Columbus will host the JCC Maccabi Games for the fifth time July 24-29. This time the Games will make a permanent mark on the Columbus JCC. Since early May, artist Curtis Goldstein and groups of JCC Maccabi Games athletes from Team Columbus have been working on a mural for the wall across from the gym at the College Avenue JCC.
Goldstein says his idea for the design came from a picture from the European Maccabi Games where several athletes were running towards the camera. “I think it’s an iconic symbol of athleticism and community… I wanted to create something with forward movement, into the future.”
In addition to young athletes, the mural features a quote from Jewish writer and activist Theodor Herzl in Hebrew and in English that says “If you will it, it is no dream.” It also includes the years Columbus has hosted the JCC Maccabi Games: 1985, 1995, 1999, 2004, and 2016.
When Goldstein designed the mural, he reduced the large image to small shapes so athletes could easily help paint and be a part of the process. “It was great [working with the athletes]. We probably had 100 people work on this painting,” says Goldstein.
Goldstein has been involved with the Jewish Community Center most of his life. Although he has moved away from the East Side and is less active now, he still returns occasionally for projects such as this. Next winter Goldstein will have a show at the JCC which will feature drawings made from memory of the old Center.
There’s still time to get involved in the JCC Maccabi Games as a volunteer, athlete, or host family. For more information visit columbusjccmaccabi.org or contact Jeanna Brownlee at firstname.lastname@example.org or (614) 559-6274.