Here's what's happening around the neighborhood with our Congregants and their families!

In November 2017, 40 members of the Greater Miami Jewish Federation’s South Dade community participated in the "Fall in Love with Israel" Mission, chaired by Adrian & Ken Dubow. Participants traveled throughout the country for seven days, visiting some of Israel’s most popular and meaningful destinations, such as Yad Vashem, the Kotel, Masada, Machne Yehuda market, Tel Aviv's Independence Hall and more. Ken said, “Mission participants experienced firsthand how their donations to Federation are being used in Israel to help improve the lives of so many people.” For example, the group spent Shabbat with participants of Federation-supported programs. “It was an incredible week,” said Adrian. “Witnessing the work of Federation is always something special, but doing it as community — strengthening those bonds between South Dade residents — takes the trip to a whole new level.”

Congratulations to Jeff Rosenberg (left), who was honored as “Man of the Year” at the Brotherhood of Temple Beth Am’s Opening Event on October 25, 2017. The award was presented at “An Evening with Ron Magill,” of which Jeff served as Event Chair. Jeff was recognized for his extraordinary service as Dinner Chair for the past two Opening Events, and as Membership Chair during Brotherhood’s inaugural two years. Making the presentation was Brotherhood President Donald McClaskey.

The Women’s Event, a premier program of the Greater Miami Jewish Federation Women's Philanthropy, featured guest speaker Suzi Weiss-Fischmann, Co-Founder of OPI Products, known as the “First Lady of Nails,” on October 31, 2017 at the Hilton Miami Downtown. Among the board members of Women's Philanthropy who helped plan the event were: Ilene Kossman, Campaign Chair; Alisa Oppenheim, VP-Education & Leadership; Melissa Buckner, Parliamentarian; and Belinda Gilbert, Member-at-Large.

Justin Firestone, founding partner of Wheels Up, was profiled in the October 9, 2017 issue of the Miami Herald's Business Monday. In an article, "Wheels Up finds altitude in private jet marketplace," Justin discusses the elite world of private jets, fractional ownership and jet-sharing, their 80-plane fleet, including 65 King Airs, and their plans to have more than 100 planes by the end of 2018.

2017 proved to be another busy season for Frank D. Marks, Sc.D., Director of the Hurricane Research Division of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. For the past 37 years Frank has accumulated thousands of hours probing the hearts and souls of hurricanes, getting to know them from their birth to their death. In 2016, he spent more time flying into the storm along with some 18 other scientists and professionals. Click here to read more. This year, Frank was a big help to Temple Beth Am keeping us up-to-date with the latest NOAA forecasts for Hurricane Irma.

Congratulations to Michelle Nahmad, daughter of Patricia & Raymond Nahmad, who won first place for her short film The Shochet in the Student category at the AT&T/Warner Brothers Shape competition in Los Angeles. The AT&T Film Awards is an open competition seeking imaginative, undiscovered short films from aspiring filmmakers who want their voices heard. Michelle recently graduated from the School of Visual Arts in New York, where she earned a Masters in Visual Narrative. Click here to view her film, The Shochet

On August 15, 2017, Miami attorney Hilarie Bass became President of the American Bar Association, steering the nation’s 400,000-member professional association as the group’s 141st president for a one-year term. The organization’s mission includes improving the profession and assuring meaningful access to justice. Hilarie, a prolific trial attorney who serves as Co-President of Greenberg Traurig, will continue working on issues she has championed throughout her career, including equal access to the law and diversity within the legal profession.

In 2009, Erica Sokol was a University of Florida freshman volunteering in pediatrics at a local hospital. She spent time playing with kids, many of whom had cancer. But with not enough volunteers to go around, she noticed that most of the children were by themselves, without a buddy like her. After graduating in 2013, Erica created the nonprofit Students Care and expanded the program to other hospitals and nearby college campuses. So far, over 500 kids have been helped by her university volunteers in three hospitals in Florida, Pennsylvania and Michigan. By September, Students Care will be in another three hospitals. In January 2017, she received her first grant of $115,000, enabling her to grow the non-profit fulltime with the help of a paid staffer. Now living in Philadelphia, Erica — daughter of Lauren & Brad Sokol — hopes one day that hospital buddy programs are in every pediatric floor in the country. Read full article in People magazine online

Bari Gold was never one for tutus. At 4, her mother gave in to her daughter’s competitive spirit and enrolled her in a soccer program. While other girls picked daisies on the field, Bari played fiercely against her opponents. She joined a travel team at nine and worked her way through school and club teams. The first time she was hit in the head with a ball in December 2016, the captain of the Miami Palmetto Senior High School team complained of a headache but blamed it on dehydration. Two games later, she was hit in the head again. Bari, daughter of Roberta Gold and Matthew Gold, couldn’t read the words on her history test. Bari is featured in Health & Fitness in the July 23, 2017 edition of the Miami Herald

Martha (Marti) Snyder, Ph.D., PMP, a member of the Board of Directors of the Dave and Mary Alper JCC, served as a Co-Chair of the JCC Maccabi Games & Artsfest in Miami. The Maccabi Games — held August 6–11, 2017 — is an Olympic-style sporting competition held each summer in North America and one of the largest organized sports program for Jewish teens (ages 13–16) in the world. This week-long, multi-sport and cultural event utilized venues throughout Miami-Dade County, of which Temple Beth Am was one of the drop-off locations, as well as the site for many basketball and volleyball matches.

Rehabilitation therapist Sharon Lessner-Eisenberg was featured in the Miami Herald on July 18, 2017 in an article entitled “Jackson Hospital improves its help for burn patients,” which talks about renovations to the burn unit at Jackson Memorial Hospital, which originally opened in 1962. The new UM/JH Burn Center was officially unveiled in July at the Ryder Trauma Center, which provides a comprehensive team approach to the care of burn victims.

Florida's U.S. Senators Marco Rubio and Bill Nelson on July 12, 2017 announced the membership of the Florida Federal Judicial Nominating Commission for the 115th Congress. The JNC is charged with identifying and recommending to the senators highly qualified individuals for consideration to become U.S. District Judges in each of the three judicial districts in Florida. Among new members of the JNC for the Southern District are attorneys Daniel Foodman and Harley S. Tropin. Read more

Two Temple Beth Am congregants participated in the 20th World Maccabiah Games July 4–18, 2017 in Israel, as part of Maccabi USA, a team of some 1,100 athletes who join the 8,750 Jewish athletes from 80 countries, participating in 43 different sports. Jarrett Hyder (left), son of Lisa & Vic Hyder, was a member of the U.S. Juniors Boys Baseball Team. A junior first baseman for Miami Palmetto Senior High School, Jarrett joined 16 other boys on the baseball team. Kelly Fertel, daughter of Alan Fertel, was been named to the U.S. Women’s Swimming Team. A freshman swimmer for the University of Florida Gators, Kelly is a specialist in the Individual Medley and breaststroke.

UPDATE: Kelly Fertel on July 10, 2017 set two new records and earned a gold medal at the Maccabiah Games in the 400 Individual Medley in a time of 4:45:54.

Since 1932, over 62,000 athletes have participated in the Maccabiah Games, a celebration of Jewish strength and solidarity. Team USA’s success is not only measured by the medals won, but by the impact that the Maccabiah experience has on their lives as well as the friendships they form.

On June 4, 2017, our Senior Rabbi Jeremy Barras was a guest speaker at St. Thomas Episcopal Church in Coral Gables, where he taught a class and delivered the Sunday sermon. Rabbi Barras is pictured at right with The Rev. Mario E. Milián, Rector of St. Thomas Episcopal Church.

Paloma Aisenberg, a senior at Miami Coral Reef High School, has created a music project called “Love Is the Answer” to benefit the Hancock French Woods Arts Alliance, an organization that offers educational and financial support for low-income children and young adults to pursue the arts. An active participant in our YERS program, Paloma was a 2016–17 Social Justice Teen Fellow at Temple Beth Am and has performed in more than 20 productions with the Miami Children’s Theatre, and has earned critic's choice awards at various statewide thespian competitions.

When he was five Federico Zalcberg and his family moved to the U.S. from Uruguay. “My parents moved here so I could have a better future,” he says. Now a rising senior at Miami Palmetto Senior High School, Fede — son of Yanet & Danny Zalcberg — has learned to embrace his heritage. When he returned recently to Uruguay, he studied at a high school for two weeks and learned about Ronald McDonald House. He came back from his visit determined to do something to help, and settled on a baby supply drive, and now he’s collecting everything for babies from clothing to diapers. A member of the National Honor Society, an officer in Mu Alpha Theta and President of the Spanish honor society, Fede was a 2016–17 Social Justice Teen Fellow at Temple Beth Am and was part of the group which traveled to Guatemala in November 2016. In 2017–18, he will serve as BAFTY Programming Vice President. Read profile in the June 26, 2017 edition of the Pinecrest Tribune's "Positive People in Pinecrest."

Jay Kislak turned 95 on June 6, 2017, and he celebrated in style — with a party in New York City on board the USS Intrepid, an aircraft carrier he once flew off of while a naval aviator in World War II. The festivities celebrated a man who has been a fixture in South Florida’s real estate and mortgage community for nearly 65 years. The patriarch of The Kislak Organization, founded by his father Julius in New Jersey more than a century ago, Jay moved to Miami in 1953 to grow the mortgage business. A founding member of Temple Beth Am, he is best known for the real estate empire he built over the decades, but Jay also is a passionate collector and philanthropist. Read full profile in Business Monday

Ellen Schwartzbard, M.D., who practices Obstetrics and Gynecology at Women’s Health of South Miami, was featured in the Summer 2017 edition of Baptist Health’s Resource magazine. In an article “Myth vs. Fact,” Ellen talks about whether DEET mosquito repellent is safe to use. “Pregnant women have to weigh the risks of contracting Zika and other mosquito-borne viruses,” she noted. “Most patients understand that the threat of these diseases is more dangerous than the potential risks of using DEET products.”

Mark Gilbert (far left), Director of the South Florida Capital Markets Group of Cushman & Wakefield, and Jay Massirman, Managing Director of Rivergate KW Residential, are serving as 2017–18 Co-Chairs of the Real Estate Division of the Greater Miami Jewish Federation. Among its networking opportunities, the Real Estate Division co-hosts the Speaker Series, a popular trio of breakfast sessions of interest to professionals such as architects, brokers, builders, developers, contractors and others affiliated with the real estate and construction trades.

Congratulations to the following attorneys, who were listed in the Top 100 Miami Area Lawyers and ranked in the 2017 edition of Florida Super Lawyers, as published on June 18, 2017:
Brett M. Amron, Bast Amron; Scott L. Baena, Bilzin Sumberg; Edward R. Blumberg, Deutsch & Blumberg; David Oscar Markus, Markus/Moss; Aaron S. Podhurst, Podhurst Orseck; Jack R. Reiter, GrayRobinson; Marty L. Steinberg, Hogan Lovells; and Harley S. Tropin, Kozyak Tropin & Throckmorton.

Super Lawyers is a rating service of outstanding lawyers from more than 70 practice areas who have attained a high-degree of peer recognition and professional achievement. The patented selection process includes independent research, peer nominations and peer evaluations. Super Lawyers magazine features the list and profiles of selected attorneys and is distributed to attorneys in the state or region and the ABA-accredited law school libraries.

Ilene Kossman was honored at the Greater Miami Jewish Federation's 79th Annual Meeting on June 7, 2017 at Jungle Island Miami with one of its most important leadership awards, the 2017 Robert Russell Fellowship Award. Named in remembrance of the late Robert Russell, once President of Federation, the award is presented to a community member who has shown active interest in the Federation and, in particular, Jewish communities overseas. Ilene is a member of the Board of Directors of Women's Philanthropy and serves as its Major Gifts Chair. She served recently as Miami Delegation Chair of the International Lion of Judah Conference in Washington, D.C.

On June 2, 2017, Temple Beth Am celebrated a special Kabbalat Shabbat Service honoring all of our graduating high school seniors. Highlight of the service was presentation of the Gary Eisenberg Shem Tov Award to Remy Farkas and Grace Gilbert. Honorable mentions were presented to Javier Cohen, Robert Feder, Samantha Joseph and Leo Romano. Yasher koach to all of our high school seniors.

Tamara Donnenfeld, Director of Lifelong Learning at Temple Beth Am, was honored with presentation of the 2017 JPro Miami Jewish Communal Professional of Excellence Award at JPro Miami's Year-End Lunch on May 24, 2017. Guest speaker at the event was David Lawrence, Jr., children's advocate and former Editor of the Miami Herald. JPro Miami is the local chapter of the Jewish Communal Service Association of North America (JCSA) in United States and Canada.

On May 22, 2017, Richard D. Fain joined the Miami Herald CEO Roundtable, and for the next six months, the CEOs will share their views on important civic and economic issues of the day. Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd., Richard is serving a two-year term as Chair of the University of Miami Board of Trustees. He has been active in a variety of local civic and professional organizations, and is a member of the Advisory Council of the United Way of Miami-Dade County and former Chairman of the Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau.

Just weeks after being removed from his post by the Trump administration, former U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy returned to old stomping grounds on May 18, 2017 at Miami Palmetto Senior High School. A 1994 Palmetto graduate and class valedictorian, he said he had a promise to keep. He had been invited by Shelby Loeb, a Palmetto senior who did research on electronic cigarettes — a subject he says is dear to him. Shelby caught Murthy’s attention several months ago when she emailed him a copy of her school project on electronic cigarettes that showed very similar findings to the 2014 National Youth Tobacco Survey, which revealed that the majority of youth aren’t aware of the dangers of e-cigarette use. The surgeon general — who during his tenure paid close attention to the subject — published a report on electronic cigarettes in December 2016. Shelby is pictured above with Dr. Murthy (2nd from left) and her parents, Andrea & David Loeb. Read more

At the Confirmation Shabbat on May 19, 2017, three Confirmands were honored for outstanding service during 2016–17. Sabrina Fradette received the Mark Light Award for Outstanding Service to Temple Beth Am. The Jeremiah Award for Outstanding Achievement in Jewish Studies, which recognizes exceptional oral and written contributions, was presented to Ben Robbins. Andy Shodell received the Erwin Lesser Award for Outstanding Confirmand, which honors behavior that exemplifies “derekh eretz” and what it means to be a “mensch.”

Temple Beth Am is so proud of the six high school seniors nominated for the Miami Herald's 2017 Silver Knight Awards and who were honored at a ceremony May 17, 2017. The Silver Knight recognizes outstanding students who have not only maintained good grades but also have unselfishly applied their special knowledge and talents to contribute significant community service. The program was instituted in 1959 by John S. Knight, past publisher of The Miami Herald, founder and editor emeritus of Knight-Ridder Newspapers and 1968 Pulitzer Prize winner. The program is open to seniors with a minimum unweighted 3.2 GPA in public, private and parochial schools in Miami-Dade and Broward.

This year’s nominees within the 15 categories were: Jordan Schwartz (New World School of the Arts), daughter of Laurel & Steven Schwartz, in the Arts category; Rachael Osman (Coral Reef Senior High), daughter of Alyson & Scott Osman, Athletics; Robert Feder (Coral Reef Senior High), son of Heidi & Paul Feder, English & Literature; Julie Bowers (Miami Killian Senior High), daughter of Lisa & David Bowers, General Scholarship; Remy Farkas (Miami Palmetto Senior High), daughter of Julianne & Dan Farkas, Journalism; and Ethan Paikowsky (Miami Palmetto Senior High), son of Julie & Steven Paikowsky, in Speech.

Women’s Philanthropy of the Greater Miami Jewish Federation held its Annual Meeting & Installation Brunch on May 17, 2017, where it installed its new Board. Among Temple Beth Am congregants serving in leadership positions for the 2017–2018 term are: Ilene Kossman, Campaign Chair; Alisa Oppenheim, Vice President of Education & Leadership; Melissa Buckner, Parliamentarian; and Member-at-Large Belinda Gilbert. Guest speaker was Felicia Knaul, Director of the University of Miami’s Institute for the Advanced Study of the Americas. Women’s Philanthropy is organized into regional areas — North Dade, South Dade, Miami Beach and Central Area — united by a passion for the Jewish value of tikkun olam (repairing the world) and to the common goals of providing for the welfare of the Jewish people; helping those in need in Miami and around the world; educating our children; and sustaining Jewish life now and in the future.

The Miami-Dade Gay & Lesbian Commerce has honored Joan Schaeffer with presentation of the Morgan Stanley Bob Balsam Civic Achievement Award at The Topaz Gala, its 16th annual awards dinner on May 13, 2017. The award is named for the late former Miami Beach Convention Center General Manager Bob Balsam, who made significant contributions to the LGBTQ community. Joan is a consultant for Jewish Community Services of South Florida and the JCS Liaison to the adult LGBTQ community.

United HomeCare (UHC) held its annual Claude Pepper Awards Dinner on May 11, 2017 at Jungle Island, where over 300 community leaders, healthcare professionals and dignitaries gathered to honor the 2017 Claude Pepper Award recipients. Robert “Bobbie” Rosenthal, Chairman of the UHC Board of Directors, presided over the signature gala, now in its 23rd year, which pays tribute to the legacy of The Honorable Claude Pepper for his advocacy for the elderly and disabled, and honors exceptional individuals and organizations from the private and public sectors. UHC is a pioneer in the provision of home and community-based care and assisted living.

The 6th annual “Claws for Kids” Brunch on May 7, 2017 to benefit Boys & Girls Clubs of Miami-Dade (BGCMIA) raised a record $140,000. Lisa Mendelson is serving as BGCMIA’s Capital and Endowment Campaign Co-Chair and was among the committee members who planned the successful brunch, which was held at Joe’s Stone Crab. BGCMIA has been serving youth in our community since 1940, and has grown to five clubs that serve thousands of boys and girls year-round, providing programs in the areas of character and leadership development, educational enhancement, career preparation, health and life skills, cultural arts and sports, fitness and recreation.  

Rabbis Without Borders (RWB), an initiative that helps rabbis innovate using Jewish wisdom as a source for wellbeing for anyone anywhere, has selected Rabbi Rachel Greengrass as a member of its 7th class for its competitive rabbinic fellowship program. RWB helps rabbis better communicate in both familiar and new venues, and makes Jewish wisdom an accessible resource for the American public to help all people flourish in their lives. Rabbis in the RWB Network are committed to serving people wherever they may be: affiliated or not, Jewishly educated or not, with Jewish connections or none. Founded in 2008, RWB has served over two million people in the U.S. to date.

Yasher koach to Dan Levine, who was named 2016–17 winner of The Harry Gunther Service Award, awarded to a deserving Beth Am member who has worked for the benefit of the Temple community in a way which would be considered "above and beyond." The award was presented at the Temple Beth Am Annual Meeting on May 7, 2017. Read more

Congratulations to Joseph Jacoby, recipient of the 19th annual Talmud Torah Award, honoring a congregant who has contributed significantly to Temple Beth Am by engaging thoughtfully in our adult education programs. The award was presented on May 5, 2017. Read more

Harvey Gurland, Jr., Managing Partner of the Florida offices of Philadelphia-based law firm Duane Morris, was featured as “The Achiever” in the May 4, 2017 edition of Miami Today. The profile talks about how Harvey was a child when he decided he wanted to be a lawyer. Today, he must balance his own litigation practice with growing the firm’s South Florida presence and managing the Miami and Boca Raton offices, among other duties and interests. Harvey is a former chair of the Petroleum Marketing Committee of the American Bar Association.

Remy Farkas had a full-page profile in the May 2017 edition of Seventeen magazine. Daughter of Julianne & Dan Farkas, Remy is a senior at Miami Palmetto Senior High and is a past President of Temple Beth Am’s teen youth group, BAFTY.

The celebrated Four Tops performed on April 27, 2017 at the University of Miami Project: New Born fundraiser at Magic City Casino to benefit the Schatzi and Stanley Kassal Project: New Born Neonatal Intensive Care Unit in the Holtz Children’s Hospital at the University of Miami/Jackson Memorial Medical Center Complex. The Sounds of Motown concert was underwritten by Barbara H. Havenick in honor of her grandson, Ashton, who was able to go home from the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit with his parents, Rebecca & Michael Havenick, following a positive stay. Barbara, who is a member of the Board of Governors of the Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center, serves on the UM Board of Trustees.

On April 24, 2017 CBS News’ Twitter feed reported on participants who gathered in the former Nazi death camp of Auschwitz as thousands of people gathered for the annual “March of the Living” during Holocaust Remembrance Day in Oswiecim, Poland. A poignant photo captured Allison Siegel, daughter of Jackie & Richard Siegel, as she hugged another participant from the Miami delegation.

Each year, Temple Beth Am is proud to recognize an outstanding family of volunteers. Mazel tov to the Behar FamilyRobert, Ana, Emma & Ruben — and the Marcus FamilyJeff, Niki, Zach & Tyler — who have been selected as recipients of the Committee of 100’s 2017 “Family of the Year” Award, for their continued participation in our Temple community and their ongoing commitment to congregational leadership. Read full article

The Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce presented its 2017 South Florida R.E.A.L. Awards (Real Estate Achievers & Leaders) on April 21, 2017 at its annual Real Estate Summit at Jungle Island, Miami. Ryan D. Bailine (left) and Anthony Askowitz were recognized as Lifetime Achievement Award Honorees. Ryan, who was chosen in the Real Estate Attorney category, is a land development and real estate partner at Greenberg Traurig. Anthony, a Broker-Owner with RE/MAX Advance Realty II in Kendall, was selected in the Real Estate Broker-Residential category.

Jordan Schwartz, daughter of Laurel & Steven Schwartz, curated an art show at the Coconut Grove Art Gallery in Mayfair on April 18, 2017. All artwork for sale was for the benefit of Save a Child's Heart foundation, a cause that she has been working with for several years. In addition to her fellow seniors' art from New World School of the Arts, Jordan created a piece with the help of Temple Beth Am Day School children's beautiful hand-decorated hearts.

Richard Yulman was honored with the presentation of the Dermot McGlinchey Lifetime Achievement Award from Tulane University and the Tulane Alumni Association on April 1, 2017 at The National WWII Museum in New Orleans. The McGlinchey Award was established in 1996 and recognizes individuals who have demonstrated service, volunteer involvement and commitment to Tulane and their hometown communities. Richard, former Chairman of Serta International, is a Vice Chair of the Greater Miami Jewish Federation and former Chair of The Foundation of the Greater Miami Jewish Federation.

Congratulations to Marcia Reisman, who was honored on March 25, 2017 by the League of Women Voters of Miami-Dade County at its “Women That Shine 2017” event, recognizing outstanding women who have a meaningful impact on our community and who are role models for the community. In her career as an attorney for Dade Legal Aid, it troubled her to know that, at age 18, children age out of foster care and are sent out to fend for themselves. This sad reality led her to help create Casa Valentina, which fills a void with housing, case management and comprehensive life-skills curriculum. Today, Marcia serves on the board as Vice Chair of Development. A Past President of the Dave & Mary Alper Jewish Community Center, she is a mentor for at-risk high school girls with Women of Tomorrow.

The Health Information Project — founded in 2009 by Risa Berrin and her sister, Valerie — on March 22, 2017 celebrated the 1,400 peer educators who teach health awareness to 32,000 ninth-graders in 54 schools in Miami-Dade County. HIP Day at the University of Miami's Watsco Center featured testimonials and breakout discussion groups on such critical teen health issues as obesity, depression, anxiety, pregnancy, eating disorders, suicide, bullying and sexual assault. Risa was a law school graduate preparing to take the bar exam when she decided to apply her passion for helping troubled kids into life-changing action. The school system eliminated health education from the curriculum; HIP filled the void. Read more

Dermatologist Joely Kaufman, M.D. (left) talks to students about skin cancer prevention during a session at HIP Day. More than 1,000 Miami-Dade high school students gathered to discuss and learn more about key health issues that affect teens — anxiety, depression, bullying, eating disorders, pregnancy, obesity, suicide and sexual assault.

Yasher koach to brothers Tyler & Zach Marcus, who along with their parents Niki & Jeff Marcus, served as Chairs of the 3rd annual 3-on-3 Dunks for Diabetes basketball tournament fundraiser April 23, 2017. The tourney — held at Temple Beth Am’s Basketball Courts in the Hessel Family Youth Complex — was presented by Temple Beth Am’s Tikkun Olam Committee, and was to help promote awareness of diabetes and to raise funds for the American Diabetes Association. The event was open to all players in 3rd–8th grades. Tyler is a 3rd grade student at Temple Beth Am Day School. Zach, a graduate of Temple Beth Am Day School, is in the 7th grade at Ransom Everglades School. Read more

The Temple Beth Am Day School Annual Auction on March 16, 2017 was a great success, featuring a host of silent and live auction items, including original art pieces created by the students of both the Early Childhood Center and Elementary School. A special shout-out to our dynamic Co-Chairs Jessica Moskowitz and Barbara W. Havenick, and to the other amazing chairs who helped ensure that the auction was a magnificent celebration: Bianca Gabay, Food and Beverage Chair; Gina Beekman, Gift Basket Chair; Klaudia Brown & Claudia Storper, Photography Co-Chairs; and the members of the Executive Committee — Yafit Ferrer, Ali Proman, Lizzie Schaul and Lauren Schwartz.

Les Adler is serving as President of the Hillel Florida State University 2016–17 Community Board. A partner in the accounting firm Kabat, Schertzer De La Torre, Taraboulos & Co., Les presides over the board which provides direct oversight to Foundation activities. Rabbi Jaime Aklepi is a Member at Large on the Community Board. FSU is home to nearly 4,000 Jewish students, and Hillel FSU and the members of the Jewish Council provide diverse opportunities for making Jewish choices while being a student at FSU.

Leah Messing, daughter of Adrienne & Steve Messing, was a Vice Chair of the Greater Miami Jewish Federation's annual Super Sunday and Good Deeds Day on March 19, 2017. Super Sunday is Federation’s largest annual phonathon, where hundreds of volunteers gather to make phone calls to Jewish households in Miami-Dade County, asking for participation in the annual Federation/UJA Campaign. Leah operates Admission Ignition, a South Florida firm dedicated to preparing students for higher education.

Robert C. Gilbert, Esq., a partner at the South Florida law firm Kopelowitz Ostrow Ferguson Weiselberg Gilbert, served as Co-Chair of the Greater Miami Jewish Federation’s 33rd annual Judicial Reception March 9, 2017 at Jungle Island, Miami. The event paid tribute to two respected members of the South Florida legal community — Legal Services of Greater Miami Executive Director Marcia K. Cypen, Esq. and the Honorable Stanley Marcus, United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit. Cypen received the Attorneys’ Division’s 2017 Community Service Award while Judge Marcus received the 2017 Honorable Theodore “Ted” Klein Lifetime Achievement Award.

Congratulations to Louis Wolfson III, who was among five recipients honored by MCCJ (formerly known as the Miami Coalition of Christians and Jews) on March 5, 2017 at its annual Humanitarian Awards dinner. Louis, a founding partner of Pinnacle Housing Group and PHG Builders, received MCCJ’s 2017 Silver Medallion. He is a fourth-generation Floridian and serves on the Board of Directors of the Miami-Dade College Foundation and is Co-Founder/Co-Chairman of the United Jewish Federation's Investment Institute, which brings together over $13 billion dollars worth of endowment monies from Jewish Federations throughout North America.

The magnificent Lion of Judah sculpture at the main entrance to the Greater Miami Jewish Federation’s Stanley C. Myers Building has undergone a restoration, thanks to Laurel Susman Schwartz (right) and Jordan Schwartz, a mother-daughter team who wanted to express their deep appreciation to Federation. The LOJ sculpture was a gift of Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat during Federation’s 2012 Mega Mission to Israel, a symbol of the everlasting bond between the people of Israel and Miami's Jewish community. For Jordan and Laurel, the restoration of the Lion has been a labor of love, recognizing Federation’s direct impact on their family. “My mother, Betty Rosenbach Susman, is a Holocaust survivor,” explained Laurel, a fifth-grade teacher at Temple Beth Am Day School, one of 10 Federation-funded Jewish day schools in Miami-Dade County. “She was at the Warsaw Ghetto and then was taken prisoner by the Russians to Siberia. When the war ended, my mom spent some time in a German displaced persons camp. In 1949, the Federation system was instrumental in facilitating her transfer and relocation to Miami.” Jordan, a senior in the Visual Arts Program of the New World School of the Arts and a graduate of Temple Beth Am Day School, was equally excited to take part in the project. She will continue her Holocaust education when she joins the 2017 March of the Living.

The Brotherhood of Temple Beth Am sent a crew to the 2nd annual Rotary Club of Coral Gables Chili Cookoff on February 26, 2017 at Fred B. Hartnett Ponce Circle Park in Coral Gables. Funds raised help the Rotary Club’s charitable foundation, all of which will go right back into the community in the form of civic and charitable grants. Pictured above are (from left): Brotherhood board member Miller Myers, President Donald McClaskey, Recording Secretary Ed Schwartz, Membership Chair Jeff Rosenberg, Chief Cook Andy Cohn and Jeff Granoff.

Miami Stories, a partnership of HistoryMiami, Miami Herald Media Co., WLRN and the National Conference on Citizenship, sponsors articles in the Miami Herald Neighbors. February 26, 2017 featured Fran Sokol Hertz, who wrote: "I love this cosmopolitan city with its beaches and diverse culture. I have been blessed with teaching ESOL both in Dade County Schools and at Miami Dade College for over 40 years. My students from all over the world and many different cultures have taught me so much. Miami has changed a lot, but my heart is still here in this balmy metropolis with ocean breezes and life-long friends and memories." Read “Miami High grad recalls life in segregated South Florida”

Amid a six-month battle with stage 2a breast cancer, friends and family surprised Ileana Cohn at the Lennar Foundation Medical Center in Coral Gables on February 8, 2017 to celebrate her final chemotherapy treatment. Earlier in the day, UM Head Football Coach Mark Richt visited Ileana, a 2006 grad who frequently attends UM sports games with her husband, Andrew. They met at UM “when I was a freshman and he was a sophomore,” she said. “He actually broke up with me because he said ‘a lot of girls liked him and he couldn’t stay with one person.’ We got back together our junior year and got married the following year.” Sign of the U: Ileana celebrated her final chemotherapy session with (from left) UM mascot Sebastian the Ibis, husband Andrew, daughter Sofia, son David and Mark Richt. Read more in the Miami Herald

The 19th Miami Herald Business Plan Challenge has been launched, the newspaper’s annual celebration of South Florida innovation in one of the most entrepreneurial regions in the nation. Sponsored by the Pino Global Entrepreneurship Center at Florida International University, the contest welcomes business plan entries from any industry. There are three tracks — a Community Track, an FIU Track and a High School Track, co-sponsored by the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship. Among the judges for the Community Track are Melissa Krinzman, Managing Partner of Krillion Ventures. Read about the judges

In a move that will help cement two local institutions’ role as stewards of Florida and early American history, the Jay I. Kislak Foundation is donating thousands of priceless items — including rare books, maps, manuscripts and artifacts — to the University of Miami and Miami Dade College. Jay Kislak, a founding member of Temple Beth Am, announced on January 23, 2017 that MDC plans to create a permanent 2,600-square-foot exhibition gallery in the Freedom Tower in downtown Miami, adjacent to the historic New World Mural, which celebrates Ponce de Leon’s 1513 discovery and naming of Florida, a fitting place for a Kislak collection replete with pre-Columbian and early American historical pieces. At UM, the Kislak donation will enhance a collection pertaining to South Florida history, and Caribbean and Cuban culture. At 94, Jay remains active in both corporate and philanthropic endeavors, especially in Miami where he has lived for more than 60 years. Read article in the Miami Herald

Hilarie Bass, Co-President of law firm Greenberg Traurig, has been named recipient of the 2017 Judge Learned Hand Award from AJC Miami and Broward on May 17, 2017 at Jungle Island Miami. Established in 1964, the award cites legal professionals for excellence and contributions to the legal community. Recipients embody much of what the Judge represented: the rights of the individual and the importance of democratic values in an orderly society. Judge Hand, who was Chief Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, has been quoted more often by scholars and the Supreme Court than any other lower-court judge. Dinner Chairs were Aaron S. Podhurst (2015 recipient) and Harley S. Tropin (2016). Among the dinner co-chairs are: Adam M. Moskowitz, Richard A. Pollack, Marty Steinberg (2014 honoree) and John C. Sumberg.

Members of Temple Beth Am completed a mission to Cuba in December 2016 to connect with Jewish people in the island nation. The trip was organized by Cantor Rachelle Nelson, whose late mother was born in Cuba to Russian immigrants who escaped pogroms, organized massacres of Jews. Read more about the group’s trip in the February 2017 issue of Pinecrest magazine

Jack H. Levine, broker and President of Levine Realty, Inc. and owner of Levine Properties, has been installed as Treasurer of the Miami Association of Realtors for 2017, an organization of which he was Chairman of the Board in 2011. The Miami Association of Realtors represents over 35,000 Realtors in Miami-Dade and Broward counties. He is presently a member of the Board of Governors for the Realtors Commercial Alliance of Miami. Jack was recognized as “2011 Realtor of the Year” by the Miami Association of Realtors.

Leonard Kalman, M.D, Deputy Medical Director and Chief Medical Officer of the new Miami Cancer Institute, served as a Co-Chair of “The Grand Gala,” held on November 12, 2016 by Baptist Health Foundation. The Grand Gala was celebrated on the campus of the event’s beneficiary, Miami Cancer Institute, a destination cancer center which opened in January 2017, featuring the first proton therapy center in South Florida, Latin America and the Caribbean.

Kudos to Temple Beth Am Day School 5th grader Emma Behar for her extraordinary effort to help Shoes for Streets collect gently used sneakers and blankets for the homeless for the holiday season.  After loading up the items brought by fellow Day School families, Emma and her twin brother, Ruben, and her parents, Ana & Robert Behar, hit the streets of Miami’s inner cities to work with Shoes for Streets to deliver the sneakers and blankets to our area’s homeless. Shoes for Streets was founded by former professional MMA fighter Gabriel Varona, a personal trainer at M Cycle in South Miami.

Author and storyteller Andrea Askowitz, founder of Lip Service Stories, performed on January 11, 2017 at Mina’s Mediterraneo in Miami as part of the Miami-Dade Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce’s Women’s Empowerment Series. Andrea is the author of the memoir My Miserable, Lonely, Lesbian Pregnancy and the editor of Badass: True Stories, the Double Album. She presented a story-crafting workshop on September 24, 2017 at Temple Beth Am as part of our S’lichot celebration.

Shirley & Arthur Sotloff, whose son Steven was killed by the Islamic State on September 2, 2014, gave their first major television interview to CBS’ “60 Minutes” on January 8, 2017. They talked about their son, a graduate of Temple Beth Am Day School, and the United States’ policy concerning Americans held hostage. 60 Minutes’ correspondent Lesley Stahl (center) spoke to the Sotloffs in December. “We’ve waited such a long time to speak out. Now, we not only want people to know what really happened to our family and Steven, but also where we are headed,” said Art. “We started the 2Lives Foundation and basically, hopefully, this will be a story about his life. Before we agreed to that, we didn’t want it to be us smashing the government, but the government did nothing for us. We wanted it to be well-rounded. This is a story about his life and accomplishments and what we are doing to create a legacy and make it a different world.” The 2Lives Steven Joel Sotloff Memorial Foundation was established to endow scholarships for journalism students at the University of Miami, Florida International University, Miami Dade College, the University of Central Florida and Kimball Union Academy in New Hampshire, which Steven attended.

Jessi Berrin, Director of Government and Community Relations at Baptist Health South Florida, spends most days away from her desk, driving to events, sending email from the road and making her own schedule. While her work arrangement might seem nontraditional, in a way she represents the flexible work style millennials expect. Jessi was profiled on January 2, 2017 in the Miami Herald’s Business Monday in an article entitled “2017 looks like it will be a big year for workplace flexibility,” and said she sees 2017 as the year when her generation gets more of what they want in the workplace: “The traditional 9 to 5 is not at all appealing to millennials, especially with technology moving faster than anyone can grasp. We want to work for employers who meet us where we are.

On February 15, 2017, more than 1,000 people came together at the Hilton Hotel Downtown for the Greater Miami Jewish Federation's The Main Event 2017, an annual celebration of Miami’s Jewish community and its commitment to helping Jewish people in need in Miami, in Israel and around the world. Colleen & Richard Fain (right) served as Chairs of The Main Event, which featured a keynote address by noted journalist David Gregory, former moderator of NBC’s Meet the Press and an analyst at CNN. The evening also featured a special performance by Grammy-award winning violinist Miri Ben-Ari.

Andrew Shodell is passionate about the environment. So passionate that he successfully worked to convince the administration at Palmer Trinity School, where he is a sophomore, to begin a composting program. At Palmer Trinity, he also is Treasurer of the Debate Club. In addition to being an active member of Temple Beth Am’s youth group BAFTY, Andrew is a teaching assistant in the YERS Madrichim program. The son of Ellen Schwartzbard & Matt Shodell, Andrew was profiled in the December 12, 2016 edition of the Pinecrest Tribune's "Positive People in Pinecrest."

On December 4, 2016, Temple Beth Am's Rabbi Jaime Aklepi was a guest on WPBT-Channel 2's public affairs program, Viewpoint. This month's show, titled Looking Ahead to 2017 – Rebuilding Communities, focused on the year 2016. Between a polarizing presidential election, ongoing racial tensions and the largest terror attack on U.S. soil since 9/11, it was a trying year for Americans and our belief systems. Other South Florida religious leaders who shared what’s on the minds of their congregations and how faith can help rebuild communities moving forward were: Very Rev. Wilifred Allen-Faiella, St. Stephens Episcopal Church, Coral Gables; Shaikh Shafayat Mohamed, Darul Uloom Institute, Pembroke Pines; and Pastor Danny Slavich, Pembroke Road Baptist Church, Miramar.

Sol Colsky, M.D., who worked as a primary-care doctor until his retirement in 2008, hosted a reunion on December 3, 2016 to honor his former employees. The Tennessee native, 87, received his bachelor’s from Johns Hopkins University and a medical degree at the University of Tennessee School of Medicine. Following a fellowship at Johns Hopkins, Sol served for two years in the U.S. Army Medical Corps, and then moved to Miami to begin his practice. He was Baptist Hospital Chief of Staff from 1974–1978 and Charter President of Baptist Health South Foundation. Read “This old-school doctor stuck to his roots” profile in Miami Herald Neighbors

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