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February 27, 2009     Heritage Florida Jewish News
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February 27, 2009
 

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PAGE 2B From Orlando with love HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, FEBR.IARY 27, 2009 By Mike Etzkin Assistant Editor It's a love fest. Oh. you might say it's an art exhibit, but no, it's really a love fest. Everyone loves the artwork created by Ethel Siegel. Ethel loves everyone. Everyone loves Ethel. She loves her family, her religion and all the people who putter around The Pottery Studio with her. "I've known her for almost 20 years, and she is just the most loved person She's a sweetie pie," says sculptor Te- resa Hewett. a fellow sculptor. Even the city of Orlando loves the 91-year-old artist. So much so that, at Hewett's suggestion, it's hosting an exhibition of Siegel's work at the City Hall rotunda from March 16 through March 31. The exhibit will include a special reception for Siegel at 5 p.m. on March 24 at City Hall. "I want to be just like her when I grow up," says Kim Miller. Cultural Arts Coordina- torforthe city's Families. Parks & Recreation Department. Carole Osborn. Miller's administrative assistant, is al- most poetic in her enthusiasm for Siegel: "Ethel's efferves- cence, her Smile. her positive attitude, her longevity, her absolutely inner beauty that shines through her eyes when she smiles, makes everyone feel special." 7( f T, -' PURVEYORS OF MEN'S FINE CL 0 THING ! We offer personal assistance with all of our couples to determint your specific taste and style. 24 years of experwnce. Pick-up and delivery, designer labels for rent or sale. Men's custom clothing, hospitality uniforms. 407. 645.4TUX(899) 2015 W. Fairbanks Ave.. Winter Park, FL 32789 USA www. absolutelyfitting, corn - ZAGAT SuRw 2007.08 Araerxa's Top estaurants Featuring USDA Prime Steaks, Australian Cold-Water Lobster Tails, 6500 bottles of Select Wines, Extensive collection of Single Malt Scotch, Private Rooms and Piano Lounge Entertainment. eL 729 Lee Road, Odando, 2 blks W. of 1-4, Exit 88. Op 5 PM. Diflner Only. Closed Sgndays. Coat and Tie 0plkml. Major CC's Accepted. Vzdet Patg. RESERVATIONS RECOMMENDED 407.645.4443 www.delfdscosorlando.corn 'Open Table" net R,s and Directional Map Siegel came to the world of art late in life. One of six children. Siegel grew up in Brooklyn. N.Y. Her life was conventional - mar- riage in 1941 to Matty Siegel, a lamp manufacturer. A busy life rearing two children. No hint of the artist to come. The Siegels retired to Cen- tral Florida in 1979. settling in Williamsburg. ltwas there, sitting around a pool one day shortly after she moved in, that some friends asked her to join them in a painting class. "l never did anything in the arts until I moved here." Siegel says. "I told them I had never painted. They said, 'Just bring some paint and canvas.' So I stuck with it for several years." Her landscapes and still life paintings evoke a keen sense of balance and color. Osborn says. The painting group gradu- ally faded away through moves and deaths, and Siegel found her way to The Pottery Studio. part of the City of Orlando's recreation program. "One day someone said. 'You ought to come down and try your hand at this [making and decorating pottery]," Sie- gel says. "I started with pots and decorating them. and then things evolved. "Now [ have a driver take me down one day a week. It's my second home. I love it here. It's a great place to be. What a great bunch of people." Inspiration was every- where. "You get a lot of ideas from others, and yotithink, maybe I can do that," she says. "You try and then you develop your own technique. It's whatever comes into my head." She is into folk-art figures now. "Some of them are weird; in fact most of them are," Siegel says. "I start with an idea and it develops into something else." She moved into her folk-art Ethel Siegel with one of her folk art sculptures. stage because she likes the creative process to move fast. "It's just something I erjoy doing because I never know what is going to happen," she says. "I like doing something that develops quickly and this does." The city-run Pottery Studio had never been invited to put on an exhibition at City Hall, and this will be the first time that Siegel has been recog- nized for her art. Well, recognized for her art outside her house. "'My husband was one of my greatest admirers." she says. "He loved everything I did. He thought everything I did was the greatest." Siegel says she finds the idea of the exhibition "exciting, funny and scary." Hewett decided it was high time Siegel's work re- ceived a wider audience. "She's 91, a tiny little thing, and she is just full of energy and a very positive attitude," Hewett says. Miller says the exhibit will include Siegel's paintings, pottery and sculpture, but the majority of the work will be her clay pieces. "She has done everything from functional pottery to sculpture." Osborn. who teaches pot- tery to senior center residents who come to the studio, is happy that Siegel's work will be showcased. "Ethel's artistic abilities with clay have a timeless folk-art appeal.," says Osborn. "To watch her in her creative process is special. When it's finished it's glorious, the way she is." Miller agrees. "I aspire to have her outlook at her age. She is so plugged in as a person. I want to live my life the way she lives her life." And that is with plenty of love. "My husband and I were really good friends, and we had a great life together," says Siegel. whose husband of 67 years died two years ago. "We loved traveling and being together" A big part of traveling and being together meant cel- ebrating all the Jewish holi- days. "We loved being Jewish." says Siegel. "We celebrated all our holidays, and I still do." Even if it means going up north in wintertime to be with her children. Alice and Mar ty. Alice is married to Robert Shapiro and lives in New York. and Marty is married to Randi and lives in New Jersey. "Over 50 years ago my mother, brothers aytd sisters started a Chanukah party that has developed into where all the children, grandchil- dren and great-grandchildren get together. We haven't missed a year. It's really a great event, and they come from all over. Last year we had 60 children." "What's nice about it is they are all friends. Wherever they live and move, they find each other. It's really, really, really great. I would like to have a picture of that in my show." And that would be a picture of love. Jewish Pavilion women learn recession chic is in By Lyn Payne - Associate Editor "Are we tired of not buying clothes?" Stein Mart sales coordinator Marie Johnson asked. "YES!" resounded from her audience. The Jewish Pavilion's JP Connections group hosted "Update Your Spring Ward: robe" at a luncheon at Bone- fish Grill in Longwood on Feb. 18. Johnson brought out a rack of fresh selections from her store, and gave the 100 women a crash course in staying in style in a bad economy. Before last fall's downturn, said Johnson, "retailers went out and bought and manu- facturers manufactured," leaving a surplus of high-end schmattes as the economy went soft. "Where do you think all that went?" she said. "You're going to find incredible values in discount stores" like Stein Mart. Brands such as Michael Kors, whose lightweight, embellished black baby doll top she had brought to show. And designer jeans like Lucky and 7 For All Mankind. which retail at around $200, can be had at Stein Mart for $49.99. "People are buying three and four at a time." Johnson rolled out the hot trends for Spring: "The '60s are back," with tie-dyed tops, peace signs and "Love" logos. And boho dresses, like the one she'd brought: long and girly, spattered in tones of earth and sky. "Wear them with big, chunky bracelets." said Johnson. Those who may want to keep their arms under wraps can throw on a shrug or little sweater, "and off you go." The long and short of it is that dresses rule this season. Johnson brought out halter styles and simple sheaths complemented by jackets, and demonstrated a mix and match using simple suits-- skirted or capri'd and sepa- rates. She'd gone out recently in a little gray jacket with matching capris and a canary yellow cami top--simply, cheerfully chic. Yellow, een all over the runways last year, is still very much a "do," said Johnson, and be sure to hunt out safari looks, khaki and city shorts. She recommends investing in accessories--handbags, shoes, jewelry--to punch up the clothes already in your closet. Pairing your existing skirts and pants with new tops and jackets in this year's brights will keep you cur- rent--and take some of the gloom out of the zeitgeist at the same time. And, yes, you heard right: For those who remember the '80s. M.C. Hammer-style parachute pants are making a comeback. For those who know how to score a bargain: You can touch this. But the event was about more than fashion. Pavilion executive director Nancy Lu- din and JP Connections chair Pat Rubinstein reminded the women that the Pavilion, which brings Judaism and Jewish culture back into the lives of residents of more than 50 nursing homes and assisted living facilities, needs financial help, volunteers, and donations of goods more than ever. One woman told the group of her 101-year-old aunt. who'd been a nursing home resident since a recent move to Florida. Every week a Jewish Pavilion volunteer "brought challah and a smile." At Sukkot, "the challah lady" invited the elder- ly aunt and her niece into the Pavilions sukkah to celebrate the holiday, and later helped them celebrate "our last Passover together." Then. on the Shabbat just before Rosh Hashanah, the family was gathered with their aunt for what they knew would be their last good-byes. "I shouldn't have been surprised to see the challah lady walk in." said the niece. Because of that vol- unteer-who happened to be longtime Pavilion supporter Gloria Newberger--"we were not alone, but really part of a caring, loving, nurturing Jewish Community." "A good accessory," Marie Johnson had said earlier, "begins with a great heart." To learn more about the Jevish Pavilion, to make a alienation or to volunteer, visit www.jewishpavilion.org, call 407-678-9363 or e-mail Nancy Ludin at nancyludin@ jewishpavilion.org.