.               Quit smoking. According to the Mayo Clinic, smokers have twice the risk of developing Alzheimer's.  Even people who have smoked for years can reduce their risk of memory problems by quitting.

10.            Only have one drink at happy hour. While low to moderate amounts of alcohol, especially red wine, have been shown to protect against heart disease and cancer, heavy drinking (more than 14 drinks each week) actually shrinks brains.