Tuesday, July 31

This Week in Jeruselum

by Robin Clare
At the end of every Passover Seder, our last declaration is “Next Year in Jerusalem.” The Jewish people anxiously await the coming of Moshiach, or the Messiah, to take them to the Promised Land.
I discovered over a period of 10 years that we are each the Messiah of our own lives – and that the Promised Land that we have come to desire is our own internal connection with Hashem, or the Divine.  This “place” of knowing in our heart center that we are one with Hashem, is indeed the Promised Land that we have sought over thousands of years (this is also the topic of my first book, Messiah Within!)
The most consistent comment I have heard from people when they hear my story or read my book is that I must have had a lot of courage to come to this conclusion. How could I be this bold author willing to stand out in the Jewish world and reinterpret the teachings of the Torah…and yet be afraid to go to Israel?   
I think that there are three categories to describe the way that people feel about going to Israel: the first group are excited to go, the second group feels obligated to go and the third group are afraid to go. 
I fell into the third category.
It was not until I began to live my own teachings that I found the courage and obligation to go to Israel. In living the process of becoming my own Messiah Within, I discovered that I am divinely guided every moment of every day. Therefore, if I was being called to go to Israel, then who I am to say “No”? 
My concern about traveling to Israel was fueled by the media coverage of the Middle East and gentle admonitions by my mother. Yet friend after friend has told me that they never felt safer than when they were in Israel.
Neither of my parents traveled to Israel. My dad did not go because his life was cut short due to illness; my mom has not because she is too afraid. Each time I speak to my mom, she tries to tell me that I can always cancel, even if I am leaving tomorrow!  
But if I am truly living my own philosophy, then I have nothing to fear – because when I am truly living in the present moment, then all is perfect just the way it is.  
 In my life, there is no longer a “worst that can happen” because all experiences serve to bring us closer to Hashem when we understand the gift of the experience. I am now very excited about experiencing Israel with my son, both for the first time.
My husband will drop us at the airport, and I will continue my blog post when I return on August 12.  It will be extraordinary to discover what the Divine has in store for us in Israel. I look forward to sharing with you what I find.
As I step onto the plane tomorrow, I will remember one of my favorite quotes from Oprah Winfrey:
“The true meaning of courage is to be afraid, and then, with your knees knocking and your heart racing, to step out anyway—even when that step makes sense to nobody but you. I know that’s not easy. But making a bold move is the only way to truly advance toward the grandest vision the universe has for you.”
Shalom for now!

Guest blogger Robin Clare, author of Messiah Within, is the co-founder of two spiritual organizations: Enlightened Professionals and The ATMA Center. Over a 10-year period, Robin has been on a journey of self-discovery to allow her life’s purpose to fully manifest in service to others.

Thursday, July 26

Rollin’, Rollin’, Rollin’

by Mindi Epstein

As he approaches his 96th birthday, long-time JCC member Sam Cohen has cycled the equivalent of the distance between California and Maine - five times - on a stationary bicycle at the JCC.

Since 1993, Sam has logged close to 14,000 miles without ever once pedaling a mile outside of the JCC’s walls.

“I used to ride outside, about 50 miles most days,” he explains, “but they stopped me from riding outside at 93 because my balance isn’t what it used to be.”

Not one to be easily thwarted, Sam didn’t pack it in. Instead, he packed it up.

Four times each week, Sam strolls into the JCC with his workout bag slung over his shoulder and makes his way to his favorite stationary bicycle in the JCC’s Mordoh Fitness Center for a one hour and forty-minute ride, 25 miles exactly. He has his favorite bike because, as he says, “it’s the one that feels most like riding a real bike on the road.”

Before jumping onto the saddle, Sam positions his personal box fan at just the right angle. This ritual has its purpose.

“I have a fan because if you keep your body cool while you’re exercising, you’re not wasting any energy through body heat. So you’re able to use more energy for pedaling,” he says.

Anyone who participates in a sport would testify to the accuracy of this statement. These days, the JCC staff stores Sam’s fan for him, but there was a time when this iconic figure could be seen carrying his fan in and out of the JCC every time he came to ride.

Sam’s history with the JCC goes back to when he was 7 or 8 years old living with his family in a “little cottage” near the corner of South Street and Capitol Avenue in Indianapolis. He went to “do a little exercise” at the JCC’s predecessor, the Communal Building (Nathan Morris House), constructed in 1914 on South Meridian Street. He continued his activities at the community’s new facility, the Kirshbaum Community Center, when it opened in the mid-1920s at 2314 N. Meridian Street. Some of Sam’s fondest memories come from his time at the Kirshbaum Center.

“I enjoyed playing in a basketball league and swimming,” he recalls. “And, I passed all my tests for the life guard.”

Considering the JCC’s outstanding aquatic facilities today on Hoover Road with an indoor competition pool and an entire water park, one would want to know if Sam still enjoys swimming.

“Nah,” he flicks his hand and laughs, “I’ll rust.”

Many years later, after an adrenalin-charged, 4-year stint overseas during World War II as a bombardier, Sam returned to Indiana. Under the G.I. Bill, he pursued a Master’s Degree at Purdue University. It was there that he met his wife, Clara, nine years his junior, about which, Sam says, “Now it doesn’t make any difference,” as a way to dismiss any conversation about a younger bride. The new couple established a home in the vicinity of the JCC on the north side, so it was only natural that they would become members. They raised their two daughters, Denise and Janet, and son Howard, at the JCC.

When asked if he always liked to exercise, Sam’s answer is quite matter of fact: “Well, a little bit. I didn’t really start hard until I was 62.”

It was a gift from his children for his 62nd birthday that inspired Sam to get serious about exercise: a 3-speed Raleigh bicycle. His inaugural ride may have only been 5 miles, but he quickly amped up the mileage and hasn’t quit pedaling since.

“I can’t break the machine,” he chuckles.

Perhaps the best result of all this activity is that Sam has achieved his goal of remaining independent and not needing assisted living. When asked how the JCC has impacted his life, Sam doesn’t hesitate with answering, “It has kept me going!”

More about Mindi Epstein

Tuesday, July 24

It's Never Too Late to Be a Non-Smoker

by Eunice Trotter
If she knew then what she knows now, Mildred Ellis would have never smoked. For more than 40 years, she puffed daily on cigarettes, depending on them to provide a little "zip" to an otherwise depressing or mundane day.

If she could recover all of the money she spent on cigarettes, it would probably purchase a home, or at least provide a nice down payment on one. Cigarettes were her crutch. But today, at age 81, she has nothing but regret for leaning on them.

Mrs. Ellis is a resident at North Capitol Nursing and Rehabilitation, an American Senior Communities center near Downtown Indianapolis. She was diagnosed with lung cancer recently and is now tethered to a ventilator that helps her breathe. She also recently had a stroke and was sent upstate for long-term nursing care in a ventilator unit. With demand for residential ventilator care high statewide, Mrs. Ellis cried with joy when she learned a room had become available in Indianapolis, allowing her to return to where her family lives.

Unfortunately, very few nursing communities offer nursing units that specialize in providing ventilation care. Demand for such services is only expected to increase as boomers age.

We’ve all seen the smoking awareness commercial of the woman with the raspy voice who puts on her wig, then her teeth and trachea cover, then her scarf and declares she is ready to leave home. Mrs. Ellis cries because she can’t do that.

“It was the smoking,’’ she said. “It was the smoking.”

As Indiana embraces the state’s new smoking ban, now is the time to find the way to quit that works for you.  

It’s never too late.

Guest blogger Eunice Trotter is the communications specialist for American Senior Communities. North Capitol Nursing and Rehabilitation and all of the other 23 Indianapolis-area American Senior Communities help residents quit every day. For more information, visit www.ASCSeniorCare.com.  

Thursday, July 19

Summer Sun = Grilling Fun


by Megan Daugherty

Summer's the perfect time to get out your grill - and makes some of the healthiest, tastiest dishes! Try these tips for your next cookout. 

Tips for Healthy Grilling

  • Trim excess fats from foods. These fats are the troublemaker so keep it to a minimum.
  • Use marinades based on olive oils and/or citrus juices.
  • Avoid flare-ups. Flare-ups burn foods and this increases PAH formation (defined below).
  • Don't overcook foods. Charred bits on foods are the largest sources of PAHs - so if you have charred sections, cut them off.
  • Use herbs like basil, mint, rosemary, thyme, oregano and sage to add flavor and reduce PAH formation in foods.
  • Use a grilling basket or pan to grill vegetables and fruits.
  • You can grill almost anything! Fruits, vegetables, meats, bread, pizza - the ideas are endless! Get creative and start up your grill. Or try some of these delicious grilling recipes!

A Few Cautions to Take When Grilling
Burnt Food:  
Carcinogenic substances (A.K.A. cancer-causing substances) called polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) can be produced when food is burnt or overheated. The level of PAHs in food increases with higher temperatures and longer cooking times. 
The National Cancer Institute reports that cancers of the colon, digestive system and stomach are associated with high intake of charred or burned meats. 
Scary, right? Yes, there seem to be a lot of scares of foods, chemicals and other items that could cause cancer - but the point is, you can do something about it by minimizing your risk to these substances. 
Risk minimization tips:
  • Avoid using excessive heat during roasting, grilling, toasting and frying.
  • Avoid char-grilled meats.
  • If you must salvage accidentally burnt food, try to cut off or remove the burnt pieces before eating.

Temperatures of Meat: 
Use a thermometer to check the internal temperature of meat, poultry and egg dishes to prevent food-borne illness and avoid overcooking food. USDA recommended minimum internal temperatures are:
  • Raw beef, pork, lamb and veal steaks, chops, and roasts - at least 145°F
  • Raw ground beef, pork, lamb and veal - at least 160°F
  • All poultry - 165°F
  • Casseroles and egg dishes - 140°F or cold dishes at 40°F
  • Most fish - 140°F

Marinade Brushing Cooked Meat:  
Many grillers (including my Dad) enjoy pouring or brushing the leftover marinade on top of the already cooked meat before taking it off the grill to give the meat more flavor and make it juicer. This is not a good idea! The leftover marinade was once the marinade that your RAW meat was soaking in, which means you’re now pouring raw meat juices and contaminating the already cooked meat. Doing this can cause you to contract a food-borne illness like E. coli, Salmonella or Campylobacter jejuna.

This summer, grill tasty and safe food!

Tuesday, July 17

Lessons on Raising Children

by Harvey Gould
I was 27 when my first children were born (identical twins), and 30 when my third child was born. I shared nighttime duty with my wife, changed diapers routinely when I was home and helped in whatever other manners possible. 
So lesson number one is that men should participate in all possible child-rearing duties. Not doing so because a football game is on is no excuse. These are your kids as much as your wife’s (or significant other) and the more you participate, the more you’ll appreciate how tough a job it is to raise kids.  
Only as a young parent myself did I realize that my folks probably knew just about as little as my wife and I did about raising children and that they had done exactly what we were doing - dealing with issues as they arose with no fixed idea of the right or wrong answers, but relying on a good dose of common sense.
Which brings me to how things seem to have changed. When our daughters were infants, after we’d put them down, we’d let them cry for a bit - and most of the time, they’d fall asleep. If they’d get themselves too worked up, we’d go to them, pick them up and rock them to sleep. This wasn’t rocket science. Yet, today, I hear about “sleep training”. Please.
When our daughters were old enough to know that when we said it was bedtime we meant it, and that meant that without much fanfare, there would be a nighttime story, a lullaby, a back rub, a kiss and lights out, and then it was time to sleep. Now, I hear of the “procedures” to be followed so as not to damage a child’s psyche at bedtime. Ugh.
We told our kids they’d done a good job when it was true, not just because they ate when they were supposed to eat or said please and thank you. Today, all I hear is “good job” for the most inane of reasons. I understand that positive reinforcement serves a purpose, but I also understand that constantly rendering unmerited praise renders true praise meaningless.
Don’t answer every problem for your child. Kids need to learn to fail to develop coping skills as adults. You do them no favor by completing all their problems for them.  
And sorry, folks: Children don’t just need a 30-second “time out” when they’ve acted like brats. They need to be punished - appropriately, but meaningfully punished. Otherwise, you’re just reinforcing bad behavior. And, no, “punishing” your child does not mean you standing in a corner, thereby “denying” your child the benefit of your company.
And please, stop telling your kids they’re geniuses. The odds are fairly strong that they’re not.   
So don’t read the “how to” books on raising kids, forget about sleep training, stop all the unmerited “good jobs,” the meaningless “time outs” and all the rest of the nonsense. 
Here's all you need to know:
Love your kids. Establish reasonable rules, stick to them and try what worked for an old fogie. And use your common sense. 
Trust me, it will work. Honestly. My kids turned out fine.
Harvey Gould is the author of A Fierce Local: Memoirs of My Love Affair with Ireland, a finalist in the San Francisco Writers Conference Indie Publishing Contest. For more information, visit www.harveygould.com or check out Harvey’s blog at www.harveygould.authorsxpress.com.

Thursday, July 12

Farewell Andy, We Hardly Knew You

by Larry Rothenberg
Andy of Mayberry is dead. Still, he lives in my childhood memories in an idyllic town with a cute kid, a goofy deputy and an aunt that made pies I could smell right through the old black and white TV. 
Ah, for the simple days when all problems could be solved with common sense and integrity – and in 30 minutes. Bring me back!
Wait a minute. That was not my life. I never went to the fishin’ hole. I went to school and enjoyed those air raid drills where we all ducked under the tables to protect us from the atomic bombs that the Russians might drop on us. I turned to the news and saw civil rights marchers being attacked by police dogs and battered with fire hoses.
Would we really like to go back? Was there ever really a Mayberry to go back to? The question of whether we would like to go back is irrelevant, ‘cause we can’t, even if there were ever a real Mayberry to go to. (By the way, Mayberry is based on Mt. Airy, North Carolina, Andy Griffith’s home town. The 2010 census showed Mt. Airy with poverty level 28% higher than the national average.)
Still, we can revere the innocence we believed in, if only a half hour at a time. The simple days were perhaps never that simple, but that warm feeling was still real – and I hope we can all retain that feeling.
Here’s an idea: Check out “The Legends of Doo-Wop” at the JCC on Saturday, July 28. It just might bring you back to those days we all loved, even if they weren’t totally real. And the music is really good.                                                   
Arnie & his Soul Brothers and Jimmy's Four Sounds
Let the good times roll! Starting in the 50s, these two Indiana groups tore it up with their rock 'em 'n sock 'em dance music, toe-tapping doo-wop and dreamy jazz. Both bands have successful records to their credit. Now Arnie & his Soul Brothers and Jimmy's Four Sounds are back on stage for an evening of fun and music. Coming off their highly successful performance at the Superbowl Village, they are ready to show you a good time.
Sat, July 28
7 pm
$20 / $15 Members
$150 table of 10

More about Larry Rothenberg

Tuesday, July 10

Water Exercise & Running: Surprising Benefits

by Frank Klene, PT, DPT, CSCS
Exercising in water has several benefits that help improve function, fitness, balance, flexibility and strength.   
The buoyancy of water decreases stress on joints and allows a person to move easier without pain. This is a great option for several types of patients, ranging from athletes recovering from surgery to patients with degenerative joints.   
A study published in the May 2012 JOSPT provides new information on the specific effects of how water can decrease stresses on the body. The study looked at how running at varied depths of water decreased loads on the body. 
Results showed that running at hip level decreases nearly 40 percent of normal forces applied to the body, and running at chest level decreases the forces by 50 percent. 
So if you're in pain and are unable to do exercises on land, head to the pool and get your hair a little wet! It’s a great alternative and can help you achieve your fitness goals.

More about Frank J. Klene

Monday, July 9

Indianapolis Kids Triathlon: Results!

by the JCC Staff

The results are in! The JCC's 5th Annual Indianapolis Kids Triathlon was a success this year, with 80 kids joining in the fun.

Photo credit: Linda Evans
On Sunday, June 24th, the bullhorn blasted the start of the race at the JCC’s Eskenazi Water Park, where racers in the senior division were the first to hit the water. The professionally-timed race regularly attracts at least 10 serious competitors, whereas most of the other youth participate at a recreational level. For some, the Indianapolis Kids Triathlon is their first taste of competition.

Photo credit: Linda Evans
Our triathlon, including two divisions for athletes ages 7-14 (competitive and non-competitive) as well as a "Small Fry" division for kids ages 6 and under, promotes activity and exercise in youth by giving them an event to train for as an alternative to team sports. By participating in the race, children may find they love the sport of triathlon, or perhaps they will choose to focus on swimming, cycling and/or running - all sports that can be practiced for the rest of their life. With obesity reaching epidemic proportions in our country, introducing youth to fitness options and encouraging physical activity contributes to the overall health of the children in our community.

In this race, every child crossing the finish line is a winner! All receive a keepsake medal. Awards went to the first, second and third-place winners in the male and female categories of both the junior and senior divisions. Racers in these divisions were professionally timed by Tuxedo Brothers.

Here's a recap of our winners:

Junior Division: Ages 7-10
100 year swim / 3.5 mile bike / .5 mile run – no parental assistance

First Place: Charlotte Kumler, age 11 from Indianapolis
Second Place: Brooklyn Edwards, age 9 from Carmel
Third Place: Parker Kurzawa, age 7 from Indianapolis

First Place: Will Baker, age 9 from Indianapolis
Second Place: Gabriel Chambers, age 8 from Indianapolis
Third Place: Dane Leonard, age 9 from Indianapolis

Senior Division: Ages 11-14
200 yard swim / 6 mile bike / 1 mile run – no parental assistance

First Place: Kenzi Wilson, age 13 from Carmel
Second Place: Evelyn Norfleet, age 11 from Zionsville
Third Place: Alexa Holl, age 11 from Carmel

First Place: Andrew Labell, age 13 from Carmel
Second Place: Jacob Ruschhaupt, age 11 from Indianapolis
Photo credit: Linda Evans
Third Place: Owen Reno, age 10 from Indianapolis

Small Fry Division
Children 6 years old and younger - parental assistance allowed for cycling and running
25 yard swim / 3.5 mile bike / .5 mile run – parental assistance permitted for the bike and run portions only
11 youth raced in the untimed “small fry” division

Thanks to all who participated! We hope to see you - and lots of new faces - at our 6th-annual event next year!

Thursday, July 5

Our JCC's Got Talent

by Lisa Freeman
Oftentimes while on the treadmill or the track, I wonder what the person next to me does in his or her free time in addition to working out.   

Exercising our bodies and minds provides a great outlet to release the stress of work or school. Each of us has different outlets to express our creativity. I enjoy the medium of food to express my creativity: I love to prepare new foods for my family and friends. Some of us like to express through words and writing, such as through short stories, poetry or journaling. Others enjoy using dance and creative movement to reduce and remove stress from their lives.
I’ve been very fortunate over the past few weeks to enjoy the visual creativity of our JCC members and staff. We are hosting an art exhibit featuring the wide array of talent within our JCC community. Mediums range from oil painting to jewelry design and from quilting to woodworking, just to name a few. 
I hope you'll join us on Wed., July 11 from 5:30 - 7:30 pm during our “JCC’s Got Talent” art gallery reception. Stop by and enjoy light refreshments and wonderful artwork in the JCC Art Gallery and meet our member artists. If you are unable to make it to the reception, stop by after work or your work out or after picking up the kids – there’s something for everyone! The exhibit is up until August 31. 
More about Lisa Freeman

Tuesday, July 3

Growing to the Next Level

by Richard S. Kordesh
At this point of the summer, at least here in the upper Midwest, our vegetable garden begins to occupy airspace. Beans latch onto poles. The tendrils of cucumbers grasp the rungs of ladders, enabling them to rise above the ground. The five-foot high mini-forest is fanned by breezes that are better able to move through the foliage, preventing the rotting that can shorten a plant’s life.
Backyard gardening involves constant mutual adjustment among plants, objects and, of course, the gardeners.  
For instance: We’re growing red potatoes in black sacks. As the green stem and leaves grow toward the sun, we cover them in dirt, compost and mulch, then fold up another layer of the sack. This occurs maybe three times with each growing plant. By now, the sacks are full, potatoes are forming inside and the first flowers are visible in the green extensions standing above the ridges of the bags.
There’s another stage of growth in gardening beyond the expansion of the plants themselves. Gardens can be linked as well. Perhaps it’s time to extend beyond our own space to link with others in the community.  
One such group, The Sugar Beet Co-op, has that very idea in mind. Families who cultivate vegetables in their individual yards have organized with the purpose of sharing knowledge, resources and eventually a common space. These neighbors plan to create a community store that will distribute locally grown produce.
Through such joint efforts, parents, children and neighbors can grow more than tomatoes; they grow a sustainable community, as well.
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