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Connections Connections Connections


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

Discover over 250 years of Florida Jewish history, housed in two internationally acclaimed, restored historic former synagogues EXHIBITION SCHEDULE Ongoing Core Exhibition...............................MOSAIC: Jewish Life in Florida, 1763 - Present Now - December 15, 2013............................Hans Sachs Poster Collection Now - October 5, 2014..................................Growers, Grocers & Gefilte Fish: A Gastronomic Look at Florida Jews & Food Now - February 16, 2014..............................Graphic Details: Confessional Comics by Jewish Women March 4 - August 24, 2014............................Cinema Judaica: The War Years, 1939 - 1949

Also visit the Orovitz Museum Store & Bessie’s Bistro -Shop for unique gifts, Judaica, memorabilia and keepsakes for all ages -Grab a snack and cold drink

Clockwise shows: David Levy Yulee, First US Senator from Florida and First Jewish Congressman c.1845; Pocket watch with Hebrew numerals owned by George Dzialynski, first known Jewish boy born in Florida in 1857. From the Collections of the Jewish Museum of Florida originated by Marcia Jo Zerivitz, Founding Executive Director.

Open daily: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., except Mondays and holidays 301 Washington Avenue I Miami Beach, FL 33139 I Ph: 305-672-5044 For a complete list of changing art & history exhibits, programs and special events, please visit

Bistro & Store Open Tuesday - Friday & Sunday 10 AM - 5 PM

the plot forward.

Temple Beth El •

Named among“50 pe a better place in 50 ye

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We are so excited to welcome you to our • Selected as national C sacred community! At Temple Beth El you will find that we are eager to embrace you • Received into our congregational family. Assix thehonorar oldest and largest synagogue in Lee County, we • inMedal recipient for “c take special pride our history as well as our future. Our outstanding staff, dedicated the human spirit” lay leadership, and involved membership will make you •feel Books part of a translated large extendedinto family. Our congregation is open and welcoming to all who seek to explore the principles and beliefs of Reform Judaism. Our membership is made up of those who were born Jewish, those who chose Judaism, interfaith families, and anyone whose spiritual path has led them to our gates. At Temple Beth El you will find a myriad of activities that will contribute to your spiritual growth and social fulfillment. From tots to seniors, we offer outstanding programming, a wealth of educational opportunities, and various events that range from the purely social to sublimely spiritual. We are here for you and we are so excited to welcome you to our family! L’Shalom

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Volume 4, No. 1 2014 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

Jewish Federation Staff

From the Editor

Welcome to the fourth 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. 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

Connect with Connections!

Alan Isaacs, Executive Director Leni Sack, Program Dir. Lori Ramos, Executive Assistant Lisa Bendetowicz, Jewish Family Services


Ted Epstein

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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

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ConneCt with your Jewish Community

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

Published by the Jewish Federation Lee and Charlotte 2 A Guide to Jewishof Living in Lee and Charlotte Counties Counties CONNECTIONS 2014



Table of Contents FEDERATION................................................4-7


ADULT EDUCATION..................................16-17

COMMUNITY SERVICES............................18-21

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



ARTS & CULTURE.........................................8-15

Special Interest Groups...................................................22-25 Israel Connection..............................................................26-30 Advocacy Groups..............................................................31-32

RELIGIOUS LIFE.........................................33-41 FOCUS ON YOUTH....................................42-48

Schools.....................................................................42-45 Camps..............................................................................46 Teens/Youth Groups.........................................................47-48

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

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. A Guide to Jewish Living in Collier County

Connections 2014 Guide to Jewish Living in SaraSota-Manatee



read it online at

A free PublicAtion of

Published by the Jewish Federation Lee and Charlotte 3 3 A Guide to Jewishof Living in Lee and Charlotte Counties Counties CONNECTIONS 2014

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 2,500 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 Arts and Cultural Programming

Jewish arts and cultural programs for all ages draw community-wide participation. The Jewish Author Events

bring writers from all over the country to Lee and Charlotte counties in March 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 Israeli-oriented material for the screen that would be otherwise difficult to access. Audiences fill local theatres to view the films as a communal experience. Israel Celebration exposes our community to contemporary Israeli arts and culture, food and fun. Children particularly enjoy the music and entertainment presented for their pleasure. Israeli folk 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 scholarships annually. 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



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 Together region with various county fire districts. Israel Advocacy and Initiatives such as the relationship with the Partnership Together 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. 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 36 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 Jewishrelated local events including the Jewish Film Festival, Jewish author programs, holiday celebrations, concerts, food festivals, book study groups, timely lectures, mah jongg and much more. 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, and a business directory. 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 8


A Guide to Jewish Living in Lee and Charlotte Counties

Arts & Culture 18th Annual Jewish Film Festival of Southwest Florida


he 18th Annual Southwest Florida Jewish Film Festival, produced by the Jewish Federation of Lee and Charlotte Counties, will be held in January and February 2014. 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. You will also find a downloadable ticket order form at www.JewishFederation or you can purchase tickets directly on the site.

Schedule of events (all films begin at 7:15 p.m. with open seating at the Regal Bell Tower Cinemas in Fort Myers): ¡¡ January 16 – Hava Nagila ¡¡ January 21 – The Other Son ¡¡ January 23 – The Price of Kings ¡¡ January 28 – Dorfman in Love ¡¡ January 30 – The Jewish Cardinal ¡¡ February 4 – Arranged ¡¡ February 6 – Hannah Arendt ¡¡ February 11 – Paris Manhattan This year’s Festival also includes a family film entitled Foreign Letters – a coming-of-age film that deals with prejudice, “fitting in” and the power of friendship. It is a great film for children ages nine and older. There is no charge for children coming to this film and a $5 per ticket charge for adults. This film is being shown on Sunday, January 26 at 10:00 a.m. and is in addition to the regular film series. 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 Advanced Pain Management & Spine Specialists, the principal sponsor of the Jewish Film Festival, and to the Festival Committee: co-Chairs Andi Horowitz and Sara Krivisky, Susie Ferkel, Amy GinsburgPadilla, Carolyn Gora, Claire Goldhagen, Candace Patton, Janet Sigman, Lynn Talone and Kathy Toll.

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A Guide to Jewish Living in Lee and Charlotte Counties


Arts & Culture “Warsaw: A Story in Song”


n Saturday, March 8 and Sunday, March 9, the Collier/Lee Chapter of Hadassah will be bringing Broadway to Hadassah with the Florida premier of the highly-acclaimed musical drama Warsaw: A Story in Song. This deeply moving and uplifting musical drama is based on the heroic story of the 1943 Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, the largest revolt by Jews during the Holocaust and a symbol of the indomitable human spirit. The soaring, passionate score will be sung by a group of remarkable theater professionals from New York. This event is a vital fundraiser to support the extraordinary work of Hadassah, which includes support to its

medical care and research at the Hadassah Medical Organization. The performances will take place at Temple Beth El in Fort Myers on Saturday and Temple Shalom in Naples on Sunday. The time for both performances is 7:00 p.m. In addition to the $36 general admission tickets, and $10 student tickets, there are sponsorships available from $118 that will include a dessert reception and a question-and-answer opportunity with the cast. For more information, please contact Ida Margolis at 239.963.9347 or, or Rhonda Brazina at 239.325.8694 or rfbraz@aol. com.

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“Nicky’s Family”


icky’s Family, the story of the British Schindler, Sir Nicholas Winton, has received standing ovations from audiences throughout the world. This 2011 award-winning documentary has been called “pure inspiration,” and often leaves audiences both smiling and crying at the same time. Winton, now 104 years old, organized the rescue of 669 Czech and Slovak children just before the outbreak of World War II. He did not speak about these events for over a half century, and his story may have been forgotten if not for an amazing discovery. The producers of the film also wanted to show how his courageous acts continue to motivate people to do good. His story has made such an impression that 120,000 children in the Czech Republic have signed a petition to award Winton the Nobel Peace Prize. Steve Brazina, program chair and secretary for GenShoah of SWFL, will present the film at Temple Shalom in Naples on Tuesday, February 4 at 7:00 p.m. Reservations are required and a $5 donation at the door is requested. RSVP to Ida Margolis at ida.margolis2@gmail. com or 239.963.9347.

Temple Beth El Cruise


ome aboard the beautiful Celebrity Cruises Constellation with Rabbi Jeremy Barras and Cantor Victor Geigner from March 22 through March 27. The trip’s theme is “Jewish Film Festival at Sea,” and includes a daily film screening and discussions led by Rabbi Barras, worship services, spiritual music with Cantor Geigner, port stops in Key West and Cozumel, and many other surprises. For more information about Temple Beth El cruises, please contact Nicole Delaney at Cruise One at 239.332.3335 or

A Guide to Jewish Living in Lee and Charlotte Counties

Arts & Culture 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 encourages participants to share their favorite dances. Dancing typically starts at 4:00 p.m. on Sundays in the Jewish Federation Community Room at 9701 Commerce Center Court, Fort Myers. Check out the updated schedule at www.Jewish FederationLC C. org or in the calendar section of L’CHAYIM.

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

Jewish Federation’s Author Events


he Jewish Federation of Lee and Charlotte Counties is a member of the Jewish Book Council, a national organization that provides access to authors and publishers. This enables the Federation to bring to the community authors who are entertaining, as well as informative. This year, an author will be invited to speak about his/her book at a “Dessert with the Author” on Tuesday, March 4 at 7:30 p.m. at Temple Shalom in Port Charlotte, and a “Lunch with the Author” on Wednesday, March 5 at 11:30 a.m. in the Jewish Federation Community Room. Both events are open to the general public. The author will be available after the event to sign books. For more information about these author events, please call the Federation office at 239.481.4449 x3 or visit



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Arts & Culture Douglas Renfroe in concert


hursday, January 30 at 7:00 p.m.: Naples Philharmonic pianist Jodie DeSalvo will accompany bass baritone Douglas Renfroe in concert at Beach United Methodist Church on Fort Myers Beach. This dynamic duo will feature music from classical piano repertoire, operetta and opera. Thursday, February 13: A special concert featuring members of the Southwest Florida Symphony and harpist Melody Anglin will be conducted by Douglas Renfroe in an evening of music that will also feature a combined choir of 50 singers. The United States premier of a new work for Harp and Strings will be presented, composed by Canadian composer Benoit Wery. Barcarolle Concertante was written in 2011 and


was given its first performance in Paris prior to being performed in Montreal. Thursday, February 27 at 7:00 p.m.: Douglas Renfroe will help celebrate the opening of the new Bonita Springs Center for the Performing Arts. “A Night at the Opera” will feature selections from the pens of Mozart, Gounod, Berlioz, Wagner and Leoncavallo. The evening will also include favorite songs from Gilbert & Sullivan and a special composition by composer Cantor Stephen Richards.

“Just Desserts”


ulf Beaches ORT will offer sweets for body and mind when it presents “Just Desserts,” a new three-part cultural program that combines delectable desserts with nourishment for the mind. Desserts come first at 1:00 p.m., followed by the program at 2:00 p.m.


Schedule: Thursday, March 13: Ellaine Rosen will speak about ”Jewish Artists of the Paris School” Wednesday, March 19: Richard Rosen will talk about and demonstrate “Clay Art” at Rosen Gallery and Studios, 2172 J & C Blvd., Naples Monday, March 24: Dottie Magen will discuss “Caravaggio: The Artist and the Man” The first and third events take place at the Jewish Federation of Collier County, 2500 Vanderbilt Beach Rd., Naples. The cost is $75 for the series or $28 for a single program, and includes a contribution to ORT, which supports 300,000 students annually in schools in 56 countries, including the U.S. For reservations and more information, please call Marebe Crouse at 239.263.4959.

A Guide to Jewish Living in Lee and Charlotte Counties

Arts & Culture FGCU Center for Judaic, Holocaust, and Genocide Studies


he Center for Judaic, Holocaust, and Genocide Studies at FGCU is a university-focused academic institution, established in 2005 due to the pioneering efforts of several members of the Jewish communities of Southwest Florida. Conscious of the fact that the past century was the bloodiest in history, the Center’s main focus is to increase knowledge and understanding about the Holocaust and other genocides, as well as rescuing the history of the vibrant Jewish communities that were lost. Over the years the Center has grown from offering a few events relating to Holocaust and other commemorations, to one which has become a focus in Southwest Florida for all academic matters relating to Jewish civilization, the Holocaust, genocide, human rights and remembrance. In the forthcoming year 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. The feature event in 2014 will see the Center hosting a major international scholarly conference commemorating the 70th anniversary of the start of the Holocaust in Hungary, after the Nazis marched in on March 19, 1944, and occupied the country. This precipitated what was probably the most intense periods of genocidal destruction of the Holocaust. By the time the deportations of Hungarian Jews to Auschwitz and other locations had been brought to an end four months later, no fewer than 500,000 Jews had been murdered. The conference will bring together scholars and others from a wide variety of disciplines to explore key issues and recent research relating to the Holocaust in Hungary, as well as to

contribute to ongoing discussions on this event. Other events during the course of the year will rest on specific anniversaries in the areas of the Holocaust, Jewish history, and genocide (for example, the centenary of the outbreak of World War I, and the 20th anniversary of the Rwandan Genocide in 1994). Where it is feasible, events will be open to the wider community as well as the university community, and these will be advertised widely beforehand. For information about the Center and its events, as well as giving opportunities to assist in the development of Center programs, please contact: Dr. Paul Bartrop, Director 239.590.7239 or Florida Gulf Coast University 10501 FGCU Boulevard South Fort Myers, FL 33965

Interested in your family’s history?

Annual Holocaust Memorial Service Each 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. The service reminds us of what can happen when bigotry, hatred and indifference go unchecked. The 2014 service will take place at 3:00 p.m. on Sunday, April 27 at Temple Beth El, 16225 Winkler Rd., Fort Myers.


Do you have a similar photo in your home? Who are these people? Are they related to you? How do you find out? Researching your family genealogy can help you find the answers to all these questions. Want to find out how to get started? Come to the next meeting of the Jewish Genealogy SIG (Shared Interest Group) at the Jewish Federation of Collier County offices (2500 Vanderbilt Beach Road, Suite 2201, Naples) on the second Tuesday of each month at 10:00 a.m.


Seating is limited. RSVP to A Guide to Jewish Living in Lee and Charlotte Counties


Arts & Culture

Museums Holocaust Museum & Education Center of SW Florida


014 promises to be another exciting year for The Holocaust Museum & Education Center of Southwest Florida in Naples. Special exhibits and events are planned with community-wide interest. The Museum continues to “make history personal” for the students who participate in its programs, and the visitors who tour the Museum. Highlighting the personal experiences of Holocaust survivors and camp liberators living in Southwest Florida, the Museum presents history in a way that makes an emotional connection. This connection lasts long after the school program or tour ends, and impacts how the people we have reached live their lives in the future. 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 Financial Planning Consultant Registered Investment Advisor

Museum field trips, presentations by Holocaust survivors and camp liberators, and information on current world events. 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, and available to the public Tuesdays through Sundays (closed Mondays and major U.S. holidays). January-April

hours are 12:30-5:00 p.m., Tuesdays through Saturdays, and 1:00-4:00 p.m. on Sundays. May-December hours are Tuesdays through Sundays, 1:00-4:00 p.m. For more information on daily docent-led tours, call 239.263.9200 or visit 2014 programming The Museum will offer three lecture series: Quarterly Survivor Discussion Series, Elliott Katz Lunchtime Lecture Series, and a World War II History Series. Check the website for details. January: 4th Annual Student Art Show Exhibit; International Holocaust Remembrance Day February: “Safe Haven” Exhibit; “Safe Haven” survivor presentation March: “Untitled – Myra Roberts” Art Exhibit; Triumph 2014 – “Lives of Purpose” Annual Fundraiser April – May: “The Ghost Army” Exhibit; Memorial Day program June-July: “Hollywood’s Who’s Who in World War II” Exhibit

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A Guide to Jewish Living in Lee and Charlotte Counties


Arts & Culture

Jewish Museum of Florida-FIU


his is the only museum telling the story of 250 years of Florida Jewish life. Jewish Museum of Florida-FIU 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

McKenzie Millis & Vivian Ciulla

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, Orovitz Museum Store, and a Collections and Research Center complete the experience, in addition to a full schedule of programs that complement exhibit themes. 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 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. every day except Mondays and holidays. For more information: Jo Ann Arnowitz, Executive Director & Chief Curator 305.672.5044 x3180 or 301 Washington Avenue Miami Beach, FL 33139

Meet Our Assisted Living Experts (of course, when we say “our” we really mean “your”) Navigating the myriad decisions in determining if Assisted Living is right for you or your loved one is just plain difficult. Levels of care. Different facilities. Quality. Affordability. All factors in ensuring an optimized quality of life. If you’ve got a question — or a whole list of them — meet with our assisted living experts, McKenzie or Vivian, today. With the well being of the individual as their highest priority, they’ll give you answers that can assist you in making the most informed decisions possible. When you do, we also invite you to tour Shell Point’s newest assisted living facility, The Springs. With beautiful surroundings and Shell Point’s proven reputation, The Springs offers an affordable option on a month-to-month basis.

Meet with our experts and visit The Springs today! Appointments and tours can be arranged by calling (239) 454-2077

13901 Shell Point Plaza • Fort Myers, Florida 33908 • The Springs Assisted Living is part of Shell Point’s Integrated Healthcare System. Shell Point is a non-profit ministry of The Christian and Missionary Alliance Foundation, Inc. ©2013 Shell Point. All rights reserved. SPG-165-13



A Guide to Jewish Living in Lee and Charlotte Counties


Adult Education Early 2014 & Ongoing Classes 239.472.5317 or the Congregational learning about the tenets of Judaism. Adult Education Church office at 239.472.0497. This year, Rabbi Buchen has orIn anticipation of Dr. Levine’s visit ganized an adult B’nai Mitzvah class at Bat Yam


aturday morning classes, led by Rabbi Myra Soifer, include continued Hebrew reading from the Linear Chumash, and lectures, study and discussion of the following: Torah Parshah of the week, “How History and Theology Intersect,” Kabbalah, the Prophets, and Jewish Current Events. Scholar-in-Residence Dr. Amy-Jill Levine, University Professor of New Testament and Jewish Studies, E. Rhodes and Leona Carpenter Professor of New Testament Studies, and Professor of Jewish Studies at Vanderbilt University, will speak on “Jesus the Jewish Story Teller” as this year’s Visiting Scholar for Temple Bat Yam. The lecture and discussion will take place at 2:00 p.m. on Sunday, January 26 at the Sanibel Congregational Church, 2050 Periwinkle Place. The Visiting Scholar program is supported by a grant from the Leo Rosner Foundation. The public is welcome. For further information, please contact Bat Yam President Allan Silberman at

to Sanibel, the Rev. Dr. John Danner offered a 3-week course in December featuring a study of her provocative and informative book The Misunderstood Jew, which focused on Jesus’ background as well as the development of the church after his death. The book is available online or at bookstores on Sanibel for those who wish to purchase it.

Torah Study and other classes at Temple Beth Shalom


n Saturday mornings at 10:30 a.m. at Temple Beth Shalom, Rabbi Devora Buchen holds Torah study class. The rabbi reviews the week’s Torah parsha and leads a discussion of its meaning and validity in today’s world. There is always more than a minyan attending, and sometimes the topic leads elsewhere in a lively and fruitful discussion. It is always a session where everyone goes home with new

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for those congregants who never went through the youthful ceremony of Jewish coming of age. She also holds classes for conversion, and some of the congregants have been converted by her. They become some of the best, most dedicated congregants. Other adult education classes at Temple Beth Shalom include Sisterhood Rosh Chodesh, speakers brought in by Brotherhood, and various lectures such as safe-driving classes, eye health and hearing health, and a Holocaust story. New opportunities come with new members as well, as many retirees who join Temple Beth Shalom have wonderful backgrounds to share. 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 2014 & Ongoing Classes Adult Education 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 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 in-

Adult Education at Temple Beth El

Adult Education 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. The Jewish Women’s Circle: Every woman deserves a night out. Invigorate yourself by joining the Jewish Women’s Circle.

spire one to grow in spirituality while 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. Call 239.541.1777 or email rabbi@ for more information.

Come and try your hand at challah baking, find tried and true tips to happiness, join a makeup party, a hamantash bake off and much more. Bring your mom, mother-in-law, sisters and friends, but most importantly bring yourself and join with other women in our community for an evening of making friends, laughter and fun. 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.


dult education opportunities abound at Temple Beth El. The community is invited to attend the following stimulating activities: Rabbi Jeremy Barras hosts Torah Study on Saturdays at 9:00 a.m. His Jewish Current Events Class is held on Mondays at 11:00 a.m., followed by his Midrash Class at noon. His other Adult Education classes include Anshei Mitzvah, Introduction to Judaism, and Lunch and Learn. He guides temple members on biannual trips to Israel, and lectures on diverse Jewish topics on the temple’s annual cruise. The theme of the March 22-27 cruise is “Jewish Film Festival at Sea.” Also, Gerald Ziedenberg’s lecture series, “The Voyages and Trials of the Jewish People,” takes place at Temple Beth El at 7:30 p.m. on the first six Monday nights of 2014. For more information, call 239.433.0018.

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A Guide to Jewish Living in Lee and Charlotte Counties


Community Services Support Programs & Resources The Mother’s Circle 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, April 6 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, please contact Leni Sack at 239.481.4449 x3 or


he Mother’s Circle is an umbrella of free educational programs and resources for non-Jewish women raising Jewish children. There are different levels of participation for The Mother’s Circle: 1. Mother’s Circle: The course focuses on Jewish rituals, traditions, ethics and the how-to’s of creating a Jewish home. Through the course, participants are able to connect with women who are in similar situations. The curriculum combines both learning and sharing. The course facilitator brings knowledge and experience, but the participants shape the dialogue as they bring their various experiences and backgrounds to the group. 2. Making a Jewish home: As various Jewish holidays approach, a onetime class to learn how to make

To find out more about The Mother’s Circle, contact Leni Sack at 239.481.4449 x3 or lenibsack@jfedlcc. org. The Mother’s Circle is sponsored by the Jewish Outreach Initiative and the Jewish Federation of Lee and Charlotte Counties.

Jewish Family Services, located in the Jewish Federation building at 9701 Commerce Center Court, Fort Myers, can be reached at 239.481.4449 x6.

The Food Pantry


This is what we do.

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 and is open five days a week to the general public. Appointments must be made in advance. Call 239.481.4449.


that holiday a meaningful celebration for the whole family is offered. 3. Fun Family Events: Events will be sponsored by the Jewish Federation and the Mother’s Circle to provide the families of our participants opportunities to socialize in a Jewish setting.


We provide patients financial assistance for incidental expenses related to cancer treatment.

21st • (239)936-3756 Solomon Agin, Chairman of the Board Sharon Salenius, Executive Director

A Guide to Jewish Living in Lee and Charlotte Counties

Community Services

Kosher Food Kosher Food Availability


ocal options for kosher food have increased over the past few years, as the demand increases. There are many available options, but it’s always prudent to call ahead if you’re making a special trip beyond your local grocery store since supply and demands varies throughout the year. Publix Each Publix grocery store has a different manager and caters to its neighborhood, so the kosher sections vary greatly from store to store. The Publix at Summerlin Road and Cypress Lake (University Crossing) has been very cooperative, and the manager, Denise Paul, is currently carrying fresh kosher chickens and turkey, frozen kosher gefilte fish, and a variety of Haolam cheeses. She also carries various holiday-related items. You can call her at 239.481.2242 to request special items. Costco The manager of Costco in Fort Myers, Adam Bloom, can be reached at 239.415.3860, and is always willing to listen to his kosher customers. They currently carry some chalav cheeses, lox, herring, white fish salad, and other salads (including several different brands and flavors of hummus), in addition to popular national brands of many food items with kosher supervision. BJs BJs in Cape Coral generally carries fresh challah from Monsey, New York. Sam’s Club Sam’s Club in Fort Myers carries a small selection of challah and baked goods that are kosher, pareve and pas Yisroel. Total Wines Total Wines in Fort Myers, located on South Cleveland Ave. in the Target shopping mall, has a moderate selection of kosher certified wines, including Baron Herzog, Rashi, Yarden, Bartenura and Hagefen. They generally offer discounted case prices throughout the year and particularly in the holiday


seasons. Manager Joshua or Assistant Manager Brian Ludlan can be reached at 239.432.0510 to confirm availability or to place special orders. Whole Foods The Whole Foods in Naples generally carries Kosher Valley chickens and ground beef, some kosher frozen items, as well as various Gefen canned items. They can be reached at 239.552.5100 to confirm availability Trader Joe’s The Trader Joe’s at 10600 Tamiami Trail in Naples (239.596.5631) currently carries many packaged items with kosher supervision, including some kosher wine and poultry. “Moses Delivers” Brand new to the Southwest Florida kosher food scene, “Moses Delivers” is a door-to-door, by the case, kosher food delivery service offering close to wholesale prices. He carries numerous varieties of kosher poultry and meats, fresh and frozen, freezer items, grocery items, as well as dairy and fish products. He delivers to Southwest Florida at least once a month; more often upon request

depending on order size, particularly in the holiday seasons. For price lists and more information email or call 530.45Moses (530.456.6737). The Greenbergs provide a service of delicious homemade kosher foods for Shabbos and weekdays, for locals and kosher tourists, which can be ordered thru their website and picked up in Bonita, or delivered throughout Southwest Florida for an additional fee. Visit their website to view the menu, prices and other details, or call Rabbi Mendy Greenberg at 239.949.6900 with specific questions. Aroma Market and Catering Located at 8819 Stirling Road in Ft. Lauderdale (954.252.2600 or www., this kosher market delivers every Thursday to Chabad of Naples. For more information on this service, call Rabbi Fishel Zaklos at 239.262.4474. Compiled by Beverly Leah Mitchell, Kosher Food Coordinator for Chabad of Southwest Florida.

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A Guide to Jewish Living in Lee and Charlotte Counties


It’s about our future

our traditions and history

our caring and giving

our thirst for learning

our support here and abroad




ikveh Bashka (named in memory of Bernice/ Bashka Orkin Kaye) serves Jewish women in an elegant, spa-like facility. Personal instruction is offered prior to the use of the mikveh, in order to familiarize a Jewish woman with the laws and customs associated with Jewish family purity. Private appointments are necessary for use of the mikveh. Please call Nechamie Minkowicz at 239.440.4102.

Chevra Kadisha


he Chevra Kadisha, or Jewish Burial Society, is an organization of Jewish men and women who see to it that the bodies of Jews are prepared for burial according to Jewish tradition. The two main requirements are the showing of proper respect for the deceased’s body, and the ritual cleansing and subsequent dressing for burial. For further information and guidance, please call 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

Community Services Rubinstein & Holz, P.A. Family Law Attorneys

Alan J. Rubinstein Board Certified – Marital & Family Law Fellow of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers

1375 Jackson St., Ste. 304 Fort Myers, FL 33901

(239) 332-3400 Fax (239) 332-5078

Ryder Orthopaedics


Life Cycle Resources

Adult and Pediatric Prosthetics and Orthotics

Laura E Ryder, CPO, FAAOP Prosthetist/Orthotist

1500 Royal Palm Sq Blvd Fort Myers, FL 33919 239-939-0009

1250 Tamiami Trail N #104 Naples, FL 34102 239-643-6673

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. For more information, please call the temple office at 239.433.0018.



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A Guide to Jewish Living in Lee and Charlotte Counties


Organizations Special Interest Groups Collier/Lee Chapter of Hadassah


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: Lynn Weiner, President 239.598.1009 or Donna Goldblatt, Membership co-Vice President, 239.597.3441 or

A Guide to Jewish Living in Lee and Charlotte Counties

Special Interest Groups Hadassah – HAZAK 55+ emple Judea’s HAZAK 55+ Sharon Chapter Chapter is for adults of at least (Charlotte County) 55 years of age. It is for singles


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 proud to announce the opening of the new addition to 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 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


or couples. HAZAK means “strength.” The group is an organization that enables its members to meet and socialize with each other while having entertaining, educational and religious programs. HAZAK chapters are affiliated with the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism. Temple Judea’s HAZAK is a Chartered member. Past programs include: ¡¡ “Medical Ethics” discussion featuring author Dr. Ronald Green of Dartmouth’s Religion Department ¡¡ Visit to the Mote Marine Laboratory research center in Sarasota ¡¡ Tour of the Holocaust Museum & Education Center of Southwest Florida in Naples ¡¡ Movie matinees such as Catskill Comedians, The Jazz Singer and Keeping Up With the Steins Future programs: ¡¡ Wednesday, January 15, 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.: Rabbi Panel program, “Raising Interfaith Grandchildren,” featuring Rabbis Jeremy Barras, Yitzchok Minkowicz and Marc Sack. Alan Isaacs as moderator. At the Federation building. $2 donation per person to the food pantry. Limited seating available. Reservations required. Call George or Joyce Rosinger at 239.437.1566. ¡¡ Sunday, January 26: HAZAK’s Annual Open Board Meeting with breakfast at 9:30 a.m.; meeting begins at 10:00 a.m. For breakfast, RSVP to Richard Hymes at 239.936.0980. For additional 2014 program information, see the monthly article in L’CHAYIM or Temple Judea’s Scroll.

stay connected at



Organizations HAZAK membership and its programs are open to the community. Annual dues are a modest $5 per person. For more information about joining HAZAK 55+: Richard Hymes, President 239.936.0980 George or Joyce Rosinger 239.437.1566.

Jewish Historical Society of SWFL


he Jewish Historical Society of SWFL celebrates Florida Jewish history by holding an open Board Meeting on Thursday, January 9 at 1:30 pm. in the Jewish Federation’s community room. Everyone is welcome. Because seating is limited, please reserve in advance. The Jewish Historical Society of Southwest Florida is a 501(c)3 organization dedicated to preservation of the local Jewish history. Board meetings are held quarterly. Please check the online community calendar at www.jewish for this and other meetings and activities. For membership information, volunteering and interviewing, contact: Marina Berkovich, 239.566.1771 or

DID WE MISS YOU? If you are a non-profit Jewish agency in South Florida and we missed you, and you would like to be listed in the next edition of Connections, please call or write: Connections Jewish Federation of Lee and Charlotte Counties 9701 Commerce Center Court Fort Myers, FL 33908 239.249.0699 Display ads are also available.

A Guide to Jewish Living in Lee and Charlotte Counties


Organizations Generations of the Shoah – SWFL (GenShoah)


enerations of the Shoah of SW Florida (GenShoah) was formed in 2009 through an initiative by the Holocaust Museum & Education Center of Southwest Florida. This group is not only for children of Holocaust survivors, but for all those who share GenShoah’s fourfold mission of: “promotion of Holocaust education, preservation of memories of the Holocaust, connection of members of the Second Generation to one another, and support of the Holocaust Museum. GenShoah meets between October and April, usually on the third Sundays of the month at 4:30 p.m. at the Holocaust Museum. Guest speakers, films or discussions follow monthly meetings and the public is welcome to attend these presentations. In addition to the monthly meetings, GenShoah sponsors special events at the Museum and other venues. One does not need to a member of this group to attend meetings. Any visitors to our community who are Holocaust survivors, children or grandchildren of survivors, or who share GenShoah’s mission are welcome and encouraged to attend meetings, presentations and special events. For more information contact: Ida Margolis, 239.963.9347 or

Special Interest Groups Jewish War Humanistic Veterans Post 400 Jewish Havurah


ewish War Veterans “Victor Paul Tuchman” Post 400 (JWV) is the 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 supports our Jewish troops serving in the battle zones with gift packages containing appreciated items from home. The Post also supports the Fort Myers VA along with the many homeless and disadvantaged veterans in the area. Members of the Post are veterans from WWII through the present, including 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

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 call the Jewish Federation at 239.481.4449 x6. 24



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

A Guide to Jewish Living in Lee and Charlotte Counties

Organizations Special Interest Groups ORT America (Organization for Rehabilitation through Training)


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 obstacles. Beginning in tsarist Russia, to provide 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 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. Did you know that: ¡¡ ORT’s most famous (and least publicized) mission was to educate Holocaust victims in DP camps so they were able to move on with their lives? ¡¡ ORT America has four college campuses in the U.S., including two in New York and one each in Chicago and Los Angeles, that serve the most vulnerable communities? ¡¡ ORT America is active in Southwest Florida? Please attend Gulf Beaches Chapter events and support ORT’s educational mission. Please visit for a virtual ORT experience. Gulf Beaches Chapter of ORT America offers premier cultural fundraising events throughout the season.

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Please refer to the Community Calendar section. If you are interested in volunteering, attending, hosting or have a program idea, call Midge Rauch at 239.676.7674 or Dottie Magen at 239.596.2536. For more information about ORT America or to join: Marina Berkovich, President 239.566.1771 or Marebe Crouse, Membership Chair, 239.263.4959

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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 community. Meetings are held monthly at supporting synagogues in Naples, and feature noted speakers. Past speakers

have included Morton Klein, ZOA National 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 movie

documentary Israel Inside, How a Small Nation Makes A Big Difference. Upcoming programs will include speakers such as Bret Stephens, 2013 Pulitzer Prize Winner and Editor of the Wall Street Journal, and Daniel Pipes, President of the Middle East Forum and Publisher of the Middle East Quarterly Journal. 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

American Technion Society


he Technion - Israel Institute of Technology is one of Israel’s top universities and recently ranked in the top 20 computer science 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. He joined an elite group of top scientists and researchers whose work has changed the world. And just this year, a Technion alumnus was awarded a Nobel Prize. Arieh Warshel is one of the three scientists awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for 2013. Prof. Warshel, who now teaches at the University of Southern California, earned his undergraduate degree at the Faculty of Chemistry. In 1965, he was awarded the “Technion Award –


Best Third-Year Student in Chemistry.” The Technion 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. Each spring, it offers a world-class mission to visit the campus. This year’s trip, the “Pioneers of Progress Mission,” is scheduled for April 26 - May 7. The local 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 lecture series, with plenty of opportunities to meet and chat one-on-one with visiting scientists and teachers from the university. Upcoming lectures include the very popular Dean and Student Tour on Monday, February 24 (location TBA), and Prof. Avigdor Gal in late March, speaking on industrial engineering. The cover price for all lectures is $20 per person. To RSVP for an event or to be added to the mailing list, please contact Janet Raabe at 561.395.7206 or For more information about ATS programs and missions to Israel: Jennifer Singer, Chapter Director 941.378.1500 or

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A Guide to Jewish Living in Lee and Charlotte Counties


Israel Connection State of Israel Bonds For 2013, it’s $1 billion and counting By Izzy Tapoohi, President & CEO, Development Corp. for Israel/Israel Bonds n November 4, U.S. Israel bond kind – from retail clients to states, musales for 2013 crossed the his- nicipalities and institutions – viewed toric threshold of $1 billion. Israel bonds as dependable options This unprecedented achievement in this time of continued economic is remarkable from several aspects. uncertainty. The $1 billion achievement also First, it solidified the reputation of Isdispels the notion that Israel rael bonds as a dependable economic and strategic rebonds are bought in great numbers only when Israel source for Israel. At the onset of the year, we were assigned confronts a crisis. Today, Israel bonds are perceived a goal of $850 million. The Finance Ministry subsenot only as a gesture of solidarity, but as an opportunity quently raised this by an additional $100 million. We accepted to become a stakeholder in one of the each goal without hesitation, and justified world’s most resilient economies. Finally, this accomplishment highIsrael’s confidence by securing sales far lights the ever-growing importance of in excess of our mandate. Second, the remarkable sales un- the Israel Bonds eCommerce site, as derscore widespread acceptance of increasing numbers of clients have choIsrael bonds as valuable additions to in- sen online investing as a convenient vestment portfolios. Investors of every and efficient means of acquiring Israel


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bonds for investment and gift-giving needs. I thank and congratulate every Israel bond investor for making the $1 billion milestone possible. This onceunthinkable accomplishment could not have been attained without the support and dedication of our dedicated Israelbond clients. The “Greater Florida” Israel Bonds office covers all of Florida except for Palm Beach, Miami/Dade and Broward Counties. For more information: Reva Azneer Pearlstein, Assistant Director, 727.539.6445, 800.622.8017 or


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A Guide to Jewish Living in Lee and Charlotte Counties


Organizations 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 the people of the State of Florida and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico. The Consulate General is the bridge between Israel and the region in multiple realms ranging from academia, Christian, cultural, economic, Hispanic, Jewish, media and the political arenas and communities. The aim is to strengthen the bonds between us. The Consular Department serves foreign and Israeli citizens with various documentation procedures including issuing visas and passports. The Israeli House (Bayit Israel) keeps the Israeli community close to

Israel Connection its Israeli identity and culture through events and activities. For more information:

Israel-American Chamber of Commerce


he Israel-American Chamber of Commerce was incorporated in 2008 as a private, not-for-profit, non-governmental economic development organization with the mission to actively promote bilateral trade, commerce and economic relations between Florida and Israel. The organization was created by a group of dedicated business-minded individuals with the support of the Consulate General of Israel to Florida & Puerto Rico. The IACC focuses on bringing the

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business communities together to advance trade and investment that benefit the economies of Florida and Israel by developing strategic relationships through events and introductions. Through its ever-growing network, the IACC delivers great value to Israeli companies seeking U.S. and Latin American market entry, and to American companies desiring entry into Israel and her incredible technologies. The IACC conducts educational programs, networking events and business exchanges designed to stimulate interest to do business with Israel, offer helpful “how to” information, and provide opportunities for business to be explored between Floridian and Latin American companies and Israeli companies. The IACC is based in Miami with members throughout the state. For more information:

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 U.S. 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. To become involved with the Florida-Israel Chamber and learn about membership opportunities: Linda Chase, 954.725.2788 or



A Guide to Jewish Living in Lee and Charlotte Counties

Organizations Israel Connection Project Ezra American Friends roject Ezra, Inc. is a grassroots of Magen David Adom program started after 9/11 to


give aid to impoverished Israeli families who have lost their source of income, in many cases, through terrorist acts. Nominated for a Union for Reform Judaism award for best project of the year, Project Ezra has brought hundreds of individuals out of poverty. Project Ezra supplies a monthly stipend to the families to purchase groceries, supplementing their minimal government aid. Freeing up parents from the concern of how to feed their children allows them the time to concentrate on returning to the workforce. Recently, Project Ezra has been giving some extra support to a technical school for young women, and, several years ago, lent its support after the devastating Mount Carmel fires, which affected another school for youth at risk. Made up of a small board, project Ezra not only welcomes your donations but would be interested in any new volunteers. For more information, contact: Randy Kashi


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 900 MDA ambulances and Mobile Intensive Care Units are on call 24/7, operating from 123 Emergency Medical Stations and 11 dispatch stations throughout Israel, logging almost ten

million miles annually, and caring for all of Israel’s 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: Marc Glickman, AFMDA Southeast Region Director 954.457.9766 or

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A Guide to Jewish Living in Lee and Charlotte Counties



Israel Connection

Jewish National Fund


ewish National Fund (JNF) began in 1901 as a dream and vision to reestablish a homeland in Israel for Jewish people everywhere. Jews the world over collected coins in iconic JNF Blue Boxes, purchasing land and planting trees until, ultimately, their dream of a Jewish homeland was a reality. Today, JNF continues to give all generations a unique voice in building and ensuring the prosperity of the land of Israel through their generosity and partnership with the people of Israel. JNF embodies both heart and action; its work is varied in scope but singular in benefit. It strives to bring an enhanced quality of life to all of

Israel’s residents, and translate these advancements to the world beyond. JNF is greening the desert with millions of trees, building thousands of parks, creating new communities and cities for generations of Israelis to call home, bolstering Israel’s water supply, helping develop innovative arid-agriculture techniques, and educating both young and old about the founding and importance of Israel and Zionism. JNF is a registered 501(c)(3) organization and United Nations NGO, which continuously earns top ratings from charity overseers. The Collier County area is served by the Northern Florida Regional of-

fice. For more information: Uri Smajovits, Northern Florida Director 800.211.1502 x890 Beth Glickman-Morris, Northern Florida Campaign Exec. 800.211.1502 x891 Jewish National Fund’s Naples Tree of Life™ Award Dinner Honoring Janet Guttman Cohen Thursday, January 23 at 6:00 p.m. at TwinEagles Golf & Country Club 11725 Twineagles Blvd., Naples

For up-to-date contact information for local synagogues and organizations, visit the Community Resources page at

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A Guide to Jewish Living in Lee and Charlotte Counties

Advocacy Groups American Jewish Anti-Defamation Committee (AJC) League


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


he Anti-Defamation League (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 commemorated 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

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Organizations American Israel Public Affairs Committee


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

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 over 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 30 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: ‹‹ Film screenings from the Center’s two-time Academy Award™winning Moriah Films division

‹‹ Special lectures and forums ‹‹ 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. For more information, to get involved, or support the Center’s important work: Rabbi Meyer H. May, Executive Dir.,

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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 dynamic synagogue congregation offering traditional services that honor modern life. The congregation is inclusive, egalitarian, family-friendly and open to intermarried families. Temple Judea provides opportunities for Jewish learning and growth, prayer and observance, and acts of social responsibility. It is the only synagogue in Lee County affiliated with the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism. Temple Judea provides services and programming on both Friday evenings and Saturday mornings, as well as morning minyan on Monday and Thursday. Services are in Hebrew with English readings. Attendees at Saturday morning services enjoy a delicious kiddush lunch prepared by congregants. Rabbi Marc Sack, a graduate of the Jewish Theological Seminary and Columbia University, is the spiritual leader of Temple Judea. Rabbi Sack and his wife Leni came to Fort Myers from Tampa, where he led a congregation for

18 years. Leni Sack is the program director for the Jewish Federation of Lee and Charlotte Counties. In addition to traditional services, Temple Judea offers many opportunities for Jewish learning. Rabbi Sack leads a lunch-and-learn Torah study on the

develop a strong Jewish identity in a positive and fun atmosphere. The religious school educates in the classroom and through experiential activities, providing multiple opportunities to participate in practical ways. Small class sizes allow for individual attention, and the students are excited and capable of leading Shabbat services even before bar/bat mitzvah. Temple Judea Preschool is an accredited preschool, and is considered one of the top programs in the area for children ages 18 months to pre-K. All guests are welcome to join the Temple Judea community.

Rabbi Marc Sack

TEMPLE JUDEA 14486 A&W Bulb Road Fort Myers, FL 33908 • Telephone: (239) 433-0201 • Fax: (239) 433-3371 • Website: • Rabbi Marc Sack • Co-Presidents Keith Grossman and Brian Simon • Movement/Affiliation: Conservative/United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism • Services: 6:15 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 Education, Women’s Rosh Chodesh Group, Junior Congregation, Once a month Shabbat Potluck Dinner, Meditation Circle, Hazak 55+

first Thursday of every month. Jammies and Jeans Shabbat is a hit with families of young children. This special shabbat service is held on the 2nd Friday each month at 5:30 p.m. Also, the HAZAK chapter, open to people ages 55+, offers programming throughout the year. Temple Judea Religious School provides outstanding religious and Hebrew education for children in pre-K through bar/bat mitzvah. The children

See page 51 for 2014 dates for the Jewish holidays 33


A Guide to Jewish Living in Lee and Charlotte Counties


Religious Life

Temple Beth El


emple Beth El, Lee County’s first and largest Jewish Congregation, was founded in 1954. Its continuing preeminence is attributed to its outstanding rabbinic and professional leadership, its dynamic lay leaders, its creative and energetic membership, and its wide range of activities: spiritual, educational, charitable, social and community. The congregation is open and welcoming to all who seek to explore the principals and beliefs of Reform Judaism. Temple Beth El’s membership is

Moving and lively Friday night Shabbat services begin at 7:30 p.m. in Temple Beth El’s sanctuary. Services are always followed by a scrumptious Oneg in the Dubin Center. On the first Friday of every month, a Healing Service precedes the Shabbat Service by a half hour, beginning at 7:00 p.m. Rabbi Barras hosts Torah Study on Saturdays at 9:00 a.m. His Jewish Current Events Class is held on Mondays at 11:00 a.m., followed by his Midrash Class at noon. His other Adult Education classes include Anshei Mitzvah, Introduction to Judaism, and Lunch and Learn. He guides and imparts his knowledge to temple members on biannual trips to Israel, and lectures on diverse Jewish topics Rabbi Jeremy Barras and Cantor Victor Geigner on the temple’s annual cruise. made up of those who were born JewAt Temple Beth El’s Religious ish, those who chose Judaism, interfaith School, areas of study include Hebrew families and anyone whose spiritual reading fluency and accuracy, prayers, path has led them to its gates. blessings, Jewish Holidays and traRabbi Jeremy Barras’s deep love ditions, Jewish music and creative and knowledge of Judaism pervades his art projects. Tot Shabbats and Junior temple services, his education classes Congregation Shabbats are held each and his countless temple and commu- month. nity activities. The Learning Tree is a premier Cantor Victor Geigner’s exquisite nondenominational preschool offering tenor voice adds spiritual resonance to full- or part-time enrollment for ages Friday night Shabbat services and to all 18 months to 5 years. Also offered are services and events he participates in parent-participation infant and toddler classes. A myriad of activities are offered year round at the temple and are provided by the Men’s Club, Sisterhood, Machers & Mavens (book club), Schmoozers (dinner and entertainment), Mah Jongg players, adult choir and many more. The TBE Gift Gallery beautifully The TBE Gift Gallery displays the largest and best Lee County



selection of Judaica items and other gifts from Israel and around the world. Temple Beth El welcomes all to attend its services and participate in its numerous activities. 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 Victor Geigner • 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, Youth Group, Junior Youth Group, Social Action Committee, Caring and Sharing, Historical Committee, Schmoozers, Machers & Mavens Book Club • TBE Gift Gallery • Special Programs/Features: Adult Education (including Anshei Mitzvah, Introduction to Judaism, Jewish Current Events, Midrash Mondays, Lunch & Learn), Mah Jongg Tournaments, Family Shabbat Potluck Dinners, Trips to Israel, TBE Cruises, Religious and Hebrew School, Learning Tree Preschool

A Guide to Jewish Living in Lee and Charlotte Counties

Temple Beth Shalom


ince its founding in 1973 Temple Beth Shalom has been home to Reform Judaism in Cape Coral, Pine Island, North Fort Myers and the greater Fort Myers area. All are welcome in the tradition of liberal, charitable, open arms that bring many different ages, backgrounds, mixed marriages, and lifestyles together in spiritual harmony. The temple building houses the sanctuary, social hall with a full kitchen, two classrooms and meeting rooms. Recent renovations have kept the building up to date, mostly through the generous input of temple volunteers. Rabbi Devora Buchen is celebrating her 10th year as temple rabbi, and leads the choir, the Saturday morning Torah Study, and programs such as adult and youth B’nai Mitzvah classes. Rabbi Buchen has been a personal inspiration to all B’nai Mitzvah children in keeping them in the fold of Jewish life and traditions. She leads a special Shabbat Service for the children on the first Friday of each month, bringing the youth up onto the bimah and having them

participate in the service. On the other Friday nights there is a Kabbalat Shabbat Service, which is filled with song, joy, participation and a mingling of old, new and prospective members at the Oneg Shabbat. No one goes away unwelcomed, unattended or

Rabbi Devora Buchen

unfed from the dessert tables. Birthdays and special occasions are also celebrated when the Sisterhood takes over and makes a beautiful spread. All of the major holidays are celebrated with the temple choir – a group of members who lead the congregation in singing the traditional songs. Temple Beth Shalom has a 40-year tradition of truly servicing the congregation, and it’s because the congregants all participate in the many social, cultural and educational opportunities, and so many of the members lead the activities. There is fundraising for local charities like schools and food banks. There are social groups for bowling, mah jongg, and cards, and bingo and dance parties. There are special events like karaoke, the golf tournament,

Religious Life game night, the latke party, fishing trips and sporting events attended together. There are speakers who lecture on Israel, on health issues and safe driving. There is truly something for everyone who walks in the door. The temple motto is, “Come as a guest, leave as a friend, return as family.” 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 Lubavitch of Southwest Florida


s the story goes, when Rabbi Yitzchok and Nechamie Minkowicz arrived in Fort Myers 22 years ago, a few local Jews asked them if they “got off on the wrong exit.” But you’d never ask that today, once you see their brand new 11,000 sq. ft. building that houses the headquarters of Chabad of Southwest Florida, Chabad of Fort Myers, Congregation Shmuel Synagogue, Maimonides Hebrew Day School, and a myriad of other Jewish programming, spanning the entire

Rabbi Yitzchok and Nechamie Minkowicz

calendar year, and tailored to meet the needs of Jews of all ages, and all levels of Jewish knowledge and observance. Rabbi Yitzchok and Nechamie’s vision was to create an environment for everyone to experience Judaism with their heart, mind and soul. In a warm,

family-friendly setting, each visitor can immediately begin to feel at home – hence the phrase “Chabad House,” a special place that taps into the energy of Chabad’s philosophy, that of the uniqueness of every individual on their personal, spiritual mission in the world. Alongside the new, main building, which houses the synagogue, social hall and elementary school, there is a preschool facility, with its own outdoor play area. Additionally, the grounds include Mikveh Bashka. Use of a mikveh is a cornerstone of Jewish family life. The sanctification of the union of husband and wife, which holds the potential of bringing new lives into the world, adds immeasurably to the sacredness of marriage. New brides and married women of all ages can avail themselves of this special experience. Personal instruction on the laws of family purity are available, which include a private tour of this elegant facility. The center offers extensive educational and cultural opportunities including: For children and families: Maimonides Hebrew Day School and Preschool, The Jewish Resource Center and Interactive Play Space, Hebrew School, the Grand Chanukah Celebration, and community Passover seders. For adults: JLI, the internationally acclaimed Rohr Jewish Learning Insti-

For 2014 candle lighting times for the LeeCharlotte area, please see page 51. 36


tute courses (, weekly Kabbalah classes, Torah portion of the week, and “What’s Cooking at Chabad?” – culturally diverse, Jewish holiday-related hands-on cooking (and tasting) for ladies. All of these classes and more are available for all segments of the Jewish community, regardless of personal level of observance and educational background. At Chabad of Southwest Florida, Jews from all walks of life can come together, learn and celebrate as one! CHABAD LUBAVITCH OF SOUTHWEST FLORIDA 5620 Winkler Road Ft. Myers, FL 33919 • Telephone: (239) 433-7708 • Fax: (239) 481-9109 • Email: • Website: • Rabbi Yitzchok Minkowicz • Director Nechamie Minkowicz • Movement/Affiliation: Chabad Lubavitch • Services: Friday night, Shabbos morning and holidays • Special Programs/Features: Maimonides Hebrew Day School, Congregation Bais Shmuel, Mikveh Bashka of Southwest Florida, Grand Chanukah Celebration, Kabbalah Class, JLI Jewish Learning Institute

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A Guide to Jewish Living in Lee and Charlotte Counties

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 are young emissaries of the Lubavitcher Rebbe, who arrived in Cape Coral nine

Rivky and Rabbi Yossi Labkowski

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 CTeen 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 Life, but a vibrant community, a place

Religious Life

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.; Sunday 8:00 a.m.; Monday-Friday 7:00 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, CTeen Club, First Taste Program, Chanukah Shop, Hospital & Home Visitations, Family Counseling

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.

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A Guide to Jewish Living in Lee and Charlotte Counties


Religious Life

The Community Free Synagogue


ow in its ninth year, the Community Free Synagogue, led by Rabbi Bruce Diamond, meets in the Kontinos Community Hall, 8210 Cypress Lake Drive in South Fort Myers. While generally following Reform practice, the C.F.S.’s weekly Friday evening meals and worship, Shabbat morning Torah Study breakfasts, and other gatherings convey a deep feel of tradition in an informal and unpretentious setting. Vibrant music is a hallmark of C.F.S. worship. The highly acclaimed C.F.S. Shirat Hayam Musical Ensemble, a group of volunteer professional and

Rabbi Bruce Diamond

gifted amateur musicians, support the C.F.S. services with a wide range of musical offerings. C.F.S. places a strong emphasis on Jewish learning through its year-round adult education courses, highly effec-

tive and personalized youth tutoring, and educational tours of Israel. The “Free” in the Community Free Synagogue means many things. The synagogue does not sell memberships and does no fundraising, relying on its participants to support the work of their congregation through voluntary offerings of time and resources. There is never a charge for anything at C.F.S., including its weekly Sabbath meals, Seder Suppers, break-the-fasts, High Holiday Worship, and Bar/Bat Mitzvah celebrations. The synagogue continues to prosper this way, with over 500 households calling C.F.S. their communal Jewish home in our area. More important than money matters, the “Free” in Community Free is the way of welcoming and respecting each other’s point of view and right of expression. While C.F.S. meets all of the state and federal requirements for a legally recognized religious organization, it governs itself informally and by building consensus. As needs arise, interested participants naturally come together to address them, whether it’s to cook a meal, make music, bind new Prayerbook editions, erect a sukkah, offer transportation to the handicapped, set up the meeting place, and the other things that make for a working, caring community. Volunteer workers are

Participants in the Community Free Synagogue’s 2013 Israel Pilgrimage share bread and wine upon arriving in Jerusalem



empowered to make all the practical decisions to achieve their goals in keeping with the synagogue’s philosophy of openness, inclusiveness and moral values. 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 Sabbath Eve Dinner & Services 6:30 p.m.; Sabbath Morning Torah Study Breakfast 9:30 a.m. • Special Programs/Features: Open-Door High Holiday Worship and Free Community Seders, Bar/Bat Mitzvah, Adult Education, Israel trips

Celebrating Sukkot in the Community Free Synagogue sukkah

A Guide to Jewish Living in Lee and Charlotte Counties

Religious Life

Bat Yam - Temple of the Islands


at Yam - Temple of the Islands tion until his untimely death in January came into existence when Shir- 2010. During his tenure, the size of the ley and Mel Bleiberg placed an congregation grew as did the number ad in the local Sanibel papers inviting of participants in the Saturday morning anyone interested in starting a Reform study group. Jewish Synagogue to meet at the Sanibel Rabbi Selwyn Geller served Bat Congregational Church. In February Yam from November 2010 until his 1991, 75 people met and hired Rabbi sudden death in May 2013. He led the Karen Soria of Naples to lead services. discussions of a video series by AmyOn March 8, 1991, the congregation set Jill Levine on the Hebrew Bible and The its goals and priorities and developed Jewish Annotated New Testament. Two a mission statement, visiting retired Reform which remains the rabbis – Rabbi Richard same today: Bat Yam Nagler and Rabbi Larry – A Jewish congregaMahler – led services tion serving residents and educational classes of Sanibel, Captiva and in November and DeFort Myers; providing a cember 2013. place of worship in the The temple has hired Reform tradition and Rabbi Myra Soifer, who creating an extended is scheduled to begin her Jewish family. service in January 2014. Rabbi Soria led Classes for 2014 inthe congregation until clude Hebrew reading 1993 when she joined from the Linear Chuthe Navy as a chaplain. mash, the Parshah of the Rabbi Philip Frankel week, Jewish Mysticism, was hired, coming to The temple’s hand-embroidered “The Hebrew Bible Torah cover Sanibel every other Where History and Theweek, leading High Holiday services, ology Intersect,” Kabbalah, the Prophets Friday night services and a Saturday and Jewish Current Events. morning study group. When he retired, The church congregation permitted following an exhaustive search, Rabbi Bat Yam to build an arc in their FellowMurray Saltzman was hired, whereupon ship Hall where Shabbat services are he and his wife moved from Maryland usually held. In the “high season” Bat to Sanibel. He served the congrega- Yam uses the sanctuary to accommodate

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. 39


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 Rabbi Myra Soifer 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) 472-5317 • Email: Website: • Rabbi Myra Soifer • Cantor: Douglas Renfroe • President: Allan Silberman • Movement/Affiliation: Reform/ Union for Reform Judaism • Services: Friday 8:00 p.m.

Chabad of Bonita Springs & Estero 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


Religious Life

Chabad Jewish Center of Charlotte County


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

Rabbi Simon and Sheina Jacobson

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 and energized whether your background in Jewish prayer is extensive or limited. Bilingual prayer books are used. Children are welcome. Shabbat morning services are followed by a kiddush and discussion on the weekly 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, 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 to the entire Jewish community of Charlotte County. All are welcome to participate at any of Chabad’s programs.

than a year to complete. What’s the holdup? Computerized printing presses make printing a cinch. However, timeless dictums hold for a certified Torah scribe, and everything from the character of the scribe to the quality of the parchment and type of ink are taken into account. Furthermore, each of the 304,808 letters and notations must be scripted to perfection. The slightest error voids the entire 54-portion parchment. To celebrate this auspicious occasion, the community will be invited to welcome Chabad’s new Sefer Torah with a completion and dedication ceremony. Participants will have the opportunity to fill in a letter of the Torah alongside

the scribe during the ceremony. The celebration will include a grand parade with music and rejoicing. The crowd will dance around the Torah and many will be given the honor of carrying the Torah scroll along the route. Upon arrival at the Chabad Center, as a show of respect and honor, the Torah scroll that is already in the ark will be taken out to greet the new Torah. The festivities will continue with food, much rejoicing and children’s activities. Please visit www.chabadofcharlotte or call 941.833.3381 for exact details, event time and location, and to find out how you can be a part of this truly momentous occasion.

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

Dedication of New Torah for the Charlotte County Community


o understand the excitement of dedicating a new Torah, think along the lines of Hailey’s Comet and flights to the moon. These awe-inspiring, once-in-a-lifetime events stir a good deal of emotions in the people fortunate enough to view them firsthand. Chabad of Charlotte County will, G-D willing, have the great fortune to be holding just such an event. A brand new Torah written for the Charlotte County Jewish community, donated by Dr. Josef Ravid and his family, will be joyously welcomed this March. While publishers knock out millions of copies of books each week, crafting a single Torah scroll takes more



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. 41


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


Focus on Youth Preschools Temple Judea Preschool


emple Judea Preschool is an Accredited Professional Preschool Learning Environment providing care for children ages 18 months to 5 years. 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. The preschool’s philosophy is to recognize each child as a unique individual. Each child is nurtured and cared for in a loving atmosphere, allowing them to progress according to their rate of development. The school fulfills this goal through carefully-planned programs developed by a trained, caring staff. 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 success.

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 encourages parental involvement in their child’s preschool experience. Parents and teachers gain valuable insights and techniques from each other and at the same time share their talents and interests to maintain the excellent quality at Temple Judea Preschool. The full- and part-time programs include: Language Arts, Science, Reading Readiness Activities, Math Concepts, Writing Skills, Computers, Music and Cooking, Physical Education, Dramatic Play, and Itty Bitty Yogi (Yoga for kids). A camp program is offered during the summer months. To learn more about the program, call 239.482.1121 or stop by for a tour.

Temple Judea Mommy and Me

I This program sends a new age-related book or cd every month! Visit the Federation website to signup: Sponsored by Judi Roth for the Roth Family Foundation Kenneth and Gwenda Asher for The Asher Family Foundation Sponsored by

For more information, Arthur & Susan Karp Family Charitable Foundation, Inc visit

A Supporting Foundation of the Jewish Federation of Sarasota-Manatee

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.

To contact the editor of Connections, send an email to

Stay connected at 42


A Guide to Jewish Living in Lee and Charlotte Counties

Preschools Maimonides Hebrew Day School Preschool


aimonides Hebrew Day School (MHDS) is a statelicensed and certified child day care center. It is the only Jewish VPK (voluntary Pre-kindergarten) and Early Readiness Center in Southwest Florida, providing services to families of Lee, Collier and Charlotte counties. Early Readiness is a scholarship program designed to assist families dealing with the financial difficulties of the economy and the need for affordable child care. “Creative Curriculum for Toddlers” and VPK programming provide an exciting developmental environment. Children ages 2-4 are actively engaged in hands-on learning in a variety of centers including: dramatic play and housekeeping; listening, speaking and language development; and motor skills for fine and large muscle coordination. Young students are introduced to music; science and discovery; and the beginnings of reading, writing and mathematics as part of this comprehen-

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 story-time 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.


sive program. MHDS has a unique dual curriculum which includes all these aspects of a secular education combined with a comprehensive Judaic studies curriculum, including basic instruction in the Hebrew language. The Judaic program is tailored to accommodate each family’s level of Jewish observance, and includes instruction and hands-on learning about the Jewish Sabbath and holidays, good character traits, Torah studies on the weekly portion, all in an age- and grade-appropriate format. For more information or to schedule a tour, email MaimonidesHDaySC@ or call Nechamie Minkowicz at 239.440.4102.

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 room • Healthy snacks and a hot lunch program • Certified Voluntary PreKindergarten (VPK) provider • Summer Camp – weekly enrollment • Engaging specialty programs featuring yoga, soccer, kung fu, pottery, cooking, technology and more For more information, please call Jesyca Russell Virnig, M.A.Ed., Director, at 239.433.5499 or visit www.learning


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@chabadcape .com or visit


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 that offers a complete full-time (or parttime) learning experience for children (and their families). The school offers a dual curriculum for students from the age of 2 to 14. The curriculum individualizes lessons in all aspects of Judaic/Hebrew studies and Secular/English studies, following the “New Generation Florida Sunshine State Standards.” MHDS’s Judaic studies acknowledges and accommodates the full possible range of Jewish religious observance. The full-day program integrates instruction in English language: speaking, phonics, grammar, reading and writing, which is also mirrored in Hebrew Language instruction. The day also includes the crucial elements of


this unique double curriculum: math, science and social studies, coupled with Torah studies, Jewish History and Holidays, and various traditional modes of Jewish observance. This academic program is complemented with art, music, drama and PE. The recently completed new facility is equipped with the latest in technology and materials, including a library for students, their families and the community. The low student-teacher ratio enables individualized instruction and the possibility of accelerated learning, or personal, remedial tutoring. There is a strong emphasis on character development, critical thinking and independent learning. The school annually participates in standardized assessment of all students, from kindergarten thru 6th grade, using the Stanford 10. The school’s students


perform either on or above their gradelevel in these tests. Maimonides is licensed and certified to accept McKay scholarships for those students already identified as qualifying for special services. This is the only Jewish facility in Southwest Florida that has this program. MHDS is also able to accept Early Readiness Funding and Step-Up scholarships. To register your child, tour the facility, or for more information, email or call Nechamie Minkowicz at 239.440.4102.

See page 51 for candle lighting times and Jewish holiday dates for 2014

A Guide to Jewish Living in Lee and Charlotte Counties

Hebrew/Religious Schools Temple Beth Shalom Religious School


he children are our future. Temple Beth Shalom congregants believe that the future of Judaism is in those children’s religious education. So religious school is FREE to all members’ children. Classes are divided by age and meet Thursdays at 4:30 p.m. The once-a-month Family Service is also geared to the education of the next generation of Jews. Students participate in the entire service, and hold the final Kiddush on the bimah with Rabbi Devora Buchen. In the classroom, the children learn

Hebrew, rituals, traditions, Torah and holidays. Temple Beth Shalom provides a welcoming and nurturing environment where students learn to cherish their Jewish heritage. Rabbi Buchen is also involved in the school’s curriculum and she presides at holiday ceremonies. The school has been run for years by Barby Barlow, who can be reached at 941.639.7293. More information can also be found online at

The Jewish Resource Center and Interactive Play Space


habad Lubavitch of Southwest Florida and Maimonides Hebrew Day School have recently opened the Jewish Resource Center and Interactive Play Space. This center is housed at Chabad’s facility at 5620 Winkler Road in Fort Myers. The available programming initially will be a Jewish storytime experience followed by a creative activity. Other special events will include an “adopt a book” program, puppet shows and mu-

sic. The story and craft will be held in an interactive play space, with toys, games and music that relate to, and enhance the message of the story of the week. Initially, children from the ages of 2-10 will be the focus, with hopes of expanding to service tweens, teens and adults. The center is open on Wednesdays from 4:30 to 5:15 p.m., with no fee for regular services. There will also be holiday programming. Call 239.440.4102. for more information.

Temple Beth El Religious School


he Temple Beth El Religious School believes that “Judaism 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


the curriculum. Meanings and traditions of holidays throughout the year 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.


Focus on Youth

Rabbi Devora Buchen with Religious School students

Temple Shalom Religious School


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@

A Guide to Jewish Living in Lee and Charlotte Counties


Focus on Youth


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 in-

clude 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 va-

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 chil-

cation 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, please contact Camp Director Rivky Labkowski at 239.541.1777 or camp@chabadcape. com, or visit

dren. The counselors are known for their personal 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.

Learning Tree Preschool Summer Camp Bar / Bat Mitzvah Specialist Choosing the right photographer is an important decision. Michael Shapiro has more than 30 years experience in media and journalism. He is able to capture images that are unique, unexpected and spontaneous.

Other Services: Weddings / Family Portraits / Events





he Learning Tree Preschool summer camp is presented in nine weekly adventures...choose one or all! Join for storytime tea with Cinderella, ride a train to the storybook village, or saddle up for a pony ride. Each week includes outdoor water play, ice cream truck, shaded playground, indoor bounce houses or obstacle courses, and critical thinking activities. Camp groups are divided by age and designed for children 18 months to kindergarten. For more information, please visit www.learningtreefort or call Preschool Director Jesyca Virnig, M.A.Ed. at 239.433.5499.

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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 7 weeks. Classes for the March 8 SAT test run from January 13 through February 26. 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 Leni Sack at 239.481.4449 x3 or

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 the second Sunday of each month, 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 monthly community youth group meetings. Whether it’s field trips, bowling, celebrating Jewish holidays, social action projects or having pizza and watching a movie, these teen-friendly activities help pro-

mote lifelong friendships that form through youth group experiences. Enrollment in the Community Youth Group is ongoing; children can join anytime during the year. The group is also open to children who do not attend religious school, but are looking for ways to build Jewish friendships. To enroll your child or for more

information, please contact Leni Sack at 239.481.4449 x3 or lenibsack@jfedlcc. org.

BEFTY – Senior Youth Group Hillel at FGCU


EFTY, Beth El Federation of Temple Youth, is a member of the URJ’s NFTY-STR, the North American Federation of Temple Youth’s Southern Tropical Region. It is a youth group for ninth through twelfth-graders in Lee County. BEFTY holds events every other Thursday and on occasional weekends. Events consist of fun activities that may incorporate Jewish values and friendship. The youth group attends four regional events throughout the year with other Jewish youth from across the state where they learn and strengthen their Jewish values by meeting teens and having fun. Social action is greatly stressed upon in the organization. Camp Jenny is a camp held at URJ Camp Coleman led by Jewish teens for underprivileged, inner-city Atlanta youth. Last year BEFTY was fortunate enough to fundraise to send two campers to Camp Jenny. If you are interested in joining, contact Jacob Glasser or Rabbi Jeremy Barras at or 239.433.0018.

BEFTY Board takes part in Leadership Training Institute at Temple Beit HaYam in Stuart, Florida




student’s involvement with Hillel is one of the strongest predictors of future Jewish leadership. As the leading authority on Jewish campus life, Hillel reaches, engages and equips tomorrow’s leaders today. Florida Gulf Coast University has an extremely active student population. The goal of the local chapter of Hillel is to unite the Jewish students to give them a place to meet, bond and actively engage in religious and cultural events. This year, Hillel FGCU plans to hold monthly Shabbat services, host social events, offer community service opportunities, have lunch and learns with local community rabbis and Jewish leaders, visit other university Hillels for a joint bonding experience, and celebrate Jewish holidays together. The main objective for this year is to raise awareness of the growing Jewish community on campus in an effort to connect Jewish students to each other. Hillel FGCU currently has a fantastic board that is extremely excited to put ideas into motion. The co-presidents are Sydney Harlow and Davita Golovin, the treasurer is Ben Rouah, the secretary is Elana Beame, and the advertising leader is Sara Eisenberg. Together they are working hard to prepare an awesome year for everyone. Stay in touch and involved: Facebook at Hillel FGCU, twitter @HillelFGCU, or email

Look for school updates and “Focus on Youth” items each month in L’CHAYIM

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 author programs, holiday celebrations, concerts, food festivals, book study groups, timely lectures, mah jongg and much more. 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, and a business directory.

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 26, 2:00 p.m. Dr. Amy-Jill Levine “Jesus the Jewish Story Teller” Program supported by the Leo Rosner Foundation Bat Yam - Temple of the Islands at the Sanibel Congregational Church 239.472.5317 January 28, 7:30 p.m. ZOA presents Bret Stephens 2013 Pulitzer Prize-winner and Editor of the Wall Street Journal Jerry Sobel, or Gene Sipe, February 4, 7:00 p.m. GenShoah film Nicky’s Family The 2011 award-winning documentary about the heroic rescue of over 600

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 16 – Hava Nagila ¡¡ January 21 – The Other Son ¡¡ January 23 – The Price of Kings ¡¡ January 28 – Dorfman in Love ¡¡ January 30 – The Jewish Cardinal ¡¡ February 4 – Arranged ¡¡ February 6 – Hannah Arendt ¡¡ February 11 – Paris Manhattan


children by Sir Nicholas Winton Temple Shalom, Naples $5 donation requested Ida Margolis, 239.963.9347 or February 15 Major Gifts Dinner Jewish Federation 239.481.4449 February 17, 1:30 p.m. Myra Roberts Exhibit and slides Focusing on the 1930s and 1940s Bat Yam Temple of the Islands at the Sanibel Congregational Church Exhibit moves to Naples Holocaust Museum in March 239.472.5317 March 4, 7:30 p.m. Dessert with the Author Temple Shalom, Port Charlotte Jewish Federation 239.481.4449 March 5, 11:30 a.m. Lunch with the Author Jewish Federation 239.481.4449 March 8, 7:00 p.m. Hadassah presents Warsaw: A Story in Song Moving musical drama based on the story of the Warsaw ghetto uprising. Temple Beth El $36 general admission, $10 students, sponsorships starting at $118 Ida Margolis, 239.963.9347 or


March 12 Lion of Judah Luncheon Jewish Federation 239.481.4449 March 15, 8:30 p.m. Purim celebration Megillah reading, Purim party, bounce house Chabad of Fort Myers 239.433.7708 March 16, 5:30 p.m. Purim celebration Purim seudah (feast) and second Megillah reading At the home of Rabbi Minkowicz 239.433.7708 March 18, 7:30 p.m. ZOA presents Daniel Pipes President of the Middle East Forum and Publisher of the Middle East Quarterly Journal Jerry Sobel, Gene Sipe, April 6 Passover Senior Visits Jewish Federation 239.481.4449 April 27, 3:00 p.m. Interfaith Holocaust Memorial Service Temple Beth El 239.481.4449 May 13 Jewish Federation Annual Meeting 239.481.4449

A Guide to Jewish Living in Lee and Charlotte Counties


2014 Candle lighting times for the Lee and Charlotte area: January 3: 5:30 pm January 10: 5:35 pm January 17: 5:40 pm January 24: 5:46 pm January 31: 5:51 pm February 7: 5:56 pm February 14: 6:01 pm February 21: 6:06 pm February 28: 6:10 pm 6:14 pm March 7: March 14: 7:17 pm March 21: 7:21 pm 7:24 pm March 28: April 4: 7:28 pm April 11: 7:31 pm April14, Eve of First day Passover: 7:33 pm April 15, Eve of Second day Passover: after 8:27 pm 7:35 pm April 18: April 20, Eve of Seventh day Passover: 7:36 pm April 21, Eve of Eighth day Passover: after 8:31 pm 7:38 pm April 25: May 2: 7:42 pm May 9: 7:46 pm May 16: 7:50 pm May 23: 7:53 pm May 30: 7:57 pm June 3, Eve of First day Shavuot: 7:59 pm June 4, Eve of Second day Shavuot: after 8:57 pm 8:00 pm June 6: June 13: 8:03 pm June 20: 8:05 pm June 27: 8:06 pm July 4: 8:06 pm 51

July 11: 8:05 pm July 18: 8:03 pm July 25: 8:00 pm August 1: 7:56 pm August 8: 7:51 pm August 15: 7:46 pm August 22: 7:39 pm August 29: 7:32 pm September 5: 7:25 pm September 12: 7:17 pm September 19: 7:09 pm September 24, Eve of First day Rosh Hashanah: 7:03 pm September 25, Eve of Second day Rosh Hashanah: a fter 7:55 pm September 26: 7:01 pm October 3, Eve of Yom Kippur: 6:53 pm October 8, Eve of First day Sukkot: 6:48 pm

October 9, Eve of Second day Sukkot: after 7:40 pm October 10: 6:46 pm October 15, Eve of Shemini 6:41 pm Atzeret: October 16, Eve of Simchat after 7:34 pm Torah: October 17: 6:39 pm October 24: 6:33 pm October 31: 6:27 pm November 7: 5:23 pm November 14: 5:19 pm November 21: 5:17 pm November 28: 5:16 pm December 5: 5:16 pm December 12: 5:18 pm December 19: 5:21 pm December 26: 5:24 pm

2014 (5774/5775) Holidays Holidays start at sundown on the evening before the dates listed. Tu B’Shevat: January 16 (Thursday) Purim: March 16 (Sunday) Passover (Pesach): April 15 (Tuesday) Holocaust Remembrance Day (Yom HaShoah): April 27 (Sunday) Israel Memorial Day (Yom HaZikaron): May 5 (Monday) Israel Independence Day (Yom HaAtzmaut): May 6 (Tuesday) Lag B’Omer: May 18 (Sunday) Shavuot: June 4 (Wednesday) Tisha B’Av: August 5 (Tuesday) Rosh HaShanah 5775: September 25 (Thursday) Yom Kippur: October 4 (Saturday) Sukkot: October 9 (Thursday) Shemini Atzeret: October 16 (Thursday) Simchat Torah: October 17 (Friday) Hanukkah (Chanukah): December 17 (Wednesday)


A Guide to Jewish Living in Lee and Charlotte Counties



2014 GUIDE TO JEWISH LIFEof IN Advertisers LEE & CHARLOTTE COUNTIES Directory Accountants


Myers, Brettholz & Company, PA 30


Alan J. Rubinstein 21 Lowell S. Schoenfeld 27 Douglas E. Spiegel 16

Holocaust Museum & Education Center of Southwest Florida 22 Jewish Museum of Florida-FIU Inside Front Cover


Michael Shapiro Photography 46


Financial Services

Arlene R. Foreman 14 Cary R. Kleinfield 25 21st Century C.A.R.E. 18

The Bagel Factory 16 Downtown Bagel & Deli 27 Jason’s Deli 10 Nomiki’s Plakka 35 Sasse’s 19

Health/Medical Services Advanced Pain Management & Spine Specialists 9 Daniel Bendetowicz, MD 17 Florida Specialists in Urology 32 Island Therapy Center 17 Ryder Orthopaedics 21 Rick Snyderman, Pedorthist 25 Taschner Periodontics 11

Senior Living Alternatives The Springs at Shell Point 15

Senior Services

Comfort Keepers 9


Home & Design

Temple Beth El 1 Temple Beth Shalom 27 Temple Judea Back Cover

Lee Lighting 14 PCC Tile 21



Lott & Gaylor Insurance 29

Broadway Palm Dinner Theatre 12

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


True Tours 29


with your Jewish Community JewishFederationLCC Published by the Jewish Federation Lee and Charlotte 52 A Guide to Jewishof Living in Lee and Charlotte Counties Counties CONNECTIONS 2014

Index Adult education 16-17 Advocacy Groups 31-32 American Friends of Magen David Adom 29 American Israel Public Affairs Committee 31 American Jewish Committee (AJC) 31 American Technion Society 26 Anti-Defamation League 31 Arts & Culture 8-15 Author events 11 Bat-Yam Temple of the Islands 39 BEFTY - Senior Youth Group 48 Calendar 50-51 Camp Gan Israel of Cape Coral 46 Camp Gan Israel of Charlotte County 46 Candle lighting times 51 Cemeteries 21 Chabad Hebrew School of Cape Coral 44 Chabad Jewish Center of Cape Coral 37 Chabad Jewish Center of Charlotte County 40 Chabad Lubavitch of Southwest Florida 36 Chabad of Bonita Springs & Estero 39 Chevra Kadisha 21 Community events calendar 50 The Community Free Synagogue 38 Community Youth Group 48 Consulate General of Israel for Florida & Puerto Rico 28 CTeen Club - Cape Coral 47 Education - Children 42-48 Education - Adult 16-17 FGCU Center for Judaic, Holocaust, and Genocide Studies 13 Federation history 4 Film Festival 9 Florida-Israel Chamber 28 Food Pantry 18 Funeral homes & cemeteries 21 Generations of the Shoah - SWFL 24 Hadassah - Collier/Lee Counties Chapter 22 Hadassah - Sharon Chapter (Charlotte County) 23 HAZAK 55+ 23 Hebrew/Religious Schools 44-45 Hillel at FGCU 48 Holocaust Memorial Service 13 Holocaust Museum & Education Center of SWFL 14 Humanistic Jewish Havurah 24 Israel-American Chamber of Commerce 28 53


Israel Bonds 27 Israel Connection 26-30 Israeli Folk Dancing 11 Jewish Family Services 6 Jewish Federation of Lee and Charlotte Counties 4-7 Jewish Film Festival 9 Jewish Historical Society of SWFL 23 Jewish holidays 51 Jewish Museum of Florida-FIU 15 Jewish National Fund 30 Jewish Resource Center & Interactive Play Space 45 Jewish War Veterans Post 400 24 Kosher Food Availability 19 L’CHAYIM 8 The Learning Tree 43 The Learning Tree Preschool Summer Camp 46 Mah Jongg 11 Maimonides Hebrew Day School 44 Maimonides Hebrew Day School - Preschool 43 Mikveh 21 The Mother’s Circle 18 Museums 14-15 Organizations 22-32 ORT America 25 PJ Library 43 Preschools 42-43 Project Ezra 29 SAT Preparation Course 47 Schools 42-45 Senior Visits 18 Simon Wiesenthal Center 32 Special Interest Groups 22-25 Synagogues 33-41 Temple Beth El 34 Temple Beth El Religious School 45 Temple Beth Shalom 35 Temple Beth Shalom Religious School 45 Temple Judea 33 Temple Judea Mommy and Me 43 Temple Judea Preschool 42 Temple Judea Religious School 44 Temple Shalom of Charlotte Harbor and the Gulf Islands 41 Temple Shalom Religious School 45 Youth groups 47-48 Zionist Organization of America 26

A Guide to Jewish Living in Lee and Charlotte Counties


Rabbi Marc Sack

Temple Judea, Fort Myers, is a dynamic, egalitarian 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 prayer services on Monday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday, an accredited preschool, a strong religious school, adult education, a vibrant Hazak organization, and many special events, there is always something going on inside our doors. Come walk through them and join us!

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


Connections 2014 - Lee-Charlotte Counties  
Connections 2014 - Lee-Charlotte Counties  

Annual Guide to Jewish Living in Lee & Charlotte Counties