JEWISH NEWS A PUBLICATION OF THE JEWISH FEDERATION OF JACKSONVILLE JEWISHJACKSONVILLE.ORG | VOL. 32 NO. 8 | MAY 2019
Teen spotlight with Jillian Penson
Remembering the Holocaust
By Etz Chaim
Jillian on her trip to Ireland last June
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Jillian Penson, an 11th grader at Creekside High School, is in the drama club, as well as in the Jewish Student Union where she serves as club Secretary, is the National Association of Students Against Gun Violence’s Social Justice Chair, and is in the National Honor Society. She is also social action chair for JAFTY, the youth group at The Temple. Last summer she was part of the Tikkun Olam Teen Exchange, sponsored by the Jewish Federation of Jacksonville’s Israel Partnership program. Q: What are you most passionate about? A: I am most passionate about the topic of human rights. I believe that everyone should be equal no matter what. As a Jewish girl, I know what hate speech looks like and feels like. People tell you that you are evil because of some part of your life, like your race or religion. It is a horrible feeling to be told this and I don’t think anyone should ever feel this way. I will try my hardest to put an end to all forms of hate speech because no one should ever feel unworthy because of something they See TEEN, p. 9 cannot control.
Etz Chaim Synagogue is honored to host the communitywide Yom Hashoah Holocaust Memorial Event this year. As the years go on and there are fewer Holocaust survivors among the living, it becomes more important than ever to gather and remember the Shoah and all those that perished in the years of unimaginable hell. Our community is honored to host Rabbi Jacob J. Schacter, who currently serves as University Professor of Jewish History and Jewish Thought and Senior Scholar at the Center for the Jewish Future, at Yeshiva University. Rabbi Jacob Schacter is also the the son of Rabbi Herschel Schacter, who was the first American Jewish chaplain to liberate the concentration camps as part of the liberating forces in 1945. Rabbi Herschel Schacter found a young Jew-
ish boy in Buchenwald called Lulek, who asked him, ‘Does the world know what happened to us?’ This boy eventually became the world famous Rabbi Israel Meir Lau, who is currently the Chief Rabbi of Tel Aviv. He and a colleague, Rabbi Robert Marcus, helped arrange for their transport to France, as well as to Switzerland, and then to Israel. The convoy, which included Lulek and the teenage Elie Wiesel, was personally overseen by Rabbi Schacter. Rabbi Herschel Schacter passed away in 2013 at the age of 95. We are honored to have his son, Rabbi Jacob J. Schacter, come to Jacksonville to speak about his father’s experiences and in his memory. The event will be held Thursday, May 2 at 7 p.m. at Etz Chaim Synagogue, 10167 San Jose Blvd., Jacksonville. For more information, call 904-262-3565.
We are currently in the special time between Passover and Shavuot, when the Jewish people engage in a unique mitzvah called Sefirat HaOmer (counting of the Omer), seven weeks for a total of 49 days. At the end of the seven weeks we celebrate Shavuot, which commemorates the Jewish people receiving the Torah from God at Mt. Sinai. Hebrew for “weeks,” Shavuot falls this year on June 9-10. The counting demonstrates our excited anticipation of receiving the Torah anew each year and is an auspicious time to strive for personal growth – week by week, day by day.
Local burial society lovingly serves the community By Mindy Rubenstein
It’s something most people don’t think about often, or at all – what happens to the body after a person dies, after the soul departs? When a Jewish person passes away, a group of volunteers called a Chevra Kadisha, or holy society, carefully and respectfully prepares the body for burial. This dutiful process, called taharah, purification, involves the ritual cleaning of the deceased body, or met – by women for women and men for men. Since the late 1960s, Jacksonville’s devoted Chevra Kadisha – a community organization whose services are available to everyone – has been quietly and lovingly taking care of people’s loved ones. “These people deserve to go back to the earth with loving hands,” said Ava Axelrod, who has led the local Chevra Kadisha for more than 25 years and volunteered for more people than she can count. “They
deserve to be treated with the utmost kindness. Not all of these people have had an easy life.” She has served victims of the Holocaust, among others, whose stories she may or may not know. Modesty is preserved in the accepted ways of doing this last act before the met begins his or her journey to burial and the eternal. The met is treated with reverence and dignity because the body was the entity that housed the soul for the period that it was on this earth. Volunteers see to it that the bodies are prepared for burial according to Jewish tradition and are protected from desecration, willful or not. The main requirements include showing proper respect, and the ritual cleansing of the body and subsequent dressing for burial. Jewish tradition regards it as a tremendous mitzvah to join a Chevra Kadisha, particularly because so many people are reluctant to do so. They
See BURIAL SOCIETY, p. 12
Speaking openly about mental health can lead to transformation By Mindy Rubenstein
“Real transformation requires real honesty,” says author and activist Bryant McGill. These words were part of Collen Rodriguez’s opening remarks during Jewish Family & Community Services’ annual fundraising event last month. I was fortunate to have attended this powerful program, which drew nearly 300 people from throughout Jacksonville and Northeast Florida. Rodriguez, CEO of JFCS, said, “Tonight we are taking a little bit of a risk…we are daring to talk about a topic that isn’t usually what’s discussed at the cocktail parties we all regularly attend. Some of us might get a little uncomfortable.” Mental health and emotional wellbeing, including issues such as anxiety, depression and addiction, receive limited government funding and are not often discussed openly and honestly. “If we are real as a community, a state, a country, we have to admit that emotional wellbeing has not been a priority,” she said. “Florida allocates the least amount of its annual budget to mental health programs in the country, and Duval County is second to last in mental health funding in the state.” Plus some laws are being changed to even further reduce what’s currently available, including access to preventative care – yet more people lose their lives each year because of mental illness than because of cancer,
See TRANSFORMATION, p. 9
Jacksonville Jewish News • May 2019
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Jacksonville Jewish News • May 2019
Letter from the Editor: A journey of transformation BY MINDY RUBENSTEIN
Editor & Communications Director
This past month included some moving experiences as I journeyed throughout the Jacksonville Jewish community and beyond. At the Jewish Family & Community Services annual fundraising event, focused on mental health and transformation, JFCS CEO Collen Rodriguez and event co-chair Sheryl Johnson shared some difficult and heartfelt stories, calling for honest and open dialogue when addressing mental health. You can read more about that on page one. It seemed beautifully connected to a class I had attended just a couple days before, a community lunch and learn with Rabbi Avi Feigenbaum, who explained how we can take trauma in life – our pain, our heartache – and use it to positively impact others. He related this to our patriarch Abraham, who turned his life around and chose to use his life experiences to serve God and represent goodness. In fact, he said that God may actually give us challenges in order to make us more sensitive to the needs of other people. I also witnessed a Torah dedication in Pasco County for a synagogue that was an important part of shaping my Jewish journey. My husband and I completed writing some of the last letters in this Torah before it was lovingly adorned in silver crowns and carried in a festive precession beneath a chuppah. Seeing this brand-new Torah up close was a jolting reminder of why I make Judaism such an integral part of my life. The man who donated the Torah spoke passionately to the crowd, saying he just wants more people to do something Jewish – go to synagogue on Shabbat, try eating kosher, give tzedakah, smile at someone. After 40 years of being disconnected from Judaism, he wept as he placed the final letter onto the Torah parchment during the event. After 13 surgeries and being told over a decade ago that he had six months to live, this man was dedicated to using his remaining time here the best way possible – with generosity and by living a Jewish life. And here at Federation, I am learning about the allocations
process and how carefully the money raised by our dedicated volunteers and my coworkers is distributed to Jewish agencies, schools and synagogues. As I listened to leaders of various organizations talk about their important work on behalf of the Jewish people and others in need, it was a beautiful reminder – as I am still new to Federation – of how we help make the world a better place by serving children, families and seniors locally, in Israel and around the world. The Federation’s annual fundraising campaign is ending soon, so now is a great time to show your support and give tzedakah. We are currently in the midst of the counting of the Omer, the 49 days between Passover and the festival of Shavuot, which this year falls on June 9-10. These seven weeks from Passover to Shavuot have traditionally been a period of spiritual elevation for the Jewish people as a nation and as individuals. It took seven weeks to reach the mountain. The Israelites left Egypt on the 15th of Nissan (the first day of Passover), and on the 6th of Sivan – celebrated ever since as the festival of Shavuot – they assembled at the foot of Mount Sinai and received the Torah from God. This shows that every person can rise from the lowest depths to the loftiest spiritual heights in a remarkably short time, if only she has the sincere desire to do so. With the mitzvah of counting the Omer, we embark on a journey of perfecting the human soul, one day at a time. May each of our personal and collective journeys be spiritually elevated and imbued with the ability to overcome our own limitations. Along with receiving the Torah, we achieve the gift of true freedom, the ability to transcend our human limitations and touch the Divine. I would love to hear from you. Please email your comments and questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Rabbinically Speaking with Rabbi Bahar: Shabbat is a gift By Rabbi Elizabeth Bahar
How much time do you spend on social media every day? How much time each day are you on your cell phone or tablet checking the news, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat or GroupMe feeds? We are obsessed with understanding and experiencing the world as it happens. We don’t want to miss a thing. Scientific research teaches us that our bodies respond to the jolt of our phones vibrating and dinging with the release of stress hormones. Immediately responding to these alerts leads to addiction-like behavior and can slow down our cognitive functions. How would our world change if we missed an email or a tweet? What if we didn’t respond to every message within 30 minutes of having received it? How would our world change if we deliberately hit the “pause” button and just took a breath? I struggle with wanting an answer and wanting to answer every message immediately when it arrives. The immediacy of the response helps me feel connected to people. Scrolling through news feeds makes me feel on top of what is happening in the world. I check in on what friends and family are doing. I worry about missing something important, the moment it happens. And then I take a breath and think, what would be at risk if I did not know what happened the moment it happened? How would my life be changed? How would the lives of others be affected? While attending the Central Conference of American Rabbis (CCAR) conference, I noticed many of the over 600 rabbis in attendance checking their phones throughout the conference. My colleagues and I
had paid several thousand dollars to learn together, to pray together, to exchange ideas and learn from each other’s experiences. Sometimes those texts were related to the needs of our congregations. Some of those texts were telling us of congregants in crisis and some were telling us about a situation in our home congregations that someone had determined to be a crisis...because we all live in a world where we expect an answer within moments of asking the question. And some of us were playing Sudoku, doing a crossword puzzle or checking Facebook. (A confession: I played a game of Sudoku on my tablet when I was having trouble focusing on what the presenter was saying.) After observing my colleagues’ behavior and my own, I found myself asking, “How many of us are really in the room? How many of us are physically here and mentally somewhere else?” While waiting in the airport for my return flight, I watched my fellow travelers with their heads down, entranced by their devices. Were they working? Were they catching up on today’s news? Were they chatting with family and friends? And then I thought, is anyone, myself included, capable of sitting quietly, tuned into our own thoughts? What might we learn about ourselves? What commitments to self might we create? How might we better our own lives? Our Jewish tradition offers a solution for today’s world. Shabbat is the day to pause and stop creating. It is a day set aside to get off the treadmill, to take a break from running nowhere at full speed. It is that 25-hour period to just sit and take a few deep breaths. Schedule a Shabbat fast from electronic devices. Ignore the never-ending news cycle for the day. Plan a nice dinner with friends, read a book or go on a walk. Take in the beauty that is Florida before the oppressive heat of summer arrives. Make time to reflect. Don’t do any work for your job, check your computer, do laundry or pay bills. Take the time to simply “be.” Be present in each glorious Shabbat moment. Shabbat is a gift, ours for the taking. The world will be waiting for us after Havdalah.
Jacksonville Jewish News • May 2019
A Leadership2Gether experience to remember
Leadership2Gether crew with IDF soldiers at the Machne Yehuda Shuk
Host mom Maya Shmaya and Nashville participant Jacob Kupkin
BY EMMA PULLEY
Associate Director, Administration and Planned Giving
I arrived in Tel Aviv at night. As my plane was taxying to the gate at Ben Gurion airport, I remembered a question that was asked of me weeks before I began my journey: “Emma, do you have any expectations for your first trip to Israel?” I remembered saying immediately: “I just want my plane to land on the ground.” So within the first ten minutes of being in Israel, my one and only expectation had already been met. I made my way through passport control and baggage claim and climbed into a car and left straight away for Jerusalem. During the car ride, my driver highlighted key points to me and, despite the dark of the night, I could see everything exactly as he was describing it to me. I knew it like an instinct, like a memory I’d cherished from childhood – I could already see the outline of the hills of Jerusalem. Through the past five years of working at the Federation, I have been extremely lucky to work very closely with our Partnership2Gether program. And because I have met Nitza Gerber, Tal Osher, Dana Marmari, Dorit Zini, Maya Shoham, Calanit Hedvati, Rotem Gabay, Dr. Yael Kopelman, so many wonderful teens and countless other amazing Israelis, I didn’t need daylight to be able to see what my driver was trying to show me. I came to Israel to participate in the 2019 Leadership2Gether program cohort, having already participated in the 2017 program cohort in Nashville, TN. I was fortunate to be with so many people that I had met in Nashville, both American and Israeli, as well as meet many new faces – all of us on the same journey of discovering ways to enrich and empower our home communities and celebrate and inspire reflections of Judaism in our modern world. The overall experience that emerged was far beyond the singular expectation I had. My plane landed on the ground – and after crossing that hurdle
and remaining curious and open, I was able to truly have an experience unencumbered by assumption. I was able to be present, absorbing all that was in front of me and all that I received, from the spring chill of the Mediterranean winds in Caesarea to the wonderful and warm hospitality from my host family. Our group spent time in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, visiting the Old City, exploring Machne Yehuda shuk, learning about Zionism at the Herzl Center as well as visiting the offices at the Jewish Agency for Israel – all of which helped connect me to the work and the mission that I’ve been involved with through my time at the Federation. Some of the most meaningful times for me were in our partnership region of Hadera. To spend time with so many friends and have the opportunity to live an everyday normal life with my host family doing laundry, cooking, and running errands, all to finally sit down for a relaxed Shabbat dinner – that was truly a highlight of my week. As I look again at the pictures taken from this trip, sometime it’s hard for me to believe that I’m looking at myself. I said “yes” to a lot of exercises and encounters that I probably wouldn’t have said “yes” to here at home. And I have to realize all over again that the woman in my pictures is me being the most “me” I’ve ever been. Happy, confident, slightly sunburned and willing to take risks. The more time I spent with my incredible peers, the braver I felt being a louder version of myself and asking questions of myself like: “Who am I?” and “Do I honestly believe that I can do the things that scare me?” We ended our week more attached to each other than any other leadership cohort of which I had ever been a part. Each of us made connections beyond our wildest dreams and cheerfully traded contact information, already imagining the next time we’d see each other again. As many of us wondered about how to bring the lessons we had learned back to our communities, I had a separate thought: “How can I bring back the ‘Emma’ I was fortunate to discover after her plane landed in Tel Aviv?”
Emma with Idan and Romi Shmaya
Je�ish Federation of Jacksonville Women's Mission
Yours. Mine. Ours.
Mission Co-chairs: Whitney l<uvin, Jill Metlin, Jennifer Plotkin, Lauren Setzer Please join us at our information meeting to find out more!
Sunday, May 5, 10:00 a.m. Home of Jill Metlin For questions or to RSVP, contact Lauren Rickoff at laurenre>jewishjacksonville.org or 904-224-1406.
life and legacy
Jacksonville Jewish News • May 2019
Elikan scholarship winners announced BY EMMA PULLEY
Associate Director, Administration and Planned Giving
BeQuestions with Kellie Smith This month’s question comes to us from Edith in Amelia Island: “I recently completed cancer treatment and during my fight against this disease, I found myself thinking about what I will be remembered for. I feel compelled to do something to help others but have no idea what to do. Please help!” LIVE A MEANINGFUL LIFE AND LEAVE A LEGACY When we hear the words “You have cancer,” it’s easy to feel that it’s too late. We grow despondent over the time we think we have left, and tell ourselves it’s too late to do all the things we wanted to do, to travel to all the places we’ve dreamed of going, or to create a significant and impactful legacy. Edith, you have stared death in the face and most people have yet to experience this feeling. And as a fellow survivor myself, I can still remember the fits of anger and tears as the words ran through my mind: “Why me?” I too wondered: “If I die, what will I be remembered for?” Nobody said we all have to be superheroes or that we all have to be rich and famous, but I do believe that we all have the capacity to live a beautiful and meaningful life. Often when we think about a legacy, it’s something that feels passive, as we only tend to consider it after it’s already been left behind. But what if we look at it in a different way? To me, a legacy is more about sharing what you have learned, not just what you have earned, and bequeathing values over valuables, as material wealth is only a small fraction of the impact you can leave behind. Taking your passion and streamlining it into a strategic, focused effort can bring so much joy. The options are endless! For example, if taking action is something you feel compelled to do, you can raise awareness for cancer, drive policy change for a social issue close to your heart, help fund important scientific research that can improve lives globally, or donate your time to local advocacy groups, etc. And if financial security for a cause or organization is important to you, consider creating or contributing to an endowment fund. Reflect on values and projects that may have had an impact on you in the past or recent initiatives that you’ve read about and are inspired by. With this strategy, you will have an annual impact on your chosen mission or project in perpetuity. There are no formal requirements for creating a legacy, so my best advice to you is to know where your heart is! Embrace your uniqueness and immerse your whole self into life so that your ultimate gift will be to all. If you are genuinely grounded in offering an energizing contribution to hu-
See BEQUESTIONS, p. 25
The Len and Judy Promising Young Leader Summer Camp Scholarship Selection Committee is thrilled to announce this year’s award winners: Jaime Bielski, Maiah Jaffa, Jagger Leach, Macy Pargman, Yitzchak Rabinowitz and Aiden Smolensky. Leonard and Judy Elikan created this scholarship in 2009 in order to provide outstanding and motivated youth the opportunity to have a quintessential Jewish summer camp experience. The Elikan Family is committed to giving Jacksonville youth access to Jewish summer camp experiences in hopes that they will have additional exposure to and appreciation of their Jewish values and Jewish heritage. More than 20 applications were received – a record turnout for the scholarship’s history – and the quality of the submissions were both exceptional and inspiring. The selection committee was comprised of Elikan family members along with hand-selected young professional community members with youth leadership experience. They reviewed each submission, which included student essays and video submissions, and scored each applicant according to official guidelines. The committee did not have an easy task; the process was challenging
due to the incredible turnout of promising young Jews in our community. Congratulations to our recipients on their awards! Through their hard work and creativity, they have proven themselves to be promising young leaders within their communities, and we hope that their Len and Judy Elikan summer camp experience encourages them to continue their leadership efforts here at home. To be eligible for the scholarship, applicants must be between the ages of 13 and 17 and must have been Bar or Bat Mitzvahed by June 30 of the award year. A new cycle of applications will begin in December of 2019, so be on the lookout for application information and instructions to be released in the Fall!
Life and Legacy publishes Annual Report Life and Legacy is proud to have released the 2018-2019 Annual Report to their fund holders in late April. This report is a reflection of all the work that has been accomplished in the first year post-merger between the Jewish Foundation and Federation, as well as a celebration of the many years of support and achievement of your Jewish Community Foundation. In the last calendar year, the Life and Legacy Division has made major strides in improving the fund holder digital experience, as well as implementing a new and reduced fee structure on all fund types. Financial content in the report includes snapshots of fund growth and information about our investment partner SEI. Several narrative pieces were featured as well: one on beloved Jewish Community Foundation employee Jean Brantley, an excerpt from the Book of Life by Sol Goldman (of blessed memory), information about our relaunch of the B’nai Tzedek Young Philanthropy program through Next Gen Grant Making and more! If you did not receive your copy, please update your contact information with the Life and Legacy Division office by calling Emma Pulley at 904-224-1405. If you are not a fund holder but would like to see a copy of our annual report, you may view it online at www.jewishjacksonville.org/foundation.
Come join us at this wonderful community event! More information on pg. 20.
Linda Stein and Ellie Zimmerman with their therapy dogs, Jax and Lovey
For more information, contact Kellie Smith at email@example.com or 904-512-3796.
FEDERATION NEWS Federation announces Bridges leadership program Jacksonville Jewish News • May 2019
BY FAYE HEDRICK rGEN Director
The Jewish Federation of Jacksonville is proud to announce its new leadership development initiative, Bridges. The program is funded through the B’Nai Tzedek grant awarded to Bridges from the Life and Legacy Division of Federation. The mission of the Bridges Program is to expand the vision of Jewish volunteer leaders, deepen their Jewish knowledge of community both locally and abroad, and inspire them to exercise transformative leadership. The program fulfills this mission by educating up-and-coming Jewish volunteers in the history, thought, texts and contemporary leadership challenges of the Jewish People. After meeting with young professionals throughout the community, there was an overwhelming consensus for a leadership program. Nicole Brown, current rGEN steering committee member, has been instrumental in helping to develop this initiative. Her connection with both rGEN and Federation has helped us develop and focus on the topics that our current and future leaders need to be versed in.
“Our Jewish community leaders have many strengths and skills as professionals in and out of our community,” said Brown. “I feel it is important to help our emerging leaders discover their strengths, identify the importance of their time, and show the impact their treasures can make on our Jewish community here and abroad. This leadership initiative will help us develop our role as Jewish leaders and professionals.” At the end of the program, each candidate will be encouraged to choose an area to move into within the Federation such as rGEN, the young professional’s division of Federation, Women’s Division, or volunteer within the community at a Federation partner agency or synagogue. We look forward to the Class of 2019-20 remaining connected to the Bridges Program for the following year. The application process for this year’s class, which will run from September through June, is now open. Community leaders, agency directors, and current leadership will be invited to submit the names of young professionals whom they believe would benefit from being part of the program. Please contact Faye Hedrick at 904-448-5000 ext. 1214 or firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions.
Girlfriend Connection at the Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens BY MINDY RUBENSTEIN
Editor & Communications Director
Join women from throughout Jacksonville and beyond for Girlfriend Connection, with guest speaker Adam M. Levine, PhD, director and CEO of the Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens. Marjie Rogozinski, part of the museum’s Docent Corps, is excited to welcome everyone to the museum. Rogozinksi is involved with Federation as a Lion of Judah, mission attendee and past event chair. A retired elementary school teacher, she is now president of the Docent Corps and one of nearly 10 Jewish docents at the museum. “I really missed teaching,” she said. So, when someone suggested she volunteer at the museum, she jumped at the opportunity. More than 1,500 school-age children come through the museum a year, so she has the chance to get them excited about art. She encourages the broader Jewish community to get involved with the museum as well, and Girlfriend Connection is a good way to start. “Come down and see what we’re doing,” she said. “I always believe, it’s important to step out of your box, into the greater community and make a difference.” Girlfriend Connection is an annual event hosted by the Women’s Division of the Jewish Federation of Jacksonville. This community event is open to all local women. Each year, hundreds of women gather for the event in shared camaraderie and passion for the Jewish community. The beautiful galleries and refurbished gardens serve as the perfect backdrop for the annual event, which took place the past several
years in Mandarin. Co-chairs for the event are Rachel Morgenthal and Sherrie Saag. Judy Mizrahi, a museum volunteer, helped coordinate the program location. “It’s nice to branch out into the community. It’s exciting… doing something different and bringing everyone to a different venue.” She added that the museum is “really almost a hidden jewel in our city.” Plus, they have a “new, exciting, young dynamic director who also happens to be Jewish. It’s nice to welcome him not only to Jacksonville but also into the Jewish community. I think people are going to be really impressed when they come.” Lauren Rickoff, director of the Federation’s Women’s Division, said, “Come hear about the amazing work the Jewish Federation of Jacksonville is doing locally and abroad, enjoy delicious food, and hear from Dr. Levine, a leader in the national art community.” In addition to speaking about his goals and visions for the museum, Dr. Levine will share how he brings his Jewish values into his work. The first half hour of the event will include a private, guided tour of the museum. “I’m excited to greet the women for Girlfriend Connection, to share the art, share the gardens, and share the passion,” Rogozinski said. The event will take place Thursday, May 16 at 6 p.m. at the Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens, 829 Riverside Avenue, Jacksonville. For more information, visit www. jewishjacksonville.org or contact Lauren Rickoff at email@example.com or 904-224-1401.
Shaliach Corner: A healing dinner BY ROTEM GABAY Community Shaliach
Yesterday I had dinner with Palestinians. I had received an invitation for a dinner event, not knowing much about what to expect. When I arrived they asked us to sit at the table next to people we didn’t know. “OK,” I thought. “This is easy.” As people came inside and began to get settled, the program host welcomed us to the event – a joint dinner for Palestinians and Jews. I sat down at a corner table in front of a friendly-looking young couple. After mutual small talk, “How are you?” and the like, the next question came: “Where are you from?” I answered simply with: “Israel.” “Israel?!” the woman exclaimed. As I soon discovered, the woman opposite me was from Jordan and her husband was a Palestinian who grew up in Jordan. After we asked each other what each of us were doing here, and what we
THE Four Questions with Donna Berger Each month we feature a Lion of Judah from our community. This month’s featured Lion is Donna Berger. 1. Why is being a Lion meaningful to you? What was most thrilling to me about becoming a Lion was walking and working side by side with other accomplished Jewish Federation Women. After living in a very small town for 27 years and being the only Jewish family in the area, you can only imagine the excitement and feeling of love there was to be found with Jewish girlfriends. So after my many years of schlepping my children every Sunday to The Temple for Sunday School and schmoozing with other mothers, I knew it was time to give back to the Jewish Community. It was definitely a meaningful start of an experience to kvell about. To be one with the great Lion and be a defender of the Jewish cause was spectacular. 2. What was your first Federation event? Upon moving from our hour-away little town to Jacksonville, and marrying Greg Berger – the true
Lion of Judah – the time was bashert. Women were so kind and became my mishpacha. Lovely women invited me to a variety of Jewish Federation events and Girlfriend Connections, which opened my eyes and heart to the wonders of tzedakah. The creative and spiritual power of all these women was and shall always be an inspiration and the memories, mostly emotional, oh vey! 3. What is your favorite Federation memory? A spiel about our Federation Mission Trip to Israel is a must. We stood in awe at the base of the Israeli mountains and shouted, “Let there be light, let there be light.” Suddenly, and I mean instantly, the entire mountain range was aglow with a spectrum of lights of many colors. We then partook in an amazing feast under a magnificent tent with more varieties of food and color than that of Joseph’s coat. These lights warmed my heart and my pride for Israel glistened. 4. What Jewish tradition do you want to pass on to your children? As for our children, their spouses and our grandchildren, here are my hopes and observations. As our growing family journeys through life, they seem to be mirroring the laws of the Talmud learned by the examples set by those around them. Hence, they are graciously passing the virtues of the commandments to their families. They are menschen in all they do and give back to the world and Jewish Community with hope, adding value to lives.
were doing in the U.S., in this neutral land of Jacksonville, Florida, she asked gracefully: “And back home, what was your job before you came here?” I proudly answered my usual answer: “I served as an officer in the IDF for five years.” Usually after this sentence I am used to compliments or admiration, like “Wow, well done,” or “Thank you for your service.” But this time the reaction was different. I saw it right on her face. “Five years,” she repeated after me, “in the Israeli army…?” Her husband patted her arm and said in English without a trace of an accent: “Yes honey, it’s a compulsory service there.” Suddenly it hit me: while I had received an invitation for a lecture that included dinner, I began to realize that we were not the audience here, we were the main actors. We continued to speak and I repeatedly stressed within the conversation that a lot of things about what we were speaking of were “complicated.” She burst out: “Don’t be politically correct!” and continued, “So what do you think, who started all of this?” I was a little shocked from See DINNER, p. 21
Jacksonville Jewish News â€˘ May 2019
rGEN celebrates Passover with River Garden residents
BY FAYE HEDRICK rGEN Director
On Sunday, April 7, rGEN families met at River Garden to participate in a Family Passover Program. They learned more about the tradition of why we lean and where it comes from, thanks to Rabbi Avi Feigenbaum. The residents and families enjoyed playing Passover style bingo, singing songs and making a small pillow as a reminder that we are free and no longer slaves in Egypt. Thank you to Leora Holzer and Shylie Bannon for chairing this special morning. rGEN the young professionalâ€™s division of the Jewish Federation of Jacksonville. To learn more about upcoming programs and events, contact rGEN Director Faye Hedrick at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Volunteers help with Passover in the Matzah Aisle
BY ISABEL BALOTIN
Shalom Jacksonville Director
Thank you to our friendly Passover in the Matzah Aisle volunteers for hosting the Passover tasting tables at Winn-Dixie: Helena Gandell, Gil Kleiner, Mimi and Marty Kaufman, Polina Ladyzhenskaya, Leonard Lipkin and Martin Pett. This is the eighth year Shalom Jacksonville has hosted this program, which has proven to be a wonderful opportunity to meet newcomers and greet friends as they shop for the holiday.
Jacksonville Jewish News • May 2019
rGEN hosts annual Second Night of Passover Seder BY FAYE HEDRICK rGEN Director
On Saturday, April 20, rGEN held its annual Second Night of Passover Seder, where over 50 people came together in one room to celebrate our history and our freedoms. A very special thank you to Nicole and Andy Brown for hosting this year! The atmosphere was lively and filled with simcha (joy) as everyone participated in the special Seder. This year, the Seder was co-led by incoming rGEN chairperson, Ben Marsh, and Leah Palestrant. Ben was accompanied by Dave Flagler and his guitar, who helped guide all of the participants in a special sing along to the traditional tunes of Dayenu, Eliyahu Ha-Navi, and Chad Gadya, just to name a few. It was so much fun coming together with so many new and familiar faces, which made the night extra special. The evening ended with matzah s’mores by the fire and dancing. Cheers to next year in Jerusalem!
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Jacksonville Jewish News • May 2019
Why I schlep: The case for Jewish education By Suzie Becker
Almost every Tuesday during the school year, I leave work early to sail through yellow lights. There is no radio playing or phone calls on Bluetooth. My focus is on the traffic and the clock exclusively. I have approximately 45 minutes to pick up my daughter in nursery at Torah Academy in Mandarin and then drive south to pick up my son from his elementary school on Racetrack Road, his friend off Flora Branch, and make it to Chabad of St. Johns’ GROW at Durbin Creek Elementary School, an after-school program that teaches Hebrew and Jewish studies. What some may not realize is that my laser-like focus from 3-3:45pm on Tuesday, culminates each week in a deep sense of satisfaction that I am doing the best for each of my children, and our family, by providing Jewish education. I have been asked, more than a couple of times, “why bother? Isn’t just being
Jewish enough?” I bother because as a product of Jewish education, I value the critical skills that are acquired in this environment. Jacksonville is privileged to have multiple options to meet different needs – Jewish day schools, several religious school programs, a new Jewish high school, and several Jewish preschools. Each option instills in our children a basic knowledge of our world events over millennia in the form of Jewish history and culture, holidays, customs and traditions. From an early age, students learn how to read and speak Hebrew through their studies and prayer. The benefits of a bilingual education go beyond speaking two languages and increasing brain flexibility. While Hebrew is spoken only in Israel, it is often a common language among Jews around the world. The close reading of biblical texts hones the interpretive process, the propensity to ask questions, helps to develop problem-solving abilities, and aids in being
open to varied perspectives. Students are introduced to 2,000 years of ethical and moral teachings which encourage children to think about things greater than themselves. Great emphasis is placed on Tikun Olam (Repairing the World) by helping others in our community – locally, nationally and globally – which translates into leadership roles in the Jewish community on all levels. A connection to the Jewish state of Israel helps to establish a lifetime of passion for the land that has historically been tied to our people. Formal Jewish education has also been identified as the solution to long-term Jewish sustainability (Avi Chai Foundation) and is a way in which to prepare children with a love of Judaism and a sense of themselves within the context of a broader world. Moreover, part of multiculturalism is knowing one’s own culture. That’s why I schlep... and sigh with accomplishment at 3:46pm while I turn my car radio back on.
Continued from pg. 1 Q: High school students tend to be busy with school and studying. What motivates you to find the time and energy to give back to the community through your volunteer work? A: I get motivation from the communities that I find in these groups. When people create a connection over a certain cause, it creates an amazing community, and that is my favorite part about social justice. Q: What advice do you have for other teens who may feel like they don’t have any time in their schedules to volunteer? A: I do what I do because I love it and I am passionate about it. It makes me feel good at the end of the day. If you feel truly passionate about something, then you will find the time to do it. It’s not going to be easy, trust me, but you make time for things that you love and are passionate about. Q: What has been the most moving experience for you so far? A: My most moving experience has been working at Camp Jenny, a non-profit organization that raises money to send impoverished children from Atlanta to Camp Coleman over Memorial Day weekend. Those who raise money are people in the south east regions of NFTY (National Federation of Temple Youth). These teens and adults also work as the Jillian holds a poster to show what she wants for the future of our world at a NFTY Civil Rights March over MLK weekend in 2018. staff members; as counselors or specialists mostly. Some of these children have never been outside of Atlanta, so to see all of their smiling faces makes me so happy. Camp Jenny is a wonderful cause and I am so lucky to be working this year.
Rodriguez said. JFCS, which has been serving the Continued from pg. 1 First Coast for over a century and is funded in part by the Jewish Federation of Jacksonville, won’t turn anyone away, despite cuts in government funding. So the need for public awareness, advocacy and support is increasing. Talking about mental illness makes many of us squirm in discomfort or try to brush it aside as something that only affects others. But silence doesn’t lead to change. And we need change. We need more honesty. Like the honesty of Sheryl Johnson. Event co-chair and a JFCS board member, Johnson spoke boldly and beautifully at the event about her personal story, including losing her 22-year-old son Alex to mental illness. Time seemed to stand still as she spoke, with emotion gracefully pouring forth about a story that remained untold until recently. It was a moving evening that left most of the room in tears as I looked around at the faces of my fellow attendees. Her husband, Todd, greeted her at the end, and then a standing ovation helped conclude her powerful and importantly honest story. Of her decision to speak openly about Alex, Johnson told me it was an extremely difficult decision, one that waited until a year after his death. After seeing cuts in government funding and the struggles of organizations trying to help people with mental illness, “I said, gosh, people should talk about it,” Johnson said. “So practice what you preach... I took a big leap of faith.” She could have hidden behind her pain, but instead she has used it as a springboard to raise awareness of mental illness in an effort to help others and to keep Alex’s memory alive. “We need to give meaning to his life, and life to his memory,” she said. “That’s how we keep him alive and create a legacy.” Most families have faced mental illness at some point, and it impacts everyone’s life in some way directly or indirectly -- including my own. We need to shift how we think about mental health, giving it attention and funding like other illnesses, Rodriguez said. “What I’m talking about is a shift in how we view mental health. That it is JUST as important as physical health. That it deserves the attention, acceptance and funding that we give every other medical diagnosis.” We must view mental health with honesty and make it a priority, removing the stigma and judgement surrounding it. We must volunteer, donate and advocate for better laws and support. And please get help if you think you may need it. “Talk about it, don’t hide it,” Johnson said. “Remember to look at people with your heart and not your eyes. We won’t get the momentum to make change unless we change how we look at people suffering from mental illness,” she added. “Start with one voice and add two. It’s that collective voice that helps drive the change.” Do you or someone you know struggle with mental illness, anxiety, depression or addiction? Call JFCS counseling services at (904) 394-5706. To share your thoughts, please email mindyr@ jewishjacksonville.org.
To nominate someone for an upcoming Teen Spotlight, email JJN@jewishjacksonville.org.
We have moved! Come visit us at our new address. 9965 - 24 San Jose Blvd. By Carrabba’s
Alex in 1999 at age 5.
Jacksonville Jewish News • May 2019
Jewish Business Network: Something different happened! By Judith Fox-Goldstein, “Word by Word”
When JBN’s monthly meeting took place in the sacred halls of Temple Ahavath Chesed, something different happened! From the moment we were personally greeted at the door by Program Director, Ellen Berson, we could feel the warmth and comfort emanating from the oldest house of worship in Jacksonville. Journeying through the halls to our meeting room, our eyes were transfixed by extraordinary visual images of the historic Temple doors and artifacts revealing both the history of the Temple and her congregants. Somehow, at once, we were home! We were welcomed, accepted and became part of one family of friends, colleagues and professionals. Favoring different perspectives on the meaning of Judaism in our lives, didn’t matter. What was important was that we all shared a similar heritage and it brought us comfort… it brought us together. My curiosity was at a high, I wanted to know more especially about the sacred Temple archives. In a very brief interview with dynamic Hazel Mack, the Temple’s Archivist, she shared that “the Temple’s Archives serve as a primary resource for Jewish history here in Northeast Florida. Local college students, media and even the Jacksonville Historical Society frequently access our archives.” The Archivist since 1983, Hazel holds the history of the Temple, it’s artifacts and its congregants in her heart and her mind.
Initially, this magnificent project started in a small closet (the old Temple kitchen) and Hazel pleaded for a dedicated archive room with storage. “She took to it like a duck takes to water,” and so the story began and continues today. Any information you want to know about the Temple history, just connect with Hazel Mack. The Jewish Business Network was revived by Zach Cohen 3 years ago. Bringing together Jewish Professionals to network and grow our professions and business. What we didn’t realize was the JBN also serves another purpose. Perhaps, a more important purpose because it fosters community, caring, support, love and friendship. It takes a moment, like we had at the Temple, to stop, pause and reflect on the bonds that tie us together and the importance of coming together once a month. For this writer, who has lived on the Island of Hawai’i for the past 30 years – with the absence of any noticeable Jewish presence or Temples, this was a transformation back to my childhood roots in New York. When Zach asked us all to share our plans for Passover, I was immediately blanketed in familiar words and feelings I hadn’t heard or felt in decades. Everyone had a plan. A plan to be together with friends and loved ones as they celebrated this most special of Jewish holidays. For more information on JBN, connect with Zach Cohen Zach@stjohnsasset.com. Our next speaker is Ken Babby, owner of Jumbo Shrimps, and the meeting takes place at the Stadium.
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Jacksonville Jewish News • May 2019
A matter of Jewish Pride at St. Augustine Jewish Historical Society
Law enforcement officer jumping into Monson Motor Lodge swimming pool to force out African-American teens who entered while attention was diverted to rabbis entering the Lodge’s lunchroom. Photo taken June 18, 1964. By St. Augustine Jewish Historical Society
Hundreds of bronze plaques are found all around St. Augustine, but none commemorate anything or anyone Jewish. The oldest synagogue in continuous use in Florida, First Congregation Sons of Israel, is in St. Augustine. Yet no bronze plaque notes this fact. Florida’s first United States Senator, David Yulee, a Jew, lived and studied for the bar in St. Augustine. No bronze plaque notes this fact. The famous abolitionist Moses Elias Levy, who purchased 100,000 acres of Florida land for the resettlement of Jews, who is memorialized with a bronze plaque in Micanopy, lived and owned land in St. Augustine. No bronze plaque notes this fact. The largest
mass arrest of rabbis in United States history took place in St. Augustine where 16 rabbis, in town at the request of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., were incarcerated on June 18, 1964. No bronze plaque notes this fact. Until now! The St. Augustine Jewish Historical Society has arranged with the owner of the Hilton Garden Inn Bayfront, the site of that mass arrest in 1964, to place a bronze plaque underneath the plaque honoring Reverend King. The plaque will be dedicated at a ceremony beginning 10:30 a.m. on June 18, the 55th anniversary of the arrest at what was once the Monson Motor Lodge on Avenida Menendez. A reception will follow. All are welcome to attend, there is no charge and no advance arrangements need be made. For details, visit www.gofundme.com/justice-justice-1964.
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Jacksonville Jewish News • May 2019
exist in virtually every Jewish community, though Continued from pg. 1 there is limited awareness of this service. “The whole beauty of it is that no one needs to know,” said Stacey Goldring, who has helped organize the local Chevra Kadisha since 1997. “The mitzvah is done so the person they loved so dearly is now taken care of. They don’t have to worry, it’s taken care of lovingly by members of the community.” The volunteers learn to properly tend to the met gently and reverently. In Genesis 47:29, Jacob asks Joseph to deal kindly and truly with him after death. Kindness shown to the dead is indeed an act of chessed, or kindness, since there is no prospect of repayment or gratitude. According to Jewish law and custom, internment follows speedily after death as a religious duty resting on the entire community. Regardless of their social status in life, all Jews are regarded equal upon their death. What does the process of Tahara include? Taharah is done in a private room of the funeral home, on a special board, as the met is dressed in tachrichim, shrouds, made of white pure muslin or Jewish tradition linen: 10 pieces for a male regards it as and 12 for a female. They a tremendous symbolically recall the mitzvah to join a garments worn by the koChevra Kadisha, hen gadol, the high priest, particularly because during the times of the so many people are Holy Temple. reluctant to do so. A tallit, with one fringe cut to show that it will no longer be used, is placed upon the man’s shoulders and a kippah on his head. Women’s faces are covered gently with a white muslin veil. Special prayers in Hebrew and Aramaic are recited for each step of the process, including placing the met in an aron, a plain, white coffin. In this place and time, everyday cares are set aside. The focus in the room is to perform the ritual in a most respectful manner. This is the only time one can perform a mitzvah for someone where the recipient cannot say thank you – a true chessed. In traditional Jewish practice, the deceased is not left alone from the time of death until burial. The ritual act of shemirah, which means watching or guarding, is done by a shomer/shomerit, who reads Tehillim, psalms, while performing this duty prior to and after the service of the Chevra Kadisha. The taharah process includes the pre-washing,
clipping the fingernails and taking off any polish. They wash the met, going around seven times beginning on the right side. The shroud is tied into a Hebrew letter shin at the feet and neck. “It’s a finishing touch,” Axelrod said. The letter shin represents G-d’s names. “We say prayers before and after washing, before dressing, putting the body in the casket and then walking out of the room to where the shomer sits with them,” she said. “Then two candles are lit.” She added that they walk into the room with the met’s feet first and leave the room feet first. Whenever she visits other cities, she tries to visit their Chevra Kadisha to see their process and learn. Whenever she has a new volunteer, she makes sure there are at least three experienced people with her. “We explain as we go,” Axelrod said. “It’s like an on-the-job training. It’s something you pick up very quickly.”
As many as five and as few as two volunteers attend to each met. Men typically finish in 30 minutes. Women take 45 minutes to an hour. “Women are harder to dress,” Axelrod said. The Chevra Kadisha has its own taharah room at the funeral home, and the whole process is done privately with much reverence. The local Chevra Kadisha is accepting volunteers. “We welcome people to come help,” Axelrod said. “It’s really a good feeling because you’re not thanked. You feel good after you’ve done something for someone, sending someone to their final resting place.” “The people that work with us in the Chevra are the most loving, kind people.” For more information about volunteering, call Ava Axelrod at 904-742-1515 or Bruce Goldring at 904535-4069.
Taking a looking into Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math in the Israeli Education System
Partnership2Gether Educator Delegation December 25 - January 2, 2020 VISIT INCLUDES:
• Home Hospitality in our Partnership Region • Hotel in Jerusalem • Touring in Israel – Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, and our Partnership Region of Hadera-Eiron
• Seminars with Israeli Professionals in the areas of Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math • Interaction with other Southeast Consortium educators • Mifgash with Israeli Educators
Ahead All land costs covered by the P2G budget. Contact Jill Abel at the Jewish Federation of Jacksonville: 904-224-1445
Jacksonville Jewish News • May 2019
Michele Block Gan Yeladim Undernight is an exciting addition to summer camp
By Roxanne Gordon
Hands on science at DuBow Preschool By Heather Hamilton DuBow Preschool STEAM Director & Gardening Teacher
Spring has officially sprung in the Dubow Preschool garden. Preschool students not only learned about the butterfly life cycle in their classrooms, they got to observe it in real life. In early March, students found dozens of monarch caterpillars in their milkweed garden bed. The school set up a screened tent and soon
after, there were chrysalises hanging all over the tent. A few weeks later, preschool students and first grade met the first newborn butterflies. One class even witnessed a butterfly hatching from its chrysalis. For the first few hours of their life, butterflies can’t fly while they dry their wings. So our students let the butterflies walk on their fingers and arms. Talk about hands-on science! One by one, the butterflies flew away. Shalom parparim!
Every summer, Michele Block Gan Yeladim Preschool and Kindergarten offers age-appropriate summer camp experiences for the youngest campers with fun themes to get children engaged in the camp experience. For Camp Gan Yeladim Tovim and KinderCamp campers, the July 17 Undernight provides a unique activity. This season, Undernight will be held during the Bungle in the Jungle theme of the third session of camp. This program, from 6-7:30 p.m., mimics
the experience of an overnight trip with evening activities, including bounce house, dinner and an art activity and a keepsake photo. At the end of the evening, campers dress up in their pajamas and prepare to get picked up by their parents. Camp Gan Yeladim UNDERnights are just one of many ways Michele Block Gan Yeladim provides a unique and enriching experience to campers over the summer break. The fee is $27, or $18 for JCA valued members. For more information about the event or Camp Gan Yeladim, contact Director Theresa Levy at 904-730-2100, ext. 237.
How a high school found #Transformation
Torah Academy students win DAR essay contest
By Rachel Joseph Jacksonville Torah High School
By Torah Academy of Jacksonville
Susan Santos, a representative for the Kan Yuk sa Chapter of the National Society Daughters of the American Revolution, recently came to Torah Academy to personally deliver award certificates, pins, and gift cards to 7th grader Alex Rubenstein, and 8th grader Shua Fisch for their winning DAR essays on the topic of women’s suffrage.
The contest challenged students to imagine themselves “living in 1919 while the women’s suffrage campaigns were having impact on Americans politically and socially.” There are a total of eight schools in the district that Santos represents, and our Torah Academy students wrote the winning papers for all of the students in the district in both 7th and 8th grades. We are very proud of them!
On April 5, the students of Jacksonville Torah High School were invited as personal guests of Donna Orender, founder of Generation W, to the annual Generation W conference held at UNF. This was my first time attending such an event, so I wasn’t sure what to expect. The other students and I walked into the lobby and we felt a palpable energy in the air. Everyone there had one goal: to be inspired and educated while connecting with other women who had similar goals. The theme of the event was #Transformation. It was a great feeling to be part of such a growth-oriented group who inspire so much change daily. The speakers were dynamic and engaging and I learned so much in the time that we were there. Generation W is an organization that focuses on inspiring women from around the world to come together and make a difference within themselves and within society. Among
the speakers were CEOs, artists, educators and entrepreneurs. The speaker that resonated with me most on a personal level was Dr. Edith Eva Eger, author of “The Choice, Embrace the Possible.” Dr. Eger is a Holocaust survivor and someone who overcame unimaginable struggles in her life. She relayed some stories about her life and spoke about the difference between being a victim and being victimized. Despite all that she went through, she had an infectious smile on her face the whole time she was talking. It was a very moving experience. I am extremely grateful to have been able to attend such an inspiring event that helped me change my mindset as a young Jewish woman. I learned a lot of lessons that day that I feel I can implement in my daily life. We are grateful to Mrs. Orender for such a generous gift and opportunity, Gahanian Law for sponsoring our kosher lunches from Tomato Crush Pizza & More, and Jacksonville Torah High School for recognizing that learning takes place in many ways – not only in a classroom setting.
Jacksonville Jewish News • May 2019
Two great ways to support our Jewish youth By Brian Pargman
Torah Academy students learn to sign By Torah Academy of Jacksonville
On March 19, Torah Academy of Jacksonville had a special visitor to teach American Sign Language. Gigi Boyce, a senior at Creekside High School and a member of the National Sign Language Honor Society, taught the scholars fun songs and interesting facts about deaf culture. The preschool and VPK classes learned
to sign the song Baby Shark and older grades learned the alphabet, colors, animals, and fun words of their choosing. Grades four and up not only learned signs, but the history of sign language and about modern deaf culture. Gigi will be studying deaf education at the University of North Florida and will continue to volunteer at Torah Academy, bringing a new language to the students.
Come join us for Shalom Baby! By Brian Pargman
Join us at Shalom Baby, the Jewish Playgroup with a twist! Open to mommies, daddies, bubbies, zaides, grandmas, grandpas, caregivers and their sweet infants or toddlers, this mommy and me style group features stories, songs, Shabbat, special guests, parenting chats and so much more.
Our home in the DuBow Preschool is converted into a special environment, just perfect for our young friends to roll, crawl, toddle about and explore. Our next Shalom Baby date is May 17 from 9-9:45 a.m. This event is FREE! For more information about Shalom Baby, please contact Brooke Zaner at 904-268-4200, ext. 116 or by email at brooke. email@example.com.
There is still time to donate to the L’Dor V’Dor annual fund campaign at the Jacksonville Jewish Center. This campaign supports the students who participate in the Galinksy Academy. The Galinksy Academy is made up of four schools: The DuBow Preschool, Martin J. Gottlieb Day School, Setzer Youth Education and the Bernard & Alice Selevan Religious School. These programs rely on the generosity of others to help ensure that our Jewish youth have the resources that they need to continue their formal and informal Jewish education. Another great way to support Jewish education in our area is by contributing to the Dr. Larry Kanter Education Scholarship Fund. Local philanthropist Dr. Larry Kanter has graciously agreed to match all funds donated up to $30,000 to this scholarship. This fund allows students to attend the Martin J. Gottlieb Day School who otherwise might not be able to financially afford to do so. Donations for both causes can be made by visiting www. jjcjax.org or by contacting Brian Pargman at brian.pargman@ mjgds.org.
Michele Block Gan Yeladim Preschool celebrates parents By Roxanne Gordon
Each year, the parents of Michele Block Gan Yeladim dedicate their time to help give students the best school year experience. On May 20, the school will hold a thank-you breakfast for those parents who have volunteered throughout the school year. The educators at Michele Block Gan Yeladim Preschool and Kindergarten know that a proper early childhood education requires a team effort. A core element of the school’s approach is to support, encourage and provide meaningful opportunities for parent involvement, which allows them to contribute to their children’s education in a direct and impactful way. Parents can participate in events like vision screenings, Purim play day, boohoo/yahoo brunch, picture day and Passover Model Seders. This year’s Parent Volunteer Breakfast is Michele Block Gan Yeladim’s way of thanking parents who have volunteered and made the year memorable for all students.
Jacksonville Jewish News • May 2019
Kol HaKavod to the talented students of Martin J. Gottlieb Day School By Brian Pargman
In April, students from Martin J. Gottlieb Day School performed a fantastic production of The Music Man Jr. Over 280 seats were filled for the two-show performance. Based on Meredith Wilson’s award-winning musical comedy, the students performed songs and had the audience engaged with laughter and pride. The story follows a traveling salesman named Harold Hill (played by Aidan Kempner – 8th grade), as he convinces the people of River City, Iowa, into buying instruments and uniforms for a boys’ band he promises to form. The only problem is, he has no intentions of fulfilling his promises and plans to skip town with cash in hand, but his plans change when he falls for Marian Paroo (played by Anna Feig – 8th grade). The wonderful Emily Carpenter, artist-in-residence, who worked tirelessly to ensure both performances went off without a hitch, directed the performance. There were appearances by Rabbi Jonathan Lubliner and Head of Schools Raquel ScharfAnderson, who, not surprisingly, did a stellar job. It truly was a team effort by the faculty, Jacksonville Jewish Center staff and parents, who all came together to work as a team and put on such a magnificent production.
Michele Block Gan Yeladim introduces Lunch and Learn for teachers
By Jewish Community Alliance
Relax! Yoga is now at DuBow Preschool By Brian Pargman
The students in the DuBow Preschool might be feeling a little bit more relaxed these days than they normally do. Students are learning skills that will allow them to practice with a teacher or own their own. Yoga classes were recently introduced into
the preschool curriculum and include breathing exercises and the importance of strong minds to match their strong muscles. Techniques are also shared on how great it feels to calm down and relax. So parents, if you had a long day at work, just ask your little one for some yoga tips on how to relax.
Over the past year, Michele Block Gan Yeladim has introduced several professional development initiatives, including the Educator Support Network for early childhood education. A new program, Lunch and Learn for teachers, offers Block Gan educators the opportunity to explore specific topics and techniques for implementation in the classroom. Block Gan Lunch and Learn is led by ECE Curriculum Coordinator
Natalia Fisher. During these meetings, Fisher uses an interactive approach to introducing educators to new classroom methods. The first session covered looking through Jewish lenses to create an art area in the classroom in order to foster independence, critical thinking, creativity and problem solving in students. Other topics included the use of open-ended experiences to engage and encourage confidence and fine motor development, as well as a model Seder for teachers to build understanding of Passover.
Torah Academy middle school students prepared for Purim at the Coves, assembling mishloach manot with the residents there.
Jacksonville Jewish News • May 2019
Torah Academy Annual Dinner – Blossoming in Excellence
National MS Society, North Florida Chapter Dinner of Champions honors Steins By National MS Society
Kim and David Robbins By Torah Academy of Jacksonville
Torah Academy is proud to announce that David and Kim Robbins will be honored together with Rabbi Mayer and Ita Rabinowitz at the Torah Academy annual dinner on Wednesday, May 29. The theme of the dinner is “Blossoming in Excellence,” as the school continues to grow thanks to the tireless work of these two families. David and Kim Robbins will receive the Pillars of Jewish Education Award. David and Kim have been instrumental in helping Torah Academy become a thriving institution since the school opened its doors 16 years ago. David is a founding board member and former president of the board who works tirelessly as an ambassador on behalf of the school. David’s dedication and leadership has led many others to become supporters of the school and his leadership is largely responsible for where the school is today. Kim has been a visionary dinner chair multiple times, always bringing her artistic flair to every event, transforming
Ita and Rabbi Mayer Rabinowitz
ordinary spaces into beautiful venues. Kim is also a regular resident artist at Torah Academy, responsible for numerous creative projects with students of all ages. Rabbi Mayer and Ita Rabinowitz will receive the Keser Torah (Crown of Torah) Award. Rabbi Rabinowitz has been a Judaics teacher at Torah Academy for the past 14 years and is affectionately known throughout the school as “Rebbe” – a term of endearment and respect given to him by his students, meaning “My Teacher.” But not only do students call him “Rebbe” – parents do as well, as many have enjoyed his brilliant classes, which he teaches to adults throughout the community every week. Ita Rabinowitz, in addition to being a mother par excellence of their 10 children, also works as the Principal of the Jacksonville Torah High School (JTHS), which is thriving under her leadership. Please join Torah Academy in honoring these two amazing couples at the Annual Torah Academy Dinner on May 29. Tickets can be purchased at www.Torah-Academy.com/dinner.
The Dinner of Champions, an annual fundraising gala to benefit the National MS Society, is honoring David and Linda Stein for their incredible work and generosity in the community. The event will be June 6 from 6-9 p.m. at the Jacksonville Marriott, 4670 Salisbury Rd. For more information, contact Heidi Katz at firstname.lastname@example.org. Born and raised in Jacksonville, David Stein was the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Southern Industrial Corporation, and chairman of Jacksonville-based King Provision Corporation. David was the guiding force behind the founding of the Jewish Community Alliance here in Jacksonville. He has served the JAX Chamber, University Medical Center, University of North Florida Foundation, WJCT Public Broadcasting and numerous other local organi-
zations and clubs as an officer or board member. Born and raised in Savannah, Georgia, Linda Stein attended Jacksonville University, where she received a Bachelor of Music Education degree in 1969 and went on to a 21-year career with Delta Airlines. Since her retirement, Linda has been a committed community leader, volunteer, philanthropist and Stein Family Foundation trustee. Most recently, Jacksonville University announced the naming of the Linda Berry Stein College of Fine Arts, and Linda was celebrated as the recipient of the 2018 EVE Award from the Florida Times-Union, as well as the 2018 Bernard Selevan Tree of Life Award from the Jewish National Fund. Linda and David are true stewards of our community and strongly believe in giving back to make a real difference in people’s lives. Mazel Tov!
Thursday, June 6, 2019 | 6 p.m. Jacksonville Marriott 4670 Salisbury Road, Jacksonville, FL
f o d e r i T ? g n i k coo
Fill out our survey at www.JewishJacksonville.org and your next dinner could be on us! You’ll be included in our updates so you can learn about our mission and upcoming events. Submissions entered before May 31 will also be entered into a drawing to receive a gift card to one of our local Jacksonville restaurants!
Cocktail hour, dinner and program, honoring Linda and David Stein Business Attire For questions or to RSVP Contact Heidi Katz at email@example.com Honorees:
Linda and David Stein
Jacksonville Jewish News • May 2019
Birthright trip Q&A with Alex Migdall BY ROTEM GABAY Community Shaliach
1) Why did you decide to go on a Birthright trip? I’ve always wanted to go to Israel and understand what was meant by all the stories across history fighting over this land, why it was so important to our people, and learn about the culture of the place. I went just as much for my self-discovery as I did the wonderful opportunity to explore the world. Others think it’s all sightseeing and tours and young kids just looking for a free vacation, but I can safely say it really is far more than that. I tried to go a few times in recent years but was always talked out of it due to “political instability” or safety concerns. After this trip, I can confidently say that I did not feel unsafe one single moment there. 2) What was the most significant/memorable part of the trip? How does this affect your life now? Given that I extended my trip, I was fortunate to have so many memorable experiences outside of the coordinated trip. The most memorable part of the trip was befriending so many amazing people from across the U.S., who I still keep in touch with, except for the 3 people who were kicked off the trip for inappropriately pushing their BDS agenda. Unknowingly, I had befriended one of the antagonists having sat next to him on the bus throughout the journey from day 1-3. After exchanging stories and experiences, he surprised everyone on the trip by starting to question our Israeli guide (who had been a guide for over 25 years with Birthright) about the Jordanian wall, the Palestinian “occupation” and why their viewpoint was not present or accounted for within the trip. I cannot explain the extent of how blindsided, confused, and embarrassed we all were as a group as they directed pointed questions with malcontent and attempted to record the guide’s response without his knowledge. I was sitting next to one of five Israelis on the trip, who was horrified at the confrontation so much that she broke down crying trying to withhold her passion and vigor for her country. She had to though, they were filming and she’s in the Intelligence community. A roommate of the two previous nights is a commander in the IDF and eventually did try to calm down the conflict, stating that we do invite questions and
conversations. He said that there will be a geopolitical discussion where these questions are better suited for than a bus ride where everyone in the bus is trapped listening. It is important to note that nobody attempted to intervene until about 10 minutes into the conversation because we were all interested in hearing about the conflict as it is prevalent in the news, until we saw it came with an agenda we all were not in support of. We learned that they tricked their way into being freely brought to Israel on this trip only to stage a coup of sorts where their goal was to have the entire group want to exit the trip, thinking we finally realized the power of the Israeli Birthright propaganda machine. They then recorded themselves being kicked off the trip, and although they were offered a flight home or somewhere to stay until their original flight, they decided to forego any assistance stating they had that covered. Their faces ended up in the newspaper two days later after they found their way to the West Bank to meet with Bedouins who gave them the Palestinian point of view they needed and reported how Birthright abandoned them in Israel. I had never actually taken the time to think about any of what was actually discussed. It was hard to process in that environment, too. I realized I hadn’t thought a lot about any of these topics, so I felt ignorant and helpless, but reflecting on that confrontation, I learned a lot about what people are capable of, and it scares me. This experience taught me how much I didn’t know about the political climate within our own country, and how my gut reaction of disgust made me realize how much I also connected with Israel. The group bonded together so much more after this trial of adversity and struggle, a true sign of the fortitude of the Jewish People. 3) Does your new connection to Israel affect your work? I would say the new connections I made in Israel helped me understand my personal connection with the people, the land, and the religion. It helped me spiritually connect with my faith in a way synagogue never has. It helped give a face to the prayers we say for Israel. It gave me a voice for a place that I notice has been consistently misunderstood. So, I find myself talking about my trip a good bit, the history, the people, the complicated situation they’re in, and how amazing everyone was. I also find myself reading more, being more invested in what affects Israel, and missing my friends there every day. 4) Had you ever been to Israel before? I had never been, but about 10 years before I went, my mother went and it happened to be a very tumultuous time, which was partially why I had to wait so long.
5) What is your advice to someone who has never visited Israel? If you’re old enough to go on Birthright, absolutely go. Can’t beat what the trip offers, even if you’re not religious. There were so many secular people on the trip that had life-changing experiences all the same. Israel is so diverse in its people, its landmarks, and its culture that it is a great destination in and of itself. Alex Migdall, 27, is a Fort Lauderdale native who moved to Jacksonville Beach in 2016. A University of Florida graduate of Industrial & Systems Engineering, he found a job at the local Anheuser Busch Brewery as a Packaging Line Manager. He’s been active in the T3 group as well as rGen since 2018, where he most recently signed up for the 27-32-year-old group with Taglit Birthright. He enjoys all sports (basketball most of all), the beach, and exploring other cultures.
Jacksonville Hadassah hosts Matkom Im Zikaron in Nocatee By Jacksonville Hadassah
Jacksonville Hadassah is joining with the Jewish Federation of Jacksonville in sponsoring one of the three Community Matkom Im Zikaron programs. Matkom Im Zikaron – a taste of memory – is an Israeli project that connects food and memory. The concept: to commemorate IDF causalities and victims of hostile acts by providing an evening to meet, cook and eat a favorite food of that individual. We will also share pictures, stories, videos, and talk about the person behind the dish and his/her family.
JCA Myron Flagler Israel Learning Seminar prepares for first cohort By Jewish Community Alliance
This past January, the Jewish Community Alliance announced the creation of the Myron Flagler Israel Learning Seminar for Jewish communal professionals in Jacksonville. This fall, the program will begin accepting applications for the 2020 cohort. The purpose of the Myron Flagler Israel Learning Seminar is to instill Jewish and Israeli knowledge and literacy in those who work for Jewish organizations in Jacksonville. The program includes a year of guided study culminating in a trip to Israel. The expectation is that a greater understanding of Jewish peoplehood will help foster Jewish conversations between communal professionals and their constituents. The first cohort will be selected in fall 2019 and begin the year-long study in early 2020. Fundraising for the endowment has begun, and more than half of the proposed goal has been met. The $600,000 endowment will ensure the program can be offered every two to three years. For information on the Myron Flagler Israel Learning Seminar, contact Lior Spring at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Hadassah’s Matkom Im Zikaron program will take place on Wednesday, May 15, at 6:30 p.m., at the home of Sheila and Larry Lieberman, 394 Big Island Trail, Ponte Vedra. The evening is open to anyone in the community; however, seating is limited so please RSVP by May 9. There is a cost of $10 per person to cover dinner. RSVP by May 9 to jacksonvillehadassah@gmail. com. For information about the other two locations, contact Rotem Gabay at email@example.com.
Through the Lens of History: Anti-Semitism and the Origins of Hate Searching for Identity invites you to an important interactive discussion about anti-Semitism. The origins, evolution and narrative of anti-Semitism will be the topic of this important program, on May 21 at 7 p.m. at River Garden, 11401 Old St. Augustine Road. Rebecca Jefferson, PhD, head curator; Katalin Rac, PhD, library coordinator of Jewish heritage of the Isser; Rae Price Library of Judaica, University of Florida; and Stacey Goldring, founder of the Searching for Identity Foundation, will offer a historical perspective regarding anti-Semitism and context to recent events. After the presentation, a Q&A will follow. The Searching for Identity panel discussion, Through the Lens of History: AntiSemitism & the Origins of Hate, was first presented in the Fall of 2018. “The continuing rise in anti-Semitism necessitates
action. This program explores disturbing issues, fed by bigoted myths and fueled by fear,” Stacey Goldring explained. This Searching for Identity program is presented in partnership with River Garden Senior Services, the Isser and Rae Price Library of Judaica, George A. Smathers Libraries, University of Florida and the National Endowment for the Humanities. RSVP to River Garden by calling Debra-Ann Kummoung at 904-886-8407 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Searching for Identity programs empower, educate and unite diverse communities through the arts and civil discourse based on the power of the written word. To support Searching For Identity’s important programming, call or text Stacey Goldring at 904-419-9915 or email email@example.com.
Jacksonville Jewish News • May 2019
Sometimes, a little heart to heart is all it takes
Lev B’Lev participants (Credit: Tiffany Manning) By Sabeen Perwaiz
“To think, just a few short months ago, most of us didn’t know each other. Today, we grieve together, support each other, share our pasts and hopes for our future. We are brave sisters coming together for greater understanding and a greater purpose. I look forward to our unfolding story,” said Jill M. Eight Muslim women and eight Jewish women have been meeting once a month since October 2018. Lev B’lev, heart to heart in Hebrew, started as an idea in the fall of 2017. After a trip to Israel and Palestine with the Muslim Leadership Initiative, I wanted to explore ways in which Muslim and Jewish women in Jacksonville could connect, learn from one another and be there for each other. Jacksonville has such a large and dynamic Jewish and Muslim population and they share so many commonalities. The two communities often avoid speaking to one another in North
America because of a conflict that is very far away but one they feel deeply connected to. Imagine what a group of women could accomplish if they learned to trust each other and work toward peace, together. By creating a space in which they could speak honestly about what they cared about most while also listening to one another turned into a powerful experience. The topics of the monthly conversations ranged from the history of each religion, to holidays and prayer to politics, incorporating a time of personal sharing as each woman reflected on how the topic influenced them in their lives. The discussions were always lively, heartfelt and difficult. The participants represented an array of backgrounds, cultures and religious denominations. The Jewish women range from secular to modern Orthodox and include both Israeli and American born. The Muslim women vary from American born to first generation immigrants
and hail from India, Iraq, Kuwait, Pakistan, and Sudan. “I loved the open discussions. Getting to know all the women has truly been an amazing experience. Not only learning things that I had never known about the Muslim faith, but also challenging my own ideas and how Judaism has played a role in my own life,” said Ellen C. Basma A. stated, “When I heard about this program, I got so excited because of the opportunity to learn from Jewish women while connecting and sharing my beliefs and lived experiences in a safe space. I was yearning for a place for both of our groups to learn, connect and share with one another.” The participants were fully engaged from the beginning. They requested a WhatsApp group so they could continue the discussions outside of the scheduled meetings. Much to my surprise, members were vulnerable from the very first meeting and always shared honest and painful truths. They didn’t shy away from discussing the elephant in the room; the conflict, Representative Omar’s tweets, and Israel’s extreme right-wing party to name a few. They challenged each other at every meeting and everyone always left with a new perspective. At the end of the programmed six-month period, a bond was formed between the group and a realization that, first and foremost, they are all women, wives, and mothers – things that know no cultural boundaries. And, despite the many varied differences, what stands out the most is exactly what I had hoped for; through open dialogue and discussions, they discovered that there is so much that unites these women. The success of the program can be seen in each participant’s desire to continue to build their relationship, find new ways to meet and make a difference together in their community. They have been there for each other through the Pittsburgh and Christchurch tragedies. They have broken bread together, supported each other and celebrated together. Sometimes a little heart to heart is all it takes to stepping up for a better Jacksonville and a better world. This is just the beginning.
You’re invited to Denim Daze on May 14 By River Garden Senior Center Invitations for the River Garden Auxiliary’s special event “Denim Daze” are out, so if you have not received your invitation yet, please contact Randee Steinberg at 904-534-2180 or Rhoda Goldstein at 904-268-8124. The country buffet lunch menu will have southern food that is sure to please all palates. Comedian Juanita Lolita will have everyone laughing and the country music will have toes tapping. There will be a variety of raffle prizes that include weekend stays, cash prizes and lots of great items for many lucky winners. And, wait ‘til you see the fabulous flea market flips! Our local artists have made some unique pieces of art, plus we’ll have varied and reasonable items in our “Fine Flea Market.” One very special item for sale this year is a beautiful handmade quilt, made and donated by staff and volunteers at River Garden. It is a breathtaking piece of handiwork. Remember that all proceeds from this event go to enrich the lives of River Garden residents. We look forward to your support and want to see you at Denim Daze at the Embassy Suites.
Jacksonville Jewish News • May 2019
Hug a Survivor Festival celebrates cancer survivors
Ackerman Cancer Center will host the fifth annual Hug a Survivor Festival May 4 from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. at the University of North Florida Osprey Plaza. The event is free and open to the public. Hug a Survivor is a celebration of all cancer survivors in the Jacksonville community. The annual celebration provides education and resources for patients currently undergoing treatment, cancer survivors, and caregivers. This year’s event will include keynote speaker Olympian Shannon Miller; health and cancer wellness booths; art stations; massage therapy
demonstrations; and educational programs on nutrition, exercise, and gardening. There also will be food, music and a photo booth to take a picture with your loved ones. All patients, caregivers, family, and friends are invited to join Ackerman Cancer Center to celebrate each survivor and support those who are just starting their cancer journey. “At Ackerman Cancer Center, we believe that everyone is a survivor from the first day they are diagnosed. We never lose sight of our patients or their
journey, and at Hug a Survivor we celebrate patients, their families, and the cancer journey that brought them here,” said Scot Ackerman, M.D., Medical Director of Ackerman Cancer Center. Nonprofit partners for Hug A Survivor include the American Cancer Society, Live for Today, In the Pink and the Mammoglams, Bosom Buddies, The Believe Foundation, and the American Lung Association. To learn more about Hug a Survivor contact Marla Walter at 904-260-3242 or visit www.hugasurvivor. com.
Kantor honored at Annual Eagle Scout Luncheon Eighty-five-year-old veteran Stanley Kantor was the first Jewish person to receive the prestigious Eagle Scout award, as well as a new Eagle Scout pin to replace the one that was stolen from him six decades ago. In March, the Rotary Club of Jacksonville hosted its 31st Annual Eagle Scout luncheon to honor the previous year’s 284 scouts in North Central Florida. There were over 400 people in attendance as the 2018 Class of Eagle Scouts was named in honor of Kantor, a member of the Rotary Club of West Jacksonville since 1970, and an Eagle Scout, class of 1951. Local Troop 14, with the Jacksonville Jewish Center, is a hundred years old. In addition to Kantor being named as the Class Honoree, the Boy Scouts of America North Florida Council surprised him with the re-presentation of his Eagle Scout award. When Kantor was serving our country as a 2nd Lieutenant in the Army in 1956 and 1957, he was stationed in Okinawa, Japan. During that time, his home back in Jacksonville was burglarized. This was a few years after his father’s death, and Stanley’s mother had to deal with the aftermath of having their home completely looted. Everything of value was stolen – including Stanley Kantor’s prized Eagle badge and pin. In front of the newly minted Eagle Scouts and their parents and members of the Rotary Club, Stanley was presented with a formal proclamation and new pin in an effort to right a wrong that occurred more than 60 years ago. His wife, Sharon, was invited to pin the Eagle Badge on her husband, and they received a standing ovation. “It’s wonderful,” Kantor said. “I didn’t expect it. It was such an honor. I wanted to do it for Troop 14.” Mazel Tov, Stanley!
Jax Jewish Singles are heading to Laredo By Francine Smith
That is Cantina Laredo. Come join the Jax Jewish Singles for lunch where gourmet Mexican food dishes are served with a modern twist. Afterwards you can walk off the meal at the many shops at the St. John’s Town Center. Please call Francine for details at 904-221-8061 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jacksonville Jewish News • May 2019
Myron Flagler receives prestigious OneJax Humanitarian Award By Jewish Community Alliance
On April 11, Myron Flagler, JCA’s recently retired executive director, was honored with the prestigious OneJax Humanitarian Award. Each year, OneJax honors outstanding humanitarians and raises funds to support programs that celebrate diversity and inclusion. The important community event includes a formal ceremony to recognize a new group of honorees each year. The award began in 1970 and has honored individuals who have made a significant humanitarian contribution to their communities. Flagler received the Silver Medallion, which is given “in recognition of the individual’s outstanding dedication and community service. Recipients of this award have exhibited an extensive record of involvement in civic, charitable, volunteer and professional organizations; dedication to the improvement of human relations among diverse groups in our city; impeccable personal and professional integrity; sustained commitment to humanitarian ideals; history of placing humanitarian concerns above self-interest; and realistic humility about his/her importance in the world.” Flagler was honored alongside fellow Silver Medallion recipients Patrick “Pat” Geraghty, chief executive officer, GuideWell Mutual Holding Corporation, Florida Blue and GuideWell Group, Inc.; Janet Owens, executive director, Jacksonville Office of the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC Jacksonville); and Julia W. Taylor, community
trustee and Basma Alawee, Acosta-Rua Young Professional Award recipient. Flagler was recognized for his role as JCA Executive Director for 20 years. Under his stewardship, the JCA has been at the forefront of innovative programs that have been replicated in the national Jewish Community Center movement. When Myron joined the JCA in 1998, it was a struggling organization. Today, the JCA has more than 6,000 members representing diversity both in and outside the Jewish community. According to Myron, nonprofits “are in the relationship business,” and he demonstrates that every day.
A unique place to be Supported throughout your care journey. When you and your loved one need a little extra support, turn to River Garden’s premier Adult Day Program. Available Monday – Friday and staffed by caring professionals, the Adult Day Program provides a safe place for seniors experiencing cognitive impairment. The program offers a variety of ability-specific activities to stimulate mind, body and spirit. For caregivers, a monthly support group provides fellowship and encouragement.
Learn more about the Adult Day Program at River Garden. Visit rivergarden.org or call (904 ) 260 -1818.
RGSS-18-001 River Garden Senior Ser vices - Jacksonville Jewish News Ad 4C 6.0833”x 9”
the question, but sure of my answer. I replied: “I have a lot to say, and Continued from pg. 6 we both have different narratives and stories. But it doesn’t really matter who started it, what matters now is who will finish it.” By the time I left that evening, I had an intelligent, serious conversation with a charming and knowledgeable couple, both well-educated and with English that made me jealous. We talked about the different perspectives, we argued and laughed and mainly enjoyed the opportunity we had for the first time to meet and hear the other side. Before I parted she said to me: “You know, eight years ago, when I first came to the United States, I wasn’t able to have this kind of conversation with an Israeli. It’s amazing what time and education can do for us. You’re right, it really doesn’t matter who started it all. What matters is who is going to finish it.” I left with a strong handshake from her husband and a stronger embrace from her. Thank you, dear Shai Tzabari, for inviting me to this new experience. I’m glad I had this accidental and unplanned opportunity to question everything I was sure I knew and to get out of my comfort zone. I encourage all of us to be open and curious as we continue to have difficult conversations about the people and places we love. It may not be easy but it’s totally worth it.
jewish community alliance
Jacksonville Jewish News • May 2019
JCA Memorial Day Family Fun Day kicks off the summer months
By Jewish Community Alliance
Every year, the JCA heads to the Joy and Howard Korman outdoor pool for a special Family Fun Day and cardboard boat regatta. This year’s Memorial Day event is on Monday, May 27 from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. JCA Cardboard Boat Regatta and Family Fun Day is a members’ event that gives JCA families the opportunity to meet new friends, connect with others from the community and have fun. It also serves as a chance for families to participate in a creative craft project as boats for the race are unique structures created by participants. The 50-yard race, or last boat floating, offers prizes for finishers. The event also includes free refreshments, DJ entertainment, music and games. For race rules, information and to enter a boat in the regatta, contact Josie Martin at 904-730-2100 ext. 240 or email@example.com.
Send a kid to JCA Summer Camp for a summer to remember By Jewish Community Alliance
Every summer camp season, the JCA provides children of all ages a summer experience filled with fun and excitement. Each year, a significant number of families need financial assistance to attend the wonderful programming JCA Summer Camps offer. Through the generosity of others, the JCA Send a Kid to Camp campaign helps deserving youth have a great camp season. JCA Summer Camp provides a home away from home where children spend their time physically active and engaged. They gain resiliency through encouragement and a nurturing environment. They also experience success and build confidence. JCA Summer Camp gives children the opportunity to unplug from technology and grow more independent while rediscovering their creative powers and engaging in the real world. Children develop self-identity and expand their abilities. They also learn social skills and make friends in a close-knit community. Support for this campaign allows the JCA to continue to assist those in need. To make a donation and help send a kid to camp, please contact Lior Spring at 904-730-2100 ext. 318 or firstname.lastname@example.org or visit jcajax.org/donate.
Jewish Community Alliance HAPPENINGS May 2019/Iyyar Sivan 5779 For more information or to register for programs at the JCA, call 904-730-2100 ext. 228 or visit www.jcajax.org.
Vandroff Art Gallery
The collaborative exhibit “Taking Flight” by artists Cyndi Horn and Linda Hawkins will show from May 2 to 29. The reception is on May 5, 2-4 p.m. Free to the community.
Schindler’s List shows on May 12 at 1:30 p.m. Free to the community.
Family Shabbat Dinner
Jacksonville Teens Volunteer
Yom Hazikaron: The Taste of Memories
Sensory Safe Swimmers
JCA TOY: Alice in Wonderland
A festive evening of food, songs, stories, game and fun for the entire family. Friday, May 10, 5:30-6:30 p.m. $15 per family and $10 per JCA valued member family. Café Ivrit is a beginner introduction to Hebrew. May 29, 6:30 p.m. Medabrim Ivrit is for intermediate Hebrew speakers. May 15, 6:30 p.m. Free to the community. Join us this Israel Memorial Day to commemorate fallen IDF soldiers and victims of terrorism. Tuesday, May 7, 6:30-8 p.m. Free to the community. See JCA young actors in this production of Lewis Carroll’s classic tale. Show dates: May 12 and May 19, 1 p.m. and 5 p.m. Tickets $7 at the door.
Jewish community alliance 2018 FEDERATION ALLOCATION: $189,197
Teens will visit River Garden Hebrew Home for partner painting. Sunday, May 19, 1-4 p.m. Free to the community. Grades 6-8 can join this team baking class. Wednesday, May 8-29, 5:30-6:30 p.m. $60 and $40 for JCA valued members. Designed specifically for autistic swimmers with low instructor to student ratios. Sunday, May 26-July 7. Call ext. 240 for details. Learn basic stand up paddling while practicing yoga on the water. May 5, 9:30-10:45 a.m. $60 and $40 for JCA valued members.
10-YeaR ALLOCATION TOTAL: $1,935,239
jewish family & community services Heroes Among Us…Transforming briefs Tomorrows event a success!
Jacksonville Jewish News • May 2019
By Jewish Family & Community Services
PJ Library, the award-winning free program for books and music, is open to all families with Jewish children in Jacksonville. If your children are between the ages of six months and eight years, they are eligible. Please sign up now by going to pjlibrary.org/communities/jacksonville, or calling Whitney Kuvin at 904-394-5724.
A huge thanks to everyone that attended the Jewish Family & Community Services annual event, Heroes Among Us – Transforming Tomorrows event, which was held
on April 4th at the Prime Osborn Convention Center. It was a powerful evening that featured a surprise speaker – event chair Sheryl Johnson – who spoke about how mental health has changed her life after losing her son Alex in 2017.
Rachael Tutwiler Fortune
By Jewish Family & Community Services
Executive Director Colleen and Eddie Rodriguez
Russell and Fran Selevan
Sheryl and Todd Johnson - Co-chairs of the JFCS Annual Event
Holocaust Survivors Harry Frisch and Morris Bendit
Irene Jaffa, Judy Silverman and David Robbins
Board President Stephen Goldman and wife Jackie
Kathy Kanter and Randee Steinberg
Jalona and Keon Falkner
JFCS in partnership with River Garden is pleased to bring you our meal program, Meals4You, from our kitchen to yours. Meals are delicious, nutritious, convenient and delivered right to your door. Jewish dietary laws are observed. Call Whitney for more information at 904-394-5724.
JFCS is now using a Lyft product called Concierge, which allows JFCS to arrange rides on behalf of its clients, including the ability to schedule rides up to a week in advance. Lyft has also partnered with GreatCall, a senior-focused cell phone company, which will help seniors use Lyft without having to navigate the smart phone app. Anyone using a Jitterbug phone can now simply press ‘0’ and arrange a ride with the company. To learn more or schedule rides, please call Whitney Kuvin at 904-6609268.
Rachael Tutwiler Fortune serves as the Interim President of the Jacksonville Public Education Fund, where she leads the organization to leverage its capacities in research, engagement, communications and advocacy to improve the extent to which every student in Duval County receives a high-quality public education. A Jacksonville native, Rachael returned from Washington, D.C. in 2017. In D.C. she served as senior director and as a member of the senior leadership team at America’s Promise Alliance. Prior to her work at America’s Promise Alliance, Rachael was selected a Presidential Management Fellow and served as a Program Officer at the U.S. Department of Education in the Office of the Deputy Secretary and later the Office of Elementary and Secondary Education. As an Education Pioneers Fellow, Rachael partnered with senior leaders at Oakland Unified School District to improve community school strategic planning across the district. She earlier led JPEF’s Community Mobilization efforts, launching the ONE by ONE campaign to mobilize stakeholders to develop a shared vision for local schools. Rachael began her career as a teacher at S. P. Livingston Elementary School after being selected as a Teach for America – Jacksonville charter corps member. Rachael holds a Master’s degree in Education Policy, Organization and Leadership from Stanford University, and a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science from the University of North Florida. She joined the Jewish Family & Community Services Board of Directors in 2018. Rachel is happily married to her husband, Emmanuel, and is the proud mother of their son, Nicholas, and daughter, Elle.
Jewish Healing Network
Become a Jewish Healing Network Volunteer at JFCS and help us fulfill the mitzvah of Bikkur Cholim. We need volunteers to make weekly visits or phone calls to a senior or deliver food to those who cannot get out. For more information, please call Gail at 904-394-5723.
George Rubens, Mimi Kaufman, Ellen Rubens, Barry Zisser, Marty Kaufman, Debbie Hanania, Jack Hanania, Eunice Zisser, Nancy Lantinberg, Deanna Lissner and Michael Price
Jewish family & Comm. services 2018 FEDERATION ALLOCATION: $177,607
Mary Edwards, Hospitality Chair, Isabel Balotin, Cathy Klein and Gayle Bailys
10-YeaR ALLOCATION TOTAL: $ 2,709,077
river garden senior services
Jacksonville Jewish News • May 2019
River Garden celebrates 73rd Anniversary Day By River Garden Senior Services
904-260-1818 www.rivergarden.org 11401 Old St. Augustine Rd. Jacksonville, FL 32258
briefs Summer Teen Volunteers Apply Now!
The weather was beautiful as River Garden hosted nearly 600 members of the community for its 73rd Anniversary Day and Annual Meeting on March 24. Sandy Zimmerman served as Chair of the Day. Beginning at 3 p.m., families gathered for an afternoon of fun. Children enjoyed pony and train rides, face painting and balloon artistry, while jazz music filled the air. Complimentary fare included hot dogs, hamburgers, chicken, sno-cones, popcorn and desserts. The River Garden Auxiliary hosted the ever-favorite Tombola drawing and vintage jewelry sale and River Garden residents offered a quilt raffle and ceramics for sale. There was something for everyone! Many also attended the annual meeting of River Garden Senior Services, held in the Cohen Auditorium, where River Garden in-
stalled new board leadership and trustees. After four years as President of The River Garden Foundation, Jeanine Rogozinski passed the torch to Sandy Zimmerman. Continuing as Presidents of their respective boards: Gloria Einstein, Senior Services board; Susan Cohen, Hebrew Home board; Dennis Lafer, The Coves board. Colman Brodsky was installed as a new trustee to the Hebrew Home board. During the meeting, Ron Elinoff, past President and current trustee of the Senior Services board, honored City Councilman Matt Schellenberg for his eight years of service to our district and Zimmerman presented Rogozinski with a plaque recognizing her faithful service to the Foundation Board. “We love hosting our community each year. It’s such a nice way to bring families and friends together, and we couldn’t have asked for a more spectacular day,” said Marty Goetz, CEO of River Garden. Thank you to all!
Love BINGO & Bike Riding? Applications & interview appointments for the Summer Teen volunteer program must be completed by May 22, 2019. This is a wonderful opportunity to earn community service hours. Please contact Leslie Held directly at email@example.com or 904-886-8429 to apply. Space is limited. Mandatory orientation will be held in early June.
Caregiver Support Group
May 8 at 3:30 p.m. Questions? Call 904-886-8421.
Auxiliary Special Event May 14 at 3:30 p.m. Questions? Call Rhoda at 904-742-8155.
Everyone enjoyed great kosher food prepared by this team of pros: (L-R) Rabbi Feigenbaum, Kurt Strenger, Eric Held, Mark Raitt, Charlie Raitt and Art Sherman.
Dot Verstandig and Cecile Goetz enjoy the great weather and great company.
Councilman Schellenberg (Center) poses with Marty Goetz (L) & Ron Elinoff (R). Schellenberg, who is set to retire at the end of his term, was recognized for his ongoing commitment to River Garden & our district.
(L-R) Mauri Mizrahi welcomes Colman Brodsky as Trustee to the Hebrew Home board, along with Sandy Zimmerman, Chair of the Day.
Healthy Living for the Brain & Body
Community Lunch Presentation May 22 at 11:30 a.m. RSVP Required firstname.lastname@example.org or 904-288-7855
Annual Volunteer Luncheon May 28 at 11:30 a.m. RSVP Required email@example.com or 904-886-8429.
Please remember River Garden when honoring or memorializing your loved ones. www.rivergarden.org/donate Qusetions? Call 904-886-8432.
River Garden delegation attends national conference By River Garden Senior Services
On March 31-April 3, key leadership from River Garden attended the annual AJAS conference in La Jolla, CA. River Garden is a founding member of AJAS (Association of Jewish Aging Services), and the time together with other Jewish agencies provides for vital education and collaboration. Ron Elinoff, named as the AJAS Trustee of the Year, received his award at the conference, and Marty Goetz presented the inspirational closing remarks.
Questions? Call 904-288-7858.
We are excited to share the 103rd birthday of Mrs. Martha Latimer. (Pictured with Lisa Poremba, Life Enrichment Director.)
Jewish life and holidays at River Garden The Jewish faith and traditions are alive and well on the River Garden campus due to the ongoing participation of many individuals and groups, synagogues and schools. We are grateful to all our friends from the community who are dedicated to our mission.
Choose River Garden
Did you know that River Garden Rehab offers appointment-based services for all adults needing therapy? So, if you ever have a doctor’s order for PT or OT, please call directly to discuss your options. Depending on your situation, we can likely help. These outpatient services are typically covered by Medicare or through general health insurance. When you call, we’ll verify your coverage. 904-886-8454.
We welcomed Chabad of St. Johns County for their first campus visit. Teens helped residents prepare Purim goodie bags to share with friends.
RIVER GARDEN SENIOR SERVICES 2018 FEDERATION ALLOCATION: $177,607
(R-L) Celebrating Purim, Ron Elinoff, Rabbi Shapiro and Elliott Palevsky, along with other community members, led an interactive Megillah reading.
10-YeaR ALLOCATION TOTAL: $1,859,841
lifecycles/adult education Upcoming events at Jewish Community Alliance Birth Jacksonville Jewish News • May 2019
Stroke Awareness Month – May 3 at 12 p.m. Join Baptist Medical Center Stroke Program Coordinator Dorothy Adair, ARNP, and learn to BE FAST and recognize the signs of a stroke and how to receive medical attention. Free to the community. Medabrim Ivrit – May 15 at 6:30 p.m. Shaliach Rotem Gabay leads this intermediate and above Hebrew class. Free to the community.
Cafe Ivrit – May 29 at 6:30 p.m. Shaliach Rotem Gabay leads this beginner Hebrew class. Free to the community.
Shavuot and the First Conversion – May 30 from 7-8:30 p.m. Join Rabbi Bahar to understand how conversion has evolved over the years. Free to the community.
Upcoming events at Jacksonville Jewish Center
Jesse & Alicia Rauchwarger are happy to announce the birth of their son, Avery Micah Rauchwarger, on March 22. He was also welcomed to the world by siblings Bradley (age 6) and Shelby (age 3). The proud grandparents are Annette and Jerry Goodfarb, Deborah and Donald Kaye, Dr. Alan and Diana Rauchwarger, and great-grandfather, Edward Bernard. Avery Micah is named in loving memory of his great-aunt Annette Sue Goodfarb, and great-grandfather Milton Millrood.
Monday Minyan Mapquest: Monday mornings, following morning minyan: May 6, 13, 20 Rabbi Lubliner takes us on a tour of Jewish cities, explaining history and current statistics of some well-known and not-so-well-known Jewish communities around the world.
April 18: Coffee & Torah Third Shabbat of every month, 8-9 a.m. Come enjoy a strong cup of brew, a tasty breakfast treat, and thought-provoking insights into the weekly Torah portion in the intimate setting of Rabbi Lubliner’s office.
Talmud Class: Mondays 7:15 p.m., May 6, 20 Taught by Rabbi Lubliner. Join us for a journey through Jewish time as we study the creation and development of the Hebrew calendar, the liturgy and rituals of the Jewish New Year, and fascinating midrash of Tractate Rosh Hashanah. We are just beginning this new tractate, so this is a good time to start! No prior knowledge or experience with Talmud study necessary.
PLEASE JOIN US FOR THESE SPECIAL EVENTS!
NOW WEEKLY! ShalOM Meditation: May 4, 11, 18, 25 Please join us for 25 minutes of meditation in a Jewish environment! At 9:15-9:30 a.m., we will offer some basic instruction of meditation technique and approach. We will start our actual practice at 9:30 and go until 9:55 (in time for the Torah service). We meet in the Kramer Library (JJC). HEBREW CLASSES: Contact Lois Tompkins at firstname.lastname@example.org Alef-Bet Hebrew for beginners! Learn (or re-learn) Hebrew letters and vowels, and some very basic vocabulary and grammar. Our spring semester class has concluded. Please contact Lois to get on the list for the summer class, beginning at the end of May.
Evan Max Wolpoff will be called to the Torah on the occasion of his Bar Mitzvah on May 3-4 at the Jacksonville Jewish Center. He is a seventh grader at the Martin J. Gottlieb Day School and in the summers he attends Camp Ramah Darom. Evan is Vice President of his Kadima chapter and participates in the soccer and flag football league at the JCA. He enjoys acting, playing guitar, reading, playing video games and movies. Mazel Tov to his parents, Beth and Howard Wolpoff, and grandparents, Chary and Micheal Greenburg and Florence and Martin Wolpoff.
Sympathy Yetta Sarah Gassman, age 99, passed away peacefully surrounded by family members on Monday, March 25 at St. Francis Hospital in Charleston, South Carolina. She was born on September 12, 1919, on a farm in Ottsville, Pennsylvania, to Benjamin and Rebecca Zeitlin, the second of four children. Gifted academically, she was her high school’s valedictorian and graduated magna cum laude from Beaver College in 1941. She married Dr. Harvey Gassman on March 25, 1945 in Philadelphia. She called many cities home, including Chicago; Pine Ridge, South Dakota; San Diego; Los Angeles; Jacksonville, Florida; and finally, Charleston. Yetta will be forever remembered for her infectious laugh, her fondness for sweets and for listening to birdsong, and for having an open door and open heart to all those in need. Yetta was preceded in death by her brother, Sam, her sister, Miriam, and passed away on the same day as her brother, Bernard “Bernie.” She was lovingly devoted to her six children: Shifra Hayman, Charles “Chuck” Gassman, Malka Gross, the late Adele Gilman, Clarice Griswold, and Allen Gassman; eight grandchildren; thirteen great grandchildren; eight great great grandchildren. Graveside services were held at Greenwood Memorial Park in San Diego. Shiva was observed by the Hayman family in Beit Shemesh, Israel, and by the Gross family in Jacksonville, Florida.
manity by serving a cause greater than your own, you are ensuring that the memory you leave behind Continued from pg. 5 will have a life beyond you here on Earth. No matter what direction life takes you next, be guided by the idea that when you leave here, something good will remain. I invite you to join me for a family-friendly and free event to support all cancer fighters and celebrate all cancer survivors. The keynote speaker will be Shannon Miller, and several non-profits will be there for you to explore the different missions and programs related to the fight and survivorship. There will be food, arts and crafts, music, games and a photo booth. There will also be raffles, cancer support information, and educational resources.
April 30: The Troupe (Halehaka) The first in the Center’s Israeli Film Series! This offbeat musical directed by Avi Nesher follows a dozen members of the military entertainment troupe, whose mission is to entertain the Israeli Army following the Six Day War in 1967. Although the performers are not at the front lines, they, too, suffer tensions, learning to get along, making and breaking romances – all while competing to become the best performer in the troupe and to receive coveted television coverage. Introduced by Edward Tannen, with noshes and discussion after the movie. May 19: Learn about Ruth Bader Ginsburg The Center welcomes retired UF history professor Barbara Oberlander, who will speak to us about Ruth Bader Ginsburg at 1 p.m. at the Jacksonville Jewish Center. The presentation focuses on why Ginsburg has become such a pop icon, her early legal career, particularly the pioneer work in the field of gender discrimination, and her outspoken role on the Supreme Court as the ‘notorious RBG.’ Open to the public!
Service Skills (intermediate Hebrew level) This class is designed to increase prayer fluency and help our congregants to become more comfortable in our Jacksonville Jewish Center weekday and Shabbat services. Basic reading skills (knowledge of Alef/Bet) are necessary, but we will work together on reading fluency, higherlevel reading skills, and prayer vocabulary. If you are interested, please contact Lois Tompkins to schedule a time!
June 23: The Syrian Bride In Majdal Shams, the largest Druze village in Golan Heights on the Israeli-Syrian border, the Druze bride Mona is engaged to get married with Tallel, a television comedian that works in the Revolution Studios in Damascus, Syria. They have never met each other because of the occupation of the area by Israel since 1967; when Mona moves to Syria, she will lose her undefined nationality and will never be allowed to return home. When the family gathers for Mona’s wedding, an insane bureaucracy jeopardizes the ceremony.
NOTE: For some classes, we can arrange remote access (live, webinar-style through “Zoom”). Please ask if it is available for a class that is of interest to you!
July 28: The Big Dig or The Wedding Contract (TBD) Both films are comedies, written and directed by Ephriam Kishon, one of Israel’s first humorists.
Don’t forget to submit your Lifecycle announcements Birth Announcement Bar/Bat Mitzvah Announcement Wedding Announcement Obituary Submission templates are available online at jewishjacksonville.org/news
synagogue News First Congregation Sons of Israel to hold Silent Auction and Yard Sale By Sons of Israel
A very important silent auction will be held at the “Oldest Synagogue in the Nation’s Oldest City” on May 9-10. The silent auction will include art, collectibles, vintage items, and much more. We will begin previewing and accepting bids on Thursday, May 9 at 1 p.m., and will close bidding on Friday, May 10 at 6 p.m., and winners will be announced. Check our Facebook page, First Congregation Sons of Israel, and online at www.firstcongregationsonsofisrael.com for photos of some of the auction items as we get closer to the date. On May 10 at 6 p.m., the Congregation President Les Stern and Congregation Trustee Barry Broudy will be sponsoring a cocktail hour in the Max Jaffe social hall to meet Rabbi Joel Fox and celebrate Israel Independence Day. Rabbi Fox will lead Erev Shabbat service at 7:30 p.m. following the reception, and will lead Shabbat service on Saturday, May 11 at 10 a.m. On Sunday, May 12, there will be a yard sale in the Congregation’s parking lot from 11 a.m. until 3 p.m., with many items of interest. There will also be kosher hot dogs and chips served during the yard sale. For more information on these events, contact Karen Stern at 904-824-2638 or the synagogue office at 904-829-9532. First Congregation Sons of Israel is a conservative egalitarian congregation located at 161 Cordova Street, St. Augustine. For additional dates that Rabbi Joel Fox will be with us, visit www.firstcongregationsonsofisrael.com.
Come listen to the magical music of the 1960s and 1970s By Jacqueline Witte, Temple Bet Yam
Temple Bet Yam will participate in St Augustine’s Romanza Festival of Music and Arts, a two-week program of daily events including concerts, shows, and more on May 4, from 6 to 9 p.m. Join world famous artists Joe and Lynn Goldovitz who will take us on a musical journey to the Golden Age of rock and folk music of the 60s and 70s. Enjoy the sounds of Bob Dylan; Peter, Paul and Mary; James Taylor and many others. Joe and Lynn have been performing music together since they were teens. Their unique vocal blend is energetic and yet has the feel of the very familiar. Their music varies from the contemporary to jazz to the traditional and includes the fusion of the different musical styles. Their most recent CD, Maavar, explores varied contemporary and traditional musical concepts. One of the highlights of their career includes performing for three consecutive years at the International Festival in Tzfat, Israel. They’ve played at the Governor’s Mansion in Princeton, NJ, around the United States, and locally around Florida. A silent auction reflecting the spirit of Romanza showcasing St. Augustine’s talent will be held. Refreshments will be provided. Tickets for the May 4 concert are $20 per person. Contact Carol Levy at 954-895-7332 for more information. Temple Bet Yam is located at 2055 Wildwood Drive, just off SR 207.
The Righteous Gentile in contemporary society with Rabbi Avi Feigenbaum
Jacksonville Jewish News • May 2019
Congratulating this year’s Bernard & Alice Selevan Religious School graduates By Jacksonville Jewish Center
Mazel tov to the graduates of the Bernard & Alice Selevan Religious School of the Jacksonville Jewish Center! This class will be honored on Sunday, May 19 with a school-wide ceremony, celebrating many years of hard work and dedication to their Jewish studies. Each student will receive a diploma and sweet treats, and the ‘Joni Shmunes Mensch of the Year’ award will be given to a deserving member of the class who has had great attendance, good citizenship, and is an inspiring example to other students in the school. Mazel tov to: Charlie Aaronson, son of Hilary and Craig Aaronson; Danny Bomser, son of Ilene
and David Bomser; Dante Gaviglio, son of Carla Nott and Ariel Gaviglio; Brooke Gridley, daughter of Lynda and Garth Gridley; Maya Letts, daughter of Eliot Letts and Amy Shapiro; Sophia Milian, daughter of Claudia Margolis and Tony Milian; Abigail Rotenberg, daughter of Hilary Rotenberg and Marc Rotenberg; Noah Sacks, son of Melanie and Adam Sacks; Joel Silverstein, son of Maura and Alex Silverstein, Tyler Vernon, son of Deborah Vernon; Sara Wasserman, daughter of Marte and Paul Wasserman, and Sophia Wilhelm, daughter of Sharon and Victor Wilhelm. These students will continue to be involved next year through the synagogue’s JTLI program, madrichim, Yad Shel Chai, youth groups, and other programs for teens at the Center.
Pikuach Nefesh – you can save a life By The Temple
According to Jewish law, the preservation of human life overrides virtually any other religious consideration. Kimberly Janis, a member of Congregation Ahavath Chesed (The Temple), received her life-saving kidney transplant in January 2014. “As soon as I became the Social Action Chair of WRJ Temple Sisterhood, I knew I wanted to plan a program to educate our community about the great need for organ donors, especially kidneys. I can’t pay it back, so I am paying it forward.” Join Kimberly, her sister who donated a kidney to her, and WRJ Temple Sisterhood on Sunday, May 19 at 10 a.m. at The Temple to learn about the life-saving surgery. A light brunch will be served. The event is free and open to the public. The need for organ donors is staggering. According to the National Kidney Foundation: • Over 3,000 new patients are added to the kidney waiting list each month.
• 13 people die each day while waiting for a kidney transplant. • Of the 113,568 currently on the waiting list for organ transplants, 94,804 are waiting for kidneys. • Kidney and liver are the only two organs that can be given by living donors. • 4,761 patients died in 2014 while waiting for a kidney transplant. • 3,668 people became too sick in 2014 to receive a kidney transplant. There is much to learn, and the panelists will be able to answer questions. The panel will be moderated by Jill Metlin, MS, CPHQ. The panel includes: Transplant Nephrologist, Katherine Oshel, MD, Mayo Clinic; LifeQuest representative, Pamela Rittenhouse, APR, Public Education Coordinator; Rabbi Elizabeth Bahar, Senior Rabbi of Congregation Ahavath Chesed and living kidney donor, Paula Best and her sister/ recipient, Kimberly Janis. To RSVP or for more information email email@example.com or call 904-733-7078.
Progressivism and Zionism: A winning combination By The Temple
Congregation Ahavath Chesed (The Temple) together with AIPAC (American Israel Public Affairs Committee) invite the community to a special learning opportunity featuring Amanda Berman, the founder and president of the Zioness Movement, a new initiative empowering and activating Zionists on the progressive left to stand proudly in social justice spaces as Jews and Zionists. The program will be held on Thursday, May 9 beginning at 7 p.m. at The Temple. “Our relationship with Israel ought to be more than what we see on the news,” explains Rabbi Elizabeth Bahar, senior rabbi at The Temple. “This presentation is an opportunity to broaden our understanding of the complexities of Israeli society.” “The narrative that Jews and Zionists cannot be progressive, cannot be feminist, and cannot stand up proudly for social justice issues for every human being, is what keeps us from standing proudly as Jews and Zionists,” explains Ms. Berman. “No one can force us to abandon our support for the safety and security of Israel, in order to fight for social justice.” She is also the Director of Legal Affairs at The Lawfare Project, which is using the legal process to fight BDS (Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions) against Israel. Her efforts have spearheaded such groundbreaking legal initiatives as the inter-
national action against Kuwait Airways for its discrimination against Israeli nationals, and the dual cases against San Francisco State University for its constitutional and civil rights violations against Jewish and Israeli students and community members. Ms. Berman writes extensively on lawfare and civil rights issues and is a frequent media contributor. She has spoken and presented before diverse audiences including Hadassah, JNF, B’nai Brith, Jewish Federation, JCRC, Hillel, to name just a few. She is a graduate of the Glass Leadership Institute of the Anti-Defamation League, a recipient of Hadassah’s prestigious Myrtle Wreath Award, and was listed by the Algemeiner as one of the top ‘100 people positively contributing to Jewish life’ in 2018. She is also an Executive Board member of the Friends of the IDF and Young Leadership New York. A graduate from the University of Pennsylvania with a Bachelor of Arts in Diplomatic History and a Master of Governmental Administration, she received her Juris Doctor from the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law. She practiced securities litigation at Cahill Gordon & Reindel LLP before dedicating her career to the advancement and protection of the Jewish people and the pro-Israel community. This event, like all regional AIPAC events, if off the record and closed to the press.
Rabbi Dr. Akiva Tatz to speak at Etz Chaim By Etz Chaim
By Etz Chaim
We all know that the Jewish People have been given 613 Commandments. The Torah tells us that the non-Jewish world was also given a set of laws – the Seven Noahide Commandments. Throughout our history, we have recognized the place of the “Righteous Gentile.” Join us as we delve into the precise details of these concepts, what are these laws, and how they can impact our own daily lives in today’s complex inter-connected world. The classes will be held on Mondays at 7 p.m.: May 6, May 13 and May 20.
Etz Chaim is delighted to host Rabbi Dr. Akiva Tatz for the Shabat of May 3-4 as our Scholar in Residence. Rabbi Dr. Akiva Tatz was born in Johannesburg, South Africa. He studied medicine at the University of Witwatersrand and graduated with distinction in surgery. He spent a year in St. Louis, Missouri, as an American Field Service Scholar and subsequently returned there for elective work in internal medicine at Washington University. Rabbi Tatz served as medical officer in the South African Defence force and
completed a tour of duty on the Namibian border during the conflict there. He subsequently moved to Israel where he practiced both in hospitals and as a general practitioner in Jerusalem, as well as engaging in Yeshiva study. He has written a number of books on the subject of Jewish thought and philosophy, including: Anatomy of a Search, which documents the process of transition from secular to observant lifestyles among modern Jews; Living Inspired; Worldmask; The Thinking Jewish Teenager’s Guide to Life, Will, Freedom and Destiny; and most recently, As Dawn Ends the Night. He will be speaking on the topics of Moral Dilemmas and Moral Knowledge in Judaism, The Secret of Sefira, and Life and Ordeals. For a full schedule of the program, please contact Etz Chaim at 904-262-3565 or visit us on Facebook.
Jacksonville Jewish News • May 2019
“The eight-state solution” to the Middle East controversy By The Temple
Nosh ‘til You Drop: Jacksonville Jewish Food Festival is May 5 By The Temple
Bring your hearty appetite and Nosh ‘til You Drop. Food Festival doors open on Sunday, May 5 at 11:30 a.m. at Congregation Ahavath Chesed (The Temple). The entire community is welcome. New vendors this year include Sabra Cafe, Falafel Queen of St. Augustine and Peterbrooke Chocolates. They will join Mandaloun, The Well Watering Hole and Bistro, Your Pie and Beirut. WRJ Temple Sisterhood is preparing homemade kugel, and Temple Brotherhood is once again making a crowd favorite: beef brisket sliders. There will be kosher offerings this year from Sabra Cafe and Nothing Bundt Cake. “First Sunday in May has become a Temple tra-
dition,” says Festival Chair Mike Elkin. “There is no place else you want to be. Good food and good friends are a winning combination, made all that much more successful and fun if you join us.” Tickets are $25/person and you nosh ‘til you drop. Families of four (2 adults and 2 children under 13) are $60. Children under 3 are Temple’s guests. To purchase your tickets, email RSVP@ TheTempleJacksonville.org or call 904-733-7078. “The Festival runs until 2:30 p.m.,” announces Chair Mike Elkin, “Or until we run out of food!” The Food Festival is Temple’s annual fundraiser and we are most grateful to our Festival sponsors. Sponsorship opportunities are still available. Call Ellen Berson at 904-733-7078 to become a sponsor.
Dr. Larry and Kathy Kanter through the Dr. Larry and Kathy Kanter Fund for Jewish Preservation, are hosting Dr. Mordecai Kedar on Tuesday, May 14 at Congregation Ahavath Chesed. Dr. Kedar’s presentation begins at 7 p.m., and the entire community is welcome. Mordechai Kedar was born in Tel Aviv. He is a Religious Zionist and an expert in Israeli Arab demography. He served for 25 years in IDF Military Intelligence, where he specialized in Islamic groups, the political discourse of Arab countries, the Arabic press and mass media, and the Syrian domestic arena. He holds a Ph.D. from Bar-Ilan University, where he now serves as a lecturer. He is fluent in Hebrew, Arabic, and English. He is described as “one of the few Arabic-speaking Israeli pundits seen on Arabic satellite channels defending Israel.” For almost a decade, Dr. Kedar has been a proponent of the “eight-state solution.”
According to Kedar, “The eight-state solution is based on the sociology of the Middle East, where the tribe is the major cornerstone of society. This characteristic of Middle Eastern culture can serve as the basis for an Israeli-Palestinian solution.” Dr. Kanter believes that Dr. Kedar’s perspective provides a unique lens for understanding Jewish nationhood and the seemingly eternal controversies over Israel as a modern nation. Dr. Kedar’s presentation will enable us to appreciate the complexities of the controversy and the struggles for resolution. Email RSVP@TheTempleJacksonville.org or call 904-733-7078. Food, beer and wine will be served for all to enjoy.
Strategic Planning Initiative continues at the Center
By The Jacksonville Jewish Center
Sulam Strategic Planning Initiative continues its work at the Jacksonville Jewish Center. Currently six task forces made up of congregants, lay leaders and staff are working on recommendations in the areas of
Governance and Leadership, Communications, Membership Engagement, Fundraising, Congregational Learning, and Worship. The task forces have had multiple meetings and are energized and focused on this important work. The task forces will present their recommendations at the Strategic Planning Initiative Committee meeting in May.
Monthly trivia nights at the Jacksonville Jewish Center By The Jacksonville Jewish Center
Every month, on the first Wednesday of the month, trivia lovers meet at 7 p.m. at the Jacksonville Jewish Center to take part in a friendly competition to see which team can answer the most questions correctly. We took the opportunity to ask this month’s winning team (and three-time defending champions!) what they think of this new initiative and to ask Kim Glasgal, Jacksonville Jewish Center VP of Membership, why she started this monthly activity. Kim said that she has always liked to play trivia herself. She found that it brought people together and was a good way for people to get to know each other. She and Tracy Hilbert (Director of Operations and Membership) found a trivia host, picked a day of the month, provided snacks, and people showed up! She is pleased that some people come every month while others come when they can and there are always new players that come, too. The winning team for the last three months is headed up by Hershel Bettman, Marco Rand and Wendy Honigman and were joined later by Colman and Rachel Brodsky, Rabbi Rosenblum and Jack Bettman. Q: Why do you come to trivia each month? A: We first became friendly at morning minyan and
a couple of us started going to trivia together at a local restaurant. When the Center started a trivia group, we definitely wanted to attend. Q: How is it different at the Center than at other trivia venues? It is nice to know so many of the people in the room while at the same time having the opportunity to meet new people. Q: Who would you recommend this to? A: The questions vary in difficulty and subject, so anyone can play. You may think you don’t know enough to participate, but everyone ‘knows enough’. There is something for everyone. Q: Is it Jewish trivia? A: No, it is general knowledge trivia – history, sports, movies and tv, music, and so on. Join them and the other teams on the first Wednesday of each month at 7 p.m., at no cost. You can bring your own team of up to eight people or join others and create
new teams. Snacks and beverages will be provided, and you may bring your own kosher beer or wine or other beverage. To sign up or for more information about our monthly trivia nights at the Jacksonville Jewish Center, visit jjcjax.org/trivia or call 904-292-1000.
Jacksonville Jewish News • May 2019
Temple Celebrates with Confirmation Class
Artwork by Emma Lantinberg. By The Temple
Congregation Ahavath Chesed will celebrate on Friday, May 10 as the students in the 2019 Confirmation Class confirm their commitment to live their lives as Jews. The Erev Shabbat service will begin at 7 p.m. The entire community is invited to celebrate with the families and with The Temple family. Mazal tov to these families:
Benjamin Brown, son of Jacob Brown and Kristin Alberts. David Gapinski, son of Matthew Gapinski and Nina Kannatt. Abbey Lantinberg, daughter of Richard and Nancy. Emma Lantinberg, daughter of Richard and Nancy. Caroline Levine, daughter of Donald and Jennifer. Courtney Oko, daughter of Scott and Lynn.
Beth El Annual Night of Giving Gala
L-R: Abby Steele, Donne Ordile, Rachel Marcus-Mitchell, Tracy Aquila, Sherill Herzfeld and Betsy Siegel. By Beth El
Beth El The Beaches Synagogue held its Annual Night of Giving Gala on March 30, and it was a huge success. Marsh Landing Country Club was the beautiful backdrop for this wonderful evening. Members in attendance tasted fabulous foods, bid on silent and live auctions, and listened to the music of Nick Marino. “We are always overwhelmed by our membership’s support of our annual gala,” Gala Chair Tracy Aquila said. “And this year did not disappoint.” Tracy and her committee made this year’s event even a bit more special than usual. The “Play it Forward” gala
theme was created to align with a very generous contribution made by the synagogue’s leader, Rabbi Michael Matuson. The rabbi pledged to create and direct a large donation to a fund dedicated solely to paying down the Beth El building mortgage. “Members stepped up to the plate during our live auction’s donation push and helped get the ball rolling to match the rabbi’s contribution,” Tracy said. The annual gala is just the start for this match. The Beth El board is beginning its “Pay it Forward” campaign to all members this month. For all those interested in partaking in the campaign, please contact the synagogue office at 904-273-9100.
Madilyn Lewis and Macy Pargman with their athletes.
Gemilut Hasidim: Helping extraordinary athletes By Michelle Penson, Director of Religious School and Youth Engagement at The Temple
A team of Jewish teens and adults from Congregation Ahavath Chesed participated in a day at the ball field. These Temple members were not hitting the ball out of the park. They were “buddies” to extraordinary athletes, children with special needs and various disabilities. Some athletes were wheelchair-bound and needed the help of able arms and legs. Other players could hit the ball and needed a friend to field the ball so they could throw it to first base or home plate. All of the athletes needed a buddy on the field to share the joy and excitement of our national pastime. Mr. George Vancor, an umpire for Field of Dreams, and a former umpire for Major League Baseball, gave the buddies an orientation prior to taking the field. He emphasized that it is not about a home run, strike-out or stolen base. It is about the relationship they build with their bud-
dies. These extraordinary athletes are just happy to be on the field. The parents get a day out at the ballpark, too. They sit in the stands and cheer on their athletes. For some, it is a welcome break in the 24/7 care of their special children. The adults from Temple joined them in the bleachers to cheer and celebrate the athletes of all abilities who took the field. It was a day of mitzvot: full hearts, tons of smiles and even some tears. Temple team: Aaron Allen, Aviv Blasbalg, Jack Blasbalg, Beverly Block, Sally D’Marie, Adam Dahlman, Tyler Dahlman, Miriam Greenhut, Sam Greenhut, Jason Lewis, Josh Lewis, Madilyn Lewis, Staci Lewis, Adam Marko, Jennifer Marko, Max Marko, Ben Marsh, David Martin, Julie Martin, Tony Martin, Brian Pargman, Macy Pargman, Jillian Penson, Michelle Penson, Andrea Rosen, Jeff Rosen, Jacob Schreiber, Neil Schreiber, Maddy Wiener, Aaron Weiss, and Ethan Weiss.
Jacksonville Jewish News • May 2019
Jacksonville Jewish Center USY journeys to St. Petersburg By The Jacksonville Jewish Center
On March 31, JJC USY ventured to St. Petersburg, FL, for an afternoon of elections, friendly competition, and social action. Our HaNegev USY Sub-Region, Mercaz, conducted elections for the 2019-2020 Sub-Regional board during this event. Our very own Jamie B. prepared to run as a candidate for president. After all of the
votes were cast, Jamie was victorious! We are so proud of her accomplishments and can’t wait to see all of the great things she does for Mercaz next year. After the election, our teens participated in the ongoing “Schmooze Lips” competition. This year’s challenge was to create our chapter mascot, the “J-J-C (Sea) Turtles” out of recycled materials. During the Mid-Winter convention that we hosted at the Center this past February, our chapter had previously taken first place in a song competition that contributed points towards these final results. Once the scores from all components were calculated and every entry was judged, JJC USY won! Once we finished the competition, we continued the day by learning about sustainability and environmentalism. All participants received and decorated tote bags to use when grocery shopping. We were also told about the host synagogue’s own personal tragedy of losing the Weiss family in last year’s tragic plane crash - and how we could honor their legacy of tikkun olam and dedication to the Jewish community. An exciting day was had by all and we look forward to another fantastic year for our USYers here in Jacksonville next year! For more information about Youth Groups at the Center (including USY, Kadima, and Chalutzim), or to get involved in any of the programs of Setzer Youth Education, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or 904-292-1000, ext. 131.
Participants decorate their very own reusable tote bags!
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Jacksonville Jewish News • May 2019
Ladies Day at the J celebrates the special women in our lives By Jewish Community Alliance
During the month of May, we celebrate Mother’s Day, and the JCA takes part with an annual celebration to recognize every special woman in our lives. Ladies Day at the J is on Friday, May 10 from 10:30 a.m.-12 p.m. This event invites every mother, stepmother, wife, sister, aunt, daughter and friend for a morning of food, fun, music and relaxation. The special program takes place at the JCA with fun programming for attendees. Past events have included fashion shows and spa services. Ladies Day at the J is $5 and free for JCA valued members. Advance registration is required by May 6. For information on this and other J Institute events, visit jcajax.org/ji or call 904-730-2100, ext. 228.
Small country, big dreams
A publication of:
Summer Magazine JJN’s Summer Magazine will return for summer 2019. Scheduled to hit newsstands and maIlboxes in and around Northeast Florida in midJune, the special double issue will once again cover a wide variety of topics and replace the June and July newspapers.
The last picture taken from the spaceship.
BY ROTEM GABAY Community Shaliach
The unmanned Israeli spaceship Beresheet crashed on the moon during the final few minutes of landing. Yet, this is still a remarkable achievement for Israel! Israel is the seventh country to orbit the moon and the fourth to reach the moon – though technically not in one piece. As it was written on the spaceship, “Small country, big dreams!” An Israeli mission launched by a partnership between nonprofit SpaceIL and government-owned aerospace company Israel Aerospace Industries, Beresheet sent back its last photograph during its descent to the moon’s surface. A few minutes later, mission control lost contact with the spacecraft, eventually concluding that it had crashed instead of slowing enough to execute the planned soft landing. But at mission control, onlookers were optimistic about the mission’s disappointing end. “If at first you don’t succeed, you try again,” said Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who watched Beresheet’s landing attempt from SpaceIL’s control center in Yehud, Israel, during the mission’s live broadcast of the maneuver. Morris Kahn, the billionaire businessman, philanthropist and SpaceIL president, said that the SpaceIL team has already met to begin planning the Beresheet 2.0 mission. “We’re going to actually build a new halalit – a new spacecraft,” Kahn said in a video statement posted on Twitter by SpaceIL. “We’re going to put it on the moon, and we’re going to complete the mission.” NASA’s chief also expressed hope for the future of Israeli spaceflight. “Every attempt to reach new milestones holds opportunities for us to learn, adjust and progress,” NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine wrote in a statement. “I have no doubt that Israel and SpaceIL will continue to explore, and I look forward to celebrating their future achievements.”
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Jacksonville Jewish News • May 2019
Children get traditional summer camp experience at JCA Camp Sabra
By Jewish Community Alliance
Summer is the time to make lasting memories, connect with new friends and prepare for the adventure of a new school year. The American Camp Association accredited JCA summer camps provide fun, meaningful summer experiences for children of all ages. For campers entering first to second grades,
Y A D UN
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a summer of fun at JCA Camp Sabra awaits. Sabra campers enjoy a traditional camp setting with daily art options and team sports, including flag football, basketball and hockey, as well as special activities through partnerships with various local organizations. Guided by a professional staff, children develop skills that studies have shown are essential to positive social development. Participants in Camp
Sabra also participate in daily swim lessons with American Red Cross Certified Water Safety Instructors. JCA Summer Camp is offered in four sessions: June 10-21; June 24-July 5; July 8-19; July 22-August 2. Several time options are available. For more information on Camp Sabra and other JCA Summer Camps, visit jcajax.org/camp or call 904-730-2100.
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