Thursday, July 28

ART Had Me at "Hello"

by Lisa Freeman

I love art. This love affair started at the tender age of 3. It had me at finger painting. What is better than shmushing your fingers and palms around on a slick piece of art paper and creating whirly swirls and fluffy clouds and lightning bolts and stars? It’s tactile, it smells good, it feels good...what’s not to love? The Original Crayola 64 Box with built-in sharpener? Why, I thought I’d died and gone to heaven when I got my very own. You know what I’m talking about. Throughout the years, wonderful art tools and medium have always evoked fond memories of my formative years in high school art classes and college fine arts courses. 

I happen to work in a field that allows me to feed the passion that was nurtured early in life. I curate art exhibits for the JCC Art Gallery. I have access to and a passport into the studios of artists who make art for a living. I get to see the creative process at work and speak with and learn from many talented professionals who live in our community. Our gallery has hosted exhibits from artists as diverse as friends Lois Templeton and Phil O’Malley to photographers Denis Ryan Kelly, Jr. and Freddie Kelvin to our current exhibit featuring the very special artists and teaching instructors of VSA Indiana. All art is for sale and a portion of all sales benefits our friends at VSA

If you’ve not had a chance to view this wonderful exhibit, take a walk to the north side of the JCC building. You are in for a visual treat. If I see you browsing, I’ll stop and introduce myself.

More About Lisa Freeman

Tuesday, July 26

Fab at 40

by Kelly Young

My “Fab at 40” mantra has gone flat just two months after turning 40 and I need some motivation! After fracturing my arm just a few weeks before my 40th and then being told by the orthopedic surgeon that I couldn’t compete in triathlons this summer, I sorta lost my “fab” attitude…I want it back.

I joined the JCC to help achieve my mantra of Fab at 40, and while I’ve tried some new things (I’m a huge fan of the Reformer), I can say that I’ve definitely let the fractured arm thing get in my way. No more, though! After recently complaining to a friend that I wasn’t able to work out like I wanted to and whining about not really being Fab at 40, we decided that I was focusing too much on exercise and not enough on experiences. After a long conversation (and a second glass of wine), we came to the conclusion that maybe my mantra should encompass ‘mind, body and soul’ and not just be about fitness.

With that in mind, I’ve decided to take another look at the JCC and this time see it as more than just my new gym. So, with my attitude back in check and after looking over the website, I’ve picked out a few new things that I’m going to check out over the next few weeks:

  1. Belly Dancing: Ok, so I said I wasn’t going to focus on fitness, but this just sounds fun (and should be pretty funny for those who are in the same class the first time I try it)! Plus, it’s definitely a new experience for me.
  2. The Business Network on Aug. 17: As a small business owner, I’m always looking for opportunities to connect with new people. Why not let the JCC help make connections for me?
  3. Discover and Dine: I noticed a poster for this health fair the other day, and now I can’t wait to take my kids! Dance, tae kwon do and cooking demonstrations along with games and a healthy (but delicious) pasta dinner should be just the thing to jump start my fabulous 40s.
So two months past my birthday (and a month into my JCC membership), and I’m finally ready to get Fab at 40. What’s your mantra, and how is the JCC helping?

More About Kelly Young

Thursday, July 21

Improving Lives Improved My Life Forever

by Jessie Rockhill

“You must be the change you wish to see in the world.”  -Muhatma Gandhi
For as long as I can remember, my mom has been encouraging me to be a change in the world. Aside from her brown hair and incessant love for mystery novels, my mother also gave me her passion for people.
After being followed around for years at bowl-a-thons and food drives by a little girl in jelly shoes and a side ponytail, my mother eventually helped me start my own volunteer group in my senior year of high school. I gathered a bunch of band students and asked them to put down their mouthpieces and drumsticks for a day and pick up some gloves and shovels instead.
As I’m sure anyone who has ever dealt with teenagers will understand, I half expected my ideas to be met with torches and pitchforks. Asking someone from my generation to give up some of their own time is no easy feat, particularly with a mere promise of personal satisfaction in return.
Much to my surprise, there was a lot of interest in volunteering at our local soup kitchen. And then a lot of interest in Habitat for Humanity and then volunteering at all the nursing homes in the area. We eventually called ourselves "The Rhythm of Character."
A lot has changed over the past 5 years, but watching this group make a difference in our community is something I will never forget! Today I realize that helping others actually changed our lives, and watching that happen changed my life forever.
There are so many ways to make a difference in someone’s life, right here in Indianapolis. Without even realizing it, you’ll change your life too!
And many, many more!
More About Jessie Rockhill

Tuesday, July 19

Kids Say/Do the Darndest Things!

...featuring the Lewis family.

With an average of 120 children enrolled in our Early Childhood Education program each year, we have had the pleasure to work with some wonderful families. And the children? Well, they’re the best part of the family! We think you will enjoy meeting some of the children and families that make our ECE such a special place.
We would like to introduce you to:
  Erin and Cory Lewis

Proud parents of:
  Elle, age 7
  Libby, age 5
  Henry, age 4
  Oliver, age 2

We asked Erin Lewis to tell us about their family.

JCC: How long have you been a JCC member?
  Erin: Since 2006

JCC: Which of your children are or have been in ECE?
  Erin: All 4 have been there/are still there!

JCC: Would you share a brief story with us, perhaps a funny incident in ECE or a heart-warming moment at the JCC?
  Erin: Dropping off and picking up 4 kids
  over the years means lots of walking in
  and out of the JCC. Despite the fact that
  we’ve traipsed the route thousands of
  times, all of our children still race EVERY
  DAY to see who can find the brick (on
  the Jewish History Walkway behind the
  building) that is engraved with the name
  “MUFFINHEAD.” They have made us
  promise that when all of the Lewis
  children are finally out of the ECE wing
  and in primary school, we will buy a
  brick and engrave it with something
  just as amusing.

JCC: We know kids say the darndest things. What have you heard in
your family?
  Erin: One of our children came home from a day at ECE and told us one
  of her teachers was not at school that day. We asked where the teacher
  was and our child responded, “She went to heaven.” “Heaven!?!?” we  
  confirmed. “Yep, she went to heaven.” After much questioning, we found
  out that the said teacher had not died, but was actually vacationing in
  Florida. But to our 4-year-old child, she heard, “She’s going to Florida.

Thursday, July 14


by Nancy Riddle-Mills
The summer may be hot, but it’s our staff that really sizzles this time of year at the JCC! These young adults are busy dancing with their campers on Shabbat, encouraging new swimmers to take the plunge and modeling behavior for our youngest members, among so many other things. Seasonal staff may only spend a few months with us each year, but they have a huge impact on making summer fun, safe and successful at the JCC.
What really determines just how great a summer will be is the staff we hire and train. We truly have a terrific group of young people with us this year.

Ophir joins us
 from Tel Aviv
  Some are college freshmen heading off to universitites
  in all corners of the country.
  We have some who grew up across the street and
  others who come from the other side of the world.
  Many are returning campers, counselors or
  lifeguards themselves.

"My show would be
like Last Cake Standing,
except every cake would
have Oreos in it, and
I would get to taste
every single one."
When asked what kind of reality show they would star in,
we heard...

"A show in which thin people would have to gain weight."
"A show where we turn the tables on rude diners and
 force them to work as waiters/waitresses."
"A show in which we would examine life on a turtle farm."
I invite you to learn more about these creative and caring young adults by visiting our summer staff directory. And if you are a reality show producer, you might find some good ideas listed!
More About Nancy Riddle-Mills

Tuesday, July 12

Onward and Downward

by Esther Fox

When my alarm clock jars me awake at 5 am, I jump up and am ready to greet the day. Why, you ask?

Because I am on a journey to change my life.

A little more than a year ago, I got a wake-up call at the doctor's office. I was tipping the scales at my highest weight ever! Until that day, I had been living a rather sedentary lifestyle, complete with potato chips, pizza and too much television.

A light bulb went off above my head. "Esther!” I berated myself, “This isn't you. Do something about it!"

So I did. Three days later, I walked into the JCC and exited with a colorful key fob and a mission.

I would be lying if I said it was easy. At 24 years old, I was barely able to bend over to tie my shoes or to walk more than a few hundred feet without stopping to catch my breath, and was troubled by the constant thought of contracting weight-related illnesses that already run in my family.

That's a lot to weigh on such a young mind, pardon the pun. 

It didn’t take long for me to become a gym rat of sorts. First it was walking the indoor track three days a week with my mom. Three days turned into five. Soon after, five mornings turned into five mornings AND afternoons. Slowly but surely, I was feeling better.

I wish I could say I have been a faithful member for an entire year. However, my journey took an unfortunate turn at Thanksgiving, involving gravy and mashed potatoes. Oh, and quite possibly some pumpkin cheesecake. I sabotaged myself. And it made me sad and ashamed. At that point I didn't care that those fries at Five Guys were 1400+ calories. I wanted them anyway.

*insert internal anguish-induced scream here*

By June of 2011, I stopped stuffing my face and jumped back on the wagon. And this time, I had the commitment to change from my husband John to give me that little boost of motivation I needed. So now when the alarm goes off at 5 am, we BOTH wake up! I invite you to join us on our road to change. It’s a bumpy path, but we can find solace together in knowing that we’re on the path to change together.

If we can do it, you can do it! So, come on, people! Bend over and tie those shoes! Walk a few blocks and breathe. YOU CAN DO IT! Onward with our mission and downward with our weight!

More about Esther Fox

Thursday, July 7

What You Never Knew…An Interview with Eric Gordon Jr.

The Gordon Family (from left to right) Denise, Eron, Eric Sr., Evan, and Eric Jr. at the 2011 Eric Gordon Summer Basket Ball Camp at the JCC.

by Susan Gabovitch
Have you noticed that frequently you see the same faces each time you come to the JCC? I don’t mean the staff at our membership desks or any of our instructors. I’m referring to other JCC members—those same folks you encounter in your noon BodyPump class or who huff and puff next to you on the treadmill. I will introduce you to some of your fellow members in this blog. If there is one thing I have learned, it’s that people will always surprise you.
Take Eric Gordon Jr., for example. Many of you may be thinking “I know all about Eric.” You likely know that his parents, Denise and Eric, purchased a home across the street so their three sons could be close to a sports and fitness facility. In fact, the boys have grown up at the JCC. You may have seen them playing basketball and using the pool since they’re here almost daily. You also may know that Eric was a standout basketball player at North Central High School and at IU, and that now he is playing in the NBA. Yes, you already know a lot about this JCC member. But did you know that…
·         Eric’s favorite thing to do at the JCC is hang out at
     the Eskenazi water park;
·         His favorite restaurant is St. Elmo’s;
·         He loves strawberry ice cream more than any other flavor;
·         Eric’s favorite musical artist is Rick Ross; and
·         The most influential people in Eric’s life are his dad and his granddad.
I’d like to add that Eric is also a very kind and respectful young man. Learn more about Eric at

Until next time…

Tuesday, July 5

We're Talkin' Fish

by Katherine Matutes, PhD

When was the last time your 6-year-old asked you to fix herring for dinner? Cold water fatty fishes like salmon, tuna, mackerel and herring are the most frequently cited sources of Omega-3 fatty acids. The two most abundant Omega 3s are Eicosapentaenoic Acid and Docoshexaenoic acid, mercifully abbreviated as EPA and DHA. These have been shown to have positive effects on a range of critical issues from heart health to cognitive function.

Our bodies do not naturally produce Omega-3s. We have to consume them. So, how do we get our families to consume enough of this stuff to meet the American Heart Association recommendation of 2 servings of fish a week?  One way is to try new recipes, the quick and delicious one below adapted from “Bon Appétit” (reading “Bon Appétit” is a personal addiction, so this won’t be the only time I mention it!). 

Alternatively, you can try supplements.  Let me say I’m not a big fan of supplements. In general I favor getting nutrition from whole, unprocessed foods. Since my 7-year-old daughter is in the “I don’t like fish” phase (which I hope is fleeting), I have had to resort to fish oil supplements. You can find these at all health food stores. Speak to the dietician at the store about the pros and cons of different brands. For more information, you can visit

I would love to hear how you succeed in getting your family to eat more fish!

Seared Salmon with Citrus-Soy Glaze
Adapted from Bon Appétit

Serves 6
Prep time 15 min \ Cook time 10 min

4 C thinly sliced Napa cabbage 
6 (4-6 oz) salmon fillets
4 C thinly sliced fresh spinach  
1 tsp chopped peeled ginger
1 red bell pepper thinly sliced  
1 clove garlic, minced
1 C shredded carrots   
½ C fresh orange juice
2 TBS fresh cilantro, chopped  
3 TBS fresh lime juice
¼ C rice vinegar
¼ C plus 1 TBS canola oil
1 TBS plus 1 tsp. soy sauce
1 TBS sesame oil

Toss first 5 ingredients in large bowl to combine. Whisk vinegar, ¼ C. canola oil, 1 TBS. soy sauce and sesame oil in medium bowl. Set vinaigrette aside. Heat remaining canola oil in heavy skillet over medium high heat. Sprinkle salmon with salt and pepper to taste, add to pan. Cook salmon until brown on 1 side, about 4 minutes. Turn and cook until opaque in center, about 2 minutes longer. Transfer salmon to plate; tent with foil to keep warm. Add ginger and garlic to same skillet. Sauté 1 minute over medium heat. Add orange and lime juices and 1 tsp. soy sauce; boil until mixture is reduced to ¼ C. glaze, about 3 min. Remove from heat. Re-whisk vinaigrette. Add to vegetable mixture and toss to coat. Divide equally among plates. Place 1 salmon fillet atop vegetables. Drizzle glaze over salmon and serve.