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Jewish Life




November 2021


FAITH & INSPIRATION 41 Giving from the Heart by Cantor Carrie Barry




5 Jewish Federation &

15 Giving from

22 Utilizing Charitable Giving


Foundation Welcomes New CEO Mariam Feist!

6 Searching for Identity

Welcomes Resident Historian 7 What do we Learn from History?

8 More Out of Life with less Complication | Bridging the Way

9 Parent-and-Me Playdates! 10 Board Member Focus: Mark Green

11 Sinai Scholars Society Launched at UNF

12 Ganeinu Preschool

Presents: Mommy and Me! 14 Jewish Groups Launch Online Portal for College

Students to Report Antisemetic



Generation to Generation to Avoid Capital Gains Taxes 16 The Power of Giving

23 Macabee of the Month:

End of the Tunnel

24 Day School Student

18 There is a Light at the 20 75 Years of Inspired Giving

Sondra Resnikoff


IT'S YOUR BUSINESS 35 Brandon Sugg, Financial Advisor, Edward Jones

Turned Kindergarten Teacher


25 Faces of Fitness: Shirley

36 Stuff ed Mushrooms

26 CTeen Jax Kicked off New

37 Potato Latkes with

and Now a Preschool Parent Steel

Year with a Blast!

27 A Successful Launch!


Mah Zel Tuv







Avocado Mash



Featuring photos and event recaps!


Cover photo: Mauri Mizrahi, Judy Mizrahi, and Rachel Morgenthal are two generations of philanthropic leaders. Photo credit: Emlyn James, Emlyn James Images



38 Remembering Summer Sleep Away Camp



This month's Jewish Life theme is giving. Giving is a most empowering and inspiring action. Giving is what the local, national, and global Jewish communities rely on to be vibrant, secure, and strong. Giving can be demonstrated in various ways, such as, giving of one’s time, giving of one’s commitment, giving of one’s care, and giving of one’s intellectual capital. Without these vital contributions, our Jewish community would look very diff erent. Although there are many, the most common association with giving is of one’s fi nancial resources. And, over the years that has gained a negative connotation.

When my career fi rst started at UJAFederation of Greater NY, I heard a most respected lay leader end her impassioned campaign asks with, “give until it hurts”, where fundraising events always included announcement of gifts/card calling, and when arm twisting was often the fi rst thing people thought of when they were asked to meet to discuss their annual gift. Those tactics worked and the pros of its results outweighed the cons of the jokes and negative reputation that fl ourished.

However, over the years the competition for charitable dollars, regardless of annual, capital or a planned gift, has increased markedly. Charitable organizations that are thriving have done so by showing the philanthropist the impact of their charitable dollars and demonstrating the organization’s relevance and data to support the needs laid out by that organization. The Federation & Foundation and the Jewish organizations and institutions in our community are no diff erent.

Today, I hear professionals and lay leaders end their campaign asks with “give until it feels good.” Conversations starting with “what inspires you to give… of your time and your charitable dollars?” Words like donors and solicitation are being replaced by words like philanthropists and Jewish conversations. Philanthropists no longer refers to only the mega donor, but to anyone who makes a charitable gift, because every dollar and every philanthropist counts.

I could not have asked for a more meaningful theme to mark my fi rst column as CEO of your Jewish Federation & Foundation of Northeast Florida. I hope you join me in giving until it feels good. Actually, I hope you give of your resources until it feels GREAT! With gratitude,

Jewish Federation & Foundation Staff Mariam Feist Chief Executive Offi cer Alan Margolies Executive Director

Stav Brener Community Shaliach Pat Burke Director, Finance & Administration

Savannah Feustel Marketing Assistant Faye Hedrick Director, Young Professionals & Families

Rachel Heiser Campaign & Donor Relations Coordinator

Jennifer Rensch Foundation Manager Lauren Rickoff Director, Campaign & Women’s Philanthropy Mitzi Saul Marketing & Communications Manager Kellie Smith Director, Foundation





JEWISH FEDERATION & FOUNDATION WELCOMES NEW CEO MARIAM FEIST By Mitzi Saul, Jewish Federation & Foundation of Northeast Florida

With more than 30 years of experience in Jewish nonprofit philanthropy and management, Mariam Shpeen Feist is the new CEO for the Jewish Federation & Foundation of Northeast Florida. Originally from Cherry Hill, New Jersey (outside of Philadelphia), Feist is the former president and CEO of the Jewish Federation of Greater Dallas. While there, she successfully changed their philanthropy model from transactional to personal and engaging by creating and implementing benefits to giving societies, stewardship and missions, and restructuring Women’s Philanthropy and Young Adult Divisions. These actions resulted in an increase in Dallas’ Annual Campaign over two million dollars over seven years.

Like many people she knew, Mariam spent time during COVID-19 lockdown searching for gratitude and life priorities. She realized that Dallas wasn’t where she envisioned being for the long term and decided to search for a place that would fulfill both her professional and personal priorities. After doing her research, meeting the Federation & Foundation Search Committee, community volunteer and staff leadership and becoming more familiar with the excellent reputation of the organization, she and her husband Bob realized that the organization and community checked off almost all

their boxes. They wanted to relocate to a place similar in size and feel to where they spent most of their married life and where they left lasting footprints. She remarked, “I’m excited to contribute professionally to a growing community, working with leadership that articulates a clear vision, and to joining a dynamic professional team.” What does Mariam hope to learn in her new role? “I eagerly anticipate listening to and learning from the community. From donors and leaders and from those community members who are not involved or who chose to ‘opt out.’” She hopes to build on the strong foundation that has been laid by professionals and volunteer leadership by continuing to enhance the partnerships with local Jewish organizations, synagogues and the secular community to strengthen confidence in the organization and increase its relevance. Mariam believes there are no other organizations in the world that has, does, and will do the type of work and have the global impact that Jewish Federations do. “Being part of the collective is empowering and inspiring. I love Federation work and believe this is a calling, not a job.” It must run in the family. Her late father, Harold Shpeen, DDS, was so involved in the Jewish community– synagogue, Federation, JCC, Bureau of Jewish Education Presidents–that

she thought he worked for the Jewish Federation until she needed her first filling and realized he was a dentist!

Mariam’s love for Israel is strong, too. On her first trip of more than 20 to Israel in 1973, the Yom Kippur War broke out and her memories of that time continue to inspire her passion for Israel, its people and its importance to Jewish survival.

Mariam and Bob are parents of two adult sons. Jacob lives in Washington, D.C., and Max lives in St. Louis. They also care for two rescue dogs, Archie and Hawkeye. “We look forward to continued growth and fulfillment of our mission under Mariam’s leadership,” said Jewish Federation & Foundation of Northeast Florida President Jennifer Plotkin. She added, “We are excited to welcome her to our Jewish community and look forward to many years of success working together."

The community is invited to “Monday Mitzvah with Mariam” on November 15 from 9 a.m. to Noon at the Jewish Federation & Foundation office to drop off non-perishable food donations while welcoming her to the community. Your donations to the Max Block Food Pantry of JFCS will provide nutritious emergency groceries to those experiencing difficult times.

Jewish Federation & Foundation of Northeast Florida 5



Katalin Rac, PhD., with Anna and Tibor Osztriecher at the University of Florida Isser and Rae Price Library of Judaica

The Searching For Identity Team welcomes Katalin Rac, Ph.D., as SFI Resident Historian. A historian and archivist, Dr. Rac will work with children and grandchildren of Holocaust survivors, exploring family history, fi nding and examining sources, and understanding and its eff ects on identity.

"Technology has made genealogical research accessible and exciting. From the perspective of Holocaust survivor families, exploring this topic requires great expertise and sensitivity," explained Stacey Goldring, Searching For Identity executive director and creator of the Jacksonville’s Second Gen Writing and Discussion 6

Workshop. "Working with Dr. Rac is a natural next step."

Children and grandchildren of survivors are referred to as Second and Third Gen. In response to the challenges faced by these generations, who may or may not have information about their families' history, Dr. Rac will off er help in researching and interpreting a broad range of sources, oral and written. This Searching For Sources program will integrate seamlessly into the workshop experience.

The workshops, in their eighth year, are free, confi dential, meet twice a month and are open to all generations of the Holocaust survivor

community. With its online presence, individuals from the United States, Canada, England and Australia attend.

Inspired by the stories shared in workshops, SFI produces documentary fi lms, educational fi lms, panel discussions, performing arts and publishing projects. All SFI programs support and honor the Second Gen who choose to share their stories with the world and add to the historical documentation of the Holocaust and its inherited eff ects. The SFI Workshop Program is made possible by a generous grant from a private family foundation.

WHAT DO WE LEARN FROM HISTORY? By Helen Hill, Education VP, Hadassah Jacksonville

Charlotte Korchak, Senior Educator, StandWithUs Israel, will be speaking to the community about Israel and Zionism on November 14. Sponsored by Hadassah Jacksonville and Northeast Florida StandwithUs. November is a month of both tragedy and triumph in the chronicles of modern Israeli history. Some of these events include: • The Balfour Declaration (Nov 2, 1917), a public statement issued by the British government during WWI supporting the establishment of a "national home for the Jewish people," and later ratifi ed by the League of Nations in 1922.

• Kristallnacht (Nov 9, 1938), a series of violent anti-Jewish demonstrations breaking out across Germany, Austria, and Czechoslovakia, marking a shift from antisemitic rhetoric and legislation by the Third Reich to the violent, aggressive, anti-Jewish measures that would culminate with the Holocaust.

• Passage of the Partition Plan (Nov. 29, 1947), a UN recommendation dividing Mandatory Palestine into independent Arab and Jewish States, and later rejected by the Palestinians. • The “Zionism equals Racism” resolution by the UN (Nov. 10, 1975), and later revoked in 1991

• Operation Moses (Nov. 21, 1984), the covert evacuation of Ethiopian Jews from Sudan. • The assassination of Yitzhak Rabin (Nov. 4, 1995).

Interestingly, many of these dates bring up questions still debated today – legal documents and ratifi cations, geography, the defi nition of “Jewishness” and “Zionism”, and the political and philosophical diff erences

of Israeli leaders balancing the fi ght against terrorism and protecting a thriving democracy. Without question, American Jews have strong opinions about Israel and Zionism. And in recent years many of these opinions, as a result of lack of information or misinformation, have caused a rift within our own people. On Sunday, November 14, Hadassah Jacksonville and StandWithUs will present a program entitled, “Concepts and Misconceptions about Israel and Zionism,” with Charlotte Korchak, Senior Educator and Director of International Student Programs at StandWithUs Israel (see "Worth the Schlep" for registration information). The entire community is invited to join us for this important and timely conversation.

Jewish Federation & Foundation of Northeast Florida 7


MORE OUT OF LIFE WITH LESS COMPLICATION By Lauren Rickoff , Jewish Federation & Foundation of Northeast Florida

Are you so busy that you do not have time to appreciate the positives in your life? Join the Women’s Philanthropy Champagne Brunch to hear tangible ways to create more gratitude, more positivity, and more balance when we welcome Elise Scheck Bonwitt, author of More: Get More Out of Life with Less Complication. Bonwitt, an attorney, philanthropist, and mother of fi ve will share ways to better appreciate life in this hectic world. “I look forward to speaking to the Jacksonville community about my book. I have had the opportunity to share relevant data, ideas, and lessons with many others to help them achieve more fulfi llment and happiness. I am excited to discuss practical and easy steps to help you prioritize your goals

and improve your life in meaningful ways,” Bonwitt said. According to Journalist and Author Abigail Pogrebin, "her book is an invaluable guide to positivity, persistence, priorities, and some key lessons she's learned which can help reduce our self-criticism, reorient our perspectives, and boost a sense of contentedness."

The event co-chairs, Jenn Neuman and Sandy Shapiro, are thrilled to welcome everyone in-person on Sunday, January 23 at 10:00 a.m. at the Jacksonville Jewish Center. The cost to attend the brunch is $36 and a minimum gift of $70 to the 2022 Annual Campaign.

Guest speaker, Elise Scheck Bonwitt

Visit to learn more and register.


By Faye Hedrick, Jewish Federation & Foundation of Northeast Florida

After spending an evening with the 2021-22 BRIDGES class, chairs Brandon Sugg and Rachel Davis are more confi dent than ever in this year’s next generation of Jewish volunteer leaders. Leaders who hold a deep understanding of both their community and of themselves. During the fi rst session, common themes of

why the group found themselves together emerged: building a legacy to pass on to future generations, keepers of Jewish tradition, building friendships and connections within the community, understanding the community’s needs, and remembering individuals who have inspired us along the way. During the next several months, we will dive deeper into these themes and why they have and will continue to have great meaning to us all.

Thank you to Jen Plotkin, Jewish Federation & Foundation of Northeast Florida president, who provided a warm welcome, Federation 101, her plan for the future of the organization, along with her own

Jewish journey. At the next session, participants will meet incoming CEO Mariam Feist as well as the Jacksonville Jewish Center’s board president, Debby Kaye, and community leader, Joanne Cohen.

BRIDGES is funded through the B’nai Tzedek Next-Gen grantmaking initiative. This year’s participants include Eli Fleet, Oleg Fortun, Staci Fortun, Rabbi Maya Glasser, Emily Godsey, Marissa Kaeser, Lauren Katz, Arielle Krimotat, Alexander Kruse, Laura Platzer, Gabrielle Levi, Gabrielle Magid, Rabbi Menashe Uhr, Alison Weisman, Tyler Williamson, and Madison Woodall.

PARENT-AND-ME PLAYDATES! By Edrea Porter, Congregation Ahavath Chesed

Children learning about sukkot.

The Temple’s youngest members have been learning, growing, and having fun during weekly Parent-and-Me Playdates! Each Sunday, Temple

creates an engaging program for children ages 0-4 to enjoy with their parents, grandparents, and caregivers. Activities include professionally led music-and-movement classes from providers in the community, arts and crafts, visits from PJ Library, holiday celebrations with Temple’s own Cantor Barry and Rabbi Glasser, engaging story time activities, playground games, and more! Even with this wide range of activities, perhaps the aspect children and parents have been raving about most has been getting to share in these fun activities with friends. Even in just a few short weeks new friendships have formed and families have been able to make strong connections. The pandemic has impacted the availability

of toddler programs in the area and the Temple is proud to be able to offer this program as a chance for children to play and parents to connect. The Temple invites anyone with toddler children to join the fun (and older siblings are always welcomed). This wonderful program is being offered to the community free of charge - you don’t have to be a Temple member to attend! The Parent-and-me Playdates take place on Sundays 9:30-11:00am and are preceded by a complimentary bagel breakfast at 9:00am. For more information please contact Gonen Arad at (904) 733-7078 or


JEWISH FEDERATION & FOUNDATION BOARD MEMBER FOCUS: MARK GREEN By Mitzi Saul, Jewish Federation & Foundation of Northeast Florida A former Joe P. Safer Community Service Award and two-time Young Leadership Award recipient, Mark Green also sits on the Jewish Foundation Advisory Board. He is a longtime Jewish Federation & Foundation board member who generously gives of his time, talent and treasure to the organization.

What drives you to give your time, talent and treasure as a board member to the Federation & Foundation? I was taught to give back and leave the world in a better place than when I found it. It has always been important to me in my daily living to think about others who are certainly more needy and have much less to be thankful for. By contributing my time and resources I hope to enable the various agencies and not-for-profi ts to carry on their important work into the future.

Federation. I was also selected as a Silver Medallion recipient by NCCJ which is now known as One Jax.

Why is the Jewish Federation & Foundation still relevant and vital to our future?

The Jewish Federation & Foundation is extremely important and relevant to our Jewish community to enhance Jewish life and provide fi nancial resources to the Jewish community agencies and synagogues. The Foundation will provide the necessary fi nancial component to allow our agencies and synagogues and not-forprofi ts to continue the work they are doing for the Jewish community at large. Tell me a little bit about yourself?

I was born in Albany, New York and grew up in Jacksonville. I attended the What other not-for-profit boards University of Florida are you on? where I met my wife, In addition to being on the Nancy Green, the assistant board of Jewish Federation & director of the Jewish Foundation, I am currently on Community Alliance. I the board of the Student Aff airs received my law degree Council at the University of from Stetson University, North Florida. In the past, I and am president and have been president of The shareholder of the Marital Bridge, The Jewish Community and Family Law fi rm, Mark Alliance, and the Jewish M. Green, P.A. We have Community Foundation before one child, Michael Green. it merged with the Jewish

SINAI SCHOLARS SOCIETY LAUNCHED AT UNF By Sam Rosenbloom, President of the UNF Jewish Ospreys

Jewish Students gather for Shabbat Candle Lighting at Chabad at UNF

A new, innovative Jewish learning program is kicking off at UNF. Sinai Scholars Society presents compelling and explorative courses developed by some of the foremost Jewish thinkers of our time. The program integrates the study of classic Jewish texts, social programming, and national networking opportunities to provide a fresh

and exciting context for Jewish life and learning on the university campus. We invite students to engage in an open community of study and self-discovery that will help them to become passionate, informed Jewish leaders on campus and in their communities.

Participants will interact with other students across the country and distinguished fi gures from the world of business and public life. Fellowship in the society continues after completion of the program, and off ers growing opportunities to interact with an expanding network of students and Jewish leaders across the country. “The response at UNF has been

overwhelming,” said Rabbi Shmuli Novack who oversees Chabad at UNF. “We are beyond pleased with the overwhelming response. Our fi rst course is at full capacity. Providing the stipend is crucial if we are to grab the full attention and commitment of a student already juggling classes, a job or two and the extracurricular activities that all vie for their time.” Boaz Levy, a sophomore shared, “I am excited to connect with fellow minded students while learning about our shared faith and hopefully uncovering new signifi cance to my heritage and its application in my life.” Participants receive a stipend of $350. For more about Chabad at UNF visit



Attending a Mommy and Me class with your baby does more than get you out of the house to socialize with other parents of infants. These baby-parent classes have numerous benefi ts on your child's social skills and development.

Led by Ganeinu Director, and early childhood expert, Chana Novack, these classes include parent-child music, art, yoga, and baby sign language classes – all with a Jewish twist.

“Early childhood development has a place of highest importance in Jewish tradition,” said Chana. “Our Mommy and Me classes contribute to mental, emotional and social growth.” Designed for mothers and babies, the sessions will be held at 10:30 a.m. on six Tuesday mornings beginning on November 9. $100 for all six sessions or $20 per session. Visit to register or call (904) 646-4434.



The High Holiday Season is replete with symbols and messages for a Sweet New Year. “Apples dipped in Honey” is served with Rosh Hashanah dinner around the world. To help our friends at Ganeinu explore and connect with Honey during this special time of the year, a local Be Friends Farm visited the Preschool and brought a portable Beehive, teaching our friends all about bees, and honey and shared yummy samples of assorted varieties of honey too.

“Hand on learning in early education allows children the opportunity to explore concepts through the use of diff erent modalities, and it encourages the development of critical thinking. Experiences like the Bee Presentation bring the subject matter to life (literally) and actively engage each child and all of their senses,” shared Chana Novack, director of Ganeinu Preschool. To learn more about Ganeinu visit or



Hillel International has teamed up with the Anti-Defamation League and the Secure Community Network to launch an online portal where college students can report anti-Semitic incidents on their campus and receive immediate support.

The creation of is in response to the growing threats of anti-Semitism on college campuses. Hillel International recorded 244 anti-Semitic incidents on college and university campuses last year, up from 181 the year before. It also comes after a recent survey found that 74 percent of college students reported experiencing an act of anti-Semitism, but that they did not report it. Some 40 percent of students polled indicated that they did not know how to report incidents of Jew-hatred at school. 14

Photo Credit: Leigh Trail/Shutterstock

According to ADL national director and CEO Jonathan Greenblatt, working with partner agencies in this endeavor will promote a “collaborative response” to anti-Semitic incidents on campus, as well as “foster better tracking and reporting and tracking of anti-Semitic trends so we can all better understand and respond to this growing threat to our students.”

the security arm of the Jewish Federations of North America.

“When students are impacted by anti-Semitism, it can be confusing and isolating to garner appropriate law-enforcement attention and support,” said Michael Masters, national director and CEO of SCN,

The site will not only empower students when needed, said Lehman but will also help Hillel “be better equipped to address anti-Semitism with campus administrators and improve the campus climate.”

Once an incident is reported, it will be reviewed by trained security officials who will then work with law enforcement and campus officials as needed.

The new website “will be a safe way for students to report these incidents and activity SCN’s security infrastructure to assess the threat and prompt immediate attention.”

Adam Lehman, president and CEO of Hillel International, said it is “essential” that students have the tools and resources to address antiSemitism on campus “so they can live and study in safe and welcoming environments.”

Giving from Generation to Generation By Lauren Rickoff , Jewish Federation & Foundation of Northeast Florida

Humble, proud, giving. These are all words that come to mind when meeting with two generations of philanthropic leaders, Judy Mizrahi, her daughter, Rachel Morgenthal, and her daughter-in-law, Mauri Mizrahi. Judy and her husband, Edward, of blessed memory, raised their two children, Rachel, and her brother, Alan, ensconced in the Jewish community. Helping to build a thriving and healthy Jewish community is in Judy’s blood. Her father, Elliot Horovitz, of blessed memory, started the Jewish Foundation 26 years ago, which has since merged with the Jewish Federation.

“Our family has always been concerned with the health and vitality of the Jewish community. To see our children carry on the traditions of Jewish life in such a committed way warms my heart. It’s truly L’dor V’dor,” said Judy.

It has been a pleasure for Judy to watch Rachel, as a volunteer, and Mauri as a professional and volunteer, share their talents with the community. They have accomplished so much, and recently Mauri was named CEO of River Garden and Rachel was the recipient of the Jewish Federation & Foundation’s Ilene Sari Selevan Young Leadership Award. Judy is inspired by their communal accomplishments, but even prouder of their accomplishments as mothers. Mauri and husband Alan, and Rachel and husband Craig, are raising three sons each, continuing the family’s tradition of involvement and education within the Jacksonville Jewish community. After all, it has been passed down to them. Rachel said, “Growing up, we always went to synagogue. It was especially important to my parents that we become moral, responsible, and productive human beings. Our Jewish values were always at the foundation of this.” For Mauri and her family, being philanthropic has always been a part of their lives. She and Alan taught their boys when they were young the value of tzedakah. They felt it was important that they, “not just take, but also give. We wanted them to be a part of something, to guide them in a purposeful life of giving, to not just talk about it, but to do it.”

All three women are proud but humble investors of their time, talent and treasure. For the photo shoot, it was the fi rst time they each wore their Lion of Judah pin. They say being a Lion of Judah gives them great pride and they hope to be an example for not only their family but for others in the community. “It feels good to give back, you really feel like you’re making a diff erence,” said Mauri. To learn more about becoming a Lion of Judah, contact Lauren Rickoff , Director of Campaign and Women's Philanthropy at or (904) 224-1406.

The Power of Giving By Beth Milograno Berry, Jewish Community Alliance

Within our traditional Jewish beliefs, we have an obligation to leave this world better than we found it. In the spirit of giving at the Jewish Community Alliance, it is our mission to continue in the tradition of our founders; to be a common meeting ground for everyone and enhance the quality of life for all segments of the community to strengthen family life.

In Hebrew, the Jewish concepts of tzedakah (righteous behavior), tzedek (justice) and chesed (mercy or kindness), instruct and compel us to give charity and treat people who are less fortunate with extreme compassion. As we embrace the concept of sharing to help the less fortunate while we welcome them into our community, it is easily realized that the act of giving is powerful. "If there is among you a needy person, one of your brethren, in any of your towns in your land which the Lord your God gives you, you shall not harden your heart, nor close your hand from your poor brother, but you shall freely open your hand to him, and shall generously lend him sufficient for his need in whatever he lacks." (Deuteronomy 1�:7 – �)

Tzedakah is a Hebrew word meaning “righteous behavior,” but is commonly used to signify charity. The concept diff ers from the modern Western understanding of charity. The latter is typically understood as a spontaneous act of goodwill and a marker of generosity. However, tzedakah is an ethical obligation to do what is right and just, which Judaism emphasizes as an important part of living a spiritual life. Many Jewish communities embrace tzedakah and a concept known as the “eight degrees of charitable giving,” fi rst articulated by Moshe ben Maimon, a 12th-century Jewish scholar, known as Maimonides or RamBaM. Maimonides created the metaphor of an eight-rung ladder in association with tzedakah that donors can ascend to greatness. According to Maimonides, the second-highest form of tzedakah is giving donations anonymously to unknown recipients, with the highest level being when donors give a gift, loan or partnership, that helps people in need become self-sustaining. According to Maimonides, the eight rungs are, from bottom to top: 1. The person who gives reluctantly and with regret.

2. The person who gives graciously, but less than one should.

3. The person who gives what one should but only after being asked.

4. The person who gives before being asked.

5. The person who gives without knowing to whom he or she gives, although the recipient knows the identity of the donor. 6. The person who gives without making his or her identity known.

7. The person who gives without knowing to whom he or she gives. The recipient does not know from whom he or she receives.

8. The person who helps another to become self-supporting by a gift or a loan or by fi nding employment for the recipient.

Responding to the needs of the less fortunate has strong roots in Judaism. Supporting those in need is seen as just and righteous which is the core of the Jewish ethical system. However, aside from knowing our faith-based giving brings us closer to greatness, there is science behind why giving makes us feel so good.

Generosity impacts our dopamine levels and endorphins - those feelings of pleasure, satisfaction and motivation when you achieve something great. When we give or help others our brains produce endorphins to create the “helper’s high,” a positive feeling that can be addicting and makes us want to repeat the eff ort. There are also medical benefi ts to helping and supporting others. Research reveals that acts of kindness can lower blood pressure, combat loneliness and depression, reduce chronic pain and stress, boost our immune systems, fi ght off disease and promote longer, healthier lives. Additionally, experts say volunteering with community organizations can boost self-confi dence, selfesteem, our sense of purpose and our overall meaning in life. Not to mention the example it sets, giving to others often results in a positive ripple eff ect of kindness. “One who is gracious to a poor man lends to the Lord, and God will repay him for his good deed.” (Proverbs 19:17)

The JCA was created in 1988 with a vision to contribute to the continuation of Jewish life and with that came an amazing ripple eff ect throughout our great community. Today, because of generations of kindness and support, our JCA community has blossomed to become what our founders intended.

The charitable donations we receive from our community each year, allow us to off er swim lessons for children, fi nancial assistance for memberships, professional development for early childhood educators, youth scholarships, tuition assistance at the Michele Block Gan Yeladim Preschool & Kindergarten and so much more. Because of the generosity of our sponsors and donors, our JCA is considered an integral part of life for families throughout Northeast Florida. Be it fi tness and wellness, cultural arts, education or Jewish continuity, we are honored and so very pleased to continue the mission of our founders to serve our community in the spirit of our Jewish heritage and values. If you are interested in helping us sustain our work at the JCA to support even more families in this great community, please contact Development Director Ben Marcus via email at or call (904) 730 – 2100 ext. 318.

While membership and program dollars go to ensure experiences at the JCA are the best they can possibly be, charitable donations help us share life at The J with more families throughout Northeast Florida. Please visit for more information and to support the Jewish Community Alliance.

Jewish Federation & Foundation of Northeast Florida 17

There is a Light at the End of the Tunnel By Donna O'Steen, Jewish Family & Community Services

November 18 is International Suicide Survivors Loss Day. And, it's a good time to let our community know that Jewish Family & Community Services is here for you.

The holidays are the most stressful time of the year for many. For JFCS, it is our busiest time. Gifts are coming in, people are visiting, volunteers are hustling, and the clients we serve are anxious about the fi nancial burdens the holidays bring. Many, however, relive painful memories, and experience feelings of hopelessness. The following is a true account about one of our clients. Her name is Holly, and this is her story. “Last Christmas, I attempted suicide,” Holly shared with a JFCS Dupont Counseling Group therapist, “and I am ready to talk about it." “Five years ago, one of my sons was in a devastating car accident. He was out-of-state and driving on a main highway. Another driver hit his vehicle, ejecting him from the vehicle,” she continued.

“EMT arrived at the scene and examined my son. He was in serious condition. Life-Flight was called and he was taken to the nearest hospital.” she explained. “He was rushed into surgery. My other son and I arrived several hours later. We waited through the night in the surgical waiting room, until a doctor fi nally came out to share my son’s condition. He said, ‘the accident caused a traumatic brain injury and your son is on a ventilator. He is in a coma,’” the client said as she began to cry. “The doctor added that my son would likely not recover from his injures. Although I had hope and faith in G-d that my son would wake up, the moment I saw him, I knew the doctors were probably right,” she said. “Thankfully, my son got better with each passing day and a month later, he woke up. He started moving and mumbling, and he began reaching for me and his brother…he knew us. It was incredible. Over the next few years, we made a lot of progress by working with a physical therapist. My son seemed to be doing well,” Holly said, “until COVID-19 happened. All the progress we made was lost. PT was

delayed and the hospital was shut down to visitors. My son was alone. There was nothing we could do except wonder what was happening. We couldn’t communicate with him at all during that time.

Seven months later, my son tested positive for COVID-19. He was sent to the ICU where they could better treat him. I remember being so anxious and depressed that I couldn’t function normally. I decided to start counseling and I called JFCS for help,” she said.

“My son eventually recovered from his fi rst bout of COVID-19, but the virus took a toll on his health. There were several times he had pneumonia, which led to sepsis due to his lack of ability to move, until fi nally he was placed back on a ventilator,” she said. “Not long after, he tested positive again, and this time, he didn’t survive. I was devastated.

Reach out to JFCS' Dupont Counseling Group at (904) 394-5706 and talk to our staff if you or someone you know is in need of counseling services.

On October 11, we buried my son. Two months later, my other son died unexpectedly.” she explained. “At that point, it was all too much. I was grieving and depressed. I lost both of my children within a few months’ time. It crippled me,” she said, “I quit counseling, retreated into my home, withdrew from friends and family. Over the holidays, the pain was too much to bear. I couldn’t handle the heartache. I decided to end my life. Luckily, my downstairs neighbor heard me fall to the fl oor and rushed up to my apartment to check on me. I woke up the next day in the hospital. She was sitting next to me holding my hand,” she fi nished and paused.

“Had it not been for my neighbor, a JFCS staff member, I wouldn’t be sitting here right now,” she said. “It’s because of her that I’m alive. I’m sitting in this offi ce right now, and openly talking about my decision and why I made it.” She continued, “When I lost my sons, I was so lonely and depressed that I attempted suicide. I wanted the pain to end. I didn’t want to experience the agony of “celebrating” the holidays alone,” she said. “For me, the holidays are painful, but for others it’s a time of celebration. Although the memories There is a of what happened to my sons will never subside, I have decided that I want to live. I want to celebrate our lives. Part of that is telling my story; another part is giving back to my light at the community.

end of every tunnel.

I am volunteering my time at JFCS. It has given me a new-found courage, provided new connections and improved my mental and physical health. And, I have met amazing people – some of them struggling with similar issues, coping as best we can.

I understand that I have to take care of myself and my mental health. For me, giving back helps. I heard a quote by Ghandi, ‘The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.’ Each and every day is a blessing and assisting others is a privilege. It can change a life. JFCS changed my life; they literally saved my life, and the least I can do is give back to clients experiencing situations like mine. I know I will be forever thankful to my neighbor for checking on me.”

There is help out there. Reach out to JFCS' Dupont Counseling Group at (904) 394-5706 and talk to our staff if you or someone you know is in need of counseling services. JFCS off ers fi ve, free confi dential appointments to our Jewish community members. If you are having suicidal thoughts, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 and speak with someone 24-hours a day. Don’t let one day of sadness take a life – especially during the holidays.

Jewish Federation & Foundation of Northeast Florida 19

75 Years of Inspired Giving By Christina Levine, River Garden Senior Services


hen we think of charity we often relate it to tzedakah in the Jewish Community. Tzedakah, based on the Hebrew meaning righteousness, refers to the religious and ethical obligation to do what is right and just. River Garden Hebrew Home for the Aged was in itself a gift based on these ideals. In the early 1930’s the Ladies’ Hebrew Sheltering Aid Society recognized a need for a haven for elderly Jews and set a goal to establish a home for seniors in the City of Jacksonville. Founded in 1946, River Garden Hebrew Home celebrates its 75th anniversary of providing an unparalleled experience and exceptional care for all seniors they serve with dignity and compassion.

River Garden would not be a highly-regarded leader in senior care if it were not for those who have generously given over the years through their commitment as volunteers, board leaders, community advocates and/or donors. We have a Horovitz and Mizrahi families have a long history of supporting River Garden. number of families who can be credited for their involvement over multiple generations. Here is a sampling of some of their stories.

“River Garden has impacted our family for four generations. My

great grandmother, Jennie Schevitz, was one of the fi rst ladies in the Ladies’ Hebrew Sheltering Aid Society and I remember going to visit my great grandfather at River Garden on Stockton Street when I was just a toddler. Both of my grandparents – my dad’s parents – were at River Garden before they passed. As I got older, my dad and mother became very involved as volunteers. Later, my dad served on the board and as a board president. I could see all the wonderful things that were happening at River Garden. It is very, very comforting to know that River Garden is here in Jacksonville for our Jewish community and our elders. I was happy to join the board and to have my son serve as a junior volunteer. We’ve had many generations of River Garden connections.” – Susan Edelman

“River Garden has been a major part of our family from its

very beginnings 75 years ago. For four generations, the extended Gendzier, Horovitz and Mizrahi families have made River Garden a priority from a volunteer, fi nancial and even professional basis. That commitment continues to this day. In return, River Garden has been Susan Edelman enjoying Anniversary Day with there for us time and time again. We know this holds true for so parents Marilyn & Bernie Datz.

many in our community. Why has supporting River Garden been so important to our family? The answer can be found in the Torah – Honor thy father and thy mother. River Garden, with its high standards and commitment, adds to the very fabric of our community. Supporting and helping sustain River Garden ensures that we can be true to one of our most scared responsibilities for generations to come.” – Bruce Horovitz

In a nod to its 75th anniversary, River Garden’s 75 Acts of Caring campaign off ers an opportunity for those who want to honor its history, celebrate its success and invest in its future. Acts of caring have transformed River Garden into a loving home and family for so many generations. Your act of caring will help sustain River Garden’s enduring legacy of excellence for years to come. For more information, please contact Christina Levine at (904) 886-8430 or Sheldon Gendzier honored for �0 years of service as a trustee of the River Garden Hebrew Home Board, including President of River Garden Senior Services and River Garden Hebrew Home for the Aged.




By Kellie Smith, Jewish Federation & Foundation of Northeast Florida If you're looking to maximize your charitable giving impact while reducing your taxes one strategy is to think beyond cash for your donations. With the continued market potential and the proposed retroactive increase in the capital gains tax rates, charitable donations of long-term (held for more than one year) appreciated non-cash assets—such as stocks, bonds, mutual funds—are more valuable than ever. Why? This practice can benefi t you and the charitable organizations you support in two ways:

1. You can claim a fair market value charitable deduction for the tax year in which the gift is made.

2. You eliminate capital gains tax by contributing appreciated non-cash assets directly to your favorite charities instead of selling the assets yourself and donating the after-tax proceeds, which may increase the amount available for charity by up to 20 percent. What are the benefits of giving these assets to my donor-advised fund?

While gifts of appreciated non-cash assets are often the most tax-smart choice, not all charities have the capability to process these gifts. Donor-advised funds typically have

the resources and expertise for receiving and selling the assets on your behalf.

At Jewish Foundation, we are wellversed in assisting you in taking advantage of the tax benefi ts associated with this type of donation. In fact, in the 2020 fi scal year, nearly two thirds of our contributions were in the form of appreciated non-cash assets. Your donor-advised fund off ers another bonus: once the assets are liquidated, you’ll have the opportunity to recommend how the proceeds are invested for growth, possibly unlocking the potential for even more charitable support in the long run! At your convenience, you can then recommend grants to all of the causes that are most meaningful to you and establish a lasting legacy according to your wishes.

We want to help you reap the tax benefi ts of charitable giving through appreciated non-cash assets! Contact Kellie Smith, Foundation Director, at (904) 512-3796 or by email at

*This article is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal, tax, or financial advice. In addition, all gifts to donor-advised funds are irrevocable. When considering gift planning strategies, you should always consult with your own legal and tax advisors.


MACCABEE OF THE MONTH - SONDRA RESNIKOFF By Beth Milograno Berry, Jewish Community Alliance

When Sondra Resnikoff joined the Jewish Community Alliance in 1999, she found a beautiful community, in an environment where she would be motivated to stay active and healthy.

“I have met so many caring members and staff over the years,” says Sondra. “It has been heartwarming to see how much they care for members, especially in the uncertain times we live in.”

As an immune-compromised member of our community, Sondra can no longer physically come into the JCA. However, staying healthy and active are our Maccabee of the Month’s top priorities – so, throughout the coronavirus pandemic, she made them happen. “My immune system is compromised because I have chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL). It is not safe for me to come to the JCA during the pandemic, but I still need to exercise and stay healthy,” explains Sondra, who like a true Maccabee, leans on her spiritual strength and mental resilience to continuously persevere. “I do virtual personal training sessions each week with Gisela and Lynell. We work on strengthening and improving my balance.”

Since being diagnosed with CLL, Sondra has endured multiple chemotherapy treatments, hospital stays and complications. Despite it all, our Maccabee of the Month keeps going. At 82-years-old, she is an active member of the JCA Walking Club, who is not slowing down – walking an average of 90 miles every


In addition to the support Sondra receives from the Walking Club and weekly virtual training sessions, our Lynnell Grimes goes the extra mile for her long-time client. To help Sondra avoid the risk of visiting a grocery store, Lynnell shops for her every week. “The pandemic has made the last year so hard. I do miss being at the JCA, but I am so thankful to have continued support and motivation!” says Sondra.

Jewish Federation & Foundation of Northeast Florida 23



Pam Lewis - day school student

My journey began as a preschool and day school student, then a teacher and now a parent. How did I end up here? In such an amazing, loving and special community? How did I become so lucky?

It all started with my mom and dad–Marla and Gary Lewis. When my family moved to Jacksonville in 1993 I began attending the DuBow Preschool. When I asked my parents what made them decide to send me to the Martin J. Gottlieb Day School, they explained that “still being new to the community, it was important for us to connect with Jewish families in town. The warm and welcoming 24

Pam Feldman - preschool parent

environment is exactly what we wanted for our children.”

Fast forward to 2012 when I graduated from college with my bachelor’s degree in elementary education. Where did I apply for a job? To the place that felt like home– where I grew academically but also as a person. I wanted to have the opportunity to provide the same caring environment in the very same classrooms where I had thrived as a student. Today I lead students in creating some of the same memories that I experienced–Consecration and my parents decorating my fi rst siddur cover, Passover seder plays, Hanukkah

songs with project keepsakes, and Thanksgiving programs!

Fast forward to 2021. My husband, Jason, and I are trying to decide where we feel most comfortable sending our fi rst child to school. DuBow Preschool, of course! Just as my mom had decided for me all those years ago–the warm, loving and caring environment is just what Jason and I want for our child. Knowing that our son is going to make the same wonderful memories and have the same exceptional education that I received and now pass on to my students is truly a feeling that is unmatched.

FACES OF THE JCA: SHIRLEY STEEL By Beth Milograno Berry, Jewish Community Alliance

Our Athletics and Fitness Association of America (AFAA) Certifi ed Personal Trainer and Group Fitness and Pilates Instructor Shirley Steel joined the JCA family in 2008 with a mission to help our members set achievable fi tness goals.

Shirley fi rst discovered her love of exercise during a group fi tness class. Since becoming a certifi ed fi tness instructor in 2002, Shirley says helping people reach their goals is her passion and she can’t imagine a career doing anything else. What is your advice for people wanting to make better progress with their fitness goals? Set SMART goals for success. Create a written plan that includes reasonable and measurable short and long-term objectives. Specifi c – Decide how many inches you want to lose.

Measurable – Track your progress with weekly weigh-ins and measurements.

Attainable – Reduce your chance of failure by starting with an achievable number. When you reach that goal, set another.

Relevant – Match your behaviors with your goal. Choose an exercise program geared toward weight loss. Time-bound – Have a clear start and end date.

What post-workout recovery techniques do you share with gym-goers at the JCA?

Foam rolling, known as self-myofascial release, is an excellent tool to promote muscle and connective tissue recovery. Foam rolling brings relief from knots, pain and stiff ness, and improves mobility. Clients who practice foam rolling experience many of the same benefi ts as a sports massage. Foam roll before training to help activate key stabilizing muscles and after training to help fl ush your system of built-up lactic acid. Mark your calendars to join Shirley for Mat Pilates on Sundays at 9 am and Tone ‘n’ Stretch on Wednesdays at 11:30 am at the JCA. Visit for more information about our Group Fitness classes.


CTEEN JAX KICKED OFF THE NEW YEAR WITH A BLAST! By Esther Hamford, Chabad of St. Johns County Jewish teens had an awesome time making new friends and catching up with old ones as we played laser tag, arcades at 'Main Event' and enjoyed Kosher snacks. It was truly amazing to see the smiles on their faces, as teens from many diff erent public schools came together to meet other Jewish students their age and have a great time. Our next event will be all about community service and giving to others. CTeen Jax harnesses the incredible potential and energy of teenagers with dynamic programs that bring teens together to give back to


their communities and the environment. As they engage in positive activities, they’re forging new friendships based on the values we want our kids to have. At Chabad of St. Johns Jewish teens learn about themselves and their heritage through giving to others and participating in fun social and in community service activities.

CTeen Jax is open to all Jewish teens, regardless of affi liation or knowledge. For more info on upcoming events follow us at or Email or call (904) 701-4422


By Rabbi Shira Rosenblum, Jacksonville Jewish Center

The Bernard & Alice Selevan Religious School at the Jacksonville Jewish Center launched successfully in August and is full of fun, learning, and holiday experiences! While still following our COVID-19 protocols, our tzevet (staff ), madrikhim (teen volunteers), and learners have found plenty of opportunities to learn,

connect and celebrate. We have been utilizing our vast property which provides an abundance of space to break into small groups while also spreading out in the Sanctuary during All-School Havdalah and other special programs. Continuing our annual tradition of “Pizza in the Hut,” we welcomed our families to join us for a delicious lunch in the Goldman Sukkah and other Sukkot festivities including

shaking the lulav & etrog and learning about the custom of Ushpizin (welcoming guests). Our school is thriving and we continue to create new and innovative ways for our learners to grow and learn during this unique time. Visit religiousschoolcalendarpdf578� to see our 2021-2022 Religious School Calendar and if you or anyone you know would like to join our learning community, contact Rabbi Rosenblum at, (904) 292-1000 ext. 134, or our offi ce at



Honey cake is traditionally distributed and eaten Rosh Hashana time. "Lekach" is customarily requested, symbolizing our sincerest prayer that all of our needs be generously provided for from on High. Before Shabbat each week, Jewish students bake Challah for Shabbat at Chabad. Prior to Rosh Hashana, honey cake was baked and distributed to students as well.

Shakshouka in the Sukkah was hosted in the Chabad at UNF Sukkah for students. In addition to learning about the history of Israeli cuisine, student prepared the delicious dish and Shook the Lulav and Esrog.


Tabling on campus. After a "hybrid" year of studies to due to COVID-19, students are back at UNF. At Chabad's table students often stop by for a shmooze, pick up some Israel Swag and catch up on upcoming events. Rabbi Novack is tabling with Jewish Ospreys.

Sukkot at Treaty Park, St Augustine. It was nice for Temple Bet Yam's Religious school kids to get together in person to discuss Sukkot with Rabbi Kogan. (Pictured above: Teacher Emily with Char discussing the mitzvah of waving the lulav.)

The Jacksonville Kollel’s women’s division had a great time at our Sushi in the Sukkah event. Women from all over Jacksonville got together for great food, company and inspiration. It was a wonderful chance to connect and learn about the holiday of Sukkot. Thank you to Henny Fisch, Emily Rosenbaum, and Breindy Lazer for sharing some of their Sukkot insights and what the holiday means to them. To hear more about women’s programs at the Kollel, please contact Rachelli Fisch at (904) 616-7701 or For more information about the learning opportunities offered by the Kollel, visit

Jewish Federation & Foundation of Northeast Florida 29


Residents enthusiastically participated in shaking the Lulav and Etrog.

Leslie Held, Director of Jewish Life, and assistant Laura Platzer entertained a large group of residents with refreshments in the over-sized sukkah at River Garden, while providing Jewish News Around The World.

Family Sukkot Celebration in Nocatee! We had exciting holiday challenges for kids to decorate and assemble a portable Sukkah. There were free Sukkot treats for all, kosher deli sandwiches for purchase, and everyone got a chance to shake the Lulav & Etrog & celebrate Sukkot! (Pictured above: Rabbi Mendel Sharfstein shaking the lulav & etrog with dozens of people at Chabad of St. Johns family Sukkot celebration) 30

Hazzan Holzer and Rabbi Feigenbaum arrived to bring the sounds of the shofar to our Home.

Steve Meisel provided a holiday service for our Memory Care residents.

Our deepest gratitude and appreciation for the herculean “labor of love”, goes to Steve Meisel who led our campus through the High Holidays. With a hearty “thank you” to Dr. Ed Safer for blowing the shofar both days of Rosh Hashanah.

Chabad of St. Johns Kosher Food Club at Creekside High School. We enjoyed ice coffee and muffins, played a Sukkot Kahoot game, had a Sukkah on campus, and shook the lulav and etrog.


The GROW Enrichment Program, is an innovative Jewish after-school program, located in the heart of St. Johns County. Our program is a trend setter in creative Jewish expression and education for children from Kindergarten through middle school. Our students learn, understand and experience Jewish life to the fullest! Grow takes place in two locations in St. Johns and in Nocatee. Pictured above are children excitingly getting ready for the High Holidays. For more info visit: or email

Congregation Ahavath Chesed completed their Yom Kippur observance with Neilah and Havdallah at the Beach. Pictured, Cantor Barry and Rabbi Glasser.

Cathy Winterfield prepares to blow the Shofar

The Jacksonville Jewish Center K-9 congregants joined together and celebrated their Bark Mitzvah on October �, �0�1, lead by Hazzan Jesse Holzer. So much fun was had by members celebrating their furry, four-legged family member's Simcha.

Chewy looking handsome in his tallis and kippah.

Women's Philanthropy of the Jewish Federation & Foundation partnered with the Jewish Community Alliance's Monthly Member Mitzvah to collect feminine products for the Women's Philanthropy Dignity Project. Hundreds of products were collected from generous donors throughout the community to help girls and women in Northeast Florida. Thank you to all that contributed through the JCA's collection or sent items through the Amazon Wishlist. All items were delivered to Jewish Family and Community Services and PACE Center for Girls Jacksonville.

Lauren Rickoff, Director of Women's Philanthropy; Donna O'Steen, Volunteer Coordinator at JFCS; Jenn Neuman, WP Dignity Project Chair; and Rachel Sandler, Jewish Educator at the JCA happily deliver bags of products to JFCS and Pace Center for Girls.

Jewish Federation & Foundation of Northeast Florida 33


Beth El at the Beaches' Consecration Service took place on September �4, �0�1 on Simchat Torah. It was a wonderful evening shared with both old and new members, all coming together as a Jewish community to educate our young people with Jewish tradition. (Pictured above: Rabbi Matuson blessing the children from Beth El's Religious School.)




BRANDON SUGG, FINANCIAL ADVISOR, EDWARD JONES By Mitzi Saul, Jewish Federation & Foundation of Northeast Florida I felt I had a duty and obligation to give back.” According to Brandon, his military service has shaped who he is. It’s taught him to think critically, reminded him to be open-minded and helped him become a better leader. These are all qualities that translate well for financial planning.

At first glance, Brandon Sugg might be mistaken for any other young financial advisor looking to build a clientele or helping his clients to reach their retirement goals. But after spending just a few moments with this combat veteran and commissioned officer, I quickly realized I was in the presence of someone who understood what’s important in life. As one can imagine, as a former field artillery officer in the United States Army in the Middle East, Brandon has seen his share of life-harrowing situations and has a true appreciation for the life lessons he’s learned from those experiences. “After attending college in July of 2010, I enlisted in the Army because

He says, “I help people plan for what’s most important for them. It’s different for everybody. Many of the values of Edward Jones are the same values in the military. Integrity and loyalty to do what’s right. To put my client’s interest ahead of my own. These values are what makes this a good fit for me to help my clients and put their needs first.”

Being no stranger to the world of finance, one of Brandon’s childhood memories is of his grandfather looking up stocks in the newspaper and Brandon wanting to participate. Prior to working with Edward Jones, he gained industry experience working in the hedge fund and private equity space. Earlier while in the Army, he rebranched from Field Artillery to Finance, attending finance

school and comptroller school.

After coming home to Jacksonville in 2013, Brandon met his wife Alyssa and they married in 2016. Wanting to begin his Jewish journey before he deployed to Syria, Brandon converted to Judaism in 2017. “I wanted to embrace a Jewish life before I went away. I greatly admire my in-laws, Marcy and Eric Sandler, and the values they instilled in their daughter, so this was important to me.”

Brandon is a big believer in paying it forward by staying involved in his Jewish community. He shares his time with the Jewish Federation & Foundation by sitting on several committees including the Young Professionals & Families’ steering committee. A graduate of the inaugural BRIDGES leadership development initiative 2020-2021 program, Brandon is co-chair for this year’s class. “I want to make sure all my hard work and dedication is something of value that I can pass on to future generations.”

Brandon enjoys watching Formula One racing, playing tennis, and is an avid runner. Alyssa works as a special education teacher for middle school students at Landrum Middle School., the same school she attended growing up. Together, they enjoy spending time walking the beach with their dog, Hamilton. Brandon Sugg helps clients accomplish their long-term goals. He can be reached at or (904) 834-7114.

Jewish Federation & Foundation of Northeast Florida 35



STUFFED MUSHROOMS MAH ZEL TUV* By Suzie Becker, Jewish Family and Community Services

I collect Jewish cookbooks. One of my favorites is The New Kosher Cookbook Trilogy by Ruth and Bob Grossman, published in 1963. This is before international cuisine was available everywhere Jews were moving to live in the United States. The dishes stand the test of time, and the recipes are written in a special American-Jewish dialect that is hysterical! I sometimes use Portabella mushrooms to make this an entree. This is a delicious forshpeis (appetizer) for bar mitzvahs, weddings, or Bris receptions.


1. Wash the mushrooms.

2. Chop the meat and scallions together.

3. Mix in a tablespoon soy sauce, salt, pepper and fl our. Shape this into small bowls and stuff the mushrooms.

4. In a large frying pan pour in the rest of the soy sauce and the broth.

5. Put in the mushrooms with the stuff ed side up, and put on the pan a cover, and for 20 minutes you should cook. *MAH ZEL TUV: what they told Columbus when he got back to Spain.


20 Nice large mushrooms 3/4 pound ground meat

3 tablespoons chopped scallions 3 tablespoons soy sauce A few pinches of salt A little pinch pepper 1 tablespoon fl our

1 cup beef or chicken broth

POTATO LATKES WITH AVOCADO MASH By Stacy Seslowski, Jewish Community Alliance

Chanukkah! Oh Chanukkah, come light the menorah! I can hear the tune in my mind and feel the excitement in my belly. On this holiday, we are reminded that miracles are possible and that we can see them happening all around if we open our eyes and minds. Latkes are small potato pancakes that are cooked in oil and traditionally eaten during

this time of year to remind us of the miracle of Chanukkah.

This latke is not only healthy and delicious, but these gems are easier to prepare than most stove-top versions of the traditional dish. This glutenfree and dairy-free recipe will serve up to 10 guests at your Chanukkah celebrations this year. Baked instead

of fried, the recipe also eliminates the infl ammatory compounds created when we burn oil to fry foods at high temperatures. Finally, the avocado mash topping adds potassium, heart-healthy monounsaturated fat, fi ber, antioxidants, folate and more. Enjoy these delectable delights with your loved ones this Chanukkah and all year round!


1. Preheat oven to 425°F, spray a baking sheet with coconut oil or non-stick cooking spray and set aside.

2. Add carrots/parsnips, potatoes and onions to a high-speed blender or food processor and process until they appear to be chopped fi nely. 3. Pour contents into a colander and let drain for 10 minutes, pressing down with a paper towel occasionally to soak up excess moisture. 4. Place potato, carrots/parsnips and onion mixture in a large mixing bowl, add in whisked eggs and remaining ingredients. Stir to combine.

5. Form the mixture into patties and place on an oiled baking sheet. Bake for 10 minutes, fl ip and bake for 10 minutes, fl ip again and bake for 5 minutes, fl ip again and bake for 5 minutes. Repeat fl ipping until desired brownness is achieved. 6. In a separate medium-sized bowl, combine all topping ingredients.

7. Top latkes with avocado mash and serve.


5 medium-sized white or sweet potatoes 4 medium-sized carrots or parsnips

1 medium onion quartered 2 eggs whisked

2 tsp garlic powder

1/2 cup gluten-free quick oats 1/2 cup coconut fl our 1 tsp salt

1 tsp pepper

1 Tbsp cinnamon (if using sweet potatoes) Cooking spray or coconut oil to coat the baking pan

AVOCADO MASH TOPPING 5 avocados peeled

1 large red onion, minced

2 Tbsp lime juice squeezed from fresh lime

2 Tbsp stone-ground mustard 3 Tbsp coconut aminos

2 Tbsp avocado mayonnaise 2 Tbsp relish or chopped pickles 1 tsp paprika

1 tsp chili powder 1 tsp salt

1 tsp pepper

RememberinG Summer Sleepaway Camp Learning to Be Leaders and More! By Jennifer Rensch, Jewish Federation & Foundation of Northeast Florida

Every year, The Len & Judy Elikan Camp Scholarship Fund awards overnight camp scholarships to teens who are seen as potential leaders of the next generation in the Jewish community. Jewish camp is a place for teens to learn new skills and to meet new friends with whom they can share ideas about Judaism and life. It’s also a place where many become proud and committed Jews, though they may not have had that goal in mind when deciding to attend camp. Many become leaders in their community – a great benefi t.

We asked this year’s award recipients to submit an essay about their unique experiences. Below is an excerpt from each 2021 camp attendee:

Macy Pargman at Camp Coleman Every summer that I have attended URJ Camp Coleman has been special – but this past summer was unique in so many diff erent ways. With Covid and all of the stress the world has brought us each day, it was important that I fi nd my way to the beautiful mountains and friendships that were waiting for me in Cleveland, GA. There are too many favorite memories to share about my journey at Coleman, but something that stands out is the lasting friendships that I have made this past summer when I needed them the most. Coming together and sharing joy, laughter, and Judaism among like-minded individuals is a unique experience that can only happen at camp. It is so special to be surrounded by Jewish teenagers from all over the Southeast. It didn’t matter if we were in arts and crafts, sports, or hanging out at the waterfront, my friends and I found time to laugh and create memories

that I think about every day. Wearing white on Shabbat is something you need to experience fi rsthand to understand the strong sense of pride and Judaism that shines as you walk around the camp – jamming out in our legendary song sessions. My time at Camp Coleman was so special and I am sure future campers who attend will feel the same way!

evan wolpoff at Camp ramah darom Over the summer I attended Camp Ramah Darom. I had many fun experiences, even with the added Covid safety regulations, and was able to return to the camp I love and connect with my Jewish roots. There was an activity that males in Nivonim and Gesher, the two oldest divisions in camp, participated in every Friday night. We would leave dinner before washing our hands and go outside to huddle in a circle and sing some prayers. It would get physical and energetic. I always felt a strong sense of brotherhood,

and in that moment every week was when I felt the closest to Judaism. There were

also many opportunities for leadership. During Yom Sport (Color War), my division helped out the younger groups and set an example. When we did ruach we had to be the loudest and the younger kids followed. While the campers participated in sports and activities during the day we had

to help lead the team. Being one of the older campers, I have grown into a role as a leader and look forward to next summer as I become a counselor in training as part of the Gesher program.

Aiden Smolensky at Machal, Camp StonE This past summer I had the privilege to attend a one-of-a-kind Jewish summer camp experience run by Camp Stone called Machal. Machal is a Hebrew abbreviation for the term Machane Chalutzim; translated as pioneers. The main highlight of every summer on Machal is the weeklong backpacking trip in Virginia. Hiking the Appalachian Trail for two days and canoeing the James River for three days. Sixty-eight other Jewish campers and I pioneered throughout Western Pennsylvania, east to Philadelphia, and down to the rolling Appalachian Mountains in Virginia. Each day on Machal, we camped in tents at night and

woke to day-long hikes through the woods in the Allegheny National Forest. There are no showers or bathrooms, motels, or restaurants on the way. It is just you, your friends, and nature; no distractions get in the way. The connections made with the people on Machal are stronger than any other. You can only accomplish your goals if each person works together and opens their arms to others’ needs. At the beginning of the summer, we started off as eighty individuals hiking and camping together. But, we ended as a family who looks out for one another and will always carry each other on their backs: one Shevet.

Abigail Fixel at Camp Perlman Where I found my community: that is how I’ll always know BBYO’s Camp Perlman in Pennsylvania. I didn’t know what to expect during my eighteen-day stay at a camp with over 250 teens from across the world, but I certainly left a better person than when I entered.

I spent a whirlwind eighteen days making amazing friends and memories. I joined BBYO sings where I learned how to inspire a crowd through music from Julia and Eric; I played competitive games of chess spectated by half the camp during rainstorms; I learned valuable leadership skills I’ve taken back to my community and my nonprofi t during daily Blueprint classes; I spent our free hours sitting in the shade listening to my friends play the guitar; and, best of all, I was able to pray and celebrate with a group of teens just like me. My favorite moments at Perlman were the times we spent united around the tree in the main quad (or, when it was raining, in Katz or PA), under the stars, rejoicing in our Judaism together. I love

the music of BBYO. Every time we sang together, I was overwhelmed with this intense feeling of community, home, of feeling like I belonged. The memories I made there and everything I learned will stay with me forever. Jewish Federation & Foundation of Northeast Florida 39




By Cantor Carrie Barry, Congregation Ahavath Chesed

In Shel Silverstein’s beloved book “The Giving Tree,” the tree loves the boy so much that, over time, she gives away most of herself in order to make the boy happy. The story tugs at our emotions as we watch the boy take and take without giving anything tangible in return until, ultimately, the tree is only a stump. Even as a stump, though, the tree still manages to give of herself, and, remarkably, that ability brings her joy. How was the tree, despite being worn and depleted, able to muster the strength to give even more? Exodus 35:29 tells us that “all the men and women whose hearts

moved them” brought personal gifts to help in the building of the Mishkan. Some brought gold and silver while others donated less expensive items, but the Torah does not make any reference to the diff erences in value. The copper and bronze that adorned the altar were given the same prominence as the gold donated for the Holy Ark. Instead, the value was in the intent. The Talmud teaches that “God wants our hearts.” Giving without compassion is still giving, but it is imperfect. There is something that happens within us when we share, not because we have to, but because

we have a driving need to care for others. The knowledge that we have helped bring comfort or joy to someone in need has the potential to fi ll us back up.

Think back to that last page in “The Giving Tree.” On the right is a small drawing of the boy, now elderly, resting on the stump while on the left-hand side we see only these fi ve words: “And the tree was happy.” She gave because she loved and that made all the diff erence.

Jewish Federation & Foundation of Northeast Florida 41

B ' N A I M I T Z VA H


Mazel Tov to Maytal, Nathan, Ian and Brady on becoming Bar and Bat Mitzvahs! Through their participation in Chain of Memory they demonstrate the importance of remembering the past as well as educating the future. Chain of Memory makes it possible for B’nai Mitzvah to remember one of the 1.5 million children who were murdered by the Nazis before being able to fulfill the mitzvah of learning Torah. The B’nai Tzedek Program, with the support of Mel and Debbie Gottlieb, helps young people learn about leadership, service, financial literacy, and long-term investing to use their tzedekah for good. For more information about these programs offered through the Jewish Federation and Foundation of Northeast Florida, contact Kellie Smith at (904) 51�379� or Maytal Mitzmacher for Chain of Memory

Maytal is a former student of the Martin J. Gottlieb Day School and is currently in 8th grade at the Ottawa Jewish Community School where her favorite subject is Math. When she's not working hard in school or preparing for her Bat Mitzvah, Maytal is a dedicated competitive dancer at Capital City Dance and a summer-loving Ramahnik. As part of the Jacksonville Jewish Center’s B’nei Mitzvah Program, Maytal chose and completed 13 mitzvot for her Bat Mitzvah that engaged the family in strengthening their Jewish home, synagogue, and community.

Frieda Reiss was born in Angoulême, France in 1942 to Joseph and Haya-Sura and had three older sisters: Riwka-Regine, Rachel, and Annie. Her father died at the Gurs camp. Frieda, her mother and her sister Riwka-Regine were arrested on October 9, 1942, and transferred to Drancy. Their deportation took place on convoy 47 of February 11, 1943. Freida was murdered in Auschwitz either the day before or the day of her fi rst birthday. Her two older sisters, Rachel, who is holding Frieda on her lap, and Annie, to her left, escaped arrest.

Brady Pargman for Chain of Memory

Brady Pargman is an 8th grade honor-roll student at The Bolles School where he starts on the basketball team, plays the clarinet, W.E.B Leader and serves on the Honor Council. In his free time, he can be found spending hours each week working out and shooting hoops at the JCA and trying out new songs on the piano at home. As part of Brady’s Mitzvah Project, Brady purchased and prepared food for delivery to people who are in need and homeless in Jacksonville. After a yearlong delay due to the pandemic, Brady looks forward to celebrating his simcha with many family members, classmates, and friends from his many summers at Camp Coleman.

Jacques Pergament was born on August 20, 1935, in Lille (Nord), where he lived at 135 Avenue Gambetta. Arrested with his parents, Menahem and Dora-Esther, they were deported on August 4, 1942, from the barracks in Malines, the Belgian equivalent of Draney, on the fi rst convoy from Belgium.

Ian Funk for Chain of Memory

On November 6, Ian Funk will become a Bar Mitzvah at the Jacksonville Jewish Center. Ian is currently in 7th grade at Switzerland Point Middle School and the Bernard & Alice Selevan Religious School. He is interested in improving his Hebrew reading and learning about the Holocaust. Ian’s favorite Jewish holiday is Hanukkah. His favorite interests include playing basketball, tennis, biking and attending Herzl Camp in Wisconsin. As part of the Center’s B’nai Mitzvah program, Ian chose 13 mitzvot that engaged the family in strengthening their Jewish home, synagogue, and community. One of the most meaningful mitzvah to Ian was helping to lead a Passover seder.

Hans Ament was the son of a successful manufacturer, and was four Mayears old when the Germans annexed Austria. In 1941, Hans' mother sold his brother Alfred's stamp collection for food. When ordered to report to a "resettlement camp," they fl ed to Marseilles in unoccupied France. While there, Hans attended the local public school and learned French. His mother became ill and was hospitalized. Hans was sent to a children's home in Izieu, and his brother was placed in a home for teenagers. At the children's home, Hans lived with over 40 Jewish children and several adult counselors. The children often went on hikes, picnics, and swimming, while the older children helped out on local farms.

On April 6, 1944, when Hans was ten years old, the Nazis raided the home. Most of the children and their counselors were sent to the Auschwitz death camp on April 15, where they were murdered.

Nathan Willens for B'nai Tzedek and Chain of Memory

Nathan will become a Bar Mitzvah on November 27 at the Jacksonville Jewish Center. He is completing 13 mitzvot for the Center’s B’nei Mitzvah Program. His favorite mitzvah is reciting the Modeh Ani prayer every morning. Nathan attends Fruit Cove Middle School and the Bernard and Alice Seleven Religious School. His favorite Jewish holiday is Purim. He enjoys playing volleyball and tennis, baking, playing video games and spending time with family and friends.

Shulim Saleschutz was the oldest of three children born to religious Jewish parents living in Kolbuszowa, a town in Poland. His father owned a wholesale general store in town. Shulim's mother tended to the house and cared for him, his brother, Shlomo, and his sister, Rozia. When Shulim was 9, the Germans invaded Poland. Polish soldiers on horses tried to fi ght against the German army, but they were no match against the tanks. In July 1941 the Germans forced all the Jews of Kolbuszowa to live in one small section of town. Two of Shulim's grandparents, an uncle and two aunts moved in with his family. Shulim's 12th birthday was a milestone — he now had to wear an armband with a Star of David like the other men. He felt proud, and asked his uncle Naftali to take a picture of him wearing the armband. Shulim was assigned to work details with the other men. He cleared snow and repaired the roads.

Shulim was deported to the Rzeszow ghetto on June 25, 1942, and then to the Belzec camp in July. There, Shulim was gassed with his mother, brother and sister. He was 12 years old. 43

WORTH THE SCHELP JCA Cultural Arts Festival November 1, 2, 4, 5, 7, 8, 10, 14, 15, 17, 18, JCA's celebration of the arts. For more info contact either Rachel Sandler at (904) 730-2100 ext. 271 rachel.sandler@ or Heather Terrill at (904) 730-2100 ext. 265 heather.terrill@ JCA Jewish Kayaking Journey November 6 8:00- 11:00 a.m. Location: 6-mile Landing. Join Justin Sakofs on a kayaking journey with an infusion of Jewish spirituality. Advance registration is required. Bring your own kayak. YPF Quarterly Cocktails November 10 6:00 - 9:00 p.m. Location: Beirut restaurant, 3928 Baymeadows road. JCA childcare will be an option for this Quarterly Cocktails event. Contact Faye Hedrick at fayeh@jewishjacksonville. org Concepts and Misconceptions About Israel & Zionism (Virtual) 11:00 a.m. Led by Charlotte Korchak, Senior Educator, StandWithUs Israel. Sponsored by Hadassah Jacksonville and StandwithUs, NEFL branch. RSVP jacksonvillehadassah@gmail. com to receive zoom link. PJ Library “One Good Deed” Book Walk at the JCA November 14 10:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. Location: JCA. Join PJ Library for "One Good Deed" Book Walk. Contact Melissa Williams at for more info. Monday Mitzvah with Mariam November 15

9 a.m. to 12 p.m. Location: Jewish Federation & Foundation of Northeast Florida. Come meet the Jewish Federation & Foundation's new CEO Mariam Feist while doing a mitzvah! Drop off your non-perishable food donations while welcoming Mariam to our community. Donations to the Max Block Food Pantry of JFCS will provide nutritious emergency groceries to those experiencing difficult times. Cafe Israeli with Shaliach Stav Brener November 17 7:00 - 8:00 p.m. Location: JCA. Gather together, to enjoy Israeli snacks and coffee and to talk about anything connected to Israel! Register at: Chai Five Family Mitzvah Club November 17 4:30 - 6:00 p.m. This new club is all about having fun as a family while instilling in our children Tikkun Olam. Giving for Thanksgiving - Eat dinner then do a mitzvah: pack & deliver gift baskets to our first responders. RSVP: (904) 770-0502 JJC 100th Interfaith Thanksgiving Gratitude Service - OneJax November 18 6:00 - 8:30 p.m.

Temple Bet Yam Presents Sunday at the Movies: JERUSALEM November 21 12:00 - 2:30 p.m. Location: IMAX Theater, World Golf Villiage. JERUSALEM! Go on a journey to one of the world’s most beloved and beautiful cities. Admission is $15. Register by November 18. Call Carol Levy, (954) 895-7332 for information and registration. JCA Annual Chanukkah Extravaganza November 30 5:45 p.m. Location: JCA. Festivities include the lighting of our giant outside chanukiyah, famous latkes, hotdogs, songs, and entertainment. Admission tickets available at the JCA front desk. Space is limited. Chanukah Helicopter Gelt Drop & Light Show November 30 6:15 - 8:30 p.m. Location: 400 Nocatee Center Way, Ponte Vedra. 2,500 chocolate coins will rain down from the sky! Free & open to all. Special socially-distanced seating for 55+. There will also be a 'drive in' option available. Hannukah & Hockey Night December 1 6:00 p.m.

Location: Jacksonville Jewish Center. 100th Interfaith Thanksgiving Gratitude Service - OneJax Community Annual Event

Location: VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena. Jax Icemen vs Orlando Solar Bears. Join our community agencies and synagogues for a night on the ice. $18 per person. Go to to buy tickets.

Beaches Ladies Night Out! November 18 6:30 p.m.

The Kollel Chanukah Event December 1 8:00 p.m.

The Power of Storytelling with guest speaker, Eva Grayzel. Enjoy cocktails, appetizers, and desserts. Register at https:// Address provided with confirmation.

Come enjoy a fun night out for Chanukah with food, drinks and entertainment. No registration required. For more info, please contact




Your area Jewish agencies, synagogues and day schools will be partnering with the Jacksonville Icemen for Hanukkah & Hockey Night! Join us for networking before the game, live ice hockey, menorah lighting, photo opps, and a sweet treat in honor of the fourth night of Hanukkah. Go to for tickets and details.



River Garden is the go-to resource for high-quality adult care in Jacksonville. Honoring our Jewish traditions, the dedicated staff , leadership and volunteers are all committed to a best-in-class experience. Whether it is for you, your spouse, parents or friend, be sure to request River Garden.

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 communities/jacksonville or calling Melissa Willams at (904) 394-5724.

JFCS, in partnership with Margo's Catering, is pleased to bring you our meal program Meals4You. Meals are delicious, nutritious, convenient and delivered right to your door. Jewish dietary laws are observed. Call Nicole Andrews at (904) 394-5810 for more information.


Every Tuesday from 3:15 to 4:15, Torah Academy hosts a free kosher food program sponsored by the USDA for children under 18. The program helps provide food during these trying times. For more info, contact

Through a partnership with GO GO Grandparent and a grant from the Community Foundation for Northeast Florida, JFCS is now off ering immediate rides through our Call2Go program. Riders will no longer have to call to book transportation. They will now be able to use an "on demand" service available at their fi ngertips! GO GO Grandparent will have booking agents available 24/7. When a client calls, the agent will book, monitor and stay available to the client until the ride is complete. Riders MUST pre-register with Nicole Brown at (904) 394-5724 and have a cell phone (texting is not necessary) to use this service.

Admissions (904) 886-8420 Adult Day (904) 288-7858 Home Health Care (904) 288-7851 Outpatient Rehab (904) 886-8454 The Coves (904) 292-2683 Volunteers (904) 886-8429 Foundation (904) 886-8430 MAIN (904) 260-1818

Searching for identity hosts writing workshops for second and third generation holocaust survivors. Meet monthly in a confi dential and judgement-free setting, in-person/ online, to explore experiences, capture important stories and explore identity. RSVP at writing-workshops.

Call2Go is available to those in need of transportation to attend synagogue, medical appointments and other important outings. A sliding fee scale is available. Don't be deceived by the name. . . you don't have to be a grandparent to use the program. Call Nicole today!



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