Tuesday, August 30

When My Kids Were Little

by Lisa Freeman

When my kids were little, my spouse, Kevin and I were constantly seeking out elusive and random but ultimately entertaining festivals, fairs and small museums in towns across Indiana and the U.S. Michael and Becca got to see some pretty interesting treasures that your average tourist would never experience such as the Hot Dog Festival in Frankfort, Indiana, the Vernon County Fair in southwestern Wisconsin and the Aplets and Cotlets Candy Kitchen Museum in Cashmere, Washington. For many years I’d read about the crazy little Pierogi Fest in Whiting, Indiana and mulled the idea of journeying up I-65 to check it out, but when the end of July rolled around, alas, the idea vanished.

The idea became reality a few weeks ago when Kevin and I finally visited the Pierogi Fest. This festival is small town Indiana’s finest hour. A parade, floats with Mr. Pierogi and the Pierogi Queen don’t begin to do our visit justice, but I hope the photo speaks a thousand words! Pierogis, potato pancakes, Polish sausages and don’t forget, beer, are a few of the delicacies one will find if visiting this little festival treasure! Bring your lawnchair and plant it on the street for the best parade seat in town.

I am very excited to be involved with another treasure that will be gracing our own Laikin Auditorium stage on Tuesday, 9/20 at 7pm when the Yuval Ron Ensemble, featuring musicians from Jewish, Muslim, Sufi and Christian faiths, present a stunning musical performance. The JCC performance is especially exciting because it combines two of the ensemble’s concerts from its repertoire along with guest dancer Jamila Ali. This is an evening not to be missed. I look forward to seeing you there!

More About Lisa Freeman

Thursday, August 25

Kids Say/Do The Darndest Things!

Today’s blog introduces you to another one of our wonderful JCC families enrolled in our Early Childhood Education program.
We would like to introduce you to:
  Bill and Jennifer Zorn

Proud parents of :
  Rebecca, age 3 and
  Rachel, 10 weeks old

We asked Jennifer to tell us about their family.

JCC: How long have you been a JCC member?
  Jennifer: Since May 2010

JCC: Which of your children are or have been in ECE?
  Jennifer: This is our first year in the ECE.

JCC: Would you share with us a brief heart-warming story about the JCC?
  Jennifer: It is always hard to leave your children, but it is fantastic
  when they are in a place they love so much.  Last year Rebecca would
  often look at her Dad and I as we were dropping her off and say "Go to
  work!" Or if we came to pick-up earlier than expected, she’s say, "Can I
  play a little more?" When Rebecca does this, it makes us know that she
  is in a wonderful and loving place full of great activities, teachers,
  and friends.

JCC: We know kids say the darndest things. What have you heard in
your family?
  Jennifer: Rebecca says in the middle of naptime at home with Rachel
  crying: "Rachel having rough time and I having a rough time, so I
  should play."

JCC: Who is your child’s favorite movie star/superhero/sports figure/personality?
  Jennifer: Rebecca is a fan of Elmo and of her baby sister.

Tuesday, August 23

What You Never Knew…An Interview with Sid Tuchman

by Susan Gabovitch
Sid Tuchman is everything I hope to be when I am in my 80s...funny, smart, kind, generous and very active. Sid’s family began Tuchman Cleaners in the 1920s. Once Sid joined the business, he grew it to 35 stores. In the 1970s, he co-founded Apparelmaster, a successful uniform rental company. Not content to slow down, he today serves as a consultant and management group facilitator to help organizations exceed customer expectations by developing a culture that retains and nurtures the best in employees.
Sid was recently selected by the Drycleaning and Laundry Institute for its highest honor, the Diamond Achievement Award. The Institute found that few people have contributed to the strength of the industry on the level of Sid.
Did I mention that before beginning his business career he lived and worked in Hollywood as an actor and that he even performed at the Pasadena Playhouse?
Sid’s successes are not just professional. He has been married to his wife, Charlene, since 1956. While they became engaged only one week after meeting, he tells me that his heart still beats quickly when he sees her walk into a room. They have 3 children and 7 grandchildren, all of whom live in San Francisco. Sid and Charlene live in San Francisco half of each year to be near all of them.
Truth be told, Sid Tuchman is not just my role model for my 80s. He is my role model for today as well.
Until next time…

More About Susan Gabovitch

Thursday, August 18

What Are Your Favorite 3 Words in English?

by Nancy Riddle-Mills

What are the 3 most beautiful words in the English language? “I love you”? Or “I forgive you”? Perhaps... But as a parent, I suggest “back to school” are pretty sweet words.

“Back to school” is a familiar and comforting routine: Get sports physical. Pay book and assorted school fees. Take a trip to Target for ‘stuff’. And voila, the student is ready to go.

“Back to school” means back to an “early to bed, early to rise” schedule. Everything else in life pretty much revolves around the all-powerful school calendar and the sacrosanct school day. The kids go back to their routine and parents return to theirs. It’s comforting.

But this year, our eldest child is heading off college. In another state. Pretty far away. Which seemed like such a good idea at the time. There’s no routine for this because we’ve never experienced it before. Everything is new. And exciting. And scary. Rather than coming to terms with my daughter being away at school, I’ve focused on getting her ready to go. In other words: shopping. I’m thinking that if I can send her off with the cutest, most color-coordinated bedding, bath towels and clothes hamper that her transition will be smooth and seamless.  

But really, all this shopping is just my way of avoiding the fact that she’ll be living far away and I’m really going to miss her.

More About Nancy Riddle-Mills

Tuesday, August 16

Shalom from Philadelphia

by Esther Fox

I’m sure that a lot of you can agree that, when you’re about to go on vacation, the last thing that’s on your mind is keeping up with the healthy lifestyle you’ve been living for the last few months. Right? Why go to the gym? The hotel you’re staying at likely won’t have a fitness center quite like the JCC. The pool won’t be anything like the aquatic center. Your trainer will still be at home. Eat what you want and don’t tell anyone!


You CAN be healthy on vacation! You can eat all that delicious food in MODERATION. You may be able to get away with stuffing your face when no one is looking, but at the end of the day, the only one who will know about it is YOU. And believe me, I know how to guilt myself after eating a meal of some less-than-savory foods. No one else may know about it, but I do. The self-induced guilt trip is not a nice feeling.

So I am in Philadelphia, PA for a week. I’m faced with such wonderful food options here like hoagies (they aren’t subs!) and authentic cheesesteaks (Pat’s anyone?). While I may not be back home in Indiana to go to the JCC every morning, I can do what I can to ensure that I am enjoying my vacation in a somewhat healthy way.

I keep repeating these words in my mind: eat less, move more. If you can’t get to a gym, stay active to burn those calories! If you can’t get to water aerobics, go to the hotel pool and do some of the exercises you do in class! Eat that cheesesteak, log those calories, and remember that you’re human. Enjoy your vacation and stop worrying.

The JCC will be here when you get back.

More About Esther Fox

Tuesday, August 9

Why buy local, seasonal produce?

by Katherine Matutes
Grapes from Chile in December are no problem in our global economy. Or, are they? Global produce on average travels 2,000 miles before being sold. The cost of covering these distances is not only significant in terms of energy, dollars and climate impact, but also in a decline of nutritional value.
Many nutrients are lost to oxygen and light exposure during transport and storage. Produce quality and flavor also suffer from early harvesting, forced ripening in greenhouses and plant breeding designed to enhance product shipping tolerance.
The "buy local” food movement has been growing rapidly as more consumers become concerned about agricultural impacts on the environment, and yearn for healthier, tastier produce. Below are some great ways you can get started going local.
Where is your favorite farmers market?

Be sure to check out Greenbean Delivery at the JCC's upcoming Discover & Dine Health Fair on Monday, August 22. You’ll have an opportunity to meet professionals in the health field as well as join us for a healthy and delicious dinner.
Check out the smart phone app, locavore $1.99, it lists produce that is in season in by area.
For further reading pick up Diet for a Hot Planet by Anna Lappé or How to Pick a Peach by Russ Parsons.
More About Katherine Matutes, PhD

Thursday, August 4

Going on Vacation

by Larry Rothenberg

As you are reading this, I am likely starting my vacation. 4 days in the San Diego Bay with close friends who live on their boat and a few days with my son who lives out there. I don’t know for sure what I’ll be doing, but I am confident that it will be exhilarating and restful. I am a lucky guy.

“What a getaway,” you may be thinking.

Well, I am certainly looking forward to the trip, but I also know that if I live well, life is full of vacations. I can have a vacation looking up to the sky, riding my bicycle, doing BodyPump in the group exercise studio or having a great discussion with someone. I can take vacation right now as I am writing this blog, sitting at my desk at the JCC. Ahhh. Join me!

What do I mean, “If I live my life well”? I guess I just mean appreciating what I have–what is here. I’m not going to complain about the heat today. That is the only weather I have, so it’s just fine. I’m not going to spend a second of my wonderful today wishing that I were already on vacation. This is the only today I have, so it’s just fine.

After all, I can never, ever be anywhere except right where I am, right now, so whether I fill that here and now with “recreation” or worry is really up to me. Know what my ideal vacation is? All the time. Everywhere. That’s the one I’d like to allow myself every day. Why not?

And with that said, I set sail in the beautiful blue sea and wish you all wonderful vacations forever.

More About Larry Rothenberg

Tuesday, August 2

Around and About with Mindi: Reflecting on Israel

by Mindi Epstein

Have you ever noticed how ordinary objects become extraordinary when traveling? As one of 12 Americans participating in Partnership2Gether (formerly Partnership 2000) Artist-in-Residence program in conjunction with the Jewish Federation of Greater Indianapolis, I spent 10 turbo-charged days touring and painting in the northwestern-most corner of Israel.

Everywhere I gazed, my mind composed beautiful paintings from the mundane. There were doors painted in the brilliant blues of the Mediterranean Sea, which according to folklore, is to ward off the Evil Eye, the bedraggled street vendors standing in contrast to the vibrant colors of their merchandise, and the bold vistas fading to blue-gray as they retreated into the distance. Every turn of my head yielded another painting ready-formed in my mind’s eye.

This Israel was an entirely different country from the one I had lived in for 6 years more than a decade ago. The Israel I experienced as an artist was politically neutral. The land was unstained, having never known millennia of war. All of the people were innocent because no blood had been shed.

As I stand before my easel at home, I struggle to recall what my mind’s eye had created only 2 short months ago. Even as the meaningless brushstrokes on my canvas frustrate me, I hold onto those precious moments when the Israel I saw with my artist’s eye was a land of remarkable beauty and pervasive peace. Halivai. I wish it to be so for all.

More About Mindi Epstein