Thursday, June 30

In Praise of Gravity: Why I Love Skydiving

by Larry Rothenberg

The finest moments of my life have come when I have been free to be totally in the moment. The birth of my children, standing by a beautiful waterfall, recognizing that I truly loved the woman who would become my wifethose are some of the few examples I can recalland, perhaps most completely, the time that I celebrated gravity and stepped out of an airplane.

As I stepped out into the air (tethered to a professional instructor), I stepped into freedom. I was totally in the here and now. Thoughts about lawn work, phone calls, bills, past slights and future dreams loosened their constricting grip as I free-fell through the air. I was totally there. The most complex thought I can recall was something approximating “wow, whoo-hooo!” and that is an amazing experience.

As the parachute opened and I floated to the ground, I knew that I would never be quite the same. Since my skydive experience I look at the sky with a newfound sense of wonder. I love gravitywhy fight it? The thought of being so intensely free for a brief period sometimes helps remind me that I am truly always totally free. I even walked away with a video to prove it.

Tuesday, June 28

Around and About with Mindi: Israel

Indianapolis Delegation 2011 (front): Krista Bermeo, Dana Goot, (back): Mindi Epstein, Kelly Spiegel, Stephanie Montague, Freddie Kelvin
by Mindi Epstein

Borders with enemy states, checkpoints, mandatory military service and a chaotic political system do not impede the Israelis’ exuberance for life. Their passion is pervasive and it is contagious. I know, because I just returned from a 2-week trip to Israel.

My purpose for going?
Actually, there were three:

Studio of the late Shmuel Katz,
Holocaust survivor and
award-winning artist.

  • As an artist selected to participate in an Artist in Residency program in the Western Galilee, the region of Israel with which Indianapolis enjoys a partnership. 

  • As an Israeli, having acquired citizenship in the early 90s and returning home after 16 years.

This first blog highlights the JCC’s partnership region in the Western Galilee.

Partnership 2000 was conceived by the Jewish Agency for Israel to establish relationships between Israelis and Americans. Where does the money go when your local Jewish Federation reports that a portion of donations go to Israel? What one learns from Partnership is that there are real people at the receiving end of the check. 
Rambam School in Akko

With our Federation’s support,
our partnership has:

  • Aided in funding the Western Galilee Hospital’s underground hospital where 250 patients can be moved to safety
    in less than 20 minutes, as happened
    during the Lebanon War of 2006.

  • Developed a shared learning project with children at a grammar school in Akko and Hasten Hebrew Academy here in Indianapolis.

  • Supported a network of community centers serving small towns and villages of both Jews and Arabs dotting the hills of the Western Galilee. 

  • Assisted in fortifying the border with Lebanon with an advanced
    security system.

The accomplishments I saw have had a profound and sustainable impact on thousands of lives.

There are 45 partnership regions in Israel. After spending 2 weeks in our region with the five other members of the Indianapolis delegation, I can tell you that we got lucky! The Western Galilee is spectacular and too often overshadowed by Jerusalem and Tel Aviv during a typical trip to Israel.

Pomegranate Flowers
The region is just 6 miles south of the border with Lebanon. You would never know it. The Mediterranean Sea, rolling hills, aromatic flowers and fruits, significant archaeological sites, including the city of Akko itself, friendly Arab and Druze villages, boutique wineries, and dramatic sea caves define this region that is Israel’s northernmost coastal region. The arts flourish here where they are nurtured in small kibbutzim tucked in the hills.

I can tell you that I met terrific people, which I did. I can tell you that I had a fantastic time, which I did. I can tell you that the beautiful region has inspired me to paint, which it did. But the most important thing I can tell you is that I returned home with a sense of pride that we in Indianapolis have contributed greatly to the value of lives of regular people like you and me who live
in Israel.

More about Mindi Epstein

Thursday, June 23

Fab at 40

by Kelly Young
I just took a tour and have officially joined the JCC (I took advantage of their summer membership deal). I had no idea the JCC has so much to offer! I was a guest a while ago and worked out with a friend, but WOW! After looking through the summer Update I’m so excited about “everything JCC” that I’m not quite sure where to start.  
First, about me…I’m training for a half-ironman, so my fitness routine includes swimming, biking and runningand not much else (yet). I’m a healthy-eater wanna-be and count on smoothies to get in my 5 veggies a day. I work at being a good role model for my kids and hope that our family walks are a start to healthy habits for my 8- and 4-year-old. And, I just turned 40, so I am counting on the JCC to help me achieve my mantra of “Fab at 40.”
About my blog…I plan to use this space to share what I discover at the JCC and to share publicly how the things I am doing at the JCC are helping me be “Fab at 40"whether that’s through fitness classes or getting outside of my comfort zone and trying new things. As a new member, I hope I can meet other members (even if just virtually through this blog) who can help introduce me to everything awesome at the JCC. Sure, the Update tells me a lot, but I’d love to hear from you, too.
So, back to what’s exciting me most right now about the JCC:
  1. Hot stone massages.
  2. The Kids Triathlon on June 26I’m hopeful I can encourage my kids to “tri” it.
  3. Tandem Skydivingtalk about getting out of my comfort zone! I just may consider doing this on July 10, if I can find someone to join me.
  4. Saturdays at the JCC - fitness boot camp and yoga classes (hot yoga class is something I really want to try).
  5. The Eskenazi outdoor water park and summer fun with my kids.
So, what excites you? How do you use the JCC?
More about Kelly Young