Friday, March 30

Food Brings Families Together

by the JCC staff
I read an article recently about the Seder. It turns out that a Seder is the most celebrated Jewish holiday in North America as well as in Israel, even though no two families celebrate in the same way.

For our non-Jewish readers, Seder is a ritual feast held at the start of Pesach, or Passover. Specific foods help retell the story of the liberation of the Israelites from slavery in ancient Egypt.
Times and families have changed much over the generations since the first Jewish immigrants came to the United States. Books such as MakeYour Own Passover Seder aim to help today’s blended families continue some traditions and create their own new ones.
Even the White House now celebrates the Seder, a relatively informal event meant to share in and respect the traditions of some of President Obama’s staff.
I found a tasty-sounding recipe for gefilte fish, one of the most well-known parts of the Seder meal. This one, called hraimeh, is popular in Israel.

Makes 6 servings
For the paste:
  • 10 cloves garlic, minced 
  • 3 tablespoons cayenne pepper (or sweet paprika for a milder flavor) 
  • 1 cup water 
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil 
  • 1 large onion, finely diced 
  • 4 tablespoons tomato paste 
  • 1 teaspoon cumin 
  • Salt and pepper to taste
For the fish:
  • 6 slices fish (1.5 fingers thick) and retain the head if you wish

Pilpelchuma sauce:
1. In a small bowl, blend the garlic, cayenne pepper and salt until you get a paste. This is the pilpelchuma mix.
2. Heat the oil in a wide saucepan, then add the onion, and saute until translucent.
3. Add the pilpelchuma mix and saute for an additional minute
4. Add the tomato paste and water and bring to the boil. Simmer for about 10 minutes, until the sauce is reduced.
1. Place the fish slices on the sauce, pushing them down. Add water to almost the height of the fish (do not cover the fish – we’re not making soup). If you have room, add the fish head which gives some extra flavor.
2. Bring to the boil, and simmer on low heat for about 15 minutes, until the fish is cooked through
3. To serve, put 2-3 tablespoons sauce in plate, add a fish slice, and spoon some more sauce on top.
4. Serve with crisp baguette or fresh challah for dipping in the sauce (not on Passover, of course).

What are your favorite Seder traditions – or, if you’re not Jewish, your best-loved family food traditions?

Tuesday, March 27

Communities: A City's Life Blood

by Wil D. Marquez

In many parts of the world, the design and vision of cities have become both a contentious battlefield for change and an example for new modes of urbanity. As we move into the next decade, the business and entrepreneurship of city development will continue to expand with a particular focus on communities, the life blood of a city’s success.

Driven by the economy of competitive expectations that drive cities, the business of how people live will be in left in the hands of emerging non-architects as well as architects. The marketing and development of environments, a profitable career option, will become big business as emerging professionals respond to new data concerning urban behavior, cultural values, economies and the comprehension of work/production.

The speed of technology, data mining and changes in human behavior will require the attention of our present and future architects. They will need to respond by shifting to operating at multiple scales; integrating, speculating and developing collaborative events, monuments, and possibilities that will consider a population’s behavior, work production, transportation, and a way of living beyond the physical form. The city’s new generation of design practitioners will no longer just focus on the physical object of buildings, but will expand that intelligence along design verticals by considering forces beyond form, massing, or monument, a logic process intended to keep cities not only competitive, but site specific and unique.

The conversations about discarded couches that have unfolded during the exhibit “Couched Constructions,” currently showing at Herron School of Art & Design and at the Arthur M. Glick JCC, and of abandoned homes in the upcoming IndyTalks public discussion at the JCC, get to the core of an insurgency that has slowly been building. Our cities need not look far, as the protagonists of this story are a new type of citizen. We will explore these notions further in the IndyTalks moderated panel discussion and during the table conversations that follow with community leaders, such as Wes Janz, Erika Smith and Connie Ziegler. The public discourse will help us better understand the scale of the problem we are dealing with and why it is so that the public be involved in our neighborhoods.

Join Wil and other community leaders for our IndyTalks Community Discussion moderated by Erika Smith, Indianapolis Star Columnist – “Our City Under the Radar: Neighborhoods on the Edge,” Wednesday March 28, 7-9. Everyone is also invited to our “Couched Construction 2” art gallery reception, Wednesday, March 21 – 5:30-7:30.  Both of these free, public events are at the Arthur M. Glick JCC, 6701 Hoover Road, Indy.

For the past decade, Wil D. Marquez has been developing a unique product in architecture and urban design for clients who believe that good design can make a difference in both their lives and in the lives of others. His expertise focuses in finding plausible, yet nontraditional, solutions for homes, developments, streetscapes, retail centers, and installations through a collaborative practice he defines as “creative play”. A unique process of collaborative programming meets big picture thinking that he believes is the basis for how we make the decisions needed to realize a project’s full potential.

Marquez graduated from the University of Minnesota (B.A. 1999) and University of Michigan (M.A. 2005), His philosophy is centered around the belief that it is imperative for creative designers to seek out new solutions if they want to contribute to meaningful and relevant environments to society. That philosophy is the reason why Marquez launched his own company in 2010. Indianapolis-based w/purpose is an urban + public design firm whose mission is attract clients that believe and act like his company is so aptly named, with purpose.

Thursday, March 22

What Goes Around Comes Around

by Larry Rothenberg

Nothing really disappears. Where could it go? Neighborhoods, people, couches – yes, they change, but if we think they just “go away,” we are being short-sighted and are missing the full picture.
That thought ties together our IndyTalks Community Discussion, our Couched Constructions: Part 2 art gallery show and master pianist Richard Glazier.
The IndyTalks event "Our City Under the Radar: Neighborhoods on the Edge" is a panel discussion and open conversation, asking:
  • How do we develop neighborhoods? 
  • What happens to the estimated 10,000 abandoned properties in Indianapolis? 
  • What community grows from here?    
Yes, we can ignore it, but remember: neighborhoods don’t just “go away.” Join the discussion at 7 pm on Wednesday, Mar. 28. 
Couched Constructions: Part 2, a Herron School of Art and Design show in our JCC gallery through May 4, looks at the idea of repurposing. Art work created from discarded couches, suitcases and umbrellas creatively reminds us that the stuff of our old lives can be repurposed, recycled and reimagined to bring new and unexpected meaning to us.
Then let’s make a quick turn and look at Richard Glazier. What comes around goes around in this case, too. Richard grew up at our JCC and went on to become an award-winning pianist and master story teller. On May 3, he will return to Indianapolis to present a great show dedicated to music andthe movies. Richard has generously agreed that all proceeds will go to the Harriet Glazier Cultural Arts fund supporting cultural arts programming at the JCC.
See how it all ties together? Nothing is missing - except maybe you. You don’t want that to happen, do you?
We are never finished growing as long as there is a “we” to grow. We may indeed have “off” days, we may think we are stuck in a rut, but something is growing. For some of us it is hidden, for some of us it is obvious, but with every day, we grow one day richer.
More about Larry Rothenberg

Tuesday, March 20

Strengthen My Hip? But It’s My Knee That's Hurting!

by Frank J Klene, PT, DPT, CSCS
This month I want to talk about knee pain. The Mini Marathon is in just a few months, and training should be underway by now! The pathology I want to talk about is termed Patella-Femoral Pain Syndrome (PFPS), a common problem for long distance runners and people who begin a new exercise program. 
Symptoms of PFPS are usually reported as a dull ache behind the knee cap that occurs with exercising. Patients may also report a dull ache with prolonged sitting (such as in a movie theater), and the pain can also be reported as sharp with deep knee squatting or when descending stairs.
PFPS is a fancy phrase for stating that the knee cap is not properly tracking or sliding over your leg bones. When the tracking is off, soft tissue and bony surfaces can rub together, in turn, causing pain. Sounds pretty awful, but more times than not, a good strengthening program can correct the poor mechanics and get you back to running, jumping and sport activities.
So with a problem of the knee, you should strengthen the knee, right? Well…not exactly. New research shows that simple hip strengthening exercises can improve lower extremity alignment and improve tracking of the knee cap. This is a great idea because many times your knee is inflamed and painful and will not tolerated excessive strengthening. Three easy hip exercises used commonly to treat PFPS can be found here. Check it out, and if you have any questions or comments, feel free to post a comment or email me! 
Remember: May is closer than you think. Start your running progression now!
More about Frank J. Klene

Tuesday, March 13

Put Some "Spring" in Your Step with Seasonal Produce

by Katherine Matutes, PhD
With spring just around the corner, my thoughts begin to wander to the fresh new crop of produce that will reach its peak this time of year. What’s in season? Expect to see asparagus, fresh peas, sweet cherries, radishes, apricots, rhubarb, fava beans and the elusive morel mushrooms all will begin making their appearances.
Although most of these items are available year-round, they are at their culinary and nutritional best in the spring. Selecting the best of the crop and using the right cooking method can help ensure that you’re getting most from these nutritional powerhouses.
For asparagus, look for stalks that are thinner and tender with closed florets at the tip. Before cooking, trim off the tough woody stem at the base. Some cooks recommend peeling away the outer skin, but this also removes a great source of fiber - so it's better to leave the skin intact. 
The preferred cooking method for asparagus is grilling or roasting. Asparagus is loaded with the water soluble B and C vitamins, and these can be lost to the cooking water during boiling or steaming. Vitamin C is also quite sensitive to heat, so keeping the cooking time short will ensure more nutrient retention and maintain a pleasant crunch. Try roasting the spears in a drizzle of olive oil at 400°F for 10-15 minutes.
Fava Beans
What to do with fava beans? If you’ve never tried these nutritional gems, now is the time to experiment. They're similar in appearance to lima beans once shucked from their pods, but they have a nutty taste and buttery texture. Fava beans are high in protein and fiber, so their addition to soups and salads can help to keep you full longer! Younger beans can be eaten raw, but larger, more mature beans need to be shelled and cooked. Try sautéing them with extra virgin olive oil, lemon juice and asiago cheese for a tasty side dish or light main course.
For more tips on finding what’s in season locally, check out the free smart phone app Locavore. In addition to pointing out what produce is available in your area, Locavore can steer you to the nearest farmer’s market. Enjoy!
More about Katherine Matutes, PhD

Thursday, March 8

"Lettuce" Celebrate the Coming Spring

by Richard S. Kordesh
Under the grow light on a platform a few feet from my desk, romaine and butter head lettuce are extending their limbs upward. They look jaunty on this rainy, early March day in the Midwest. The first few heads will be ready for salads in about ten days. The rest will be help fill the table through March and into April.
Inspired by them this morning with the imminent end of winter, I snapped off a photo on my phone and sent it to my wife, who had just left for her office, and to my daughter. 
“Beautiful,” Kathy (the daughter) responded. “Are these spinach?”  
“No, romaine and butter head lettuce,” I answered, glowing more now because these little green vegetables had just brightened her day downtown, too. 
“Yum,” was her reply.
Last week, I prepared a stir fry infused with the frozen spinach from last summer’s bounty. We’re now down to the pickles we preserved in August and September. With diligent planning for three phases of planting, at this time in February 2013 we’ll still be eating the spinach and beets from 2012.
Gardening in one’s own habitat isn’t difficult, technically, but it does take time to see the possibilities in all the micro-spaces where food can grow. The kids don’t really have to be taught formally that the home is also a living habitat. They come to assume that, as I put it the other night at dinner, “Tonight, you’re eating your yard!”
Guest blogger Richard S. Kordesh is the author of Restoring Power to Parents and Places and has worked professionally in the community development field for 35 years.
More about Richard S. Kordesh

Tuesday, March 6

Triangle Cookies and the Story of Purim

by Al Herbach
We've all read stories about hats. Whether it's a cat in a hat, a ten-gallon hat or a man with a yellow hat, a head covering can be the focus of a great story. 
But at Purim, we talk about a triangular hat.
The story of Purim, as written in the Book of Esther, takes us back to ancient Persia. The three-second definition:
Purim commemorates the deliverance of the Jewish people in the ancient Persian Empire from destruction in the wake of a plot by Haman. 
A longer retelling: 
King Ahasuerus has become upset with his queen and decides to find another. Esther, a Jewish orphan being raised by her cousin Mordecai, “finds favor with the king,” so he chooses her to become his new queen - but she doesn't reveal that she's Jewish. Mordecai finds out about a plot to overthrow the king and stops the coup, and his service to the king is put on record. 
Haman, the king’s right-hand man who always wears a tri-cornered hat (this is where the hat comes in), is upset that Mordecai will not bow down to him. When he finds out Mordecai is Jewish, he plots to kill all the Jews. Mordecai finds this out and asks Esther to help devise a plan to save the Jewish people. Esther plans several dinners and invites both the king and Haman. Unable to sleep one night, the king is reminded that Mordecai saved his life and asks Haman how to honor a great person. Haman, thinking that the king is referring to him, states that the honored one should be led through the city on the king’s horse wearing the king’s robes. The king orders Haman to honor Mordecai in this manner. After the second dinner, Esther tells the king that Haman is planning to kill all of her people. The king orders Haman killed and so Esther saved the day.
When we read the Book of Esther in synagogue, we make noise every time that Haman’s name is spoken in order to blot out his memory. For the record, Haman’s name appears 54 times.
As it was the wine that made the king receptive to Esther’s requests, we are commanded to drink wine so that we cannot tell the difference between “Cursed is Haman” and “Blessed is Haman.” In order to take away Haman's power, we make triangular cookies filled with fruits to represent his tri-cornered hat, called Hamantashen.
So take a moment to enjoy these delicious cookies and rejoice that no one wears tri-cornered hats today!
Hamantashen Recipe:
  • 2 ½ cups flour 
  • 2 tsp baking powder 
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ¼ cup melted butter
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • ¾ cup milk 
  • 1 can Solo fruit or poppyseed filling
Mix the flour, baking powder, sugar, salt, butter, egg and milk. Knead well. Roll the dough out thin and cut into rounds about 2 inches in diameter. Place a spoonful of Solo filling in the center of each round, draw up three sides and pinch sides together in the shape of a triangle. Place on a greased cookie sheet and bake at 375°F for 35 minutes or until delicately brown.
Guest blogger Al Herbach CEO of SchmaltzOnline, a classic Jewish deli that ships Jewish goodness to people all around the country.  

Thursday, March 1

Love Spinning? There's an App for That

A few months ago, I attended what was easily my 200th spin class at my gym. As was the case many times before, I left the class feeling frustrated. I love to spin, and like many people I enjoy having a coach to lead me through the workout, but I didn’t enjoy the class experience. I couldn’t hear the instructor properly; I didn’t like his music selection; I felt uncomfortable with all those people around me; and I left the gym running late to a meeting. 
As I huffed out of the gym, I scrolled through the fitness applications on my iPhone, trying to find something that could give me the spin class experience without any of those downsides, but I couldn’t find anything.  So I decided to create an application to fill this need.
Three months later, Global Spin Coach was released onto the Apple app store market. Our spin app has generated considerable buzz – and has been downloaded by hundreds of users in 10 countries around the world – in just its first week. Users have given our app great reviews, and we believe that’s because it’s the only smart phone application on the market that successfully brings that personable, human element of the fitness instructor directly to the user.
Global Spin Coach uses technology to bring a gym full of personal spin instructors right to your iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch. The classes vary in intensity level and skills required, ranging from beginner to advanced courses. No other fitness app on the market provides complete, personalized spin training while giving you the opportunity to select the type of coach and class that best fits your personal style and needs.
I still go to the gym, and I still attend my favorite instructors’ spin classes – but now that Global Spin Coach is available on my iPhone, I have eight full-length, challenging classes available to me to use anywhere, anytime.
For more information, check out the Global Spin Coach website, or download the app for free (classes are $0.99 each, and you have them forever).
Guest blogger Sarah Kleinman was born and raised in Indianapolis, where she was a JCC member since childhood. After graduating from North Central in 2004, Sarah completed her BA in History and MA in Sociology at Stanford University. Sarah spent some time running a California-based global health non-profit called FACE AIDS before winning a Rhodes Scholarship to pursue a PhD in International Relations at Oxford University. In her spare time while she completes her studies, Sarah is building fitness applications for the iPhone/iPad, including Global Spin Coach.