Tuesday, February 26

Three Faith Traditions Celebrated through Art

by Lev Rothenberg

Art by Yohana Junker
I have always been deeply curious of what inspires artists.

I suspect that much of the greatest art is grounded in spirituality. The story of Joseph in the Bible, the Tao Te Ching and the works Michelangelo are just a few of countless examples.

With this in mind, the JCC Art Gallery has reached out to artists of three faith traditions to better understand how spirituality informs art.

Suzy Friedman is a fine artist with a broad range that includes Judaic art such as Ketuvot, illuminated Jewish marriage documents. Yohana Junker, a Christian artist, creates haunting abstract paintings that explore universal topics often inspired by Biblical text. Melissa Parrott Quimby finds inspiration for her bright artwork of imaginative shapes and textures from a meditative and Buddhist source. 

Together, these three artists will provide us with beautiful artwork and insights when we discuss their process at our free gallery reception on Thursday, March 7, from 5:30 to 7 p.m. Here’s what we hope the reception will reveal: How is each artist’s designs shaped by her faith’s tradition? What is similar across faith traditions? What is different?

Following the reception, our exploration of art’s intersection with faith continues when we screen with our partners at Heartland Truly Moving Pictures the documentary film God in aBox.

On March 19, we’ll have the three artists back to the JCC – this time for a free panel discussion at 7 p.m. moderated by Rusty Moe, an outstanding Indianapolis poet whose work examines the spirituality that envelopes us and, in the case of artists, their art.

More about Lev Rothenberg

Thursday, February 21

Making Prudent Cuts

by Richard S. Kordesh

With the cherry trees resting in a mid-winter sleep, it’s a good time to prepare them for their eventual spring awakening.  

Pruning shapes the trees’ growth; it helps to avoid the unproductive chaos that would result from branches and shoots extending, small and large, in conflicting directions.

Making the right and timely cuts staves off disease and enables a tree to concentrate its nutrients into desirable pathways.

Care of a tree might appear less than inspiring on a frigid, overcast February afternoon, but making the right cuts now increases the robustness of the glorious blossoms that will burst forth in April. 

Timely pruning raises the chances of a bountiful harvest. A rich harvest makes it possible to preserve some round, red fruits for jams and pie fillings. They can be thawed for such purposes next winter, even as one again reaches for the cutting tools.

Parents and gardeners both must prune. What you want for your tree – as well as your children – is for them to reach their full, flowering and productive potential. You hope that the young tree, as well as the son or daughter, will establish a solid core and flexible, strong limbs.

Parenting a child navigates seasons, confronts challenges and presents opportunities to encourage growth in fruitful directions.

One can prune too much, and one can prune too little. There is a time for nipping away unwanted habits, for cultivating budding talents, for feeding fertile explorations, for teaching sound techniques, for gathering satisfying results, and for setting aside some of a day’s bounty for future experiments.

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. Visit Richard's website for more

Tuesday, February 19

Stay a Beat Ahead of Heart Disease

by JCC Association and Club One

Earlier this month, JCC Banter Blog guest writer Jessica Blackport told us about National Heart Month, celebrated each February to raise awareness of heart health.

Heart disease is the No. 1 killer of both women and men in the United States, so it’s important to know how to fight it. 

The cardiovascular system consists of your heart and all the blood vessels in your body. The heart pumps blood through arteries to deliver oxygen. The veins carry blood back to the heart to deliver waste products (e.g., carbon dioxide).

Arteries can be damaged by smoking, high blood pressure and diabetes. Fatty materials and other substances are sent to the damaged area (a response to healing). When left unchecked, damage continues to occur, causing the arteries to narrow and leading to a heart attack or stroke.

Understanding your level of personal risk level is crucial. Learn these best practices to help avoid a cardiovascular event.

Know your numbers:  Make sure you know your weight, blood pressure, blood sugar and cholesterol numbers and your correlating level of risk.

Don’t smoke or use tobacco products: If you only do one thing, stop smoking.  If you don’t smoke, don’t start, but do start moving.

Be active: How much activity do you get each week? Aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate activity a week. It will help you manage your weight, blood pressure, blood sugar and cholesterol. 

Know your family history: Research your family history to determine your genetic risks. Knowing your inherited risk could save your life.

Get checked regularly: Get an annual checkup that consists of measuring at least your weight and waist circumference, blood pressure, cholesterol and fasting glucose. Discuss your results and, if necessary, a plan of action with your doctor.