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summer magazine June/july 2018

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June/July 2018

Contents Cover Story 6-7 / Federation Mission to Israel Federation leads latest trip to Israel for the 70th birthday celebration. Hear from mission participants and Federation Executive Director about their experiences and why missions are an important part of what Federation does.

Also in this issue


Years in Review

18-19 / JCA Baptist Wellness Connexion

8 / Jewish Federation 28-29 / Board Slates of Jacksonville 30 / Synagogues 14 / JCA 34 / Education

See how the JCA impacts the health and wellbeing of its members with their Baptist Wellness Connexion.

23 / It Could Happen to You Read the story of how JFCS has helped a community member and her husband after a rare diagnosis.

20 / Jewish Family & Community Services 26 / River Garden

40 / Community 44 / Events 45 / Lifecycles

Advertising Directory 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:

• • • • • • • • • 4

Adagio Weddings (p. 45) Alhambra Theatre & Dining (p. 5) Bob Ham Eyewear (p. 17) Dignity Memorial (p. 25) Erica Jolles (p. 38) Gili’s (p. 17) Hala’s (p. 17) Jacksonville Jewish Center (p. 33, 44) Jewish Community Alliance (p. 48)

• • • • • • • •

Jewish Family & Community Services (p. 47) Jewish Federation of Jacksonville (p. 12-13, 46) Margo’s Catering (p. 44) Memorial Advanced Surgery (p. 2) River Garden Senior Services (p. 46) Starling at San Jose (p. 39) The Temple (p. 39) UF Health (p. 3)

June/July 2018

Credits Editor & Communications Director Natalie McElwee Editorial Support Chloe Myers Erin Cohen Val Battini Alarie Gibbs Communications Committee Jon Israel, Chair Shirley Bielski Helen Hill Michele Katz Joan Levin Andrea Mail Rachel Morgenthal Andrew Ocean Marsha Pollock Federation Executive Director Alan Margolies

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. Copy due dates: All news, photographs, etc., must be received by the 7th of each month, and sent to Ad deadlines: All ads must be received by the 15th of each month and sent to in .pdf format. 8505 San Jose Blvd., Jacksonville, FL 32217 | 904-448-5000

Pick up the JJN at these three locations:

Federation President Ken Jacobs Advertising Representatives Barbara Nykerk 904.733.4179 • 904.923-3205 Eta Perras 904.629.0466

The Jacksonville Jewish News is printed by Florida Sun Printing.


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June/July 2018





Jewish Federation of Jacksonville

In April, the Jewish Federation of Jacksonville led its latest mission to Israel. While every mission is an amazing experience, this one was particularly unique as it is Israel's 70th birthday year! From April 15-24, the group experienced the city of Jaffa, the Ramon Crater, the grave site of Ben Gurion, a special Kabbalat Shabbot at Aish HaTorah, meditation at the Western Wall, and so much more. While it's hard to put into words the amazing experience of one of our mission trips, we've asked some mission participants to share their experience.

Allison Jacobs


his recent trip to Israel with Federation for Israel’s 70th birthday was just fabulous. My husband and I traveled with 43 other Jacksonville area friends for ten days. It was my second time in the Holy Land, but people on the trip ranged from never having been to Israel, to having traveled to Israel twenty times. It didn’t matter- the trip was geared for everyone. It is hard to pick one thing that I liked the best as each place and adventure we visited was better than the next. One of my favorite parts was visiting the Ramon Crater and riding in jeeps up and down the crater. At the bottom, we enjoyed a delicious lunch - right there in the middle of this amazing crater. I also loved the Star Gazing clear through the telescopes that were brought in for our group. It was also amazing to be in Israel during in the crater at night. There was no outside light, and you could see the stars and constellations so crisp and Yom Hazikaron, and we were honored by the Mayor 6

June/July 2018

Mitzpe Ramon during the memorial service. When the local Israelis sang Hatikvah at the end of their program to honor the fallen soldiers, it hit me at that moment the deep connection that I have with Israel. I am sure our whole group was a bit teary eyed after that. And then to celebrate Yom Haatzmaut only twenty four hours later in our sister city of Hadera, was priceless. We competed in a top chef like cooking contest with our Israeli friends from the region and everyone loved the evening! If you hadn’t fallen in love with Israel by then, you did that night. It was magical. The most unbelievable thing for me on this trip was getting to see our Israeli friends who have travelled to Jacksonville on our Partnership program and in some cases, have stayed in our home. Each friend made a special trip to see us wherever we were staying or visiting on a given day, just to spend some time with me and Ken and to hug and kiss. This is what Partnership is all about- the relationships. Our Israeli friends who are like family certainly showed us that while we were there. I am glad to be back home, but I am especially missing Israel now as my daughter, Sarah, is spending the summer there visiting her Partnership friends and family and working an internship through MASA, a Federation funded program.

David Robbins


've been to Israel 9 or 10 times. I've been to the 50th, 60th, and 70th anniversaries. But this time, there was a unique chemistry between the people

who participated. Within a day everyone was sitting and talking like they had known each other for years. The highlight was at the park called Oz V’Gaon where we awere addressed by Raheli Frankl, the mother of Noptoli Frankl. After she spoke, I asked my rabbi how he felt, and he said he felt like he was in the presence of greatness. And if you know Rabbi Fisch, those adjectives and compliments don’t come often. For anyone who hasn't been on to Israel yet, I say get there as quickly as you can! For me, its like being on a different planet. Your essence as a human being is exposed when you're there.

Alan Margolies


t is always special to be in Israel. Being there with 45 people from our community to celebrate Israel's 70th birthday was really wonderful! We shared Yom Ha'atzmaut with our friends in Hadera, experienced a number of things for the first time to include the beauty of the Negev, we laughed, we cried. We also raised a lot of money and this will serve as a good beginning for the 2019 annual campaign.

If you are interested in a future trip to Israel with our Federation, please send an email to Alan Margolies at 7

June/July 2018


Federation Executive Director

his has been a noteworthy year for our Jewish Federation and our major local partner agencies. Here, we T can read about the happenings, the stories of our Women’s Division, rGEN, Israel Partnership, Society of Healers, and Shalom Jacksonville. Our annual campaign is projected to raise more money than last year. This is no small achievement these days, with so much competition for our charitable dollars. Congratulations to our campaign chair, Iris Kraemer, and all of her co chairs and all of our dedicated volunteers. This has been a year with significant change for Federation and the Jewish community. At the end of 2017, a successful merger was completed for the Jewish Community Foundation of NE Florida and Federation. The leadership of both organizations worked for 12 months to make this happen. I want to acknowledge the guidance and cooperation we received from the Community Foundation of NE Florida. Without their unselfish partnership, we would not have experienced such a smooth transition. Last month, Kellie Kelleher joined our staff as our Director of Planned Giving. This is the first time our Federation has had someone in this position. Kellie brings with her a solid track record of success, and we are excited for her to join our team. It is our intention to secure and ensure the future of our Jewish community. This month, following nearly 6 years of outstanding work as Women’s Division director and the director of our Society of Healers Division, Erin Cohen leaves our professional team. All of the volunteers and our staff have loved working with Erin. She is a special person, and we wish Erin and her family all the best in the next chapter of their lives. Lauren Rickoff will now assume the role of campaign and women’s director. Prior to moving to Jacksonville, Lauren worked for the Jewish Federation of Broward County. She brings ten-plus years of experience in women’s division, campaign and leadership development. Looking to the fall and the 2019 campaign, we are optimistic and excited about the prospects for an even better year ahead. In April, we enjoyed an excellent mission to Israel chaired by Steve and Judy Silverman to celebrate Israel’s 70th birthday. We raised more than $400,000 to kick off next year’s campaign. With the additions of Kellie and Lauren to our team, I believe we are going to have another solid annual campaign and experience an entirely new way of addressing planned giving. In August, we will say L’ hitraoat (see you again) to Shelly Shalev, our shlicha and welcome, Rotem Gabay, our first shaliach. I want to express my appreciation to Ken Jacobs for his partnership, leadership, and innovative thinking and look forward to his second year serving as president. As you read on and see the many successes of the past year, please know that none of this happens without our dedicated staff. It is my privilege to work with Erin, Pat, Natalie, Emma, Jill, Isabel, Alarie, Valerie and Chloe. Thank you. Photos by Larry Tallis



June/July 2018

Shalom Jacksonville BY ISABEL BALOTIN Shalom Jax Director

Jewish Federation’s Shalom Jacksonville is the official Jewish welcome wagon of Northeast Florida. Our mission is to welcome newcomers and to help them navigate the community. Now in its twelfth 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. The program’s reach extends from Amelia Island to St. Augustine. For years, Shalom Jacksonville’s signature, monthly program, Jewish Java, was held at a variety of restaurants off San Jose Blvd. It began as a coffee and schmoozing opportunity for newcomers and locals to forge friendships and learn about the community. For many, Java has been their first entry to the Jewish community. To create additional interest, we

Women's Division BY ERIN COHEN

Women's Division Director

The Women’s Division had a stellar 201718 campaign year. We kicked off the year with Champagne Brunch in January, as we honored two prominent figures of Israel’s past, Theodore Herzl and Golda Meir. It was a perfect way to begin the celebration of Israel’s 70th birthday year. Later that month, our Lions did a combined event with all major donors in the community as Rebekah and Andrew Selevan hosted Joy of Kosher chef Jamie Geller in their home for

Society of Healers BY ERIN COHEN

Society of Healers Director

The Society of Healers had a very exciting start to the year with a very special and memorable visit from Drs. Adi Klein and Yael Kopelman, two visiting physicians from Hillel Yaffe Hospital in our partnership region of Hadera, Israel. They spent a week in Jacksonville, touring our medical community but also quickly became a part of our local “family” as we learned about each other’s personal and professional lives at a reception at Noura Café, hosted by Sheryl & Ken Sekine.

invited interesting speakers. As the attendance grew we could not accommodate the increased numbers at the cafe. As luck would have it, River Garden offered to co-host the program. Not only did River Garden give us a beautiful space, they added a complimentary bagel breakfast for all attendees and Jewish Java morphed into an even more popular first Wednesday morning program for newcomers, many regulars and newly interested community members, totaling 70 or more a month. A wide variety of talented speakers presented topics such as, History of Folk music, Photography hints, Hiding from the Nazi’s, Coping Skills for the family, Writing your Life Story, The Sacred Work of Federation and summer reading selections which have attracted many locals and newcomers to the Federation-sponsored program. Shout out to my program partner, Leslie Held, Dir. Of Jewish Life and Volunteer Services at River Garden. This year, Shalom Jacksonville and River Garden helped form the Jewish Genealogical Society of Northeast Florida. The program meets monthly at River Garden and provides guidance and encouragement for those seeking their Jewish roots. You can help build our community by

sharing with us the names of any new Jewish neighbors or co-workers so we can show them our Southern-Jewish hospitality. Please contact Isabel Balotin at or 904-448-5000 x1206.

a lovely evening that featured a cooking demo and her contemporary Israeli recipes. In April, several members of the Women’s Division Steering Committee volunteered alongside staff and volunteers of JFCS to help organize and sort through donations for the new Fanny Landwirth Clothes Closet, in preparation for it to open to the community. The final event of the year was Girlfriend Connection in May. This event celebrated its 13th year by having a “Bat Mitzvah” party! Good times were had by all, as the Women’s Division honored past presidents, did a candle lighting ceremony and had a great time Israeli dancing! The 2018-19 year will surely be a bright

one with Allison Jacobs, Debbie Banks and Sue Levine leading the way for another year as president, campaign chair and Lion of Judah chair.

Israel Partnership will be now be giving doctors from our local community the opportunity to travel to Hadera for a medical delegation exchange trip in January of 2019. Participants will tour Hillel Yaffe, Hadassah Medical Center, Western Galilee Hospital and other innovative medical facilities. The year concluded in April with a very insightful and engaging Jewish medical ethics panel discussion with three of our local rabbis. Guests heard the perspectives from orthodox, conservative and reform clergy as they discussed a variety of “hot topics” facing medical professionals today. Thank you to Drs. Suzanne and Robert Bryskin for co-chairing the healthcare

professionals division and to the entire committee for their dedication to providing programming and educational opportunities for our medical community.

Photo by Larry Tallis


June/July 2018

Israel Partnership BY JILL ABEL

Partnership Director

Israel Partnership had another super busy year creating living bridges between Americans and Israelis. Last June, Jacksonville sent four teens to live with Israeli families and learn what it is really like to be a part of an Israeli family. The American teens traveled through Israel with their Israeli host teens learning about the history, culture and complexities of the country. In July, Jacksonville was host to these Israeli teens and their chaperone who lived with Jacksonville families and learned about our wonderful city while working at Camp Ki Tov and having adventures with their Jacksonville host teens in the process. In early September, Jacksonville hosted two medical professionals who came to learn about the


Another summer arrives and brings a meaningful year of programming to a close. rGEN built on the success of last year and pushed forward with programming that brought out both new and newly-interested members of the community. Things kicked off with the signature opening event “Kibitz and Cocktailz” followed by the very popular "Break the Fast" potluck dinner hosted by Nicole and Andy Brown. In December, rGEN embarked on another successful Mini Mission with the help and participation of our local partner agencies.


Community Shlicha

Shalom to my dearest Jacksonville Jewish community friends! As we are closing in on a second year of the Shlichut program, here are my thoughts and reflections on this wonderful year. Looking back on this amazing experience in which I have met the most amazing people who have become my true friends and family, I am fortunate to say I have been blessed. The Shlichut program is the perfect opportunity to reach the Jewish communities by educating and engaging the communities on Israel in all of its aspects: history,


medical system here in our community while also sharing about themselves and their medical specialties. In late fall, Jacksonville was host to the Leadership2Gether Delegation from Israel - 10 emerging Israeli leaders - who lived with families and learned about Jewish philanthropy in our community. These Israeli young leaders and their U.S. counterparts from our 10 Southeast communities traveled to Nashville for a weekend retreat - learning about Jewish life in the United States and learning how to impact the Jewish life in their individual communities. Jacksonville was represented on the first-ever Running2Gether delegation where runners from both Israel and the US shared a week together learning about running nutrition and sports in Israel. The mission culminated with our American and Israeli delegation members running the Jerusalem half-marathon. Members of the Hadera-Eiron Partnership met in Nashville

for our annual Steering Committee Meeting where new projects were established for the 2018-19 fiscal year - including a Physicians Delegation to Israel in June 2019 and the third Leadership2Gether Delegation also heading to Israel. Charlotte looks forward to hosting the Educator Delegation in December 2018 as well.

January saw the return of "rGENerosity," an evening fundraiser with special guests Helen and Michael DuBow. As always, rGEN led Federation's efforts for Super Sunday - the annual telethon raised over $173,000 with the help of sincerely super volunteers making phone calls in support of the Annual Campaign. Smaller mix and mingle events like “12.24” and “Purhibition Party” were hosted at local venues, and this year's second night Seder "A Night Not to Passover" was an amazing success with close to 50 attendees - all sharing in an amazing, volunteer-led Passover experience. None of the year's programming would have been possible without the incredible efforts of our event chairs, home hosts, Steering Committee, volunteers and partner agencies. Special thanks to the incredible

leadership of our rGEN chair Shylie Bannon and our rGEN Campaign Chair Haley Trager. Their tremendous vision and initiative will continue to shape a truly special experience for the young adult community in Jacksonville!

culture, diversity, current events, food and much more. This year, I have lived and breathed our homeland from afar with you guys, and it has been the most amazing gift. Each and every one of you have taught me so much about unconditional love to your brothers, loyalty to our land, philanthropy and giving to the less fortunate, both in your own backyard and in Israeli poor cities and populations, and a pure sense of caring for this little country in the Middle East. And for that I will be forever grateful. Through working with the different organizations in the community, I got to reach out to so many amazing and interesting people that made my time here so much more meaningful both professionally and personally. After every lecture, activity, and conversation, my heart is so full. Our time together may be coming to an end, but now when I think of the Jacksonville, Florida, a big smile will rise, and I will keep you in my heart and mind forever.

I hope that in every visit to Israel, you will keep me in your hearts and minds as well, and that we will see each other again in the Holy Land. Thank you again for the most amazing experience of spending this year with you! Love, Shelly.

rGEN Mini Mission

June/July 2018

Jacksonville teens ready for Israel Partnership experience BY JILL ABEL

Partnership Director

Five local Jacksonville teens are all set for an incredible two-week trip to Israel sponsored by the Jewish Federation of Jacksonville's Israel Partnership Program. The Tikkun Olam trip is an opportunity for our teens to "live like Israelis" in our Partnership region of Hadera, Israel. During their trip, the teens will live with host families and see up close what it's like to be an Israeli teen. The American and Israeli teens will travel the country together, learning about the State of Israel while also performing acts of community service in the country. This year, Lily Hernandez, Josh Jacobs, Jasmine Mail, Jillian Penson and Drew Wright will represent Jacksonville on the Israel Partnership delegation. They will be joined by other teens from Richmond, Virginia, and Charleston, South Carolina. Jill Abel will chaperone the whole group for their two-week experience. Highlights of their upcoming trip will include hiking Masada at sunrise and relaxing at the Dead Sea, spending time at the Kotel and learning at Yad Vashem, touring in Tsfat and Acco as well as volunteering in the Carmel Forest and at Leket Israel, the national Food Bank of the State of Israel. Upon their return, six Jacksonville families will host the teen delegation from Israel for two weeks here in Jacksonville. Many thanks to the Hernandez, Jacobs, Jaffa, Osher, Penson and Wright families welcoming our Israeli delegation into their homes. Be on the lookout for the delegation in Jacksonville from July 15-29. They can be spotted spending time at Camp Ki Tov, The Coves at River Garden, JFCS, local synagogues, and much, much more! For more information about the Israel Partnership Summer Programs, please contact Jill Abel at Left top: Josh Jacobs, Left bottom: Jillian Penson, Right top: Jasmine Mail, Right middle: Drew Wright, Right bottom: Lily Hernandez

Local Lion, Sue Eaglstein, to be honored at national conference International Lion of Judah Conference to be held in Jan. BY ERIN COHEN Women's Division Director

In January 2019, the world’s most influential female philanthropists will come together from around the globe for the Federation’s International Lion of Judah Conference. The conference will be held from Jan. 13-15 at the Diplomat Beach Resort in Hollywood, Florida. The Jewish Federation of Jacksonville Women’s Division encourages all local Lions of Judah to make the short trip south for this premier gathering of dynamic, philanthropic Jewish women. Conference attendees will examine the changing face of our world at breakout sessions and plenaries. They will hear from leaders, innovators and entrepreneurs. They will be inspired and inspire new Lions. They will give back and empower one another to do even more. Each year at the conference, communities are given the opportunity to honor a local Lion with the Kipnis/Wilson Friedland Award. This award is given to a woman of distinction in the community who, like Norma Kipnis-Wilson and Toby Friedland z’’l, the founders of the Lion of Judah program, have made extraordinary contributions to our community and exemplify the spirit of the Lion of Judah. This year, the Jacksonville Women’s Division proudly

honors Sue Eaglstein. We hope our Lions will come together to acknowledge her many accomplishments in her 30-plus years in the Jacksonville community. Sue learned from her parents that it is our responsibility to give back. For her, Federation is where she chooses to devote her time, energy and financial resources. “It has been an honor and pleasure to work with Federation and assist Jews locally, in Israel and worldwide," Sue said. "I have learned that you don’t give until it hurts, as the old saying used to go, but rather, you give until it feels good.” To register for the International Lion of Judah Conference, go to Questions about the conference or the Lion of Judah program? Please contact Lauren Rickoff at or 448-5000 x1205.


Pre-GA Mission to Israel October 13-22, 2018

Itinerary highlights: • Three nights in the North at a Kibbutz guest house • Visit to partnership region of Hadera • Four nights in Jerusalem • Shabbat in Jerusalem • Saturday evening Israel at 70 celebration • Masada and the Dead Sea • One night and day tour in Tel Aviv *All arrangements can be made for those attending the GA.* For more information, please contact Alan Margolies at 904-448-5000 x1207.

We are the Jacksonville Lions of Judah — part of the world’s most influennal female philanthropists. Join us in January at the Internaaonal Lion of Judah Conference — the premier gathering of dynamic, philanthropic Jewish women. Together, we will examine the changing face of our world. Hear from leaders, innovators, and entrepreneurs. Be inspired. Inspire new lions. Give back. And empower one another to do even more. We will also honor Sue Eaglstein with the Kipnis-Wilson/ Friedland Award, for her many years of dedicaaon and service to the Jewish Community. Sue exemplifies the spirit of the Lion of Judah and we hope all our Jacksonville Lions will come together to acknowledge her accomplishments.


June/July 2018

Year in Review By Jewish Community Alliance

As the year comes to a close, the JCA has featured amazing milestones and new levels of programmatic excellence. Most notable of this year’s highlights was the celebration of the agency’s 30th anniversary. This occasion was recognized during our annual fundraiser event with honorary chairs David Stein, Howard Korman and Jeff Parker. Supporters of the JCA gathered to recognize three decades of service to the Jewish community and beyond. The theme—Past, Present, Future—indulged in nostalgia for years passed and inspired excitement for the years to come. Past President Adam Frisch took us through the JCA’s founding from the relentless efforts of dedicated individuals who envisioned a common meeting ground for members of the Jewish community. Executive Director Myron Flagler announced the establishment of the Sol and Hilda Goldman Memorial Endowment for Early Childhood and Camp Scholarships. President Allison Korman Shelton highlighted our current place of progress. The JCA is grateful for Ali’s leadership and guidance during her term as it concludes at the end of June. The event culminated with a look at the JCA’s future and all there is to come. There were many other moments in the past year of which to be proud. A renewed Jewish Cultural Arts Festival drew record crowds to insightful readings and discussions during the 21st Annual Jewish Book Festival as well as other literary and film offerings. Notable authors, including Alan Zweibel, Annabelle Gurwitch, Adam Valen Levinson, Abigail Pogrebin, Steven J. Ross and Robert Gandt, shared compelling stories that touched on the history, culture and humor of the Jewish experience. The second community-wide Yom Ha’atzmaut Celebration brought Jacksonville’s Jewish organizations together for the celebration of Israel’s 70th Independence Day. The collaborative event offered interactive programming for adults and children. It was a fun-filled day enjoyed by people from across the community. The 9th Annual Michele Block Gan Yeladim Early Childhood Symposium featured keynote speaker Dr. Rosemarie Allen, assistant professor of Education at Metropolitan State University of Denver. The theme, Foundations for Life, focused on promoting social and emotional success inside and outside of the classroom. As always, holidays at the J were fun and festive. The annual Chanukkah Party was attended by hundreds of JCA families and members. Purim featured our annual parade by the students of Michele Block Gan Yeladim Preschool and Kindergarten. Students made custom mishloach manot (Purim baskets) for staff and delighted members and guests with their elaborate costumes. Our Shabbat Family Dinners, Sukkot Pizza in the Hut Celebration and Family Hamentashen Bake, organized by the Department of Family and Jewish Outreach, were also great opportunities for families to have fun during the holidays. The J Institute had workshops, talks and classes for every interest. The Young Concert Artists Series brought violinist Benjamin Baker, flutist Anthony Trionfo and pianist Dasol Kim to Jacksonville for three rousing performances thanks to the generosity of the Berman Family. Members and guests explored, socialized and learned through programs like Art Talk, Declutter and Downsize Your Home, Emotional Intelligence, Sunday Film Series, Pottery, Traveling Diner Dinner Club and Ladies’ Day at the J. Fitness and Wellness kept our members in shape and committed to their fitness goals. A new fitness format allowed members to identify programs to target specific areas of improvement. Mind Body, Strength and Conditioning, Corrective, Slim and Sculpt and Dance addressed every member’s fitness and wellness interests. The Omer Burpee Challenge got JCA mem-


June/July 2018

bers involved and engaged. Wellness Connexion continued to guide hundreds of members to personalized wellness improvement. Physician talks brought the community to the J to learn about important health-related topics. Sports and Recreation kept youth and adults busy. Adult basketball, youth basketball and soccer saw increased participation. Advanced Basketball Clinic and private basketball instruction helped players reach new levels of skill. Over half of our youth players participated in two leagues throughout the year. JCA Aquatics also saw record numbers in participation for JCA Makos, Red Cross certifications and swim lessons. Our inaugural Polar Plunge brought over fifty members to the Joy and Howard Korman Outdoor Pool for a fun, cold-weather challenge. More than 150 participants were on the courts per week for tennis clinics and lessons. Women’s A-3 Tennis Team won division and moved up to A-2. Working Women’s Team moved from last to nearfirst after only three years in existence. And the JCA has kept our reputation as having some of the best courts in town! The Theatre Department won a prestigious JCC Association of North American Biennial Excellence Award in “Recognizing Excellence in Jewish Engagement at a JCC” for the Holocaust remembrance program Just Like Me! This was a great honor, and we are so proud of Director Shelly Hughes and the Theatre staff for their hard work in bringing these important stories to the community. Throughout the year, Theatre also thrilled with productions of Annie, Beauty and the Beast, Willy Wonka, Jr. and regular Magic Wardrobe performances for the students of Duval County Public Schools. Youth Services kept our children engaged and active after school and on holidays. Our safe, secure and enriching environment created a home away from home where students could work

on homework, socialize with their peers and explore daily arts and sports options. Jacksonville Teens Volunteer brought teens, ages 14 to 18, into the community to contribute and connect with others. Our ACA accredited Summer Camps also offered youth of all ages an active summer experience. This year was one of our most successful years yet, and we held true to our mission to enhance the quality of life for the entire community and serve as a common meeting ground for people of all beliefs and interests. As we continue to strive for this goal, we can only look forward to what is to come.

Community leaders honored with JCA Board Awards 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 Service 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. Sherrie Saag is being honored for her work as chair of the revitalized 2017 Jewish Cultural Arts Festival. The festival drew record crowds for two weeks of literature and film events featuring amazing authors and speakers from all over the country who touched on aspects of the Jewish experience that were educational, inspirational and entertaining. Within this new format of programming, Sherrie’s leadership helped bring people from across the Jacksonville community together for events that everyone could enjoy. “Sherrie was an awesome chairperson," said Assistant Executive Director Nancy Green.

Sherrie Saag

Nicole Brown

"She was highly motivated, creative and totally engaged. Her enthusiasm for the Cultural Arts Festival was contagious, and the success of the event was a reflection of the leadership she provided.” The Special Service Award is given to a person who demonstrates outstanding service to the JCA. Nicole Brown is being honored for her volunteer work in many different facets of our agency. Nicole volunteers as a JCA Am-

bassador, giving tours to potential members at open houses, meeting new members and welcoming them to the agency and representing the JCA at community events to invite Jacksonville newcomers to join the JCA. Nicole was also a member of the JCA’s 30th Anniversary Celebration event committee as well as the 2017 Cultural Arts Festival committee. Nicole has two-year-old twin sons attending Michele Block Gan Yeladim Preschool and volunteers as class parent. She organized and oversaw the gathering of all parents in the Gan two-year-old program, giving them the opportunity to build relationships and connect out of school. Nicole is also Faculty Appreciation Committee Chair at Gan, a member of this year’s board nominating committee and currently sits on the search committee for the JCA’s coming leadership transition. “Nicole is the face of the JCA," said Executive Director Myron Flagler. "She exudes warmth, care and the betterment of our community. We are grateful to have her in our leadership.”


June/July 2018

Have the best summer with JCA Summer Camp

Youth Summer Basketball League at the JCA By Jewish Community Alliance

JCA Sports and Recreation had a great school year of basketball league play. For youth, ages 4-12, who want more play during the summer, JCA Youth Summer Basketball League make-up assessments can still be scheduled for the upcoming season. JCA Youth basketball saw a significant increase in participation over the school year. More than 200 youth athletes took advantage of the stellar coaching and skill development offered in JCA sports leagues with some exciting accomplishments, including the JCA’s 6th Grade Select Basketball Team placing second in the Jacksonville River City Basketball League. Players interested in continuing their basketball training can join the JCA Youth Summer Basketball Season on Sundays from July 8 to 29. Teams based on age and skill level will be determined after the mandatory skills evaluation. For more information or to register, go to To schedule a make-up assessment, contact Mike May at 730-2100 ext. 254 or

JCA Happenings For information or to register for programs at the JCA, call 730-2100 ext. 228 or go to

Vandroff Art Gallery

The work of Stephanie Pyren-Fortel is featured until June 27. The work of the Jacksonville Coalition for Visual Arts will be featured from June 28 to August 1. This unique organization promotes and develops established and emerging artists. The reception for this exhibit will be on July 1 from 2-4 p.m.

Sunday Film Series

Address Unknown (1944) is showing on June 17 at 2 p.m. Paul Lukas won the Best Actor Oscar for his role in this startling drama. This is free to the community. Ministry of Fear (1944) is showing on July 15 at 2 p.m. Fritz Lang directed his adaptation of Graham Greene’s novel. This is free to the community.

Summer Excursions

Join the JCA for a hike at Big Talbot Island and a Dutch treat lunch on June 21 from 8:30–3 p.m. Registration is required. On July


By Jewish Community Alliance

The JCA’s fully-accredited summer camp offers an engaging summer experience for campers of all ages. There are limited spaces still available for the 2018 summer season. Michele Block Gan Yeladim offers an exciting and memorable summer camp experience for early childhood campers. Camp Gan Yeladim and KinderCamp provide a wide range of engaging and age-appropriate activities to enrich your child’s summer. Camp Sabra, for campers entering grades 1 to 2, provides a traditional camp setting with a variety of team sports and art options and special programming through partnerships with various local organizations. Camp Habonim gives campers, entering grades 3 to 6, the unique option 26, visit Fort Clinch for a hike and Dutch treat lunch from 8:30–3 p.m. Registration is required. The fee is $24 and $16 for JCA valued members.

Wicked Barley Brewery Tour

Tour the Wicked facilities and enjoy brews and lunch on Sunday, July 15 at 12 p.m. The fee is $15 and $10 for JCA valued members. Registration is required by July 10.

Let’s Do Lunch

Summer lunch is back! Meet at Picasso’s Pizzeria on Tuesday, June 26 at 12 p.m. On July 24, meet at Tuptim Thai. The fee is $5; JCA valued members are free. Advance registration is required.

Makos Summer Swim Team

Splash into another great summer on this swim team for ages 5–18. Contact Josie at ext. 240 for information.

Private and Group Swim Lessons

JCA Aquatics offers private swim lessons for children and adults. For information, contact Josie at ext. 240.

Private and Group Tennis Lessons

JCA Tennis has ongoing clinics for youth and

to select specialty activities from a variety of programming, including sports, arts and crafts, cooking and dance. The next session for these camps is from June 25 to July 6. There are also sessions from July 9 to July 20 and July 23 to August 3. Stage Door Theatre Camp, for children entering grades 1 to 9, offers the opportunity to work with theatre professionals through fun, interactive activities and performing arts programming. The next Stage Door Theatre Camp session is from July 9 to August 3. After camp is over, there are still JCA Adventure Days to keep the summer fun going. Post-Adventure Days are from August 6 to 8. For more information on JCA Camps, go to or call 730-2100 ext. 228. adults. For information, contact Reggie at ext. 317.

IMAX Film Adventure and Lunch

See a film at Golf Village and enjoy a Dutch treat lunch at Caddyshack on Thursday, July 12 from 9 a.m. – 2 p.m. The fee is $27 and $18 for JCA valued members. Transportation included. Registration required by July 9.

Traveling Diner Dinner Club

Enjoy great food and great company in one of Jacksonville’s best ethnic restaurants on Wednesday, July 11 at 6 p.m. Registration required by July 6. The fee is $5; JCA valued members are free. Dutch treat.

Cumberland Island Boat Cruise & Lunch Tour Cumberland Island and enjoy at Dutch treat lunch on Wednesday, July 25 from 8:15 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. The fee is $60 and $40 for JCA valued members. Transportation included. Registration required by July 16.

Calling All Book Lovers

Have lunch at Taverna and browse San Marco Bookstore on Thursday, June 28 from 11:45 a.m.–3:30 p.m. The fee is $6 and $4 for JCA valued members. Transportation is available for an additional fee.

June/July 2018

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June/July 2018

Both Baptist and JCA are committed to helping build better lives for our community members. - Myron Flagler

By Jewish Community Alliance


n July of 2016, David started working with Wellness Connexion Wellness Coach Amaris Chrispell with the goal of losing weight and hopefully mitigating some weight-related health problems he was experiencing. In the intervening years, after periods of progress and setbacks, he was recently able to finally reach his wellness goals. “On April 30, 2017, David was at this highest weight, at least with me," said Chrispell. "He’d lose some then gain it back and more, but he kept coming to his appointments with me. Most people when they set out to do something and have a setback, they don’t return. David did.” Determined to fight for his goals, David continued to meet with Chrispell for wellness guidance and plug away at his progress. This past April, almost exactly a year since he reaffirmed his goals with Chrispell, David reached the milestone of having lost one hundred pounds. Through his hard work, he has been able to resolve some of his health issues and gain a new outlook on his state of wellness. This is just one of many success stories from people who have had the opportunity to visit the JCA Baptist Wellness Connexion. In 2015, the JCA partnered with Baptist Health to launch the Wellness Connexion, a service aimed at increasing the wellness of JCA members and the community through personalized wellness guidance and education. In the past three years, this free service has helped

thousands from the community reach higher personal health awareness and take steps toward reaching their wellness goals. “Both Baptist and JCA are committed to helping build better lives for our community members,” remarked JCA Executive Director Myron Flagler. “The responsibility for enhanced wellbeing of the community belongs to everyone. We’re just one vessel for the people to do this and do it in a meaningful way.” For many who use its services, the Wellness Connexion has become the first step to bridging the gap between personal health awareness and wellness enhancement. The core services, including a free, online, confidential wellness assessment and biometric screenings with one of the Wellness Coaches, continue to be a strong program that brings in new users of Wellness Connexion services as well as those seeking to track their progress. Along with Chrispell, Wellness Coach Cheryl Meyer guides those seeking greater levels of wellness toward attainable goals. “It feels like we are making a difference,” said Meyer. “We definitely see people taking strides in their health.” Meyer can recount her own list of success stories, mostly recently from a great response to her Healing Touch program. Through the Wellness Connexion, more and more people from the community are looking to take charge of their wellness. And like David, change their lives.


June/July 2018

Year in Review 1











1. JFCS’ new headquarters – The Alan J. Taffet Building. 2. The Alan J. Taffet Building ribbon cutting included Ina Taffet, Rhonda Passink, Laurie DuBow, Jodie Leach, Ben and Pat Frisch, and Morris Bendit among others cutting the ribbon. 3. The Allison Stein Robbins Building, which houses the Max Block Food Pantry and the Fanny Landwirth Clothes Closet. 4. The Allison Stein Robbins building ribbon cutting featured the Stein and Block families, including David and Linda Stein, Tracey Westbrook, Bill Block and Andy Block with Katie Stein cutting the ribbon. In addition to opening the building, Rick Recht performed in honor of the PJ Library’s 6th birthday celebration. 5. Rick Recht performing in front of a crowd of over 200 in celebration of the PJ Library’s 6th birthday in Northeast Florida. 6. Harold Grinspoon, creator and founder of the PJ Library program, and Laurie DuBow at the Allison Stein Robbins Ribbon Cutting 7. The Frisch Family Holocaust Gallery is the first space of its kind between Miami and Atlanta. The memorial contains a two-panel granite installation designed by Holocaust survivor Morris Bendit to remember those Jews who perished. The first exhibit, “Survivors”, is dedicated to the experiences of local Holocaust survivors living in Northeast Florida. 8. Colleen Rodriguez presented a special award for completing 20 years of service at Jewish Family & Community Services. (photo is not by Brandi Hill) 9. 1232 children were served through Jewish Family & Community Services Holiday Gift Giving program. (photo is not by Brandi Hill) 10. In 2017, Judge David Gooding hosted the 13th annual “Home for the Holidays” in his Jacksonville courtroom. For JFCS, there were nine children, aged 1 – 14 were provided the gift of a forever home. (photo not by Brandi Hill) 11. The Jewish Federation of Jacksonville's Women's Division helps set up the Fanny Landwirth Clothes Closet. The Fanny Landwirth Clothes Closet will be utilized by the case managers at JFCS for incoming foster children, ages 1–9, who have been removed from their homes and put into foster care. Many of them are not able to bring anything with them from their homes and families. The closet will provide much-needed clothing to our at-risk children.


June/July 2018

JFCS CFO named Ultimate (Nonprofit) CFO by Jacksonville Magazine By Jewish Family & Community Services

Armando (Manny) Pineda, Director of Finance of Jewish Family & Community Services has been named Ultimate CFO by Jacksonville Magazine. Pineda, who has been Director of Finance for JFCS since 2009, has helped to grow the organization’s budget by $6.4

JFCS honored for new role in Achievers for Life program By Jewish Family & Community Services

United Way honored Jewish Family & Community Services with the new role of administering the Achievers For Life (AFL) program. “This is a big honor for us,” said Executive Director, Colleen Rodriguez. “We will now be the lead agency contracting on behalf of United Way for the AFL program.” The AFL program is an in-school, voluntary program targeted primarily for students who have exhibited warning signs of disengagement from school. Family Advocates and therapists step in to work closely with the students and the families to provide wraparound services to strengthen the family and help the student improve in school. The success of the program has been astounding. The student’s grades and testing scores have improved, absences have declined and 95 percent of students are being promoted to the next grade level JFCS currently offers the program in nine middle schools, including Ribault, Arlington, Northwestern, Matthew Gilbert, Highlands, Stilwell, Butler and Jefferson Davis. For more information about the AFL program and how to get your student involved, contact Chris Atkins at

million. Manny is truly finance-oriented. He been instrumental in evaluating the financial condition of the agency over the last several years, ensuring the cash flow was in good order for us to build a building that would serve as our new home base, as well as renovate the existing facility by managing the dollars raised through a successful capital campaign. When asked what his favorite thing is about JFCS, he said “I love the people and the culture of the organization. It makes me

want to come to work every day.” And in response to being named Ultimate CFO, he said “I can’t believe I was chosen. Very nice words were written about me. It humbles me to think that I am thought of so highly. It is a true accomplishment.” Manny enjoys cooking Asian food in his spare time and traveling with his wife, Maria. They have visited all but four states in the U.S. Congratulations, Manny! You are truly the Ultimate CFO!

Rejoining families – one family at a time By Jewish Family & Community Services

Randall and Camren Cole first entered the foster care system in September 2017. They were put in the care of Jewish Family & Community Services. Their mother had substance abuse issues and the Department of Children & Families stepped in and removed them from her care and they were placed in foster care with a loving family. During a court date, light was shed on the situation of the mother and the children. The father was imprisoned for burglary and serving out a two-year sentence, but wanted custody of the children upon his release. It became apparent soon after the court appearance that the mother did not want the same, so she began distancing herself from the family. Randall and Cole stayed with their foster family until their father was released from prison. He immediately contacted Jewish Family & Community Services to work on his family’s transition plan. He followed through on every step, including parenting classes, individualized counseling and play therapy with the children. He also visited his children at all scheduled times to build on their relationship. “The amazing thing about this story is that the foster parents provided mentorship to a single father who was trying to be the best parent he could be to these two young boys after going through a traumatic situation," said Family Services Counselor Supervisor Jodi McHenry. "The foster parents are remaining in

the father's, as well as the children’s lives after the reunification. He has even asked them to be their godparents. This type of situation is what all case managers like to see – a good relationship between foster parents and birth parents. The better the relationships, the better the possibility for successful reunification.” The family is due to be reunified at the end of the month.

Max Block Food Pantry Challenge is on By Jewish Family & Community Services

One in five children in Duval County receive their only meal while in school – school ended June 1. The Max Block Food Pantry at JFCS meets the needs of many families that struggle throughout the summer months – closing the food gap that is created by school being out. In 2017 alone, the Max Block Food Pantry served more than 81,000 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.


June/July 2018

Jewish Family & Community Services Success - Eduardo Castillo By Jewish Family & Community Services

In July of 2017, 17-year-old Eduardo Castillo was arrested and placed in Juvenile Justice after a physical altercation with his older schizophrenic brother. Because he was a first-time offender, he was referred to the Jewish Family & Community Services Criminal Justice Reinvestment grant staff and assigned a case worker, Angel Gomez.

JFCS Success: Janine’s Story

Angel met with Eduardo just days after his arrest and determined that based on his assessment Eduardo would greatly benefit from individual counseling to address his depression and anger. Being raised in a traditional Latino household where mental health is not openly talked about and

with a brother with schizophrenia, Eduardo initially resisted the suggestion. He did not like talking about his feelings or his family. He felt he could handle himself and find ways to cope with what life presented. Angel pressed on and encouraged Eduardo to take control of his mental health to finally break the stigmas associated with counseling. He explained that seeing a counselor would help him manage his feelings in a way that would be

respectful of his cultural background. Eduardo agreed and began therapy. After almost a year, Eduardo is graduating from Paxon High School with a great GPA. He has been accepted to Florida State University and will begin attending in the fall. Eduardo’s story is one of many successes JFCS sees every year. If you or someone you know needs mental health assistance, contact Dupont Counseling Group at 904-394-5700.

PJ Library celebrates Jewel Society’s second year

By Jewish Family & Community Services

Anne Frank once said, “Everyone has inside of him a piece of good news. The good news is that you don’t know how great you can be! How much you can love! What you can accomplish! And what your potential is!” At the age of 21, after a long history of childhood trauma, Janine began to cope with life by using drugs. At the age of 25, she found herself pregnant with her first child while in the throes of her addiction. Continuing to cope with life’s stressors by using drugs, she gave birth to her daughter 8 weeks early, and she and the baby tested positive for drugs which prompted DCF to become involved. The case was referred to our High Risk Newborn program in July of 2017. Initially, Janine struggled with the idea of being able to positively parent a child and dealing with life stressors without using drugs. She also struggled with managing severe postpartum depression. As a result of participating in the program, in addition to inpatient substance abuse treatment at Gateway, Janine has been able to maintain her sobriety. She has made great strides in understanding the impact substance use/abuse has on parenting while being able to meet the social-emotional needs of her child, which is evidenced by her daughter excelling developmentally. Janine is providing a safe, loving and nurturing home in which her daughter can thrive. Janine completed inpatient treatment with Gateway in 2018 and has been released to transitional housing where she is living on her own, providing for herself and her daughter. She is currently employed at a local nonprofit organization and reports she loves her job, and the ability she has to provide for her family. She is succeeding at her life goals, and has hope for the future for herself and her daughter.


By Jewish Family & Community Services

On May 10 at the lovely home of Kimberly Sisisky, the women of the PJ Library gathered for the 2nd annual Jewel Society event. Over 50 PJ Library mothers and grandmothers attended in celebration of another amazing year! The Jewel Society (Jewish Women Emerging Leaders) raised enough money to continue high quality family engagement programming throughout the next year! Since December 2011, PJ Library Jacksonville has delivered over 28,000 free books to Northeast Florida families. We have more than surpassed our original goal of 288 families. As of May 2018, we have grown to 427 families! Over the past several years, PJ Library Jacksonville has grown from just receiving a free book each month to a more family-focused engagement program. In the past year alone, PJ Library Jacksonville has organized five large family programs, including a “Community Havdallah Under the Stars,” which gathered 25 families to sing songs, read books and participate in Havdallah. In addition, we coordinated six parent-centered programs designed to be a mitzvah project that directly benefits JFCS and our clients. In the future, PJ Library Jacksonville will continue to provide community outreach and high quality family engagement programming. It is our goal to raise enough funds to provide not just one book per household, but one book per child each month. In order to attain this goal, PJ Library Jacksonville will need an additional $10,000 annually. If you or someone you know is interested in learning more about the Jewel Society, contact Whitney Kuvin directly at 904-394-5770 or email her at

June/July 2018

It Could Happen to You BY DONNA O'STEEN

Jewish Family & Community Services

It was a day like any other. Chrissy and her husband, Al, were getting ready for work, and everything seemed normal. As Al was leaving for work, he stated that he did not feel well but was determined to make the most of his day. A few hours later, Al called Chrissy to let her know he was still not feeling well and would be coming home from work early - something he had never done during his 20-plus year tenure in the Navy. Upon arriving home that evening, Chrissy found her husband asleep in their bedroom. She left him alone, only waking him to see if he was hungry or thirsty. Al would decline and go immediately back to sleep. The next morning, Chrissy got up as she always did. She fixed coffee and breakfast for the two of them and began walking to the bedroom to awaken Al. She got as far as the living room and saw Al standing there. He appeared weak. She asked if he was alright. He responded with, “I think something is wrong. My entire body is tingling.” At that moment, Chrissy watched as the right side of her husband’s face seemingly melted to a droop and a few minutes later, he fell to the floor. “You are having a stroke,” Chrissy said. “We have to get you to the emergency room.” That moment was the beginning of what has now become an 18-month ordeal. Al was diagnosed with Guillain-Barre Syndrome. The syndrome is a rare disorder where the body’s immune system attacks the nerves. It starts out as a feeling of “pin pricks,” but can quickly paralyze the whole body for an undetermined period of time. Guillain-Barre has no timeline, no real cure and could affect a person for a week, a month, many years or the rest of the afflicted person’s life. Within a day, Al was completely paralyzed. He could not move, eat, or communicate. Chrissy, like most of us, had no idea what was going to happen. How was she going to care for Al? How was the mortgage and light bill going to get paid? How was she supposed to care for someone that she had no idea (at the time) how to care for? What does a family do when they are faced with this sort of situation? Chrissy began calling every resource she could find. She called upwards of 300 agencies in and around the First Coast only to be turned away. Finally, one agency suggested she call the United Way’s “211” hotline – an informational and referral line for people in crisis. Determine to get some form of help, Chrissy gathered her friends, neighbors and family members the next morning at 8:00 a.m. to being calling non-stop until someone got through. Once she connected, she felt like she had hit the lottery! Chrissy’s referral was to Jewish Family & Community Services and the next day, Suzanne Zimmerman, the Financial Assistance Specialist contacted her to set up an appointment. Chrissy arrived at JFCS, to meet with Suzanne, and explained her situation in detail. She was elated when financial assistance and food were offered without any kind of judgment. “The assistance that we received wasn’t much, but it was enough to give me time to figure things out, such as care, budgeting and basic necessities,” said Chrissy. Time was all she needed to adjust and reorganize her and Al’s life. Time to think! Time to process! And that time enabled her to set the next 18 months into motion! Chrissy has been virtually alone in taking care of Al for the past year and a half. She has served as primary caretaker, nurse, manager, resource researcher, administrative assistant and Al’s advocate. He is still paralyzed and has zero ability to participate actively, although the two have found ways to effectively communicate. Chrissy has been unable to work since the day her husband became ill. Today is her foreseeable future. Although the future is uncertain, Chrissy has this message for everyone: “It can happen to you. It seems like just yesterday, we were you. We gave to several charities, we volunteered, we supported, we worked… and in the blink of an eye, all that changed. Life can change in an instant. Know your community. Know where you can get help if you need it. Understand the hardship if something unexpected happens. Think about what you would do. We thought we were prepared. We had everything. Now, we wait, we hope, and we educate others.” Throughout these past eighteen months, Chrissy and Al’s love has grown and Chrissy’s courage has become stronger. She leads a busy life. She educates people about this virtually unknown disease. She awakens every morning with a determination to do what she has to do.

21 23

To learn more about the amazing work of JFCS, go to!

June/July 2018

JFCS' Heroes Among Us annual event a great success






6 9



1. Keon and Jalona Falkner, the 2018 Heroes Among Us – Looking Forward to the Future Emcees. 2. Honorary Chairs – JFCS Faces of the Future Staff: Sersie Blue, Bernardo Cuadra, Jessica Grady, Tierra Holsey, Whitney Kuvin and Latonya Waterman. 3. Honorary Chairs – PJ Library Steering Committee: Faye Hedrick, Tmima Neihaus, Alicia Rauchwarger, Lauren Rickoff, Rachel Sandler and Lauren Setzer. 4. Heroes Among Us – Looking Forward to the Future Chairs: Debra Pataky, Colleen Rodriguez and Tammy Shumer. 5. Andy Brown, Nicole Brown …… after making a donation to JFCS. 6. Susan Wolchok, Stephen Wolchok, Brenda Wolchok and Stephen Wolchok enjoying togetherness. 7. Abbe Moody providing entertainment to guests. 8. Annual Event Committee Members: Suzanne Tunnell, Isabel Balotin and Robin Deegan. 9. Vanessa E. and Chrissy B. shared their amazing stories of survival, thanks to the help of JFCS, to a crowd of close to 400.


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June/July 2018

Year in Review By River Garden Senior Services

River Garden has had an excellent year. Our focus is always connected to our mission of providing quality care, creating a dignified, comfortable home, serving people of all faiths while maintaining an environment informed by Jewish values, and acting as a valuable educational resource for the entire senior community. We strive to deliver the best care possible for our residents and families. That said, River Garden is proud to share that in 2017, we achieved national recognition as the Number #1 nursing home in Florida from US News & World Report. We also were honored by the Jacksonville City Council for having been the recipient of the prestigious Governorâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Gold Seal Award for excellence in Long-Term Care eight consecutive times since it was first introduced in 2002. River Garden seeks opportunities to connect with the Jacksonville community. We received a national award for Jewish intergenerational programming from AJAS (Association of Jewish Aging Services), highlighting an art program with youth from the JCA. We also partner with the Jewish Federation of Jacksonville by hosting Shalom Jacksonville, a monthly program for newcomers to meet each other and long-time residents of Jacksonville. River Garden has invited the community to many educational and special interest presentations. A few people who have presented recently are Cindy Edelman, Steve Whitfield and Merle Shapiro. River Garden also has hosted visiting Israeli students, students from all of the local Jewish Day Schools and members of the Jewish Business Network. Looking back to fall 2017, we weathered Hurricane Irma well, thanks to the help of many. Our excellent staff stepped up to weather the storm on campus. Since the event, several generous donors have provided us with the funds to significantly expand our emergency generator capacity, a project that will be fully operational in early June. As part of our strategic initiatives, we have increased the number of rooms to accommodate short-term rehab clients. This will allow us to provide post-acute care services for a greater number of older adults as they transition from the hospital back to their local homes. The River Garden Foundation Gala and golf tournament raise the necessary funds to close the gap left by inadequate Medicaid funding and provides funding for staff education. We are ever-grateful to our donors, participants and volunteers. Your contributions enable River Garden to provide excellent five-star care to all of our residents. Thank you. River Garden is studying the viability of building an assisted living facility on our campus. We have appreciated the input from our focus group participants and will share our findings with the community as soon as the study is complete.


June/July 2018

The River Garden Foundation successfully supports the Home By River Garden Senior Services

The mission of the Foundation is to provide funding for River Garden Hebrew Home, specifically in support of our training center and long-term care residents with limited Medicaid coverage. This year the Foundation hosted the renowned gala and golf tournament, both of which provided major financial support and fostered many friendships. These events are made possible with the help of a strong Board, Foundation staff, dedicated volunteers and our donors. We were honored to have SunTrust Bank serve as the Premier Sponsor for our 25th Gala, Shimmer & Stars, held November 18, 2017, at the Sawgrass Marriott Golf Resort & Spa. The Silver Anniversary event honored Barbara Parker and recognized all past Gala chairs. Guests enjoyed cocktails, a silent auction, dinner and amazing entertainment. Mark your calendars now for A Night Under the Big Top, celebrating our 26th Gala, on November 17, 2018. The event Chairs are Rachel and Colman Brodsky, and the Premier Sponsor is SunTrust Bank, once again. The 22nd River Garden Golf Classic was held April 25, 2018, at Deerwood Country Club. Long-time Chairs Mark Loding-

904-260-1818 11401 Old St. Augustine Rd. Jacksonville, FL 32258

Photo by Larry Tallis

er and Michael Price proudly partnered with Title Sponsor Hardage-Giddens Funeral Homes & Cemeteries/Dignity Memorial for this great day. This round of play raises funds in support of The Albert Z. Fleet Geriatric Training Center at River Garden, providing training and continuing education for staff. The Foundation also encourages generous donations for the Home through the Guardians of Tomorrow program, which recognizes those who have named River Garden in their estate plans. Our financial success is essential in ensuring that River Garden continues to deliver superior services and care to

our community with the highest degree of excellence. For additional information about the River Garden Foundation, please call 904-886-8432, email kosterer@rivergarden. org or go to foundation.

Meeting a growing need: Dementia care

Annual event blossoms each year at River Garden

Statistics show that one out of every nine families is impacted by Alzheimer's or dementia. In real life, that means that you or one of your eight best friends could be experiencing the challenges of this disease with a loved one. To meet this need, the Adult Day Care program has been growing as families realize the value of daytime respite. Hours are filled with activities including exercise, crafts, baking and outdoor time, and our seasoned caregivers pay special attention to the needs of those who attend. Also, Dr. Sue Krall, PhD, ARNP, hosts an active caregiver group, held the second Wednesday of every month at 3:30 p.m. Her clinical experience coupled with the support of others can help families manage caregiver stress, learn about changing behaviors and discover new resources. For more information, call 904-886-8421 or email

The Mad Hatter Tea Party was originally inspired by Disney’s animated movie, Alice in Wonderland. This annual event continues to grow with the care and imagination of River Garden’s devoted staff. The Tea Party will ‘bloom’ for the sixteenth year on Thursday, June 28. Each department at River Garden will design and host a themed table for residents to enjoy. “This special event allows the River Garden staff to do something special and say thank you for letting us serve you," said Lisa Poremba, Director of Life Enrichment. "It’s a great way to creatively express our love towards the residents.”

Briefs Come And Volunteer At River Garden - It Feels Good… It Does Good Treat yourself to the River Garden experience. The River Garden Campus is home to our dedicated and caring volunteers. From teens to golden-agers, we invite you to become a part of our volunteer team. Interested in volunteer opportunities at River Garden? Please contact Leslie Held at 904-886-8429 or email

Remember River Garden when honoring or memorializing your loved ones Donating to River Garden is an uncomplicated, feel-good activity. Here are several ways we’ve made it easy for you… Simply go online: Or mail to: Development Department River Garden Hebrew Home 11401 Old St. Augustine Rd. Jacksonville, Florida 32258 Or call: 904-886-8432 From Generation to Generation… L’Dor V’Dor Remember River Garden and the entire Jewish Community in your will.

Directory Admissions 904-886-8420 Adult Day Care 288-7858 Donations 886-8432 Foundation 886-8430 Home Health Care 288-7851 Rehab / Therapy 886-8454 The Coves 292-2683 Volunteers 886-8429 CEO Marty Goetz 260-1818


June/July 2018

Board Slates

Jewish Community Alliance

Jewish Federation of Jacksonville

Executive Committee

Executive Committee

*Brent Trager - President *Rochelle Stoddard - Vice President *Debbie Parker – Vice President *Sunny Gettinger - Secretary *Andy Cantor - Treasurer *Nicole Brown - Asst. Secretary & Asst. Treasurer

Positions Expiring in 2019 Sid Ansbacher Nancy Rothstein Rebekah Selevan Sam Stromberg Chase Zimmerman

Positions Expiring in 2020 Benjamin Becker Sherrie Saag Michael Solloway *Jeffrey Wiener

Positions Expiring in 2021 Mary Edwards Michael Miller *Andrea Price *Lane Teitelbaum

Board Members

Susan Cohen (River Garden), *Brent Trager (JCA), *Stephen Goldman (JFCS), Claudia Baker, Susan DuBow, *Sue Eaglstein, Jeff Edwards, Dina Fetner, Mark Green, Risa Herman, Jon Israel, Michael Korn, Mark Kraemer, *Richard Margulies, Sue Levine, Ben Marsh, Jeanine Rogozinski, Emily Rosenbaum, Zachary Schwartz, *Rebecca Selevan, Nicole Sena Brown, Judy Silverman, Haley Trager, Susan Wolchok, Barry Zisser

Past Pres./Honorary Life Members

Past Presidents *Ali Korman Shelton Adam Frisch

Nominating Committee Jan Lipsky, Chair Andrew Cantor Nicole Brown Mary Edwards Nancy Perlman Jeanine Rogozinski Joel Shapiro Steven Sherman Sam Stromberg Ali Korman Shelton, Ex Officio

* = Newly serving in position

The JCA welcomes Brent Trager as the new president of its Board of Directors. Born and raised in Jacksonville, Brent is a graduate of the University of Florida. His career focused on building Fanatics, an e-commerce sports company. Trager joined the JCA Board in 2014 and served as Vice President from 2015 to 2018. During his time on the JCA Board, Brent served as chair of the 2016 JCA fundraiser with his wife Alison and also oversaw the agency’s most Brent Trager recent strategic planning process. In 2016, Brent was awarded the prestigious Esther Leah Ritz Emerging Young Leaders Award from JCC Association and the JCA’s Howard Korman President’s Award. Brent and Alison have two daughters, Brooke and Elli, and continue to support the Jacksonville community through volunteer work and philanthropy.


Ken Jacobs - President Iris Kraemer - 1st Vice President & Campaign Chair Andrew Jaffa - Vice President Daniel Miller - Vice President Sue Nussbaum - Vice President & JCF President Allison Jacobs - Vice President & Women’s Division President Jen Plotkin - Treasurer Kim Glasgal - Secretary Shylie Bannon - rGEN Chair Debbie Banks Kitay - Women’s Division Campaign Chair Sandy Zimmerman - Immediate Past Pres. Mitchell Levine - Presidential Appointee

Scot Ackerman, Larry Appel, Guy Benrubi, Jack Coleman, Ronald Elinoff, Leslie Held, Joan Levin, Mitchell Levine, Gary Perlman, David Robbins, Kenneth Sekine, Leonard Setzer, Steve Silverman, Richard Sisisky, Arnold Vandroff, Elliot Zisser


Yaakov Fisch (Etz Chaim), *Elizabeth Bahar (The Temple), Jonathan Lubliner (Jacksonville Jewish Center), Michael Matuson (Beth El - Beaches) * = Newly serving in position

Ken Jacobs continues his role as president of the Jewish Federation of Jacksonville as part of his two-year term. This follows a prior 24-month period as first vice president and campaign chair. He has been active with Jewish life in Jacksonville since moving to Northeast Florida in 1992, rising up the Federation ranks as board member, and executive committee member in addition to being awarded the Ilene Sari Seleven Young leadership Award in 2011. Aside from his Federation work, Jacobs has also been President of the Jewish Community Alliance and on the board of directors for the JCC Association of North America. Ken Jacobs Together with his wife Allison, he has a daughter Sarah and a son Josh. Professionally, Jacobs is managing shareholder of Gray Robinson’s Jacksonville office and is a commercial litigator with substantial experience representing debtors and creditors in bankruptcy cases and debt workouts. He is rated AV, the highest professional rating available from the Martindale-Hubbell Law Directory, and he was named a ‘Jacksonville Top Lawyer’ by 904 Magazine in addition to ‘Ultimate Attorney’ in 2017 by the Jacksonville Business Journal in the business and litigation category. His written work has appeared in various publications, including the Trial Lawyers Section of The Florida Bar’s The Advocate and Emory University School of Law’s Bankruptcy Developments Journal. He has also been a guest columnist on bankruptcy and employment issues for the Jacksonville Business Journal, in addition to acting as an instructor for various courses at the University of Florida’s College of Law.

June/July 2018

Board Slates

jewish family & Community services

river garden hebrew home

Board of Directors


*Stephen Goldman, President *David Loeb, President Elect *Jodie Leach, Immediate Past President *Erik Rostholder, Treasurer and Finance Committee Chair *Debra Setzer, VP and Chair of Programs and Services Mary Edwards, VP and Chair of the Development Committee Michael Katz, Secretary Keon Falkner *Rachael Fortune Barbara Hunter *Charles Joseph Stuart Klein *James Lawson Matthew Lufrano *Christen Luikart Sheryl Johnson Barbara Resnick *Mike Russell Josh Sachs *Daniel Sandler Kimberly Sisisky Billy Steeghs, Chair of IT

JFCS Charities Inc. Board of Directors Stephen Goldman, President David Loeb, First VP, Treasurer Jodie Leach, Chairman Erik Rostholder, Secretary/Treasurer Mary Edwards Michael Katz

JFCS Realty, Inc. Board of Directors Stephen Goldman, President David Loeb, First VP Jodie Leach, Chairman Erik Rostholder, Secretary/Treasurer Mary Edwards Michael Katz * = Newly serving in position

Stephen Goldman was born and raised in Jacksonville to a family who is very committed to supporting Jewish agencies. He graduated from the University of Florida with an undergraduate degree in Finance followed by a Masters in Business Administration. Stephen returned to Jacksonville and has worked at Bank of America Merrill Lynch for 32 years. He currently serves as the Sr. Vice President in Commercial and Investment Banking and provides strategic financial advice to CEOs and CFOs of large Stephen Goldman private and publicly traded companies in northeast Florida. Stephen brings several years’ experience with him as he leads JFCS through our next chapter. Stephen is married to the lovely Jackie Goldman, President and Owner of Puzzles Plus, Inc. They have two sons, Andrew, an Equity Analyst in NYC; and Alec, a business development professional in Miami. He enjoys exercising at the JCA, drinking wine, working in the yard and volunteering.

Susan Cohen - President Larry Goldberg - Vice President & Chair of Admissions Randy Kammer - Vice President & Co-Chair of Admissions Debby Kaye - Vice President & Co- Chair of Admissions Morrie Osterer - Vice President & Chair of the House Judy Paul - Secretary Cindy Demri - Treasurer


Gayle Bailys, Sharon Cohen, Susan Cohen, Cindy Demri, Susan Edelman, Jeff Edwards, Gloria Einstein, Ron Elinoff, Janis Fleet, Larry Goldberg, *Nathan Goldman, Rachelle Gottlieb, Michael Greenburg, Ed Grenadier, Bruce Horovitz, Michael Howard, Charlie Joseph, Randy Kammer, Debby Kaye, Michael Lissner, Mark Lodinger, Morrie Osterer, Herman Paul, Judy Paul, Michael Paul, Marsha Pollock, Michael Price, Jerry Rothstein, Nan Rothstein, Harvey Schlesinger, Barbara Schneider, Shari Shuman, Fred Tromberg, Sandy Zimmerman, *Shirley Bielski, Auxiliary President

Honorary Trustees

Jack Coleman, Bernie Datz, *Sheldon Gendzier, Allen Gray, Lew Meisel, Bernie Nachman, Rubye Safer

Volunteer Lifetime Hours Awards 4,000 Hours / 3,500 Hours Sharon Smith / Frank Baltes

1,500 Hours

Arnold Corr, Nelson Harbin, Hilde Meyer

1,000 Hours

Janet Brown, J.P. Goldsmith, Richard Nykerk, Jan Smith

500 Hours

Janice Hoffenberg, Beverly Horowitz, Kathy Minton, Sharon Rosenblum

100 Hours

Carol Bellin, Jennie Bermudez, Doris Fagan, Marvin Gillman, Elaine Hodz, Skip Jackson, Ellen Rubens * = Newly serving in position

Susan Cohen continues into her second year as President of River Garden Hebrew Home. Although Cohen was born and raised in Gainesville, her roots are in Jacksonville where her mother was brought up. Prior to moving to Jacksonville, her family lived in Gainesville, where she joined the Preschool Board at B’nai Israel Synagogue. The Cohens then moved to Roanoke, Va., where Susan served on the board of Beth Israel Synagogue as Vice President and President, and was chair of the Religious School Committee. She and her husband Norman moved to Jacksonville with their children in 1996, joining the Jacksonville Jewish Center Susan Cohen where she served as the chair of the Religious School Committee. Cohen has been practicing law since 1985 in various capacities, and has practiced criminal and appellate law at Epstein & Robbins since 2000. She has served on the River Garden Board since 2005 and had the opportunity to chair River Garden’s Anniversary Day, and the Resident Care and Outreach Committee. In addition to the River Garden Home Board, Cohen serves on the board of River Garden Senior Services, The Coves at River Garden and is the President of the Northeast Florida Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, having served on that board for the past five years. The continuing River Garden president also speaks at state-wide seminars, and serves on the Florida Bar Juvenile Rules committee, having served on a Florida Bar Grievance committee, successfully arguing cases of state-wide importance in the Florida Supreme Court. Earlier this year, Cohen was named one of Northeast9Florida’s “Ultimate Lawyers.”


June/July 2018

The Maccabeats to perform in Jax this Aug. By Jacksonville Jewish Center

Synagogues Etz Chaim looks back at great year By Etz Chaim Synagogue

Etz Chaim Synagogue had a wide variety of outstanding programs for folks of varied backgrounds and levels of observance throughout the year. We recognize the diversity of the membership and the larger Jewish Community and strive to have excellent classes and programs to meet this need. From the explanatory classes offered by our Education Director, Rabbi Avi Feigenbaum to the advanced Talmud class taught by Rabbi Mayer Rabinowitz, there is ample opportunity to take advantage of intellectually stimulating and thought-provoking classes. During the High Holidays, we recognize that it is challenging for many to be sitting in the sanctuary for hours. That is why we started having these parallel classes in the social during section of the services. Led by Rabbi Feigenbaum and Rena Schochet, these classes covered topics that reflected the core themes of Rosh Hashana, Yom Kippur and the season of forgiveness and renewal. This program was generously sponsored by Mike and Jill Abel. One of the highlights of the year are the Shabbatonim that are privileged to host a couple times a year. For our winter shabbaton, we were fortunate to have Zale Newman as our scholar in residence. In addition to Zale being a fabulous speaker whose presentations are laced with humor and wit, he is an accomplished musician and composer of many heartwarming Jewish songs for nearly 35 years. The highlight of our shabbaton was a post Havdallah kumzits in which Zale had the crowd mesmerized with moving stories and ruach filled song to warm the heart and spirit. We were fortunate to host Rav Gav for our spring shabbaton. Originally from New York, he currently lives in Jerusalem, Israel. Rav Gav is a notable speaker on the JWRP trip to Israel, a great organization that we are proud to partner with. He delivered multiple presentations over the weekend which had very profound messages of unity and personal responsibility with many jokes and easygoing demeanor. For our summer shabbaton, we were fortunate to host Aliza Bulow a notable educator and lecturer in the Jewish world for many years. Aliza delivered many practical messages about how to enhance our prayer experience and finding happiness in the mundane. Another great program was our annual Yom Limmud program this year which featured Charlie Harary. The main presentation was in understanding the Sefirot of Kabbalah and how they relate to our personal and daily existence. Charlie did a really effective job in clarifying many aspects of this most vexing topic. His presentations were informative, dynamic and inspirational. This program was generously sponsored by Larry and Kathy Kanter.


Mark your calendars and join us at the Center on Sunday, August 26 at 3:30 p.m. for the premier a capella sensation the Maccabeats. Often traveling with little more than the shirts on their backs and the ties on their necks, the Maccabeats have entertained and inspired hundreds of audiences worldwide, from Alabama to New Zealand and everywhere in between. Using nothing more than the unadulterated human voice, a clean-cut presentation, and a little Jewish humor, this unique group of singers is able to connect with fans of all backgrounds and ages. Originally formed in 2007 as Yeshiva University’s student vocal group, the Maccabeats have recently emerged as both Jewish music and a cappella phenomenon, with a large fanbase, more than 20 million views on YouTube, numerous TV appearances, and proven success with four albums, 2010′s Voices From The Heights, 2012′s Out Of The Box, 2014′s One Day More and 2015′s A Maccabeats Hanukkah. Though the Maccabeats aren’t your grandfather’s synagogue choir, their ideology and identity play an important part in what they do. Strongly committed to the philosophy of Torah u-Madda, the integration of traditional and secular wisdom, the Maccabeats perform an eclectic array of Jewish, American, and Israeli songs. Perhaps it is these dual goals, this merging of exciting medium and proud message, that some find most appealing about the group. Since the release of “Candlelight,” a Chanukkah themed parody video which garnered international attention and coverage by the major news outlets, the Maccabeats have been approached and emailed time and time again with the same message: that their music has provided for the expression of an enthusiastic and ambitious Judaism that one isn’t afraid to wear on his or her

sleeve. The Maccabeats’ unique offering has caught the eyes of numerous organizations and inviduals throughout the world. They’ve played sold-out shows to thousands at JCCs, temples, synagogues, shuls, Chabads, Hillels, jazz clubs, festivals, conventions, and theaters across five continents and over thirty states and provinces. They’ve been invited to join reggae superstar Matisyahu and Jewish music superstar Yaakov Shwekey on stage. They’ve been invited to Gracie Mansion by NYC mayor Michael Bloomberg. And they’ve been invited to the White House by US President Barack Obama. Over the course of time, their adventures and opportunities imparted upon the Maccabeats an important lesson: with great a cappella comes great responsibility. It is with much humility and gratitude that the group take up the mission given to them, and share their music with the world. The Jacksonville Jewish Center is excited to bring this amazing group of men to Jacksonville for a community concert. More details about the concert can be found at or by contacting the Jacksonville Jewish Center at 904-292-1000.

Hadassah hosts kickoff event By Jacksonville Hadassah

Liat Walker (left), President of the Jacksonville Chapter of Hadassah, is shown here with Dr. Melinda Greenfield (center) and Sheila Lieberman at the first educational program held at Nocatee. This was a kick off for programs in the Nocatee/ Beaches area. Two programs scheduled for summer will include a Sea Turtle Beach Walk, and a book review. For more information, contact Sheila at (904) 834-7174.

June/July 2018

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

Chabad of S. John’s GROW After School Enrichment Program - hosted weekly by Durbin Creek Elementary School - is already preparing for another fabulous school year! Registration is now open for 2018-19 and it’s time to reserve your spot. 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, doing 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 will have a fabulous time expressing his or

her creativity in a warm and stimulating Jewish environment. This year at Grow, Jewish kids from 8 different public schools in S. John’s 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 2018-19 school year. To sign up or find out more go to JewishSJohnsCounty/GROW, email or call 904-701-4422

Jewish learning is fun at the Temple's Religious School BY MICHELLE PENSON Director of the Temple’s Religious School

Did you hear the thunderous applause on Sunday, May 13 at 11:30 a.m.? No, it was not Tiger Woods teeing off at the Players Championship. It was the teachers and students of the Temple’s Religious School recognizing their accomplishments at the end of the school year. Learning was innovative. Engagement increased. Attendance improved. Grins all around. The faculty of the Religious School and Director Michelle Penson embarked on a journey last summer to make changes to the curriculum and to the ambience at school. “We wanted all our students to learn with energy and to have fun while engaged in learning," Michelle Penson

said. "We wanted students and families to participate in holiday and festival celebrations. We wanted families to feel at home when they walked through the doors of Temple. We wanted them to know that they mattered.” Learning, engagement and fun will continue next year. “Our day will be split into four parts," Michelle Penson said. "We begin with t’filah, a student and madrichim-led worship experience, where students will learn and teach blessings, songs and prayers to each other. Classroom learning begins with Hebrew where students will be placed in flexible groupings based on abilities. Each class will participate in classroom learning and experiential learning, including gardening, cooking, art, music, or tikkun olam projects related to holidays, values, Torah or Israel. We will

continue with Shalom Learning curriculum, enjoyed by our teachers and students this past year.” Hebrew learning after Sunday morning TIR and Virtual Hebrew options are still available. Teens will be learning on Sundays from noon-1:30 p.m. with a lunch and learn program. Rabbi Elizabeth Bahar and Penson have been sharing ideas since Bahar was named Temple’s Senior Rabbi. “I want them to come to school excited to learn," said Rabbi Bahar. "I want them to carry that excitement and knowledge home to their families. I want our children to be excited about Temple and to know we are a place of knowledge. We want them to know they are home.” Registration is open for the 2018-19 school year. Temple welcomes new families and new students.

5777/78 TIR Student Awards Max Moss Award Winners Grant Eisenstatt – PreK-K Amir Allen – 1st Grade Talia Algee – 2nd Grade Taylor Eisenstatt – 3rd Grade Zachary Gratz – 4th Grade Eden Wajsman – 4th Grade Lainey Pinnar – 5th Grade Juliana Williams – 6th Grade Alyce Bessman – 7th Grade Jacob Schreiber – 7th Grade Trinity Byrd – TNT/Confirmation

Paul Bucholtz Award Winners

Hebrew Award Winners

Grayson LaVoi – PreK-K Samantha Bessman – 1st Grade Ayden Cohen – 2nd Grade Ryan Levenson – 3rd Grade Avery Hirsch – 4th Grade Evelyn Martin – 4th Grade Reagan Eisenstatt – 5th Grade Izabela Fields – 6th Grade Tyler Dahlman – 7 th Grade Jillian Penson – TNT/Confirmation

Taylor Algee Aaron Allen Ayden Cohen Reagan Eisenstatt Taylor Eisenstatt Avery Hirsch Ryan Levenson Joshua Lewis Madelyn Lewis Lainey Pinnar

Jonas Rejanovinshi Jordan Sandler Dylan Schwartz Eden Wajsman Sarah Weisberg Perfect Attendance Award Winner

Anne Moss-Tucker


June/July 2018

JJC Religious School completes a great year By Jacksonville Jewish Center

The Bernard & Alice Selevan Religious School of the Jacksonville Jewish Center ended another fabulous, fun-filled year with a ceremony on May 13. Fifteen students were graduated: Lexi Bernstein, daughter of Sari Newman; Eliana Carson, daughter of Jennifer and Courtney Carson; Isaac Davis, son of Mzrai and Stephen Davis; Josh DeBardeleben, son of Jennie and Jon DeBardeleben; Jacob Hairel, son of Sheila and Dwayne Hairel; Andrew Herbst, son of Sharon and Brad Herbst; Elad Homsky, son of Amit and Andrey Homsky; Daniel Marmelstein, son of Erin and Adam Marmelstein; Elizabeth Rutansky, daughter of Joe Rutansky; Brooke Saye, daughter of Shari and Mark Saye; Alexandra Selevan, daughter of Rebekah and Andrew Selevan; Mason Teitelbaum, son of Frannie and Lane Teitelbaum; Brooke Trager, daughter of Alison and Brent Trager; Elli Trager, daughter of Alison and Brent Trager; and Lailah Wiener, daughter of Matthew Wiener. Mazel tov to Beth Rutansky, who was honored with the “Joni Shmunes Mensch of the Year” award. The new school year will kick off with a Meet and Greet on Sunday, August 19, from 11 a.m.-noon, at the JJC. Parents and students will get a chance to learn more about the school’s innovative programs, including the return of the very successful and popular Judaism through the Arts program, Mitzvah projects, 24/7 Hebrew Online Learning Center and numerous family programs. An expanded Hebrew through Prayer program now includes more self-paced class time, a variety of 21st Century as well as traditional teaching methods, and additional professional staff in the classroom. Classes will begin on Sunday, August 26 (grades K-7) and Wednesday, August 29 (grades 2-7). There are still limited spots open!

For your convenience, all of the Religious School registration forms, calendars, costs, and other pertinent information, as well as a glimpse into the program, are available on the Religious School webpage at www.BASRS. org (click on Parent Portal). Our Meet and Greet is open to all – check us out! For more information, please don’t hesitate to call Lois Tompkins, Principal, at 904 292-1000, ext. 146.

Jacksonville Jewish Center announces new co-chairs

Adult Education at the Jacksonville Jewish Center By Jacksonville Jewish Center

Adult Education continues during the summer at the Jacksonville Jewish Center. Our Book Club, Talmud Classes, Monday Morning Mapquest, Shabbat Meditation, Yiddish Club, and “Coffee and Torah” will continue as usual. Please check the website at jjcjax. org under “Education” for dates and times. This summer, a new Beginner’s Hebrew class will be taught as well as a Service Skills class, which is an intermediate, prayer-skills class. Contact Lois Tompkins at to join the class. On August 12, the Center will once again begin the Foundations of Judaism classes, which will run weekly on Sunday mornings. Several new classes are being offered beginning in the fall, depending on interest: a Hebrew Conversation group, for those who already speak some Hebrew and wish to practice their skills with others, and a Yiddish Conversation class for anyone who wishes to learn Yiddish grammar and vocabulary. All Adult Education classes offered at the Jacksonville Jewish Center are free of charge, unless there is an at-cost materials fee, and open to the community. Look for upcoming speakers and events on our webpage and in the news!

Sign up for art camp today

By Jacksonville Jewish Center

By Chabad of Southside

The Jacksonville Jewish Center is pleased to announce our new co-chairs of the Hesed (loving kindness) committee, Rachel Morgenthal and Andrea Hernandez. Immediate past co-chairs Helen Hill and Beth Shorstein are staying on to assist in the transition and serve on the committee. We are extremely grateful for their past and continuing dedication to helping people in need. Their passion is inspiring. Rachel and Andrea bring a desire to perform mitzvot and help fellow community members who are in need. Their experiences show that most people get more out of helping than they give - that the people we are helping end up helping us more than we help them! The Hesed committee at the Jacksonville Jewish Center aids clergy in pastoral care and represents the congregation in caring for physical and emotional needs of those who are ill, housebound, caring for ill family, or going through bereavement or other life issues. This committee provides congregants an opportunity to fulfill mitzvot and enrich their own and others' lives at the same time. We are so proud that Hesed is an important part of the mission of the Jacksonville Jewish Center to help its members live Jewishly and with a sense of community. If you know someone in need or are interested in participating in helping people in need, please contact Danielle Berke in the Center’s Clergy Office at 904-292-1000.

The Gan Israel Art Camp provides the fun Jewish summer camp experience you have come to expect from Gan Israel with a focus on creative art-making. Campers have fun with new friends as they create unique works of art. Our art educators from the Tzohar Seminary in Pittsburgh, PA will teach a variety of media and skills while providing context for each project. All activities are carefully chosen to instill a spirit of creativity and self-confidence. Campers are imbued with a deep sense of pride in their heritage. Judaic themes are shared through activities, stories and games that are part of the unique Gan Israel experience. We bring to life the beauty and values of our traditions. Camp will take place from July 9-20 and July 23-Aug. 3. For more information, call 904-476-0366 or go to


June/July 2018

June/July 2018

Torah Academy students field trip around Fla.


Lighting the World By Torah Academy

“Lighting the World” was the theme of Torah Academy’s recent annual dinner, but it is also a theme we teach and live by at Torah Academy. To help instill this idea, the school hosted artist and photographer Mr. Thony Aiuppy to lead a photography workshop for the 7th and 8th grade students. Mr. Aiuppy is the J. Wayne and Delores Barr Weaver Educator for Families and Children’s Programs at MOCA and an adjunct professor at UNF. He taught the students about the vital role of refraction in capturing a single moment in time. The session inspired students to value the Torah lessons of keeping an enlightened perspective and finding the beauty in all of God’s world.

By Torah Academy

On Wednesday, April 18, Torah Academy took our learning far from 10167 San Jose Blvd as the entire school went on fantastic field trips! Our preschool had a wonderful time at the Jacksonville Zoo where they encountered many wild animals and a few tame ones. Students loved feeding the giraffes, petting the goats and observing so many of God’s amazing creatures. Kindergarten through 2nd grade started their journey at the Cummer Museum of Art and Gardens where they had a firsthand look at some wonderful works of art and even had the opportunity to create some of their own. From the Cummer, they headed to the zoo where they had the opportunity to get up close and personal with many exotic animals from around the globe and even a few life-like, animatronic, prehistoric animals! Their studies on lifecycles and habitats came to life as they explored the vast variety of species being cared for at the zoo. While the younger grades were exploring the creatures that inhabit our Earth, our 3rd through 8th graders took off on an extraterrestrial adventure! The older students left Jacksonville for the Kennedy Space Center at Cape Canaveral where they enjoyed a behind the scenes bus tour of the complex and had an up-close view of SpaceX Falcon 9 which was preparing for launch later that day. They toured the Rocket Garden where they saw numerous replicas of space craft through the ages and even had the opportunity to climb into some of them. The students enjoyed a 3D Imax of the astronauts currently working on the International Space Station, saw a video about the Challenger and got to crawl, slide and experience anti-gravity on the many structures and simulators astronauts use to train

for space travel. It was an out-of-this-world experience our students won’t soon forget!

Inquiry-based learning at Michele Block Gan Yeladim By Jewish Community Alliance

As a leader in early childhood education in Jacksonville, Michele Block Gan Yeladim continues to improve the way young students learn and grow. The emphasis on inquiry-based learning helps encourage student engagement in the classroom. Inquiry-based learning involves the process of seeking information by asking questions. It utilizes projects to deepen children’s understanding of a topic. Like other approaches at Michele Block Gan Yeladim, this is effective in inspiring observation in the classroom. Through inquiry-based projects, simple observations can lead to long-term investigations. For example, the question, How are ice and water the same and different?, can be posed and lead to the exploration of the transformation of liquid water into solid water, and solid water to liquid water, which are "changes of state." To address the investigation question, children make predictions, compare and contrast the properties of ice and water, dialogue with each other and record their observations. As the project develops, educators observe, collect, analyze and reflect on the work of the children which ensures that no child is missed in the educational process. This systematic approach to answering questions is utilized by Michele Block Gan Yeladim as a powerful tool to help students develop critical thinking skills.



June/July 2018

Martin J. Gottlieb Day School and DuBow Preschool end of year message By Raquel Scharf-Anderson

As I reflect on my first school year as Head of Schools at DuBow Preschool and Martin J. Gottlieb Day School, I am grateful to have had the opportunity to work with such a professional staff, engaged parents, and kind children. So much has happened that our Jacksonville community should know about and celebrate with us. Here are some highlights: • The DuBow Preschool marked its 75th anniversary this school year. Having begun in 1942 as the Jacksonville Jewish Center’s Nursery & Kindergarten in Springfield, today the preschool serves around 90 students and their families, providing excellence in early childhood and Judaics. • Music greets our students daily to set the tone for the day and safety patrols greet students and escort our preschoolers to class. • Our first-ever MakerCon included guest booths from MOSH and Jacksonville Public Library’s STEAM divisions and was a huge success! This exciting, hands-on event will be an annual experience going forward. • The Dr. Larry Kanter Scholarship Fund came about to enable children from The Temple, Beth El - Beaches Synagogue, and children of unaffiliated Jewish families to attend day school. • Thanks to a partnership with Teacher Institute for the Arts, our school was selected to send two teachers to participate

in immersion art/Judaic training and to create a year-long program developing an Judaic art project for our schools. • Our STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math) program will soar to new heights due to a matching Innovation for Renovation grant of $60,000. • Jewish Foundation for the Righteous will host the Martin J. Gottlieb Day School middle school social studies teacher in New York City this summer for training on teaching students about the Holocaust and genocide. • We have partnered with PJ Library to host several events for young children. • DuBow Preschool and Theater Jacksonville came together to bring all babies and their parents Theater for Babies, an internationally-renowned program. • A new community-wide Yom HaZikaron observation and memorial service was created and led by our middle school. • We sang our hearts out to honor Israel’s 70th Birthday at the JCA.

• A visit from Boston’s Crocodile River Band helped our students spend a day appreciating the arts. • Our warm and welcoming Grandparents’ Breakfast began what will be an annual event. • We are experiencing a thrilling increase in our enrollment, with a nearly twenty-percent increase in day school and over 38 percent increase in preschool. It has been a wonderful opportunity to lead the DuBow Preschool and Martin J. Gottlieb Day School this year. I feel fortunate to hold this important role in the social, emotional, and academic growth of these wonderful children. I invite you to visit our schools anytime. Stay tuned for an announcement of all the exciting things we have planned for next year! For more information on DuBow Preschool or Martin J. Gottlieb Day School, please call our admissions department at 904-268-4200.

Jacksonville Jewish Center's Camp Ki Tov enrollment remains open through summer BY PAMELA LEWIS Camp Director

The Jacksonville Jewish Center’s Camp Ki Tov will be full of fun again this summer! We have some new faces on the staff eager to meet their campers. This summer, campers will enjoy some old favorites such as fishing, archery, sports, and more. Camp Ki Tov will include both in-house and excursion field trips. Activities include amazing art and robotics projects, science experiments, cooking around the world, and so much more! Our weekly themes encourage each cabin to compete with spirit and pride to win the beloved ‘spirit stick.’ We are also very fortunate to have the Jacksonville Jewish Center clergy participate with lots of ruach (spirit) and passion! We have the privilege of hosting teen counselors from Israel at Camp Ki Tov, and we are excited about the love of Israel that they bring to our camp! As usual, we will have a great time at our annual Camp Ki Tov undernight/overnight, with nighttime swimming, flashlight games, and kosher s’mores! As always, it is our goal to build long lasting memories for the children at Camp Ki Tov. Flexible one-week sign-ups are available but register now to avoid being wait listed. Go to or call 904-292-1241 for more information.


June/July 2018

DuBow Preschool begins 2018-19 school year with new leadership By DuBow Preschool

DuBow Preschool will begin the 2018-19 school year with a new Assistant Head of Schools for Early Childhood Education – Mrs. Karin Hallett. Mrs. Hallett has been the transformational Media Specialist at Martin J. Gottlieb Day School for several years, and is currently also the grade-level coordinator for grades 3-5. Karin is a professional educator, holding master’s degrees from both Michigan State University and University of Tennessee, in addition

to being a published author. Mrs. Hallett is excited to shift her attention exclusively to Early Childhood years for the DuBow Preschool and Martin J. Gottlieb Day School. In addition, Amy McClure has been named Early Childhood Program Director. Amy will be responsible for extended care for both preschool and day school, as well as winter, spring, and summer camps for DuBow Preschool. For more information on DuBow Preschool or Martin J. Gottlieb Day School, please call our admissions office at 904-268-4200.

Michele Block Gan Yeladim 10th Annual Symposium to focus on Positive Guidance

Torah Academy Student Government focuses on gratitude By Torah Academy By Jewish Community Alliance

The Michele Block Gan Yeladim Annual Early Childhood Symposium provides local educators in the field of early childhood education the opportunity for professional development in cutting-edge approaches in their field. At the upcoming 10th Annual Michele Block Gan Yeladim Early Childhood Symposium, the will focus be on Positive Guidance and Social and Emotional Skills. Methods to foster the social and emotional development of young learners has been identified by educators in the field of early childhood education, families of early childhood learners and current events as being an area of need. The emphasis at this year’s symposium will be equipping participants with the skills and tools to help teach themselves and the children in their classrooms self-regulations and vital life skills. Previous symposiums have addressed technology in early childhood education, creating wonder in the classroom and STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and math). Look for more information in the fall and in upcoming editions of the JCA Alliance News and Program Guide.


This past school year, the Torah Academy Student Government focused on the theme of gratitude. The students led many gratitude-themed projects for the entire school including decorating classroom doors and creating a gratitude bulletin board. The year culminated with a Student Government Gratitude Dinner on May 1 and was a great success. Parents and community members enjoyed a delicious meal and a silent auction. Special guest speaker Mrs. Colleen Rodriguez, Executive Director of JFCS, gave a wonderful presentation on the benefits of cultivating an attitude of gratitude. Much thanks to Ms. Karen Hansen, TA school counselor and Student Government advisor, for all the time and effort invested into making the evening, and the entire year, the success it was!

June/July 2018

Jacksonville Torah High School: A Successful Inaugural Year By Jacksonville Torah High School

As Jacksonville Torah High School closes the books on our inaugural year, we reflect on the purpose of our school and revel in the experiences of our students. In previous years, many Jewish families in Jacksonville faced a challenge if they wanted to continue their children's Torah education past elementary school. The options were sending children away to board in other cities that have a Jewish high school or to uproot the entire family and move elsewhere. Both options are costly and difficult. Another question which was raised was the ability to recruit more Jewish families to our city and encourage them to set down roots here for this same reason. The establishment of JTHS hopes to alleviate these concerns and overcome this obstacle. At Jacksonville Torah High School, we strive to combine the best of Jewish learning and general studies in a well-rounded curriculum that is personally rewarding for each student. As a Torah high school, we have the responsibility of fostering love of G-d and Judaism in the souls of our children by guiding them and inspiring them through enriching their life experiences with Torah learning and acts of Chesed. A primary purpose is to empower each individual student to discover their own callingin the classroom texts, the arts, the sciences, or the realm of extracurricular learning. We give the students the tools and drive to succeed, along with serving a greater purpose: to nurture every student’s self-esteem and creativity in the areas that best suit them during these formative years. The 2017-18 school year began with a unanimous consensus that our theme would

be “Connection.” In our warm and nurturing environment, the students developed an extremely close connection to one another, to our teachers, to the Jacksonville Jewish community, to our homeland of Israel, and to the Jewish people as a whole. The students spent countless hours working together to succeed academically, to challenge each other to strive for their personal best, and to create lifelong bonds of friendship. In a passionate attempt to strengthen their connection to the Jewish community here in Jacksonville, the students practiced the mitzvah of Chesed by volunteering to assist in the preparation for community events such as the Mega-Challah bake, Shabbatons at Eitz Chaim and the Chabad of St. Johns, and Purim mishloach manot baskets for NCSY. They continued to build their

Michele Block Gan Yeladim gives voice to children By Jewish Community Alliance

Michele Block Gan Yeladim continues to lead the way in early childhood education by allowing students an active role in the decision making process. “Giving children a voice promotes self-esteem and self-worth," said Michelle Cutler, Michele Block Gan Yeladim Parent Liaison and Curriculum Coordinator. "By giving children a voice through choice, opinion, feelings and emotions, they can develop and learn that they are important and valued.” According to Cutler, feeling valued plays a large role in how a child learns. In order to play, explore, actively learn and think critically, children must feel confident in their environments and have the knowledge that their voices and method of exploration will be supported. This approach reinforces the awareness that their thoughts are valued, and helps students stay engaged throughout the learning process. Another important aspect of this approach is allowing children to have input when it comes to making decisions. This helps to ensure that all children, including those who are less assertive, are provided the opportunity to be heard. These decisions begin simply and can include such things as which story they would like to listen to or in which sink they want to wash their hands. By giving students a voice, educators at Michele Block Gan Yeladim are helping students gain confidence for the classroom and beyond.

connection to the land of Israel by sending cards to Israeli soldiers. On a more personal level, our students prepared and delivered Pesach baskets for Holocaust survivors in Jacksonville and are partnering with Jewish Family & Community Services to volunteer at the new clothing closet. Looking to the next school year, JTHS will continue to focus on academic excellence and the development of connections to Judaism, as well as recognizing and fostering the individual talents of each student by providing opportunities for self-expression and independent study in an elective of their choice. For more information about enrollment at JTHS, or to make a tax-deductible donation, please visit our website at or contact Emily Rosenbaum at 904-524-4336.

JFCS partners with Bolles School on “Project 4293” By Jewish Family & Community Services

The Bolles School students have partnered with Jewish Family & Community Services on a venture called “Project 4293”. The project, which is aimed at joining together two groups of people who would not normally cross paths, focuses on acceptance and leadership. The 6-week program will unite two groups of people with different backgrounds to teach tolerance of all situations, including LGBTQ, social norms, bullying and diversity. “The goal is to embrace the diversity each student represents. Tolerance is a controversial topic, but without it we risk cruelty, discrimination and the lack of freedom to voice one’s opinion. We have to teach respect.” said JFCS Executive Director Colleen Rodriguez. Project 4293 will begin in the next few weeks. The outcome of the project is set to be the next exhibit in the Frisch Family Holocaust Memorial Gallery in the fall.


June/July 2018


June/July 2018


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June/July 2018

Community Retreat centered around Jewish culture By Evelyn Peck

Wildacres is a Utopian retreat in the gorgeous North Carolina mountains. Situated on over 1,000 acres of wooded land on Pompey's Knob in McDowell County, N.C., it is adjacent to the Blue Ridge Parkway and the Pisgah National Forest. Its vista is just breathtaking! The last three or four weeks of summer is reserved for Jewish groups. The kitchen is kashered, and top-notch Jewish speakers come. The subjects all have Jewish content, of course, and previous speakers have included Dr. Ruth, and Dr. Stephen Whitfield, along with entertainment and plenty of time for discussions. This retreat has been in existence for approximately 70 years, and many members of the Jacksonville Jewish community have been in attendance over the years. We are currently in the planning stages for a Jacksonville contingency to attend in August of 2019. This retreat is geared for adults interested in all aspects of Jewish culture, education, and history. The buildings are modern yet rustic and each room has its own bath. Accommodations are available to anyone with a disability or physical limitation. If you are interested in finding out more about Wildacres, please go to To learn more about how you can attend, please contact Evelyn Peck at 904-268-0597, or Miriam Price at 904472-8043.

JFCS' "Survivors" Exhibit extended By Jewish Family & Community Services

The “Survivors” exhibit in The Frisch Family Holocaust Gallery has been extended through the Fall. The Gallery is open from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Entry is free. If you would like a tour, contact JFCS at 904-448-1933 or stop by to see it. The Frisch Family Holocaust Gallery is dedicated to the experiences of Holocaust survivors living in Northeast Florida. The visuals capture and express the powerful legacy of the survival of the Jews. We will never forget.


Jewish Business Network May meeting sparkles BY JUDITH FOX-GOLDSTEIN “Word by Word”

The melody and memory of “Diamonds are a Girl’s Best Friend” resonated throughout Global Diamond’s beautiful showroom at Town Center during our most recent Jewish Business Networking meeting. There’s no doubt that this meeting sparkled as our charismatic host, and gemologist, Shuckie Ratovsky, General Manger of Global Diamonds, treated our JBN members to a rare look at the anatomy of the Diamond Business. Ratovsky relocated from Israel to the United States to work for Global Diamond’s parent company, Diamonds Direct, at their flagship location in Charlotte, NC. During this time, he fully invested himself in the company’s culture and unique value proposition. Ratovsky moved to Jacksonville to share this experience, passion and leadership with the Global Diamonds team. One of the qualities that has really stood out to Ratovsky and his family since they relocated to Jacksonville is the warmth of the people in this community. They treasure their new friendships and have enjoyed exploring a new city. Ratovsky also enjoys the opportunity to connect with many new fellow professionals who share his traditional background. He’s

thrilled to serve the Jacksonville community and thoroughly enjoys his position as Manager of Global Diamonds. Purchasing diamonds is a precious and special experience - almost always related to important events in your life! Ratovsky shared Global Diamond’s approach to purchasing that perfect diamond. It’s all about education, information, guidance, incredible selections and the journey Global Diamonds experts take with you as you make these special purchases and memories. JBN members enjoyed learning about the 50-year history of the company, the ethics of buying/trading and selling diamonds and the origins of the diamonds. Understanding the importance of the 4 C’s of diamond quality including cut, carat weight, color and clarity was very insightful. Shuckie invests in bringing joy to all his diverse customers because he knows the importance of these priceless gifts! Networking is always an invaluable component of our JBN meetings. Benefits include generating high quality referrals, increased business, collaborative opportunities, advice from experienced business owners, the opportunity to help others and increase your profile and, of course, new friendships and lasting relationships.

Save the date for the Jewish Cultural Arts Festival By Jewish Community Alliance

November is once again Cultural Arts Month at the JCA! Following the success of last year’s Jewish Cultural Arts Festival, this November the JCA will bring even more compelling cultural arts programming to the Jacksonville community. The 2018 Jewish Cultural Arts Festival will be held from November 1 to 15 at the Jewish Community Alliance and will include expanded 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 second year in a row. Sherrie’s wonderful leadership of last year’s festival led to record attendance at all events. Her work on the 2017 festival resulted in her being honored with the Howard Korman President’s Award. She and the festival committee are currently making selections and planning for this year’s event. The Jewish Cultural Arts Festival brings renowned authors the Jacksonville for diverse

programming that highlights varying aspects of the Jewish experience. Previous festivals have included book signings, readings, film showings and director chats. Visiting authors have included Alan Zweibel, Annabelle Gurwitch, Chanan Tigay and U.S. Ambassador Dennis Ross. This year’s event promises to be just as compelling.

June/July 2018

Sharing the love of Federation with Morocco and Madrid

Left: Visiting the Hassan II Mosque in Morocco, the 13th largest in the world. Even though the Jewish community has declined significantly, the Jews and Muslims live together in peace in Morocco. The King actively protects its Jewish community and has gone to great lengths to revive its Jewish heritage. Middle: Sharing cookies and smiles with a resident of the Old Age and Levine Residence in Casablanca. Right: Tikkun Olam project: Spending the morning playing soccer and having sack races with children from a boys’ orphanage. Our group brought over 500 pounds of supplies for the orphanage. By Haley Trager

A few weeks ago on a Friday morning, I found myself at the Ibn Gabriel School, a Jewish day school in Madrid, Spain. I was surrounded by hundreds of young children welcoming Shabbat with songs, challah, candles, and grape juice. We held hands and laughed and danced. It was only a few days prior that I was singing Hebrew songs and assembling puzzles with a group of second graders at another Jewish day school, this time in Casablanca, Morocco. How quickly these two experiences took me back to my days as a teacher at The DuBow Preschool. The wide-eyed excitement in the children’s voices as they sang in Hebrew. The joy in their faces when you sat next to them outside and made silly faces. Even though miles and worlds apart, these kids could have been the

same children I had the pleasure of teaching in Jacksonville. These visits were part of a study mission with Jewish Federations of North America’s National Young Leadership Cabinet. Together over the course of the week, I, along with 130 other Cabinet members from across 39 communities in North America, explored the intersection of Judaism, Islam, and Christianity. We engaged with Federation’s strategic partners on the ground that are providing critical aid for Jews in need and ensuring continuity through Jewish education and care. The mission provided the opportunities to see these communities through our values of chesed, tikkun olam, and tzedakah. Each time I participate in a Federation mission, I become increasingly aware that we are indeed one large, global Jewish family. And, as Jews, we are all responsi-

ble for one another. With the money raised through Federation’s Annual Campaign, we provide programs that strengthen our Jewish identity and enable quality Jewish education worldwide. We also do our best to ensure every Jewish person has access to medical care, kosher food, and can live their lives with dignity. I’ll never forget the smiling faces of the seniors when we visited the Old Age Home and Levine Residence in Casablanca. No translators were necessary - the common language of a warm smile and heartfelt hug transcends all language barriers. When I became involved with Federation, I thought I was doing my small part to change the world; little did I know, it was my own world that would change. Please join me by answering the call to contribute to Federation’s Annual Campaign.

Jewish Teens sprint their way to MVP By Jacksonville Jewish Center

Jacksonville Jewish Center members, Julia Grosse, daughter of Lisa and Mark Grosse, and Jeremy Zaifert, son of Talie and Dana Zaifert, both Freshman students at Creekside High School earned the girls and boys JV MVP award of their Track and Field Team. Both students, first time track participants, started on the JV Team and moved up to the Varsity team to compete in Varsity meets. Once on Varsity, they both earned an invitation to Districts in Palm Coast, Julia competing in the 100m, 200m and was an alternate for the 4x100m, and Jeremy competing in long jump, 100m, 200m and 4x100m. Jeremy moved on to Regionals in Tallahassee with his 4x100m team. These student athletes worked hard throughout the season and both look forward to beating their personal records next year.


June/July 2018

First Jewish Student Union in Jacksonville was a huge success

By Brandon Melamed

This year, Jewish Student Union (JSU) really took off in Jacksonville. For being the first one in years, the Stanton Jewish Student Union has gathered much support, and our small community has embraced it with much excitement. Jewish Student Union (informally known here as Jew Club) is an organization that brings together Jews and non-Jews all together in a fun and cultured environment. High school kids are able to learn about the Jewish culture in creative ways. JSU is an all-inclusive club, and has reached many people and has received much support from the Stanton community, and the

JFCS applies to become outpatient drug treatment center By Jewish Family & Community Services

Jewish Family & Community Services has applied with the Department of Children & Families to become a licensed substance abuse outpatient treatment facility, able to offer drug treatment assessments, devise treatment plans for individuals with drug and/or alcohol issues and provide outpatient drug treatment. For those who have a severe addiction, JFCS will serve as a starting point for treatment, but will work with licensed in-patient agencies for patients who need it. “Over 70 percent of the families JFCS is involved with have at least some substance abuse issues,” said Colleen Rodriguez. “And there is a need for these services in our community.”


Jacksonville community as a whole, as it’s advertised within the Etz Chaim and the Jacksonville Jewish Center synagogues. Being the Founder and President of such a wonderful and inspiring organization is a beautiful thing to me. Especially seeing my own creation come to life - and thrive - is amazing. At Stanton, we have meetings once or twice a month, with a group of about 20 kids each time. At every meeting we have pizza and/or different types of Israeli or Jewish food, and we do some kind of activity based around Israel or Judaism. They include Jewish Celebrities, Jewpardy, and some others. For some of the holidays we’ve had celebrations, on holidays like Hanukkah, Tu B’Shvat, and Shavuot. Additionally, we’ve incorporated Jacksonville’s Shlicha, Shelly Shalev, to join us for some activities. Contrary to other religious or Jewish programs, JSU is directly on school grounds, right after school. This makes it so that it’s the most convenient for teens to receive a Jewish experience, in a fun and interesting way. The Jewish Student Union as a whole has been extremely successful, as started in 2002 with 4 schools in Los Angeles, now it has grown in 2018 to over 300 schools all across the country. It’s my pleasure to add Stanton to the list of schools with JSU, and Jacksonville as a new city. Because of its intense growth and extreme success, JSU has received plenty of outside funding from the Orthodox Union, and from third-parties like Jewish Federations all across the United States, and private donors and philanthropists. Around a year ago, starting a JSU was just a dream and aspiration of mine. However, I worked hard contacting people throughout the summer of 2017, and with the help of many people, JSU finally started last fall. Now we have about 20 people every meeting, and a total of over 60 JSU members. For more information, contact me at 904-524-6961 or on Instagram @stanton_jsu. Being the Founder and President of the Stanton JSU, and starting it in Jacksonville, really is a dream come true.

JCA After School open for registration By Jewish Community Alliance

The JCA After School Program is accepting students for the 2018-19 school year. The program offers parents and students a wide variety of programming to choose from, all conveniently located under one roof at the JCA. Participants in the program enjoy a safe, stimulating environment with skilled staff dedicated to mentoring and guiding children. Students can complete homework and engage with peers, while staying active and engaged. The “Power Hour” option allows students to personalize their after-school experience with activities that best fits their needs and interests. Above all, JCA After School offers students and parents a positive, enriching environment for children to learn and grow. For information on registering your child, go to or call 730-2100 ext. 228.

June/July 2018

JFCS, Jacksonville Sheriff's Office provide active shooter training to staff By Jewish Family & Community Services

On April 18 and 26, Jewish Family & Community Services invited officers from the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office (JSO) to the Alan J. Taffet Building for Active Shooter Training. All staff were required to attend and learned about how best to handle an active shooter situation. “The first step is to avoid the situation. The second is to deny the shooter the ability to get to you and the third and final is to defend, but only if you have no other choice.” said Executive Director Colleen Rodriguez. “We need to be aware of our environment at all times – we have to know where all the exits in the building are and we need to think about what we would do if an active shooter walked into our building. It’s all about being prepared – and JFCS will have active shooter drills often. My first priority is protecting the lives of my staff and training and repetition is key.” JSO provides Active Shooter Training in a classroom setting for local businesses and schools. For more information or to have training at your facility, contact the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office at 904-630-0500.

“Catskills ‘Borscht Belt’ Memories” BY ISABEL BALOTIN

Shalom Jacksonville Director

Whenever summer approaches, my thoughts always turn to my hometown Ellenville, a small town in the Catskills. If you ever spent time in this area, you know that those memories stay with you forever. Believe it or not, there are many people in Northeast Florida who claim a Catskills’ connection. Some, like me, grew up in this unique New York State area, some vacationed or worked in the famed hotels or bungalow colonies, others attended summer camp in one of 50 small hamlets that comprise the Borscht Belt. If you are not familiar with the Catskills, here’s a bit of Jewish cultural history. In the 1940s, '50s & '60s, a Catskills holiday was a way for the Jewish immigrants and their families to acclimate to American culture. They could now take a vacation, which was definitely not an old country practice, without abandoning kosher food and the Yiddish language. To them, going to the mountains was a sign that you’d made it without losing your traditions. "Back in the 1950s, the approximately 2000 square miles of the Jewish Catskills were perhaps the densest rural resort in the world. In 1953, by one count, there were more than 400 bungalow colonies (with 50,000 cabins), 538 hotels, and about 1,000 boarding houses." (Jewish Week) Besides delicious food, and lots of fresh air, the Catskills was also known for legendary entertainers: Jerry Lewis, Joan Rivers, Jackie Mason, Bette Midler, Anthony Newley, Steve Lawrence & Edie Gorme, Milton Berle, Red Buttons, Corbett Monica, Totie Fields, Sophie Tucker, to name a few. Some performers like Mel Brooks, got their start working in the hotels as a “tummler” and led the iconic Simon Sez games. For many, the Catskills was the place where you probably had your first crush and perhaps, second and third crushes. If you vacationed at the hotels, you probably remember enjoying many entertainers who began their careers in the “Borscht Belt.” If you worked in the hotel dining rooms, you know how important schmoozing was for getting big tips. If you were a guest, you were never hungry. Or if you stayed at a bungalow colony, you must remember the “casino”

which usually had a jukebox, a mini grocery and was the place to go for Saturday night entertainment. You may have even gone to one of the many Jewish camps in the area where the outdoors was your playground. Or you could be one of the locals like me, who lived in the "mountains" all year-round, who anxiously awaited the summer months when the influx of "city" people would bring excitement and energy to what was a small, quiet, conservative town—Ellenville, whose population of 5000 tripled. Our local businesses flourished during the summers. However, as exciting as it was, by the time Labor Day rolled around, we were happy to say goodbye to the city folk and go back to the "real" world of a small town. Here are some questions that might trigger your Catskills memories. As I was writing them I had a continuous smile on my face. Enjoy! 1) During the summer I worked as a _______. 2) On the 4th of July we________. 3) My favorite summer sport was________4) Name some entertainers you enjoyed. 5) How many slept in your bunk? 6) I got in trouble when I __________. 7) We stopped at __________for lunch on our way to the Catskills. 8) We played ________in the bungalow’s casino. 9) I learned to ________in the Catskills. 10) My first summer job was___________. 11) During the summer we stayed at________________.


June/July 2018


The Center’s Book Club Hosts Dreamland Author — Save the Date The Jacksonville Jewish Center Book Club invites the community to participate in reading Dreamland: The True Tale of America’s Opiate Epidemic. In June, the book club will host a discussion of author Sam Quinones’ insightful research on those involved in the epidemic: pharma pioneers, young Mexican entrepreneurs, narcotics investigators, survivors, and parents. “Mr. Quinones weaves together a revelatory account of the corrosive threat facing America and its heartland” (Bloomsbury Publishing). In 2015, Dreamland won the National Book Critics Circle Award for general nonfiction. At the meeting, the author will be available by Skype to answer your questions. The Book Club will meet at the Jacksonville Jewish Center on Tuesday, June 19, at 7:15 p.m. Please RSVP to or 904-731-7887.

Summer Trivia Nights at the Jacksonville Jewish Center The Jacksonville Jewish Center is excited to host three free trivia nights this summer. Grab you friends or family and join us on Wednesdays, June 20, July 18 or August 15 to tease your brain and win prizes! This all ages event begins at 7:30 and trivia games will be run by Trivia4Boomers with host Jan Miller. Come with a team, no more than 8 people, or meet some new people and join one. To register or for more information go to jjcjax. org/trivia or contact the Center at 904-292-1000.

Summer Book Reviews return in July Jacksonville Hadassah announces its Annual Book Reviews, to be held on July 10, 17 at the Jacksonville Jewish Center. There is no cost to attend and all programs begin at 10:30 a.m. Books to be reviewed include Jewish Humor: A Serious History, by Jeremy Dauber, and The Devil and Webster, by Jean Hanff Korelitz. For more information, contact Helen Hill 904-998-2187 or hillhelenhill@gmail. com. For Programs/Event Calendar section: Tuesday, July 10, 10:30 a.m. Hadassah Book Review, Jacksonville Jewish Center, 3662 Crown Point Road. Info: (904) 998-2187. Tuesday, July 17, 10:30 a.m. Hadassah Book Review, Jacksonville Jewish Center, 3662 Crown Point Road. Info: (904) 998-2187. Tuesday, July 24, 10:30 a.m. Hadassah Book Review, Jacksonville Jewish Center, 3662 Crown Point Road. Info: (904) 998-2187. Tuesday, July 31, 10:30 a.m. Hadassah Book Review – location to be announced (904) 834-7174.


“Making Memories Through Our Meals”

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June/July 2018

Lifecycles B'nai Mitzvah Miles Carter, son of Ryan and Lynne Carter will be called to the Torah on the occasion of his Bar Mitzvah on June 9th at Temple Bet Yam in St. Augustine. Miles attends the Cambridge Program at Murray Middle School in St. Augustine. He enjoys cross country running, playing the guitar, and bike riding. Sharing in the joy of Miles becoming Bar Mitzvah are his grandparents, Dr. Norman Carter and Roberta Ostfeld. Josh DeBardeleben, son of Jennie and Jon DeBardeleben, will be called to the Torah on the occasion of his Bar Mitzvah on May 12th, at the Jacksonville Jewish Center. Sharing in the simcha will be his sister Julia, grandparents Paula and Kenny Horn of Jacksonville and Pat DeBardeleben of Memphis, and many other friends and family. Josh is in the 7th grade at Kirby Smith Middle School, where he is on the A honor roll. He enjoys reading, playing piano and video games, and hanging out with friends.

Mazel Tov Naomi Simcha Levin graduated from the University of Florida with high honors from the school of Arts and Sciences. She majored in Forensic Anthropology. In the fall she will enter the University of Texas to study for her Masters Degree in Anthropology. Ms Levin is the daughter of Linda and David Levin.

Marty and Mimi Kaufman have been awarded Honorary Bachellors Degrees of Humanities from the University of North Florida at the Universityâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s graduation ceremony on April 27th, 2018. They earned this award for their community involvement and volunteerism in addition to auditing classes at the University for the past ten years. On April 26th, at their annual Child Abuse Program Conference, Rebecca Levin was awarded an Award of Excellence by the Exchange Club Family Center of Northeast Florida for her outstanding work with high-risk children. Ms Levin is with Jewish Family and Childrens Services and serves as an in-home therapist to families who have been referred to JFCS from DCF and need supervision in order to create a safe environment for their children. Ms Levin received her MSW from Florida State University in Tallassee. She is the daughter of Linda and David Levin and the Granddaughter of Martin and Mimi Kaufman.

Sympathies Shirley Stone, beloved mother of Karen Stone (Richard Margulies) and grandmother of Alex, Adam and Carolyn Margulies, passed into her eternal rest on June 5, 2018. A private burial will be held. The family requests that contributions in memory of Shirley be made to River Garden or Wolfson Children's Hospital. All of us at Congregation Ahavath Chesed join in offering the family members our sincere condolences. Hamakom yenachem Otam B'Toch Sha'ar Aveilei Tziyon Viyrushalayim. May God comfort them among all the mourners of Zion and Jerusalem.

Gerald Greenspoon passed into his eternal rest on the morning of May 28th. We extend our condolences to his children Rabbi David (Anne) Greenspoon, Marcy (Alan) Trost, Lisa (Rob) Baird, and Robert (Jennifer Yorke) Greenspoon; and grandchildren Miles, Micah, Ezra, Avi, Cameron, and Rachel. Contributions may be directed in Gerald's memory to the scholarship funds of the Martin J. Gottlieb Day School at the Jacksonville Jewish Center by following this link, or to JFCS. May the Holy One comfort all the members of Gerald Greenspoon's family among the other mourners of Zion and Jerusalem. Maxene Gillman passed on the afternoon of April 30th. We extend our condolences to her husband Judge Marvin Gillman; children Robin (Dr. Ronnie) Cooper, Dr. Melanie Appell, and Henry (Lisa) Lewitt; stepchildren Ed (Lori) Gillman, Henry (Jacqueline) Gillman, Dr. Carolyn Gillman, and Andrew (Karla) Gillman; grandchildren Dr. Lauren Appell, Holly Appell, Brooke Gillman, Lindsey Gillman, Daniel Gillman, Michael Gillman, and Sarah Gillman; and brothers Walter Levitin and Andrew Levitin. Contributions may be directed in Maxene's memory to the Jacksonville Jewish Center or to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. May the Holy One comfort all the members of Maxene Gillman's family among the other mourners of Zion and Jerusalem.

Scott Fields, beloved son of Art and Muriel Fields and father of Izabela, passed into his eternal rest on May 22. He was predeceased by his wife, Rose. Muriel and Art are establishing a special fund for Izabela's education and general welfare. Please send contributions in memory of Scott to Temple earmarked for Izabela. All of us at Congregation Ahavath Chesed join in offering the family members our sincere condolences. Hamakom yenachem Otam B'Toch Sha'ar Aveilei Tziyon Viyrushalayim. May God comfort them among all the mourners of Zion and Jerusalem. Naomie Bossen passed into her eternal rest. We extend our condolences to Naomie's husband Bob Bossen; her children Irv (Carol) Weinstein, Rose (Stan) Konter, Alan (Donna) Weinstein; her grandchildren Doug (Zita) Weinstein, Natalie (Jonathan) Sarnat, Harris (Elissa) Konter, Jeremy Weinstein, Melanie (Margaret) Capobianco; her 8 great-grandchildren; and Shelby Trager's children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. Please direct contributions in Naomie's memory to the American Cancer Society, the Jacksonville Jewish Center by following this link, or to River Garden Senior Services. May the Holy One comfort the members of Naomie Bossen's family among the other mourners of Zion and Jerusalem.

To submit an item for lifecycles, please email it to Due date is the 6th of the month.

Madeline Ruth Harold, the mother of Edie Jordan, our Assistant Supervisor of Maintenance, passed into her eternal rest on June 6, 2018. We extend our heartfelt condolences to Edie and her entire family in this hour of grief. Funeral arrangements are being handled by T.S. Warden (click here for location). Their phone number is 904765-1234. For those who wish to extend their condolences to Edie personally, a visitation will be scheduled at the Jacksonville Jewish Center in the near future. Contributions in Madeline Ruth Harold's memory may be sent to American Veterans Association (AMVETS).


Partnership2Gether Educator Seminar Seminar will feature: 1. Educational Speakers 2. Workshop Interaction between American and Israeli Educators 3. Sightseeing in Charlotte When: December 6-9, 2018 Cost: $150/person participation fee (and

travel expenses - all other expenses covered by P2G budget) Accommodations will be provided.

For more information, contact Jill Abel at or 904-224-1445 46

JACKSONVILLE 2018-2019 Annual Calendar

July Date TBD Intergenerational Storytime


November Thursday, November 29th

Mom’s Mitzvah Project


Wednesday, August 30th

Mom’s Night Out

September Neighborhood Meet-Ups

October Thursday, October 7th

Dad’s Night Out Sunday, October 28th Story Walk & Book Swap

Saturday, December 15th

Community Havdalah

January Sunday, January 27th Tu B’Shevat Nature Walk & Family Picnic

February Date TBD

Mom’s Night Out

March Sunday, March 31st

Family Art Project

April Neighborhood Meet-Ups Date TBD Dad’s Night Out

May Thursday, May 9th

JEWEL Society Party

June Sunday, June 2nd Summer Pool Party

For more information about PJ Library Jacksonville, contact Coordinator, Whitney Kuvin, at

Unparalleled Excellence in Early Childhood Education


For more information, call 904-730-2100 ext. 235 or visit Michele Block Gan Yeladim Preschool is open to all children regardless of race, religious affiliation or ethnic origin. JCA membership is not required, but JCA members have priority in registration. DCF lic. # C04DU0213

2018 JJN summer magazine  
2018 JJN summer magazine