The Dog Days

When I reflect on the month of August, I think of… the dog days of summer, back to school time, and the approach of the Jewish New Year.

While I am always sad to see summer go, I won’t be sad to embrace cooler days in the not-too-distant future. Living in the DMV for more than 30 years, I’ve learned to tolerate the hot, humid summers. But this year, I experienced a heat-related illness that took me to the Emergency Room. After quite a few tests and lab work, and 6 hours of mostly waiting around, I was released and told to seek a follow-up appointment with my primary care physician. I did not have a cardiac event, which was the fear. I likely experienced dehydration and overheating (hyperthermia) which could have led to heat exhaustion or heat stroke if I had not acted.

Because this seemed to come out of nowhere, I wanted to focus a little on preventing heat-related illnesses during the dog days. The most important thing to remember is to keep hydrated, ideally by drinking water or other unsweetened, alcohol-free fluids; those that contain electrolytes are ideal. Here are some other tips… Carry a refillable bottle around with you in summertime. Participate in exercise or physical activity indoors with air conditioning, if possible; but if you do venture outside try to avoid the peak sun and heat times by getting out early or late in the day and look for shady areas. Dress appropriately for the weather by wearing lightweight, loose-fitting clothing. Pick light colors and synthetic fabrics which absorb less heat and draw sweat away from the body, which aids in evaporation. (Did you know that cotton holds water and gets saturated! I didn’t.) And finally, take things slow on those nasty days, giving your body time to adjust to the high temperature and humidity. This commonsense advice could be lifesaving!

The J is participating in a special community/national event that will be taking place in late August. In honor of the 60th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King’s March on Washington and his famous “I Have a Dream” speech, 90 organizations are gathering at 11am on Saturday, August 26 at the Lincoln Memorial, to not only commemorate this important day, but to continue King’s mission to combat hate and promote unity and equality for all. If you do participate in this historical happening, please take the above advice to ensure you don’t get dehydrated and overheated at this outdoor event.

Late August, specifically Monday, August 21, brings a new addition to the Adult Services Department! I am thrilled to have Bonnie Sokol join me as Adult Enrichment Coordinator. You may remember Bonnie – before the pandemic Bonnie worked at the J in Guest Services and then as Registrar. Recently, Bonnie has been working in J-Fit part-time. She brings much knowledge and experience and will be a wonderful asset to the ASD. Please welcome Bonnie and stop by our offices on the first floor of the CAC anytime!

As we wind down the dog days, we look to the start of the new year – a new year of school for students, teachers, and staff at the J’s Early Childhood Learning Center and Chai 5 (after school program) and the Jewish New Year which begins at sundown on Friday, September 15. The new year (just like January 1) is a time for contemplation, atonement, and numerous possibilities. For adults at the J, I anticipate new and exciting opportunities for enrichment in the forms of socialization and camaraderie, competition and collaboration, learning and skill-building, as well as health improvement and entertainment. We hope adults of all ages and stages will join us for a wide variety of programs and activities. A calendar of what’s coming up can be found here: Events | Pozez Jewish Community Center of Northern Virginia ( As I like to say… there’s something for everyone at the J… from Boomers to Zoomers and more!

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