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January 13, 2017     Heritage Florida Jewish News
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January 13, 2017

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HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, JANUARY 13, 2017 PAGE 15A She and Brad have thought- fully passed these values on to From page 1A Marc, who clearly took them to heart. After attending the tivedirectorofCentralFlorida Holocaust Center's Dinner Hillel for seven years and had of Tribute in 2015 he was so strong ties to the Jewish com- touched by the message of munity. She was a natural for the event that he decided to a board position, beginning at give his birthday money to the the Roth Family JCC in 2012 Center. Hewantedto dedicate and then transferring to the his donation "in memory of Rosen JCC in 2015 when its those who showed courage inaugural Board of Directors in the face of danger." Most was formed. Harris's son recently he asked his bar AJ is a student in the Early mitzvah guests to make a Childhood Learning Center, donation to the newly created and she became an involved MarcHomburgerJacobsFund parent in many capacities, at the Holocaust Center. including using her skills as Niua Oppenheim, Cen- an HR professional for Disney tral Florida tIillel to assist with various HR is- You cannot speak about sues and topics. She became the history and success of the governance chair of the Central Florida Hillel, or the executive committee, and is organized Jewishcommunity now secretary of the board, in Orlando, without speaking Harris has beeninstrumen- about Nina Oppenheim. tal in assisting the Rosen JCC As the first president of with many critical projects, in- CFH in 2000, Oppenheimwas cludingrewritingtheEmployee instrumental in leading the Handbook. She also led the agency during its formative executive director search, and years. Under her direction, created a step-by-step process CFH hired a full-time execu- to assist the JCC in finding the tive director, program profes- right person for thisvital role. sionals and development Eve Homburger, Holo- professionals. She oversaw the caust Memorial Re- creation of a fully functioning source & Education board of directors and placed Center Hillel on a track toward excel- Eve Homburger has called lence before stepping down Central Florida home since to serve as immediate past 1977, and she has shared her president and then secretary. time, talent and treasures After the national financial with our community ever collapse of 2008, Oppenheim since. Her most valuable again served as Hillel presi- treasures are her husband, dent and was instrumental Brad Jacobs, and son Marc, in ensuring that Hillel would who share her passion for vol- continue to ensure Jewish life unteering and philanthropy, on campus. As asecond-generation Ho- Oppenheim's impact can locaust survivor, Homburger be seen across the country learned the importance of as you connect with students community and philanthropy whowereinvolvedwithHillel. from her parents. "They went These students now serve as from having everything to board members for Jewish having nothing," Homburger caLlses, work for Jewish or- says. "They taught me the ganizations and participate importance of giving back to as active members of their the community." Homburger Jewish communities. still thinks about the speech All Polejes, Kinneret her father gave at her religious Council on Aging school confirmation that has Alison "Ali" Polejes began guided her throughout her life. her involvement with the Kin- "Myfathersharedthreeimpor- neret Council on Aging and tantvalues to live by: The first Kinneret Apartments more was tolerance. He encouraged than 15 years ago. She was a me to be open-minded and to part of the Federation's Born- acceptpeople ofalltypes. Next, stein Leadership Development he emphasized honesty, and Programandhadtaken atour wished me a life of honor and of Kinneret Apartments--a truthfulness. Lastly my father tour that would eventually wanted me to know the impor- alter her life and career path. tance of a sense of humor, and "I began my involvement as how to make lemonade out of a board intern," Polejes says. lemons." "...and when they asked me Es Cohen Ali Polejes to accept a board position I immediately said yes. I was very close to my grandparents, and had visited Kinneret over the years as a child. Kinneret seemed like a natural fit." In 2007, Ali accepted the position of president of the Kinneret I, Kinneret II and Kinneret Council on Aging Board. Under her leadership, Kinneret became an A+ rated property, and HUD awarded Kinneret II a $1.7 million dol- lar green retrofit grant. "Kinneret's mission of'Car- ing for Those who Care for Us' is deeply important, and I personally gain so much from my involvement here," Polejes says. "I work with amazing people like Mark Silverberg, whose knowledge and history of Kinneret is invaluable; Rob- ert Hara, who always boosted my confidence and supported my efforts through some try- ing times; and Rhonda Pearl- man, my mentor and dear friend. It's a board that works together; works hard and does good work. I am so proud to be a part of the leadership at Kinneret." Wendi Harris Elise Schilowitz Elise Schilowitz, The Jewish Pavilion One of the most impor- tant jobs the president of an organization can do is groom her successor. Elise Schilowitz needed no grooming when she became president of the Jewish Pavilion. She already had tremendous passion for the Pavilion--knowledge of how the organization operates and serves seniors, strong relationships with board members, familiarity and involvement with all of the Pavilion's events, and excel- lent organizational skills. According to her nomina- tor, Schilowitz's trademark warmth suited her well as president of the Pavilion, and she fostered a genuine sense of camaraderie among board members. Whether serving as Pavilion's president or president of the Friends of the Jewish Pavilion, Schilowitz is regarded as a builder and a leader who has forged mean- ingful, lasting relationships with donors, sponsors and volunteers. Eve Homburger Nina Oppenheim Miriam Varnagy Madeline Wolly Miriam Varnagy, Jewish er Orlando has been her Academy of Orlando "second home" since 1983. MiriamVarnagy hails from When she and her husband, Caracas, Venezuela, where George, were invited--yes, she attendedthelocalJewish back then you had to be day school from kindergarten invited--to start with JFS, throughhighschool, andtrav- the agency was located on eled to Israel with her school. Wymore Road in a little She married David Varnagy, house, and the pantry was also from Caracas, and even- just a tiny closet. But they tually they made their way to did some big things with theUnitedStates,whereDavid the food in that little closet. became a vascular surgeon. George eventually became Miriam and David moved the local president of JFS to Orlando in 2008 with their and later a national presi- two young children, Estrella dent. While he was national and Michael. The children president, Wolly was the lo- enrolled at the Jewish Acad- cal president. When George emy of Orlando in Maitland, passed away, JFS dedicated and Varnagy immediately its new building in his honor. became a "Super Volunteer" Wolly has been a member at the school. She served of CongregationOhevShalom as HUM president (Horim since she moved to Orlando in U'Morim--the JAO's PTO), 1975tomarryGeorge.Shehas Galachair, board memberand been active in Hadassah and vice president of development. COS, and now she volunteers Miriam also is a graduate of at the Villages on the Green, the Federation's Bornstein where she has lived for the Leadership Development past 11 years. Program. Read more about Choices Madeline Wolly, JFS 2017, including a profile of Orlando celebrity guest speaker Sonia Madeline Wolly says Jew- Kashuk, at ishFamilyServicesofGreat- choices. From page IA As in Maitland, the police people filled with hate to andongoingsecuritytraining response--this time the Or- attempt to intimidate places and emergency procedure re- resources."We have astrong ange County Sheriff's Office, of love and inclusiveness, view with the Orange County relationship with both agen- was quickto respondandvery we must see this as a call to Counter Terrorism Unit. cies, who have always, andwill competent. There were 50 increase in acts of love, good- They are also intouch with continue to, makethesecurity children in the building and ness, kindness and Mitzvot," the ADL and other Florida of our campus a top priority," about 20 staff who were all Rabbi Konikov said. organizations that provide he statedin an emailto all JCC evacuated to Chabad's other On Thursday, Jan. 5, around training and assistance spe- members, location, noon, ChabadofSouthOrlando cificallytoJewishinstitutions Shortly after the first call Were the children afraid? received another threatening in Florida, to update and cameintotheJewishAcademy, "No," said Konikov. "We said phone call and Rabbi Konikov refresh the staff and specific a similar call was received at it was practice for an emer- onceagaincalledintheOrange members'skillsinbeingready Chabad of South Orlando. The gency." County Sheriff's Office, who torespondtoterror orattacks. office manager who took the The parents were informed evacuated the building. "We pray for calm and call initially hung up on the and told exactly what had In an email update, Rab- security at Chabad's Center callerstatingshecouldn'thear happened and were given bi Konikov stated that he of Jewish Life, JAO, Maitland whathewassayingbecausehis the choice to pick up their has been in touch with the campus, as well as every voice was very distorted. The children or let them return Lubavitch Security Depart- Jewish institution here and caller called again and asked to classes. All of the children ment and they have putabroad. With a prayer for the in a digitized-sounding voice returned. Chabad of South Orlando in coming of Moshiach when if she could hear him, then "We, too, have a greattouchwithawidernetworkof hate and evilwill be eradicated stated, accordingtoher,"there relationship with the Orange agencies, including the FBI. and nations will live together is a bomb in the shul." County police. They quickly "I want to thank our office in peace," Rabbi Konikov RabbiYosefKonikovwasn't handled the situation and staff and teachers for acting concluded. sure ifshe heard correctly that within one hour had gone swiftly, inacalmmanner, and While this was happening thepersonsaid"shul"because through the entire building reassuring the kids that they in Central Florida, also on of the distortion. "Perhaps he with the K-9 dogs." were safe and being taken care Thursday, the Tampa Jewish said school," Rabbi Konikov Konikov also stated that of at all times," he said. Community Center and Fed- stated, since the Maitland Mayor Theresa Jacobs called Inresponsetothesethreats, erationreceivedtwothreaten- callwas directed to the Jewish him to share her concerns. Chabad of South Orlando has ingphone calls. Bothcallswere Academy. "While it is typical for requestedanotherimmediate recorded "robocalls" and had different messages: One was call The Roth Family JCC on a bomb threat and the other Monday afternoon to speak said gunmen were coming to with the security director, the the preschool. Once again on facility was closed. Monday, Jan. 9, Tampa's JCC Florida has not been the received another robocall, only state where Jewish in- Also on Monday, the Jewish stitutions have been targeted. Community AllianceinMan- There have been reports of darin, a suburb of Jackson- bomb threats today at Jewish ville, received a bomb threat. Community Centersinseveral Posting on social media, "We states, including Tennessee, received a threat to our build- Maryland, South Carolina, ing, and in an abundance of Delaware, and Pennsylvania. caution we have evacuated. These follow several bomb Authorities areinvestigating, threats called in to Georgia EVERYONE IS SAFE!" and New Jersey institutions When Heritage tried to last week. 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