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summer magazine

H E A R T H E A LT H Can exercise really make your heart stronger?



Millenials rally together for mental health


Choosing a colorful diet CREATING A JEWISH GARDEN



wellness issue


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Summer 2019


12 | Jewish Federation of Jacksonville 16 | Life & Legacy 18 | JCA 24 | Jewish Family & Community Services 32 | River Garden

FEATURES 10 | Lifting the Mood with Music Therapy 21 | Maximizing your Minutes 22 | Stronger than Stigma 28 | Artist Spotlight: Judith Fox-Goldstein 36 | Summer Recipes 42 | Creating a Jewish Garden 46 | Design Spotlight: Donna McNett 59 | Heart Health

36 59 10




ALSO IN THIS ISSUE 6 | Rabbinically Speaking 8 | Federation News 38 | Synagogues 47 | Education 54 | Community 61 | Lifecycles 62 | Community Contacts




At the Jacksonville Jewish News, our advertisers are precious to us. It is with their support that the Jacksonville Jewish community has a newspaper. Advertising revenue also offsets the cost of production, so Federation dollars can be dedicated to helping Jews locally and overseas. Please continue to live generously and support our advertisers:

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Alhambra Theatre & Dining (p. 3) Atlantica Isles (p. 64) Bob Ham Eyewear (p. 3) Carla Shoes (p. 60) Coldwell Banker - Dottie Wilson (p. 52) Jewish Federation of Jacksonville (p. 9, 11, 15, 26, 35, 60, 63) Larry Tallis Photography (p. 60) Leah Provenson Realty (p. 60)

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Summer 2019

CREDITS Editor & Communications Director Mindy Rubenstein mindyr@jewishjacksonville.org Layout Designer Kelsey Schutter

A PUBLICATION OF THE JEWISH FEDERATION OF JACKSONVILLE The Jacksonville Jewish News is published monthly. All submitted content becomes the property of the Jacksonville Jewish News. Announcements and opinions contained in these pages are published as a service to the community and do not necessarily represent the views of the Jacksonville Jewish News or its publisher, the Jewish Federation of Jacksonville. The Jacksonville Jewish News is not responsible for the kashruth of any product advertised.

Editorial Support Karen Backilman Val Battini Shirley Bielski Iman Byfeld Helen Hill

Copy due dates: All news, photographs, etc., must be received by the 7th of each month, and sent to jjn@jewishjacksonville.org. Advertise with us: reach a readership of over 12,000 people across Northeast Florida! Ad due dates: All ads must be received by the 15th of each month and sent to jjn@jewishjacksonville.org in .pdf format.

Federation Executive Director Alan Margolies

8505 San Jose Blvd., Jacksonville, FL 32217 | 904-448-5000 The Jacksonville Jewish News is printed by Florida Sun Printing.

Outgoing Federation President Ken Jacobs


Incoming Federation President Iris Kraemer Advertising Representative Ellen Cohen Wilcox es_cohen@yahoo.com | 215.680.1000

I " f you don't know what you're living for, you haven't yet lived." – RABBI NOAH WEINBERG, OF BLESSED MEMORY

LETTER FROM THE EDITOR Overcoming darkness with light is a community effort


Editor & Communications Director

It comes upon me first thing in the morning as I open my eyes – the weight sets in upon my heart and in my stomach. But I dutifully whisper the daily Modeh Ani prayer – thank you G-d for returning my soul and giving me another day, your faith in me is great. Then I proceed with my morning – waking my four children, preparing breakfast, packing lunches, getting myself ready for a day at work. The weight in my chest and the nausea persist, but I smile through them, except when I don’t. I try to stay upbeat for my children, though I reveal in a moment of closeness with my teenage daughter that I feel anxious. She shows compassion and understanding, and I’m glad I was honest. I try to understand the anxiety and its source – there are people murdering prayer-goers in synagogues, as well as in mosques and churches in the U.S. and around the world. Ignorant students are posting anti-semitic photos on social media for their classmates to see. News of terrible acts are everywhere, even as I try to filter it. There is heaviness, a darkness in the world, but I know this is

nothing new and it must be counteracted. Last month I attended a community-wide Holocaust Memorial program at Etz Chaim Synagogue. Hundreds gathered to remember the unimaginable atrocities systematically performed by fellow human beings just a few decades ago – as two heavily armed police officers stood by the entrance doors during the program. The sight of them was both unsettling and reassuring. As I talk to people in the community and beyond, I get the sense that this heaviness and anxiety are more prevalent than we are letting on. Complimenting one woman on her nail polish recently, she responded, “I thought it would make me happy.” But, she admitted, it didn’t. Last month I wrote about a Jewish Family & Community Services' event, which focused on being honest about mental health issues, and one brave woman spoke publicly about her son, who battled with mental health issues for years before taking his own life. She said she speaks up in order to honor him, and to help give others the courage to seek help. And this month I wrote about a successful, young woman who founded an organization offering support and events for millennials facing mental health issues. These issues are everywhere – whether they are chemical or situational – so why is no one talking about it,

contd. on page 8


Summer 2019 By Rabbi Shmuli Novack Chabad of Southside and UNF

RABBINICALLY SPEAKING Darkness and Light at Wilkins and Shady

On the final day of Passover, an abominable attack in Poway left one dead and three injured as worshippers prepared for the Yizkor Service at the Chabad Center. Exactly six months prior, a mad man entered the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh and murdered eleven of our brothers and sisters, violently jarring the American Jewish experience. Days after the attack in Poway, I visited the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh. The tranquil corner at Wilkins and Shady just doesn’t jive with the terror and chaos that tragically consumed the impressive and storied structure. It was a solemn and moving experience. Seeing the outpouring of support in the form of handwritten notes and flowers at the Tree of Life Synagogue is extremely touching. In the aftermath of these attacks we can focus on the attacker, on security measures and on politics. And all of these discussions have their important place. But the narrative is a treacherous one, and it contextualizes the entire incident on the depravity of the evil attacker. The Jewish community must, and I believe is, taking steps to address growing security concerns. Yet despite the deep pain and sense of loss and despair, we cannot allow the attackers to define the narrative. Standing at that street corner, I reflected on the recent attack in Poway. The embrace of the victim’s family and celebration of her life. The two congregants who bravely pursued the attacker and brought a swift end to what could have been a far more tragic episode. The rabbi’s concern for his congregants despite being severely injured. In his remarks to the media, Chabad of Poway’s Rabbi Goldstein stated, “We cannot control what others do, but we can control how we react.” Responding to darkness with light, with love and concern for one another. Focusing the spotlight on the positive and highlighting the blessings we are grateful for deprives those monsters of the headlines they crave and empowers the Jewish community to bring respect to the victims and to the survivors. Here’s a final thought: Twelve of our brothers and sisters were taken away from us in shul in the last 7 months. Will you commit to go to shul 12 times over the next 7 months?


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(Back Row L-R) Anna Feig, Aleeya Spector, Ava Jaffa, Courtney Charpiat, Daisy Handmaker (Front Row L-R) Ariel Ohayon, Yosef Ben-Naim, Danny Bubis, Moses Jaffa, Aidan Kempner

Federation News

Summer 2019

Q&A with Lauren Setzer

Upcoming Women's Mission to Israel BY LAUREN RICKOFF

Women's Division Director

As Jewish Federation of Jacksonville’s Women’s Mission to Israel approaches (mark your calendars for April 21-28, 2020!). we sat down for a Q&A with program Co-Chair Lauren Setzer. Lauren is a non-profit development professional currently staying home with her two boys, ages two and five. She also serves as a volunteer for various local non-profit organizations, including the Jewish Federation of Jacksonville. What is the goal of the mission to Israel? The goal of the mission is to connect women to Israel in a spiritual, emotional, and physical way. Whether this is a first trip or a return visit, the mission will provide opportunities for participants to connect with their Jewish identity and strengthen their bond with Israel through memorable and unique experiences. Who is the mission intended for? The mission will be comprised of a dynamic and multi-generational group of Jewish women. The tagline for our trip is “Yours. Mine. Ours.,” meaning that this trip is open to all women in our community as Israel offers something important to everyone. While Israel is special to each of us individually, this trip will also impact us collectively. Why is it special for women to visit Israel this way (without husbands, children, etc)? In our busy lives, it is rare that we put ourselves before our children, family, and work obligations. This trip will allow many of us to take a step back and have an opportunity to explore, learn, and grow. After seeing the world in a new way, we will impart our newfound values on our family and workplace upon returning. What will be some highlights of the program? In addition to visiting all of the “must-see” places such as the Dead Sea, Masada, the Western Wall, and Yad Vashem, there will also be unique and exclusive opportunities that are once in a lifetime experiences. We will be stargazing in the Negev desert, taking an Israeli cooking class, riding on a camel, learning about female entrepreneurship while visiting Israel’s most-valued companies, and connecting with local Israeli women in our sister city, Hadera. Have you visited Israel before? How will this trip be different? I have visited Israel twice before; one time in elementary school to visit family and another time during college on a Birthright trip. Now that I’m a mom, I can’t wait to go back and experience Israel from a different perspective.

LETTER FROM THE EDITOR, contd. from page 5

she boldly asks? Another community member bravely wrote in this issue about her battle with depression, and the help that she sought out and received. During the Jewish solidarity program at Chabad of Northeast Florida following last month’s shooting at a synagogue in Poway, California, Rabbi Shmuli Novack said to “turn grief into action.” “Every step back can and must be the impetus for a giant leap forward,” said Rabbi Novack with Chabad of UNF. Whenever we are faced with challenges, we must increase light, he said. This is no easy task, but indeed, as Jews, our mission in life and in the world is to literally be a light unto the nations. First we must start within. We can’t control what the haters may do, but we can control how we respond – whether we choose light or darkness. Though the greatest challenge we face as a Jewish people is putting aside our differences and being unified, we must try. This can be accomplished through simple acts – a smile, a kind gesture, a phone call – which can make a huge difference, he said. Negativity such as the anti-Semitic acts at a local high school can actually be a springboard and a giant leap forward, like the 20


Mission Co-Chairs Whitney Kuvin, Lauren Setzer, and Jill Metlin (not pictured: Jennifer Plotkin)

What are you most looking forward to? I’m very much looking forward to going on this mission with my mom and other incredible women and friends, some of whom I already know and others I can’t wait to meet! To learn more about the women’s mission to Israel, contact Lauren Rickoff at laurenr@jewishjacksonville.org. proud Jewish students who united and stood up to hate. “Seize these dark moments and use them as a chance to educate,” said Dini Sharfstein with Chabad of St. John’s during the solidarity program, which drew more than a hundred people from throughout the community. Indeed, “evil can be transformed into good,” she said. As the famed Rabbi Dr. Akiva Tatz explained while speaking at River Garden Hebrew Home recently, it’s a mitzvah, an obligation, to be happy. True happiness, he said, is the response of the soul doing what it should be doing. A life fraught with difficulty and pain actually leads to growth and spiritual maturity – if we choose to see it in the right light. In facing my own anxiety, it helps to remember that I’m not alone, that I’m part of the Jewish people and we have a unified mission. One positive action, one word, one thought, can change the world. Pray more often. Light candles on Shabbat. Take your negative emotions and apply them to something positive. And, if you need therapy and medication, seek help. The darkness we feel, the sadness, the heaviness within – it won’t break us. It will only make us answer with more and more light. What are you doing to counteract the darkness? Please send your responses to me at mindyr@jewishjacksonville.org.

Summer 2019

SHALIACH CORNER Birthright Q&A with Geri Bernard

BY ROTEM GABAY Community Shaliach

1) Why did you decide to go on Birthright? I decided to go on Birthright when the age range shifted to include 27-32 year olds. Previously when I wanted to go I wasn’t alGeri Bernard and friends lowed based on previous requirements preventing anyone who went to Israel on an organized trip in their teens to go. By the time they changed it I was out of the age bracket allowed, so when they upped the age, I was in! I had been wanting to experience Israel again as an adult ever since I can remember, and I was so excited to immerse myself in Israeli culture when the opportunity arose. 2) What was the most significant/memorable part of the trip? How does it impact your life now? There are several things that were significant/memorable, but some standouts were the staff and people on the trip. Being able to experience Israel with fellow Israelis and a guide that had extensive knowledge about the land, people and culture was priceless. Along with having a group of fellow-aged Jew-


ish adults with all different types of backgrounds and levels of Judaism was a very enlightening experience. The previous trip I went on in high school was very regimented, and for understandable reasons we weren’t allowed to roam. Birthright gave us free time to experience the country as if we lived there, and that perspective was an extremely impactful part of my trip. Unfortunately, being back in the hustle and bustle of my days, I am not as impacted by the trip in my everyday life, but in small moments I am reminded of the beauty of Israeli culture and how I can appreciate what’s around me in a new way based on that experience. Building a stronger connection to Israel in my adult life has allowed me to have a continued appreciation for my Jewish roots and for that I am forever grateful. 3) Does Israel/Judaism play a role in your art? As of right now I haven’t been dabbling in my own work, but while I was in Israel and just afterwards I was playing with adding a Judaic element to some of my artwork. There were various Jewish tales and phrases that were used throughout our time via our guide, Michael, and I was sure to take notes during my time there to take in all of the experiences well after I came back. Once I put brush to canvas to create a new series of work, I hope to infuse some of those learned experiences into it. 4) What is your advice to those who have never visited Israel? Be open and don’t be afraid. There is of course an understandable fear of violence and controversy. I would encourage anyone who has never visited Israel to throw out anything you’ve been told and remain open to all the new experiences around you. Preconceived notions will get in the way of the beauty that Israel has to offer, and I think allowing yourself to be enriched by the day-to-day of Israel life is best done with an open mind and heart.

Introducing BRIDGES, the Jewish Federation of Jacksonville’s leadership initiative. Mission: to expand the vision of Jewish volunteer leaders, deepen their Jewish knowledge of community both locally and abroad, and inspire them to exercise transformative leadership.

Participants should: • be approximately 25-40 years old • be able to attend most sessions • make a minimum gift of $118 or more to the Federation’s 2020 Annual Campaign • demonstrate an interest in being active or currently are active in our Jacksonville community

All sessions will take place at one of our local agencies, synagogues, or day schools. All sessions will be held in the evenings from 6:30-8:00 PM. Most classes will meet on the 3rd Wednesday of each month. Each candidate will be required to attend a minimum of seven classes to graduate: September 12 Federation 101

The application and nomination process for this year’s class is now open. Please reach out if you or someone you know is interested in participating. Contact Faye Hedrick with any questions: 904-448-5000 Ext. 1214 fayeh@jewishjacksonville.org

October 16

Exploring Your Leadership Style

November 7

World Jewry: Challenges & Connection to Israel

December 18 Unmet Local Needs: Real Stories January 15

Making an Impact Through Philanthropy

February 6

A Night Out with Federation

March 18

What Mitzvot & Jewish Identity Means to You

April 15

Israel: Innovation Nation & Behind the Media Headlines

May 20 June 17

Next Steps: Beyond BRIDGES Graduation Program


Summer 2019

Lifting the mood with

MUSIC THERAPY By Mindy Rubenstein

One recent Wednesday afternoon in a sun-filled room at River Garden Hebrew Home, nearly 20 residents sat in a circle, playing their tubano drums, tambourines and claveses on cue as music therapist Minda Gordon directed the group. Once a month, Gordon teaches the group about things like rhythm, layering, and team building as part of the music program at River Garden, which also includes one-on-one weekly music therapy sessions with some of the residents.

board-certified music therapist for more than three decades, including 15 years in Jacksonville, calls music “Vitamin M.” “It’s wonderful for us. It lifts our moods and spirits and brings us together.” Playing the guitar along with her musical intern, Lauren Ruopoli, Gordon leads the groups in impromptu songs as well as popular Jewish music such as Dayenu, Chava Nagila and Shalom Chavarim. “Music therapy can have a remarkable effect on people,” said Gordon, who worked as a music therapist for a psychiatric hospital before her family moved to Northeast Florida. Gordon, who lives in St. Johns, has worked for the past 13 years as a music therapist at Cunningham Creek Elementary School, where 130 children are involved with the program. Through music, she teaches social skills, sharing, following directions and impulse control. “Music goes where words can’t,” said Gordon, founder of the school’s growing music program. She said that connection with music can push children with special needs to move beyond their limitations, and it’s also very powerful for those with dementia. “It’s wonderful,” said River Garden resident Iris Solomon, playing a drum, yellow silk sunflower in her hair. “You don’t feel like you’re left out. And I’m


GOES WHERE WORDS CAN'T." “There’s no right and there’s no wrong,” Gordon explained to the smiling participants. “There’s just you bringing your music to the group.” “A lot of people tell me music lifts their mood,” she added. “It’s very powerful.” Gordon, who has been a


pretty good with the rhythm.” Another resident, Shirley Mirkis, said enthusiastically, “I like it because it’s easy to play.” Indeed, the program is open to anyone, no previous music experience required. Gordon leads the group seamlessly with her booming voice, as well as sweeping hand gestures and stomping of her feet. And participants even took turns leading the group with their own music. “We use music as a tool… for connection,” she said, encouraging them to listen to music in their rooms and elsewhere. “It connects people in different ways, getting them more involved in the community here.” At the group’s conclusion, as many of the participants handed in their instruments and headed down the hall for bingo, some stopped for a moment to chat about their chance to play music. “I love it,” said resident Francis Young. “I really look forward to it.” For more information about music therapy, contact Minda Gordon at 904-993-8940 or River Garden at 904-260-1818.

Summer 2019

The entire community is invited to an

INTERFAITH MISSION TO ISRAEL JULY 19 – 29, 2020 Presented by the Jewish Federation of Jacksonville in cooperation with our two Scholars in Residence: Rabbi Elizabeth Bahar, Congregation Ahavath Chesed & Pastor Kyle Reese, Deputy Director of OneJax HIGHLIGHTS TO INCLUDE: • The most important Jewish and Christian Sites throughout Israel • Old Jaffa • The new Museum of the Jewish People in Tel Aviv • Our partnership community of Hadera • Caesaria • Ancient city of Dan • Acco • Golan Heights • Safed • Mount of Beatitudes

• Kayaking on the Jordan River • Nazareth • Archeological finds at City of David • The Western Wall • Shabbat in Jerusalem • Yad Vashem • Massada and the Dead Sea • Mount of Olives • Church of the Holy Sepulchre • 5-Star Hotels • The tastes, sounds, culture and history of Israel

To learn more about this unique opportunity to explore Israel and to learn about these two faiths, please contact Federation Executive Director Alan Margolies, at 904.224.1410 or alanm@jewishjacksonville.org.

Year in Review

Summer 2019


Federation Executive Director alanm@jewishjacksonville.org


s seems to be the norm for reflecting on a past year for a Jewish organization, a year in Jewish life, there have been a myriad of successes and also challenges, all important as we look to the future. If we look at Israel, a nation just 71 years in existence, it almost safely landed a rocket on the moon. Wow! And, just last month, Israel was attacked with a barrage of over 600 missiles fired at her from Gaza. Here in America, while Jewish life is certainly at the highest level of success and achievement of all time... two synagogues were victims of terror with the loss of 12 lives and many other people hurt. When one is a volunteer or professional leader of a Jewish organization in these complex times, these occurrences are never far removed from our awareness. We need to be conscious of our challenges, as we also wish to celebrate our successes. I want to express my sincere appreciation to our outgoing president, Ken Jacobs, for two wonderful years of service. It has been a total pleasure to partner with Ken! He has been an innovative leader, and I believe his impact on our board will continue to be felt over the course of the coming years. I also want to thank Iris Kraemer, campaign chair these past two years, who now begins her term as president. Iris is well prepared to guide our Federation! She has a passion for making the world a better place for all people, and she leads by example. Our staff looks forward to working with Iris. Our Federation staff... I have been fortunate to work with many outstanding Jewish professionals during my time as our executive director. The current staff component, our team, is wonderful. The professionalism they bring to campaign, women’s division, young leadership (rGEN), finances, our Jewish Foundation work (Life & Legacy), Israel Partnership, Shalom Jacksonville, Society of Healers, the JJN and all other communications, and our relationship and connectedness to Israel is significant. I hope that everyone on the staff fully realizes how much their work is appreciated. In January, Myron Flagler stepped down as executive director of the JCA following 20 years working in our community. Myron’s successor is Adam Chaskin. I am honored to work with Adam and the professional leaders of our two other major local recipient agencies, Marty Goetz (River Garden) and Colleen Rodriguez (JFCS). Coming to work every day and partnering with these amazing executive directors, building Jewish community, is a pleasure. The year has been filled with highlights and many are noted in the magazine. Every month, the JJN is mailed to over 4,000 households. We try to showcase the wide variety of programs and services that make up the tapestry of our Jewish family of organizations. I do not want to repeat what everyone can read about Federation happenings in the stories on other pages. I will note that we hope the community has been touched by and enjoyed the following and more: We welcomed Rotem Gabay as our shaliach. He has done an excellent job representing Israel, while teaching and creating excitement about Israel throughout the community. And, we are thrilled he will be with us for another year! Our 2019 Annual Campaign theme, "Come Together", which featured the Beatles throughout the year, was a way to unite our community. Federation presented the rGEN mini mission, monthly Java programs, revitalized the B'nai Tzedek program, surpassed $25 million in assets at our Jewish Foundation, had our best ever contingent attending the International Lion of Judah conference, had terrific women’s events and the best community-wide event – A Night Out With Federation – we have produced in many years. We also engaged with leadership from most of the local synagogues and agencies in our YESOD leadership program, with special thanks to our facilitators, Ken Jacobs and Rabbi Avi Feigenbaum. We welcomed our national campaign chair, Suzanne Grant, to Jacksonville and had a most successful fundraising experience. Our community of donors has given nearly $300,000 in increased giving to Federation. As summer approaches, we are planning for the 2020 Annual Campaign, continued growth with all aspects of our Jewish Foundation work, a series of overseas missions, a leadership series through rGEN, a more in-depth allocations process, and much more. On behalf of our staff, thank you to all of our donors, to our board of directors, to the presidents of the local agencies, to the clergy, to the heads of schools, to the executives of the other agencies, and to all the members of our Jewish community.



Shalom Jacksonville Director shalomjax@jewishjacksonville.org

Shalom Jacksonville is the official Jewish welcome wagon of Northeast Florida, with a mission to welcome newcomers and to help them navigate the community. Now in its thirteenth year, Shalom Jax has many ambassadors who are out in the community welcoming, telephoning and guiding the newest among us and making them “feel at home in their new surroundings.” The group also facilitates holiday hospitality as well as social gatherings in different areas of the community – from Amelia Island to St. Augustine. Jewish Java, our signature monthly program, features local speakers on a wide range of topics that entertain, inform and offer advice for living healthy and contented lifestyles. Our Federation partner, River Garden, provides a conducive meeting place, a plentiful brunch and warm and friendly atmosphere for our many newcomers and locals. Shout out to Leslie Held, Director of Jewish Life and Volunteer Services at River Garden, for her partnership with us. In the coming year we plan to continue our


Women's Division Director laurenr@jewishjacksonville.org

The Women’s Division had a fantastic year, starting with a sold-out Champagne Brunch with Israeli entrepreneur and fashion designer, Sharon Tal. The event was co-chaired by Nicole Brown and Marjie Rogozinski. A record number of Lions of Judah attended the International Lion of Judah Conference in Hollywood, Florida, where Sue Eaglstein was recognized as a Kipnis-Wilson/Friedland Honoree. Our Lions were also acknowledged at the spring Lion Lunch, with special recognition


Women's Division Director laurenr@jewishjacksonville.org

The Society of Healers held two special programs to engage the healing community. In December, they hosted Dr. Sigmund Kharasch, attending physician at the Massachusetts General Hospital Pediatric

“reach to the beach” with the Beaches Java programs at Beth El-the Beaches synagogue. Shalom Jacksonville also partners with Jewish Genealogical Society of Northeast Florida and River Garden to provide guidance and encouragement for those seeking to learn more about their Jewish roots. Help us build our community by sharing the names of any new Jewish neighbors or co-workers so we can show them our Southern-Jewish hospitality. Please contact Isabel Balotin at shalomjax@ jewishjacksonville.org or 904-224-1408.

given to our Forever Lions. As part of our commitment to social action, Women’s Division hosted a Chanukah Party, chaired by Ilene Schinasi, at River Garden Hebrew Home, where attendees enjoyed songs and traditional treats. Plans for the next Women’s Mission to Israel were announced and registration is open. You can read more about that in the Q&A on page 8. Women’s Division hosted a sip-andschmooze event out at the beach, bringing together a group of women from the Beaches. The year culminated in a fabulous Girlfriend Connection, co-chaired by Rachel Morgenthal and Sherrie Saag, at the Cummer Museum of Art and Gardens. Thank you to the leadership, event chairs and committees for a successful year. A special thank you to Allison Jacobs for her service as Women’s Division President, Debbie Banks as Campaign Chair and Sue Levine as Lion of Judah Chair. If you would like to get involved with Women’s Division, please contact Lauren Rickoff at laurenr@jewishjacksonville.org.

Photo by Larry Tallis

Emergency Department. He spoke about his experiences volunteering at Hadassah Hospital in Israel. In April, two of our very own doctors, Dr. Steve Porter and Dr. Jeff Sapolsky, spoke at a reception sponsored by Dennis, Jackson, Martin and Fontela, P.A. on their experiences on the Physicians’ Mission to Israel. They spoke about what they learned visiting hospitals in Jacksonville’s partnership region of Hadera. Thank you to the Society of Healers co-chairs, Jill Metlin and Dr. Steve Porter, and their committee, for planning a great year. If you would like to get involved with Society of Healers, please contact Lauren Rickoff at laurenr@jewishjacksonville.org.


Summer 2019


Partnership Director jilla@jewishjacksonville.org

Two Jacksonville teens will travel to Israel this summer as part of the Jewish Federation of Jacksonville’s Partnership2Gether Tikkun Olam Summer Exchange Program. Arin Nathans, daughter or Alyse and Alan Nathans, and Stav Salzman, son of Irit and Oren Salzman, will join teens from Richmond, Charleston


rGEN Director fayeh@jewishjacksonville.org

rGEN had a special year, with meaningful and fun programming that brought out both new and familiar faces from the community. Many of the tried-and-true efforts rGEN initiates were successful and defined why we partake in these special traditions. Break the Fast, a Community Wide Havdalah, the Mini Mission, Super Sunday, Quarterly Cocktails and Second Night of Passover all brought out such nice crowds. That’s enough about the past. We’re so very excited and committed to our future. We have been developing two important and exciting initiatives for the coming year. The first is BRIDGES, the Jewish Federation of Jacksonville’s leadership development initiative for young professionals. We are confident that this program will help foster emerging leaders in their personal and professional lives. Participants will be more prepared and inclined to give back to the community now and in the future. BRIDGES Two of the program’s goals for participants are: learning about the needs of the


and Pinellas for a 10-day program of touring and exploring and service work in Israel. While there, the teens will be hosted by teens in our Israel Partnership region of Hadera-Eiron. They will learn what life is really like for Israeli teens and will become part of their host teen’s family for their stay. The American and Israeli teens will travel across Israel together - learning about the country and learning about each other. Once they return, Arin and Stav will host members of the Israeli delegation here in Jacksonville. We wish them safe travels on their incredible adventure from June 30 through July 11. For more information about the P2G Tikkun Olam Summer Exchange Program, please contact Jill Abel at jilla@jewishjacksonville.org or 904-224-1445.

community and the importance of giving back; and to expand their knowledge base in regard to trends, challenges and opportunities within the local Jewish community, Israel and Jewish communities around the world. Along with leadership training and development, the program will focus on the role of the Federation in the community; the history of our Jewish community, partner agencies and synagogues; challenges facing Jewish communities here and abroad; and networking with various community leaders and each other. Classes will be held monthly over the course of ten months, beginning in September, and will usually meet on the 3rd Wednesday evening of each month from 6-8:30 p.m., with a few exceptions. Each candidate will be required to attend a minimum of seven classes to graduate, along with a requirement that they make a minimum gift to the Federation annual campaign of $118. The deadline for submitting applications for this program is July 30. At the end of the program, each candidate will be encouraged to choose an area of focus to move into within the Federation, an agency, a synagogue or a Jewish school in our community. BEN-GURION SOCIETY The next initiative we’re revitalizing is our Ben-Gurion Society (BGS) program. BGS was founded on the principles of David Ben-Gurion, the first prime minister of Israel, who urged young men and women to channel their power, passion, and resourc-

es to build a strong and responsible Jewish community. BGS members, ages 25-45, give a minimum gift of $1,000 per year to their Federation’s Annual Campaign. This group will be provided with diverse growth opportunities throughout the year, including special programs and speakers and distinct access at events. We will also explore possible travel opportunities to hear more about the amazing work our Federations across America do through our partner agencies, JAFI and JDC. None of this year’s special efforts and the planning for our future would have been possible without the efforts of our Steering Committee, volunteers and partner agencies. A special thank you to the incredible leadership of our rGEN chair, Shylie Bannon, and rGEN campaign chair, Ben Marsh. We are very excited to have Ben come in as our next chairperson, Leah Palestrant as social action chair and Jeff Rood as the campaign chair. Shylie will move on to chair our Ben-Gurion Society and Nicole Brown will act as the BRIDGES chair. This dynamic group is sure to help cultivate a special experience for the young professional community here in Jacksonville. We welcome you to encourage a friend, relative or community member to get involved with this group of inspired and inspiring individuals. Please reach out to Faye Hedrick for more information at 904-512-3797 or fayeh@jewishjacksonville.org.

Summer 2019



Community Shaliach jaxshlichut@jewishjacksonville.org

It’s a hard mission to try to summarize the first amazing year of my Shlichut. So here is a list of 10 things I learned about life in the United States and our Jewish community in Jacksonville: 1. Schedule! America has a very different sense of time than Israel. If someone invited you to lunch at noon, he literally meant for you to come at 12 o’clock. And yes... it is completely normal to begin dinner at 5 p.m. In Israel, the average dinner time is after 8 p.m.! 2. Maybe it’s a southern thing, but everyone here is very nice! If someone asks you “How’s it going?” he means it and wants to hear your answer. Nobody honks on the roads, and everyone is so polite standing in lines. Anyone who has stood in a line in Israel knows that for us it looks completely different. Patience isn’t our strongest suit. 3. Sunday is a weekend!!! I repeat Sunday is weekend! While in Israel it’s the hardest day of the week because everybody is back to work, here Sunday is totally a Fun-Day. If there’s one thing that will make an Aliyah with me to Israel, it’s totally my American Sunday. 4. The most annoying thing in America is the advertising calls. At least three times a day Lisa calls me to ask me about insurance (that I don’t even have)! 5. In America everyone drives everywhere! To travel from place to place in Israel it’s very common to use a bus or take a train... sometimes maybe even walk. Here, everyone takes their cars. Everywhere! 6. Football Madness! Football – the ultimate American experience on Sundays. It’s such a special cultural celebration. Maybe next year we’ll get luckier... Go Jags! 7. Amazon Prime! I see it, I like it, I want it, I got it! 8. Trivia nights at a synagogue. While in Israel I would go to the synagogue only on Yom Kippur, but here it’s completely different. The synagogues here serve as community centers, with activities for all ages, including lectures, festivals and even trivia nights! The rabbis here are prominent community leaders. Most Jewish fami-

lies are members of (at least) one synagogue. They want to feel part of something bigger. The synagogues are the best place to feel and understand how Judaism connects to all of us, in so many different ways. 9. Summer rain. I was sitting by the pool and reading a book. At 2 p.m. clouds begin to cover the sky and the rain begins in seconds. In August!!! Every Floridan knows that shorts go with an umbrella. In Israel, rain belongs to the winter, and we pray for it because of the water shortage. We are educated from a young age to save water in every possible way, whether by reducing shower time or by closing the tap while washings the dishes or brushing our teeth. 10. Feeling home on the other side of the world. I’m living in a new place, alone in a foreign country, speaking a different language and without family and friends from home. It’s definitely one of the most challenging experiences I have ever gone through. Throughout this year I met a lot of special, warm people who chose to create a relationship and strengthen their connections to Israel. I am grateful to be part of our amazing community. Despite the diversity, the different groups work together with respect and cooperation. I would like to thank all the friends and families that I have acquired, all those who participated in an activity I lead, and all who invited me to dinner. Looking forward for another year here. Can’t wait to see what it will have to offer!

Welcoming Iris Kraemer as the incoming Federation President Iris Kraemer begins as Federation’s new board president in July. She is taking over for Ken Jacobs. Originally from North Miami Beach, Iris lived in Houston, Texas, and Sarasota, Florida, before moving to Jacksonville 26 years ago. She has a bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Speech/Language Pathology from the University of Florida and received her certification as a Dyslexia Specialist from The Key School in Asheville, North Carolina. A practicing Speech/Language Pathologist since 1981, she served as Director of Speech/Language Pathology Department at Rosewood Medical Center in Houston and currently works in private practice in Jacksonville. Iris’ volunteer experience includes serving as co-chair of the preschool Board at Temple Beth Sholom in Sarasota, Education Chair for Shir-Li Hadassah, Education Chair for Torah Academy of Jacksonville, Jewish Federation of Jacksonville’s Israel Partnership Chair and Campaign Chair, Israel Partnership Southeast Consortium Co-Chair, and the rising firstyear class of National Women’s Philanthropy Board of Jewish Federations of North America. Iris is married to Mark Kraemer, and they have two children and one grandson. Photo by Larry Tallis


Jewish Community Day in partnership with the Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens

Sunday, August 25 12 p.m.-4 p.m. Enjoy all the Cummer Museum has to offer including art activities and a museum-wide scavenger hunt! Complimentary Event Co-chairs: Stefanie Levine and Jodi Rogozinski Details to follow Community partners* *as of May 31, 2019


Year in Review Q &A WI T H OU R F U ND H OL D E R S


This month's question comes to us from Eunice Zisser: “How can we get back to teaching our children and grandchildren about tzedakah?” This question got my wheels spinning. I’m immediately reminded of the infamous school fundraisers that we see so often with our children. But more so, I’m reminded of my friends and coworkers asking me to make a purchase on behalf of their child for the benefit of a great cause. And believe me, I’m not casting the first stone here, I am guilty of doing the same! So how can we engage young children in tzedakah without doing it all for them? Teaching our children how to give is important; we can fill up the tzedakah box, bring cans to the local food bank or donate unused toys to a charity for children in need. But instilling the values behind charity – the why of tzedakah – is what is most important. My husband and I donate to charitable causes, but that happens without our son’s knowledge or input at this stage in his life. At four years old, he doesn’t yet have a great concept of money. But he does have a big heart. At early ages, it’s perhaps easiest to focus on basic values, such as gratitude and empathy. We can teach our children these ideas in small ways, in daily conversations. When my son asks for yet another toy, instead of just saying no, I try to talk to him about how it’s ok to want new toys, but also how lucky he is to have so much. For me, it’s about planting seeds and watering them bit by bit, over time. Reading books about mitzvot and tzedakah, such as Golda Takes a Stand is a good way to show how children can have an impact on other people’s lives. Young Golda gets creative in her approach to raise funds to buy textbooks for children in her school who do not have the school books required. As they grow older and begin preparing for their bar or bat mitzvah, a great teaching tool can be the opening of a B’nai Tzedek Young Philanthropy Fund. Life and Legacy offers these unique charitable funds for b’nai mitzvah students to participate fully in all aspects of tzedakah – from the simple act of donating money to the empowerment of voting on grant making proposals to the warm fulfillment of seeing positive change in action within their community. But most importantly, model tzedakah in your own life through action, even in small ways. I know he understands when I open the door for someone who has their hands full, or when I share what I have with him or others. Even the smallest action can inspire and encourage – because whether or not you know it, you are your child’s biggest hero and they are always watching you.



The Len & Judy Elikan Donor Advised Fund, est. 2011 What is special about the Jewish Community in Jacksonville? Upon relocating to the Jacksonville area from Cincinnati, we found a Jewish community that we could be a part of and we liked this. It is more than just a religious community. It is a social and cultural community and we came here at a time when the Beaches community was just starting to blossom. Why is securing Jewish tomorrows important to you? Our dream is for Judiasm to survive and grow, and Jewish education is the key to this survival. What kind of world do we want to pass on to the next generation? To us, that’s what a legacy is all about.


MICHAEL & DEANNA LISSNER The Michael & Deanna Lissner Endowment Fund, est. 2011

What is special about the Jewish Community in Jacksonville? When we were young, our oldest child told people that "Mommy and Daddy go to so many meetings so they can make the world a better place." There are so many Jewish organizations in Jacksonville that give us the opportunity to help others here at home, in Israel and around the world. What charitable goal inspired you to open your Fund? Our plan has always been to do some good in this world before we leave it and our hope is to inspire others to do the same. It is imperative for us to help our own people. Giving tzedakah not only helps to lift up others, but ourselves as well.


The Jaffa Family Endowment Fund, est. 2016

The Barry and Eunice Zisser Donor Advised Fund, est. 2004

Who in your family most embodied the value of tzedakah? My father demonstrated how to be charitable. He helped shape my philanthropic goal to keep giving for years to come.

What is your hope for the future of our Jewish community? To maintain the same sense of involvement and dedication exemplified by our current professionals and lay leaders.

What is special about the Jewish Community in Jacksonville? Our community is not regimented by size of gifts. We are all working toward the same goal of helping our Jewish community continue to grow.

Why is securing Jewish tomorrows important to you? Because of the more frequent references on social media, worldwide, referencing “Jewish yesterdays.” We as Jews, are mandated to insure the world, “Never again!”

Photo by Larry Tallis


Healthy, wealthy & wise

Led by our Jewish values, our philanthropy inspires action, change, and a greater sense of community. Philanthropy is an important part of our past, and indeed it is a part of our future. We thank you – our donors, advisors, volunteers and community partners – for building a Jewish legacy of hope for generations to come. It is because of your extraordinary generosity and long-term commitment that we can make Jewish Jacksonville stronger and more sustainable. Synagogue 19% Secular Non Profit 32%

Partner Agencies 43%

Israel/National Jewish 4% Colleges 2%



Partner Agencies


Synagogues & Jewish Schools


Israel/National Jewish


Secular Non Profit

$541, 495



YTD Total (257 grants):


Point of Interest Fund 1.13%


VALUE (As of 4/30/19)

B’nai Tzedek


Charitable Remainder Trust


Donor Advised Fund


Endowment Fund


Point of Interest Fund


Total Value:


B'nai Tzedek Donor Advised Fund 1.3% 9.8% Charitable Remainder Trust 0.03%

Endowment Fund 87.8%

Leslie Held, Mark Moss Esq., Bert Livingston and Isabel Balotin at the Free Education Open Forum

Mel and Debbie Gottlieb at the B’nai Tzedek Next Gen Grantmaking Relaunch Event


Year in Review

Summer 2019


he end of 2018 saw a change in JCA leadership as Executive Director Myron Flagler retired from the agency after over 20 years of service, and new JCA CEO Adam Chaskin took over on January 1, 2019. Through this change, it has been a year of notable highlights and exciting programming at the agency. The annual Discover Culture Literary, Film and Arts Festival, 22nd Annual JCA Jewish Book Festival and Jacksonville Film Festival brought Jewish-themed authors, films and cultural arts programming to the community. It opened with Emmy Award winner Martin Fletcher who presented his novel, Promised Land. The festival also featured Israeli Defense Forces soldier Izzy Ezagui whose memoir Disarmed told a powerful story of overcoming adversity. Marilyn Simon Rothstein’s comedic look at marriage, Husbands and Other Sharp Objects, and psychiatrist Marc E. Agronin’s dynamic, positive view of aging, The End of Old Age, brought a diverse group of literary voices to the festival. The event also included a book club with bestselling author Chloe Benjamin’s The Immortalists, a cabaret presented by the JCA Theatre department, film showings and a family concert. Nearly 1,000 guests came to the nine-day festival, which was free and open to the community thanks to the support of generous sponsors. This year’s annual JCA Fundraiser, titled Let’s Rock, brought guests out for an evening of rock and roll in support of the agency. In January, we introduced the Myron Flagler Israel Learning Seminar Endowment, which seeks to instill Jewish and Israel literacy in those who work for Jewish organizations in Jacksonville. Flagler, now in the role of agency consultant, was also awarded the prestigious OneJax Humanitarian Award for his work in the community. At the 2019 JCCA Professional Conference, the JCA received a Kol HaKavod Program Excellence Award in Visionary Management for our Relationship-based Membership Model. Michele Block Gan Yeladim launched the Educator Support Network for Duval County school teachers, following the Annual Early Childhood Education Conference, which involved a year of guided study with keynote speaker and Conscious Discipline certified instructor Nicole Mercer. Jewish and Family Programs brought the community together to celebrate Jewish tradition and customs in a fun, inclusive environment. Our annual Pizza in the Hut Sukkot Party taught the history of the holiday during a festive pizza meal. During Chanukkah, dozens of JCA families and members joined the lighting of our giant, outdoor chanukiyah and stayed for blessings, songs and crafts. For Yom Ha’atzmaut, we partnered with the Jewish Federation of Jacksonville and the city’s other Jewish organizations to host a community-wide celebration, which featured an exhibit by community shlicha Rotem Gabay called 100 faces of Jewish Jacksonville that showcased portraits of community members ages 0-100. The J Institute brought enrichment to the community through education, wellness and social programming that engaged adults of all ages and interests. The Discover Israel Series included Israeli films and topical discussions. Young Concert Artists Series welcomed violinist SooBeen Lee, pianist Nathan Lee and cellist Zlatomir Fung for free, community concerts. Harry Frisch gave insight into his success in his book, Use Your Head. Jamie Bernstein, daughter of famed composer Leonard Bernstein, visited the J to present her book, Famous Father Girl, and the Sunday Film Series, painting, pottery and Vandroff Art Gallery provided seasonal arts offerings. Michele Block Gan Yeladim gave our youngest friends a safe, nurturing environment to learn and thrive with programs like Torah Tales, Cooking Around the World and JPLAY Havdallah. Students cared for a clutch of ducklings, grew and ate organic vegetables in their garden, made misloach manot for Purim and enjoyed a retelling of the Exodus from Egypt in a Mock Passover Seder. Ongoing Parent and Me classes let parents and children play, swim, workout and spend quality time. Fitness and Wellness inspired personal enrichment within the entire community. For the Heart Healthy Fitness Challenge, members and


All photos by Britney Bean


staff completed 100 miles each in honor of Heart Health Month. The second annual Omer Burpee Challenge encouraged followers to share their daily burpees on the JCA Fitness and Wellness Facebook group page. The department also introduced new classes, including Belly Dancing, Advanced Yoga and Walk-to-Run. Wellness Connexion offered free community programs that touched on a variety of important health and wellness issues, including mental health, first aid, stroke awareness, cancer wellness, meditation, Crohn’s and colitis and heart health. Theatre’s Magic Wardrobe brought educational theatre to thousands of students from Duval County with messages of tolerance, honesty and kindness. Theatre of Youth put on productions of Mary Poppins, Peter Pan and Alice in Wonderland starring our talented young actors. Youth Services provided a safe, stimulating after-school envi-

ronment for school-aged children with arts, STEM and other enrichment options. JCA accredited summer camps brought fun to the summer months. Sports and Recreation kept youth and adults active with record participation in basketball, flag football and soccer leagues. Aquatics brought safe swim practices to swimmers of all ages and abilities with 2,277 Learn-to-Swim and private lessons and the new Sensory Safe Swimmers program, for learners on the autism spectrum. Tennis participants stayed on the courts yearround and came out on top with a win by the Working Women’s Team in the league championship. These are just some of the wonderful programming and accomplishments from a year filled with growth and change. And through it all, the JCA vision stayed the same, to provide the place in the tradition of our heritage where all people come together throughout their lives to enhance body, mind and spirit in an environment of fun, harmony and friendship.

JCA aims for holistic wellness through key partnerships By Jewish Community Alliance

When it comes to the health of its members, the JCA has created opportunities for increased personal wellness through partnerships like that with Baptist Health and Brooks Rehabilitation Center. In 2015, the JCA partnered with Baptist Health to create the Wellness Connexion, a free service aimed at increasing the wellness of JCA members and the community through personalized wellness guidance and education. Since its launch, this service has sought to help thousands from the community reach higher personal health awareness and take steps toward achieving their wellness goals. The core of the Wellness Connexion is a free, online, confidential wellness assessment and biometric screenings with one of the wellness coaches, who are also registered nurses. This has provided an opportunity for members to get expert guidance and health coaching to assist in achieving their wellness goals. The convenient location inside of the JCA allows members direct access to resources within the JCA Fitness and adult programming departments. Wellness Connexion also hosts free wellness programs that address

a variety of health-related topics such as advanced care planning, eye health, heart health, back and spinal health, mental health awareness and more, which are often free to the community. Brooks Rehabilitation has offices within the JCA. As the largest provider of rehabilitation services in Northeast Florida, Brooks offers specialized physical therapy, including orthopedic physical therapy, aquatic therapy, pre- and post-operative therapy and concussion rehabilitation. Being in proximity to the JCA Fitness facilities affords them the use of a variety of equipment and introduces those undergoing rehabilitation to JCA membership services available post therapy. For more information on the Wellness Connexion, call 730-2100 ext. 333. For information on Brooks Rehabilitation, call 419-6101. 19

Summer 2019

Finding community at the JCA By Jewish Community Alliance

Lyubov Chernitskaya and her family moved to the United States as refugees in the 1990s. At that time, the JCA worked with the organization that helped the family resettle to offer a complimentary, year-long membership to Jewish families who came to Jacksonville. In 1995, when the family became members, the JCA provided a welcoming environment for the couple, who, with a young son, wanted someplace where they could meet people and participate in meaningful activities. With all the JCA has to offer, it wasn’t long before they found themselves spending much of their time at the agency. “We were all the time in the JCA,” said Lyubov. They were quickly enveloped into the JCA family which not only served as their social center but helped see them through some tough times. “When my father passed away and then my mother in three months, our friends at the JCA prayed for us,” she recalled. Lyubov and her husband, Daniel, took part in many of the offerings at the agency, including working out, attending concerts and other cultural arts events, and spending time as a family. Both parents and son enjoyed the opportunity to socialize and, in a new place, it was great to make connections with other members. The Chernitskayas enrolled their then six-year-old son, Constantine, in JCA Summer Camp, where he made lasting friendships and began to explore interests that would create a foundation for success in his life. Through elementary and middle school, Constantine participated in a variety of JCA youth programs in addition to camp, including JCAtion Days (back then called Break Away Days), Taekwondo and CPR certification. He enjoyed the martial arts so much that he stuck with it and

eventually earned a second-degree black belt. As a teenager, he returned to the camp that he had so much fun in as a child and served first as a JCA Camp volunteer and then a camp counselor for a few summers. It was during this time that his passion for working with children was fostered, and he realized that serving the youngest members of society was the kind of rewarding experience he wanted to continue in his life. Later, as an adult, when Constantine finished undergraduate school and decided to attend medical school, he told Lyubov that his experiences as a child at the JCA and working as a counselor inspired his choice of specialization. “He finished medical school, and now he is a pediatrician,” his mother said. “And he said it’s because he enjoyed so much working with the children.” Although Constantine, now 30 and at the end of his residency in Miami, isn’t a member anymore, Lyubov and her husband still come to the JCA over 20 years later. They’ve made many close friendships during Constantine that time, and the now works as JCA has truly had a pediatrician. an impact on their lives.

The Chernitskaya family.

Jewish Community Alliance leaders honored By Jewish Community Alliance

Each year, the JCA recognizes members of the JCA community who have gone above and beyond in service to the agency with the Howard Korman President’s Award and the JCA Special Services Award. The Howard Korman President’s Award recognizes a JCA Board Member who embodies the qualities of leadership, vision and courage during the program year. Rochelle Stoddard is being honored for her various JCA leadership roles. This year Rochelle served as chair of the JCA’s annual fundraiser, Let’s Rock, and liaison to the committee on behalf of the honorary chairs the Berman and Stoddard families. As chair of the event, she led the JCA executive committee to a new fundraising record in a non-milestone year. Rochelle also served as an active member of the JCA CEO search committee and a member of the budget and finance committee in addition to her role as Vice President of the Board of Trustees. “It has been a pleasure to work with and get to know Rochelle in the many different roles she plays as part of the JCA’s leadership,” notes CEO Adam 20

Rochelle Stoddard

Adam Frisch

Chaskin. “I know she and her family have a long history at the JCA, and I am thrilled that Rochelle is continuing their legacy.” The Berman Family Foundation generously funds the annual JCA Young Concert Artist Series, a tradition that began with Rochelle’s grandparents, Milton and Edith Berman. The Special Service Award is given to a person who demonstrates outstanding service to the JCA. Adam Frisch is being honored for serving as chair of the JCA CEO search committee. As chair, Adam led the committee to identify the JCA’s new professional

leader upon Myron Flagler’s retirement. This year-long process included meetings, interviews and an enormous amount of time dedicated to working with lay leadership and outside consultants to ensure a successful outcome. Ultimately, the committee, under Adam’s leadership, unanimously selected Adam Chaskin for the job. “As a past president and a third-generation JCA member, Adam was the ideal candidate to lead this committee through a lengthy process that ended with a great result. I knew I could trust Adam to ensure that the JCA’s future remains strong, and I thank him for his time, effort and dedication in doing so,” says Flagler. The Outstanding Teamwork Award was newly created this year to represent a team of lay and professional staff that collaborated to make meaningful change for the JCA. In its inaugural year, this award is being presented to Board members Sam Stromberg and Andrea Price, former Board member Sid Ansbacher and JCA CEO Adam Chaskin for the rewriting of the JCA bylaws. The awards will be presented on June 11 at the final JCA Board of Trustees meeting of the fiscal year.

Summer 2019

QUALITY LIVING Maximizing your minutes By Dr. Alan Nathans

Did you know that if you live to 100, you will live more than 50 million minutes? That’s 525,600 minutes every year. You can make the most of each moment by realizing that your time is your currency. Each minute you spend represents a choice, whether or not you make it consciously. Making informed, purposeful decisions about your time will allow you to fall madly in love with the life you’re living. Don’t shy away from “time management.” Strategizing and planning can be enjoyable when you know you’re taking control of your future. The key is to build your schedule around your life, not your life around your schedule. After all, if your time is not your own, your life is not your own. The three parts of my Quality-Time Living Model are: prime time, prep time and play time (and you need all of them!). PRIME TIME, PREP TIME AND PLAY TIME Prime time is your chance to use your talents and skills to produce something of value for the world. It gives you a sense of worth and satisfaction and builds your self-esteem. That’s why it is so important to choose a career that you love! Prime time keeps you sharp, purposeful and productive. Prep time is the time you spend planning and preparing for your prime and play time, and it is important not to neglect this step. Designate official prep time and watch your life run smoother! Play time is all about you. This is time for you to pursue your interests and spend time with your friends and family. Play time nurtures your creativity and revitalizes you. IT’S ABOUT BALANCE, BUT IT’S NOT A BALANCING ACT Newsflash: you deserve play time. You don’t have to earn it, and you certainly don’t have to wait until you’re exhausted to take it. Prioritizing play time will result in higher quality prime time and increased performance all around. Fortune magazine recently declared “innovation” as the “main competitive strength” in the workplace. If you continually

sacrifice your life for your work, your energy will go toward survival. When you are emotionally, physically and spiritually balanced, your energy can go directly toward your creativity. Not every day has to be centered on completing tasks, so don’t be afraid to unplug from the constant ringing and buzzing of the modern world. Balance is crucial for sustained energy, peace of mind and longevity. MY MINUTES, MY LIFE Make this your mantra. Set boundaries. Get a calendar and block out holidays, birthdays and planned vacations as play time before you do anything else. Consider how many days each of prime, prep and play time you need to achieve balance, and plan your schedule accordingly. Your productivity will increase, and you’ll be more content, enthusiastic and energized than ever! Dr. Alan Nathans, a lecturer and family chiropractor, is a graduate of Life University in Marietta, Ga., and has been in private practice since 1999. He is a leader in the Jacksonville community focusing on a philosophy that centers around the “100 Year Lifestyle”. He is passionate about transforming the health and longevity of his community by providing effective chiropractic care and the resources to live your best life from birth to 100 years and beyond. Nathans and his wife, Alyse, live in Jacksonville and have three daughters.


Summer 2019


Photos by Kelsey Schutter

By Mindy Rubenstein

Twenty-six-year old Gabrielle Magid speaks passionately and articulately about Stronger than Stigma, the non-profit organization she founded six years ago to offer support to millennials struggling with mental health issues. “It’s a strength to reach out for help and recognize when you’re not on your A-game,” Magid tells people. The self-proclaimed “digital nomad”– she doesn’t yet have an office – is a fourth-generation Jacksonvillian and a graduate of the University of Florida, where she says she realized there was an issue that needed solving. “I came up with the idea sophomore year and pitched it to the dean,” she recalls, wanting to start a campus campaign to promote mental health awareness and support. “It came to my attention that there were all these free (mental health) resources yet students didn’t know where to turn for help or they were ashamed. There was a void we were trying to fill on campus.” She attributed that to campus culture: “Students were afraid to be different or be seen as weak.” A life-changing moment was the suicide of a fellow student during her freshman year. “I was completely devastated. I had a feeling he didn’t know where help was or was ashamed. It got me angry enough to realize nothing is going to change unless somebody changes it. And it had to be me,” said Magid, who majored in women’s studies and double minored in business administration and non-profit administrative leadership. The dean at UF didn’t accept her initial idea. “I was discouraged but went about my business,” she said. But that changed when she returned from Birthright Israel, a free 10-day trip to Israel for young Jewish adults aged 18 to 32. “I came home from Birthright and was jazzed to start it!” She grabbed some friends she met on the trip and ran with 22

her idea. “If the university won’t support this, then we’ll form a non-profit,” she said back then. “We won’t let them stop us.” Since the organization was basically born out of a trip to Israel, she says, “I’ll always have this connection to that experience, which is awesome.” Now, Stronger than Stigma has two employees, a board of five young professionals, an advisory council of eight trained professionals, as well as other volunteers who come as needed. Plus, she was able to start a student-led board at UF, now in its sixth generation, that includes five students “leading the charge in Gainesville.” While it’s difficult to quantify how many lives are saved through Stronger than Stigma, they get 13,000 Facebook impressions each month, part of their “global online presence,” she said. Plus, their local events, such as comedy and music events around town, sell out with 150 people. “We’re pretty good at bringing the community together,” she said. Still, it’s not simple running a non-profit. “There are so many challenges all the time,” she admits. “Being in my 20’s … people don’t respect you right away and think you’re not serious about what you’re doing,” she said. “It’s been a challenge to be young – people don’t see you as an authority. I feel like I’m always trying to prove myself over and over again. Just because I’m young doesn’t mean I don’t know what I’m doing in this realm.” Josh Krafchick, 29, who has been on the Stronger than Stigma board for three years, helps with the business side of the organization. He said he helps make sure they can focus on longevity and become a consistent presence in the community, offering a variety of different projects to help people with mental health issues and spread awareness. The goal, he said, is to become a nonprofit that is sustainable and doesn’t have to rely on donations. Mental health issues hit close to home for Krafchick, an

independent tax advisor and financial planner. He said he has been dealing with a difficult situation at work, as well as a family member with bipolar disorder. Plus, he has seen other close family members not getting the mental health help they need. “I myself have burnt out a couple times because of situations,” he said. “Definitely there’s a need, but some people don’t think there’s a need. We are trying to spread awareness and make a difference in the world.” Krafchick, a USY youth advisor who attends Chabad of Southside, first met Magid when she complimented his socks. “I have a thing for socks,” he said, adding that he learned about her nonprofit and wanted to be part of it. He attended a happy hour and helped grow the Stronger than Stigma board to five. “We’ve been rocking and rolling ever since,” he said. The organization received its first grant in October to run a comedy tour – called Nobody’s Happy – which offers 12 shows in six states in 25 days, because comedy “helps people cope.” According to statistics, one in four people in the U.S. struggles with mental illness, but that’s just people who reach out for help. But, as Magid, says, “Four out of four people can defeat the stigma.” Like others in the field, she doesn’t like the term “mental illness,” but rather prefers to say “mental health issues.” Mental illness is a lazy term that can encompass anything across the broad spectrum, from social anxiety to schizoaffective disorders, she said. Did she say that? Magid admits to facing personal experiences with anxiety and depression and getting the help she needs, which is in part what keeps her motivated to encourage others to get the help they need as well. “At the end of the day, it’s your own quality of life,” she says. Stigma shouldn’t keep anyone from “living the best life possible because of fear of what other people think.” When in doubt we quote Dr. Seuss, she laughs: “Those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.” “Wouldn’t it be awful if you judged someone and then needed support down the road?” “It’s so frustrating to me that people can’t fathom the idea that mental health is physical – it’s your brain. It’s part of the human condition to have a range of emotions, and whether it’s situational or a chemical imbalance it’s part of being human.” Their messaging is geared toward millennials, to uplift and rally. She recently had the

Summer 2019 opportunity to give a Ted Talk to further drive her message home. “We recognize as a generation we have to talk about these issues. Saying ‘me too’ and trading support and resources,” she said. “Our grandparents generation denied these issues existed. Our parents would sneak off to therapy. Now we realize these issues are everywhere. Why is no one talking about it?” “We are hoping the next generation comes up in a world without stigma.” For mental health awareness month in May, the organization hosted a pop-up (temporary) installation in a 3,100-square-foot facility in the heart of downtown on Laura Street. Magid thinks it’s the first “pop up” based around mental health nationwide. They had 300 people for the ribbon-cutting ceremony during downtown’s monthly Art Walk. The site, which used to be a restaurant, offers an intimate setting with an interactive installation up front – with prompts that are meant to spark dialogue between strangers (pictured below) – and a concert venue in the back. “The most life-changing conversations happen one-on-one or in small groups,” she said, adding that events are capped at 50 people. “We need to have these conversations in the heart of Jacksonville with our doors open.” Stronger than Stigma doesn’t provide direct mental health services – it’s geared for people seeking treatment an hour a week to fill in the gaps with support and camaraderie, as well as uplifting events like comedy shows and concerts.” “The rest of the time we need something to belong to. That’s the void we are filling. We’re taking anyone along with us on this ride but marketing to target our demographic to make sure we have our army ready and behind us.”


Year in Review

June/July 2018



3 4








1. JFCS had a very successful United Way campaign for 2019, raising over $13,000 by staff! Staff pictured: Nicole Andrews, Niki Garner, Jason Kugel, Bernie Cuadra, Melissa Brisbane, Evita Alvarez and LaShawnta Baker. 2. Chabad of St. Johns County teens gathered and cooked special treats for Jewish Family & Community Services clients for Thanksgiving. 3. Holiday Gift Giving was a huge success, serving over 1,600 children. A special thank you to Sheri Weiss (pictured far right) and all the other volunteers who helped make sure all of our kids were served! 4. PJ Library and rGEN hosted a Havdalah event in January at the Jacksonville Jewish Center. The kids had s’mores, made lanterns and welcomed a new week with songs and prayers with the help of local rabbis and community members. 5. The Rescuers: Moral Portraits of Courage, an exhibit by Gay Block and Malka Drucker, opened at Jewish Family & Community Services in February. Pictured is photographer, Gay Block, with wife Billie Parker. 6. Sheryl Johnson, co-chair of the 2019 JFCS Annual Event, addressing a silent room as she tells her story of the loss of her son Alex. 7. Uptown Civitan visiting The Rescuers: Portraits of Moral Courage 8. Feeding Northeast Florida and Jewish Family & Community Services partnered in late 2018 to provide food to Holocaust survivors living at or below the poverty level. Pictured: (front row) Katie Kight, Marcy Reindl, Stacey Rohrer; (back row) Jeff Golden, Ben Marcus, Doug Harlan, Mike Guyot and Morris Bendit. 9. Four at-risk teenagers from AMIKids assisting in the Max Block Food Pantry and learning the value of giving back. 25

Summer 2019

JFCS Board visits “Lest We Forget” exhibit at St. John’s Cathedral By Jewish Family & Community Services

JFCS’s Board of Directors April meeting was held at St. John’s Cathedral downtown, where board members were able to view a very special collaborative exhibition, “Lest We Forget.” The exhibit on display during the season of Lent included a collection of powerful images taken by local and world-renowned photographers, including pictures from inside a Nazi concentration camp, as well as portraits of Holocaust survivors and the people who risked their lives harboring their persecuted neighbors. The exhibit featured works from JFCS’ “Rescuers” by Gay Block and Malka Drucker, which is currently on display at JFCS’s Frisch Family Holocaust Memorial Gallery; “Survivors” by Ingrid Damiani; as well as portraits from “One Family” by photographer Vardi Kahana. Jay Wright, an exhibition committee member with St. John’s Cathedral, said congregation leaders felt this was an important topic to focus on during Lent, a time of reflection and repentance. “The exhibition graphically presents images of mankind at its worst and its best,” Wright said. “It’s important that we recognize the mistakes of the past to ensure we don’t repeat them in the future.” If you would like more information about the Gallery, please contact Gail Furman at 904-3945723 or gfurman@jfcsjax.org.

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SAVE the date

Summer 2019

In my own words… My story about mental health By Donna O'Steen

Jewish Family & Community Services is not just the place I work. It’s a place that has been a part of my life for many years. It is the place that changed my life. There has always been a stigma associated with mental health. I remember a time when I was afraid to talk about my issues – about my family’s issues. But, as I have gotten older and continued to overcome things that have happened in my life, I have realized that if you cannot talk about your feelings or things that bother you, there can be no healing. I have experienced mental health issues, including major depression and anxiety. To accurately tell my story, I have to go back to 1997, when my father was diagnosed with kidney disease. He needed a kidney transplant and my mom was matched and able to donate hers. Depression set in for the first time, and as much as I didn’t want to admit that something was wrong, there was. I suffered alone for a while before accepting that something wasn’t right. I visited my family physician, and he explained that I was experiencing depression, that it was a common occurrence and that there was nothing to be ashamed of. He prescribed Zoloft and therapy and sent me on my way. For nine years, things leveled out. I took my Zoloft, I went back to school and pursued my college degree. My mom and dad were doing well, and although there were some health scares through the years, life was stable for the most part. My then-husband and I decided to start a family. I talked to my family about the decision. Because once long ago I had told my dad that I never wanted children, he was surprised. Being the outspoken person he was, he said, “The day you have a child is the day I die,” he said with a laugh. We all laughed. I understood his cynicism. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to conceive, so after another bout of depression, my husband and I began the process of foster care to adoption with Jewish Family & Community Services. I worked at Community Connections when we started the process, and we had a daycare at the facility for children ages 6 months to 5 years. I visited it often during the process, thinking, “I will have this one day.” One morning, I saw the most beautiful little boy there. I was immediately drawn to him. He was two years old, bi-racial and the cutest thing I had ever seen. I asked the daycare director about him, and she told me he was “visiting” until he was assigned a new foster family. We became licensed foster parents in November of 2007, and almost immediately received the call that we would be getting a child on December 18. The child was twoyears old and his name was Julian. I remember clearly the moment the Jewish Family & Community Services support worker pulled into our driveway and got out of the car. She waved as she walked around to the back-passenger side door. She opened it and pulled out a child. It was the child I had met and fell in love with from the Community

Connections daycare. It was true serendipity! early life. In Julian’s case, when he was in his biological mother’s custody, he was often Within a month of Julian living with us, he left alone. became available for adoption. My husband As his therapist explained it: When Julian and I immediately moved to get the process was a baby, his needs were not met, so he started – and it went fast. By January 20, we learned to self-soothe. Instead of having had a court date in Judge David Gooding’s someone nurture him, he learned to nurcourtroom to make the adoption legal. ture himself. When he cried, no one came, During this time, my father had fallen therefore forcing him – at the tender age of and broken his hip and spent the month in a one and a half – to take care of himself, to rehab facility. Although he was healing, he soothe himself, to become reliant only upon was extremely depressed. When he came himself, making him unable to form a true home in early January, he had a panic attack bond with his father or myself. If he didn’t and was rushed to the emergency room. get attached to us, he was protected from The doctors said the attack was brought on being abandoned again. by the anxiety of being home and not being With continued counseling with a RAD fully healed from the hip break and the fear specialist, Julian, now a teenager, is on the of hurting himself again. He was prescribed road to recovery. He participates in the JFCS Ativan and sent back home where my mothAchievers for Life program, has an Individer cared for him. ualized Education Plan (IEP) to help him On January 25, we went to the courtin school, and has recently started playing room to finalize the adoption, surrounded by competitive soccer. Julian has maintained family (except my dad) and friends. It was, a 3.50 grade point average for the last two by far, the happiest day of my life. From the years and was recently awarded a commencourtroom, we went to visit my dad, and dation for being one of 18 kids in his middle spent a few hours. My dad could not believe school to accomplish that. When I spoke to we had actually done it, that we had actually him about writing this article, Julian said, adopted a child. “Mom, if we don’t share our experiences On January 27, my mother called me in and talk about these things, there will always a panic, saying that there was something be a stigma, and we won’t grow. We have wrong with my dad, and she was taking him to tell people about what we have both been to the ER. I rushed to get to them, but by the through. That is part of the healing.” And he time I arrived at Beaches Baptist, my dad is right. He is fearless. was gone, and even though the doctors were I wouldn’t change a thing in regards to still performing CPR, we had to let him go. My dad had been right. The day I had a child what we have been through to get him to this point, or in what I have been through in was almost the day he died. my personal life to get me to this This is when the real depression started point. It has made me the person I for me. It affected everyam. Jewish Family & Community thing in my life. I Services has played a pivotal role felt hopeless and in my life. They were there – and empty. I thought still are – when I needed help, about suicide and when Julian needed help. then I realized, “I In closing, I want to add that need help.” And I got YOU ARE NEVER ALONE. it through counselIf you or someone you know is ing/therapy. With this struggling, please contact us at depression, life com904-394-5706. We can help. pletely changed and We want to help. Just look at within a year, I was what JFCS has done for me. divorced and sharing custody of Julian. We knew Julian was going through someJulian thing when his behavior t day with rs fi 's a n n Do began declining, and at that point, we decided to go back to where it all started – Jewish Family & Community Services – to enlist the help of Dupont Counseling Group, where his mental health could be tested and diagnosed by professionals. Julian participated in a comprehensive mental diagnostic assessment and was diagnosed with ADHD. With treatment, his behavior improved, but he still had impulsivity issues. Through continued counseling at Dupont Counseling Group, however, we finally got his true diagnosis: Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD). RAD is a mental health disorder in which a child is unable to establish healthy relationships or attachments Julian today with parents and/or primary caregivers due to trauma and disruptions experienced in

Summer 2019


Judith Fox-Goldstein didn’t set out to be an artist. Originally from New York, she lived in Hawai'i for several decades, raising her two children there before moving with her husband, Michael, to Jacksonville in 2015. In her previous life before coming to Jacksonville, Judith always found herself in interesting jobs – she was a preschool director, administrator of an adult daycare, and founder and director of the University of Hawaii at Hilo Conference Center. Michael was a leading Hawaiian flower (Anthurium) grower, supplying flowers to Disney and throughout the United States. “I did NOT retire when we moved here,” Judith insists. Indeed, she continued to work as the administrative director for the University of Hawai'i at Hilo until 2016 and then went into directing the IMS (International Moonbase Summit) with NASA participants. She posed proudly for a picture with Buzz Aldrin and other astronauts in 2017, and the photo was included in the last space launch to the ISS (International Space Station). She laughs as she notes that it wasn’t from advanced degrees, but rather from being in the right place at the right time. Still, she earned a bachelor’s in Theatre Arts and did graduate work in gerontology, specializing in Alzheimer’s disease, and in higher administration. 28

“I feel so privileged to have had the life I’ve had,” she said. Last year, she developed a resume business dubbed “Word by Word” and works as a freelance writer. But art is her main passion. “So, the transition continues for me and, now... with this new incredible journey,” she said. “It’s never too late to be brand new!” Dressed in blue silk with unusual glass jewelry, she oozes Hawai’ian vibe and Hawai’ian words spill forth. Though she sometimes feels like a fish out of water – or a Hawai’ian out of Hawai’i – she is learning to love it here, immersing herself in art and making new friends. “I’m breathing this now. It’s my kuleana, my passion.” She loved the diversity of Hawai’i and meeting different types of people, as well as how open and accepting the society is there. They respected their elders, their kupuna, she recalls. “Nana I Ke Kumu,” going back to our roots, was the foundation of Hawai’i’s culture, she said.

Judith Fox-Goldstein

Summer 2019

“They were defined by diversity, not divided by it,” she says. “Living as a minority in Hawai’i was an unbelievable experience and a gift beyond words,” she said. “Returning to the mainland presents me with a new kind of joy and discovery, and I’m just beginning to express that.” Now she spends much of her time creating colorful cards and artwork, mostly images of women of various ethnicities whose characters she develops through hours of loving care. They contain faces of women with hauntingly beautiful eyes that seem to peer back at you, along with inspiring quotes. “I never drew before,” she said, adding that she got started accidentally by doodling on wrapping paper this past August. She gleans inspiration from everything and everyone she sees. “I see an image and then make it my own,” she said. “I get to know the characters.” She has designed hundreds of cards, which she often gives away as gifts. “I enjoy the smiles,” she says of the reactions she gets from others. “Judith just keeps on coming up with these incredible images and it’s so interesting to see the different directions she’s taken,” said card recipient Sandy Selwitz, a retired teacher in St. John’s. Judith is now working with Erica Bean from Driftwood Printing, who’s creating prints of her cards. “I’m taking the next step now,” she said. “The business end of this isn’t nearly as much fun, but it’s necessary in my journey’s development.” She has the ‘mo’olelo, stories, for each of the characters. Some of the women are Jewish, some are Hawai’ian, others Asian or African. “The beauty and symbolism of Judith’s art moves me deeply. Her discovery of latent talent is an inspiration to us all,” said Jacksonville resident Andrea Mail, president of the Jewish Women’s Renaissance Project. Judith works intensely and passionately, having to sometimes remind herself to take a break. She is trying to find balance in life, or pono, so as not to get overly consumed, she said, adding that there’s a common Hawai’ian bumper sticker that says, “Got Pono?” Some of the drawings take her days or weeks as she works to perfect each detail of the character she’s creating. She looks at one image, already beautiful, but not yet to her liking. “It’s not fully cooked,” she says, putting it away. In her work as a resume writer, she says it’s another way of telling people’s stories. One of her specialties is moms going back to work. “I love that,” she said. “I like to write. I like to help people. Get to know people. What a gift.” And after years of being seemingly disconnected from Judaism, it has started to become part of her life again through her friends and her art. She attends the Jacksonville Jewish Business Networking group and various Jewish community events. She has also started a Jewish art series and is learning to write simple phrases in Hebrew. “I’m okay here now,” she said, of her new home in Jacksonville and her connection to Judaism. “My whole world is changing. As you get older, you think more about spiritualism. I’m so grateful for everyday that comes.” Moving back to the mainland, from the Big Island, has allowed her to reunite with her roots and heritage. “Words, songs, language, holiday celebrations and ethnic food, all – somehow – feel familiar again,” she said. “There is definitely a language that connects people who share a history and heritage and it’s brought me a unique familiarity and comfort. I hear Jewish phrases and references that bring me back to my childhood. It causes me to pause, reflect and remember my roots with much affection.” She spreads her cards out on the table, each carefully placed in its own plastic sleeve, each more beautiful than the next. “I’m just discovering.” Then she looks serious for a moment. “Painting is not separate from life,” she says. “It’s in the trees, sky, faces, flowers, architecture and tiny details have become so large. It’s like I’m looking through a magnifying glass all the time. Painting is life.” “I’m just beginning, and I am in gratitude. Self-discovery is such a wonderful journey!”



Andrea Mail showing a gift she received from the artist.

The artist has been experimenting with Judaicathemed art, like these Hanukkah candles. 29

Summer 2019

JFCS hosts international lecturer and author Rabbi Dr. Akiva Tatz By Jewish Family & Community Services

On Monday, April 29, Jewish Family & Community Services was honored to host Rabbi Dr. Akiva Tatz for a lecture entitled, “Mental Health and Happiness – A Jewish Approach,” in the Chartrand Tolerance Education Center at the Alan J. Taffet Building. The discussion focused on the topic of free will. G-d gifted every human with the ability to use their own free will to make decisions, with the message to keep in mind that the decisions you make ultimately affect more than just yourself; they affect your entire spiritual and moral compass as well as everyone else that decision influences. Tatz was born in Johannesburg, South Africa. He studied medicine at the University of Witwatersrand and graduated with distinction in surgery. Tatz has written a number of books on the subject of Jewish thought and philosophy. To hear other important discussions by the rabbi, visit the Torah downloads page at https://torahdownloads.com/s-9-rabbi-akivatatz.html.

Dupont Counseling Group has grown again! Dupont Counseling Group is now able to better serve the Jacksonville/ First Coast community. We offer family, individual, couples and group counseling to both adults and children. Our team has more than 50 years of combined experience, and our specialties include: • Mental health issues • Issues of abuse and neglect • Coping with illness • Grief and loss • Life transitions and relationships 30

• Childhood behavioral difficulties • Anger management and community education, and, • Co-parenting classes (divorce court required) We have also recently started offering outpatient drug treatment services. We currently accept these insurances: Aetna, Cigna, Compsych, Magellan, Medicaid, Optum, TriCare, United Behavioral Health and United Healthcare. Florida Blue insurance will be added soon. If you or someone you know needs mental health counseling, contact Dupont Counseling Group at 904-394-5706. We are here to help!

Summer 2019

Teaching our children: The Max Block Food Pantry By Jewish Family & Community Services

Emmett and Grayson Brown, along with their mother, Nicole Brown, often visit the Max Block Food Pantry and Fanny Landwirth Clothes Closet and this month was no exception! The boys visited the pantry to deliver items they purchased to stock the shelves for the many clients Jewish Family & Community Services serves daily. On the same day, they also delivered their “old” clothes to the clothes closet. “It is never too early to teach your children the importance of giving back. Emmett and Grayson are beginning to understand the importance of helping others who are struggling, and they take such pride in doing a good deed. As their mother, it makes me proud to know they will one day change the world for the better,” said Nicole Brown. If you would like your child to experience firsthand the importance of giving back to people in need, contact Max Block Food Pantry Coordinator, Tierra Holsey, at 904-394-5728 or tholsey@jfcsjax.org.

Volunteers needed for the Max Block Food Pantry and Fanny Landwirth Clothes Closet

The Max Block Food Pantry match challenge has begun By Jewish Family & Community Services

One in five children in Duval County receives their only meal while in school – and school ends May 31. The Max Block Food Pantry at JFCS meets the needs of hundreds of families that struggle throughout the summer months, closing the food gap that is created by school being out. In 2018 alone, the Max Block Food Pantry served more than 50,000 meals. Your donation to the Max Block Food Pantry will be generously matched by the Block Family Foundation through July 31. Please give now and make twice the difference in the lives of the many that come to JFCS for assistance. For more information on how you could make more of a difference, contact Tierra Holsey at 904-394-5728 or tholsey@jfcsjax.org.

Jacksonville Torah High School visits “The Rescuers” exhibit By Jewish Family & Community Services

The Max Block Food Pantry and the Fanny Landwirth Clothes Closet are open every Tuesday and Thursday from 1-3 p.m. at the Allison Stein Robbins Building (6261 Dupont Station Court E., Jacksonville). We need your help! Whether you want to stock shelves, clean up or help the public shop for food or clothing items, we can oblige! Please contact Donna O’Steen at 904-394-5714 or dosteen@jfcsjax.org for more information. Summer is coming, and many children will be without the food they receive during school. Get on the schedule now to volunteer your time.

By Jewish Family & Community Services

On April 30, the Jacksonville Torah High School students visited Jewish Family & Community Services to see the “Rescuers: Portraits of Moral Courage in the Holocaust” exhibit. Gail Furman took the students, led by teacher Suzie Becker, through the gallery and discussed important and thought-provoking issues that impact everyone, such as tolerance and anti-Semitism, and also gave an overview of the story behind the exhibit. To tour the “Rescuers” exhibit, visit the JFCS website at www.jfcsjax. org, or contact Gail Furman at 904-394-5723 or gfurman@jfcsjax.org. The Frisch Family Holocaust Memorial Gallery, located at 8540 Baycenter Road in Jacksonville, is free and open to the public Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Special times can be scheduled for groups. 31

Year in Review


Summer 2018 2019 June/July

s River Garden Senior Services marks another year, we are ever mindful of our responsibilities in nurturing this premier Jewish community asset. In 2018, our nursing center received accreditation by the prestigious Joint Commission on Accreditation of Health Care Organizations (JCAHO), as well as JCAHO’s certification in post-acute care. This designation reflects our commitment to providing safe and effective patient and resident care. Moreover, the Hebrew Home continues to be top-rated by state and federal regulators, and we receive excellent remarks from families about our level of service. The seven-year clinical partnership with Baptist Health, a relationship that brings highly skilled medical care onto our 40-acre campus, continues to be strong and supports the effort of our tenured staff like Yvette Neal, the 2019 recipient of the Minnie Schreiber Award. Our short-stay in- and outpatient rehabilitation programs have expanded to serve more post-acute patients from area hospitals, and our adult day program and Medicare-certified home health agency continue to serve seniors choosing to live independently on our campus or in the nearby community. The Coves at River Garden remains fully occupied, providing the finest in senior housing. Coves members enjoy living independently in gracious apartment homes while also knowing that the resources of River Garden are available if additional care is needed. The residents of The Hebrew Home continue to enjoy stimulating programs thanks to many volunteers, our engaged Jewish community and others who care about our seniors. A few of our


RIVER GARDEN SENIOR SERVICES favorite events include our monthly birthday parties, Anniversary Day, JCA Partner Painting, the Mad Hatter Tea Party, guest speakers and musical performers. There’s always something in the queue. Members of The Coves also enjoy events together and independently. Activities to promote physical, spiritual and intellectual wellness are bolstered by outings to restaurants, the Symphony and more. All combined, the vibrant life on our campus is never-better. As elder care continues to evolve, River Garden’s longstanding commitment is to remain flexible and focused on meeting the needs of seniors in our community. With your help and support, we will do just that for generations to come.

904-260-1818 www.rivergarden.org

11401 Old St. Augustine Rd.

Jacksonville, FL 32258

BRIEFS Adult Day & Caregiver Support Group Q? Call 904-288-7858 You Make A Difference Are you a grateful patient? Or would you like to honor a loved one? We appreciate your gifts. www.rivergarden.org/ donate Q? Call 904-886-8432

Great friends connect with the River Garden Foundation

The Coves Q? Call 904-292-2683

Choose River Garden

By River Garden Senior Services

In November, the River Garden Foundation held its 26th annual Gala at the Marriott Resort at Sawgrass. Chaired by Rachel & Colman Brodsky, the Gala was attended by nearly 600 guests and netted more than $242,000. Along with the golf tournament and co-chairs Mark Lodinger and Tom Harris, the fundraising efforts of The Foundation helped

our agency close the gap left by severely inadequate Medicaid funding. Thank you for your support. We are excited to announce the 2019 Foundation Gala Chairs: Rebekah Selevan and Talie Zaifert. For now, save the date – November 16, 2019 – for an extraordinary evening! Sponsor packages are available now. Please contact Kathy Osterer 904-886-8430 or kosterer@rivergarden.org for details.

Did you know that River Garden Rehab offers appointment-based services for all adults needing therapy? So, if you ever have a doctor’s order for PT or OT, please call directly to discuss your options. Depending on your situation, we can likely help. These outpatient services are typically covered by Medicare or through general health insurance. When you call, we’ll verify your coverage. 904-886-8454. 33

Summer 2019

One of our most emotional events

By River Garden Senior Services

On November 12, River Garden recognized 36 veterans with Quilts of Valor. The gift quilts were presented with an official certificate and have a custom label affixed, a small token of appreciation given to those who defended our country. The River Garden Quilts of Valor project had been in the making for over one year. In September of 2017, volunteers Kathy Minton and Janet Brown talked about the program and together they agreed it would be a worthy undertaking. Rallying other River Garden quilters and sewing ladies, they volunteered many hours making beautiful, patriotic-themed quilts for presentation. In addition to Minton

Events at River Garden


June 12 – 11:30 a.m. River Garden – Cohen Auditorium Panel Discussion RSVP for Lunch: kbell@rivergarden.org or 904-288-7855

Studies show that most seniors want to remain in their homes as long as possible. Join us as we share ideas about how you can enjoy independent living, aging safely at home.

and Brown, special thanks is shared with Lisa Poremba, Deinya Mautz and Tina Tadros for their dedication to this effort. First Coast Quilters Guild and Ladybug Quilt Shop are credited for the valuable fabric donations and long-arm quilting expertise. The presentation event and reception was attended by many veterans, along with their family and friends. Captain William Nisley, retired U.S. Navy, officiated the event. Quilts of Valor is a non-profit foundation and was originally started by Katherine Roberts of Seaford, Delaware in 2003. The initiative has now spread across the United States and internationally. To date, over 207,000 quilts have been awarded to veterans in recognition of their service, commitment and sacrifice.

Israel/National Jewish 4%


July 16 – 11:30 a.m. River Garden – Cohen Auditorium Presented by Sherri Cheshire, NEFL AHEC RSVP for Lunch: kbell@rivergarden.org or 904-288-7855

Older adults are increasingly impacted by what has become commonly known as ‘the opioid crisis.’ Why? Although opioids are prescribed for positive reasons – as in, to help individuals ease or alleviate their pain – this class of drugs often has unintended physical consequences for the elderly. Come learn more.



June 26 – 11:30 a.m. River Garden – Cohen Auditorium Presented by Jeff Faulkner, NAVF RSVP for Lunch: kbell@rivergarden.org or 904-288-7855

August 13 – 11:30 a.m. River Garden – Cohen Auditorium Presented by Leslie Vlachos, Design 55 RSVP for Lunch: kbell@rivergarden.org or 904-288-7855

Do you know about all the veteran benefits you or a loved one have earned? Especially for seniors, our VA-approved presenter will help you better understand what support and government funds are available and provide guidance on how to access these services.

Technology is fast-emerging to help seniors stay safe at home. Today, innovations reach far beyond medication reminders and telephone amplifiers, and increasing percentages of seniors are using these tools to their advantage. Here’s your chance to come see what it’s all about.


Summer 2019

The Life & Legacy Division works closely with donors of all levels to help them explore their interests and identify their passions, ultimately connecting them with outstanding programs and organizations. Contact us to learn more about: Donor Advised Funds Legacy Planning Endowment Planning Professional Advisory Group

904.512.3796 8505 San Jose Boulevard Jacksonville, FL 32217 www.jewishjacksonville.org/foundation


Summer 2019

SUMMER RECIPES Choosing a colorful diet

By Nancy Cohen RDN, LDN, Registered Dietician/Nutritionist

Summer is one of my favorite times of year. The days are longer, the schedules seem lighter, and the options for summer produce are great and abundant. In northern Florida, we are so fortunate to be surrounded by food co-ops, outdoor markets, roadside stands, farms that grow fruits and vegetables, and our own favorite grocery purveyors. Local produce is everywhere and full of delicious opportunities to purchase and eat. My parents, Gloria and Sidney Cohen, both come from families that migrated to the U.S. from Russia, Poland and Austria at the turn of the century to find a better life. I am always looking for ways to keep our Jewish traditions and culture alive while incorporating modern forms of nutritional guidance. Rather than using schmaltz in cooking as my grandmother did, for example, I suggest the use of vegetable

oils or reduced-fat dairy products into traditional holiday and Shabbat offerings. From the broader nutrition perspective, there are so many reasons to eat fruits and vegetables. First, your mother told you so, which stands out as a great beginning. What did she know that you need to remember? While fruits and vegetables do not provide every single nutrient you need, they certainly hit the mark on many great nutrition values that protect us while tasting delicious at the same time. These include fiber, water, vitamins, minerals and pure mouthwatering delight. According to the American Cancer Society, a diet rich in 9 to 11 servings of fruits and vegetables has the potential to reduce cancer risk. It is best to eat fruits in a variety of colors, because the colors themselves have cancer protective benefits. These different colors are eye appealing and full of nutrients called phytochemicals – chemicals from plants that are good for you.

Phytochemicals in Foods and Possible Health Benefits Foods


Possible Health Benefits

Soybeans, soy milk, tofu

Isoflavones (genistin, daidzein), types of flavonoids

Reduction in blood pressure and increased blood vessel dilation

Strawberries, red wine, blueberries Anthocyanins, a type of flavonoid

Blood vessel dilation, induction of cancer cell death, improved insulin sensitivity, neuroprotective effects

Red wine, grape juice, grape extracts, cocoa, peanuts

Proanthocyanidins, a type of flavonoid; resveratrol

Inhibition of LDL oxidation and inflammation

Garlic, onions, leeks, olives, scallions

Sulfides, thiols

Decreased LDL cholesterol, anticancer effects

Carrots, tomatoes and tomato products, other orange, yellow, and red fruits and vegetables

Carotenoids, such as lycopene, and beta-carotene

Neutralization of free radicals that cause cell damage®

Cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli and kale, horseradish

Isothiocyanates (sulforaphane)

Neutralization of free radicals that cause cell damage and protection against some types of cancer

Green and black tea, cocoa

Catechins, epicatechins, types of flavonoids

Vasodilation, improved blood flow to the brain, improved insulin sensitivity

The U.S.-based National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (part of the National Institutes of Health) promotes a dietary pattern known as the DASH® Diet (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension). According to the DASH® Diet, a diet rich in healthfully prepared fruits and vegetables can be part of a heart healthy approach to lower blood pressure. Their guidelines include 4 to 5 servings of fruits and 4 to 5 servings of vegetables. This food plan helps adults lower hypertension while eating healthy, delicious foods. So how do we up our fruits and veggies and maintain our healthy wonderful bodies at the same time? You can eat your produce plain, in a salad, as a snack, add it to an entrée, make it the main course, cook it for dessert, add it to a smoothie, drink it, stew it and the list goes on and on. My favorite summer fruits are the ones you can pick and eat after rinsing. We are so lucky to have all sorts of beautiful berries, melons, citrus and fruit trees in our region. What a 36

great opportunity to eat a fresh local peach or a big bowl of berries. Yum! You can add yogurt or another low-fat topping and enjoy a fruit parfait made of nature’s goodness. You can even grill your fruit and add it to your favorite summer meals. As for eating our veggies, this is the best news yet: When we add or increase our intake of vegetables at our meals, we decrease the ratio of fat and cholesterol to fiber and add so many nutritious benefits. We have abundant opportunities to add those colors to our plate in the form of tomatoes, peppers, green beans, eggplant, all the squashes and even our delicious starchy vegetables grown nearby – the potato – which also comes in rich colors. Did you know that neighboring Palatka is the potato capital of Florida? So, eat your fruits and veggies! Put a smile on your face and a virtual smile in your body. Protect your health, eat light, eat in colors and know you are on the right path for a healthy and delicious summer.

Summer 2019

Nancy A. Cohen is a registered dietitian/nutritionist with a 37-year career in educating the public on a variety of nutrition topics. She has a private practice in St. Augustine and offers nutrition counseling, cooking classes, food sensitivity testing, micronutrient testing, wellness classes and more. Nancy is a Licensed Dietitian Nutritionist in the State of Florida, as well as an Usui Reiki Master and Integrated Energy Therapy Practitioner / Master Teacher. She came to add Energy Healing to her practice in 2001 after a personal reaction to the devastating events of 9/11. She found that Reiki was able to ease some symptoms of IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome) and other digestive issues. Nancy is the proud parent of Daniel, who is pursuing a graduate degree in Philadelphia. An active member of Temple Bet Yam in St. Augustine and their sisterhood, Nancy offers nutrition counseling to its members. After Daniel’s Bar Mitzvah in 2006, she had her own Adult Bat Mitzvah in 2009 under Rabbi Debra Hachen at Temple Beth El in Closter, NJ. For more information, contact Nancy Cohen, RDN LDN, at Feeding The Body Feeding The Soul, at 904-687-0720, feedingthebodyfeedingthesoul@ gmail.com or www.feedingthebodyfeedingthesoul.com.

Watermelon Salad

Ingredients: 1 Tbsp white balsamic vinegar extra virgin olive oil Serving size: 2 1teaspoons teaspoon honey 1 ½ cup salad & ¼ tsp freshly ground pepper 1 Tbsp cheese 1 shallot minced Calories: 79 4 cups baby arugula Carbs: 10.7 g 2 cups cubed watermelon ¼ cup (1 oz) crumbled reduced fat Protein: 2.6 g feta cheese Fat: 3.5 g

Sodium: 175 mg

Directions: 1. Combine first five ingredients in a large bowl. Add arugula and watermelon. 2. Toss gently to coat. Divide watermelon evenly among four plates. Sprinkle each plate with cheese.

Cauliflower Potato Salad

Ingredients: 1 head cauliflower cut into florets 1 Tbsp white or apple cider vinegar 1 teaspoon mustard, preferably Serving size: ½ cup grainy Calories: 90 ½ teaspoon salt ½ teaspoon freshly ground black Carbs: 5 g pepper Protein: 5 g 3 large hardboiled eggs or 1 cup Fat: 6 g firm tofu for vegan style Sodium: 240 mg 1 garlic clove minced 1 Tbsp parsley 1 Tbsp chopped chives Directions: 1. Bring 1 inch of water to a boil on medium heat in a large sauce pan filled with a steamer basket. Place cauliflower florets in the steamer basket. Cover and cook for 8-9 minutes, until tender. Transfer cauliflower to a bowl of ice water. Let stand 5 minutes; drain well. 2. Prepare 3 hard boiled eggs. Place 3 uncooked eggs in boiling water. Boil for 10 minutes. Cool. Refrigerate. Peel. Set to the side for step 4. 3. Whisk together vinegar, mustard, pepper and salt in a small bowl. Gradually add oil. Whisk consistently until blended. Set aside. 4. Add the three hard cooked eggs (or 1 cup firm tofu) to cauliflower. Toss gently. 5. Combine the cauliflower mixture with the chopped chives and vinegar mixture.

Yellow or Red Tomato Gazpacho

Calories: 75 kcal Carbs: 10 g Protein: 2.4 g Fat: 1 g or less Sodium: 175 mg

Ingredients: 1 ½ cups chopped, seeded, peeled cucumber 1 cup chopped Vidalia or other sweet onion 1 cup coarsely chopped yellow bell pepper (or other color) 6 Tbsp white wine vinegar ½ teaspoon salt ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper 2 pounds chopped seeded peeled yellow or red tomato (about 6 large) 1 garlic clove, minced Directions: 1. To prepare gazpacho, combine first nine ingredients. Place 1/3 of vegetable mixture into a food processor. 2. Process until smooth. Pour pureed vegetable mixture into a large bowl. 3. Proceed with remaining mixture. Cover and chill. 4. Serve in a glass or mug with a crouton, a few pieces of quartered chopped tomato or chopped cucumber.


Summer 2019

Join us for a two-week Jewish specialty summer camp!

By Chabad of St. Johns

There are soccer and theater camps, science and ballet camps. But when children connect to their Jewishness while having an awesome time with their friends, they create happy, healthy Jewish memories that will last a lifetime. For the last three summers, St. Johns Ultimate Jewish Summer Camp Experience rocked the city with its enriching Jewish program: day trips, art projects and a spirited staff – plus a bunch of Jewish kids who were begging for camp to go on forever. Gan Israel’s warm and spirited counselors will fill the summer days to the brim with exciting trips and activities. Most importantly, they’ll keep everyone on their toes until they’re happily exhausted at the end of each day. From Rebounderz to Adventure Landing… from Bubble Magic to Crazy Hair Day to the Jewish Hero Fashion Show… it’s bound to be another unforgettable experience. Before you know it, summer will be here, and the outrageously jam-packed Jewish adventure – Gan Israel of St. Johns – is back in town. Gan Israel will run from Monday, June 17 through Friday, June 28 at Freedom Crossing in St. Johns County. To register, visit JewishSJohnsCounty.com/GanIsrael. For more information, email info@JewishSJohnsCounty.com or call 904-701-4422.

Chabad at UNF hosts annual Israel Advocacy Workshop

By Chabad at University of North Florida

On April 7, dozens of UNF students gathered for the annual Israel Awareness Workshop. The program featured compelling presentations from special guests, including representatives from various pro-Israel organizations, as well as peer-to-peer activities and a catered lunch. “This wasn’t a bunch of boring speeches,” said Chabad of UNF co-director Rabbi Shmuli Novack. “The Workshop was a fun, interactive event, with dialogue, discussions, music and entertainment – all geared to empower our college students to be effective advocates for 38

Israel.” Co-sponsored by CAMERA, ZOA, JNF, Stand with Us and the Israel Campus Coalition, the program connects students with the pro-Israel community and prepares them for leadership roles. At a time when anti-Israel activity is on the rise on campuses worldwide, it’s important to increase pro-Israel programming to combat some of the hateful and destructive narratives that, if left unchecked, pose a threat to Jewish college students, who can be more vulnerable to deception and misinformation. For more information, visit JewNF.com or call 904-646-4434.

Summer 2019

Community gathers to stand with Poway On the evening of April 29, the Jewish Community on the First Coast gathered together in a show of support and solidarity with our brothers and sisters in Poway, California, who were brutally attacked in their synagogue simply because they were Jews. The Lubavitcher Rebbe always called for action and urged that we turn darkness to light. Let us all commit to the power of light over darkness and love over hate. We must stand united in the face of darkness and evil. As one participant put it, “It’s remarkable how the focus of this horrific tragedy is not negative, but instead, how to bring more light into this world.” Am Yisroel Chai!

Jacksonville Jewish Center hosts Shabbat interfaith program By Jacksonville Jewish Center

For the third year in a row, the Jacksonville Jewish Center welcomed back members of the Islamic Center of Northeast Florida (ICNF) to join them for Kabbalat Shabbat, a Muslim prayer service, and a festive Shabbat dinner that coincided with the month of Ramadan, a period of elevated sanctity on the Muslim calendar. To that end, the Jacksonville Jewish Center hosted members of the ICNF and simultaneously served iftar, the traditional meal eaten by Muslims to end their daily fast during Ramadan. The Friday evening program on May 31 included a study program with facilitated learning by the synagogue’s clergy, as well as members of the Islamic Center, who are fellows of the Muslim Leadership Initiative sponsored by the Shalom Hartman Institute in Israel. “Neither Jews nor Muslims believe in a gerrymandered God. We may worship differently, but ours is the same Deity who created all of humanity in the Divine Image,” said Rabbi Jonathan Lubliner, the Center’s Jack F. Shorstein Senior Rabbinic Chair. “By hosting an iftar which also serves as our Shabbat meal, complete with Kiddush and Birkat Hamazon (grace after meals), we serve to underscore that our religious differences need not serve as a barrier to learning from and about one another. In an increasingly polarized world, it is more important than ever to build bridges of understanding between neighbors.” Similar to prior years, members of both congregations joined together in the synagogue’s kitchen earlier in the day to cook the kosher meal served that evening, incorporating recipes from both faith traditions. Special thanks to Margo’s Catering for their assistance in obtaining the ingredients and allowing volunteers to use their equipment. “Every year I look forward to this cultural exchange,” said Kim Glasgal, Jacksonville Jewish Center’s Vice President of Membership. “Observing our Friday evening rituals together is quite beautiful, and we always learn something. I have enjoyed getting to know our friends at the Islamic Center better and better... and the food is yummy!” The Jacksonville Jewish Center launched this successful interfaith initiative in 2017 to host those from the Muslim community during the holiday of Shavu’ot, and it has since grown in interest and attendance each year.

Beth El – the Beaches Sisterhood is planning another busy year By Beth El

Last year, our holiday events included the Yom Kippur Break Fast, a festive Hanukah party, a Tu B’shvat Seder, and a lively Miriam’s pre-Passover Seder. We had an amazing fashion show and a fun Game Day. We enjoyed a tour and gourmet supper at the aeroponic Urban Farm in Atlantic Beach. We joined with Hadassah for a pre-holiday Women’s Bazaar. Plus, we enjoyed a month of Tai Chi, and have ongoing weekly yoga sessions, combining yoga poses with the morning service. First-timers are welcome to visit and join us Wednesdays at 10:30 a.m. – yoga mats for visitors are behind the library door. Our book club is aptly named BELLES – Beth El Literary

Ladies Enjoying Sisterhood. Our motto is: Join us as we serve our synagogue, support our community and enrich our lives. On December 25 each year, we show our appreciation to first responders with a meal for our local sheriff’s office and fire departments. Our outreach support has included help for refugees through Temple Emanuel in McAllen, Texas; support for My Brother’s Keeper, homeless at Jax Beach; and SOAP, the Anti-Trafficking coalition in Jacksonville. For more information about visiting or joining us, please call Beth El at 904-273-9100 or contact co-presidents Vickie Kennedy at vk1996@aol.com or Bobby Adler at b.adler4315@ gmail.com.


Summer 2019

Temple Confirmation

The Temple Confirmation Shabbat was held Friday, May 10. Confirmands in photo from left to right: Front row: Emma Lantinberg, daughter of Nancy & Richard Lantinberg; Courtney Oko, daughter of Lynn & Scott Oko; Caroline Levine, daughter of Jennifer and Donald Levine. Back row: Rabbi Elizabeth Bahar, Senior Rabbi and Confirmation faculty; David Gapinski, son of Nina Kannatt & Matthew Gapinski; Benjamin Brown, son of Kristen Alberts & Jacob Brown; Abbey Lantinberg, daughter of Nancy & Richard Lantinberg; Michelle Penson, Director of TIR and Youth Engagement.

The next President of the Jacksonville Jewish Center

Ben Setzer will serve as president for a two-year term beginning in July. Ben is a third-generation member of the Jacksonville Jewish Center; his family has been a part of the Jacksonville Jewish Center community for over 100 years. He has served in several key roles at the Center, including VP of Security, VP of House and Executive VP. A licensed attorney, Ben has a master’s degree in Real Estate Law from the University of Chicago. He works with his father and brother at TSG Realty as Vice President and Broker in charge of commercial real estate transactions. In addition to his role at the Center, Ben is very involved with numerous charitable organizations in the Jacksonville community, including Dreams Come True (serving as past president), United Way, The Community Foundation for Northeast Florida, River Garden, Jewish Family & Community Services, Jewish Federation, Jewish Community Alliance, Mayo Clinic, Baptist Hospital, Jay Fund, Big Brothers Big Sisters and the Boys & Girls Club. Ben is married to Melanie, and together they have two sons, George and Zachary, both of whom attend schools within the Galinsky Academy. Mazel Tov, Ben!


Summer 2019

Confirmation “Siyyum” 2019 at the Center By the Jacksonville Jewish Center

The Jacksonville Jewish Center celebrated the Confirmation of its 2019 Siyyum class on June 1 at Shabbat morning services. Siyyum, which means “conclusion” or “graduation” in Hebrew, is the name of the Jacksonville Jewish Center’s 12th grade program. Culminating in Confirmation, Siyyum is a part of the synagogue’s Setzer Youth Education program and serves as the capstone to secondary school education at the Center’s Galinsky Academy. At the Confirmation ceremony, students participated in the morning’s worship and shared their thoughts about their experiences in the Siyyum program and how it has impacted their Jewish identity. This year’s confirmands include Sarah Chisholm, Ian Gilbert, Barbara Goldstein, Jake Gould, Lily Hernandez, and Sydney Teitelbaum. Throughout their senior year, this year’s class partnered with Sulzbacher Center’s President and CEO, Cindy Funkhouser, and Volun-

By Ellen Berson

Oh my gosh! There’s so much great food. Photo Credit: Larry Tallis.

teer Coordinator Emily Knight at the Sulzbacher Village for Women & Families – Uptown Campus, which helps empower homeless and at-risk women, children and men through health, housing and income services. Through study and dialogue with program director Rabbi Jonathan Lubliner, Siyyum participants explore biblical and rabbinic texts relevant to the challenges people with hardships may face. In addition to working with individuals and families receiving assistance through Sulzbacher Center’s services, members of the Confirmation class received full scholarships to attend AIPAC’s Policy Conference in Washington, D.C. Through the generosity of Charles, Elli, Seeman, Nancy, Morrie and Chase Zimmerman, confirmands traveled to Washington at no expense to them to learn about the challenges facing pro-Israel students on college campuses, lobby congressional representatives on important Israel-related issues, and enjoy the sights of our nation’s capital.

Nosh ‘til You Drop

Not even a torrential downpour with wind blowing rain in every direction could take the shine off of the 8th Annual Jacksonville Jewish Food Festival, held again this year on the first Sunday in May at The Temple. This year’s festival was my first and it was a treat. Thank you to restauranteurs, caterers, local cafés and Temple’s Brotherhood and Sisterhood. Those brave (and hungry) enough to venture out in the storm had a chance to enjoy falafel from Mandaloun, Mexican-style chicken matzah ball soup shooters from Chef’s Garden Catering, and sweets from Peterbrooke Chocolatier that paired with The Gifted Cork Wine & Gourmet. There were pastries from the newly opened Le Petit Paris Café and a local favorite, Nothing Bundt Cakes, presented a two-tiered birthday cake to celebrate Temple’s Senior Rabbi Elizabeth Bahar’s birthday. The generosity of the restauranteurs and sponsors from the congregation and community illustrate an impressive level of commitment to The Temple. As our President David Kaufman said, “We do things better when we do them together.” This event takes the support of the food providers, the efforts of tens of volunteers, the generosity of the donors, and, of course the Temple family and our friends who join in the festivities. It is that community spirit that impresses me the most. Thanks must be given to Athen’s Café, Athenia Owl Restaurant, Beach Road Chicken Dinners, Beirut, Bono’s/Pastiche, Chef’s Garden Catering, Kazu Japanese Restaurant, Kona Ice, Le Petit Paris Café, Mandaloun Mediterranean Cuisine, Nothing Bundt Cakes, Olive My Pickle, Peterbrooke Chocolatier, The Gifted Cork & Gourmet, The Well Watering Hole, Your Pie and Village Bread Café. Brotherhood’s kosher hot dogs and WRJ Temple Sisterhood’s potato kugel were delicious. The time and hard work from Temple’s volunteers – there are too many to name – each and every one is critical to the continued success of Temple’s Jacksonville Jewish Food Festival. If you missed it, you missed a great one. Mark your calendar for next year's festival on May 3, 2020.

Beth El Religious School is the place to be on Sunday mornings! By Beth El

The Beth El teachers are looking forward to implementing the spiraling, hands-on curriculum, which creates a meaningful and enjoyable learning environment for our students. The curriculum is based on three big ideas: developing a deep connection to out sacred texts, belonging to a spiritual community, and living our values: I am part of the Jewish community and have responsibilities to it. Through these big ideas, the students have the opportunity to discuss such essential questions as: How can Torah help me in my life when I am not sure what to do? What values can I learn from Bible characters? How has Israel shaped and been shaped by the story of the Jewish people? How can I make a difference for other people in the world?

The goal for the students of religious school is to develop a love of Judaism through story, art and celebration. Knowledge and appreciation of our faith is gained through experiences such a discussion, creativity and technology. Students in all grade levels enjoy beginning our Sundays in tefillah, where they learn together to chant blessings, songs and prayers. They even learn the Shema prayer using sign language! In addition to many fun and creative classroom learning experiences, the students can look forward to many special activities, such as the school-wide Chanukah celebration, family education day, Purim carnival, model Seder, Mitzvah Day and more! The learning begins on August 11 at 9 a.m. For more information, please contact Vickie Kennedy at 904-273-9100 or vickie@bethelbeaches.org. 41

Summer 2019

C R E AT I N G A JEWISH GARDEN By Jenny Lane Master Gardener in St. Johns County

I bet you never thought of gardening as a way to express your Jewishness. This isn’t just a great activity for kids – gardening is a G-d given gift to all of us that helps us relax, slow down, reconnect to ourselves and appreciate nature. What better way to experience our cultural and/or faith identity than to incorporate some historical plants into our landscaping this summer and on our tables come all the fall holidays?

Here are a few ideas for creating a Jewish garden: A Biblical Garden would have some of the more than 125 different plants mentioned in the Bible. We are lucky that we live in an area that, although much more humid and wet than Israel, is a great place for growing these plants and trees. Examples would be: Fig trees – Figs grow well in Florida and you can find them for sale at most garden centers. Olive trees – Although these will take longer to produce, their leaves are lovely and make a beautiful shrub or tree depending on pruning. Pomegranate trees – Another lovely tree with a vaselike growth habit. Plant one of these and in a few years, you will be delighted with fruit. Grape vines – I’m not sure if you will be able to find a Manischewitz variety, but any kind will do. Aloe – Another easy plant to have in the house or even in a neglected outdoor pot. It is mentioned in Proverbs. An Observance Garden would have herbs and flowers that you will use throughout the year for holidays, such as: Dill – Plant this herb that is mentioned in Exodus and sprinkle on those string beans when making a holiday side dish. Sage – Another herb mentioned in Exodus that will be great with your Shabbat roast chicken. Horseradish, bitter herbs and parsley – Plant these now for next Passover and add a new experience to your Seder. Zinnias, Cosmos, and Sunflowers are easy to grow. Plant your own flower-cutting garden just to be used for the Shabbat table and holidays. Grow vines in preparation to decorate your Sukkah. A Tikkun Olam Garden could be either: A vegetable garden that you use to share your produce with others, especially those less fortunate. Specifically planting bee-loving plants to feed those pollinators who need our help so everyone has enough to eat. Without the pollinators, we are all in trouble. For more information on what else to plant this summer and any gardening questions you may have, contact your local county extension office to speak to a Master Gardener. They can help answer your questions about what’s wrong with your tomatoes or how much shade a certain plant needs and more. 42

Jenny Lane is a Master Gardener and Professional Organizer who lives in Ponte Vedra and has been part of the Jacksonville Jewish community for 15 years. When she’s not tending to her own plants or helping someone get organized, she loves to teach about gardening for mental health.

Summer 2019

“It’s all good” – it’s Goldie! By The Temple

Goldie Lansky has been at Temple, Congregation Ahavath Chesed, for nearly 11 years as its Executive Director. She will be retiring at the end of June and we will celebrate all she has given to Temple and our Jewish community with a Shabbat dinner and service on Friday, June 21. Goldie’s retirement is well earned. She has had a long and successful career as a Jewish professional. She and her life partner, Cathy Kopecky, came to Jacksonville in 2002 so that Goldie could take on the role of Assistant Director/Chief Operating Officer at Jewish Family & Community Services of North Florida. Prior to that, she was Associate Executive Director and Chief Operating Officer of the JCC of Greater Pittsburgh, and also worked as the Assistant General Director of JCC Chicago. When asked to describe Goldie, “gold, glitter and glue” are the words that came to Rabbi Elizabeth Bahar’s mind. These words ring true in very special ways. “Gold” – Judaism is like a golden treasure to Goldie, who is eloquent and knowledgeable whether leading Torah Study, the Wisdom Group, implementing all that needs to be done for Shabbat, the High Holidays – and of course, Purim, Chanukah and more. Equally, Goldie is a treasure for the Temple family. “Goldie” is aptly named! “Glitter” – If you’ve been around Goldie Lansky, you will often hear her say in the midst of a situation, “It’s all good,” even during the most challenging moments. Goldie makes others shine by ensuring that Temple services and events are successful. The glitter that is Goldie shines on everyone she meets through her warmth, hospitality and caring. Finally, “Glue” – She has been here for Temple members through changes in clergy, illness and the passing of loved ones, and at life cycle events such as baby namings, B’nai Mitzvahs, and weddings. She has not just helped with these events for the community; she is also a part of our community. Goldie has provided direction to Search Committees, made calls to congregants in need, and given

Goldie Lansky enjoys 2018 Temple Chanukah Celebration with board member Karen Backilman (Left).

planning and guidance for events of all types. There is seldom a committee or Board meeting without her presence, where she may provide the D’var Torah, take the notes and share expertise. She is indeed the glue that keeps us all together. Temple President David Kaufman describes Goldie as the “rock solid backbone of this synagogue since 2008.” Goldie has exemplified these same qualities through her personal commitment to Hadassah, which holds a special place in her heart, and her work with the interfaith community in Jacksonville. The community is invited to join us as Temple celebrates Goldie’s retirement on Friday, June 21. Erev Shabbat services with the Friday Night Live Band begin at 7:00 p.m. A special Shabbat dinner preceding services is open to all. It begins at 5:30 p.m. The cost is $25/ adult, $18/children and free for children under 3 years old. Dinner reservations can be made by calling 904-733-7078.

New Sefer Torah writing soon underway By Etz Chaim

Etz Chaim Synagogue is honored to announce that it has commissioned the writing of a new Sefer Torah in honor of Scot and Alex Ackerman. The generosity and dedication of the Ackermans for so many years has been outstanding. We now have an opportunity to express our gratitude to them, while participating in a great mitzvah and helping raise funds for the shul. The writing of a Sefer Torah is, in fact, the final of the 613 mitzvahs of the Torah. A scribe handwrites the Torah with a quill, painstakingly marking every single letter on parchment. This

extraordinary, labor-intensive task usually takes the scribe about a year to complete the project, and costs over $40,000. In this situation, our synagogue and community are coming together collaboratively, with different families and individuals sponsoring different Parshiyos and Seforim (Books and Torah Portions). This will allow everyone to fulfill the final mitzvah of the Torah and honor Scot and Alex Ackerman for all their selfless devotion to Etz Chaim for so many years. There will be a Torah Dedication Ceremony in early 2020, in which the new Ackerman Torah will be brought to Etz Chaim Synagogue, accompanied by much singing and dancing.

Chabad at the Beaches celebrates 16th Annual Gala By Chabad at the Beaches        

A capacity crowd is expected as Chabad at the Beaches celebrates its 16th year of commitment to Jewish life in the Ponte Vedra and Jacksonville Beaches communities with its annual Gala Dinner and Celebration. The acclaimed Mentalist Mark Stone will entertain the crowd. This year’s honorees are Dr. & Mrs. David and Trish Sall, who will be receiving the Pillar of Giving Award, and Mr. Lenny Demaglio, who will be receiving the Community Service Award. The honorees have made great contributions to the broader community as well as locally through sweat, spirit and inspiration. As we honor our longtime colleagues, friends and supporters, we also take time to reflect on another year of spiritual and material growth. The Gala is timed to coincide with the yahrtzeit of (anniversary of

passing of) our beloved friend Mr. Aaron Scharf. Mr Scharf and his wife Blanche, of blessed memory, are our center’s namesakes. The dinner will highlight the vast educational and social work of Chabad around the world and Chabad at the Beaches in particular – all of which is testimony to the vision, passion and leadership of the Lubavitcher Rebbe. In Florida, there are 250 Chabad institutions, seven of which are in the Jacksonville area. This year, 15,000 children attended Chabad’s 18 schools, 51 preschools, 85 hebrew schools and 29 summer camps in Florida. The event will be held at Aloft Tapestry Park, 4812 Deer Lake Drive, Jacksonville on Sunday, June 23 at 4:30 p.m. Tickets are $150 per person or $125 for tickets prepaid by June 10. For sponsorship opportunities, program journal ads and dedications or to RSVP, please contact Chabad at the Beaches at Dinner@ ChabadBeaches.com, 904-543-9301 or visit www.JewishDinner.com. 43

Summer 2019

GROW After-School Enrichment program registration now open By Chabad of St. Johns        

Chabad of St. Johns GROW After -School Enrichment Program – hosted weekly by Durbin Creek Elementary School – is preparing for another fabulous school year! Registration is now open for 2019-20. GROW is about kids enthusiastically flying through their Aleph Champ colors. It’s about how much they love molding and painting their own plaster masks for Purim and decorating (gorgeous!) Seder Plates. GROW is building Chanukah Menorahs by hand, learning to cook kosher, practicing yoga, and creating edible flower bouquets on Tu b’Shvat. GROW is where kids challenge themselves to be better to each other and make a difference in the world. It’s where they learn STEM skills in a Jewish context – skills they can use in every area of their lives. GROW is the place to be when it comes to fostering Jewish pride in the next generation of young, inquisitive minds. In today’s fast-paced, media-infused world, children are often exposed to confusing and contradictory messages. Signing up for GROW means giving

your child a safe place to gain self-confidence, develop compassion for others, and learn how to become a positive role model. “As parents and teachers hoping to instill wholesome values in our children, we’re constantly competing with screens and video games,” said the director, Mrs. Dini Sharfstein. “GROW was designed to meet the needs of today’s children and give them a place to practice foundational skills like interpersonal awareness, self-care and character development.” At GROW, your child can express his or her creativity in a warm and stimulating Jewish environment. This year at GROW, Jewish kids from eight different public schools in St. Johns County came together to empower each other with the skills and strengths to be positive leaders. GROW takes place every Tuesday at Durbin Creek Elementary School. Registration is now open for the 2019-20 school year. To sign up or find out more, visit www. JewishSJohnsCounty/GROW, email Dini@ JewishSJohnsCounty.com or call 904-7014422.

Temple hosts Lifeline Screening By The Temple

Heart disease is the number one killer of both men and women. On Wednesday, June 26, Congregation Ahavath Chesed (The Temple) will host Lifeline Screening, which provides four diagnostic tests for $139. Carotid artery screening is an ultrasound scan of the carotid arteries that measures the buildup of fatty plaque, a leading cause of strokes. Heart rhythm screening uses EKG electrodes to identify the presence (or hopefully, absence) of an irregular heartbeat. Abdominal aortic artery screening is an ultrasound that is designed to detect enlargements that could lead to a ruptured aorta. PAD screening evaluates circulation in the lower extremities. An osteoporosis screening can be added for an additional $10. This ultrasound of the heel measures bone mass density. Pre-registration is required. Call 888653-6450 to make your appointment.


Temple Bet Yam!

PIZZA AND BINGO NIGHT! On Saturday, June 8, starting at 6 p.m., for just $15, adult-only participants of this fun-filled evening will be able to play 10 games for cash prizes and enjoy a pizza dinner complete with salad, drink and dessert. TRIVIA NIGHT! July brings back this TBY favorite Saturday evening, July 20, starting at 6 p.m. Teams of attendees will test their knowledge during these challenging games. Adult admission is just $18, and youngsters under 16 are free. Admission includes the game and a tasty chicken dinner. MAH JONGG ONLY TOURNAMENT! Temple presents the second Mah Jongg Tournament, which will be held at the Duplicate Bridge Club in St. Augustine on August 22. Pre-registration is required. The cost of $25 will include cash prizes, a continental breakfast, and a buffet lunch. Check-in begins at 10:30 a.m. Temple Bet Yam is located at 2055 Wildwood Drive, St. Augustine, just off SR 207. The Duplicate Bridge Club is located at 10 Fairbanks Street in St. Augustine. For further information regarding any of these events, contact Carol Levy at 954-895-7332 or Teresa Freedman at 774994-2066. 44

DIVERSITY & INCLUSIVENESS THE SANDY MILLER METROTOWN INSTITUTE: Summer Program for Teens For three decades, the Sandy Miller Metrotown Institute has helped students entering grades 9-12 appreciate differences, understand stereotypes and participate in interracial, inter-religious and intercultural dialogue. Held each summer, the four-day experiential program addresses bias, bigotry, discrimination and prejudice regarding race, religion and gender roles. And they have a great time doing it!

CHOOSE BETWEEN TWO SESSIONS Session A: Monday, June 17, through Thursday, June 20 Session B: Monday, July 22, through Thursday, July 25 Space is limited to 50 students per session. Both sessions are held at Riverside Presbyterian Church, 849 Park St. For more information or to download an application, visit www.onejax.org or call 904.620.1529.

Summer 2019

Etz Chaim classes and programs serve broader community By Etz Chaim

This was quite the year at Etz Chaim! With something for everyone, regardless of background knowledge, we had programs such as the explanatory classes offered by Education Director Rabbi Avi Feigenbaum and the advanced Talmud taught by Rabbi Mayer Rabinowitz. We recognize the diversity of the membership and the larger Jewish community and strive to have a variety of classes and programs so that there is something for everyone. With our High Holidays explanatory classes, where we recognize that it is challenging for many of us to sit in the sanctuary for hours, we created the parallel classes that take place in the Social Hall during certain sections of the services. Led by Rabbi Feigenbaum, Rena Schochet and Rabbi Yehuda Appelbaum, these classes cover topics that reflected the core themes of Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur and the season of forgiveness and renewal – allowing participants to experience the High Holidays in a way that is most beneficial to their own personal growth. This program was generously sponsored by Mike and Jill Abel. What a blast was had at this year’s Chanukah Party, with the Top Chef Competition, activities for the kids, community meal, magician, rock-climbing and live music! Plus, this year we had unique Shabbos with the Traveling Chasidim – who brought the real joy of Shabbos to Jacksonville with their singing and musical Havdalah. Throughout the year, we were privileged to have some very famous personalities in the Jewish world join us for our various Shabbatonim. We started the year off with a Shabbaton with Nili Couzens, a JWRP Trip Leader. We were next joined by Rabbi Dr. Tzvi Hersh Weinreb, the Executive Vice President, Emeritus, of the Orthodox Union. To top off the year, we had a special guest appearance by Rabbi Dr. Akiva Tatz! Each speaker delivered multiple presentations, and, along with their jokes and easygoing demeanor, presented the profound messages of unity and personal responsibility. Another success was our annual Yom Limmud program, which this year featured Dr. Erica Brown. The main presentation was The Joy and Challenge of Jewish Identity in the 21st Century. Dr. Brown truly did a powerfully effective job in clarifying many aspects of this most vexing topic. Her presentations were informative, dynamic and inspirational. This program was generously sponsored by Larry and Kathy Kanter. This year, Etz Chaim was honored to host the Community Yom Hashoah Memorial Service, featuring Rabbi Dr. Jacob J. Schachter. Rabbi Schachter’s father was the first Army Chaplain to liberate Buchenwald. There was not a dry eye in the crowd as he spoke about his father’s experiences and the courage of the survivors. The Yom Hashoah program brought the Jacksonville Jewish Community together to unite in our shared heritage. It has been a year full of exciting and thought-provoking programs, and while it’s not over yet, we are already excited for and working on next year’s programming. We look forward to seeing you at some of our upcoming programs! For more information, contact Etz Chaim at 904-262-3565 or Rabbi Avi Feigenbaum at 904-262-3565, or follow us on Facebook or Instagram.

LOOKING FOR FABULOUS RELIGIOUS SCHOOL TEACHERS! Beth El Religious School is currently accepting applications for the 2019-2020 school year. Innovative, caring and collaborative educators should apply. Beth El Religious School is committed to creating an inclusive learning environment that values the unique gifts and talents of every child. The comprehensive curriculum includes the aleph bet, decoding and chanting prayers with the goal of making a personal connection. History, holidays, Israel, ethics and more are included in the Judaic portion of the school’s curriculum. For more information, contact Vickie Kennedy at 904-273-9100 or vickie@bethelbeaches.org. 45

Donna McNett

Summer 2019

CUSTOM SCARVES & SPACE DESIGN Were you always artistic? How did you get started space planning? Since I was a little girl, I’ve always enjoyed art, architecture and redoing my bedroom – rearranging the furniture, painting patterns on the ceilings, etcetera. I think my mother was always surprised with some of the changes, but she never seemed to squelch or diminish my enthusiasm and ideas; in fact, she always encouraged me. Ultimately, I went to University of Florida and got a bachelor’s degree in architecture, minoring in interior design. In my early career, I did a lot of large-scale commercial work and largescale corporate space planning jobs. Much later, I got involved with residential design and realized that many local Jacksonville interior designers didn’t know how to create a set of contract documents and detailed working drawings that their ideas and designs could be built from. Many of these designers became my clients. How did you get into making scarves? Just about four years ago, I started a line of nine cashmere scarf designs and was invited by Susan Tudor, shop director of the Cummer Museum of Art and Gardens, to be a vendor in the Cummer’s annual holiday show, “Champagne and Shopping.” As I stood there waiting on shoppers, it hit me: the best place to sell custom scarves would be in museums. Each museum was so unique and could have custom-designed scarves that would represent a unique and sophisticated souvenir. This single thought gave birth to a new business, DONA Scarves. Over the last three years, we have created scarves for a variety of museums, artists and other institutions, including the Cummer Museum, The Chihuly Workshop in Seattle, The Library of Congress in Washington D.C. and half a dozen others. We sell customized items to museum shops, synagogues and churches, really for any occasion – like a special birthday, bar mitzvah or fundraising event thanking people for their patronage. Our minimums are low and our quality high – it doesn’t get any better than that. We use our creative eye to help organizations develop scarves and products that reinforce their mission. What materials do you use? We do all design work using Photoshop, and scarves are made with 100-percent silk and cashmere. Our scarves come in various sizes and we now make 100-percent silk bow ties, neckties, pocket squares, cummerbunds and suspenders. Many of our museum shops provide tuxedo attire for weddings that take place at their institutions.

How and where do you get your inspiration for your scarves? Much like doing interior design, inspiration becomes the mission and purpose of each institution. Whether it’s an up-andcoming exhibition, the surroundings, guidance, the artwork, the architecture or details – all of these elements and more come into play. Tell me about your space planning – how do you help people in that way? I love interior design and love creating an environment starting from the ground up. Remodeling provides an opportunity to take away the old and outdated and transform it, making it new and relative. These makeovers give my clients a new lease on life. When they’re happy, I’m happy. The beauty is in the details. We like to be thorough! All of this comes from a 48-year career of design. Whether it’s interior design or designing a scarf for the Library of Congress, the focus is really the same: quality of design in the details and choice of materials and colors. What role does Judaism play in your creative process? Judaism is really an integral part of everything I do, especially on the creative and compassionate side of life. I would love opportunities to design and development more Jewish-themed projects. Donna McNett is a scarf designer and professional space planner. Born in Jacksonville, her maiden name is Donna Stein. She went to college at the University of Florida and then moved to Washington, D.C., where she met her husband. They’ve been back in Jacksonville for 40 years.



Summer 2019

International Mud Day at Camp Gan Yeladim By Roxanne Gordon

International Mud Day is a messy time around Camp Gan Yeladim and KinderCamp. In honor of this holiday, campers go outdoors to enjoy a day of muddy play. This year, International Mud Day falls on a Saturday, but Gan campers will still celebrate with a mud party on Friday, June 28. Each year we take the time to celebrate with children around the world with the sensory overload that is mud. International Mud Day began in 2009 at a World Forum Event, where representatives from Australia and Nepal discussed ways to encourage feelings of community around the world and appreciate the earth. The message was formed that people all over the world look the same when they’re covered in mud, and that reminds us of the unity we have as human beings. “Somehow the concept of children choosing to play in mud on the same day emphasizes that we are all connected to the Earth and, therefore, each other,” says Gillian McAuliffe in her article The Wonder of Mud: Reflections from Australia. Camp Gan celebrates in their outdoor play area, covering it in mud piles that the children use to draw, cover themselves and use in the kitchen to make mud pies and other foods. The children love playing in the mud and getting messy, and it’s a joy to see them having so much fun with nature.

Martin J. Gottlieb Day School students visit the Big Apple By Stephanie Teitelbaum Middle School Language Arts Teacher

In April, Martin J. Gottlieb Day School’s eighth graders went on their annual trip to New York City. The trip’s itinerary was comprised of many places that students would not usually get to experience with their families when visiting the Big Apple, but also incorporated the “must see” hotspots of New York City for first-time visitors. Some highlights of the trip included The Eldridge Street Synagogue, Ellis Island, the 9/11 Memorial, and a couple of fabulous Broadway shows: To Kill a Mockingbird and King Kong. One of the most popular visits for the students was volunteering at Bobbi’s Place. Bobbi’s Place is a Gemach: a store created to do acts of kindness by providing clothing for the high holidays and other Jewish holidays throughout the year. At Bobbi’s Place, families facing economic stress can shop for free. The students worked hard and enjoyed spreading their good deeds in New York City. The school trip was a unique opportunity for the eighth graders to come together for a memorable experience that has made an impact on their final days attending the Martin J. Gottlieb Day School. 47

Summer 2019

Camp Gan Yeladim offers special surprises for the summer By Roxanne Gordon

This summer at Michele Block Gan Yeladim, Camp Gan and Kindercamp will be full of special surprises. Starting with the first session, themed “Pampered Pets,” the camp will have visiting pets for campers to view and pet. Veterinarian and Michele Block Gan Yeladim parent Erin Ouellette will bring dogs, cats, a mini horse and more animals to visit the camp’s outdoor play area. Children will play with

the animals and get their questions answered by Ouellette, who will be the expert for the day. During the last session in camp, “Commotion in the Ocean,” Scuba Diver Day will bring the North Florida Divers to dive in the JCA indoor pool. Campers will also observe and interact with extra diving equipment. They will also provide an educational presentation and answer questions before their dive. Camp Gan Yeladim has many more camp specials this summer to give campers an enriching summer experience.













JEWISH NEWS Congratulations to our student writing contest winners! Keep an eye out for the JJN August edition to read their published essays! Sam Kaplan

7th grader at Martin J. Gottlieb Day School

Hudi Finkelstein

8th grader at Torah Academy of Jacksonville

Students excel in local art shows By Brian Pargman

Martin J. Gottlieb Day School participated in the Children’s Art Show during the Mandarin Art Festival and at the art show for the Jacksonville Civic Orchestra. Ten students from our school were selected to participate in the juried art show. Zachai Spector received the third-place award for the K-2 division. Plus, Martin J. Gottlieb Day School received third place for Best in Show. Mazel Tov to all of our talented students! 48

Summer 2019

Torah Academy students commemorate Yom HaShoah

By Torah Academy

Thanks to the Consortium of Jewish Day Schools, Torah Academy’s annual Yom HaShoah program included a deeply emotional and experiential element. COJDS provided the school with yahrzeit candles, each with the name, hometown, occupation and place of death of one of the victims who perished in the Shoah. Students

in all grades learned about the Nazi Holocaust at an age-appropriate level and were able to relate directly to individual martyrs. Each student in the upper grades first read the inscription on his/ her candle and then said a personalized prayer on behalf of that individual soul, adding a request to G-d that we all merit to see the Jewish redemption speedily in our days. It was a truly profound and impactful experience.

Students connect with legendary anthropologist

By Sarah Moukhliss Librarian

Students from Martin J. Gottlieb Day School were treated to a very special morning with Jane Goodall via Skype – courtesy of Skype for Teachers. Students, who studied animals and habitats in class, were invited to the library for the special Skype session with the famous primatologist/anthropologist. Prior to the Skype session, students researched the famous anthropologist using different meth-

ods to become more familiar with Jane Goodall and all of her great work and accomplishments. During the live broadcast, Jane shared stories about chimpanzees, their habitat, and the human communities that surround them. A highlight of the Skype session was the opportunity for students to ask Ms. Goodall questions directly – something they will always remember! Jane Goodall encouraged everyone to become change-agents by thinking big and starting small. Find out how you and your family can become change-agents within our own community by visiting www.janegoodall.org. 49

Summer 2019

Jacksonville Torah High School learning through involvement

By Jacksonville Torah High School

At Jacksonville Torah High School, experiential learning is a strong focus in growing teenage minds, hearts, values, and most especially in creating future Jewish leaders. As a school, we make every effort to engage our students in discussions that cater to their curiosity, and we take great pride in having selected teachers that can make the Judaic subjects relatable. In classes like Hashkafa (the Hebrew term for worldview and guiding philosophy) taught by the engaging “Tell me and I and dynamic Rabbi Avi forget, teach me and I may remember, involve Feigenbaum, students are me and I learn.” afforded the opportunity to ask questions that are Benjamin Franklin important to them, either verbally or anonymously via a question box. When our Chumash (Bible) teacher went on maternity leave, we were extremely fortunate that Rabbi Yaakov Fisch stepped in to teach. Rumor has it that on his first day, Rabbi Fisch apologized for possibly going off topic on occasion. It was explained by the students that “going off topic” really meant that in addition to the skills that they were mastering in reading, translating, and learning about the rabbinical commentaries on the Torah, like Maimonides, Rabbi Fisch applies biblical stories to modern-day, relatable topics of practical purpose. We then take the lessons learned and apply them to our everyday lives. Following Passover, the students returned to school


with questions about the acts of anti-Semitism that took place locally, nationally and globally. The choice to learn experientially by leaving the classroom is one that we are fortunate to have available to us in a city like Jacksonville, with a Jewish community that we are privileged to learn from. We visited the Frisch Family Holocaust Gallery at Jewish Family & Community Services, where we learned about the “Rescuers” exhibit. It was a reminder that in times of tragedy, in the words of Mr. Fred Rogers, to “look for the helpers.” It was also a reminder that we each have a choice – are we Bystanders who stand by meekly, or Upstanders that stand up for what is right and against what is wrong? We went to River Garden to hear visiting scholar Rabbi Dr. Akiva Tatz share his profound thoughts on “Finding Happiness in This Sad World.” How apropos that we were given tools to help us cope when we needed it most. On Thursday, JTHS assisted Etz Chaim synagogue with the preparations for the community-wide Yom Hashoah program. We were all in attendance to hear Irene Jaffa, our personal artist in residence, and Rabbi Jacob Schachter speak about the atrocities that took place during the Holocaust. We learned by seeing, hearing, and mostly by being involved. Each field trip, volunteer opportunity, Shabbaton, leadership role, and responsibility that the Jewish teens at JTHS undertake helps to shape them as much as the subjects that they are studying. We are creating bright, engaging, caring and involved young adults. If you see one, feel free to involve them so they can continue to learn. For more information about Jacksonville Torah High School, please contact Suzie Becker at sbecker@ jaxtorahhigh.com.

Summer 2019

Michele Block Gan Yeladim students learn life lessons through new duck friends By Roxanne Gordon

Last month, Michele Block Gan Yeladim had the honor of nursing duck eggs at the school. During the egg cycle, students learned about the embryotic stages of ducks, and waited in excitement for the clutch to hatch. Unfortunately, of the seven eggs, only one duckling completed the development cycle. While not the outcome anticipated, it provided a valuable lesson on life cycles for the students. The arrival of the single duckling was explained to students as an occurrence that is common in the wild as a natural part of life. This understanding helped to educate the children and allowed them to feel excited for the duck that did hatch. Because the duckling hatched the week of Michele Block Gan Yeladim’s Model Seders and at the beginning of Passover, students named it Afie, after the Afikoman from the Passover Seder. Shortly after Afie’s birth, the school adopted a second duck they named Quackers, so Afie would not be alone as he grew up. This provided another lesson on blended and chosen families, be they for ducks or people.

Construct, connect, create! By Liat Walker Jewish Studies Coordinator, Martin J. Gottlieb Day School

Last month, the Martin J. Gottlieb Day School 5th grade students were chosen to be part of an exciting program, funded by the Teacher Institute for the Arts. Art teacher, Mrs. Shana Gutterman, and Jewish Studies coordinator, Morah Liat, spent a week in California learning with other teachers from Jewish day schools all over the U.S. and Canada how to integrate art, innovation and Judaism. Throughout the year, the students used prayers and design thinking to foster life skills. The students learned and engaged with prayers on a deeper level. They analyzed prayers using a variety of tools and methods that help build life skills such as problem solving, resilience, teamwork and creativity. They later converted the prayers into an automaton (a mechanism that is relatively self-operating), flipbook and scarf. In April, the 5th grade students and their teachers hosted an interactive program for families in the community. Families were able to construct, create and connect. Each family created a visual interpretation of a prayer or a blessing that was meaningful to them by constructing an automaton. 51

Summer 2019

Torah Academy students host friends from The Coves

By Torah Academy

Torah Academy’s model Seder is always an exciting event. Students in each grade spend weeks learning and preparing for this Pesach preview, and then each class presents one part of the Seder using skits, songs and videos. This year’s program was extra special because in addition to our usual parent and grandparent guests, we

also had the chance to host our dear friends from The Coves. TA students are often visiting The Coves around holiday times, but this was the first time The Coves’ residents boarded a bus and came to visit Torah Academy. All attendees enjoyed the entertaining Seder, especially joining in and singing all the familiar Seder tunes. Torah Academy students look forward to their next visit with the residents, whether in their home or ours.

Michele Block Gan Yeladim gives choice to children By Roxanne Gordon

Last year, Michele Block Gan Yeladim launched the Education Support Network for Duval County early childhood educators and Michele Block Gan Yeladim staff. Through the network, workshop leaders Nicole Mercer and Dr. Becky Bailey have taught the faculty at Michelle Block Gan Yeladim many strategies for success, one of which is giving children choices. Allowing a child to make choices gives them a voice and helps build self-worth. Some techniques provided include when trying to get a child to do something, offering a choice instead of issuing a command which can help get to the conclusion desired. For example,

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if teachers want students to line up, but they are reluctant to do so, give them options on how to line up. Use language like, “Would you like to take big steps like a giraffe, or would you like to hop like a bunny to get in line?” Giving the choice makes young learners feel as if they have some control over what they are doing and helps them with decision-making skills. The child will most likely end up complying by choosing, for example, to hop like a bunny. This helps tasks get completed and develops essential skills for later in life. Michele Block Gan Yeladim thinks of children as competent and capable, so giving them choices helps them understand the respect the staff has for them. This strategy is not limited to the classroom. It can also be used at home.

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Summer 2019

New compost built – old items used

By Heather Hamiliton STEAM Director, Martin J. Gottlieb Day School & DuBow Preschool

At Martin J. Gottlieb Day School and Dubow Preschool, Earth Day isn’t just about learning the importance of recycling; it’s about empowering students to make their school greener. Recently a few of our STEAM Design Lab middle school students took on the challenge of building a compost tumbler for the preschool garden. As they worked through the design process, the students had to consider their pint-sized customers. Their design had to be safe, short and easy for little hands to use. Instead of the barrel turning

end-over-end (and potentially knocking down a toddler), it rolls on its side. Instead of a tall stand that could empty into a wheelbarrow, its base is compact, close to the ground, and within a two-year-old’s reach. These students embraced the spirit of Earth Day as they gathered their materials. The Tzabari family, owners of Olive My Pickle, graciously donated a used food-grade pickle barrel for the project. Heather Hamilton, STEAM Director, repurposed old fence posts from her home to be used for the base. When the project was finally completed, our preschool students loved hunting for almost-thrownaway items to add to the compost bin instead.

Documentation in Block Gan classrooms By Roxanne Gordon and Natalia Fisher

This year at Michele Block Gan Yeladim, the school has come a long way on our Masa “journey.” The school is rethinking the practice and the experiences they offer children by implementing research-based best practices. One of the main elements of best practice is documentation. Documentation in early childhood classrooms is used for assessment, extending the learning, and to help make the learning process visible. This enhances the child’s learning and aids the children in reflection – an important part of the learning process. Through documentation we see that the learning is intentional and valued. Loris Malaguzzi, the founder of the Reggio Emilia Approach from which this practice stems, stated that, “Teachers – like children and everyone else – feel the need to grow in their competences; they want to transform experiences into thoughts, thoughts into reflections, and reflections into new thoughts and new actions. They also feel a need to make predictions, to try things out, and to interpret them... teachers must learn to interpret ongoing processes rather than wait to evaluate results.” Teachers must be researchers first and collect as much information as possible to show where the learner is currently, where they are going, and what the learner needs to get there. Teachers listen, observe and document the children’s work. Educators at Gan Yeladim will continue to rethink and reflect on their practice and will be engaging in professional development to understand the documentation process and how it can help drive the curriculum. 53

Community Get ready for your Summer reading By Jacksonville Hadassah

Jacksonville Hadassah is happy to announce the line-up of our Annual Summer Book Reviews, with a selection of books that span many different time periods and locales. This very popular, annual program will be held on four consecutive Tuesdays in July at 10:30 a.m.. The first three reviews will be held at the Jacksonville Jewish Center, 3662 Crown Point Road; the July 30th program will be held at Beaches/ Nocatee (location TBD). Coffee and conversation at 10:30 a.m., with the book reviews beginning at 11 a.m. The schedule is as follows:   Tuesday, July 9. He, She and It: A Novel, by Marge Piercy. This imaginative and stunning novel of morality and courage is a bold adventure which could be described as a little bit “Under the Dome” and a little bit “The Golem of Prague.” Reviewed by Rabbi Mark Wieder.  Tuesday, July 16. One More River, by Mary Glickman. This sweeping story of a father and son, and of the loves that transform them amid

the turbulence of the American South will be reviewed by Evelyn Peck. Tuesday, July 23. A Backpack, a Bear, and Eight Crates of Vodka: A Memoir, by Lev Golinkin. This compelling story of two intertwined journeys: a Jewish refugee family fleeing persecution during the Cold War era Soviet Union, and a young man seeking to reclaim a shattered past, will be reviewed by Goldie Lansky.  Tuesday, July 30. kaddish.com: A Novel, by Nathan Englander. This brilliant, streamlined comic novel about a son’s failure to say Kaddish for his father, will leave you asking questions and thinking about ideas. Reviewed by Randy Siegmann.  The book reviews are free and open to the entire community. Hadassah cards will be for sale, as will chances for a prize. RSVP is not necessary; however, if you have any questions, call Helen at 904-504-8251.

June reception to honor 16 rabbis arrested in St. Augustine in 1964

Dine with Jax Jewish Singles By Francine Smith

Join the Jax Jewish Singles in June for dinner at India’s Restaurant. Tempt your taste buds with this authentic North Indian food. The spices will delight your senses. Come for good food and good conversation. We will not meet in July. Please call Francine for details at 904-221-8061 or email francine.smith@comcast.net.

Teens Leading Teens: NCSY Leadership Shabbaton By Rachel Joseph Jacksonville Torah High School

Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Steps at the Hilton Garden Inn Bayfront

By St. Augustine Jewish Historical Society

The St. Augustine Jewish Historical Society invites the community to join together at a reception in honor of the 16 rabbis arrested in St. Augustine on June 18, 1964. The reception will follow the dedication of a plaque to commemorate the largest mass arrest of rabbis in U.S. history. Both the plaque dedication and the reception will be held on the site of the arrest, at the Hilton 54

Garden Inn Bayfront, 32 Avenida Menendez, Street in St. Augustine. The program will begin at 10:30 a.m. on June 18, on the steps where Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was arrested in June of 1964. There is no charge for either the brief dedication ceremony or the reception, at which refreshments will be served. All are welcome to attend, and no advance arrangements need be made. For details, visit gofundme.com/justice-justice-1964.

On the weekend of May 4, Jacksonville and Savannah NCSY got together in Savannah, Georgia, for a Greater South Leadership Shabbaton. While most Shabbatons are handled by adult advisors, this Shabbaton’s programming was planned by three NCSY-ers and a great time was had by all in attendance. NCSY Jax Vice President Brandon Melamed led an inspiring evening, with a moving Havdalah service that was sung by local teen Chase Beyer. Even the breakout and learning sessions were led by teens. Times like these make me remember how lucky I am to be part of such an amazing program that not only cares about our Judaism but helps shape us into future leaders in our Jewish community and society in general. It is amazing how Jewish youth groups like NCSY, USY and BBYO place great value on giving teens the opportunity to gain leadership skills during their teenage years. I personally have gained so much from NCSY in the past two years. We are privileged that with the support of Rabbi Joey Hamaoui, our advisor here in Jacksonville, we are encouraged to grow and thrive and remember that it is our responsibility to help be the change in this world.

Summer 2019

Save the date for the 2019 JCA Jewish Cultural Arts Festival

By Jewish Community Alliance

November is Cultural Arts Month at the JCA! This November, the JCA Jewish Cultural Arts Festival will bring even more compelling cultural arts programming to the Jacksonville community with the 23rd Annual Jewish Book Festival complemented by Jewish award-winning films and other cultural events. The 2019 festival will be held from November 2 to 14 at the Jewish Community Alliance and will again include literature and film offerings, as well as many other exciting cultural arts events for a wide range of demographics. Sherrie Saag will chair this event for the third year in a row. Sherrie’s wonderful leadership of last year’s festival led to record

By Suzie Becker

attendance at all events. She and the festival committee are currently making selections and planning for this year’s event. The Jewish Cultural Arts Festival brings renowned authors to Jacksonville for diverse programming that highlights varying aspects of the Jewish experience. Previous festivals have included book signings, readings, film showings and author chats. Visiting authors have included Martin Fletcher, Izzy Ezagui, Alan Zweibel and Annabelle Gurwitch. This year’s event promises to be just as compelling. Sponsorship is crucial to success of this event. Sponsorship and additional festival information is coming soon. Please contact Lior Spring at lior.spring@jcajax.org or 904-730-2100 ext. 318 with questions.

WHY I KVELL: The case for unity in our community

This past month I kvelled. Hard. If you are not familiar with the word, “kvell” is Yiddish for feeling happy and proud. For a Jewish mother such as I, “kvelling” is an emotion reserved for feelings in the superlative… it is to gush with pride, to want to brag about extensively, an experience one tries to mention at least once per conversation. That’s how I felt as I watched the various places of Jewish worship in Jacksonville come together in happiness and grief this past month. When we moved to Jacksonville four years ago after the birth of my daughter, my limited exposure to the community took place in car pool. I dropped off my son at DuBow Preschool each day, returned to my home to care for a newborn, and left again to pick up my son. While I saw events taking place around town, we were not “members” anywhere in particular yet, and did not feel very connected to any one place. Today, the change in cohesive energy of the entire community is palpable! Thanks to the dedication of our Jacksonville Jewish Federation and the clergy at the various synagogues here who have brought us all together at community wide events, new families in Jacksonville know that there is much to participate in as they develop connections. The achdut (unity) of the dynamic Jewish community in Jacksonville is measurable. Irene Jaffa, who has lived here for a very long time, shared with me that this is the first time all the youth groups know each other and interact with regularity. The Sababa-Q alone united the youth groups of NCSY, USY, JSU, and BBYO. We are truly

blessed to have an enigmatic, effective, and dedicated shaliach, Rotem Gabay, who continues to bring us together with his amazing experiential programs that strengthen our connection to Israel. This past month, members of every synagogue joined together to rejoice at the JCA’s Yom Ha’atzmaut party in celebration of 71 years strong! When news of antisemitic actions that took place at a St. Johns County high school broke, again members from everywhere and nowhere, united in their bravery and support of Jewish teens who stood up for what is right and against hatred because we will “Never Forget” and “Never is Now.” Upon hearing about the tragedy which took place at the Chabad of Poway in California, a vigil was held at the Chabad of Mandarin that was attended by Jews from all over Jacksonville. A Yom Hashoah program to commemorate the Holocaust at Etz Chaim was attended by people who worship all over our community. A Yom Hazikaron program – Israel’s Memorial Day for fallen soldiers and victims of terror – at the Jacksonville Jewish Center reminded us that we are one with our brothers and sisters in Israel who defend our Jewish state daily. Community-wide events are what reminds us that we are one – as a community and as a nation. I told everyone from everywhere how dynamic Jacksonville is – and worked it into every conversation with family and friends near and far this past month – from Tel Aviv to New York to Haifa to California to Europe… And so, I kvell about a place I never heard of 10 years ago. I encourage you all to kvell with me and to take pride in our incredible, diverse, accepting, and welcoming Jewish community. 55

Summer 2019

Come to the JCA for Fourth of July family fun

By Jewish Community Alliance

On Thursday, July 4, the JCA will hold its annual Fourth of July Family Fun Day from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. JCA Family Fun Days provide the opportunity for members to gather at the JCA Joy and Howard Korman outdoor pool for an afternoon of poolside games, DJ entertainment and more. Snacks and refreshments are also provided. The first Family Fun Day of the year, which occurred on Memorial Day, featured a Card Board Boat Regatta and prizes for winners. Family Fun Days are free for JCA members. For more information, contact Aquatics Manager Josie Martin at 904-730-2100 ext. 240.

The River Garden Foundation proudly presents the 2019 Gala

Saturday, November 16, 2019 - 7:00p.m. ● Sawgrass at Marriott Golf Resort & Spa Presented by

To Benefit River Garden Hebrew Home/Wolfson Health & Aging Center

Reservations and Sponsorships available now: Kathy Osterer 904.886.8430 or Kosterer@rivergarden.org

Chairs: Rebekah Selevan & Talie Zaifert Black Tie ● Silent Auction ● Dinner ● Dancing ● Entertainment 56

Summer 2019

Jewish Student Union takes Jacksonville by storm! By Joseph Hamaoui

Many of you probably haven’t heard much about Jewish Student Union (JSU) before this year. So how did a program no one had heard of before develop into an unstoppable force that will be in seven different local schools? It all started with the teens. JSU is a program of NCSY, in which we partner with teen leaders in public schools to open Jewish Culture Clubs. The program started in 2002 with four pilot clubs, and now JSU runs over 200 clubs across North America reaching over 12,000 teens annually. By creating a fun, social atmosphere, and bringing welcoming Jewish advisors to public school campuses, JSU reaches all types of teens. JSU facilitates regular club meetings in public schools that meet during the lunch hour, before or after school, providing food for the body and soul. Programs include speakers from a variety of Jewish organizations, interactive activities, and discussions on timely topics of interest to the participants. In addition to the regularly scheduled school club meetings, JSU sponsors activities outside of school, including retreats, city-wide holiday parties, community service projects, ski trips, Friday night Shabbat dinners and other exciting events. Last year a few teens from Stanton College Preparatory School reached out to their local NCSY Director and said they wanted to start the first local club. The director worked together with the teens, providing them guidance and training to get the club started. They began modestly and over time developed their leadership skills and began growing the club. By the end of the year, Jewish and non-Jewish students were regularly attending the meetings and learning more about Judaism and Israel in a positive, friendly environment. This year, some of the students from Atlantic Coast High School decided they wanted in on the action and reached out about starting their own JSU Club, and the success there has been amazing. As Chase B. puts it: “In a public school environment, it’s not easy keeping in touch with my Judaism. Being involved in Atlantic Coast JSU has really enabled me to tap into my Jewish roots and helped me build a really strong connection with my faith and understanding of my religion.” As excitement continued to grow, JSU began its monthly Latte & Learning program, in which Jewish teens from all over the Jacksonville area get together for free coffee and open and inspiring discussions about Jewish topics. More and more teens from all different backgrounds and all different parts of Jacksonville and St. Johns began coming, as the program grew to about 30 students. With the encouragement of teen leaders and a taste of the welcoming, empowering environment, teens from other schools began reaching out as well. By the end of the school year, JSU was open and operat-

ing in Stanton, Atlantic Coast, Creekside and Bolles. More students reached out and student boards were formed, and in the upcoming year JSU is proud to announce it will be operating in Nease, Mandarin and Douglas Anderson as well. There will also be an eighth program running out of the JCA called “JSU After Dark,” where all students can participate in a city-wide club even if their school doesn’t yet have its own. The teens have been the driving force behind the amazing growth in our program. They have torn down barriers, and teens from different youth groups and affiliations have been working together to unite and celebrate our shared heritage. They are proud of their Jewish identity and sharing it with others. Jagger L. says, “JSU has inspired me to be more comfortable being Jewish around all groups. It teaches me to share Judaism with people

who aren’t Jewish and to be comfortable with my peers in the Jewish community as well.” JSU will kick off the 2019-20 academic year with a large event on August 18, so please save the date and look for us in the following schools: Stanton College Preparatory School Atlantic Coast High School Creekside High School The Bolles School Nease High School Mandarin High School Douglas Anderson School of the Arts Don’t see your school here? Feel free to join us at the JCA for our “JSU After Dark” program, or you can reach out about opening your own club! For more information on JSU, please contact local director Joey Hamaoui at HamaouiJ@ DoJSU.org or 904-262-3565. 57


Summer 2019

Jewish Business Network “Take me out to the ballgame!”

By Judith Fox-Goldstein, “Word by Word”

What an emotional roller coaster! Anticipation and excitement at being invited by Jumbo Shrimp’s owner, Ken Babby, to hear the anatomy of Jacksonville’s favored Minor League baseball team and, deep sorrow following another attack, on the last day of Passover, at Chabad of Poway in San Diego. We were blessed not only to hear Ken Babby speak, but also by the presence and deeply moving words of Rabbi Shmuli Novack. His soft-spoken message resonated as he talked about the tragedy that “was not defined by the attacker, but rather by the community’s embrace of the families of the victims, the courageous defense of their co-parishioners; the (Poway) rabbis heroic concern for his flock, in spite of his injuries, and the celebration of life of 60-year-old, Lori Gilbert Kaye, who lost her life to an act of hate. Heads held high, shabbat candles lit – families came together to support each other and to find strength in what they shared. They would not let evil define how they responded or how they moved forward.” We remain grateful for Rabbi Novack’s words and the time he gave us to reflect on this tragedy. What I do know is that everyone responds uniquely to deep loss and pain. Standing in solidarity – against hate and violence, brings much more power than giving energy or attention to evil. We can not let joy disappear from our lives. If we do, hate wins. With broken hearts and unbroken resolve, we must find a way to speak out against the madness and violence that continues to rise. On to joy! Arriving at the Jumbo Shrimp Stadium is quite an experience, but when you’re escorted up a private elevator – destination the WHEELHOUSE, well, you know you’re in for a very special JBN meeting. Bagels, bialys, blintz and all the bountiful brunch treats awaited our breakfast-ready JBN members. We were overwhelmed with the chef’s creations and the hospitality extended by our returning speaker, Ken Babby. Offering the inside scoop on his own personal journey and aspirations, Ken took us back to his days at the Washington Post when Jeff Bezo’s bought the paper. Jeff asked Ken one very transitional question, “Ken, what’s your passion?” Ken responded, with no hesitation, “Baseball... that’s my passion and I want to own a minor league baseball team.” When Ken retired from the Washington Post in 2012, he was the youngest senior official in the company’s history. Tooled with degrees in computer science and economics (Wheaton College) and an MBA from Johns Hopkins University, Ken was well prepared for his incredible entrepreneurial journey. Ken is also the owner of the Akron Rubber Ducks and the founder of Fast Forward Sports Group. Q. Why baseball, Ken? A. It’s in my blood! My father was involved in baseball and I guess I inherited the baseball genes. I often attended the games with my father who was the General Counsel for the Baltimore Orioles and, somehow, I knew baseball would be in my future. Q. What’s your vision for the Jumbo Shrimp? A. Creating affordable family fun… one inning at a time!

Ken Babby


I’m committed to bringing entertainment and baseball to the community at an affordable price. Family fun, fireworks, special activity days, service programs and supporting local organizations are all part of the vision. The Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp is committed to being a strong community partner and energizing our community through baseball and family fun. Networking, news, new friends, new experiences and ‘nosh’… terrific ingredients for another stimulating JBN meeting. Whether you’re a new business owner in Jacksonville, or a long-time established professional interested in growing your business, JBN meetings offer great opportunities to spend invaluable time with a very diverse group of outstanding business owners. JBN’s member profile includes attorneys, (criminal, entertainment, sports & probate), nutritionists, non-profit administrators, communicators, writers, engineers, financial advisors, artists, realtors, marketing gurus and… yes, even a Baseball Team owner! Come to a JBN meeting. Find your niche, listen to inspiring stories, make lasting connections and take some time to promote your business.

Rabbi Shmuli Novack

Please join us for next month’s JBN meeting on Friday, June 14 from 8:30-9:30 a.m. featuring Eva Grayzel. Eva is a motivational speaker, master storyteller, author and oral cancer survivor. We’ll be meeting at the Temple – Congregation Ahavath Chesed, located at 8727 San Jose Blvd. To RSVP or for more information, email zach@stjohnsasset.com.

Summer 2019


Q: Is salt bad for your heart? A: Salt is only bad if you have heart failure. It can also cause you to retain fluid in the body. But don’t stop eating salt unless your doctor tells you to.

Q: Can stress cause heart disease? A: Yes, of course. Stress may affect behaviors and factors that increase heart disease risk, like high blood pressure and cholesterol levels, physical inactivity and overeating.

Q: Is it true that a glass of red wine a day is good for your heart? A: I get asked this a lot. As a doctor, I cannot recommend alcohol. But there are studies that show people do better with small amounts of wine – or beer or liquor – which can

have beneficial effects on cholesterol, blood pressure and overall wellbeing. Studies show there’s absolutely nothing wrong with having a drink, and actually one drink may be beneficial. With just one drink, people do seem to have some improved parameters. But more than one drink has negative effects.

Q: Can exercise really make your heart stronger? A: This is actually a misconception. Exercise is good for the whole body and improves blood pressure and weight loss. Exercise leads to overall improvement of wellbeing body, not just the heart.

Q: What is the most common question you receive? A: “Do you know any single Jewish doctors?”

Cary Rose, MD, is a cardiologist and clinical cardiac electrophysiologist in Jacksonville. Originally from Philadelphia, he went to college in California at UCLA, trained in Philadelphia and New York, and moved down to Jacksonville last year.


Summer 2019 With more than 13 years of real estate experience in both Georgia and Florida, Leah has a keen eye for quality, style and opportunity.

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Advertise with us and reach a readership of over 12,000 people accross Northeast Florida! TARGETED MARKETS include Mandarin, Southside, Beaches, Amelia Island, St. Augustine and St. Johns County. 904-224-1412 jjn@jewishjacksonville.org www.jewishjacksonville.org/news

Lifecycles Summer 2019

Birth Announcements

Erika and Greg Kurosko are happy to announce the birth of their son, Liam Scott Kurosko, on March 5. The proud grandparents are Annette and Jerry Goodfarb and Bonnie and Tony Kurosko, as well as great-grandfather, Edward Bernard. Liam Scott is named in loving memory of his great-grandfather, William Dengler, and great-uncle, Scott Goodfarb.

and Sandra and Jim Bates of St. Augustine. Many other friends and family will surround Emma on this very special day. Emma is in 8th grade at Valley Ridge Academy, where she actively participates in softball, band and art club. She enjoys surfing, boating and skateboarding. She loves spoiling our furry family members Trixie and Rocky and being with friends and family. Her Mitzvah Project is working with the pet rescue site Their Lives Our Voices, otherwise known as TLOV. She is collecting food and volunteering her time to help them at Petco adoption events. She will also be donating to TLOV after becoming a Bat Mitzvah.

Crista and Robert Glucksman are happy to announce the birth of their son, Ryan Allan Glucksman, born on April 8 in Denver, Colorado. He was also welcomed to the world by his brother Jacob and grandparents Allan & Kathy Cohen of Jacksonville and Richard and Gayle Glucksman of Denver, Colorado.

Bat Mitzvahs

Emma Brooke Bates, daughter of Michael and Nicole Bates, will be called to the Torah for the occasion of her Bat Mitzvah on June 15 at Temple Bet Yam in St. Augustine. Sharing in the simcha will be her brother Shane, grandparents Barbara & Kevin Mallard of Erwin, Tennessee,

Aurelienne Love, daughter of Davis and Jennifer Love, will be called to the Torah on the occasion of her Bat Mitzvah on August 17, at Temple Bet Yam in St. Augustine. Sharing in the simcha will be her sister, Ella, and her grandmothers, Karen Love and Jacqueline Witte, along with the TBY congregation and many friends and family. Ari is an honor student at Valley Ridge Academy in Ponte Vedra, a member of the Junior National Honor Society, and the bass clarinet player of the middle school band. She enjoys spending time with her friends and family, reading books, and her computer. Ari loves Tang Soo Do Karate and she is working towards achieving her black belt. She loves all

creatures great and small and is passionate about saving our environment. Her Bat Mitzvah project is working with Temple Bet Yam to establish a “You Bring It, You Take It Home” program, which will ensure that no plastics and recyclables will be left behind after Oneg Shabbats and other celebrations. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2004. He has published widely in the subject of Design Computation and has lectured and organized a number of professional workshops both nationally and internationally. Kyle and his wife, Sejung Park, have two sons, Miru and Sonah. Proud parents are Michele and David Steinfeld. Madelyn Millrood, daughter of Jeremy and Kimberly Millrood, was called to the Torah on the occasion of her Bat Mitzvah on May 25 at the Jacksonville Jewish Center. Sharing in the simcha was her sister Anna; grandparents Edwin and Helene Thall, Norm and Karen Numerof, and Ken Millrood; and many other friends and family. Madelyn is in the 7th grade at the Martin J. Gottlieb Day School and participates in Kadima. She enjoys baking, reading and playing volleyball. Madelyn has chosen to donate part of her Bat Mitzvah money to the Martin J. Gottlieb Day School’s Mitzvah Program, which has been such a meaningful part of her middle school experience.

Mazel Tov Kyle Steinfeld, a Jacksonville native, was recently promoted to Associate Professor of Architecture with Tenure at the University of California, Berkeley. Kyle graduated from the University of Florida School of Architecture in 1999, and received his Master’s of Architecture

Engagement Announcement

Sher Alloway and Andy Fraden are thrilled to announce the engagement of their daughter, Sarah Fraden, to Jason Bloom. Cheryl and Myron Bloom are overjoyed to join the simcha. Sarah holds a Bachelor’s in Business from UCF and a Master’s in Education. She is a Campus Dean at Strayer University. Jason has a Bachelor’s in Political Science from the University of Georgia. He is a professional poker player and a published author. Plans are underway for a March 2020 wedding at the Fountain of Youth in St. Augustine. 61

Summer 2019


Beth El - The Beaches Synagogue 288 North Roscoe Blvd Ponte Vedra Beach, FL 32082 904-273-9100 office@bethelbeaches.org Chabad of St. Johns County 1571 Lemonwood Road Jacksonville, FL 32259 904-701-4422 dini@jewishsjohnscounty.com Chabad at Southside 11271 Alumni Way Jacksonville, FL 32246 904-646-4434 rabbi@southsidechabad.com Chabad at the Beaches 521 A1A North Ponte Vedra Beach, FL 32082 904-285-1588 Chabad of Northeast Florida 10129 Haley Road Jacksonville, FL 32257 904-262-6641 rabbi@chabadjacksonville.org Congregation Ahavath Chesed (The Temple) 8727 San Jose Blvd Jacksonville, FL 32217 904-733-7078 info@thetemplejacksonvile.org Congregation Sons of Israel 161 Cordova St St. Augustine, FL 32084 904-829-9532 info@congregationsonsofisrael.com Etz Chaim Synagogue 10167 San Jose Blvd Jacksonville, FL 32257 904-262-3565 ext. 7 ecoffice@etzchaim.org Jacksonville Jewish Center 3662 Crown Point Rd Jacksonville, FL 32257 904-292-1000 membershipoutreach@jaxjewishcenter.org Temple Bet Yam PO Box 840052 St. Augustine, FL 32080 904-471-9994 info@betyam.org


DuBow Preschool Martin J. Gottlieb Day School (K – 8) 3662 Crown Point Rd Jacksonville, FL 32257 904-268-4200 info@dubowpreschool.org office@mjgds.org Ganeinu – Chabad Early Childhood Development Center The Cheder (K-8) 11271 Alumni Way Jacksonville, FL 32246 904-646-4434 chabadecdc@gmail.com Jacksonville Torah High School 11154 San Jose Blvd, Jacksonville 904-403-8405 561-908-1841 jthsed@gmail.com www.jaxtorahhigh.com Michele Block Gan Yeladim Preschool 8500 San Jose Blvd Jacksonville, FL 32217 904-730-2100 info@jcajax.org Torah Academy of Jacksonville (Pre-k – 8) 10167 San Jose Blvd. Jacksonville, FL 32257 904-268-7719 office@torah-academy.com

Agencies & Organizations Jewish Family & Community Services 8540 Baycenter Rd. Jacksonville, FL 32256 jfcsjax.org 904-448-1933 Jewish Federation of Jacksonville 8505 San Jose Boulevard Jacksonville, FL 32217 904-448-5000 jewishjacksonville.org info@jewishjacksonville.org River Garden Senior Services 11401 Old St. Augustine Rd Jacksonville, FL 32258 rivergarden.org 904-260-1818 Jewish Community Alliance 8505 San Jose Blvd. Jacksonville, FL 32217 904-730-2100 info@jcajax.org Hadassah Jacksonville Chapter 904-591-6984 walkersbeach@gmail.com


Your fellow man is your mirror. If your own face is clean, the image you perceive will also be flawless. But should you look upon someone and see a blemish, it is your own imperfection that you are encountering – you are being shown what it is that you must correct within yourself.

– Rabbi Israel ben Eliezer


(BAAL SHEM TOV, 1698-1760)


Jewish Federation of Jacksonville Women’s Mission


Yours. Mine. Ours. April 21-28, 2020

Itinerary Highlights (subject to change): • Five-star hotels • Dinners at award-winning restaurants • Walking tour of historical Old Jaffa and artsy Neve Tzedek • Guided culinary tour of the market • Visits to Independence Hall and the Center for Israeli Innovation • Participate in a hands-on Israeli cooking workshop • Exclusive programming in our partnership community of Hadera • Enjoy the outdoors with an activity along the Mediterranean coast

• Visit Yad Vashem, Israel’s Holocaust memorial and museum • Welcome Shabbat at the Western Wall and enjoy a festive Shabbat meal with IDF Lone Soldiers • Briefing on the complex security issues facing Israel’s border with a private border tour • Stargazing and jeep rides in the Ramon Crater • Hear from various speakers on the politics of Israel, history and heritage, and female empowerment and entrepreneurship • Experience Yom Ha’Zikaron and Yom Ha’Atzmaut

Co-chairs: Whitney Kuvin, Jill Metlin, Jennifer Plotkin, Lauren Setzer For pricing and details, contact Lauren Rickoff at 904.224.1406 or laurenr@jewishjacksonville.org.

Profile for Northeast Florida Jewish Life Magazine

Jacksonville Jewish News Summer Magazine  

Jacksonville Jewish News Summer Magazine