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February 9, 2018     Heritage Florida Jewish News
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February 9, 2018
 

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PAGE 10A HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, FEBRUARY 9, 2018 The Bromberg Family (l-r) Deborah Bromberg Seltzer; Rachel Leibowitz; Gala honoree, Marian Bromberg; Edward Bromberg, and Sharon Bromberg. The Jewish Pavilion's Nancy Ludin (3rd from left) flanked by Sponsors and Support- ers from Brookdale Senior Living--Mark Pulaski, Susie Goebeler, Ludin, Annie Lee, Joe Germain, Chad Ballard and Courtney South. By Pamela Ruben On Sunday, Jan. 28, honor- ees and guests of The Jewish Pavilion's Gems & Jeans Gala demonstrated the impact that just one person can make on an entire community. Co- chairs Marci Gaeser, Sharon Littman, and Susie Stone delivered opening remarks and warmly welcomed the more than 200 guests who had gathered at the Sheraton Orlando North in Maitland to celebrate gala honorees, and to make a difference in the lives of residents of senior living communities served by the Pavilion. Littman commended the evening's honorees, Marian Bromberg and Alan 'A.J.' Kronenberg, for helping the Jewish Pavil- ion maintain a caring and cultural connection with seniors in elder-care. Both honorees sent audi- ence members reaching for tissues during their heartfelt presentations. Bromberg remarked that both she and husband, Edward, were strong believers in the com- munity of Israel. For that reason, the couple supports just about all the Jewish orga- nizations in town including their local synagogue, SOJC, and of course, the Pavilion. Bromberg shared that her mother-in-law, who lived to the age of 106, received volunteer visitors while a resident of a senior home in Rockville, Maryland. "While I could not give back directly to the group in Rockville, I could give back to the Pavilion here in Orlando," she said, adding, "One of the first residents I visited at Solaris Health was Roslyn Stenzler, who looked so much like my mother, it was uncanny. Visiting her substituted for the fact that I could no longer visit with my own mother, was extremely comforting me." Bromberg has continued to visit elderly residents for almost a decade A.J. Kronenberg credited the Bornstein Leadership course through the Jewish Federation of Greater Orlando for introducing him to the Jewish Pavilion Placed at the Jewish Pavilion as a Board intern, he now continues to serve in his fifth year as a full Board member. Kronenberg shared while he has always supported the Pavilion's mis- sion, it wasn't until his first visit to a senior facility that the good works of the agency really hit home. On his first room visit with a resident, he andwife, Olivia, brought along their dog to bring an extra bit of cheer. In this case, dog was truly man's best friend, as the senior resident was having a difficult start to his day, until the pup bounded into the room (with permission). The resident quickly brightened, welcoming the dog with an af- fectionate squeeze, and began reaching for his breakfast and interacting with his company Kronenberg reported that as they left the room, the hall was suddenly filled with seniors, wanting to share in the connection. Gala keynote speakers Susan and Pearl Bernstein, with Nancy Ludin, Jewish Pavilion executive director. Keynote speaker and Brookdale Island Lake resi- dent, Pearl Bernstein, con- curred with the honorees sentiments, agreeing that visits by the Jewish Pavilion hold a special place in her heart. Energetic and spritely at 92 years of age, Bernstein shared how the Pavilion has touched her life, creating a Jewish connection year- round for herself and her neighbors Though she no longer drives to synagogue, Bernstein eagerly joins in a weekly Shabbat service brought right into her social hall by the Jewish Pavilion Bernstein's daughter, Susan, lauded the nonprofit's staff and volunteers for bringing smiles, holidays, special programs, as well as a con- nection to the traditions and community that have been a part of her mother's life for almost a century. The festive evening fea- tured a silent auction, a gourmet meal, and toe- tapping musical numbers by Paul Stenzler and his band, Rhythm Release A rollicking version of the hora pulled guests from their seats, as they grasped hands and twirled into the evening Gala honoree, Alan 'A.J." Kronenberg with wife, Olivia. "The Jewish Pavilion's 2018 Gems & Jeans Gala was a huge success because of each person who came out to make a difference in the life of a senior. Everyone present, as well as those behind the scenes, contributed to an eve- ning that will help us remain the Jewish connection for the elder-care residents for many years to come. Presenting sponsor, the Harper Family Foundation, was integral in our efforts to bring 'Arts to our Elders,'" stated Nancy Ludin, Jewish Pavilion execu- tive director. You can personally make a difference in the life of a se- nior. Become a fan www.face- book.com/jewishpavilion or visit www.jewishpavilion,org or call 407-678-9363 for volunteer opportunities or to make a donation. Connecting elder-care community residents and their families with a car- ing Jewish community that provides life-enhancing re- sources and experiences. By Marilyn Shapiro As I settled into my chair at the Shalom Club table at Solivita Club Expo, I put my pocketbook on the empty chair from the Bellisimo Hair Salon which was next us. A few minutes later, a young Hispanic man asked me to move it so he could sit down. "Hope you don't mind," he said. "No problem!" I said, "it's your chair." And I put the bag on the floor. "It would be a "shanda" to put that nice bag on the floor!" he exclaimed. I took a closer look at the speaker. He certainly looked Hispanic, not someone who is familiar with the Jewish word for shame or disgrace! "Shanda!" I said. "Are you errrr are you Jewish?" "No," he said. "Better than that! I was a Shabbos goy on Long Island!" For those who are not fa- miliarwith the term, a"Shab- bos goy" is the Yiddish term for a non-Jew who performs certain types of work which Jewish religious law prohibits the Jew from doing on the Sab- bath. And Ruben Vazquez, the son of Puerto Rican parents who came to New York in the 1960s, is a self-acclaimed proud Shabbos goy! Vazquez's parents were born in Yabucoa Puerto Rico, and came to the Bronx in 1952 Their only child, Vazquez was born in 1972. His father, Ruben Vazquez Baez, was a professor of Administration at City College in New York as well as a high school teacher at Park West on 50th St. Manhattan His mother, Gilda Vazquez, was a supervisor at the Bank of America at the World Trade Center. When Ruben was six, his family moved to Bayswater in Far Rockaway, Queens, on the border line of Long Island At first, the Vasquez family was apprehensive when they realized they were the only Hispanics--the only non-Jews--in a modern Orthodox neighborhood. The first week they lived there, however, Mrs. Weiss brought them a pie. "Welcome to the neighborhood," the rabbi's wife exclaimed. Vazquez became friends with many of the children in the neighborhood. He remembers his friends and him using the yarmulkes as Frisbees. "The adults would not have been happy if they realized our game," he said. Vazquez also began learn- ing the complexities of the dietary laws. One day, he wan- dered into a friend's garage while munching on a roast beef and cheese sandwich. "Do you want half my sandwich?" Vazquez asked his friend. "No thanks," his friend replied. "We don't mix milk with meat." Vazquez took the cheese off half the sandwich and offered the revised snack to his friend. "Err no thanks, Ruben," said his friend. "I'll pass." In order to earn money, Vazquez started mowing lawns for his neighbors. He made more friendships and learned more about the "black hats." And they began to rely on him. One Saturday, one of his friend's mothers knocked on the Vasquez' door. "Ruben, Moishe left the television set on in the upstairs bedroom. Do you think you could take care of it for me?" Vazquez gladly went over to turn off the set. Soon after, other Jews in the neighbor- hood were knocking on his door, discreetly hinting at some task that Vazquez could "remedy." His reputation as the Shabbos goy was set. Meanwhile, Vazquez was picking up many of the Yid- dish expressions that pep- pered the conversations of his neighbors. They flowed off his tongue as easily as those who spoke the lan- guage of the "Old Country" regularly. He not only avoid- ed sharing his sandwiches, but also understood the traditions that governed his community. When Vazquez was going into his senior year of high school, his father asked him what he would like to study after graduation "Cosmetology," was Vazquez's quick reply. He had a great uncle and an aunt who were in the business, and Vazquez had spent a great deal of time in their shops. "You can do anything you Shabbos on page 15A ~