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8505 San Jose Blvd. Jacksonville, FL 32217



LETTER FROM OUR EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR Throughout the ages, there is what has been referred to as a competition between Passover and Rosh Hashanah. The Exodus from Egypt versus the creation of man on the sixth day of creation. Both are significant in our Jewish tradition. One of the stories that shows us the power of Rosh Hashanah with a connection to pre-Exodus is the story of Joseph. According to the Talmud, Joseph went to sleep on Erev Rosh Hashanah in prison in Egypt. He was sold out by his brothers and forgotten. That night, Pharoah has his famous two dreams. The next morning, he listens to his butler who tells him of Joseph and his ability to interpret dreams. In just a few minutes, Joseph goes from being a prisoner to becoming one of the most powerful men in Egypt. Freed from prison, Joseph realizes that his freedom cannot solely be physical. It must also encompass spirituality and a freedom of his spirit. This leads to forgiving his brothers and reuniting with his father.

May we learn from this story? Can we allow ourselves to grow spiritually, as we rejoice in the freedom from isolation? Some of the most learned Jewish scholars

teach that the sound of the shofar is like the crying out of a child. Might we really listen to what those we share our lives with cry out for? Might we listen to one another, learn from one another, care for one another, and work together on behalf of our community and fellow Jews around the world? There are those who question if Israel has strayed from being a light unto the nations. No country is perfect. I would ask us to acknowledge what Israel has done over the course of the past few decades, coming to the aid of more than 20 countries around the world who have suffered disasters. Most recently, this is evidenced both in Surfside and with the fires in Greece. Israel’s rescue efforts also have saved hundreds of lives in Turkey, Haiti, the Philippines, Nepal, Mexico, Armenia, Argentina, Greece, India, Kenya, Japan and the US. We do not always have to agree with everything Israel does. However, I believe that we can defend her right to be wrong without compromising love for our Jewish state. From my family and on behalf of our board members and staff, I wish you a happy and healthy New Year. L’shanah Tovah!

Alan Margolies

Jewish Federation & Foundation Staff Alan Margolies Executive Director Jill Abel Director, Israel Partnership

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





6 River Garden Steps Up to Do Their Part 8 Jewish Federation & Foundation Board Member Focus: Sandy Zimmerman

10 P2G Director & Shlichim Mom Retires

September 2021


L’DOR V’DOR 24 Maccabee of the month: Susan Hall

18 Prestigious Award Bestowed to Dedicated Leader Iris Kraemer 22 Ya Gotta Mean It




31 Rethinking What it Means to be Observant

Cover photo by Emlyn James, Emlyn James Images

Fresh Prints Pet Lodge & Day Resort



29 Rosh Hashanah Traditions



26 Planning Quality Community-wide Programming Together

30 The Jewish New Year



25 Faces of Fitness: Bill Becker

13 The Temple Welcomes Rabbi Maya Glasser 16 Standing with Israel... in Israel





40 Rosh Hashanah Pomegranate Salad

41 Cousin Belles Pickled Herring in Sour Cream






By Kellie Smith, Jewish Federation & Foundation of Northeast Florida If it wasn’t clear before, it is now. Life is fragile, societies and communities are fragile. The ongoing pandemic continues to create challenges for all of us as individuals and for all of our agencies in the Northeast Florida Jewish community.

Communities are built of people who feel they are part of something that is bigger than themselves: a shared goal or set of values. To build community requires only the ability to see value in others, to look at them and see a potential partner in one’s initiative. Members of a community are responsible for one another.

This Rosh Hashanah as we begin a new year, cast away our sins, and reflect on the challenges before us, we cannot forget our beloved Jewish organizations and the challenges they face to remain open and serving the community. I would like to ask all of you to think about your legacy, the volunteer hours you’ve dedicated, the gifts you’ve donated, and the energy you’ve given to making the world be a better place. You are helping to build community and I applaud you all for your time, talent and treasure! Don’t let it

die with you, you can continue to repair the world by planning your legacy with the Jewish Foundation.

Legacy has never been more concrete and immediate. I don’t want my community to die, I want it to thrive. I believe I would not be who I am without the community of people around me who help shape every single day. We must think about our legacy and help ensure the community we have built is here for generations to come. One of the most important responsibilities I have in my role as your Foundation Director is to demonstrate the importance of philanthropic investment, to show that to invest in Jewish tomorrows is to ensure that the next generation will have access to Jewish life.

Please consider a legacy gift, a gift at the time of your passing, to help us ensure Jewish tomorrows. Start the conversation today by calling me at (904) 512-3796 or contact me via email at KellieK@

Jewish Federation & Foundation of Northeast Florida



RIVER GARDEN STEPS UP TO DO THEIR PART By Mauri Mizrahi, River Garden Senior Services

On a beautiful afternoon, Emily Turner from Action News JAX interviews Mauri Mizrahi about River Garden's high vaccination rates among residents and staff. "Becoming vaccinated is a 'game changer,'" Mizrahi said.

As we emerge from the COVID-19 surge, River Garden is grateful for the vaccine. We are now more than 18 months into the pandemic and to many of us, life feels as if we are on an endless roller coaster. At one point during the summer, Florida was the epicenter of a major COVID-19 outbreak with 20 percent of all COVID-19 infections in the country. The positivity rate in Duval County exceeded 27 percent. Local hospitals have been bursting at the seams, reporting that more than 97 percent of their COVID-19 patients had not been vaccinated against the virus. We have been told that COVID-19 has now become a pandemic of the unvaccinated.


Health care providers are doing their part to bring an end to the pandemic, and River Garden is no exception. We have worked hard to educate and encourage our residents, families and

staff to be vaccinated against COVID-19, and we have been very successful. Over 97 percent of our residents and 84 percent of our staff have been fully vaccinated against the coronavirus.

We have had many cases of COVID-19 on our campus over the summer. The one saving grace that we have pointed to over and over again, is that the vaccinated individuals who experienced break through infection had either mild symptoms or no symptoms at all. We are experiencing firsthand the benefits of River Garden’s high vaccination rate. Beginning October 1, all River Garden staff must be fully vaccinated in order to continue working on our campus. Since mid-July, we have not hired anyone who isn’t fully vaccinated by the time they begin

working for us. Area hospitals are taking a similar stance and we are hoping that all skilled nursing facilities will follow our lead.

As we welcome the New Year, let’s hope for a year of sharing simchas with loved ones. May our holiday tables be joyous and filled with friends and family. Let’s rejoin as a community and recognize that when we are together we support each other with a source of vitality that gives us energy, strength, and purpose to live. We are social beings and need human connection to thrive.

America has consistently shown that we are stronger when we work together in common purpose. It is now time for everyone who is not yet vaccinated to step-up and do their part – if not for yourself, then for our residents and each other.

THE JCA CULTURAL ARTS FESTIVAL By Beth Milagrano Berry, The Jewish Community Alliance

The Jewish Community Alliance’s annual celebration of Jewish literature, film and the arts, begins on Monday, November 1! As our beloved Cultural Arts Festival reemerges to incorporate in-person events once again, the celebration of the arts is extra special this year, coupled with the 25th anniversary of our signature Jewish Book Festival.

“I'm excited for the diverse group of authors and artists we will experience at the festival,” says Cultural Arts Festival Chair Whitney Kuvin. “There will be something for everyone in our community, and the festival’s extension events planned for 2022 are just as inspiring.” Featuring award-winning producers, authors, artists and films, November’s Cultural Arts Festival kicks off a year-long celebration of the arts with dozens of programs planned through 2022 to engage and connect the entire community.

The excitement begins opening night, November 1 at 7 p.m. , as Emmy award-winning producer Ira Rosen joins us to share his first-hand account from working at 60 Minutes.

As our 25th annual Jewish Book Festival continues, so does our line-up of notable bestselling Jewish authors: Pam Jenoff, Jori Epstein, Deborah Copaken, Tracy Walder, Ben Sheehan, David Page and Daniel Sokatch. Walking through our Vandroff Art Gallery during festival dates (Nov 1 -18), will also be a treat to visitors at the JCA as they take delight in the featured pieces from various local Jewish artists. There will be an opening reception at the JCA on November 1 at 6 p.m. to showcase artists: Ellen Diamond, Louise Freshman Brown, Roberta Harmon, Irene Jaffa, Karen Lippes, Jan Lipsky, Sherri Litt, Donna McNett, Kim Miller, Kim Robbins and Marlene Scheer.

Come November, festival attendees will also enjoy three unique Jewishthemed films, recently screened at film festivals across the country! Please be on the lookout; more information about our featured films this year will be published via and in the JCA’s October Alliance News. Remember, the Cultural Arts Festival continues through 2022 with our

unique Extension Programs, featuring Jewish authors: Dr. Michael Roizen, Alison Hammer, Comedian Laraine Newman, Magician Joshua Jay, Jen Spyra and Zibby Owens.

We hope you are inspired to join us for the Cultural Arts Festival. Thanks to the support of our generous sponsors, the festival is free and open to the entire community. Please visit our website for a full schedule and book synopsis of each featured author and more details about the extraordinary artwork and films being featured at our festival.

Advanced registration for all Cultural Arts Festival events at the JCA is required. Please call (904) 730-2100 ext. 228 or visit to register today. For information about sponsorship opportunities, please contact Ben Marcus at or ext. 318.

For general Cultural Arts Festival information please contact, Rachel Sandler, or ext. 271 or Heather Terrill, or ext. 265.


JEWISH FEDERATION & FOUNDATION BOARD MEMBER FOCUS: SANDY ZIMMERMAN was all in! Yes, I was a young president, but with the strong governance structure Alan has developed over his decades as CEO, no one person has to shoulder all the responsibility. We had a great executive board during my presidency, and I am proud of the accomplishments we achieved.

Your family has been active and generous in the Jewish community for generations. What drives their activism?

My family has been in Jacksonville for at least five generations. I watched my parents and grandparents volunteer when I was a child. When I was old enough to contribute, it felt like the right thing to do. I believe it is up to each of us to preserve and grow the Jewish community for future generations. My parents and grandparents did this for me, and I want to do the same for my children.

What was it like to be so young as a past president of our organization? I was always familiar with the work of the Federation, but never fully appreciated its vast reach until I joined Executive Director Alan Margolies on a mission to Romania and Israel in 2007. After that trip, I 8

You were a past Foundation board member before and during the merger with Federation. Can you share that history?

My mom had been a founding board member of the Jewish Community Foundation, so I was very familiar with the organization. By the time I was involved in both, the need to bring these two agencies together was obvious. But this was not a simple task. Both organizations had their own history and leadership. It was important to honor the independent past, but to still move forward. To ensure we did it right, Jeff Edwards, Larry Appel, Alan, and I took a road trip to visit three similar sized communities that had succeeded in merging the two organizations. You are the chair of the Foundation's investment committee. What does that involve?

Our Foundation Director, Kellie Smith, does a great job managing the existing relationships and working on growth. We have a world class investment manager in SEI. Our investment committee consists of a great cross mix of former Community Foundation members and Federation leadership. Because the actual investment decisions are made by SEI, our committee is able to focus on the needs of our donors and helping to grow legacy giving. Last I checked, our total assets under management were in excess of $35 million, having nearly doubled since the merger. Why is Jewish Federation & Foundation still relevant and vital to our future?

They are the only organization I know of that touches so many different areas of Jewish life. Whether its our schools, senior services, Israel advocacy, or emergency assistance, they make an impact. Ever since I have been involved, we have been blessed to have great relationships with all our Jewish agencies in Jacksonville. That closeness is in no small part because of the work of Alan and our Federation. Even during the COVID crisis, Alan spearheaded a daily Zoom call for all Jewish agency leadership in the city. It takes a strong and successful Federation to bring all the pieces together. What drives you to give your time, talent and treasure as a board member of Jewish Federation & Foundation of Northeast Florida? What drives me to give has changed over the years. Today it is my

children. Brooke is 20 and Leah is 17, and it’s important to me they both know how much it means to have a strong Jewish identity. Hopefully they will consider moving back to Jacksonville after college, and I believe it’s our responsibility to ensure they come back to a strong and vibrant Jewish community, just as our parents left for us. What other nonprofit organizations are you a board member?

I serve as the president of River Garden Foundation and a board member of Camp Ramah Darom. River Garden is an amazing asset for our community and has been important to my family. Three of my

grandparents spent time there at the end of their lives, and my dad currently lives at the Coves. Camp Ramah is amazing! The impact Jewish sleepaway camp has on our youth is immeasurable. In fact, I think it might be the single biggest influence on our children today. Can you tell me a little bit about your background?

I was born and raised here in Jacksonville. I graduated in 1996 from the University of Florida with a degree in Finance. I am currently a senior vice president at Morgan Stanley, where my mom, my brother and I work together as financial advisors. My daughter Brooke is a

junior at Washington University in St. Louis and Leah just entered her senior year of high school at Bolles. Anything else you'd like to say?

I have never been more excited for our organization’s future. With our new CEO, Mariam Feist, and Jennifer Plotkin as president, we are ready to tackle the needs of all Jews, locally and around the world. I would be remiss if I did not thank and honor Alan for everything he has done to get us to this point. His friendship, leadership, and fun-loving way has helped me grow as a Jewish volunteer, and as a person.

Jewish Federation & Foundation of Northeast Florida



P2G DIRECTOR AND SHLICHIM HOST MOM RETIRES By Savannah Feustel, Jewish Federation & Foundation of Northeast Florida

To say Jill Abel has devoted her focus to Northeast Florida’s Jewish community is an understatement. With her cheery disposition and drive for connection, Jill has dedicated her personal and professional life to the local and global Jewish community. Sadly, she’ll be retiring from her dual positions as Partnership2Gether (P2G) Director and its Domestic Consortium Coordinator at the end of the month. Originally from Richmond, Virginia, Jill has lived in Jacksonville with her family for the past 26 years. When she first moved to the area, Jill taught junior kindergarten at the Jewish Community Alliance’s Gan Yeladim Preschool. She found her true calling in 2012 when she dedicated her career to Partnership2Gether.

P2G is an opportunity for members of the Northeast Florida Jewish community to make people-to-people connections with Israelis living in our partnership city of Hadera-Eiron, Israel. Through her position at P2G, Jill has been able to work with teenagers and young adults within both communities. Jill says, “Witnessing the

connections form between the American and Israeli teens was really special. I loved watching as they learned more about each other and grew from being groups of Americans and


Israelis into just one large group of young Jewish people.”

In addition to making connections within both areas, she has been a “host mom'' to our Israeli shlichim (emissaries). As a mother of “two twenty-somethings,” Jill enjoys welcoming and mentoring them throughout their stay. “I don’t even consider it work at all.”

When asked about her involvement with the Jewish community outside of work, Jill spoke about how interconnected she and her entire family is with Israel. “We became connected to Israel and to the Israel Partnership because, well before I took this job, we traveled on a Federation Family Mission and then hosted Israeli teens in the summers. Both of my children were impacted by these experiences and grew to understand and love Israel in a very special way.” Married to her husband Mike of 30 years, their daughter Hannah is a speech pathologist in Northern Virginia and their son Aaron is an officer in the K'shrei Chutz Unit of the Israel Defense Forces after making Aliyah.

Jewish Federation & Foundation of Northeast Florida Executive Director

Alan Margolies expressed his thanks, “Both for Jacksonville’s Jewish community and for the other nine communities that make up our Southeast consortium, Jill has enhanced the connections and the relationships that we share with the people who live in Hadera-Eiron. Our partnership is all about a living bridge reflecting these friendships and that’s what Jill is all about.” We are so thankful for the dedication and hard work Jill has given to our Northeast Florida Jewish community and our sister community of HaderaEiron. We wish her well as she continues her journey!

P2G ONE2ONE ENGLISH PROGRAM COMPLETES THIRD COHORT By Jill Abel, Jewish Federation & Foundation of Northeast Florida

The Partnership2Gether One2One English Program completed its third cohort of lessons in early August. Eleven educators from our Partnership's Southeast Consortium joined together to create lessons and opportunities for 21 Israeli middle and high school students to develop their skills in English conversation and vocabulary development. Northeast Florida educators, Rona Siegel and Rachel Sandler were a part of this incredible cohort of enthusiastic and passionate educators who shared their love of learning and their gifts for teaching with their students.

Rona Siegel has been one of our One2One English educators since the program began last summer. Rona brings such passion to her lessons each week. One of Rona's students wrote about her, "My name is Itamar and I am a seventh grade student in Israel. This is the second year I am studying with a teacher from the United States through the HaderaEiron Partnership to improve my spoken English. This year as last year I got to study with Rona. Rona always comes to the lesson with a smile and a lot of desire to help me progress. Last year I had a hard time speaking because my English was really bad but this year, I have already improved and managed to have a real conversation with Rona. In each lesson we talked about a different topic that I or Rona chose and we met twice a week for a month. Rona brought worksheets, games and lots

of fun for learning. I thank her and the Partnership for a fun project that promoted me in English."

Rachel has just completed her second cohort and we are thrilled to have her. She engages her students beautifully and connects with them in such a meaningful way. She even introduced her students to her family this summer. Aviv, one of Rachel's students wrote, "As a student I really enjoyed meeting Rachel. She taught me a lot of English words and helped me practice my English. Rachel and I actually connected and only spoke English, and when I did not understand something she explained to me in words I understood so we could continue the conversation. I chose to take Rachel on a tour of my house, and she took me on a tour of her house, introduced me to her family members, and I even Zoomed in with her on a vacation from the Golan Heights and showed her the view! I am looking forward to continuing

with the project and meeting Rachel again in the next course!

If you are an educator and would like to participate in a program to help young Israeli students develop their English skills, please contact me at We are seeking educators who love children and want to make meaningful connections while helping these young people develop confidence in their English-speaking skills.

Jewish Federation & Foundation of Northeast Florida




By Jacqueline Witte, Temple Bet Yam

Temple Bet Yam is thrilled to welcome Rabbi Claudio Kogan to our Temple family. Rabbi Kogan, a native of Argentina, has a unique background. His experience is in both medicine and education. Not only is he a Doctor of Medicine, but he has an MS in Bioethics, is a Master of Hebrew Letters from Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati, Ohio, and is a Master of Education in Jewish education. He was ordained as a rabbi from Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion and served as a rabbi in Connecticut and in Texas. Rabbi Kogan was a chaplain at Doctor’s Hospital at Renaissance and at the Hidalgo Police Department, both in south Texas. Performing weddings, acting as a mohel, and giving invocations at the US House of Representatives and the Texas Senate and House of Representatives are representative of his involvement with the religious and secular communities. Rabbi Kogan’s work with interfaith groups, community outreach activities, and Temple involvement reflects the Temple Bet Yet philosophy where all people, regardless of their religion or expressions of faith, ethnicity, or identity are welcome. In his work with the temples where he officiated, he has created educational, music and art, and Hebrew learning programs for both adults and children. His strong support for youth is evidenced by his work on the board of a youth camp and his all-around support of the importance of the Jewish camp experience. He has worked with B’nei Mitzvah students, and implemented participation programs within the Temples and with the local communities where he has served.


Rabbi Kogan will be leading Temple Bet Yam’s services both in person and virtually. He, his wife, Anna, and his two children, will be living in South Florida, where he will be Director of Medical Ethics for the Baptist Hospital organization.

THE TEMPLE WELCOMES RABBI MAYA GLASSER By Susan Edelman, Congregation Ahavath Chesed Rabbi Glasser acknowledges this is a time of uncertainty for many. But she believes our pandemic experiences and our worries about the future give Judaism a chance to light the way by injecting more meaning into our lives.

Rabbi Maya Glasser has joined Congregation Ahavath Chesed (The Temple) as the Senior Rabbi. Ordained by Hebrew Union College—Jewish Institute of Religion, Rabbi Glasser also holds HUC’s inaugural Certificate in Pastoral Care and Counseling. Her experience as a clergy leader, and with Jewish education and youth as well as community outreach involvement, appealed to Temple’s Rabbinic Search Committee, and Rabbi Glasser felt a strong connection as well.

“Judaism is all about keeping a tradition alive and finding its meaning in new ways,” she notes. “Our traditions will help us navigate obstacles, find strength and provide hope that we can be the next generation to get through the tough times. The power is in our tradition.” Rabbi Glasser joins Cantor Carrie Barry, and will be working closely with two other brand-new-toJacksonville professionals: Gonen Arad, Director of Congregational Learning and Engagement, and Autumn Sheridan, Temple Administrator.

“It is so exciting to see our team come together—and we have already ‘clicked’,” she said. “We have a

renewed energy and are focused on community building and relationships. Without meaningful relationships, there’s no meaningful Judaism.”

With all the preparations necessary for High Holidays and the opening of Temple Institute of Religion, Rabbi Glasser and her husband Jake Bayer have not had a lot of time to explore Jacksonville, but says she loves what she’s seen so far. Most importantly, she says she’s felt the welcoming embrace of an eager community. “One of the reasons I became a rabbi is to be present throughout the lives of my congregants,” she concluded. “I’ve been waiting to find that community that was excited to have me, and this feels even bigger than that—I feel like we’ve come together in a sacred moment to start a new chapter in this journey.”

“I saw dedicated volunteers—people who love and support their congregation, and are willing to devote time and energy to this place they love,” she says of her first impressions. “There’s a lot of things you can change about a congregation, but the people aren’t one of them. This is a strong and vibrant community.”

Jewish Federation & Foundation of Northeast Florida




Teen volunteers are paired with a child with special needs to form unique, lasting friendships

Friendship Circle, an organization that provides support for children with special needs, has recently opened to serve families in the greater Jacksonville community. Friendship Circle pairs a high school-aged volunteer with a child with special needs to form friendships through play, education, and opportunities for individual growth. They are currently welcoming new volunteers and children with special needs to participate for the upcoming 202122 school year.


Bonds between children with special needs and their special friends have longevity, built on mutual respect and appreciation for one another. To build these friendships, Friendship Circle aims to highlight the abilities

of children with special needs rather than focusing on what they are not able to do. Children with special needs are often uniquely positioned to offer sustainable, moral values through their actions, exuding patience, honesty, commitment, and positive thinking. It can be difficult for children with special needs to make lasting friendships in everyday settings due to misconceptions about disabilities and atypical conditions. Through targeted and inclusive Friendship Circle programming, such as art and music classes with experienced facilitators, children with special needs can participate in social activities in a way that allows their individual personalities to shine. The Friendship Circle has met throughout the spring and early

summer at Fletcher Park in Marsh Landing, facilitated through the support of Chabad at the Beaches. Their inaugural events have featured Jewish-themed music and movement, snack, outdoor play, and crafts.

The schedule for 2021-22 includes Jewish holiday gatherings, outdoor adventures, family picnics, and art-based classes, in addition to coffee hour and other socializing opportunities for parents. Friendship Circle of Greater Jacksonville is coordinated by Tova Barrocas, a special needs educator based in Ponte Vedra. For more information, please contact Tova Barrocas at (347)988-5894 or via email at


The Torah commands us to be happy on Sukkot. V’samachta b’chageicha, v’hayita ach sameach—we should rejoice in our holiday and we should feel nothing but happiness. Some might think that the Coronavirus disease pandemic has made it very difficult to fulfill this mitzvah (commandment). At the Martin J. Gottlieb Day School students, staff and parents were able to enjoy the holiday of Sukkot last year and again this year in a fun and safe manner. Previously the Middle School students went into the community and built sukkot for individuals who

were unable to do so for themselves. They also built sukkot at different locations in Jacksonville including the University of North Florida, River Garden/The Coves and UF Health Jacksonville. In addition, all kindergarten through eighth grade students participated in a sukkah hop by visiting different sukkot around the city. The students (with staff and parent volunteers) would enjoy an activity, story and a snack at each sukkah. Due to the pandemic, the annual sukkah hop was reimagined in 2021. Instead of leaving the campus

students created their own sukkah hop on our beautiful 34-acre property thanks to the middle school students who built three sukkot in our Beth Shalom Park. In this way everyone could experience the joy of Sukkot. The sukkot were then adorned with decorations created by the day school students. During the sukkah hops, parent volunteers were stationed in each sukkah and the preschool and day school students were able to “hop” around the three sukkot enjoying a scavenger hunt, stories, crafts and, of course, yummy snacks.

Jewish Federation & Foundation of Northeast Florida




By Iris Kraemer, Immediate Past President of Jewish Federation & Foundation of Northeast Florida

JFNA Leadership Mission to Israel

At the end of June, just weeks after 40 percent of Israelis lived under rocket fire, I was invited to join a three and a half day leadership mission to Israel. Throughout the days of violence in May, many Israelis endured almost constant trauma. Our Jewish Federation sent emergency funds and messages of support, but by participating in this unique mission, I was able to Stand With Israel…in Israel.

Together with twenty other Jewish Federation professional and lay leaders from across the US, we met with Knesset members, victims of terror, new Olim (citizens) on the Sderot border, and the CEOs and representatives from two of our Overseas Partners, The Jewish Agency for Israel (JAFI) and The Joint Distribution Committee (JDC). We saw the impact of our overseas allocations in the faces of victims of terror, new Ethiopian immigrants, Haredim who are receiving higher education and entering the workforce, and Israelis and Arabs who strive for peaceful coexistence and equality. Our day in Sderot, on the Gaza border, included a visit with the director of the Israeli Trauma


House in Sderot destroyed by Hamas rockets

Coalition (ITC) and the counselor who lived next to Ido Avigal, the five-year-old boy who was killed by rocket shrapnel while sitting in the safe room of his apartment. They explained that ITC counselors are continually working on recovery and preparedness, as they know that future rounds of Hamas rocket fire are inevitable.

The city of Lod, with a mixed Arab and Israeli population, experienced some of the worst riots in May. Our group visited a center run by the JDC where we spent time with a diverse group of Israelis and Arabs who are dedicated to coexistence through shared lives, education, social mobility and mutual respect. Despite the recent turmoil, they continue working to meet the many challenges of their societies by closing social and economic gaps, resulting in better lives for ALL of Israel’s citizens. Knesset members expressed profound appreciation for our presence as well as their concern that the global Jewish population is facing extraordinary levels of anti-semitism. Nir Barkat, a former mayor of Jerusalem, often referred to the “collective” and the Israelis’ need for our continued

support. Amira Aharanovich, the CEO of the Jewish Agency for Israel, stressed the deepening relationships and engagement with Israel created through our Israel Partnerships. The first Druze shlicha (emissary)will soon be in Washington, D.C. sharing her life as part of a minority in Israel. Each government minister who sat with us, listened to our concerns and shared that the majority of Israelis and Israeli Arab citizens want to work for peaceful coexistence. There are no easy or quick solutions to the many challenges Israel faces, but there is much optimism about the new Israeli government. Throughout our brief but impactful experience, we heard from people who expressed resilience, ingenuity, and compassion. I’d like to express my thanks to the Jewish Federations of North America, our Federation umbrella organization, for providing me with the opportunity to go home to Israel, once again. The face-to face and heart-to heart experiences were indelible and I will continue to share the stories I heard and the optimism I feel. Am Yisrael Chai!


Michael Mensky has long been an avid biker. Originally from the UK, Michael lives in the Jezreel Valley in the north of Israel and is an active volunteer in The Jewish Agency’s Partnership2Gether Michigan–Central Galilee partnership. A few years ago, he had an idea to create a regional Hesham (second from left) and Michael (third from left) on the trail with other riders | Photo provided by Michael bike trail that would cross through five northern partnership,” recalled Hesham. “But I municipalities: Migdal saw that it was important to Michael Haemek, Nof Hagalil and the Jezreel and everyone involved that the Arab Valley (all Jewish communities) and community be active collaborators, Yafia and Nazareth (two Arab and the Arab community wants to be communities). more involved. Yes, this is the Jewish “I wanted us to do something that State, but Arabs also live here and would have an impact and help build want to contribute.” relationships,” said Michael. “And Both Arab and Jewish Israeli adults early on, I realized that for a path to and teens came together to work on connect the Jewish towns in this the trail construction. When a Detroit region, you need to go through Arab communities — and so I saw this as a youth delegation came to visit a few years ago, they pitched in too. great opportunity to join together. And we were thrilled when the Arab “We could not get this done without mayors of these towns were onboard.” working together,” said Michael, noting the COVID-19 pandemic And so the 35-mile Partnership Path slowed the completion of the path. or “Naim Beyahad” was born. To “And now the trail serves as a make the trail happen, Michael and platform for people to meet. his team would need some help. Something about the physical aspect Enter Hesham Bsharat, an Israeli and the shared nature of the path Arab and the current co-chair of the really helps facilitate connections path. Hesham lives in Yafia and is a serious biker. His experience building being formed between American Jews, Israeli Jews and Israeli Arabs.” trails and interacting with youth made him a great fit to be a part of Today, the path is used daily by both the committee to develop the path. Arabs and Jews, with various events organized on the trail. During the “I didn’t realize at first that the May 2021 rocket attacks by Hamas partnership was really a Jewish

and violence perpetrated in mixed cities during Operation Guardian of the Walls, all the mayors (Jewish and Arab) of the region came together and denounced the rioting.

“As you can imagine, Jews and Arabs are a bit more cautious about each other but people also tend to have short memories,” stated Michael. “I think from this turmoil, it really became clear that we are not separate and cannot continue like this.“ “We need to find things in common and there are so many groups within Arab and Jewish communities,” added Hesham. “We need to come up with better terminology and talk about the ‘Israeli’ community because that encompasses everyone.”

At the end of May, after a ceasefire was reached, nearly a hundred riders, both Arab and Jewish, gathered on the trail to take a ride together and show solidarity. Guardian of the Walls also prompted the partnership to become further engaged in initiatives that build a stronger shared foundation for the future by including diverse Arabs and Jews. “The more exposed different communities are to each other, the more they see each other for who they are and not their labels,” said Michael. “And that’s what’s so great about the path. Being on this trail is about more than just riding a bike; it’s about bringing communities together.”

Jewish Federation & Foundation of Northeast Florida



PRESTIGIOUS AWARD BESTOWED TO DEDICATED LEADER IRIS KRAEMER By Lauren Rickoff, Director of Campaign and Women’s Philanthropy, Jewish Federation & Foundation of Northeast Florida member, where she co-chairs the Our Shared Shelf Program, a monthly book and author series.

Iris was thrilled and humbled when she received the news of this honor. “I have always admired the examples set by women who have become Lions of Judah. Their commitment and dedication to Jewish life locally, in Israel and around the world inspired me to join their company.

It is with great pride and pleasure that we announce Iris Kraemer as the 2022 recipient of the Women's Philanthropy Kipnis-Wilson/Friedland Award (KWF Award). This award honors women who have shown leadership by making a significant impact in their local Jewish community, in Israel and/or abroad; has given other women encouragement, motivation, and opportunity to further their own leadership; and, embodies the spirit and vision of the Lion of Judah through a commitment to tzedakah and tikkun olam. All of these qualities shine through in Iris. She is the immediate past president of the Jewish Federation & Foundation of Northeast Florida and a current National Women's Philanthropy board


As a recipient of the Kipnis Wilson/Friedland Award, I am humbled and hope to continue to bring honor to the women who it is named for, as well as to all past and present recipients throughout North America. The souls of my mother and grandmother continue to cheer me on in this rewarding aspect of my life. I am grateful for the circumstances that enable me to engage whole-heartedly in making a difference in the lives of Jewish people.”

The KWF Award, established in 2004, is named for Norma Kipnis-Wilson and Toby Friedland. of blessed memory, the founders of the Lion of Judah. Other Northeast Florida award recipients include Joan Levin, Debra Setzer, Judy Silverman, Phyllis Vandroff, Eunice Zisser, Kimberly Sisisky, and Sue Eaglstein.

Iris will be recognized at the 2022 International Lion of Judah Conference January 9-11 in Scottsdale, Arizona, coordinated by the Jewish Federations of North America. In addition, she will be recognized locally throughout the 2021-2022 year.

“Mazel Tov to Iris on this distinguished award,” said Diane Rothstein, Women’s Philanthropy Chair. “With Iris’ leadership, we have continued to grow and serve our community in countless ways. Throughout these unprecedented times, Iris has maintained her thoughtful and insightful perspective, while continuing to lead our Federation to new heights. Iris is an outstanding woman of great character, intellect and commitment, truly embodying the spirit of the KWF Award.” The Lion of Judah is a symbol of today’s Jewish woman’s strength, of her caring about the organized Jewish world and of her financial commitment of at least $5,000 to the Federation's Annual Campaign. Almost 17,000 women worldwide are Lions of Judah. The Lion of Judah program brings together women of all ages and from many walks of life to play an essential role in creating social justice, healing the sick, feeding the hungry, preserving human dignity and building Jewish identity.

SUSHI NIGHT WITH TEMPLE 20'S AND 30'S By Paul Novak, Congregation Ahavath Chesed

The Congregation Ahaveth Chesed Young Professionals group, aka the Temple 20s and 30s (T-3), had been brainstorming for more creative ways to have get-togethers. We wanted to ensure they were more engaging and fun for prospective and current members. As we brainstormed, we thought, what does everyone love? The answer was food. Having just experienced an extended time away from friends and family due to COVID-19, we wanted to share an outing where everyone could meet and enjoy the company they had and the food. Sushi was the answer. We weren't sure what to expect or how many people to plan

because Jacksonville has many new residents and members concerned with the ongoing pandemic.

We planned it for July 15 at 7 p.m. at a local sushi restaurant close to Temple. We created a Facebook event, and the T-3 board began to spread the word. To our surprise, the event seemed to excite people more than we thought. Quickly, we counted up over 20 RSVPs. We were all receiving messages about how excited everyone was to be getting back together. During this get-together, we had numerous prospective members and countless current members come out. All of the attendees shared laughs, caught up on how their lives have

been since our last meetup and made plans for ice cream after. Ultimately, a great time was had by all. In addition, several members reached out after the event, shared kind words, and asked for additional similar events.

We learned a few things from this event; our members love sushi, creative ideas and events should continue, and we enjoy getting together over dinner. Regrettably, the pandemic has taken a turn for the worse, and all of our events are put on hold. However, we are hoping to continue the success of this event once the infection numbers have subsided.

Jewish Federation & Foundation of Northeast Florida




By Vickie Kennedy, Beth El - The Beaches Synagogue The year 5782 brings with it a new chapter in the history of Beth El. We are excited to enter this new year with Tammy Shumer and Karen Freedman as our co-presidents. They bring with them years of experience and expertise in many areas relevant to synagogue management. Much more than that is their love and commitment to our Jewish traditions, our Jewish community and Beth El. Our congregation welcomes a new year confident that Tammy and Karen will guide us in our search for

a new rabbi and a secure future. Tammy put it best when she said, “Karen and I have worked together in the past on countless projects. The timing was right for us to step up in this important leadership role. With Rabbi Matuson retiring next July, Beth El is beginning a rabbi search. This will be a

difficult and exciting transition. Karen and I, as well as our board of trustees and Beth El family, see a very bright future for our beaches Jewish community."

Jewish Federation & Foundation of Northeast Florida


UNIQUE VOLUNTEERING OPPORTUNITY HELPS BLIND STUDENTS For over 60 years, Temple Sisterhood at Congregation Ahavath Chesed has sponsored a program that converts printed books into braille versions used by the Florida School for the Deaf and Blind and other institutions serving the visually impaired, at no cost to the recipients. During 2020, volunteers contributed over 20,000 hours. Based on the Sector in Partnership With Do Good Institute, University of Maryland economic impact calculator, the 20,000+ hours equates to over $591,000 in donated value.

The next braille training class will begin on September 30. Volunteers will attend a free nine-month program to either learn to transcribe printed


By Nancy Cohen, Temple Sisterhood Braille

text into braille or to convert illustrations into raised images. Classes are held every Thursday from 9:30 a.m. to Noon through June. Course graduates become certified as braille transcribers by the Library of Congress. “Using a special program on their home computer, they press different combinations of six keys on their keyboard to create braille versions of each letter of the book they’re transcribing. Then another computer uses the digital file created to punch out the text in braille’s raised-dot format,” said Lynnette Taylor, longtime volunteer in the group. “Learning to braille is like learning a foreign language, however all that’s needed is

basic computer skills and a dedication to serving people who need our help.” Susie Coleman, graphics chairwoman, works with volunteers who create tactile versions of illustrations. “Pictures are converted into tactile graphic images using different forms of craft materials and computer graphics,” she said.

Interested adults are invited to attend an introductory program at 10 a.m. on Thursday, September 23 at Congregation Ahavath Chesed, 8727 San Jose Boulevard, Jacksonville 32217. Contact Pam Wiker (904) 610-6733, Holly Cleveland (904) 463-0357, or Nancy Cohen (248) 250-2406.



Blueprint: Torah Academy of Jacksonville

By Rabbi Shalom Horowitz, Torah Academy of Jacksonville

Vision Statement: Our vision is a community Torah day school with an ongoing commitment to excellence in Judaic and General Studies education run in a respectful, safe and nurturing environment. Application: Spending the summer break to build, grow and improve guided by our vision statement and core values.

#1. Community Torah school. Torah Academy personifies the goal of a community school. We have students from many religious and academic backgrounds. Torah Academy works with many Israeli families, families that relocate to Jacksonville, as well as many families that have been in town for many years. Many of our supporters never had children that attended Torah Academy. However, they have a deep appreciation for the diversity and superior Torah and secular education that we offer all children. Having children play and interact with kids that are slightly different from themselves is also a tremendous social learning experience.

#2. Ongoing commitment to excellence in Judaic and General Studies education. Measuring excellence in any area of life can be subjective. How does one define and measure excellence objectively? For a school there are a few methods. One used at Torah Academy is by aligning both the Judaic and General Studies with national standards testing. I am proud to share that even during a pandemic year (when we only missed three days


of school) our middle school averaged in the 90th percentile in the NWEA standards test. With all the stress and distraction of Covid, the teachers and students stayed the course and thrived. In Judaics, we have partnered with COJDS, the consortium of Jewish day schools to help with curriculum improvement and standardized testing. This past May, the eighth graders were administered the J-SAT8 test. In many of the core subject matters the students did great. At after school meetings, the Judaic faculty met to discuss areas of growth and improvement based on the results. During the year we use the L’ehavin Chumash program which is designed by COJDS as a comprehensive and thorough skillsbased Chumash program. The L’ehavin program also incorporates Ivrit into its core structure of learning.

Finally, there are many new curriculum upgrades. We have a new comprehensive halacha and parsha program that builds on the previous year’s knowledge. It is sequenced from year to year and builds on knowledge and success. In General Studies we are implementing a new and revised ELA book reading component. With the addition of Mrs. Breindy Lazor who has taught both high school and college ELA, Torah Academy is set to soar to even greater heights! Torah Academy is also building a new hands-on and interactive science lab. Mr. Junior Rodney, our outstanding middle school science teacher is getting his own brand new science lab. In fact, he’s helping design some of the furniture. Of course, the beneficiaries will be the students.

#3. Run in a respectful, safe and nurturing environment. The students and faculties' mental and physical safety is of first order. This summer, thanks to a state grant we are adding 10 new cameras to the outside and interior of the facility. We are also adding 20 terabytes of memory. We have also applied for a federal grant for new fencing around the building.

Middos and good character are the foundation of a school's success. Children must respect their peers and teachers, and teachers must respect their peers and students. To that end, we are starting a new morning line up routine in which we say that every person is created in the image of Hashem and everything we think, say and do must show that we are. That will be followed by the recitation of four verses from the Torah that highlight and demonstrate the importance of respecting every human being. It is critical that the day begin by focusing on seeing the beauty in each other and appreciating the tremendous value that the Torah places on every single person. This must become the culture in which the school functions. It’s not enough to just have a vision statement. Ya gotta mean it! The way we are making sure that we are following our vision statement and core values is by using them as our guide and compass to grow in all areas of school life; academically, socially and emotionally. May every teacher and student at Torah Academy and beyond be blessed with a successful, happy and healthy year.

Jewish Federation & Foundation of Northeast Florida




MACCABEE OF THE MONTH: SUSAN HALL By Beth Milograno Berry, Jewish Community Alliance continuous health issues, Susan epitomizes the definition of a Jewish rebel warrior. Like a Maccabee, her physical might, spiritual strength and mental resilience, have helped Susan beat all odds.

To achieve personal wellness at 74, Susan Hall explains her goals are simple, “manage stress, maintain a healthy weight, have a strong cardiovascular system and continue to be able to function well to enjoy my life.”

As with every Maccabee of the Month at the Jewish Community Alliance, having to overcome adversity due to


“I was born with Spina Bifida Occulta, meaning my backbone did not fully develop. I had a tethered spinal cord deformity, my spine could not move freely inside my spinal cord,” explains Susan. “I had spinal surgery at three to remove part of the deformity. I have had foot surgeries, a lumbar fusion and three fusions in my neck. As a child, accepting my disabilities was challenging. I wanted to wear pretty shoes that never fit.” Despite a lifetime of obstacles, Susan says she decided to accept the limitations of her disability.

“My disabilities will never prevent me from living a full life. I have learned to overcome and make the best of what I can.” As Susan continues to navigate challenges associated with her health, our Maccabee says she won’t let anything stop her.

“I shouldn’t be able to stand up straight or have bladder or bowel control. I have two children and should not have been able to give birth,” says Susan. “I am grateful every single day that I can get up and put my sneakers on to hit the gym.” Susan’s story of physical resilience continued in July with a total left hip replacement surgery. Thanks to the continuous support of her physical therapists and the wonderful personal trainers at the JCA, Susan says, “it’s been an easy recovery.”


FACES OF FITNESS: BILL BECKER By Beth Milograno Berry, Jewish Community Alliance 1991, shared his knowledge about fencing and coaching for viewers in Northeast Florida.

“In addition to keeping your mind active, the footwork and agility involved in fencing keep people young,” says Bill. “There is actually a world championship for fencers who are older than 70.” En Garde! When community members join our Fencing Academy at the Jewish Community Alliance, they learn the art of the sport from one of the best fencers in the world, National and World Fencing Champion William “Bill” Becker. Recently featured by First Coast News, as part of the NBC station’s Summer Olympic coverage, Bill, a competitive fencer since 1983 and instructor since

The twenty-five-time Sunshine State Games gold medalist, sixteen-time Florida Gold Coast division champion, four-time veteran world champion, twelve-time national champion and U.S. Fencing Coaches Association 2018 Coach of the Year, believes fencing is a sport for all ages. Bill tells everyone that they are never too old to start fencing. The sentiment is echoed by Tracy Miller, one of Bill’s students who became a competitive fencer at age 38.

“Fencing is not a sport about strength and age,” explains Tracy. “You can fence in a wheelchair. In fact, there is competitive wheelchair fencing.” Sometimes referred to as “physical chess,” fencing is one of five sports that has been featured in every Summer Olympic game since 1896. The object is to strike your opponent while avoiding being hit yourself.

“You are trying to get them to do what you want them to do, and they are trying to make you do what they want you to do,” says Bill. “And whoever does it better, wins.” The JCA’s Fencing Academy helps youth and adult fencers gain confidence through games, footwork, coordination, drills and bouts. Visit or call (904) 730-2100 ext. 228, to register.


PLANNING QUALITY COMMUNITY-WIDE PROGRAMMING TOGETHER By Faye Hedrick, Jewish Federation & Foundation of Northeast Florida

There is no shortage of family programming in our community. Just check the Community Calendar where you are bound to see several programs or events surrounding any given holiday or topic. What a gift to have so many active organizations bringing people together! This year, the Federation & Foundation’s Young Professionals & Families division, JFCS’ PJ Library, the JCA, along with support from ALL of our local synagogues, are planning together to offer quality programs. We’ve already planned several community-wide events aimed to bring young families together. Melissa Williams from PJ Library, Rachel Sandler from the JCA, and I couldn’t be more proud and excited to join forces. We believe that collaboration allows us to provide the best programming for our community. Just take a look at the events


below, “On the Horizon.” For each program, one of our local synagogues will take the lead by providing a beautiful venue, introducing their leadership and helping to produce a grade A event!

Our most recent program, ‘What’s the Buzzzz On the Jewish New Year?’ adjusted from in-person to virtual. Rachel stated, “I never thought we’d be doing so much online, but now we can really adapt most any program.” Coming together is one of the many characteristics our community can take pride in. Planning with community leaders who enjoy working together, Sarah Porter making honey slime at respect and appreciate one another, and “What’s the Buzzzz” from her home can plan for fun and engaging programming is a great way to begin the new year!"

Jewish Federation & Foundation of Northeast Florida



Rosh Hashanah Traditions By Mitzi Saul, Jewish Federation & Foundation of Northeast Florida

W hen Amy and her

husband moved to Northeast Florida eight years ago, they wanted to put down Jewish roots. While pregnant with their first child, they joined the Jacksonville Jewish Center and became active in the Jewish community. Amy says, “Celebrating family traditions were important to us and we wanted to join the local Jewish community as we expanded our family.”

Amy grew up in a kosher home in New York with three sisters. She has fond memories of the High Holidays walking to shul in the fresh fall air, going to a local orchard to pick fresh apples, and making her mother’s Golden Apple Cake with her identical twin sister. “Rosh Hashanah was all about the season and reflection. My whole family—parents, grandparents and cousin—would gather for a big lunch after services. While we couldn’t be all together last year because of the pandemic, it didn’t stop us from observing the holiday. We just had to be more creative.” Together, the family of four and even their Australian Shepherd, watched children's services virtually, had a late lunch with Golden Apple Cake included, and “Zoomed'' with both sets of parents in New York and North Carolina. They also spent some time thinking about the holiday and what it meant to each of them.

Five years ago, the family moved to a beautiful new home in Ponte Vedra. The community has beautiful walkways and abundance of nature, and plenty of activities year-round. It’s not surprising that the Jewish community is growing in St. Johns County with multiple Jewish Facebook groups; Shalom Club in Del Webb (a 55+ community in Nocatee), NocJews, and Chabad of St. Johns County. Amy and David enrolled their children in a religious day school because, “We wanted our children to identify with other Jewish children who are growing up in Northeast Florida. They have a chance to have an enriched life and an awareness of their religion and culture.” Amy adds, “It’s important to support the Jewish community because it allows more people the opportunity to be exposed to traditions so other Jews would want to participate and help pass on those traditions.”

Jewish Federation & Foundation of Northeast Florida


The Jewish New Year By Ilyse H. Greene, Beth El - The Beaches Synagogue

Is defined as the birthday of

humanity and a celebration of life. Yom Kippur - The Day of Atonement - The High Holy Days of the Jewish New Year. For me personally, the High Holy Days always seem to come at a perfect time each year typically around nine months after the start of the new year on the Gregorian calendar, they fall at a time when I need to be reminded to take a deep breath, slow down, forgive and perhaps, most importantly, remember who I am and where I am from.

The High Holy Days always tend to take me back to the traditions that my grandparents and parents instilled in me as a child. Being born and raised in Baltimore, Maryland it seemed that I was always surrounded by “my people”. There was rarely a day that I didn’t see a Jewish person, whether I knew them or not. Now, having lived in the Jacksonville area for nearly 18 years (almost 50 percent of my life), I realized rather quickly that experience was not typical in other parts of our country. But what I also realized was that being raised around “my people” shaped me into the person that I am today. Truth be told, I miss that feeling from time to time. Most Jewish people will tell you there is truly a unique relationship among Jews whether you know them or not.

Interestingly enough, the adjustment of going from being part of the majority to being part of the minority has allowed me to see a completely different side of myself. A side that has made me vulnerable, a side that has humbled me, not just as a Jew, but as a human being. I love explaining what the High Holy Days mean to my non-Jewish family and friends. I love inviting them over for holiday dinners and celebrations, and now more than ever, the desire to continue those traditions that my family created for me. To pass those traditions down to my children is of utmost importance. Being married to a Christian and raising a blended family only enhance these feelings. The undeniable support that my husband and my two “bonus children” provide to me and my biological daughter go beyond the call of duty. It is the High Holy Days in particular when their support and compassion for my faith and traditions become the most evident. I realize that regardless of where I live, how many Jewish people I may or may not see at the grocery store, or whether my family and friends are Jewish or Christian, the feeling that I have when I wake up the morning of Rosh Hashanah is the same. The feeling of atonement when I fast on Yom Kippur is the same. The smells of Beth El - The Beaches Synagogue are no different than the smells of Beth Israel Synagogue in Baltimore. The prayers, the songs, the blowing of the shofar; the feeling of renewal and strength to start over, to forgive myself and others — all the same. As we approach the High Holy Days this year and continue to navigate through this complicated, ever changing life that we have been blessed to have, regardless of where we may live, one thing shall remain the same —the feelings that we have during the High Holy Days and the love that we have for our people. L’Shanah Tovah!


RethinkingWhat it Means to be Observant By Rabbi Yaakov Fisch, Etz Chaim Synagogue

As we prepare ourselves for the Jewish New Year, it's an opportunity for us to remind

ourselves of our cherished values and traditions. These values and traditions have been with our people for thousands of years and have kept our people anchored to its tradition throughout centuries of upheaval. It defies a rational explanation of how our people have remained intact and robust considering the grim circumstances. I mention this as a way of appreciating all of the mitzvos and customs that have kept us within our faith close to G-d and His Torah. For that reason, it is particularly painful to witness multiple distorted productions coming out of Hollywood and adopted by the general public as iron-clad gospel that paints Orthodox Judaism as fundamentalism.

The latest spiel was released by Netflix entitled My Unorthodox Life, and a firestorm of controversy erupted. It features an individual who chose to discontinue her practice as an Orthodox Jew. The individual now alleges that the practices of Orthodox Jews and commitments to halachic observance as fundamentalism. The individual is not content with her own decision to leave her faith but campaigns her family and others to abandon their commitment to faith. There are too many distortions and inaccuracies depicted in the series and, quite frankly, beyond this space's scope. Instead, I would like to address and respond to a central theme of the series. The show's primary theme is that halachic observance is full of illogical restrictions and results in fundamentalism which the show compares to Muslim fundamentalism. Unfortunately, this narrative misrepresents the entire purpose of the Mitzvos and why we have an opportunity and privilege to adhere to it. Our rabbis have taught that Mitzvos are a means of connection to G-d in this world. When a person fulfills a mitzvah, the individual connects to G-dliness and holiness in this world. If an individual does not recognize the true meaning of Mitzvos and halachic practice, he will consider the ritual as a mindless restriction. It is our responsibility to properly educate our children and students that the ultimate purpose of the Mitzvos is because G-d loves us and gave us a medium of connection in our finite days of the world. This idea is articulated in the Book of Devarim (Deuteronomy), as it states Va’yetzeveinu Hashem La’asos Es Kol Hachukim Ha’elah L’yirah Es Hashem Eleikunu L’tov Lanu Kol Hayamim. This is translated as "Hashem our G-d commanded us to perform these Mitzvos and to be in awe of Him, as it is good for us". Every time a person stands in prayer and utters the words Baruch Attah Hashem or Blessed are you G-d, he or she gets more connected to the divine presence of the Almighty. Indeed, it is sad and painful to go around mindlessly practicing rituals without appreciating the larger mission of connecting to G-d and having a relationship with Him in this world. Even if a person does not choose to abandon their halachic observance outwardly, they walk around unfulfilled and empty. The damage that this Netflix series will cause remains to be seen. There has been a variety of reactions from the Jewish Twitterverse and beyond. My Unorthodox Life should serve as a wake-up call for all of us to examine the consequences when a healthy relationship with Hashem is not at the foundation of Observant Jewish life. As we are on the cusp of a New Year, this should behoove us to rethink what it means to be observant of Jewish practices and traditions.

Your Guide to the High Holidays 5782 Beth El - The Beaches Rosh Hashanah

Live Stream only:

Monday, September 6 - Erev Rosh Hashanah 7:00 PM

Tuesday, September 7 & Wednesday, September 8 10:00 AM (There will be no Youth Services) In person only:

Sunday, September 12 - Cemetary Service 10:00 AM at Ponte Vedra Valley Cemetery (Beth El section) Yom Kippur

Wednesday, September 15 - Kol Nidre 7:00 PM Thursday, September 16 10:00 AM Yizkor 4:30 PM Neilah (following Yizkor)

Chabad of Mandarin Rosh Hashanah

Monday, September 6 - Mincha & Maariv 7:15 PM

Community Rosh Hashanah Dinner following services. Reservations required. Tuesday September 7 & Wednesday September 8 - Shacharis 9:00 AM

Tuesday, September 7 Micha, Tashlich & Maariv 6:45 PM Monday, September 20 - Mincha & Maariv 7:15 PM Yom Kippur

Wednesday, September 15 - Kol Nidrei 6:45 PM

Thursday, September 16 - Shacharis & Yizkor 10:00 AM Yizkor approximately 1:00 PM

Mincha & Neilah/Closing Service 5:30 PM Break Fast: 8:06 PM 32


Chabad at the Beaches

Monday, September 20 Mincha & Maariv 7:00 PM

Tuesday & Wednesday, September 21 & 22 Shacharis 9:30 AM Tuesday & Wednesday, September 21 & 22 Mincha & Maariv 7:00 PM Shmini Atzeret & Simchas Torah

Monday, September 27, Mincha & Maariv (Hakofot) 6:45 PM Tuesday, September 28 Morning Service & Yizkor 9:30 AM

Mincha followed by Simchat Torah Hakafot & Kiddush 7:00 PM

Wednesday, September 29 Shacharis with Simchat Torah Hakafot & Kiddush 10:00 AM Mincha & Maariv 7:00PM

High Holiday Services: Fleming Island Public Library 1895 Town Center Blvd

Chabad Clay County Rosh Hashanah

Tuesday September 7 & Wednesday September 8 Morning Service 10:00 AM Shofar Blowing 12:00 PM

Tashlich prayer following services & Kiddush and pastries following services Yom Kippur

Wednesday, September 15 - Kol Nidrei Service 7:15 PM

Thursday, September 16 - Morning Service 10:00 AM

Yizkor Memorial Service 12:00 PM Neilah - Closing Service 6:45 PM

Final Shofar Blast & Break-fast 8:06 PM

Rosh Hashanah

Registration required. Social Distancing will be available for high holiday services. Monday, September 6

Evening Service 7:00 PM

Rosh Hashanah Dinner - Outdoors in Tent 8:00 PM Tuesday, September 7

Morning Services 9:00 AM

Children’s Service 11:00 AM - 1:00 PM Shofar and Musaf 12:30 PM

Tashlich at the library followed by Mincha at Chabad 6:30 PM

RSVP for special kids Tashlich activity Wednesday, September 8

Morning Services 9:00 AM

Children’s Service 11:00 AM - 1:00 PM Shofar and Musaf 12:30 PM Mincha Service 7:00 PM Yom Kippur

Wednesday, September 15

Kol Nidrei Service 7:00 PM

Children’s Services 7:15 - 8:15 PM Thursday, September 16

Morning Services 8:45 AM

Children’s Services 10:30 AM

Yikzor Memorial Service (appx) 12:00 PM

Mincha Afternoon Service 5:45 PM Neilah Closing Service 6:45 PM

Fast Ends & Grand Break Fast 8:06 PM Sunday, September 20

Sukkot Maariv Service 7:00 PM

Sukkot Dinner Under the Stars 7:45 PM Sukkot & Simchat Torah

Morning Services 9:15 AM Evening Services 7:00 PM

Chabad of St. Johns Rosh Hashanah

Monday, September 6 - Rosh Hashanah Evening 7:15 PM

Rosh Hashanah Community Dinner 7:30 PM

Tuesday, September 7 & Wednesday, September 8 - Morning Services 9:00 AM Shofar Sounding 10:00 AM (special children’s program)

September 7 - Mystical Shofar Blowing & Tashlich in the park 6:30 PM Yom Kippur

Wednesday, September 15 - Kol Nidrei Service 7:15 PM

Thursday, September 16 - Morning Services 10:00 AM

Yizkor Memorial Service 11:30 AM (Special children’s program) Neliah Closing Service 6:15 PM

Join us for a Bagels & Lox Break Fast! Simchat Torah

Tuesday, September 28 - Simchat Torah Eve Community Family Celebration special program for children 6:45 PM

Wednesday, September 29 - Simchat Torah Day 10:00 AM Join us for the special moment of finishing and restarting the Torah For more info visit www. or call 904.701.4422

Services are open to the public. No membership, tickets or payments are required. Advanced reservations are appreciated.

Chabad of Southside Rosh Hashanah

Monday, September 6 - Evening Service 7:00 PM Followed by Community Dinner (Reservations required)

Tuesday, September 7 -Morning Services 10:00 AM (Free Interactive Children’s services with activities and prizes - reservations required) Outdoor Shofar Blowing 2:00 PM

Tashlich followed by Mincha Evening Service 6:45 PM Community Dinner (Reservations required)

Wednesday, September 8 - Morning Services 10:00 AM (Free Interactive Children’s services with activities and prizes - reservations required) Outdoor Shofar Blowing 2:00 PM Yom Kippur

Wednesday, September 15

Kol Nidrei Service 7:00 PM Thursday, September 16

Morning Service 10:00 AM Yikzor Memorial Service approximately 12:00 PM

Mincha & Meilah Closing Service 6:00 PM

Yom Kippur Ends followed by Break Fast 8:00 PM

Chabad of St. Augustine

Rosh Hashanah

Monday, September 6 - Evening Services 7:30 PM

Tuesday, September 7 - Morning Service 10:00 AM Shofar Sounding 12:00 PM

Thursday, September 16 - Morning Service 10:00 AM

Yizkor Memorial Services 12:00 PM Micha & Ne'ila Services 6:30 PM Break Fast 8:10 PM

Congregation Ahavath Chesed

Rosh Hashanah

Monday, September 6 & Tuesday, September 7 Erev Rosh Hashanah 7:00 PM

Morning Rosh Hashanah 10:00 AM Family Service 2:00 PM

Taschlich at Tomahawk Park 3:30 PM Sunday, September 12 - Cemetery Services 10:30 AM Evergreen Cemetery and King David Cemetery Yom Kippur

Wednesday, September 15 - Erev Yom Kippur 7:00 PM Thursday, September 16 - Yom Kippur Youth Service and Program 9:45 AM - 12:15 PM Morning Service10:00 AM

Learning Program 1:00 PM Family Service 2PM

Afternoon Service 3:30 PM

Jacksonville Jewish Center

All services require reservations to attend in person. Times below are subject to change. Links to view services online can be found at www.jaxjewishcenter. org/5782HHDS

Wednesday, September 8 - Morning Service 10:00 AM

All attendees must be fully vaccinated and are required to wear a mask in the building. Services will have limited capacity. Advanced reservations are required.

Yom Kippur

Monday, September 6 - Erev Rosh Hashanah

Afternnon Shofar & Kiddush 6:00 PM Shofar Sounding 12:00 PM

Wednesday, September 15 - Kol Nidrei Service 7:00 PM

Rosh Hashanah

6:15 PM - Minhah/Ma’ariv Sanctuary and Live Stream

Jewish Federation & Foundation of Northeast Florida


7:25 PM - Candle lighting Tuesday, September 7

8:30 AM - Sanctuary and Live Stream 9:30 AM - Preschool Family Service (Virtual Only)

10:30 AM - Kavannah (Alternative) Service

10:30 AM - Family Service and Youth Programming (Virtual only) 4:00 PM - Teen Service and Programming (In-Person & Virtual option) 6:30 PM - Tashlikh at the Center Pond

7:15 PM - Minhah followed by study session & Ma'ariv (Sanctuary and Live Stream) 8:17 PM - Candle Lighting Wednesday, September 8

8:30 - Morning Service (Sanctuary and Live Stream)

9:30 AM - Preschool Family Service (Virtual only)

10:30 AM - Kavannah (Alternative) Service

10:30 AM - Family Service and Youth Programming (Virtual only) 7:15 PM - Minhah Service followed by study session & Ma’ariv (Sanctuary and Live Stream) 8:16 PM - Yom Tov Ends Sunday, September 12

10:30 AM - Memorial Services - New Center Cemetery 11:15 AM - Memorial Services - Beth Shalom Cemetery 5:00 PM - Tashlikh at the Beach (Jax Beach at 16th Avenue South) Yom Kippur

Wednesday, September 15 – Erev Yom Kippur 7:10 AM - Morning Minyan

6:45 PM - Minhah followed by Kol Nidre (Sanctuary and Live Stream) 7:13 PM - Candle Lighting Thursday, September 16


8:30 AM - Morning Services (Sanctuary and Live Stream)

9:30 AM - Preschool Family Service (Virtual only)

10:30 AM - Kavannah (Alternative) Service

10:30 AM - Family Service and Youth Programming (Virtual only) 4:00 PM - Healing Service with Hazzan Holzer (In Person Only)

4:00 PM - Yom Kippur Dialogue and Discussion with Rabbi Jonathan Lubliner (In Person Only) 5:15 PM - Minhah (Sanctuary and Live Stream) 6:30 PM - Ne’ilah (Sanctuary and Live Stream)

6:30 PM - Ne'ilah Service and Program for Teens (In-person and Virtual)

8:06 PM - Fast ends followed by Ma’ariv, Final Shofar and Break the Fast (Sanctuary and Live Stream) Sukkot/Shemini Atzeret/Simhat Torah 5782

Monday, September 20 – Erev Sukkot 6:00 PM - Minhah/Ma’ariv Services

7:15 PM - Congregational Dinner in the Sukkah

Tuesday, September 21 – Sukkot Day 1 9:00 AM – Sukkot Morning Services 10:30 AM – Outdoor Family Programming

7:00 PM - Minhah followed by study session and Ma’ariv Wednesday, September 22 – Sukkot Day 2

9:00 AM – Sukkot Morning Services 10:30 AM – Outdoor Family Programming

7:00 PM – Minhah Service followed by study session and Ma’ariv Service Monday, September 27 – Hoshanah Rabbah / Erev Shemini Atzeret 6:45 AM – Hoshanah Rabbah Morning Services

6:00 PM – Minhah and Ma’ariv


Tuesday, September 28 – Shemini Atzeret / Erev Simhat Torah

9:00 AM – Shemini Atzeret Services with Yizkor 10:30 AM – Outdoor Family Programming

5:45 PM - Young Family Simhat Torah Celebration

6:15 PM - Congregational Dancing in the Dark Simhat Torah Dinner 7:30 PM - Ma’ariv and Simhat Torah Hakafot Wednesday, September 29 – Simhat Torah 9:00 AM – Simhat Torah Morning Services 10:30 AM – Outdoor Family Programming

6:45 PM – Minhah Service followed by study session and Ma’ariv Services

First Congregation Sons of Israel

Conservative, egalitarian historic synagogue located at 161 Cordova Street in St. Augustine. (904) 829-9532, Services will be hybrid – in person and via Zoom. Rosh Hashanah

Monday, September 6 - Erev Rosh Hashanah 7:00 PM (Led by Rabbi Joel Fox)

Tuesday, September 7 - 10:00 AM (Led by Rabbi Joel Fox)

Wednesday, September 8 - 10:00 AM (Led by Rabbi Mona Decker) Yom Kippur

Wednesday, September 15 - Kol Nidre, 7:00 PM (Led by Rabbi Joel Fox)

Thursday, September 16 - 9:00 AM (Led by Rabbi Joel Fox) Yizkor Memorial Service Approximately 12:30 PM

Mincha Afternoon Service 5:00 PM.

(Led by Rabbi Mona Decker)

Neilah, Concluding Service 6:30 PM (Led by Rabbi Mona Decker) Break-the-Fast (brown bag to-go) Immediately following Neilah Shabbat Shuvah and Sukkot

Shabbat Shuvah: Rabbi Joel Fox will lead Erev Shabbat Services, Friday, September 10 - 7:30 p.m. Virtual Shabbat Shuvah services

Saturday, September 11 - 10:00 a.m. (Virtual only) Sukkot

Friday, September 24 - 7:30 PM

Rabbi Mona Decker will lead a Hybrid Sukkot service as part of Erev Shabbat service

Temple Bet Yam

Temple Bet Yam is located at 2055 Wildwood Drive, St. Augustine FL. Rosh Hashanah

Monday, September 6 - Erev Rosh Hashanah 7:30 PM Tuesday, September 7

9:00 AM - Children’s Service

10:00 AM - Morning Service Yom Kippur

Wednesday, September 15 - Kol Nidre 7:30 PM Thursday September 16

9:00 AM - Children’s Service

10:00 AM - Morning Service

2:30 PM - Meet with the Rabbi

Afternoon Service 3:30 PM followed by Yizkor and Neilah

In-person services will be for Temple Bet Yam members only. Non-members are invited to join our services virtually. Link information will be sent to those who contact us with their wish to observe the Days of Awe with the Temple family.

Explanatory Class with Rabbi approx. 11:30 AM

Etz Chaim

Rosh Hashanah

Monday, September 6 - Erev Rosh Hashanah Selichos and Shacharis - 6:00 AM

Mincah & Candle Lighting - 7:25 PM Tuesday, September 7 Shacharis - 8:00 AM

Sephardic Minyan - 8:00 AM

Shofar Blowing - approx. 10:35 AM

Explanatory Class with Rabbi - 10:30 AM Additional Shofar Blowing in the Neighborhood - 5:00 PM

Mincha followed by Tashlich at the Etz Chaim Nature Reserve - 7:00 PM Maariv & Candle Lighting - 8:25 PM Wednesday, September 8 Shacharis - 8:00 AM

Sephardic Minyan - 8:00 AM

Shofar Blowing - approx. 10:35 AM

Explanatory Class with Rabbi - 10:30 AM Additional Shofar Blowing in the Neighborhood - 5:00 PM Mincha - 7:15 PM

Maariv & Havdallah - 8:24 PM Yom Kippur

Wednesday, September 15

Selichos and Shacharis - 6:35 AM Mincha - 3:00 PM

Kol Nidre - 7:10 PM

Drasha with Rabbi - 7:30 PM

President's Address - 7:50 PM

Explanatory Class with Rabbi - 8:10 PM Maariv - 8:10 PM

Thursday, September 16 Shacharis - 8:00 AM

Sephardic Minyan - 8:00 AM

Explanatory Class with Rebbetzin Schocet - 5:45 PM Mincha - 5:45 PM

Shofar Blowing - 8:14 PM Sukkos

Monday, September 20 - Erev Sukkos Shacharis - 6:45 AM Mincha - 7:05 PM

Candle Lighting - 7:08 PM Tuesday, September 21 Shacharis - 9:00 AM

Sephardic Minyan - 9:00 AM Mincha - 7:05 PM

Candle Lighting - 8:08 PM Wednesday, September 22 Shacharis - 9:00 AM

Sephardic Minyan - 9:00 AM Mincha - 7:05 PM

Marriv & Havdallah - 8:06 PM

Thursday, September 23 - Chol Hamoed Sukkos

Shacharis First Minyan - 6:30 AM

Shacharis Second Minyan - 8:30 AM Mincha - 7:05 PM Shmini Atzeres

Tuesday, September 28 Shacharis - 9:00 AM

Sephardic Minyan - 9:00 AM Mincha - 7:00 PM

Candle Lighting - 7:59 PM Simchas Torah

Wednesday, September 29 Shacharis - 8:30 AM

Mincha followed by Neilas Hachag 6:50 PM Maariv & Havdallah - 7:58 PM

Jewish Federation & Foundation of Northeast Florida


CHAIN OF MEMORY PROGRAM REMEMBERS THE PAST AND EDUCATES FOR THE FUTURE By Kellie Smith, Jewish Federation & Foundation of Northeast Florida

The "Chain of Memory" program managed by the Jewish Federation & Foundation of Northeast Florida makes it possible for Bar/Bat Mitzvah children to remember at least one of the 1.5 million Jewish children who were murdered by the Nazis before being able to fulfill the mitzvah of learning the Torah. Evan Harmon for Chain of Memory

On August 7 Evan Tyler Harmon became a Bar Mitzvah at the Jacksonville Jewish Center. Evan is currently a student at Mandarin Middle School and graduated from The Bernard & Alice Selevan Religious School this past spring where his favorite subject was Hebrew. His favorite Jewish holiday is Hanukkah and some of his favorite hobbies include collecting model cars and playing video games. As part of the Center's B’nei Mitzvah Program, Evan chose 13 mitzvot that engaged the family in strengthening their Jewish home, synagogue, and community. Evan also collected much-needed school supplies for Jewish Family and Community Services' annual "Backpack Bonanza." Additionally, he participated in the “Chain of Memory” program and celebrated Hans Ament, of blessed memory.

Hans Ament was the son of a successful manufacturer, he was four years old when the Germans annexed Austria. In spring 1941, Hans' mother sold his brother's stamp collection for food. When ordered to report for deportation to a "resettlement camp," they fled to Marseilles in unoccupied France. In Marseilles, 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. 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. 36

Leo Rush for B'nai Tzedek and Chain of Memory On August 14 Leo Bernard Rush became a Bar Mitzvah at the Jacksonville Jewish Center. Leo is a seventhgrader at The Greenwood School and the Bernard & Alice Selevan Religious School. He enjoys reading and learning about history and Jewish holidays. His favorite Jewish holiday is Sukkot and his favorite activities include watching football and playing soccer. As part of the Center’s B’nei Mitzvah Program, Leo chose and completed 18 mitzvot for his Bar Mitzvah with honors that engaged the family in strengthening their Jewish home, synagogue, and community.

Through his participation in the “Chain of Memory” program, Leo has chosen to dedicate this special occasion to the memory of Franco Cesana and was impressed that Franco fought for what was right at such a young age.

Franco Cesana, of blessed memory, was born to a Jewish family living in the northern Italian city of Bologna. In the 1930s when Franco was seven, Mussolini enforced "racial" laws against the Jews: Franco was expelled from school and went to a Jewish school hastily organized in one of Bologna's synagogues. When his father died in 1939, he moved with his mother and older brother, Lelio, to Turin. In July 1943, Mussolini was overthrown and two months later, German forces occupied Italy and gained control of the north in which Franco's family and most of Italy's Jews lived. The Cesana family went into hiding in the mountains. At 12-years-old Lelio joined the Justice and Liberty, a partisan group. Franco was shot by Germans while on a scouting mission in the mountains. His body was returned to his mother on his 13th birthday. He was Italy's youngest partisan.

Kyle Sacks for Chain of Memory

On August 21 Kyle Brandon Sacks became a Bar Mitzvah at the Jacksonville Jewish Center. Kyle is a seventh-grader at St. Johns Country Day School and The Bernard & Alice Selevan Religious School where his favorite subject is Jewish history. In his free time, Kyle enjoys playing tennis and video games with his friends.

As part of the Center’s B’nei Mitzvah Program, Kyle chose and completed 13 mitzvot for his Bar Mitzvah that engaged the family in strengthening their Jewish home, synagogue, and community.

Kyle's Mitzvah Project is to help raise money for Learning Ally. Learning Ally is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that serves students and adults who have print disabilities like dyslexia or visual impairment.

Through his participation in the “Chain of Memory” program, Kyle has chosen to dedicate this special occasion to the memory of Zacharias Polak, of blessed memory, . By participating in this program, Kyle demonstrates the importance of remembering the past as well as educating the future. Zacharias Polak was born in Amsterdam, The Netherlands on January 20, 1932. During the war, he was a student and attended school in Amsterdam, Noordholland of the Netherlands. Zacharias was deported to an extermination camp in Sobibor, Poland where he was murdered on May 28, 1943. He was only 11 years old at the time of his death.

Leo chose to participate in the Jewish Federation & Foundation of Northeast Florida's B'nai Tzedek Youth Philanthropy Program by creating his own Philanthropic Fund at the Foundation from which he may contribute to Jewish causes of his choice in years to come. For more information about these and additional programs offered through the Jewish Federation & Foundation of Northeast Florida, contact Kellie Ann Kelleher-Smith at (904) 512-3796 or

Jewish Federation & Foundation of Northeast Florida





1. Martin J. Gottlieb Day School and Bernard & Alice Selevan Religious School alumni hanging out at Brewsters for a quick reunion before heading off to college. Top left to right: Ayden Israel, Jacob Selevan, Maiah Jaffa, Evan Levy Bottom left to right: Zach Mizrahi, Jeremy Zaifert, Jagger Leach, Elad Ohayon 2 & 3. The Pool Party Meet and Greet was one of the Congragation Ahavath Chesed's many social events to kick off the school year at TIR. The children began creating personal connections to each other and the Temple while enjoying an afternoon of fun.





4. Rabbi Feigenbaum visits River Garden to explain details with River Garden staff about keeping a kosher kitchen.

Jewish Federation & Foundation of Northeast Florida





While tzimmes is delicious, it’s fun to try new recipes that incorporate the simanim-symbolic foods of Rosh Hashanah. This salad is a favorite for serving rimon, pomegranate. I love the colors and flavors of this salad! For Rosh Hashanah, I replace the walnuts with pine nuts, due to the custom we have not to eat nuts on Rosh Hashanah. As a side, this can be adapted for romaine lettuce in place of the kale, and strawberries during the summer, when pomegranate may not be readily available.


1. Prepare salad: Start with kale that is clean and dry. Drizzle with 2 to 3 tablespoons olive oil. With your fingers, gently rub the oil on the kale leaves, massaging them to make them more tender. Refrigerate until ready to use.

2. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Toss sweet potato cubes with remaining tablespoon oil. Bake in the oven for approximately 30 minutes, or until cooked through and a little toasted on top. Remove from the oven and let cool. In a large bowl, combine kale, roasted potatoes, walnuts and pomegranate seeds. 3. Prepare dressing: In a small bowl, whisk lemon juice, zest, honey, garlic, Dijon, salt and pepper. Slowly add oil, whisking continuously until emulsified. 4. Pour dressing over salad, toss, and serve immediately



6–8 cups fresh kale leaves, ribs removed

Juice from 2 lemons


3–4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided 2 roasted sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into ½-inch cubes ½ cup walnuts, toasted

½ cup pomegranate seeds


Zest from 1 lemon 3 teaspoons honey

1 clove garlic, minced

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard ¾ teaspoon kosher salt

¼ teaspoon ground black pepper

½ cup extra virgin olive oil

Jewish Federation & Foundation of Northeast Florida


COUSIN BELLES PICKLED HERRING IN SOUR CREAM By Paula Klausner, Beth El - The Beaches Synagogue

My cousin was not one to share recipes though I had asked for many years. Finally, in 1995 during Rosh Hashanah, she gave me the recipe on a card. She said, "I know you always wanted to get this and you thought I would just die and not give it to you, but I love you and want to share it with you in person while I still can." Shortly after, she went into hospice. So, this is a very special recipe for me, with many wonderful memories!


1 Jar of Herring Fillets in Wine Sauce 1 Small Bunch of Raw Carrots 1 Sweet Onion or Vidalia Onion

2 TBSP. of Mayonnaise 1 Pint of Sour Cream 1 Package of Rye Rounds or Crackers



1. Drain jar of herring fillets and wash all of the liquid off. 2. Discard the onions in jar and dry the herring on paper towels. 3. Shave raw carrots and thinly slice fresh onions. 4. Mix onions and carrots with herring.

5. In seperate bowl, mix mayonnaise with sour cream.

6. Mix ingredients together and marinate for several hours or overnight. 7. Serve on rye rounds or crackers.



FRESH PRINTS PET LODGE & DAY RESORT By Mitzi Saul, Jewish Federation & Foundation of Northeast Florida

Steve Cantor, of blessed memory, had a passion for all animals and animals naturally gravitated to Steve. All animals loved him. Known to his family as the dog whisperer, Steve would easily make friends with pets who weren’t necessarily comfortable around humans. So, it was no surprise to his family and friends that after working part-time for a pet store, he and his father, Robert, would open Fresh Prints Pet Lodge & Day Resort in 1997. At that time, there weren’t a lot of places that offered boarding services in a loving and caring atmosphere versus having one's pet pent up in a cage many hours of the day at a local veterinarian or dog boarding facility. Their family business was different. Steve knew dogs needed to be socialized and knew that pets needed to get out every two hours. He also knew that dogs like to play in the grass and cool off in their baby pools after their daily activities. His philosophy—at Fresh Prints, every pet is treated as part of the family. The first year, they were in a small building off Southside Boulevard where they offered dog boarding and a little bit of grooming. Business quickly boomed and soon they were putting clients on a waiting list. After quickly outgrowing their space, they

Billy—wanted to honor him by keeping the business going. Co-owner Billy said, “Steve’s dream wasn’t going to die when he did. I think it made my brother happy and gave him some peace knowing that the business would go forward.”

moved down the street to Beach Boulevard and Peach Drive, one block behind the Beach Boulevard T-Rex. They continued to grow and in 2017, they opened Fresh Prints Pet Spa in St. Johns on Everest Lane and Race Track Road. They offer full bathing and grooming services and spa packages including blueberry facials, medicated shampoo baths, flea baths, teeth brushing, coconut paw massages, and more. Then the pandemic happened, and sadly on July 9, 2020, Steve lost his battle with cancer. No one was traveling or boarding their animals. People were working from home with their pets at their side so there was no need for boarding services. There were a few silver linings. The grooming side of the business flourished and kept the business afloat during most of 2020. And Steve’s family—Dad, Mom and brother

Now that people are back to traveling, Fresh Prints is doing great. They’re booking people two to three weeks out and sometimes must turn people away for boarding.

The Cantors are a strong, philanthropic family with a strong work ethic. Jewish values that run throughout Fresh Prints. Along with running a successful business, they volunteer for two childhood cancer foundations, donate auction items to nonprofits, and provide drop-off locations for holiday drives. As Billy says, “It’s important to support the Jewish community and keep traditions going so it doesn’t fade out. It was important to Steve and it’s important to us.” Fresh Prints Pet Lodge & Day Resort has a 5-Star Google rating for pet grooming and pet boarding services. Go to www. to learn more and make a reservation.

Jewish Federation & Foundation of Northeast Florida


Jewish Federation & Foundation of Northeast Florida


WORTH THE SCHELP Jacksonville Jewish Center Shabbat Morning Services & Kiddush September 4, 11, 18, 25 and October 2 9:00 AM - 12:00 PM Shabbat Morning Services (In-person & virtual) RSVP ONLY Live Stream: https://www.

in an outdoor tent. RSVP at or call Dafne 904-770-0502 Jacksonville Jewish Center Evening Services (In-person & Virtual) September 7 & 14 6: 15 PM

Jacksonville Jewish Center Evening Minyan (Virtual Only) September 4 & 11 6:30 - 7:30 PM Morning Service (Virtual) Jacksonville Jewish Center September 5, 12, 19, 26 8:30 - 9:15 AM Jacksonville Jewish Center Evening Services (In-person & Virtual) September 5, 12 6:15 PM JFCS Recovery Mondays September 6, 13, 20, 27 4:00 - 6:00 PM For those seeking personal recovery from addiction for themselves. This is a safe, confidential Zoom meeting. Contact Jodi at (904) 254-2322. Jacksonville Jewish Center Evening Services (In-person & Virtual) September 6 & 13 6: 15 PM Jacksonville Jewish Center evening services Rosh Hashanah Dinner in the Tent Chabad at the Beaches September 6 7:00 Services 8:00 Dinner Tent outside Chabad at the Beaches 521 A1A N Ponte Vedra Enjoy a delicious 5 course Rosh Hashanah Dinner with all the traditional foods. Dinner will be held


Chapter Endnotes Book Club September 7 7:00 - 9:00 PM Online book club discussion: September 10, 2021 @ 11AM Sign up today: https://www. Jacksonville Jewish Center Evening Services (In-person & Virtual) September 8 Jacksonville Jewish Center evening services Your Coffee, Our Torah September 9, 16, 23, 30 12:30 p.m.-1:30 p.m. Jacksonville Jewish Center Coping with Loss (Virtual & Inperson) September 15 & 29 2:00 - 3:00 PM Jacksonville Jewish Center Break the Fast with YPF September 16 7:30 PM RSVP to breakthefast

Kabbalat Shabbat Underground Services September 17, 24 & October 1 6:00 - 7:00 PM Jacksonville Jewish Center JCA Sukkot Celebration September 19 4:30 - 6:00 PM Let’s come together as a JCA family to celebrate Sukkot! Join in the traditions of shaking the lulav, holding the etrog, crafts and songs. A festive family-style meal of pizza will be served. Register at (904) 730-2100 ext 228. Registration is required by Sept. 9. Sukkot Under the Stars September 20 Following 7:00 PM Services Chabad at the Beaches Join us for a Festive Sukkot Dinner in the Beaches largest Sukkah. 521 A1A N Ponte Vedra. RSVP: chabadbeaches. com or Dafne (904) 770-0502 Glamour & Shakes in the Sukkah September 23 7:00 PM Chabad at the Beaches Enjoy a fun girls night out! Featuring Shakes & Glamour in the Sukkah. RSVP: or Dafne (904) 770-0502 521 A1A N StandWithUs Israeli Rally September 26 1:30 - 3:30 PM Contact Isabel Balotin at or (904) 472-8350 JCA Jewish Kayaking Journey September 26 2:00 - 4:30 PM Join Justin Sakofs on a kayaking journey with an infusion of Jewish spirituality. Rebbe Nachman of Bretslov wrote about finding God in nature, so you’ll take that journey to the water. At Big Pottsburg Creekkayak rental available on-site at All

Registration is required by Sep 27. Please register at JCARegistrationLink or call (904) 730-2100 ext. 228.

Wet Sports. Advance registration is required. Call (904) 730-2100 ext. 228. Scotch & Cigars in the Sukkah September 26 7:00 PM Chabad at the Beaches Enjoy a Men’s Scotch & Cigar Night. Network, socialize & enjoy light refreshments in the Sukkah. Fee: $25 per person. RSVP: or Dafne (904) 770-0502 Chabad Sukkah 521 A1A N Ponte Vedra JCA Abstract Class; In the Style of Gustav Klimt September 29 2:00 - 5:00 PM This acrylic painting workshop is an experience in letting go through art! Without the pressure of realistic expectations, all levels of skill can create through guided use of color, texture, shine and the core elements of art. A different abstract inspiration and technique is featured in each class.

Caregiver Support Group Teleconference September 30 1:00 - 2:00 PM Jacksonville Jewish Center

Dr. David Bortnick & the Jewish Historical Society Gathering October 12 2:30 PM Dr. David Bortnick will explore the role of Florida's Jews in the U.S. Civil War at a gathering of the St. Augustine Jewish Historical Society, St. Johns County Library Main Branch, 1960 N. Ponce De Leon Blvd. St. Augustine.

JCA Wine Down with Boutique Blooms September 30 6:30 - 8:30 PM Join us for a blooming evening of flower arranging and wine! Learn simple steps to create beautiful arrangements with flowers from any market, anytime. Grab your bestie and gather to create with us. For more details, call Heather at (904) 730-2100 ext. 265.

Jewish Federation & Foundation of Northeast Florida




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.

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


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.

Searching for identity hosts writing workshops for second and third generation holocaust survivors. Meet monthly in a confidential and judgement-free setting, in-person/ online, to explore experiences, capture important stories and explore identity. RSVP at www. 46

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

Become a Jewish Healing Network volunteer at JFCS. 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, call Hilary Rotenberg at (904) 3945722

JFCS Recovery Mondays meets weekly at 4 p.m. for those seeking personal recovery from addiction for themselves. This is a safe, confidential Zoom meeting hosted by Jodi S through JFCS. If interested please contact Jodi S: (904) 2542322 or email

Through a partnership with GO GO Grandparent and a grant from the Community Foundation for Northeast Florida, JFCS is now offering 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 fingertips! 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. 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!

Jewish Federation & Foundation of Northeast Florida


Profile for Northeast Florida Jewish Life Magazine

September Issue - Northeast Florida JLife Magazine  


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