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Heritage Florida Jewish News
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September 7, 2018     Heritage Florida Jewish News
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September 7, 2018

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HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, SEPTEMBER 7, 2018 PAGE 3A The grand opening Torah procession to Congregation Sinai's new facility. Congregation Sinai has now moved into their new location with a special grand opening Torah procession, a ceremonial mezuzah place- ment and a Kabbalat Shabbat service. With over 100 mem- bers and guests attending, it was a full house. Congrega- tion Sinai has been serving the Jewish Community of Central Florida since 2003. They have now moved to 1200 West Broad Street in nearby Groveland at the edge of Cl- ermont. Most Sinai members live in the Clermont, Min- neola and Groveland areas. At all Congregation Sinai services and programs Joe and Lynn Goldovitz provide distinctively unique spiritual leadership. This organization serves as a house of prayer, assembly and study in which the spectrum of Jewish expression is cultivated, protected and nurtured. With student education programs for children, adult education, bible study groups, bar/bat mitzvah study programs and group tours to Israel; they strive to educate adults and children in Judaism's rich heritage with contemporary significance, while shar- ing Jewish culture, rituals, traditions and values. They hold Shabbat Services every Friday Night with Torah readings, Bible & Bagel study workshops, Healing Services; many very creative service events as well as special services for every major Jewish Holiday. Sinai has a very active Sisterhood with special events and annual fashion shows. They also host various women's outreach programs inviting all area churches. Their Men's Club is active with monthly movie and pizza nights, charitable programs as well as their annual golf tournament. The new board of directors is led by Peter Sobel as president. Congregation Sinai offers a full and comprehensive edu- cation program with an active Sisterhood and Men's Club. They regularly supply donations of food and sup- plies for the local schools as well as food and clothing for Puerto Rican and US Virgin Islands relief. While the local Jewish community attends prayer services and special events, they have opened their doors to the entire community, regardless of faith. They hold ongoing food drives for the needy and in- terfaith activities to promote understanding among our different cultures. They wel- come all with open arms and hearts to their services. They provide a warm spiritual environment for observance of Jewish holidays, traditions and celebration of our mem- bers' life cycle events. For more information about their Friday night and the upcoming High Holiday services, member- ship, and special events; contact: Congregation Sinai at: 1200 West Broad Street, Groveland, FL 34736. Phone 352-243-5353. Email info@ and visitwww.congregation-sinai. org. Affordable High Holiday and annual memberships are available. Even before the new school year kicked off this month, local students and educators were hard at work learning, sharing and growing by par- ticipating in two programs by the Jewish Federation of Greater Orlando's Jewish Teen Education Network. On Aug. 6, nearly 40 Cen- tral Florida teens gathered at Camp Challenge in Sorrento for "New Beginnings," the first-ever Communitywide Teen Education Retreat, a two-day event sponsored and organized by JTEN. After the teens arrived, they participated in icebreakers, followed by learning sessions led by Cantor Kim Singer of Temple Shir Shalom and Jayme Epstein of BBYO. Din- ner was followed by a campfire (with s'mores, of course) and a sing down led byAmy Geboffof Congregation Ohev Shalom. The students enjoyed dessert before heading back to their cabins for the night. Day Two of the retreat opened with a prayerful medi- tation led by Rabbi Joshua Neely, followed by a Shacharit morning service and nature walk. Daniel Nabatain and Lauren Oback of Congre- gation of Reform Judaism oversaw the morning learning sessions. As the program drew to an end in the afternoon, Dr. Sheryl Sacharoff (Congrega- tion of Reform Judaism) led the closing session, inspired by Mr. Roger's "Won't You Be My Neighbor?" All of the learning sessions were tied into the theme of Rosh Hashanah--new begin- nings, making a fresh start and being more mindful in the new school year and new Jewish year. Five days later, on Aug. 12, it was the teachers' turn to pick up some new tricks of the trade during "Building Your Teachers' Toolkit," a daylong workshop held at Congregation Ohev Shalom. The workshop was a collaborative effort be- tween the Federation and the JTEN Educators of six syna- gogues-Congregation Beth Am, Congregation Ohev Sha- lom, Congregation of Reform Judaism, Southwest Orlando Jewish Congregation, Temple Israel and Temple Shir Shalom. In attendance were 50 teachers from six synagogues, including the JTEN Educa- tors, representing more than 700 combined years of teach- ing experience. The theme and structure of the 2018 workshop was the result of the feedback received after the first JTEN teachers' workshop last year. Teachers Students, educators and staff at the 2018 JTEN teen retreat at Camp Challenge in Sorrento, Fla Aug. 6-7, 2018. said overwhelmingly that they wanted more opportunities to share, network and connect with other teachers in our community. Prior to this year's work- shop, teachers submitted their "best" lesson plans, which served as the launch point for a discussion focusing on creative and innovative ways educators can be most effec- tive in the classroom. The lesson plans were compiled and saved on JTEN-branded electronic flash drives that were given to each teacher as their Teacher's Toolkit, which they can continue to build. The Federation plans to make these and future lesson plans available for download by educators via the Federa- tion website. All teachers received a professional development cer- tificate from the Jewish Federation. The workshop was planned by the JTEN Educators: Rabbi Joshua Neely (Temple Israel), Amy Geboff (Congregation Ohev Shalom), Cantor Kim Singer (Temple Shir Shalom), Dr. Sheryl Sacharoff (Congre- gation of Reform Judaism) and Cantor Nina Fine (Congrega- tion Beth Am). Rabbi Hillel Skolnik, formerly of SOJC, was instrumental in helping to plan the workshop before he moved out of state. Federation JTEN Coordina- tor Jennifer Cohen said she has heard a lot of positive feedback from participants in both events. "People said it was in- spiring to see our teens so engaged in a meaningful learning experience at the retreat, and the teachers at the workshop were thrilled to have the opportunity to interact and share their ideas," Cohen said. Emily Block "Why are we here?" the question hung in the air of the first board meeting of the re- vamped Rollins Hillel student board. Sure, who doesn't love free Shabbat dinners and trips to Israel, but really, at the end of the day, why are we here? There are over 100 student organizations in addition to athletics, Greek life, intern- ships, etc that students at Rollins can be a part of. Why is it important that there is a Jewish student organization on campus? After a moment a student leader looked up, thought for a moment, and said, "Everyone needs a place where they feel like they belong, and for the nearly 200 Jewish students at Rollins, this is that place. I want this to be a place for the Rollins Jewish community to call home. Whether this is a physical space or through events and relationships, I want Jewish students from across campus to feel that they are welcomed and connected to the other Jewish students." That sentiment sums up the hours of work our student away leaders dedicate to the Jewish community on campus, and every Shabbat we hold, every brunch and holiday service, is in pursuit of creating a community where Jewish students feel connected to their peers and ultimately, to their culture and faith. This past year at Rollins has been one filled with peaks and growing pains as we establish a formalized student-led Jew- ish community on campus. We restructured our pro- gramming reflect the values of the Jewish community on campus and to be able to truly meet the diverse needs of the Jewish students at Rollins Col- lege. From Shabbat dinners, to Tuesday Schmooze-Day bagel brunches, Torah on Tap happy hours, the creation of an AIPAC cadre and increased opportunities for student leadership, Hillel is reinvent- ing the way students can "do Jewish" at Rollins. We started off the fall term strong with a Welcome Back Bonfire, and even though the rain may have forced us inside for some very creative microwave s'mores, this was our largest entirely student attended event, with over 50 students present. We will be continuing our Welcome Back week with a "free and open to all" Shabbat dinner on campus. Rollins Hillel will be wel- coming in the New Year by facilitating multiple different holiday experiences for stu- dents. Students will have the opportunity to attend services at a local synagogue of their choice, orwith Central Florida Hillel at the UCF Campus. We will also be holding break-fast at Rollins with all the tradi- tional noshes. This year, many Jewish stu- dents will celebrate the High Holidays away from home for the first time. Students will be presented with a multitude of freedoms and challenges when it comes to celebrating at college. We here at Hillel work to empower students to have ownership over their High Holiday experience. No matter how they celebrate they know that Rollins is there to support them as they navigate what it means to do Jewish, on their own terms. L'Shana Tova! Wishing you a sweet, joyful and healthy New Year, from our family to yours! Emily Block, Rollins Col- lege Hillel director