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Connections Connections


Published by the Jewish Federation of Lee and Charlotte Counties Published by the Jewish Federation of Lee and Charlotte Counties

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Connections Connections


Connections Connections


Volume 3, No. 1 2013 Edition 56 pages USPS Permit No. 175


Jewish Federation of Lee and Charlotte Counties 9701 Commerce Center Court Fort Myers, FL 33908 Phone: (239) 481-4449 Fax: (239) 481-0139 Email: Published by the Jewish Federation of Lee and Charlotte Counties  Published by the Jewish Federation of Lee and Charlotte Counties 

Jewish Federation Staff

Alan Isaacs, Executive Director Amy Ginsburg-Padilla, Program Dir. Lori Ramos, Executive Assistant Karina Ciresi, Bookkeeper Lisa Bendetowicz, Jewish Family Services


Ted Epstein

Advertising Sales

From the Editor

Welcome to the third edition of Connections. This is THE publication to turn to for the local Jewish community’s activities, programs, services and organizations. Just as L’CHAYIM serves to keep you up-to-date on all things “Jewish” each month, Connections serves as your annual resource guide. I am often asked by friends and family on the east coast of Florida and in the New York area, whether there is “Jewish life” in Southwest Florida. Well...what you are holding in your hands is proof positive that Jewish life is alive and growing in our area. Did you know that in Southwest Florida (from Marco Island to Bradenton and all points in between) there are 29 synagogues, including eight Chabads? There are three Jewish Family Service agencies; several chapters of Hadassah, ORT, NCJW and JWV; and a Holocaust Museum in Naples. There are four Jewish Film Festivals, two major Jewish Book Festivals, numerous book discussion groups, mah jongg galore, several Jewish food fairs, large community holiday celebrations, and hundreds of cultural and learning opportunities. When you go through these pages, you will learn a lot about the wealth of opportunities – cultural, educational and spiritual – available to the Jewish community in Lee and Charlotte counties. Without our valued advertisers, neither L’CHAYIM nor Connections would be possible. When you visit an entity that advertises with us – whether it’s a health provider, financial adviser, theater, restaurant or museum – please be sure to say, “Thank you for advertising with the publications of the Jewish Federation of Lee and Charlotte Counties.” Everyone involved with Connections hopes you will save it and use it as a guide for the coming year. And please share it with others or have them contact the Federation for their own copy.

Ted Epstein

Ted Epstein, Editor, Connections and L’CHAYIM

Jill Schreidell (239) 989-6521

Connect with Connections!

Graphic Design & Production

Email your comments, questions, kudos, criticism and suggestions to Or send a letter to: Connections Editor, Jewish Federation of Lee and Charlotte Counties, 9701 Commerce Center Court, Fort Myers, FL 33908

Federation Media Group, Inc. (239) 249-0699

Published by the Jewish Federation of Lee and Charlotte Counties 2 A Guide to Jewish Living in Lee and Charlotte Counties CONNECTIONS Published by the Jewish Federation of Lee and Charlotte Counties 2013

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Connections Connections

2013 GUIDE TO JEWISH LIFE IN LEE & CHARLOTTE COUNTIES  2013 GUIDE TO JEWISH LIVING IN LEE & CHARLOTTE COUNTIES Table of Contents FEDERATION................................................6-9


RELIGIOUS LIFE.........................................18-25


DIRECTORY OF ADVERTISERS.......................52

ARTS & CULTURE.......................................10-17

Special Interest Groups...................................................26-29 Israel Connection..............................................................30-35 Advocacy Groups..............................................................36-37

COMMUNITY SERVICES............................38-39 ADULT EDUCATION..................................40-41 FOCUS ON YOUTH....................................42-48

Schools.....................................................................42-46 Camps..............................................................................46 Teens/Youth Groups.........................................................47-48

Community Events..................................................................50 Candle Lighting Times...........................................................51 Jewish Holidays........................................................................51

INDEX.........................................................53 The Jewish Federation of Lee and Charlotte Counties thanks all of our advertisers for their continued support! Without them we would be unable to provide you with Connections. Please support our advertisers and let them know you saw their ad in Connections.

Visiting other areas in Southwest Florida and want to know about all things Jewish there? There are Connections publications for Collier County as well as for the Sarasota-Manatee area. To view the online versions, visit the Federation websites listed below.

Connections 2013 Guide to Jewish Living in SaraSota-Manatee

A Guide to Jewish Living in Collier County



The Strength of a PeoPle. The Power of CommuniTy. read it online at

Published by the Jewish Federation of Lee and Charlotte Counties 4 A Guide to Jewish Living in Lee and Charlotte Counties CONNECTIONS Published by the Jewish Federation of Lee and Charlotte Counties 2013

Jewish Museum of Florida

David Levy Yulee brought Florida into statehood in 1845 and served as Florida's first Jewish U.S. Senator.

Watch owned by George Dzialynski of Jacksonville, first-known Jewish boy born in Florida in 1857.

Come discover 250 years of unique Florida history through the core exhibit, MOSAIC: Jewish Life in Florida 1763-Present. Housed in two internationally acclaimed restored historic former synagogues, the Museum also offers intriguing temporary art and history exhibits for Jews to retrieve and preserve memories to help ensure Jewish continuity. Also visit the Orovitz Museum Store for one-of-a-kind gifts and keepsakes, and have a nosh in Bessie’s Bistro.

2012 Through 2013 Exhibition Schedule • • • • • •

Ongoing Core Exhibition........................................MOSAIC: Jewish Life in Florida –1763 to the Present Thru January 27, 2013.........From Home to Home: Jewish Immigration to America (Children’s Exhibit) Thru March 17, 2013 .................................................................................................Project Mah Jongg February 12 – May 5, 2013....................................................Miami Mosaic: Portraits by Inez Hollande April 9 – September 15, 2013 ........................................................................Bat Mitzvah Comes of Age May 21 – October 20, 2013 ............................................................................Miami Salsa by Carol Fryd 301 Washington Avenue Miami Beach, FL 33139 Tel: 305-672-5044

For a complete list of the Museum's programs and special events, please visit Open daily: 10am–5pm, except Mondays, Jewish and Civil holidays. The Museum is supported by individual contributions, foundations, memberships and grants from the State of Florida, Department of State, Division of Cultural Affairs and the Florida Council on Arts and Culture, the Miami-Dade County Tourist Development Council, the Miami-Dade County Department of Cultural Affairs and the Cultural Affairs Council, the Miami-Dade County Mayor and Board of County Commissioners and the City of Miami Beach, Cultural Affairs Program, Cultural Arts Council.

Jewish Federation T

The Jewish Federation in Lee and Charlotte counties

here is no record of the arrival of the first Jew in Lee expand its programming, the Jews in Charlotte County County. Strangely enough, in 1850, Fort Myers was expressed their desire to join this Federation, which in 1995 named for a Jew – Col. Abraham Myers – who had officially became the Jewish Federation of Lee and Charlotte nothing to do with its establishment and (according to most Counties. historians) never lived in nor visited the area. In recent years, the community has created During World War II, a Jewish chaplain was a bona fide Jewish Family Service. In 2009, the assigned to the U.S. Army Base in Buckingham, Federation purchased and moved into its Jewish and for the first time, the handful of Jews livCommunity Building with a dedicated Jewish ing here could attend services arranged for serFamily Service wing. vicemen on the base. In 1947, a local merchant, Today, the Jewish community, like the rest Sam Posner, placed an ad in the newspaper statof the population in Lee and Charlotte counties, ing that his variety store would be closed for the is growing exponentially. Our database comHigh Holidays. Suddenly, unknown Jews in the prises over 2,200 households and we estimate area began to contact him. In 1948, ten families there are approximately 3,000 households in ALAN ISAACS gathered for High Holiday services. our target area. Executive Director In January 1975, Leo Cooper provided an important link for the Jewish families of Lee Jewish Federation of What does this mean for our community? Lee and Charlotte County when he set up, edited, published and Over the last several years, our social services Counties distributed the monthly newspaper L’CHAYIM. arm has been working overtime to meet the The newspaper was the impetus for the comneeds of our community, providing a wide munity to come together to establish a local Jewish Fed- range of services, including: eration (but not part of the Council of Jewish Federations) ÎÎ Groceries and Publix food cards to those in need in 1976, whose primary purpose was to raise funds for the ÎÎ Maintaining a food pantry United Jewish Appeal. ÎÎ Holiday baskets and teen visits to seniors and senior The Jewish Community began to grow with its need for facilities for Rosh Hashanah, Hanukkah and Passover services, other than fundraising. In 1984, a group of mothers ÎÎ Addressing emerging and pressing needs related to seworked tirelessly with then-president Sheila Laboda to begin nior housing, health and socialization planning a Federation day camp. It was named Camp Gen- ÎÎ Non-sectarian, individual and family counseling, inforesis and opened in 1985. mation and referral services by our social workers Under Laboda’s steady hand, the Federation was incor- ÎÎ Bereavement, separation and other support-groups by our social workers porated and became recognized as a member of the Council of Jewish Federations in 1986. This was followed by the ÎÎ Non-sectarian, needs-based college scholarships creation of many educational and cultural projects, social ÎÎ SAT Prep classes throughout the year services, Yom HaAtzmaut (Israel Independence Day) cele- ÎÎ Supporting families of children with special needs brations, the resettlement of Russian refugees, and Holocaust ÎÎ Addressing pressing community needs related to volunteerism, institutional cooperation and community education in the schools. The Federation hired its first assessment and planning executive director in 1988 and a program director in 1990. This is just the tip of the iceberg for our community As the Lee County Jewish community continued to



A Guide to Jewish Living in Lee and Charlotte Counties

Federation services. With the influx of new seniors moving into our area we must be in a position to assist the frail and elderly as many are moving here without the support network that they had up north. Just as importantly, we are also seeing an ever


growing younger community and even a burgeoning Hillel at Florida Gulf Coast University. So we’ve started to run outreach and education programs designed to connect with our Jewish youth.

Who is “Federation” and what do we do?

he answer is simple: It’s you – and every member of the Jewish community of Lee and Charlotte counties. The Federation is the thread that runs through the fabric of our Jewish community, its organizations and services, connecting us all. The mission of the Jewish Federation of Lee and Charlotte Counties is to provide and support philanthropic, educational and social service programs that promote such Jewish values as Tzedakah (benevolence), Tikkun Olam (repairing the world) and K’lal Yisrael (taking responsibility for one another), in order to strengthen and enrich the Jewish community locally, in Israel and throughout the world. Two thousand years ago we vowed to take care of one another like family. Today, thanks to donors like you, that vow still holds. It’s an amazing story. We Jews were exiled from the Land of Israel over 2,000 years ago. And yet, with no home, and no one to rely on but ourselves, we developed one of the largest and most effective social service infrastructures in the world. Our local Jewish Federation is now at the heart of that infrastructure, allocating valuable dollars to family and child services, nursing homes, JCCs, summer camps and a host of vitally important programs here at home, in Israel and around the world. As we know, however, today that infrastructure is being tested like never before. In these compelling times, with millions of Americans out of work, millions of homes lost to foreclosure, and countless Jewish families who suddenly can’t put food on their tables, more and more Jews are turning to the Federation system for help. Yet, for every story of hardship and despair, there are countless stories of love and

hope that donors like you make happen every day. Israel and overseas support is essential to Jews in danger, wherever they may be. Wherever Jews are in harm’s way – from Georgia to Yemen to Israel – our Federation and our overseas partners have a unique ability to act quickly in emergencies. From wars to acts of terror to natural disasters, there is so much we can do to alleviate suffering. Personnel and programs already on the ground in virtually every part of the world enabled us to provide humanitarian assistance in Georgia during the conflict with Russia and evacuate more than 200 people from the conflict zone to safety. Several hundred Jews remain in Yemen, but due to rising violence their lives have been threatened. Over the past year, we have brought out several groups of Yemenite Jews who needed to leave for the safety of Israel and the U.S. Before, during and after Operation Cast Lead, we provided assistance – supplies, respite and trauma counseling – to residents of Southern Israel while rockets were falling in their backyards. Thousands of people received help. More than 400,000 of Israel’s children are at risk of missing out on the life and learning opportunities they need to become independent members of society. In Israel today, one in every three children lives at or below the poverty line. These astounding figures highlight the cycle of despair and depravity that cripples a disturbingly high portion of Israel’s children, physically and psychologically. They don’t get the programs and activities they need to develop their educational and personal abilities. Their families cannot afford extracurricular programs and, equally if not more relevant, often the parents themselves are incapable of functioning as positive role models.

Jewish Community Philanthropy

Jewish Community Philanthropy is organized and implemented through an annual community fundraising campaign

The mission of the Jewish Federation of Lee and Charlotte Counties is to provide and support philanthropic, educational and social service programs that promote such Jewish values as Tzedakah (benevolence), Tikkun Olam (repairing the world) and K’lal Yisrael (taking responsibility for one another), in order to strengthen and enrich the Jewish community locally, in Israel and throughout the world.



A Guide to Jewish Living in Lee and Charlotte Counties


Federation to provide the resources to fund local and overseas programs. These funds are raised by volunteers who understand that services to the Jewish community here, and communities in Israel and around the world are not provided by governments, foundations or NGOs. The funds that pay for these services are raised from voluntary donations by you and our co-community members.

Jewish Family Services

Jewish Family Services provides information, referral and counseling services to the community, including programs

for special needs, the elderly and indigent. It also operates a food pantry. We need to continue making a difference in the lives of the elderly, the hungry and the poor. Right now, our Jewish community is navigating the most severe economic downturn in generations. In fact, more of us are relying on the services of Federation-funded assistance to help make ends meet, feed our families, and pay our mortgages than ever before. Individual and group counseling services and support groups provide an emotional safety net to individuals and families who find themselves vulnerable like never before. Services provided by the Jewish Federation to the aging are being expanded to include a task force to assess the nature of residential needs for the aging community. The Jewish Federation and Florida Gulf Coast University conducted a Jewish Community Needs Assessment focusing on the present and future needs of those aging in our community. Clearly there is a growing need for services to the aging in addition to counseling and the distribution of holiday packages four times a year on Jewish holidays to those elderly living alone and in care facilities.

Jewish Education and Cultural Programming

Jewish education and culture programs for all ages draw community-wide participation. The Annual Jewish Book Fair brings authors from all over the country to Lee and Charlotte counties

in November and December to discuss their diverse work and help to introduce us to contemporary Jewish literature and works by Jewish authors. The Annual Jewish Film Festival exposes local audiences to Jewish and Israelioriented material for the screen that would be otherwise difficult to access. Audiences fill local theatres to view the films as a communal experience. Israel Fest, our annual celebration of Israel, introduces our community to Israeli products, arts and crafts, food and fun. Children particularly enjoy the music and entertainment presented for their pleasure. Israeli dancing classes are offered at the Jewish Federation Community Building as a way to join with others in the community for an Israeli cultural experience. The Jewish Federation publishes the community calendar for all affiliated organizations as a clearinghouse for community programs and events. The Jewish Federation provides needs-based academic scholarships annually to students in the Jewish and non-Jewish communities to attend college. Recipients are selected by the Scholarship Committee and often return to volunteer for the Federation during their vacations. Holocaust Education is provided through the Holocaust Museum & Education Center of Southwest Florida to middle and high school students in the community. The Jewish Federation commemorates the Holocaust each

The faces of Federation and our community Photos courtesy of Michael Shapiro



A Guide to Jewish Living in Lee and Charlotte Counties

Federation year at the Holocaust Memorial Service held at a local synagogue and features a speaker on the subject.


L’CHAYIM, the monthly newspaper published by the Jewish Federation, keeps the Jewish community informed about local, national and international Jewish news, and offers the community the opportunity to read and write about issues that affect the community. The Federation also compiles, updates and distributes a Community Directory for use by the Jewish community. And this copy of Connections is published by the Federation.

Community Relations

Community Relations activities include monitoring anti-Semitism and issues of separation of church and state in the community. Community relations activities also include programs of outreach to the non-Jewish communities such as “A Night to Honor Israel” and a training opportunity for an Israeli emergency response delegation from our Partnership 2000 region with the Lee County Sheriff ’s Department.


Israel Advocacy and Initiatives such as Israel Solidarity Rallies and the relationship with the Partnership 2000 Hadera Eiron region in Israel are undertaken to strengthen local Jewish community ties with Israel, and send a message to the community at large about our support for the Jewish State. Our Emergency Preparedness Taskforce continues to develop expedient organizational plans for disaster response measures in the event of local emergencies. The Federation draws on local expertise to help us enhance these strategies. Our Young Adult Division (YAD) offers abundant opportunities to get involved with Federation-sponsored activities focused on ages 25 to 40-something, whether celebrating Israel at Israel Fest, socializing with friends at kid-centered activities, joining in at educational events, or engaging in Federation activities directed at fulfilling its mission to serve Jewish communities here, in Israel and abroad. Leadership development programs are also designed to pre-


pare the YAD to play key role in determining the future of our Jewish community. The Jewish Community Building is utilized to serve the wide range of Jewish constituencies and organizations, accommodate Federationsponsored programs, and provide a gathering place to conduct Jewish Federation business.

Thank You for Helping

By allocating your philanthropic dollars to ensure the greatest impact, our Jewish Federation has earned a reputation as a trusted, effective charity that makes a real difference in our community and around the world. Through your donations, you are part of a caring, compassionate community that unites in good times and bad to safeguard and celebrate Jewish life. Your contribution to the Jewish Federation of Lee and Charlotte Counties is the one gift that does it all.

A Guide to Jewish Living in Lee and Charlotte Counties


Arts & Culture News and Information L’CHAYIM


’Chayim, a word used in toasts and blessings, literally means “To Life,” and we use it to express the vitality of Jewish life in Southwest Florida. L’CHAYIM, the name of our monthly newspaper, keeps thousands of local readers informed about local, national and international Jewish news. L’CHAYIM has articles submitted by the Jewish clergy and lay leaders in Lee and Charlotte counties. Federation Board members and staff also contribute articles of interest to the readers. The newspaper was first published 35 years ago, and has gone through several design, paper, size and editorial changes. Typical issues have 32-40 pages. Each month, readers of L’CHAYIM get news and updates on all Jewish-related local events including the Jewish Film Festival, Jewish Book Fair, Israel Fest, holiday celebrations, concerts, food festivals, book study groups and timely lectures. They also get updates from the area’s synagogues and numerous local Jewish organizations. It’s the place they turn to for community news, the community calendar, candle lighting times, a business directory and much more. The newspaper also features Israel & the Jewish world items, commen-

tary pieces and general Jewish interest articles. Ted Epstein, the editor/designer of Connections, has been the Managing Editor and designer of L’CHAYIM since October 2009. L’CHAYIM is mailed free to 2,500 homes and businesses in the area, and is available to everyone at the Federation office. It can also be found online at Readers can view the most recent issue as well as an archive of recent past issues in PDF format. The mission of L’CHAYIM is to represent Jewish life in the area by providing the voice that reports news, information, programs and events important to the local Jewish community. In accomplishing this mission, the newspaper seeks to: • Celebrate Jewish life in Lee and Charlotte counties • Inform, enrich and entertain readers • Strengthen Jewish identity and facilitate participation in Jewish community life • Provide an efficient advertising and editorial network to businesses that serve our area • Assist the Jewish Federation and its beneficiary agencies to achieve community building goals

For more information about L’CHAYIM, to receive a free subscription, or to advertise: Call: (239) 481-4449 x4 Email: Website: L’CHAYIM page at 10


A Guide to Jewish Living in Lee and Charlotte Counties

Arts & Culture Film & Variety 17th Annual Jewish Film “Live From NY’s 92nd St. Y” at Yam - Temple of the Islands and the Sanibel ConFestival of Southwest Florida gregational Church will once again jointly sponsor


the video series, “Live From NY’s 92nd St. Y.” In January, on a date to be announced, the Joint Film Committee will present an interview with Madeleine Albright, former Secretary of State under President Bill Clinton. Call Ed Greenberg, Film Committee Chair, at (239) 395-3560 for more information and to reserve your place. A $5 minimum fee is requested.


he 17th Annual Southwest Florida Jewish Film Festival, produced by the Jewish Federation of Lee and Charlotte Counties, will be held in January and February 2013. The local Festival captures the flavor of the larger Jewish Film Festivals that are held each year in cities like New York, Boston, Atlanta, San Francisco and Miami. This year’s films include a wide variety of international and domestic productions that run the gamut of moving you to tears to setting you on the edge of your seat. Ticket prices for this year’s event, which includes eight films, are $68 for the entire series or $10 for individual films. Call the Jewish Federation at (239) 481-4449 x3 for more details. Most of the past films have sold out. Please order your tickets early. Schedule of events (all films begin at 7:15 p.m. with open seating at the Regal Bell Tower Cinemas in Fort Myers): ¡¡ January 15 – A Bottle in the Gaza Sea ¡¡ January 17 – Habermann ¡¡ January 22 – Blank Bullet ¡¡ January 24 – Their Eyes Were Dry ¡¡ January 29 – Making Trouble ¡¡ January 31 – Nicky’s Family ¡¡ February 5 – Mabul ¡¡ February 7 – Follow Me You will find a downloadable ticket order form at www. or you can purchase tickets directly on the site. The Regal Bell Tower Cinema is located at 13499 Bell Tower Drive, Fort Myers (in back of the Bell Tower Shops at the corner of Daniels Parkway and US 41 North). Note: The theater does NOT sell Jewish Film Festival tickets. Special thanks to the Jewish Film Festival Committee: co-Chairs Jill Weil and Sara Krivisky, Susie Ferkel, Claire Goldhagen, Andi Horowitz, Janet Sigman, Lynn Talone, Kathy Toll, and Program Director Amy Ginsburg-Padilla.



Douglas Renfroe in concert


at Yam Cantor Douglas Renfroe will appear as soloist and conductor at a number of concerts throughout the year. The first, on Sunday, January 13 at 3:00 p.m., is co-sponsored by Bat Yam and the Sanibel Congregational Church. It will feature Douglas Renfroe, Reverend John Danner and Leslie Frost, and will will take place at the Church Sanctuary, 2050 Periwinkle Way, Sanibel. For more information or the schedule of concerts, call the Bat Yam office at (239) 395-1432. Financial Planning Consultant Registered Investment Advisor

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A Guide to Jewish Living in Lee and Charlotte Counties


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Jewish Federation’s 19th Annual Jewish Book Fair


he Jewish Federation of Lee and Charlotte Counties is a member of the Jewish Book Council, a national organization, giving us access to more authors and publishers than ever before. The Jewish Book Fair Committee Chair and Program Director attend the Annual Jewish Book Council Conference ensuring the authors we invite will be entertaining as well as informative. Each fall, the Federation brings authors to our area from around the country for lectures, book signings and an author luncheon. The 19th Annual Jewish Book Fair will be held in November and December 2013. Recently, the locations for the authors’ speaking engagements and book signings have expanded to include Estero and Port Charlotte. All Jewish Book Fair events are free of charge (except for the author luncheon) and all are open to the general public. For more information about the Jewish Book Fair, visit www.Jewish or call the Federation office at (239) 481-4449 x3.

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At a November 2012 Book Fair event, over 40 children came to hear Waddy Padilla’s presentation about Jewish characters and their influence on comic books

A Guide to Jewish Living in Lee and Charlotte Counties

Sponsorship Form

Arts & Culture

Cultural Festivals

till cannot decide which event to support? We have creatd the following sponsorship packages so you can participate in each event. Sponsorship Packages

_$2000 Name & logo on all advertising, 1/4 page SUPPORT OUR SPONSORS nsert in our monthly newspaper for 3 months, 6 tickets to the author uncheon, 6 tickets to each of the Jewish Film Festival films.

_$1500 Name & logo on all advertising, 1/4 page SUPPORT OUR SPONSORS nsert in our monthly newspaper for 2 months, 4 tickets to the author uncheon, 4 tickets to each of the Jewish Film Festival films.


UPPORT OUR SPONSORS _$1000 Name & logo on allpretty advertising, 1/4 page Sis omething incredible coming to Southwest nsert in our monthly newspaper for 1 month, 2 tickets to the author Florida this April – the Jewish community will bring uncheon, 2 tickets to each of the Jewish Film Festival films.

Israel to YOU! Take a trip to Israel without ever leavSponsor Individual Events ing Fort Myers. Annual Jewish Fair ~Fest November 2012 Israel.” It will feaThis Book year’s Israel is called “Little _ Publisher Editor in $750 ture$1000 four major__areas Israel – Tel Aviv, the Dead Sea, _ Publicist $500 __ Reader $250 Jerusalem and the Negev – at different stations, with music, giftFilm items and activities are 2013 distinctive of those Annualfood, Jewish Festival ~ Jan. that & Feb. _ Studiolocations. Mogul $1000 Executive Producer You’ll__find all of your old$750 favorites at Israel Fest as _ Producer Director well,$500 including __ Israeli folk$250 dancing demonstrations, performances by religious srael Fest ~ April 2013 school children, a little klezmer music (in $1,500 case you feel taking a quick jaunt Europe) and _ Diamond __ like Platinum $1000 __Goldto $750 _ Silver lots $500more. __ Copper $250 __Business Card $100 All of Southwest Florida is invited to Israel Fest’s Little lease choose your level of support, fill out the form below and mail it Israel on Sunday, April 21 from 12:30 toPDFs 4:00or p.m. long with yourfestivities payment. Artwork can be submitted by emailing PGs to at the Jewish Federation building. There are still Israel Fest 2013 sponsorship opportuniompany Name/ Contact Person__________________________________ ties available. See the sponsorship form at right. For more ______________________________________________________________ information, contact Amy Ginsburg-Padilla at (239) 481ddress: _______________________________________________________ 4449 x3 or

ity: ____________________________ State :_____ Zip Code:__________ hone: _________________________________ Fax:___________________ mail: _________________________________________________________ For Questions: call Amy Padilla at 239.481.4449 ext. 3 Email: Make your check out to Jewish Federation of Lee & Charlotte Counties

Sponsorship Form Israel Fest is our celebration of Israeli Arts and Culture. We celebrate in the Spring when the weather is beautiful and all the snowbirds and tourists are in Southwest Florida. There are four hours of live entertainment, ethnic Israeli delicacies and vendors from around the US and Israel selling Israeli jewelry and other products. There is a children’s play area with age appropriate activities. It’s wholesome fun for the whole family! Our advertisers are acknowledged every hour by the MC on stage. We will display your advertising signage at the event. Don’t miss this opportunity to get your message out in front of the largest gathering of our membership in Southwest Florida! We print 3,000 inserts for our monthly newspaper and mail them out to our membership and distribute the rest around Lee County prior to the event. We advertise in newspapers countywide. We draw people from all over Southwest Florida. It’s a great opportunity to promote your business!

Sponsorship Opportunities Diamond ................................................................... $1,500 Your name and/or logo on all advertising UR SPONSORS insert in our monthly newspaper 1/2 PAGE SUPPORT OSponsorship Form You may display your advertising banners at Israel Fest

Still cannot decide which event to support? We have creat.................................................................... ed Platinum the following sponsorship packages so you can$1,000 particiYour name and/or logo on all advertising pate in each event.

1/4 page SUPPORT OUR SPONSORS insert in our monthly newspaper (1) Sponsorship Packages You may display your advertising banners at Israel Fest

__$2000 Name & logo on all advertising, 1/4 page SUPPORT OUR SPONSORS insert in our monthly newspaper for 3 months, 6 tickets to the author Gold ............................................................................. $750 luncheon, 6 tickets to each of the Jewish Film Festival films.

Your name and/or logo on all advertising

OUR Snewspaper PONSORS __$1500 Name & logoOon advertising, 1/4 page SUPPORT URall SPONSORS insert in our monthly (1) 1/8 page SUPPORT insert in our monthly newspaper foradvertising 2 months, 4banners tickets toatthe author You may display your Israel Fest luncheon, 4 tickets to each of the Jewish Film Festival films. __$1000 & logo on all advertising, 1/4 page SUPPORT OUR SPONSORS ............................................................................ $500 SilverName insert in our monthly newspaper for 1 month, 2 tickets to the author Your name and/or logo on all advertising luncheon, 2 tickets to each of the Jewish Film Festival films.

1/8 page SUPPORT OUR SPONSORS insert in our monthly newspaper (1)

to o even ove

Your name and/or$750 logo on all advertising __ Publisher $1000 __ Editor 1/8 page ad in the Israel Fest section of our newspaper __ Publicist $500 __ Reader $250

Annual Jewish Festival ~ Jan. & Feb. 2013 $100 Business CardFilm ................................................................

__ Studio Mogul $1000 $750 Your business card __ in Executive the Israel Producer Fest section of our newspaper __ Producer $500 __ Director $250 __ Diamond $1,500 __ Silver $500

__ Platinum $1000 __ Copper $250

__Gold $750 __Business Card $100

Please choose your level of support, fill out the form below and mail it along with your payment. Artwork can be submitted by emailing PDFs or JPGs to Company Name/ Contact Person__________________________________ _______________________________________________________________ Address: _______________________________________________________ City: ____________________________ State :_____ Zip Code:__________ Phone: _________________________________ Fax:___________________ Email: _________________________________________________________ For Questions: call Amy Padilla at 239.481.4449 ext. 3 Email: Make your check out to Jewish Federation of Lee & Charlotte Counties


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Sponsor Individual Events

Copper ........................................................................ $250 Annual Jewish Book Fair ~ November 2012

Israel Fest ~ April 2013


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A Guide to Jewish Living in Lee and Charlotte Counties


Arts & Culture

Cultural Festivals Israel Scouts to sing and dance in Fort Myers


he Tzofim (Israel Scouts) Friendship Caravan made its inaugural appearance in Fort Myers in June 2011. The event at Temple Beth El attracted 300 people – young and young-at-heart alike. The Israel Scouts travel throughout North America each summer as emissaries. They typically reach over 35 states, including 250 camps, community centers, synagogues, senior homes and schools, performing for an audience totaling nearly 100,000 people.

They are bright and dynamic performers. Their singing, dancing and storytelling are high-energy and upbeat with an intense love for the land and the people of Israel, and a strong desire to share that passion with you. Each Caravan has five male and five female scouts who will have you singing and dancing in your seat or, if you are lucky, dancing with them. We are sure you will shed a few tears of pride for these wonderful goodwill ambassadors for the State of Israel.

At press time, the date, time and location for the 2013 event were not firm. Look for more information in the spring issues of L’CHAYIM. If you would like to host a Scout at your home or support this event (which is hoped will be free as was the 2011 event), contact Roger Harris at (239) 415-4845 or

stay connected at

2nd Annual Fruits of Israel Festival

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n Sunday, January 27 from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., Temple Beth El will be celebrating Tu B’Shevat with a fun-filled day of activities for the young and young at heart. Highlighting the event will be a large Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Market, many vendors with a vast array of merchandise, Israeli food featuring falafel, Israeli music and more. For the children, there will be games, a bounce house, train ride, face painting and even a chance to drop Rabbi Jeremy Barras in the dunk tank! For adults, there will be wine tasting and suggestions for pairing with food by our own Jerry Snyderman, massage chairs, a flute and piano concert by Beth Bogen and Randi Kashi, Marcato percussionists, an a cappella group, and many more surprises The Learning Tree, Religious School and Youth Group students at the temple are working in conjunction with the organizing committee so that all age groups are involved in planning this major event. A huge Todah Rabah to Lipman Produce for making this festival possible. For more information, call (239) 433-0018.

A Guide to Jewish Living in Lee and Charlotte Counties

Fun and Games Israeli Folk Dancing


o you want to feel connected, get a workout, express your creativity, use your brain, feel rejuvenated? Then Israeli folk dancing is for you! All levels of dance expertise are welcome; no previous dance experience required. Each dance session starts out with easy, beginner dances so that even newcomers feel comfortable. The group is warm and congenial and anxious to help anyone with basic steps. New dances are added all the time. The local growing group of dancers has the pleasure of dancing in the


Federation’s beautiful new facility. People come from all walks of life, from all levels of experience, range in age from 30-year-olds to 90-year-olds, and from as far away as Naples, to revel in the joy of dancing. It usually takes about six lessons to become acquainted with all the basic steps and the easier dances. Israeli folk dancing then builds on these basic steps, incorporating them into all other dances. It’s in the repetition of the dances from week to week that real learning takes place until one internalizes the dances. Group leader Marsha Kistler shares her 30 years of Israeli dancing experience and encour-


Arts & Culture ages participants to share their favorite dances. Dancing typically starts at 4:00 p.m. on Sundays (beginners at 3:40 p.m.) at the Jewish Federation office at 9701 Commerce Center Court, Fort Myers. Check out the schedule in the calendar section of L’CHAYIM or online at www. For more information, please contact Marsha Kistler at (239) 947-5118 or Mellow Mah Jongg Each Tuesday afternoon, an open session of Mah Jongg is held at the Jewish Federation. Players must be at least advanced beginners, as no lessons are given. DAY: Tuesdays, 12:30 – 3:30 P.M. FEE: $1 per week For more information, call Rona Strausberg at 239.949.9003

A Guide to Jewish Living in Lee and Charlotte Counties


Arts & Culture

Museums & Holocaust Studies

Holocaust Museum & Education Center of SW Florida


he 2012-2013 season marks the beginning of the second decade for The Holocaust Museum & Education Center of Southwest Florida. From its genesis as a middle school art exhibit, the Museum has grown into an integral part of the educational community in our region. The Museum’s collection, displayed chronologically from the rise of Hitler through the Nuremberg Trials, includes over 1,000 Holocaust and World War II artifacts and photographs. The collection also highlights the personal experiences of survivors and concentration camp liberators living in Southwest Florida.

Education mission

The Museum’s mission is to promote respect and understanding by teaching

the history and lessons of the Holocaust. Age-appropriate education outreach programs are available for grades K-12. Programming includes Museum field trips, presentations by Holocaust survivors and liberators, and information on current world situations. Professional development seminars for teachers are also offered. Community outreach programs and private group tours are available by appointment. The authentic Holocaust-era railway boxcar at the Museum is on loan from Jack and F.E. Nortman and the Nortman family.

Location and hours

The Museum, located at 4760 Tamiami Trail North (US 41), just south of Pine Ridge Rd. in Naples, is open year-round, closed Mondays and major holidays.

Hours: January - April, 12:30 - 5:00 p.m.; May – December, 1:00 - 4:00 p.m. For more information, call 239.263.9200 or visit

2013 programming

February - March: “Girl Power – How Three Young Women Influenced the Events of the Holocaust” – exhibit and associated events about Sophie Scholl, Irena Sendler and Hannah Senesh Quarterly: World War II Lecture Series presented by Darren Moran Monthly: Holocaust Lecture Series presented by Elliott Katz (December 2012 - April 2013) June - July: “Sosua, The Dominican Republic: A Refuge from the Holocaust in the Tropics” – exhibit and associated events

FGCU Center for Judaic, Holocaust, and Genocide Studies


he Center for Judaic, Holocaust, and Genocide Studies at Florida Gulf Coast University was established in 2005 due to the pioneering efforts of several members of the Jewish communities of Fort Myers and Naples. Under the sponsorship of Ann Jacobson and several others, and ably directed at the University in its first years by Dr. John Cox, the Center grew from offering a few events relating to Holocaust and other commemorations, to one which became a focus in Southwest Florida for all academic matters relating to Jewish civilization, the Holocaust, genocide, human rights, and remembrance. After the departure of Dr. Cox for the Univ. of North Carolina Charlotte, the Center was directed in an interim capacity by FGCU’s Dr. Myra Mendible. In August 2012 the University welcomed Dr. Paul Bartrop, formerly of Australia and New Jersey, as its first full-time Director. Conscious of the fact that the past century was the bloodiest in history, Dr. Bartrop has re-dedicated the aims of the Center to fulfilling


those of its founders. Accordingly, the Center will continue in its quest to increase knowledge and understanding about the Holocaust and other genocides, as well as to strengthen the democratic institutions that can confront genocide and other threats to human rights, such as intolerance, anti-Semitism, racism and ignorance. The Center seeks to achieve these aims through providing educational opportunities within the University, the wider community, and in partnership with educational and other organizations throughout the State of Florida, the United States, and internationally. During the next year we will see a number of important historical anniversaries: 75th anniversaries from the crucial year of 1938; 70th anniversaries from the equally crucial year of 1943; and others since then. The Center will be conducting several events throughout the year, and publicizing them widely. For information about the Center, donating opportunities or Center events, please contact:


Dr. Paul Bartrop, Director, 239.590.7239 or Website: FGCU, 10501 FGCU Boulevard S. Fort Myers, FL 33965

Annual Holocaust Memorial Service


ach year, the Jewish Federation of Lee and Charlotte Counties sponsors a moving educational program to remember the Holocaust and teach about it to the next generation. A choir performs, memorial candles are lit by community members, and a presentation is given by a keynote speaker who is a survivor or an expert on the Holocaust. This year’s Holocaust Memorial Service will be held on Sunday, April 7 at 3:00 p.m. at Temple Judea, 14486 A&W Bulb Rd., Fort Myers. For more information, contact Amy Ginsburg-Padilla at (239) 4814449 x3 or

A Guide to Jewish Living in Lee and Charlotte Counties

Arts & Culture

Museums Jewish Museum of Florida


his is the only museum telling the story of 250 years of Florida Jewish life. Jewish Museum of Florida on South Beach is housed in two lovingly restored buildings that were formerly synagogues for Miami Beach’s first congregation. Both on the National Register of Historic Places, the 1936 Art Deco building features Jewish historical exhibits and boasts a copper dome, marble bimah and 80 stained-glass windows while the 1929 building contains Jewish art exhibits. The core MOSAIC exhibit shows how Jews maintained their traditions and communities as they contributed

to develop the state. Changing temporary exhibits focus on themes of Jewish history, art and culture – each with a Florida connection. Jewish history time lines, films, Museum Store, Bessie’s Bistro, Collections and Research Center, a schedule of public programs that complement exhibit themes and guides complete the experience. Annual programs include Florida Jewish History Month and Jewish American Heritage Month (both initiated by the Museum), Purim events, Judaica Competitions and Breaking

the Glass Ceiling Awards. Open 10 to 5 every day except Mondays and civil and Jewish holidays. For more information: Jo Ann Arnowitz, Executive Director, (305) 672-5044 x3180 or Website: 301 Washington Avenue Miami Beach, FL 33139

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A Guide to Jewish Living in Lee and Charlotte Counties


Religious Life Temple Judea


emple Judea is an involved member of Lee County’s Jewish community. It is a Conservative synagogue offering traditional services that honor everyday modern life. The synagogue is an inclusive, egalitarian, family-friendly synagogue, open to intermarried families. Temple Judea provides opportunities for Jewish learning and growth, prayer and observance, Rabbi Elyssa Auster and acts of social responsibility. It is the only synagogue in Lee County affiliated with the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism. Temple Judea provides synagogue services or programming on both Friday night and Saturday morning, as well as morning minyan on Monday and Thursday by request. Services are conducted in Hebrew with English readings. A lovely Oneg on Friday follows the service, and a delicious Kiddush lunch on Saturday is prepared by congregants. In addition to the traditional services, Temple Judea offers various


prayer experiences incorporating music, learning, meditation, children and yoga. Keep abreast of Temple Judea’s wide variety of programming on its website calendar at The Religious School provides outstanding religious and Hebrew education from kindergarten through Bar/Bat Mitzvah. The children develop a strong Jewish identity in a positive and fun atmosphere. The religious school educates in the classroom and also through experiential activities providing the children multiple opportunities to participate in practical ways. The small class sizes allow for individual attention, and the students are excited and capable of leading most of the Shabbat service well before their Bar/Bat Mitzvah. Temple Judea was formed in 1972 with 20 members. Over the years, it has grown significantly and eventually moved into its current building which was dedicated on March 10, 1985. The congregation is led by Rabbi Elyssa Joy Auster – a visionary for the Jewish people and an inspiring presence for all ages.


All guests are welcome to join the Temple Judea community. TEMPLE JUDEA 14486 A&W Bulb Road Fort Myers, FL 33908 • Telephone: (239) 433-0201 • Fax: (239) 433-3371 • Website: • Rabbi Elyssa Joy Auster • President Keith Grossman • Movement/Affiliation: Conservative/United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism • Services: 7:30 p.m. Friday and 9:30 a.m. Saturday; minyan: 9:00 a.m. Monday and Thursday • Sisterhood Gift Shop • Special Programs/Features: Family Holiday events, Religious School, Preschool, Mommy and Me, Adult Ed, Women’s Rosh Chodesh Group, Junior Congregation, Once a month Shabbat Potluck Dinner, Meditation Circle, Hazak 55+ Group

A Guide to Jewish Living in Lee and Charlotte Counties

Temple Beth El


Religious Life

ifty-nine years after its dedica- there is an upbeat Shabbat Sensation tion, Temple Beth El continues Service for the whole congregation. to be a welcoming congregation Many featured adult education classes to all who seek to explore the princi- are scheduled year round, such as Anples and beliefs of Reform Judaism. The shei Mitzvah, Introduction to Judaism, synagogue, a modern structure noted and Lunch & Learn. for its magnificent design and décor, The youngest members enjoy an was designed by beloved member and outstanding Religious School experiarchitect, Bruce Gora. ence, directed by Dale Cohen, R.J.E., At Temple Beth El there are a monthly Tot Shabbat and Junior Conmyriad of educa- gregation services. There is a full slate tional opportuni- of activities for our active Junior and ties and events, Senior Youth Groups. ranging from the The Learning Tree is a premier purely social to nondenominational preschool offering sublimely spiri- full or part-time enrollment for ages tual. Rabbi Jeremy 18 months to 5 years. Also offered are Barras has a pro- parent-participation infant and toddler found knowledge classes. and love of JudaTemple Beth El has a very active Rabbi Jeremy Barras ism and Jewish Sisterhood and Men’s Club, both suceducation. Cantorial Soloist Lawrence cessful in creating fun-filled and educaDermer is an award-winning musician tional programming. and composer who has recorded muThe newly expanded TBE Gift Galsic both here and in Israel. Together, lery is located off the main lobby. It is they lead the congregation in moving yet lively services at 7:30 p.m. each Friday night. A Healing Service is held at 7:00 p.m. on the first Friday of the month, prior to the evening service. A lovely Oneg always follows services in the Dubin social hall. Rabbi Barras hosts Torah Study on Saturdays at 9:00 a.m. and Midrash on MonRabbi Jeremy Barras, Cantorial Soloist days at noon. Once a month Lawrence Dermer, and Mike Weiss with the shofar

stocked with beautiful Judaica items and other gifts from Israel and around the world. The volunteer staff is knowledgeable and happy to help choose the perfect B’nai Mitzvot, engagement, wedding, anniversary, birthday, hostess gift or something for no reason at all. TEMPLE BETH EL OF FORT MYERS 16225 Winkler Road Fort Myers, FL 33908 • Telephone: (239) 433-0018 • Fax: (239) 433-3235 • Email: • Website: • Rabbi Jeremy Barras • Cantorial Soloist Lawrence Dermer • Movement/Affiliation: Reform • Services: Shabbat Eve 7:30 p.m.; Shabbat Torah Study 9:00 a.m. • Organizations: Sisterhood, Men’s Club, Garden of Memories Cemetery • TBE Gift Gallery • Special Programs/Features: Adult Education (including Anshei Mitzvah, Midrash Mondays, Introduction to Judaism, Pillars of Zionism, Lunch & Learn, Machers & Mavens Book Club), Schmoozers, Mah Jongg Tournaments, Adult Choir, Family Shabbat Potluck Dinners, Fruits of Israel Festival, Religious and Hebrew School, Preschool

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A Guide to Jewish Living in Lee and Charlotte Counties


Religious Life

Temple Beth Shalom


emple Beth Shalom was founded in 1973 and serves the Reform Jewish communities of Cape Coral, Pine Island, North Fort Myers, and the greater Fort Myers area. Located in Cape Coral, close to North Fort Myers, the temple building houses the sanctuary, social hall, a full kitchen and two classrooms. Although built over 30 years ago, there have been many recent renovations to the bima, kitchen and bathrooms, with almost all the work being done by temple volunteers. Rabbi Devora Buchen has led the congregation since 2004, and has built a popular curriculum of prayer, culture, learning and community service. Many diverse families join Temple Beth Shalom to share in the warmth and family atmosphere enhanced by special attention to the young, the joy of Judaism, the spiritual, and the friendships for life that develop from attendance at so many events. First, there is the family service on the first Friday of each month. Special youth prayer books are used, and all

the youth are invited to participate in the service. Then, there are the regular Friday night Kabbalat Shabbat services which include joyous singing, great participation of congregants, insightful sermons, Torah service, familiar prayers, and children are invited to the bima for the Kiddush. The Oneg Shabbat that follows includes many refreshments and allows members new and old to mix and mingle; newcomers are sought out to meet and partake of all that is offered, as in our motto, “Come as a guest, leave as a friend, return as family.” The religious school is FREE to all member children. Currently meeting after school on Thursdays, the children open school with a Kiddush, then break into two groups by age. There is a teacher for each group, as well as a new Hebrew teacher to give group and individual lessons. All B’nai Mitzvah lessons are taught by Rabbi Buchen. Brotherhood and Sisterhood offer programs promoting camaraderie among members and service to the temple and the community. Fundraising for the temple and for special charities of schools and food pantries is only one

Rabbi Devora Buchen blesses the congregation

Steve Hershfield addresses the congregation

part of this endeavor. Bowling league, cards, mah jongg, attending sporting events and theater, Rosh Chodesh for women, fishing, picnics, karaoke, bingo nights, game nights, a latke party, and dance parties make up an ever evolving social calendar. The Temple Beth Shalom choir was reinvented four years ago and includes more than a dozen congregants who sing along at many regular services. TEMPLE BETH SHALOM 702 SE 24th Avenue Cape Coral, FL 33990 • Telephone: (239) 772-4555 • Email: • Website: • Rabbi Devora Buchen • Movement/Affiliation: Reform • Services: Shabbat and Holidays; 7:30 p.m. every Friday; Family Shabbat Service on the first Friday of the month ALL ARE WELCOME • Organizations: Sisterhood, Brotherhood • Special Programs/Features: Weekly Friday evening kabbalat Shabbat services with oneg, Shabbat dinners, Holiday programs, Religious School (pre-K to grade 6), B’nai Mitzvah training, Adult Jewish Education and Conversion Classes, Saturday morning Torah Study with the Rabbi, Rosh Chodesh meetings for women, Bowling League, Golf Tournaments

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A Guide to Jewish Living in Lee and Charlotte Counties

Religious Life

Chabad Jewish Center of Cape Coral


habad Jewish Center of Cape Coral is home to hundreds of Jews who are living, working or touring this great city built on canals. In the true spirit of the worldwide Chabad Lubavitch movement, the Center is a warm and welcoming refuge, attracting Jews of all backgrounds and affiliations since its inception in 2004. Rabbi Yossi and Rivky Labkowski

Rivky and Rabbi Yossi Labkowski

are young emissaries of the Lubavitcher Rebbe, who arrived in Cape Coral seven years ago, eager and ready to build a Center for Jewish Life, offering educational programs, family events and community life to the Jews of the city. Though the Center serves as a venue for all aspects of Jewish life, its most appealing component is its warm, welcoming and non-judgmental atmosphere. It is a place where educational, financial, religious and ethnic differences melt into the background. It is a place where Jews of all ages immediately feel comfortable. It is a place where a

successful lawyer and a young kibbutznik, a middle-aged housewife and an experienced career woman, a teenager and a retired senior can each find his or her place – it is a home away from home. Chabad Jewish Center offers synagogue services that are both userfriendly and child-friendly. Shabbos and holiday services are easy to follow, lively and intellectually stimulating. Separate children’s services are engaging and fun for all. The center is alive and bustling at holiday times with a variety of Family Holiday Events as well as communal Shabbos dinners. Jewish Education is offered to all ages and in a variety of formats, from one-on-one Bar /Bas Mitzvah and Hebrew Classes to formal Hebrew School and First Taste for younger children. Torah Learning Classes both for beginners and those more advanced, Women’s Circle and study groups are all available. Winter and Summer Camps offer both learning and enjoyable activities for youngsters, while Teen Club offers a place to meet other teenagers, enjoy their company and also contribute positively to the community at large. In addition to building their knowledge of Jewish culture, history and lifestyle, these programs develop Jewish pride and a true love of Judaism. Chabad Jewish Center of Cape Coral is not only a Center for Jewish

The Jewish Federation Community Food Pantry sustains many individuals and families. Your generosity is a wonderful act of tzedakah. To make a donation of food or funds, please contact the Federation at (239) 481-4449 x6. 21


Life, but a vibrant community, a place of friendship and celebration, where each Jew is encouraged to attend, partake and make Judaism his or her own. CHABAD JEWISH CENTER OF CAPE CORAL 1716 Cape Coral Pkwy W Cape Coral , FL 33914 • Telephone: (239) 541-1777 • Email: • Website: • Rabbi Yossi Labkowski • Movement/Affiliation: Chabad Lubavitch • Services: Shabbat 9:30 a.m. • Judaica Shop • Special Programs/Features: Family Holiday Events, Synagogues Services, Weekly Shabbat Kiddush Luncheon, Summer & Winter Camp Gan Israel, Adult Education, Jewish Women’s Circle, Bar/Bat Mitzvah Training, Communal Shabbat Dinners, Hebrew School, First Taste Program, Chanukah Shop, Hospital & Home Visitations, Family Counseling

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A Guide to Jewish Living in Lee and Charlotte Counties


Religious Life

Chabad Jewish Center of Charlotte County


Torah portion. Throughout the year, Chabad hosts several Community Shabbat Dinners, which are known for the best kosher food in Charlotte County. A wide variety of spiritual services and educational programs are offered, including Adult Education (what they

habad Jewish Center of Charlotte County is a center of Jewish life for Jews of all backgrounds who want to learn and experience more about their roots. Jewish values are brought to life in a joyous, warm and non-judgmental atmosphere. Rabbi Simon Jacobson and his wife, Sheina, founded Chabad of Charlotte County in 2005, inspired by the teachings of the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson, who taught that every single Jew is dear and important to G-d. Shabbat services, held Friday night and Shabbat morning, will leave you feeling enriched, connected, uplifted and energized whether your background in Jewish prayer is extensive or limited. Bi-lingual prayer books are used. Children are welcome. Shabbat morning services are followed by a kiddush and discussion on the weekly

  

Rabbi Simon and Sheina Jacobson

Have you ever watched folk dancing or line dancing and thought:  “I could do that!”  Do you yearn for those camp days, dressed in blue and white, when Israeli dancing  was a regular part of Kabbalat Shabbat – or any evening after dinner?  Do you watch those hora lines at weddings and bar mitzvahs and say to yourself: “I  know there’s more to Israeli dancing than this!” 

Well, now’s your chance to experience the fun, camaraderie, and exercise Israeli style  here in Lee County at the Federation building.  We will be teaching, learning, and doing  Israeli folk dances.  All levels of experience – from never having danced before to very  experienced ‐ are welcomed and encouraged to come.     

didn’t teach you in Hebrew School), the Jewish Women’s Circle, Camp Gan Israel Day Camp, and Bar/Bat Mitzvah classes for children and adults. There are numerous holiday programs, including High Holiday services, Sukkot and Simchat Torah festivities, a community-wide Chanukah celebration, Purim parties, Passover seder and Shavuot festivities. Chabad also provides hospital visitation, counseling, home visits to the elderly, and all life cycle events. A Jewish Art calendar is distributed free of charge to the entire Jewish community of Charlotte County. All are welcome to participate at any of Chabad’s programs. CHABAD JEWISH CENTER OF CHARLOTTE COUNTY 204 E Mckenzie St. Unit B Punta Gorda, FL 33950 • Telephone: (941) 833-3381 • Email: info@ • Website: www. • Rabbi Simon Jacobson • Movement/Affiliation: Chabad Lubavitch • Services: Weekly Friday night/ Saturday morning services and kiddush • Special Programs/Features: Adult Educational Classes, Shabbat Dinners, Holiday programs, Bar/Bat Mitzvah program, Gan Israel Summer Day Camp, Jewish Women’s Circle, Hospital/Home Visits

Every Sunday at 4 P.M.  (Beginners at 3:40)   



Jewish Federation of Lee & Charlotte Counties  9701 Commerce Center Court, Fort Myers  Please let us know of your interest and level of experience   by emailing Marsha Kistler at   


See page 51 for candle lighting times for 2013

A Guide to Jewish Living in Lee and Charlotte Counties

Religious Life Temple Shalom of Charlotte Harbor and the Gulf Islands


emple Shalom has served the Jewish community and residents of Charlotte County and surrounding area for over fifty years. The congregation came together in 1961 when land was made available to group of dedicated Jews who knew a synagogue was needed. Temple Shalom adopted its name after receiving its charter in 1976 from the Union for Reform Judaism. Since its beginning as the first “official” Jewish presence in Charlotte County, Temple Shalom has provided spiritual support, religious guidance, and leadership to the local Jewish community while promoting understanding with, and participation in, the broader Charlotte County and Southwest Flor-

ida community. Temple Shalom has been described as a caring, friendly congregation. Reaching out to as many Jews as possible, services are in English and Hebrew. Provision is extended to recognize and welcome interfaith marriage. Temple Shalom has a strong, vigorous, and active religious school program which culminates in joyous B’nai Mitzvot. Weekly adult classes focus on Judaic topics and Hebrew language. The temple has a small but adequate Judaic Library. Year round Friday night services frequently feature guest soloists. Some services are preceded by family dinners and every service ends with an Oneg. High Holy Days and holidays are celebrated much as you remember. Sisterhood and Hadassah meet to provide a wide variety of programs. Services and programs sometimes feature outside speakers who come to share events and perceptions of the greater world and community. Temple Shalom is an active, vibrant congregation: maintaining tradition while examining a changing world, preparing for the future. Temple Shalom generates area-wide annual attention with its comedy night program and Art Auction,

The work of the Jewish Federation represents both our community and our community’s most generous tradition — to give to others even in the most difficult times. 23


co-sponsored with the American Red Cross. A Boy Scout troop meets weekly in the temple and has done so for over fifty years. Temple Shalom is a good citizen: it supports the local food bank, raises money and resources for local charities and causes, and participates in the events and supports the activities of the Jewish Federation, Charlotte County, and surrounding region. TEMPLE SHALOM OF CHARLOTTE HARBOR & THE GULF ISLANDS 23190 Utica Avenue Port Charlotte, FL 33949 • Telephone: (941) 625-2116 • Fax: (941) 625-0842 • Email: • Website: http:/templeshalom. • Rabbi Solomon Agin, D.D. • Movement/Affiliation: Reform • Services: Shabbat Eve 7:30 p.m. year round • Organizations: Sisterhood, Brotherhood • Judaica Shop • Judaic Library • Special Programs/Features: Religious School (K-7), Adult Education courses, Guest cantorial soloists, Holiday Celebrations, Community Menorah lighting, Social & Cultural Events

A Guide to Jewish Living in Lee and Charlotte Counties


Religious Life

The Community Free Synagogue


he “Free” in Community Free Synagogue signifies freedom for all self-identifying Jews to participate fully in congregational life without requirements of membership dues and freedom of expression by all participants from the pulpit and the pew. What started off as an experiment to see if a “full-service” synagogue could function without financial and political pressures. Beginning in 2006, the Community Free Synagogue sprung from a multigenerational ideal for a congregation that is a community resource with a mission to promote Jewish prayer,

Rabbi Bruce Diamond

study and benevolent acts. Over 400 households in the Southwest Florida community participate in the services and programming of the Community Free Synagogue throughout the year. Without a doubt, the initial experiment proved to be a resounding success. This year more than 700 different worshippers participated throughout the High

Holidays, and many generously supported the congregation of their free will without membership requirements or ticket sales. The Community Free Synagogue’s spiritual leader is Bruce Diamond, a Reform rabbi who holds his ordination and Doctor of Divinities from the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in Cincinnati. A pulpit rabbi for 35 years, Rabbi Diamond has distinguished himself locally and nationally in his passion for learning, teaching and active interest in issues of human rights and social justice. Offering a progressive form of Jewish worship in an informal and welcoming atmosphere with music, friendliness and warmth, the congregation meets for a traditional-style Shabbat dinner each Friday evening that is followed by an uplifting Qabbalat Shabbat service. Each Shabbat morning, Rabbi Diamond leads a stimulating and thought-provoking Torah study session, preceded by a light breakfast. Throughout the yearly cycle of religious holidays, The Community Free Synagogue provides opportunities for joyous and meaningful celebration and observance. High Holiday services are open for all to attend and participate, a sukkah is raised each year, Hanukkah offers opportunity for celebration, and a community Passover seder is open for all who want to participate at no charge.

The CFS is an active community organization supporting initiatives to foster interfaith understanding, justice and safety for the vulnerable and needy of our community through interfaith networks of Southwest Florida. THE COMMUNITY FREE SYNAGOGUE Meets at Kontinos Community Hall of the Annunciation Greek Orthodox Congregation 8210 Cypress Lake Drive Fort Myers, FL Mailing Address: P.O. Box 07144 Fort Myers, FL 33919 • Telephone: (239) 274- SHUL (7485) • Email: • Website:

• Rabbi Bruce Diamond, D.D. • Music Director: Dianne Coffman • Movement/Affiliation: Progressive • Shabbat Activities: Community Shabbat Eve Dinner 6:30 p.m.; Shabbat Eve Services 7:30 p.m.; Morning Torah Study 9:30 a.m.

Stay in touch throughout the year. Sign up for the Federation’s e-blasts. Get the latest information on upcoming community events and cultural activities, breaking news items, updates from Israel and lots more.

Send an email to 24


A Guide to Jewish Living in Lee and Charlotte Counties

Religious Life

Bat Yam - Temple of the Islands


at Yam - Temple of the Islands came into existence when Shirley and Mel Bleiberg placed an ad in the local Sanibel papers inviting anyone interested in starting a Reform Jewish Synagogue to meet at the Sanibel Congregational Church. In February 1991, 75 people met and hired Rabbi Karen Soria of Naples to lead services. On March 8, 1991, the congregation set its goals and priorities and developed a mission statement, which remains the same today. Bat Yam – A Jewish congregation serving residents of Sanibel, Captiva and Fort Myers; providing a place of worship in the Reform tradition and creating an extended Jewish family. Rabbi Soria led the congregation until 1993 when she joined the Navy as a chaplain. Rabbi Philip Frankel was hired, coming to Sanibel every other week, leading High Holiday services, Friday night services and a Saturday morning study group. When he retired, following an exhaustive search, Rabbi Murray Saltzman was hired, whereupon he and his wife moved from Maryland to Sanibel. He served the congregation until his untimely death in January 2010. During his tenure, the size of the congregation grew as did the number

of participants in the Saturday morning study group. Classes included Hebrew, the history of Judaism, as well as special studies such as Pirkei Avot, and famous Jewish philosophers and writers. Today, led by Rabbi Selwyn Geller, The Jewish Annotated New Testament, edited by Amy Jill Levine and Mark Z. Brettler, is studied and discussed. The church congregation permit-

The temple’s hand-embroidered Torah cover

ted Bat Yam to build an arc in their Fellowship Hall where Shabbat services are usually held. In the “high season” Bat Yam uses the sanctuary to accommodate the overflowing crowd of worshippers. The congregation owns two Torahs, one acquired by Becky and Beno Kon, and a Holocaust Torah acquired by Ann and Len Arnoff in memory of their daughter. It was flown to Fort Myers from the Westminster Holocaust Museum in London. Both Torah covers were hand-embroidered by the two woman donors. BAT YAM - TEMPLE OF THE ISLANDS Meets at Sanibel Congregational Church, 2050 Periwinkle Way Sanibel Island, FL Mailing Address: P.O. Box 84, Sanibel, FL 33957 • Telephone: (239) 472-0177 • Email: Website: • Rabbi Selwyn Geller • Cantor: Douglas Renfroe • President: Allan Silberman • Movement/Affiliation: Reform/ Union for Reform Judaism • Services: Friday 8:00 p.m.

Chabad Lubavitch Chabad of Bonita of Southwest Florida Springs & Estero CHABAD LUBAVITCH OF SOUTHWEST FLORIDA 5620 Winkler Road, Ft. Myers, FL 33919 • Telephone: (239) 433-7708 • Email: • Website: • Rabbi Yitzchok Minkowicz • Director Nechamie Minkowicz • Movement/Affiliation: Chabad Lubavitch • Services: Friday night/Shabbat and holidays



CHABAD OF BONITA SPRINGS & ESTERO 24850 Old 41 Road, Suite 20 (Bernwood Centre) Bonita Springs, FL 34135 • Telephone: (239) 949-6900 • Email: • Website: • Rabbi Mendy Greenberg • Movement/Affiliation: Chabad Lubavitch • Services: Shabbat at 10:00 a.m. followed by a kiddush

A Guide to Jewish Living in Lee and Charlotte Counties


Organizations Special Interest Groups Hadassah – Collier/Lee Chapter


ver 100 years ago, one Jewish woman, Henrietta Szold, had the ability and determination to take action and create change at a time when women were not even permitted to vote, and Hadassah was born. Hadassah is committed to strengthening the unity of the Jewish people. In Israel, it accomplishes this through progressive healthcare, education, youth institutions and volunteerism. In the United States, Hadassah reaches its goals through Jewish and Zionist education programs, Zionist Youth programs and health awareness

programs, as well as by advocating for issues of importance to women and to the American Jewish community. By becoming a Hadassah Associate, men can participate in Hadassah’s mission of peace and healing. Working alongside Hadassah women or spearheading initiatives on their own, Associates make a significant contribution to the basic values of the Jewish people: tikkun olam (repairing the world) and tzedakah. Associates support Hadassah’s vital

work in the United States and Israel, working to change people’s lives. Everyone is welcome to join, so if you would like to become a member, or learn more about the extraordinary work of Hadassah, please contact: Shelley Skelton, President, (239) 676-3052 or Iris Shur, Membership co-Vice President, (239) 593-9328 or Lynn Weiner, Membership co-Vice President, (239) 598-1009 or

This is what we do.

We provide patients financial assistance for incidental expenses related to active cancer treatment. • (239) 936-3756 Solomon Agin, Chairman of the Board Sharon Salenius, Executive Director



A Guide to Jewish Living in Lee and Charlotte Counties

Special Interest Groups Hadassah – Jewish War Sharon Chapter Veterans Post 400 ewish War Veterans “Victor Paul (Charlotte County) Tuchman” Post 400 (JWV) is the


riginally part of the Lee County Chapter of Hadassah, the Sharon Chapter of Port Charlotte got its own charter on January 23, 1979. The primary purpose of the Port Charlotte chapter is to raise funds for two hospitals in Jerusalem: Mount Scopus and Ein Kerem. Hadassah is now proud to announce the opening of the newest hospital, the Sara Westman Davidson Tower in Jerusalem. Hadassah also provides education about health care issues in the United States. The Sharon Chapter meets on the fourth Wednesday of each month. Programs vary with health education being of prime importance. Physicians, nutritionists, health and fitness professionals, and representatives of health service agencies are featured. The chapter received a Golden Gavel award from the Sarasota Herald-Tribune for its Osteoporosis Education & Awareness Program, which was sponsored by the Florida Department of Elder Affairs. Programs are entertaining as well as educational. The most recent program was Rachel Dulin’s “Alive, Unabashed and Passionate,” introducing women of the Bible with a twist. The chapter celebrated the Centennial Anniversary of Hadassah in 2012 with an Israeli lunch and a video. Future program plans include a card party, a fashion show, book club meetings, and performing “mitzvot” by visiting seniors in nursing homes during the Jewish holidays. The Jewish Federation of Lee and Charlotte Counties provides Hadassah with the “Goody Bags.” For more information or to join: Odette Port, President (941) 505-1409 or



local post of the oldest active veterans organization in America, founded in 1896. Active membership may be granted to “any person of the Jewish faith of good character” who is a U.S. citizen and was an active duty member of the U.S. military (including the National Guard and Reserves) in or during any war, campaign or conflict with honorable military discharge. “Paul Victor Tuchman” Post 400 actively supports our Jewish troops serving in the battle zones throughout the year with gift packages containing appreciated items from home. The Post also supports the Fort Myers VA along with the many homeless and disadvantaged veterans living in the area. Members of the Post are veterans from WWII through the present, in-


Organizations cluding members on active duty presently serving in Afghanistan and Iraq. Breakfast meetings, which are held at 9:30 a.m. on the last Sunday of each month (with a few exceptions) at the Jewish Federation offices, include bagels/lox/cream cheese, coffee, active discussions and engaging speakers. All veterans are welcome. For more information, contact: Harvey Charter, Post Commander (239) 561-6535 Bob Ruberto, Senior Vice Commander, (239) 482-2552 Paul Tenenbaum, Quartermaster (239) 590-6774

JWV members pack boxes to be mailed to Jewish soldiers overseas

A Guide to Jewish Living in Lee and Charlotte Counties


Organizations Humanistic Jewish Havurah


umanistic Judaism is a voice for Jews who value their Jewish identity and who seek an alternative to conventional Judaism. Humanistic Judaism affirms the right of individuals to shape their own lives, independent of supernatural authority. It believes that reason is the best method for the discovery of truth and that morality derives from human needs and is the defense of human dignity. In a universe that is indifferent to the desires and aspirations of human beings, people must ultimately rely on people. Founded by Rabbi Sherwin T. Wine in 1963 in Detroit, there are now close to 30 communities of Humanistic Jews in North America. The local Havurah was formed in late spring 2008. In 2009 the organization obtained its 501(c)(3) tax exempt status. The following year, it became affiliated with the Society for Humanistic Judaism ( Membership in the Havurah includes full membership and benefits of this national organization. Not only has local membership increased each year but so has the number of activities provided for the members and the community. The first Friday of each month finds members gathering for a pot luck Shabbat followed by a stimulating program. During season the community is invited to Sunday afternoon meetings devoted to topics of interest to humanistic Jews. Additionally, members enjoy home study groups and celebrations at Yom Kippur, Chanukah and Passover. Humanistic Judaism provides a realistic, rational approach to our traditions and history. Like-minded people are welcome to join the Havurah. For more information, call: Herbert Herman, (239) 304-0191 Website: www.humanisticjewish


Special Interest Groups Generations of Naples Jewish the Shoah – SWFL Social Club (NJSC) he Naples Jewish Social Club is (GenShoah) a friendly group from southern


ormed in 2009 through an initiative by the Holocaust Museum & Education Center of Southwest Florida, this is a group of children of Holocaust survivors and others who are interested in the fourfold mission of this group. The mission is “promotion of Holocaust education, preservation of memories of the Holocaust, connections of members of the Second Generation to one another, and support of the Holocaust Museum.” Meetings are usually scheduled at 4:15 p.m. on the third Sunday of each month from October to May and are held at the Holocaust Museum, 4760 Tamiami Trail N., Naples. In addition to monthly meetings, GenShoah sponsors activities, films, trips and events for members as well as for the general public. This group also partners with other groups that support its mission and disseminates information relevant to the Holocaust. In addition to children of survivors, anyone who supports the mission of this group is welcome and encouraged to attend meetings, many of which include guest speakers. For more information contact: Ida Margolis, (239) 963-9347 or

Jewish Historical Society of SWFL


he Jewish Historical Society of Southwest Florida is a 501(c)3 organization dedicated to the preservation of the Jewish history of this region. Currently, the organization is seeking individuals interested in serving on the Board of Directors. For more information, email:



Lee, Collier and Marco representing the entire Jewish community. The club offers a variety of monthly social events including concerts, picnics on the beach, art gallery tours, theatre parties, game nights, cruises on the Gulf, and the annual Break-thefast. Annual Gala The Naples Jewish Social Club annual Gala event will be held on Sunday, January 20 at Longshore Lake Country Club in North Naples. If you would like to join the NJSC or if you have any questions concerning the Gala event, please call Sondra Greer at (239) 353-4468. Bridge and Mahjongg In addition to regular events, Bridge and Mahjongg are offered. Many members attend bridge games, which include social and duplicate, and are played respectively on the 1st and 3rd Sundays of the month at Sterling Oaks Clubhouse in North Naples. Games begin at 6:00 p.m. Coffee and cookies are served. Cost is $8 per couple. Reservations are a must by the preceding Thursday. Call Tilda Ellis at (239) 949-9913. The Mahjongg game is a spirited one played weekly at the Longshore Lake Clubhouse every Thursday. Twenty ladies or more attend on a regular basis. Be there for lunch at 11:30 a.m. and continue with play ending at 4:00 p.m. Contact Barbara Bresnick at (239) 566-1126 or Sondra Greer at (239) 353-4468. The NJSC welcomes couples and singles. Dues are the best bargain in town at $15 a year. For more information, contact: Illeen Mittleman, President, (440) 221-6468 or

A Guide to Jewish Living in Lee and Charlotte Counties

• More than 27,000 students in the CIS and Baltic States are educated by ORT each year. Organizations

O ow

Special Interest Groups

RT is the largest global nongovernmental Jewish education organization. With a presence in 60 countries, the ORT network educates and trains more than 300,000 students annually. The ORT legacy is over 130 years strong, and remains committed to strengthening communities throughout the world by educating people against all odds and obstacles. Beginning in tsarist Russia, to pro-

Israel Kadima Mada students

vide impoverished Jews with employable skills, today it adapts to the needs of a complex marketplace – from Kiryat Yam, Israel, to Buenos Aires, Argentina, to South Central Los Angeles – with innovative fields such as telecommunications, robotics, medical reporting, renewable energy and biochemistry. ORT’s technological and vocational programs provide talented students – many from at-risk households – with the best possible educational preparation, social services and tuition assistance to remain in school and break the cycle of poverty, while maintaining the culture and heritage of the Jewish people. Locally, there are over 600 men and women ORT supporters, divided

among two chapters – GulfsidePalm (day chapter) and SaraMana (evening chapter). Besides participating in each chapter’s broad array of interesting monthly programs, supporters are involved in a variety of fundraising and community outreach activities. The biggest fundraiser is the holiday gift-wrapping project at the major malls. For more information about the GulfsidePalm ORT and SaraMana ORT chapters, please contact these Area Development Advisors: Ann Baum, (941) 355-7200 Barbara Berliner, (941) 907-0317 Kim Sheintal, (941) 921-1433 There is also a chapter in Naples. For more information, email: Marina Berkovich, President,

Learn Past! from the

the Holocaust Museum & education Center of southwest Florida – naples

Using the history and lessons of the Holocaust, we educate visitors about the importance of respect and understanding for others. Unique items on display include collections of Holocaust Survivor stories, photographs and World War II artifacts. Please call or visit our website for information on special exhibits and events throughout the year.

Docent-led, self-guided Audio and Group tours available Open Tuesday through Sunday; closed Monday and major holidays Hours: January to April: 12:30pm – 5:00pm; May to December: 1:00pm – 4:00pm


A cooperative effort funded by Collier County Tourist Development Tax


A non-profit 501 (c) (3) corporation

from the


239-263-9200 A Guide to Jewish Living in Lee and Charlotte Counties ITC Bookman News Gothic BT Bold



Israel Connection State of Israel Bonds — This is Israel

Environment, antiquities pose unique challenges for Israel’s transportation advances By James S. Galfund ugust 26, 2012 marked the 75th anniversary of an incremental step forward in the annals of Jerusalem transportation – the day the first taxi began plying the city’s streets. In a city of transformative events spanning millennia, it’s unlikely the anniversary garnered much attention, not only because today’s Jerusalem is awash in taxis, but also because Jerusalemites now have the option of being whisked through the capital via modern light rail. Greater Accessibility A visitor from Israel Bonds – the organization that has enabled major transportation advances in Israel – discovered that to ride the light rail is to experience a microcosm of Jerusalem’s diversity. Fellow passengers included secular Israelis, the ultra-Orthodox, devout


Muslims and camera-toting tourists. Each train has a capacity of around 500 passengers, the equivalent of 10 buses. With a first-stage route encompassing nearly two dozen stops – the Old City (providing the quintessential Israel experience of riding state-ofthe-art transportation past a site of ancient pilgrimage), multiple neighborhoods, the Mahane Yehuda Market and the downtown district – the light rail has changed the way residents work, shop and plan their days. Surveys show substantial increases in pedestrian traffic stemming from the greater accessibility provided by the light rail. Mahane Yehuda, for example, has seen a 38 percent increase, and visits to the popular ‘triangle’ area of King George Avenue, Jaffa Road and Ben-Ye-

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huda Street jumped 34 percent. Overall increases average 41 percent. An added bonus for Jerusalemites and visitors alike has been the conversion of Jaffa Road into a pedestrian mall. A Dramatic Reboot Getting to and from the capital is also undergoing a dramatic reboot. Riding the rails from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem – a distance of less than 50 miles – currently takes 2½ hours. By 2017, the trip will shrink to a mere 30 minutes. The key to the drastic time reduction is the ambitious construction of a complex network of bridges and tunnels. And, because this is Israel, there are additional considerations beyond the obvious topographical challenges inherent in boring through hundreds of feet of solid rock. One is archeological. In Israel, any project entailing digging is sensitive to the fact that priceless artifacts might be uncovered during the excavation process. If antiquities are discovered, work stops and archeologists are called in to examine the relics. Eco-Friendly Responsibilities The second consideration is environmental. Israel is a world leader in environmental sustainability, and Aliza

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Massive tunnels being carved from a hilltop outside Jerusalem are closely supervised by an environmental expert who ensures the surrounding landscape “will be like we’ve never been here.” (Photo: James S. Galfund)

A Guide to Jewish Living in Lee and Charlotte Counties


Israel Connection Kutner – who describes her job with Is- side where the tunnel is bored. Topsoil rael Railways as “being in charge of all differs as well. Trees pose the greatest challenge. things green” – relishes her eco-friendly They must be carefully uprooted and responsibilities. “I watch the process all the way moved to a fenced-off location outside through,” she declares proudly. This the construction zone, where they are includes, first and foremost, ensuring replanted and marked for eventual reeverything in the construction path – turn. Special precautions are taken to flora, fauna, trees and even boulders ensure the relocation zone remains un– remains pristine. Kutner says this damaged. “We guaranteed the country,” means much of the pre-existing land- says Kutner, “that we will bring everyscape must be temporarily relocated thing back.” while the tunnels are being constructed. Attuned to Subtleties It’s not an easy undertaking. Kutner must be attuned to differences, however subtle, that escape the eye of a casual visitor. Rocks, for instance. Kutner explains that rocks differ depending on whether With nearly two dozen stops, the Jerusalem light rail has they are scattered on changed the way residents work, shop and plan their days. (Photo: James S. Galfund) top of a hill or deep in-

Upon completion, the NIS 7 billion (approximately $1.8 billion) project will send trains racing across the country through tunnels that at some points will run 118 feet deep and 7.5 miles long. The projected schedule foresees four double-decker trains every 15 minutes during rush hour and two trains during off-peak hours. And, while riders will notice a huge difference in their trip, no one will notice a difference in the surroundings. Vows Israel Railways self-proclaimed green lady: “It will be like we’ve never been here – I promise you.” The “Greater Florida” Israel Bonds office covers all of Florida except for Palm Beach, Miami/Dade and Broward Counties. For more information, contact: Reva Azneer Pearlstein, Assistant Director, (727) 539-6445, (800) 622-8017 or Website:

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A Guide to Jewish Living in Lee and Charlotte Counties



Israel Connection Zionist Organization of America


ounded in 1897, the Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) is the world’s oldest pro-Israel organization. It was instrumental in the Jewish state becoming a reality by mobilizing the support of the U.S. government, Congress and the American public for the creation of Israel. Under the leadership of such illustrious past presidents as Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis and Rabbi Dr. Abba Hillel Silver, ZOA has been on the front lines of Jewish activism. Today, with a national membership of over 30,000, and chapters throughout the United States, ZOA works to strengthen U.S.-Israeli relations through educational activities; by working Capitol Hill; and by combating anti-Israel bias in the media and on college campuses. The local chapter is proactively involved with all issues concerning Israel and the worldwide Jewish com-

munity. Meetings are held monthly at supporting synagogues in Naples, and feature noted speakers. Past speakers have included Morton Klein, ZOA Na-

tional President; Joseph Sabag, Esquire, Regional Director Florida ZOA; Dr. Andrew Bostom, foremost authority on Islamic anti-Semitism; Chaim Silberstein, President of “Keep Jerusalem United” and an expert on land development in Jerusalem; and Mr. Mat Leisbaum, producer of the documentary Israel Inside, How a Small Nation Makes A Big Difference.

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Upcoming programs will include speakers such as Dr. Stephen Steinlight, Senior Policy Analyst at the Center for Immigration Studies. The local chapter maintains a speakers guild available to speak to community organizations about Israel advocacy issues. ZOA is an ecumenical organization open to the public and seeks new membership from all who are interested in supporting the State of Israel. For more information, to be added to the local mailing list or to arrange to have a ZOA presentation for your organization, contact: Jerry Sobel, Chapter President, (239) 597-0855 or


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A Guide to Jewish Living in Lee and Charlotte Counties


Israel Connection American Technion Society


he Technion - Israel Institute of Technology is one of Israel’s top engineering universities and recently ranked in the top 25 engineering schools in the world. It’s the only university in Israel with a department of aerospace engineering, and one of only 25 engineering universities in the world with a medical school. The Technion is also home to three Nobel Laureates. In 2011, Distinguished Professor Dan Shechtman won the Nobel Prize in chemistry for his discovery of quasicrystals – an entirely new form of matter. He joined an elite group of top scientists and researchers whose work has changed the world. The Technion - Israel Institute of Technology commands a worldwide reputation for its pioneering work in computer science, nanotechnology, biotechnology, energy, water-resource

management, medicine, drug development and aerospace. Founded in 1924, the Technion is Israel’s oldest institution of higher learning. It has been closely linked with the country’s development, providing the education and expertise that built its infrastructure, created its military might and turned the desert into orange groves. Today, it is Israel’s primary source for the scientists, engineers and applied research that drive its technology-based economy and secures its citizens against terrorism. Each June, it offers a world class mission to visit the campus. This year’s trip will visit Spain before continuing on to Israel. The Naples Chapter of the American Technion Society (ATS) brings professors and students to the community to talk about their work and

this extraordinary institution of higher education. The chapter offers a monthly lecture series from November through April, with plenty of opportunities to meet and chat one-on-one with visiting scientists and teachers from the university. This season’s lectures will be held at the Vineyards Country Club in Naples, on January 25, February (date/ speaker TBD), March 14 and April 17. The lectures are chaired by L.C. Goldman, and the cover price for all is $20 per person. To be added to the mailing list, please call Mr. Goldman at (239) 592-5884. For more about ATS programs and missions to Israel, contact: Jennifer Singer, Chapter Director, (941) 378-1500 or Website:

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A Guide to Jewish Living in Lee and Charlotte Counties



Israel Connection

Jewish National Fund


ith the popularity of its Blue Box campaign and tree planting drives, many forget that 111 years ago, Jewish National Fund (JNF) purchased the land that determined the borders of the modern State of Israel. After 1948, JNF helped create new communities in Israel so that Jews from around the world would have a place to call home. Scientists at JNF Resource and Development centers discovered drip irrigation and new means of growing plants under arid conditions, bringing green to the desert. JNF took the leadership role during Israel’s water crisis, building over

210 reservoirs and water recycling centers, providing water to 1.5 million Israelis every day. JNF planted 250 million trees, created over 1,000 parks and recreational areas, built security roads, and educated students around the world about Israel, the environment, and their connection to the Jewish homeland. Today, JNF is taking a leadership role in developing and strengthening Israel’s final frontier – the Negev. Jewish National Fund is the central address for partnering with the land and people of Israel. Jewish National Fund. For Israel, forever. The Collier County area is served

by the Northern Florida Regional Office. For more information, contact: Uri Smajovits, Regional Director, Beth Glickman Morris, Campaign Executive, (727) 536-5263 or (888) 563-0099 Website:

supported 450 people – most of them children. With the help of the Jewish and Christian communities in Lee County, the organization has raised over $145,000 and enabled many families to break the cycle of poverty. Project Ezra is unique in that 100% of all donations go directly to help the families. The families are chosen with the help of Yael Dayan, daughter of the late Israeli Defense Minister, General Moshe Dayan. In her capacity as Deputy Mayor of Tel AvivYaffo, she is responsible for the largest

social service agency in all of Israel. In 2007, Project Ezra was honored for its work by receiving an award for programming at the Biennial Convention of the Union for Reform Judaism in San Diego, California. Project Ezra is a tax-exempt organization committed to its mission statement – “Helping Israel – One Family at a Time.” For more information or to become a committee member, contact: Robert Ruberto, Treasurer, (239) 482-2552 or

Jewish National Fund’s Naples Tree of Life™ Award Dinner Honoring Myra Janco Daniels Thursday, January 17 at 6:00 p.m. at Quail West Golf & Country Club 5950 Burnham Road, Naples

Project Ezra


roject Ezra began as a grassroots organization at Temple Beth El in Fort Myers eleven years ago with the goal of raising money to help feed needy Israelis who were the victims of terrorism and poverty. In 2002, the Palestinian Intifada (uprising) was raging and innocent Israelis were being blown up on buses, at cafes, in malls, in synagogues and at a horrific suicide bombing at a Passover seder at a hotel in Netanya. That was the call to action. Since that time, Project Ezra has

Florida-Israel Chamber


ince 2000, Israel has been the largest American trading partner in the Middle East – larger than American trade with Saudi Arabia, including U.S. oil imports. Today there are more Israeli companies listed on American securities exchanges than any country after the United States and Canada.

America-Israel relations are based on common values – democracy, free markets and the rule of law. Business is the manifestation of the strong values shared by Americans and Israelis. The Chamber’s mission is to connect American and Israeli businesses, to increase trade and commerce between America and Israel, and to fuel

economic growth for both regions. If you would like to become involved with the Florida-Israel Chamber and learn about membership opportunities, contact: Linda Chase, (954) 725-2788 or

Read Connections online at 34


A Guide to Jewish Living in Lee and Charlotte Counties

Organizations Israel Connection American Friends of Magen David Adom


merican Friends of Magen David Adom (AFMDA) supports the lifesaving work of Magen David Adom (MDA) in Israel and represents MDA in the U.S. MDA is Israel’s only governmentmandated ambulance and emergency

medical response organization. A team of professionals and trained volunteers use state-of-the-art technology to provide all of Israel’s population with pre-hospital emergency medical needs including disaster, ambulance and blood services. MDA’s National Blood Services Center provides 100% of the blood requirements of the Israel Defense Forces and 95% of the blood needs

of Israel’s hospitals and the general population. MDA’s fleet of 800 MDA ambulances and Mobile Intensive Care Units are on call 24/7, operating from 119 Emergency Medical Stations and 11 dispatch stations throughout Israel, logging almost ten million miles annually, and caring for all of Israel’s 7.8 million people. AFMDA gives Americans firsthand looks into MDA operations by organizing site visits in Israel where they can meet with MDA staff, volunteers and young American overseas volunteers. AFMDA also offers supporters opportunities to raise funds in Florida through community and online campaigns such as

bar/bat mitzvah projects and neighborhood ambulances initiatives. For more information, contact: Gila Meriwether, AFMDA Florida Gulf Coast Representative (941) 320-9297 – local (800) 626-0046 – toll free Website:

Consulate General of Israel for Florida and Puerto Rico


he Consulate General of Israel, one of nine in the U.S., officially represents the State of Israel in all aspects of Israel’s relations with the government and societies of the State of Florida and Commonwealth of Puerto Rico. The Consulate General is the bridge between Israel and the political and business communities of Florida and Puerto Rico, as well as the media, academia, and the cultural and Jewish communities, with the aim of strength-

ening the bonds between us. The Consular Department serves foreign citizens and provides various services to Israeli citizens. The Consular & Visa Department serves Israeli citizens as well as nonIsraelis with issuing visas and renewing passports. The Israeli House (Bayit Israel) provides a cultural center and connection with Israel for the Israeli community by sponsoring lectures and concerts by Israeli performers.

The office also provides assistance to Israeli and American businesses. For more information, contact: Chaim Shacham, Consul General, (305) 925-9400 or Website:

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3571 Del Prado Blvd North • North Cape Coral 543-2075 8841 College Parkway • Ft. Myers 433-2245


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A Guide to Jewish Living in Lee and Charlotte Counties


Organizations American Jewish Committee (AJC)


JC, established in 1906 by a small group of American Jews deeply concerned about pogroms aimed at Russian Jews, determined that the best way to protect Jewish populations in danger would be to work towards a world in which all peoples were accorded respect and dignity. AJC is the global advocate for the well-being of the Jewish people and for the advancement of democratic values for all. For more than 100 years, AJC has sought to advance the peace and security of the Jewish people around the world. Through high-level diplomacy, strong legislative advocacy, and effective interreligious and interethnic coalitions, AJC has made a significant impact on issues critical to the Jewish people. With key relationships at the regional, national and international levels – from diplomats, to global decision-makers and community leaders – AJC is the preeminent global Jewish advocate. AJC’s West Coast Florida Regional Office, located in Sarasota, is one of 26 regional offices in the United States. In addition, AJC has offices in 20 foreign countries. For more information, contact: Brian Lipton, Regional Director, (941) 365-4955 or Website:

Advocacy Groups Anti-Defamation American Israel League Public Affairs he Anti-Defamation League Committee (ADL) has been on the frontline


of fighting anti-Semitism, racism and all forms of hatred in America and abroad for the last 100 years. As one of the nation’s leading civil rights agencies and advocates for Israel, ADL is commemorating its 100th anniversary in 2013. A leader in the development of materials, programs and services, ADL builds bridges of communication, understanding and respect among diverse groups, carrying out its mission through a network of 30 Regional and Satellite Offices in the U.S. and abroad. Anti-Semitism in Florida is not a history lesson; it’s a current event. As the 9-1-1 for the Jewish community in Florida, the ADL Florida office serves as the primary resource for victims of anti-Semitism. The ADL Florida office delivers anti-bias education programs to educators and students; trains law enforcement about hate crimes; safeguards civil rights; confronts anti-Semitism on college campuses; provides security seminars to religious institutions; fields discrimination complaints; and advocates for Israel. For more information, contact: (561) 988-2900 or Website:

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IPAC’s mission is to strengthen the ties between the United States and its ally Israel. As America’s leading pro-Israel lobby, AIPAC works with Democrats, Republicans and Independents to enact public policy that enhances the U.S.-Israel relationship. From promoting peace between Israel and its neighbors to facilitating U.S.-Israel exchanges of expertise and collaborating on technology, science and agricultural products, AIPAC is there to encourage the close working relationship between the countries. AIPAC’s staff and citizen activists educate decision makers about the bonds that unite the United States and Israel and how it is in America’s best interest to help ensure that the Jewish state is safe, strong and secure. AIPAC empowers pro-Israel activists of all ages, religions and races to be politically engaged and build relationships with members of Congress from both sides of the aisle to promote the U.S.-Israel relationship. While building support in Washington is essential, AIPAC is found wherever the future of the relationship could be affected. That’s why AIPAC professionals engage leaders in synagogues and churches and within the African American and Hispanic communities. AIPAC also works on hundreds of college and high school campuses, empowering student activists to answer Israel’s detractors and educating them about how to use political involvement to build support for Israel. For more information, contact: Jacki Waksman, AIPAC’s North & Central Florida Area Director, (954) 653-9053 or Website:

A Guide to Jewish Living in Lee and Charlotte Counties

Advocacy Groups Simon Wiesenthal Center


he Simon Wiesenthal Center is a global Jewish human rights organization that confronts anti-Semitism, hate and terrorism; promotes human rights and dignity; stands with Israel; defends the safety of Jews worldwide; and teaches the lessons of the Holocaust for future generations. With a constituency of more than 400,000 households in the United States, it is accredited as an NGO at international organizations including the United Nations, UNESCO and the Council of Europe. Headquartered in Los Angeles, the Simon Wiesenthal Center maintains offices in New York, Toronto, Miami, Paris, Buenos Aires and Jerusalem. For over 25 years, the Southern Region has represented the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Florida, other southern states, as well as Puerto Rico


and the Caribbean. With an extraordinary network of lay leaders, the Southern Region promotes and supports the Center’s mission through outreach, education, social action and media awareness. Extensive activities and programs are offered throughout the Southern Region, including: ‹‹ Annual Dinners that honor local individuals for their achievements and commitment to the Center’s core values. The dinners also serve as an opportunity to meet distinguished speakers who represent the leading voices of current events. ‹‹ Film premieres and screenings from the Center’s two-time Academy Award™-winning Moriah Films division, including titles such as Winston Churchill: Walking With Destiny, Against the Tide, Genocide, and The Long Way Home

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‹‹ Special lectures and forums ‹‹ Educational programs ‹‹ Media awareness through press releases and article distribution on human rights issues The Southern Region promotes the educational arms of the Simon Wiesenthal Center through its Museum of Tolerance Los Angeles, Museum of Tolerance New York and soon-to-be built Museum of Tolerance Jerusalem. Funds raised by the Southern Region help support the critical work of the Simon Wiesenthal Center and all of its divisions around the world. For more information, to get involved, or support the Center’s important work, please contact: Rabbi Meyer H. May, Exec. Dir., Website:

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Ronny S Taschner DDS Ronny S Taschner DDS SAmerican Taschner DDS Jennifer DDS MMSc ActiveRonny Member Taschner of the Academy of Periodontology

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Connections Jewish Federation of Lee and Charlotte Counties 9701 Commerce Center Court Fort Myers, FL 33908 (239) 249-0699

1645 Medical Lane, Fort Myers, FL

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Phone Lane, 239-936-0635 1645 Medical Fort Myers, FL 1645 Medical Lane, Fort Myers, FL Visit Our Website 1645 Medical Fort Myers, FL Phone Lane, 239-936-0635 Phone 239-936-0635 OurLiving Website Phone 239-936-0635 toVisit Jewish in Lee andFort Charlotte 1645 Medical Lane, Myers, FL Counties

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Community Services Support Programs & Resources Senior Visits


he Jewish Federation’s Senior Visits program takes place three times a year – just before Rosh Hashanah, Hanukkah and Passover. These visits mean the world to the senior citizens that the volunteers encounter. Volunteers fill gift bags with edible kosher treats, prayer guides and gifts, sometimes handmade by children in our community. Then more volunteers stop by the Federation office to pick up pre-filled bags and deliver them to Jewish senior citizens throughout Lee and Charlotte counties. Many Jewish seniors are isolated from the rest of their families and have limited contact with the world outside of their homes or assisted living facilities. These visits provide this segment of our population with a Jewish connection, which is uniquely important at this life stage. The Senior Visits for Passover will take place on Sunday, March 17 at 12:30 p.m. For the dates of the Rosh Hashanah and Hanukkah visits, or for more information on how to get involved with this rewarding program, contact Amy Ginsburg-Padilla at (239) 4814449 x3 or

Jewish Family Services, located in the Jewish Federation building at 9701 Commerce Center Ct., Fort Myers, can be reached at (239) 481-4449 x6. 38

Kosher Food Availability


ocal options for kosher food have increased over the last few years. Instead of having to make the trip to the east coast of Florida or ordering online, there are now several local options available for the Jewish community. Ada’s Whole Foods Market & Health Store in the Burlington Coat Factory shopping center, on Cleveland Avenue in Fort Myers has greatly expanded the selection of kosher foods. Manager Steve can be contacted at (239) 939-9600 and will take orders for whole turkeys and chickens. There are designated shelves in all departments with yellow labels to make the kosher foods easy to find and identify. Total Wines in Fort Myers on S. Cleveland Avenue, in the Target and Barnes & Noble shopping center, has new signage marked KOSHER/Israel Wines. The large selection of kosher O/U and CRC wines includes over 15 different brands. Manager Joshua or Assistant Manager Brian Ludlan can be reached at (239) 432-0510 to confirm in-stock availability of wines. Costco manager Adam Bloom can be contacted at (239) 415-3860. He is adding fresh NY Glatt Kosher Pastrami and turkey slices, Cholov Yisroel kosher and natural cheeses, Blue Roy Hill white fish and salmon, and NY Kosher deli beef hot dogs. Call or order items as on-hand stock is limited. BJs of Fort Myers and Cape Coral have added Pas Yisroel twisted challahs in a two-pack, seven-layer, marble and cheese cakes, sprinkle cookies, and a


limited supply of kosher items to their grocery selection. Call Barry, the manager for both locations – (239) 829-3300 for Cape Coral and (239) 896-1071 for the Fort Myers store. Walmart of South Fort Myers and most other Walmarts – over 70% of their shelf foods are kosher. They are now carrying frozen Whiting Kosher wild fish filets. The Publix at South Point at College Parkway & South Point Blvd. in Fort Myers can be reached at (239) 415-1515. Meat Manager Eric Pellicero or his assistant Jordan are making extra efforts to once again increase kosher items based on customer and community input and purchases. The Publix at University Crossing at 13401 Summerlin Road in Fort Myers can be reached at (239) 481-2242. The Publix at Summerlin Crossing at Summerlin and Winkler Roads in Fort Myers can be reached at (239) 433-0297. Frozen gefilte fish rolls and fresh and frozen ground turkey and beef are usual Publix items. At the Publix at Camelot Isles in Cape Coral (1616 Cape Coral Parkway West), General manager Chris DeWolfe ensures that Cape Coral residents have access to kosher foods. A 12-foot section of shelves is stocked year round with kosher dry goods, beverages, Israeli wines, canned and jarred soups, gefilte fish, condiments and much more. An additional 12 feet of shelves are dedicated to kosher specialty items during Hanukkah and Passover. They also carry a selection of kosher frozen

A Guide to Jewish Living in Lee and Charlotte Counties

Community Services

Life Cycle Resources foods and, during certain holidays, frozen Empire meats as well. To request or special order additional items, contact grocery manager Ed Jones at (239) 945-6222. The Publix at Market Place in Pelican Bay (8833 Tamiami Trail, Naples): Manager Steve Micheli continues to serve the needs of Jewish customers. In the Bakery Department contact Joel Crepo or Susanna Taska; in the Meat Department contact Raul Saldiyar or Jose Almanza. The Publix at Market Place can be reached directly at (239) 596-1982. Whole Foods in Naples can be reached at (239) 5525100. Julie Joiner or Jessica Varnes will be happy to assist with orders. They carry Glatt Kosher Valley fresh chicken, frozen kosher items, as well as Gelfon shelf products. Trader Joe’s, located at 10600 Tamiami Trail in North Naples is a trendy California-based grocery store chain. If a kosher item is not in stock, it can be ordered at the Customer Service Dept. Service Manager Bernadette Pauls can be reached at( 239) 596-5631. is providing a service of kosher prepared lunches and dinners that can be ordered on the Internet and picked up at the Chabad in Bonita Springs or delivered. For more information, visit the website for a complete menu. Contact Rabbi Mendy Greenberg at (239) 949-6900 with specific questions. Aroma Market & Catering at 8819 Stirling Road in Ft. Lauderdale can be reached at (954) 252-2600 or www. They will take orders on the Internet for delivery to the Chabad in Naples on Thursdays. For more information, call Rabbi Fishel Zaklos at (239) 262-4474. Submitted by Lynda Stewart for Beverly Leah Mitchell, Kosher Food Coordinator for Chabad of Southwest Florida

The Food Pantry


he Jewish Federation Community Food Pantry, a division of Jewish Family Services and affiliated with the Harry Chapin Food Bank, provides sustenance to those in the Lee and Charlotte County area who are in need of the most basic nourishment and support. The pantry is stocked with nonperishable food items. The food pantry is open five days a week to the general public. Appointments must be made in advance. Call (239) 481-4449.


Mikvah Bashka, the only Mikvah in Southwest Florida, serves Jewish women in a spa-like facility. Educational courses are offered. Private appointments are scheduled. Please contact Nechamie Minkowicz at (239) 822-2784.

Chevra Kadisha

Contact Rabbi Yitzchok Minkowicz at Chabad Lubavitch of Southwest Florida at (239) 433-7708.



Funeral Homes & Cemeteries Lee Memorial Park Funeral Home & Cemetery Garden of David Hodges Funeral Home at Lee Memorial Park (239) 334-4880 Coral Ridge Funeral Home & Cemetery - (239) 283-0540 Hodges - Kiser Funeral Home - (239) 481-4341 Fort Myers Memorial Gardens Funeral Home & Cemetery 1589 Colonial Blvd., Fort Myers, (239) 936-0555 Kays Ponger & Uselton Funeral Homes Port Charlotte - (941) 625-4113; Punta Gorda - (941) 639-1133

Garden of Memories Cemetery


emple Beth El owns a small cemetery located within the City of Fort Myers at 3200 Michigan Avenue. This is the oldest Jewish and only temple-owned cemetery in Lee County. It is exclusively for temple members and their immediate family. Also in the cemetery is a solid granite “Memorial Wall” where names and dates of loved ones buried elsewhere can be engraved. Each year, two special services are held in the cemetery to honor and remember those buried there and those whose names have been inscribed on the “Wall” – the High Holy Days Cemetery Memorial Service and a Veterans Memorial Day Service.

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Garden of David

Reserving a special location for those sharing the Jewish faith and choosing to memorialize the Children of Israel with the Star of David.

Private Mausoleum

From ancient days to the present, the individual or family mausoleum has been regarded as among the finest and simplest forms of burial. Various designs are available which are simple but memorable, providing a private structure on your own cemetery site. Hodges Funeral Home at Lee Memorial Park (239) 334-4880

Coral Ridge Funeral Home and Cemetery (239) 283-0540

A Guide to Jewish Living in Lee and Charlotte Counties

Hodges - Kiser Funeral Home (239) 481-4341


Adult Education Early 2013 & Ongoing Classes Adult Education classes Torah Study at at Bat Yam – Temple of the Islands Temple Beth Shalom Historical View of the Holocaust.” The course takes place on Wednesdays, January 9, 16 and 23 at 10:00 a.m. and again at 7:00 p.m. Please call the church office at (239) 472-0497 for more information or to sign up. Scholar-in-Residence Dr. Robin Fox, University Professor of Social Theory at Rutgers University, will speak on “The Puzzle of the Ten Commandments” as this year’s Shared Scholar for Temple Bat Yam and the Sanibel Congregational Church. The lecture and discussion will take place in the Church Sanctuary, 2050 Periwinkle Way, Sanibel Dr. Robin Fox on Monday, January 28 at 7:00 p.m. The public is welcome. For more information, call the Bat Yam office at (239) 395-1432.

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at Yam’s Saturday morning adult education attendees will be reading, studying and discussing The Jewish Annotated New Testament, edited by Amy Jill Levine and Mark Z. Brettler. This scholarly work looks at how the New Testament writings affected Jewish-Christian relations over the past two thousand years. A team of scholars annotates the Gospels, Acts, Letters and Revelations from a Jewish perspective and indicates how Jewish writings and practices influenced the writers of the New Testament. Thirty additional essays discuss, among other things, Jesus in Jewish Thought, Parables and Midrash, Mysticism, Jewish Family Life, the Messianic Movement, the Dead Sea Scrolls, and Afterlife and Resurrection. Rabbi Selwyn Geller of Bat Yam Temple of the Islands and Reverend John Danner of the Sanibel Congregational Church will offer a three-week course entitled “A Theological and


emple Beth Shalom holds services on Friday nights at 7:30 p.m. On religious holidays and special events such as wedding ceremonies and B’nai Mitzvot, the congregation meets on Saturday mornings. But on most regular Saturday mornings at 10:30 a.m. there is Torah Study with Rabbi Devora Buchen. Rabbi Buchen reviews the week’s Torah parsha and leads a discussion of its meaning and validity in today’s world. A dozen or more congregants regularly attend this class, and many others come from time to time. It is a most enlightening part of the week as Rabbi Buchen gives insight that is not apparent when the Torah is read Friday night. This is one of the temple’s special activities that the seniors feel most appreciative of, as the rabbi gives everyone a chance to participate and learn more of the depth of Jewish morals. For more information, please call (239) 772-4555.

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A Guide to Jewish Living in Lee and Charlotte Counties

Adult Education Early 2013 & Ongoing Classes Adult Education classes at Temple Beth El


he Machers & Mavens Book Club meets in the first Wednesday of each month from 3:30 5:00 p.m. in the Temple Beth El Library. For more information, call Candace at (239) 437-4181. Lunch & Learn with Rabbi Jeremy Barras takes place at 12:30 p.m. on the third Wednesday of each month at Sasse’s Restaurant in Fort Myers. There’s good food and a discussion of fascinating topics that cover the spectrum of the Jewish world and tradition.

RSVP required. Call Donna at (239) 433-0018. On Shabbat mornings from 9:00 10:15 a.m., Rabbi Barras leads Torah Study in the Temple Beth El Library. It’s a journey through the Tanach. Rabbi Barras highlights classical commentaries from our tradition and brings depth to the discussion with materials from Rabbinic literature. There is great camaraderie, fascinating intellectual conversation and homemade noshes. Anshei Mitzvah, led by Rabbi Bar-

ras, is a one and a half year course of study for those adults who never became a Bar or Bat Mitzvah. It’s a wonderful opportunity to learn Hebrew, study our liturgy, and form a community of lifelong learners. The program culminates in the Anshei Mitzvah service in May. A new cycle begins Fall 2013. Classes take place on Monday at 6:00 p.m. in the Temple Beth El Library. For more information, call (239) 4330018.

Adult Education classes at Chabad of Cape Coral


ewish education does not end at one’s Bar/Bat Mitzvah, but rather it is a lifelong endeavor. The Chabad Jewish Center in Cape Coral invites you to partake and experience for yourself the timeless messages of the Torah. If you would like to learn about your heritage, faith and history, the Torah Study class is for you. Topics include a very large array of Judaic Studies. Taught by Rabbi Yossi Labkowski, the classes

takes place on Tuesdays at 7:30 p.m. at the Chabad Jewish Center in Cape Coral. The Chassidic farbrengen is highly anticipated from week to week. It consists of explanations of general Torah thoughts, sharing inspiring Chassidic stories, and singing lively joyous melodies. The goal of the farbrengen is to inspire one to grow in spirituality while

Adult Education classes at Chabad of Charlotte County


habad of Charlotte County’s Torah Studies program, developed by the world-renowned Jewish Learning Institute, brings you the tradition of classical Jewish learning in a series of inspiring and engaging weekly classes. The lessons probe the depths of contemporary Torah thought, with a special focus on issues surrounding spirituality, the human psyche, love and relationships. Every experience offers meaningful and timely lessons – from the most timeless of texts. You will walk away surprised, inspired, and knowing more about who we are as Jews, and who you are as an individual. Classes meet on Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. at the Chabad Jewish Center.


At the Women’s Lunch and Learn, women enjoy a delicious lunch and meaningful discussion, nourishing both body and soul. One can join the course at any time. This class brings you the tradition of classical Jewish learning in a series of clear and engaging weekly classes. Tuesdays at 1:30 p.m. at Chabad. Moses and Maimonides now make house calls. Chabad offers personalized classes – your topic, your location. To arrange a personal study session with Rabbi Simon Jacobson at your home or office, please call him at (941) 833-3381. For more information about these and other educational opportunities, visit or call (941) 833-3381.


refining one’s character and conduct. L’chaims and refreshments are served. You are sure to nourish your soul at the popular weekly Chassidic farbrengens! Led by Rabbi Yossi Labkowski, the farbrengen takes place on Thursdays at 7:30 p.m. at the Chabad Jewish Center in Cape Coral. For more information, call (239) 541-1777 or email rabbi@chabadcape. com.

Jewish Icons & Iconic Moments of the 20th Century


istorian Gerald Ziedenberg leads this series, which takes place at Temple Beth El at 7:00 p.m. on seven consecutive Mondays, from January 7 to February 18. Included in the series are lectures about Albert Einstein, Hank Greenberg, Yitzhak Rabin, Elie Wiesel, “The Attack on the Nuclear Reactor at Osirak, Iraq by Menachem Begin,” and “The Triangle Fire in the Lower East Side of New York City.” The suggested donation is $5 per lecture or $25 for the series of eight. For more information and to reserve your spot in the series, contact Temple Beth El at (239) 433-0018.

A Guide to Jewish Living in Lee and Charlotte Counties


Focus on Youth Preschools Manipulative, Dramatic Play, Writing Skills, ComputTemple Judea Preschool ers, Music, Cooking, Physical Education, Family Events,


emple Judea Preschool provides child care for children ages 18 months - 5 years in the Fort Myers area. Temple Judea Preschool serves families of all faiths and denominations that desire a program which provides varied enriching experiences and activities that contribute to and stimulate the development of the child. Temple Judea Preschool is the only conservative, Jewish Early Childhood program in Lee County. A safe environment is provided that reinforces a child’s natural curiosity and allows each child to experience challenges and successes. Children are exposed to a variety of age-appropriate learning activities to meet their social, intellectual and emotional development. This helps stimulate creative development as well as exploring the world around them. The school’s program encourages parental involvement in their child’s preschool experience. Parents and teachers gain valuable insights and techniques from each other. The Program includes: Language Arts, Science, Reading Readiness Activities, Math Concepts, Arts and Crafts,

Special Guest Speakers. A camp program is offered during the summer months. To learn more about the program, call (239) 482-1121.

The Learning Tree


he Learning Tree at Temple Beth El in Fort Myers offers programs and activities for children from birth to age 5. Infants and toddlers are invited to participate with a parent or caregiver in the weekly music, art and storytime classes. Preschool programming begins at 18 months. The whole-child curriculum emphasizes a balance of social and academic development and high standards of kindergarten preparation. Every aspect of the school is designed to promote a positive experience for your child and your whole family. The greatest gift we can give our children is an enthusiasm for learning to carry with them always. At The Learning Tree, parents and teachers partner together to do just that. At the school, you will find: • Bright and spacious classrooms • Warm and nurturing teachers • Spanish and Music classes included in tuition • Flexible extended day options until 4:00 p.m. • Optional nap this year! • Healthy snacks and a hot lunch program • Certified Voluntary PreThis program sends a new age-related book or cd every month! Kindergarten (VPK) provider • Summer Camp – weekly enrollment Visit the Federation website to signup: Sponsored by • Engaging specialty programs featuring yoga, soccer, kung fu, pottery, Judi Roth for the Roth Family Foundation cooking, technology and more Kenneth and Gwenda Asher for The Asher Family Foundation For more information, please call Sponsored by Jesyca Russell Virnig, M.A.Ed., Director, Arthur & Susan Karp Family Charitable Foundation, Inc at (239) 433-5499 or visit www.learning A Supporting Foundation of the Jewish Federation of Sarasota-Manatee

For more information, visit



A Guide to Jewish Living in Lee and Charlotte Counties

Preschools Maimonides Hebrew Day School Preschool


aimonides Hebrew Day School (MHDS) is a state licensed and certified Child Care Center. It’s the only Jewish VPK, Free 540 hours of Voluntary Pre-Kindergarten education, and Early Readiness Center in Southwest Florida, providing services to families of Lee, Collier, Hendry, Glades, Charlotte, DeSoto, Hardee and Highlands counties. Early Readiness is a scholarship program to assist families that are currently dealing with the economic downturn and ability to afford child care. A Creative Curriculum for the Toddler and VPK programs guides exciting developmental environments, keeping 2- to 4-year-olds actively engaged in learning. “Hands-On” learning can be seen and heard indoors and out at a variety of centers, including dramatic play; housekeeping; listening, speaking and language development; motor skills for large and small muscles and coordination. Music, science and discovery, concepts of print and reading, art and beginning writing, math and quantitative concepts,

are all important elements to the development of young learners. MHDS’ unique dual curriculum individualizes lessons and curriculum in all aspects of Judaic Studies, Hebrew and English/ secular subject areas, and accommodates all the diverse levels of a family’s Jewish faith observance. Lessons integrate exemplary instruction in both Hebrew and English. In addition to the state’s requirements for VPK and Early Readiness funding for toddlers, Judaic studies of Holidays and History, Bruchas and Meddos, Torah, Chumash, Parashas and beginning Aleph-Bet are age and grade-appropriate. For more information or to schedule a tour, email MaimonidesHDaySc@ or call Nechamie Minkowicz at (239) 822-2784.

Temple Judea Mommy and Me


n the Mommy and Me Program, mom and child have an opportunity to socialize through interactive play. New activities are provided each week. You and your child will have the opportunity to cook, sing, dance, play instruments, participate in art, and have a fun and memorable time. All of the activities are age appropriate. For more information and to find out the days and times this program is offered, please call (239) 482-1121.

See page 51 for candle lighting times and dates for the Jewish holidays for 2013 43


Focus on Youth

The PJ Library®


e all know the power of reading stories with young children. These nurturing, joyous and beneficial early learning experiences build the emotional and cognitive foundation for each child. The PJ Library (PJ as in pajamas) provides your family with a FREE treasury of Jewish books and music. Each child, 6 months to 8 years old, enrolled in The PJ Library receives a monthly gift of a high-quality, age-appropriate Jewish book or CD as well as a reading guide to enhance your family’s experience. All materials are carefully selected by a team of experts. Thanks to the generosity of our local funders – Judi Roth for The Roth Family Foundation and Kenneth and Gwenda Asher for The Asher Family Foundation – The PJ Library is available free to children who register in the Lee and Charlotte County area. Along with Harold Grinspoon, the visionary founder of The PJ Library, we are committed to bringing The PJ Library to every family who wants to participate. The Harold Grinspoon Foundation significantly underwrites the cost of this program. Whether you’re a parent, grandparent or friend of someone with young children, please help us share news of this special program with Jewish families throughout the area who have children through age 8. For more information, please call the Jewish Federation office at (239) 481-4449 or visit www.Jewish

A Guide to Jewish Living in Lee and Charlotte Counties


Focus on Youth

Hebrew/Religious Schools Chabad Hebrew School of Cape Coral Temple Judea he Chabad Hebrew School of At Chabad Hebrew School children Religious School Cape Coral is the newest and will gain a “Jewish” perspective on life


most innovative Hebrew School in the area. A trendsetter in creative Jewish education, the Chabad Hebrew School makes our 5,000-year tradition and ancient history come alive and relevant to the youth of today. Children ages 3-13, from diverse backgrounds and affiliations, fall in love with Judaism, as they are introduced to mitzvot (Jewish practices), Jewish ethics and Jewish holidays through a multi-sensory approach, using art, music and drama. Mastery of the Hebrew language is accomplished in an efficient, motivational and fun manner. Experienced teachers imbue the children with Jewish pride, a love of G-d, love of their fellow Jews, and love for the land of Israel.

and involvement beyond the Hebrew School years through a variety of extracurricular activities such as Friday night dinners, family fun days and contests. Chabad Hebrew School  will add an enriching spiritual dimension to the lives of your entire family, which will ultimately perpetuate onto future generations. For more information, please call (239) 541-1777, email rivky@chabad or visit www.chabadcape. com.


emple Judea’s Religious School offers an innovative, welcoming environment where children embrace their Jewish roots and develop a strong sense of Jewish pride. The school’s goal is to provide students with an opportunity to explore Judaism and integrate it into their daily lives. The school has created an experiential learning environment in which students not only learn about Judaism, but live it. Judaism is brought to life through the creativity, passion and energy of a dedicated teaching staff. Teachers are dedicated to instilling in each student: an understanding of the values of Judaism, a love of Torah and God, Jewish learning, a sense of responsibility for the Jewish community and the community at large, and a love for the State of Israel. For more information, please call (239) 433-0201.

Maimonides Hebrew Day School


aimonides Hebrew Day School (MHDS) is the only Jewish educational facility in Southwest Florida that offers a complete full-time (or part-time) learning experience for children and families. The school offers a dual curriculum for students from age 2 to 14. The curriculum individualizes lessons in all aspects of Hebrew, Judaic Studies and English/secular subject areas that follow the New Generation Florida Sunshine State Standards. MHDS accommodates all the diverse levels of a family’s Jewish faith observance. A full day integrates exemplary instruction in Hebrew and English listening and speaking, phonics and grammar, reading and writing. Judaic studies

of Torah, Chumash, Parashas, History, Holidays, Bruchas and Meddos are age and grade-appropriate. Math, Science and Social Studies, are complimented with Art, Music and PE. A new facility, currently under construction, will be equipped with the latest in technology and materials. Small student-teacher ratios enable individualized instruction and accelerated learning with a strong emphasis on character and values in an environment conducive to critical thinking and independent learners. The school annually participates in standardized assessment of all students from Kindergarten to grade 6 using the Stanford -10 and is proud to announce that not only did students demonstrate

on grade level performance, but a majority of students exceeded their grade level placement. Maimonides is licensed and certified to accept McKay scholarships for students already identified and qualified for special services and needs. The program is the only one in Southwest Florida at a Jewish facility. MHDS is also able to accept Early Readiness Funding, Step-Up and McKay scholarships to assist a family with the financial aspects of providing educational services to children. To register your child or to schedule a tour of the facility, please contact MHDS at MaimonidesHDaySc@aol. com or call Nechamie Minkowicz at (239) 822-2784.

Sunday, April 21 from 12:30 to 4:00 p.m. at the Jewish Federation building 44


A Guide to Jewish Living in Lee and Charlotte Counties

Hebrew/Religious Schools Temple Beth Shalom Religious School


emple Beth Shalom offers FREE religious school classes to all members’ children. The congregation feels that the education of their youth is the future of Judaism. The small school provides a welcoming and nurturing environment where students learn to cherish their Jewish heritage. The goal is to bring the joy of being

Jewish to the next generation.. The school meets Thursdays at 4:30 p.m. Rabbi Devora Buchen is closely involved with the school. She works with the teachers to develop the curriculum, which emphasizes Hebrew, rituals, traditions, Torah and holidays. Students also learn to participate in Temple Beth

Focus on Youth Shalom’s monthly Family Shabbat Service. Separate from the religious school, students preparing to become a Bar or Bat Mitzvah meet privately with Rabbi Buchen. For information on the religious school, call the temple office at (239) 722-4555 or the school coordinator, Barby Barlow, at (941) 639-7293.

Rabbi Devora Buchen leads the school children in kiddish (left) and leads the family service kiddish (right)

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A Guide to Jewish Living in Lee and Charlotte Counties


Focus on Youth

Hebrew/Religious Schools/Camps Temple Beth El Religious School Temple Shalom he Temple Beth El Religious the curriculum. Meanings and tradi- Religious School School believes that “Judaism tions of holidays throughout the year


is a family matter” and states, “The mission of the Religious School of Temple Beth El is to ensure Jewish continuity from generation to generation.” Under the direction of Dale M. Cohen, R.J.E., for over ten years, the school offers a curriculum designed to help each child develop a sense of self as a living part of Judaism in a friendly, creative and dynamic atmosphere. Areas of study include Hebrew reading fluency and accuracy, familiarity with prayers, blessings and meanings of prayers. Creative art projects and music are an important part of

are studied and celebrated together at school. Jewish customs and traditions are taught as cornerstones of religious practice. Sunday classes are 9:30 a.m. to noon for students in kindergarten through post-confirmation. Religious Education classes are Wednesday afternoons from 5:00 to 6:30 p.m. and are for students in grades 3-7. For additional information, please contact Religious School Director Dale Cohen at (239) 433-9808 or visit www.

Camp Gan Israel of Cape Coral


ooking for an exciting Jewish camp experience for your child? Camp Gan Israel of Cape Coral, part of the largest and fastest growing network of Jewish day camps in the world, offers programs that are fun, stimulating, and bolster Jewish pride in a safe, caring environment. The camp caters to children ages 4-12 and features Kiddie Camp for three-year-olds. Exciting activities include arts & crafts, swimming, sports, field trips, carnival, dress-up days, Shabbos parties, challah baking and so much more. Judaic themes come alive through stories, songs, games and

contests, which are part of the unique Gan Israel experience. Parents trust, and children adore the dedicated and dynamic staff who love and nurture every child. Camp Gan Israel is not just a vacation experience; the memories and lessons learned remain forever. Enroll your child now for an experience that will last a lifetime. Camp sessions are held in both the summer and winter. For more information, contact Camp Director Rivky Labkowski at (239) 541-1777 or camp@chabadcape. com, or visit

Camp Gan Israel of Charlotte County


an Israel is part of the largest and fastest growing network of Jewish day camps in the world. Gan Israel Day Camps enjoy a well-earned reputation as a trendsetter with innovative ideas, creative programs and new activities being introduced continuously. Many a child has been known to wait all year to come back to Gan Israel! Campers will enjoy


a wide range of exciting activities and field trips in a warm and spirited atmosphere. The real secret to its success lies in the outstanding staff. The camp is directed by two experienced educators known for their professionalism and ability to motivate, excite and connect with children. The counselors are known for their per-



he Religious School of Temple Shalom of Charlotte Harbor and the Gulf Islands is small in size but unique in its ability to educate the students and present a positive attitude towards Judaism. Under the careful attention of Rabbi Solomon Agin, D.D., Mr. Irv Forsch, Mrs. Brooke Raider and Ms. Nicole Thosath, the students are guided through the pathways of Jewish Education using the standard method of the text with the added hands-on of meaningful crafts. Every session includes music, which is led by Rabbi Agin, and later incorporated into the Family Friday Evening Shabbat Service with Cantorial Soloist Jane Galler. Rabbi Agin leads the Bar and Bat Mitzvah program as he prepares the students with tools to take a leadership role in Shabbat services. Every student has a comfort zone that enables him/her to lead services at any time. On the High Holy Days, all the students who have been a Bar or Bat Mitzvah lead a portion of the service. It is the goal of the temple to create a “Love of Synagogue” and of being Jewish. Temple Shalom has been blessed to see this happen. For more information, contact the temple at (941) 625-2116 or shalom06@

sonal warmth and their ability to care for each child as an individual. Each counselor is a role model for the children, promising them friendships that will last forever. Their love for the children is perhaps surpassed only by the children’s’ love for them. To find out more info about the upcoming fourth amazing summer, call Sheina at (941) 833-3381.

A Guide to Jewish Living in Lee and Charlotte Counties

Focus on Youth Teens/Youth Groups CTeen Club – Cape Coral SAT Preparation Course


habad Jewish Center of Cape Coral is pleased to introduce you to the newest teen society in the neighborhood: The CTeen Network, which is part of the fastest growing Jewish teen network. This initiative promises to be exciting and uplifting for teens everywhere. Teens love to socialize and they love to network. The CTeen Network takes these skills that teenagers have mastered, and creatively channels their talents toward making a difference in our communities. CTeen’s mission is to provide a nurturing environment where teens can learn about themselves through giving to others, identify with others who share the same faith, and be part of a group that focuses on building core values with an emphasis on character development. CTeen is a Jewish club that compacts exhilarating fun and meaningful projects into a program that’s thrilling and uniting. Chabad invites you to encourage your child to attend a group meeting so they may experience this program firsthand. Studies show that by joining groups that emphasize community service, teens build their self-esteem, strengthen integrity, and maximize their cognitive development. They benefit from improved academic performance and enhanced life skills. It is an opportunity that no teenager should miss, and there’s plenty of room for all their friends as well. Club meetings take place at the Chabad Jewish Center, 1716 Cape Coral Parkway West, on Wednesdays from 6:007:00 p.m. For more information, please contact Rabbi Yossi Labkowski at (239) 541-1777 or

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he Jewish Federation of Lee and Charlotte Counties offers a comprehensive SAT preparatory course, complete with instruction provided by high school and college-level educators, a current study guide, materials, snacks and beverages. There is a maximum of 12 students per session, with two sessions per calendar year. Classes are held at the Jewish Federation office, 9701 Commerce Center Court, Fort Myers (located off Bass Road off Summerlin opposite HealthPark Medical Center), on Monday and Wednesday evenings from 6:30 - 9:00 p.m., excluding holidays, over the course of 12 weeks. Classes for the March 9 SAT test run from January 7 through February 27. Enrollment costs $355 per session. This is a tremendous value compared to other prep courses, which can cost over $1,000 per session for instruction alone. For more information and to register your teen, visit the Community Events & Programs page at www.JewishFedera and download a registration form, or contact Amy Ginsburg-Padilla at (239) 481-4449 x3 or amypadilla@

Earn CAS Credits The Jewish Federation of Lee and Charlotte Counties is interested in hearing from teenagers in high school who might like to earn CAS credits though various work in the Jewish community. If you are interested, please send the following information to Name Address Phone # Age Grade School Preferred volunteer hours (e.g. 2-5pm Sundays)

A Guide to Jewish Living in Lee and Charlotte Counties


Focus on Youth

Teens/Youth Groups

Community Youth Group


n Sundays, typically after religious school, children in grades 6-8 have an opportunity to build social connections with other Jewish tweens and teens at the Jewish Federation’s weekly community youth group meetings. Hadar Frey, the youth group’s advisor, is bursting

with creativity and enthusiasm! Hebrew bowling, Israel-themed art projects, pizza and Jewish movie parties, and game tournaments are just a few of the teen-friendly activities she coordinates for the group, while always including Jewish or Hebrew learning and facilitating the lifelong friendships that form through youth group experiences. Enrollment in Community Youth Group is ongoing, and joining midschool-year is encouraged. The group is also open to kids who do not attend religious school, but

are looking for ways to build Jewish friendships. We see new faces at Community Youth Group all the time. To enroll your child in Community Youth Group or for more information, contact Hadar Frey at (239) 826-5130 or

Temple Beth El Youth Groups Hillel at FGCU


emple Beth El offers active programs of social, cultural and leadership training for Temple youth. BEFTY (Beth El Fort Myers Temple Youth) is part of a larger organization, NFTY (North American Federation of Temple Youth), which offers young people the opportunity to explore and live Reform Judaism. Rabbi Jeremy Barras actively supports and participates in the Temple’s Youth Group programs. The Junior Youth Group’s activities include social interaction programs with other temple youth groups, community service projects, and working with the Senior Group on projects. Opportunities to meet other Jewish youth are emphasized. Junior Youth Group membership is available to teens in grades 6 through 8. Senior Youth Group members are encouraged to participate in workshops involving Jewish issues and to experience religious observances provided at Temple Beth El and throughout the state and region. Senior youth also have the opportunity to attend national programs sponsored by NFTY. Senior Youth Group membership is available to teens in grades 9 through 12. For more information about joining the Temple Beth El Youth Groups, please contact the temple office at (239) 4330018 or


GCU Hillel is an exciting program at Florida Gulf Coast University. This Hillel, formerly known as the Jewish Student Organization, formed in 2005 and has been growing ever since. FGCU Hillel caters to everyone. Jewish, non-Jewish, not sure – everyone is welcome. There are students representing all “flavors” of Judaism. FGCU Hillel has hosted a variety of events at FGCU, including Shabbat programs and a Purim Masquerade Ball. The most popular holiday celebration has been the Passover seders, at which large numbers of non-Jewish students have attended as well as the community, Jewish professors and staff. Non-religious events have included Jews on Ice, Jewday-a, Jew-pardy, and a Hillel Game Night. This group offers peer support, community engagement, networking and multicultural experiences that everyone can take advantage of and grow from. FGCU Hillel has many exciting things planned for the coming semesters. With the growing Jewish population at FGCU comes many more opportunities and awesome events. The community is invited to every event Hillel hosts on campus. If you would like to contact FGCU Hillel for further information, please email

Stay connected at 48


A Guide to Jewish Living in Lee and Charlotte Counties

Grow your business with L’CHAYIM! Each month, 5,000 Jewish residents in Lee and Charlotte counties turn to L’CHAYIM for: u u u u u u u u u u u u u

Upcoming major events Community Directory Synagogue news Local Organization news Jewish Federation updates Community Calendar Holocaust Museum news Candle Lighting Times Business Directory Rabbinical Reflections Israel updates Photos of recent events and much more

Targeted Distribution

Reach our affluent, informed, healthconscious, and savvy readers who are looking for new and better ways to enrich their lives and those of their loved ones. L’CHAYIM – the monthly newspaper published by the Jewish Federation of Lee and Charlotte Counties – is mailed to 5,000+ residents in the area. Additional copies are available at the Jewish Federation office.

Life-Enriching Information

Each month, readers of L’CHAYIM get news and updates on all Jewish-related local events, including the Jewish Film Festival, Jewish Book Fair, Israel Fest, book study groups, concerts and timely lectures. They also get updates from the area’s synagogues, schools and numerous local Jewish organizations. It’s also the place they turn to for community news, the community calendar, candle lighting times, a business directory and much more.

The exclusive way to reach the Jewish Community in Lee and Charlotte counties. For more information or to place an ad in L’CHAYIM: Call: Jill Schreidell at (239) 989-6521 Email: Website: Visit the L’CHAYIM page at

To receive L’CHAYIM, please call (239) 481-4449 x4.


Major community events plus select events from area temples and organizations open to the entire community For up-to-date information on these and other community events, please check the L’CHAYIM newspaper,, and the individual temple and organization websites. January 7, 7:00 p.m. Covenant With Israel Celebration Broadway Palm Dinner Theatre $30 (239) 244-3912 or

January 20, 6:00 p.m. Naples Jewish Social Club Annual Gala Longshore Lake Country Club $40 members; $45 nonmembers Sondra Greer, (239) 353-4468

January 9, 7:30 p.m. Zionist Organization of America meeting Guest speaker: Dr. Stephen Steinlight, Senior Policy Analyst at the Center for Immigration Studies in Washington, D.C. $5, includes refreshments Jerry Sobel, or Gene Sipe,

January 27, 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. 2nd Annual Fruits of Israel Festival Temple Beth El (239) 433-3235

Call the Hotline: (239) 481-4449 x9 Schedule of events (all films begin at 7:15 p.m. with open seating at the Regal Bell Tower Cinemas in Fort Myers): ¡¡ January 15 – A Bottle in the Gaza Sea ¡¡ January 17 – Habermann ¡¡ January 22 – Blank Bullet ¡¡ January 24 – Their Eyes Were Dry ¡¡ January 29 – Making Trouble ¡¡ January 31 – Nicky’s Family ¡¡ February 5 – Mabul ¡¡ February 7 – Follow Me

January 28, 11:30 a.m. Hadassah’s Annual Mah Jongg & Card Party Buffet luncheon and prizes Cypress Woods Golf & Country Club $29 Elaine Soffer, (239) 431-7905 January 28, 7:00 p.m. Scholar-in-Residence Dr. Robin Fox - “The Puzzle of the Ten Commandments” Bat Yam - Temple of the Islands at the Sanibel Congregational Church (239) 395-1432

The Club at Olde Cypress Lauren Becker, (239) 592-5304 or Shelley Skelton, (239) 676-3052 March 13 Lion of Judah Luncheon Jewish Federation (239) 481-4449 March 15, noon ORT Gulf Beaches Chapter Luncheon “Jewish Life in Southwest Florida” presented by Ted Epstein, editor of Connections and L’CHAYIM Cost: TBA Marina Berkovich, ORTgulfbeaches@ March 17 Passover Senior Visits Jewish Federation (239) 481-4449 x3 April 7, 3:00 p.m. Holocaust Memorial Service Temple Judea, Fort Myers (239) 481-4449 x3

February 9 Jewish Federation Major Gifts Dinner (239) 481-4449

April 21, 12:30 to 4:00 p.m. Israel Fest Jewish Federation (239) 481-4449

February 10, 5:30 p.m. Hadassah presents “The Borscht Belt Bash” Fun, food, prizes, music and dancing

May 21 Jewish Federation Annual Meeting (239) 481-4449

For a continuously updated community calendar and news on major events, visit the Federation’s website at 50


A Guide to Jewish Living in Lee and Charlotte Counties


2013 Candle lighting times for the Lee and Charlotte area: January 4: 5:31 pm January 11: 5:36 pm January 18: 5:41 pm January 25: 5:47 pm February 1: 5:52 pm February 8: 5:57 pm February 15: 6:02 pm February 22: 6:06 pm March 1: 6:11 pm 6:15 pm March 8: March 15: 7:18 pm March 22: 7:22 pm March 25, Eve of First day Passover: 7:23 pm March 26, Eve of Second day Passover: after 8:16 pm 7:25 pm March 29: March 31, Eve of Seventh day Passover: 7:26 pm April 1, Eve of Eighth day Passover: after 8:19 pm 7:28 pm April 5: April 12: 7:32 pm April 19: 7:35 pm April 26: 7:39 pm May 3: 7:43 pm May 10: 7:46 pm May 14, Eve of First day Shavuot: 7:49 pm May 15, Eve of Second day Shavuot: after 8:45 pm 7:50 pm May 17: May 24: 7:54 pm May 31: 7:58 pm June 7: 8:01 pm June 14: 8:04 pm June 21: 8:05 pm June 28: 8:07 pm July 5: 8:07 pm July 12: 8:06 pm July 19: 8:04 pm July 26: 8:01 pm August 2: 7:57 pm 51

August 9: 7:52 pm August 16: 7:46 pm August 23: 7:39 pm August 30: 7:32 pm September 4, Eve of First day Rosh Hashanah: 7:27 pm September 5, Eve of Second day Rosh Hashanah: a fter 8:19 pm September 6: 7:25 pm September 13, Eve of Yom Kippur: 7:17 pm September 18, Eve of First day Sukkot: 7:11 pm September 19, Eve of Second day Sukkot: after 8:03 pm September 20: 7:09 pm September 25, Eve of Shemini 7:04 pm Atzeret: September 26, Eve of Simchat after 7:55 pm Torah:

September 27: 7:01 pm October 4: 6:54 pm October 11: 6:46 pm October 18: 6:39 pm October 25: 6:33 pm November 1: 6:28 pm November 8: 5:23 pm November 15: 5:20 pm November 22: 5:18 pm November 29: 5:17 pm December 6: 5:17 pm December 13: 5:19 pm December 20: 5:21 pm December 27: 5:25 pm

2013 (5773/5774) Holidays Holidays start at sundown on the evening before the dates listed. Tu B’Shevat: January 26 (Saturday) Purim: February 24 (Sunday) Passover (Pesach): March 26 (Tuesday) Holocaust Remembrance Day (Yom HaShoah): April 7 (Sunday) Israel Memorial Day (Yom HaZikaron): April 15 (Monday) Israel Independence Day (Yom HaAtzmaut): April 16 (Tuesday) Lag B’Omer: April 28 (Sunday) Shavuot: May 15 (Wednesday) Tisha B’Av: July 16 (Tuesday) Rosh HaShanah 5774: September 5 (Thursday) Yom Kippur: September 14 (Saturday) Sukkot: September 19 (Thursday) Shemini Atzeret: September 26 (Thursday) Simchat Torah: September 27 (Friday) Hanukkah (Chanukah): November 28 (Thursday)


A Guide to Jewish Living in Lee and Charlotte Counties


Connections Connections



Myers, Brettholz & Company, PA 27

Lott & Gaylor Insurance 35



Alan J. Rubinstein 40

Holocaust Museum & Education Center of Southwest Florida 29 Jewish Museum of Florida 5

Financial Services

FineMark National Bank & Trust Inside Front Cover Arlene R. Foreman 11 Leya Michelle Neizvest 31 21st Century C.A.R.E. 26

Funeral Homes & Cemeteries Lee Memorial Park Funeral Home & Cemetery 39

Health/Medical Services


Michael Shapiro Photography 45

Restaurants The Bagel Factory 34 Sasse’s 30

Senior Living Alternatives

Advanced Pain Management 32 Daniel Bendetowicz, MD 19 Florida Specialists in Urology 17 Ryder Orthopaedics 40 Rick Snyderman, Pedorthist 21 Specialists in Urology 3 Taschner Periodontics 37

Brookdale Senior Living 12 The Springs at Shell Point 33


Temple Beth El 1 Temple Beth Shalom 26 Temple Judea Back Cover

Home & Design


Lee Lighting 30 PCC Tile 14

Broadway Palm Dinner Theatre 15

The Jewish Federation of Lee and Charlotte Counties thanks all of our advertisers for their continued support! Without them we would be unable to provide you with Connections. Please support our advertisers and let them know you saw their ad in Connections. To advertise in the next edition of Connections or the Federation’s monthly newspaper, L’CHAYIM, please contact Jill Schreidell at (239) 989-6521 or


with your Jewish Community JewishFederationLCC Published by the Jewish Federation of Lee and Charlotte Counties 52 A Guide to Jewish Living in Lee and Charlotte Counties CONNECTIONS Published by the Jewish Federation of Lee and Charlotte Counties 2013

Index Adult education 40-41 Advocacy Groups 36-37 American Friends of Magen David Adom 35 American Israel Public Affairs Committee 36 American Jewish Committee (AJC) 36 American Technion Society 33 Anti-Defamation League 36 Arts & Culture 10-17 Bat-Yam Temple of the Islands 25 Book Fair 12 Calendar 50-51 Camp Gan Israel of Cape Coral 46 Camp Gan Israel of Charlotte County 46 Candle lighting times 51 Cemeteries 39 Chabad Hebrew School of Cape Coral 44 Chabad Jewish Center of Cape Coral 21 Chabad Jewish Center of Charlotte County 22 Chabad Lubavitch of Southwest Florida 25 Chabad of Bonita Springs & Estero 25 Chevra Kadisha 39 Community events calendar 50 The Community Free Synagogue 24 Community Youth Group 48 Consulate General of Israel for Florida & Puerto Rico 35 CTeen Club - Cape Coral 47 Education - Children 42-48 Education - Adult 40-41 FGCU Center for Judaic, Holocaust, and Genocide Studies 16 Federation history 6 Film Festival 11 Florida Israel Chamber 34 Food Pantry 39 Funeral homes & cemeteries 39 Generations of the Shoah - SWFL 28 Hadassah - Collier/Lee Counties Chapter 26 Hadassah - Sharon Chapter (Charlotte County) 27 Hebrew/Religious Schools 44-46 Hillel at FGCU 48 Holocaust Memorial Service 16 Holocaust Museum & Education Center of SWFL 16 Humanistic Jewish Havurah 28 Israel Bonds 30-31 Israel Connection 30-35 Israel Fest 13 53


Israel Scouts 14 Israeli Folk Dancing 15,22 Israeli Fruit Festival 14 Jewish Book Fair 12 Jewish Family Services 8 Jewish Federation of Lee and Charlotte Counties 6-9 Jewish Film Festival 11 Jewish holidays 51 Jewish Museum of Florida 17 Jewish National Fund 34 Jewish War Veterans Post 400 27 Kosher Food Availability 38 L’CHAYIM 10 The Learning Tree 43 Live From NY’s 92nd St. Y 11 Mah Jongg 15 Maimonides Hebrew Day School 44 Maimonides Hebrew Day School - Preschool 43 Mikvah 39 Museums 16-17 Naples Jewish Social Club 28 Organizations 26-37 ORT America 29 The PJ Library 43 Preschools 42-43 Project Ezra 34 SAT Preparation Course 47 Schools 42-46 Senior Visits 38 Simon Wiesenthal Center 37 Special Interest Groups 26-29 Synagogues 18-25 Temple Beth El 19 Temple Beth El Religious School 46 Temple Beth El Youth Groups 48 Temple Beth Shalom 20 Temple Beth Shalom Religious School 45 Temple Judea 18 Temple Judea Mommy and Me 43 Temple Judea Preschool 42 Temple Judea Religious School 44 Temple Shalom of Charlotte Harbor and the Gulf Islands 23 Temple Shalom Religious School 46 Youth groups 47-48 Zionist Organization of America 32

A Guide to Jewish Living in Lee and Charlotte Counties


Rabbi Elyssa Joy Auster

Temple Judea, located in Fort Myers, is an egalitarian Conservative Synagogue affiliated with the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism. We perceive our congregation as a “family of families,� and delight in being a warm and supportive community. With Monday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday prayer services, an award-winning preschool, a successful after-hours religious school, adult education, potlucks, and other events, there is always something happening through our doors. Come walk through them and join us!

14486 A&W Bulb Road, Fort Myers, FL 33908


Connections 2013 - Lee-Charlotte Counties  

Annual Guide to Jewish Living in Lee & Charlotte Counties

Connections 2013 - Lee-Charlotte Counties  

Annual Guide to Jewish Living in Lee & Charlotte Counties