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Heritage Florida Jewish News
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October 31, 2014     Heritage Florida Jewish News
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October 31, 2014

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HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, OCTOBER 31, 2014 PAGE 3A Congregation Beth Sholom of Leesburg is celebrating its 60th anniversary with a gala luncheon on Sunday, Nov. 2, at noon, held at Pennbrooke Fairways, 501 State Road 44, Leesburg. Sixty years ago, the Jewish families of Leesburg, some of whom were Holocaust survivors, decided to build a synagogue so that they would finally havea house of wor- ship. Beginning in the late 1940s and continuing into the early 1950s, 12 Jewish Leesburg business people and their families met at each other's home for Friday night Sabbath Services. Later, Shabbat services, holiday festivals and High Holiday services were held at vari- ous locations in downtown Leesburg. By 1953, the need for a stand-alone temple building was recognized and commit- ted to by the congregation members. Early that year, because of the strength of warm inter-community relationships between the Temple-member merchants on Main Street and the Leesburg area Christian and African-American communi- ties, $5,000 was received from public solicitations in $5 and $10 contributions. The congregation bought a plot of land at 13th and Center Streets in Leesburg. On Aug. 11, 1954, ground was broken to begin the construction of Congregation Beth Sholom of Lake County, the first Jewish synagogue in Lake County. The Temple Sisterhood raised money from rummage sales to furnish the new building. A $4,000 shortfall on the. roof construction was underwritten by loan from a local bank, for which five Jewish business leaders personally signed a note. The Sisterhood held further sales to pay off the note. Members of the local community had voluntarily assisted in some of the construction work. In the fall of 1954, after five weeks of construction, Congregation Beth Sholom opened for Rosh Hashanah services. Getzel Mularsky, one of the Temple found- ers, a Dachau concentration camp survivor and owner of a local dry goods store known as Getzel's, conducted the New Year services. Mularsky had studied for the rab- binate in Europe, but was never formally ordained. His training served him and the congregation wonderfully as acting rabbi. He continued conducting religious services for 50 years until his death in December 2004. As the years passed, the area Jewish community grew with the addition of numerous retirees moving down from the North and, later, others moving north from Southern Florida. The current social hall was added through a donation by Manfred Kohn, another Holocaust survivor, in honor of his wife. After several years with the services of interim rabbis, Rabbi Karen S. Allen, became the new rabbi of Congregation Beth Sholom in July 2008. Congregation Beth Sholom The public is invited to cel- ebrate this very special occa- sion.A buffet luncheon will be served by Deanna's Catering. Following lunch, Rabbi Allen and violinist Zoriy Zinger will entertain with a variety of popular music and song. Zinger was a soloist in the Russian Symphony Orchestra and has performed at Lincoln Center; the NYC Museum of Modern Art; with Ray Charles, Ricky Martin, and on numer- ous TV shows. Rabbi Allen, who started singing and playing the piano at age 2, began her career as a pianist and singer on- and off-Broadway before she became a cantor and rabbi. Many Lake County residents have enjoyed their music at the sold-out benefit concerts for the synagogue that were held the past three years. Tickets are $36 and can be purchased by calling Burt Kraft at 352-750-0523. By Christine DeSouza Assistant Editor In conjunction with the JCRC's Grits and Bagels Brunch, over the next few weeks, The Heritage is run- ning a series of articles about local Jewish community mem- bers who made an impact on the Civil Rights movement. This is the third in the series. Local developer and phi- lanthropist Hy Lake may have been the first real estate developer to sell a home to an African-American family back in the 1970s, "At that time, it was an unthinkable and actually, impossible thing to do, said Harriett, as she told the following story. Orlando in the '70swas like an apartheid city. And this was after the Civil Rights Act was passed. No blacks were sold to in any ofthewhite projects. Ifa black wanted to buy a house in awhite neighborhood, hewas just told that he didn't qualify or one reason or another, but he was asked to leave. Well, a black family showed up in the 70sat Sky Lake, the housing project developed by Lake and Lester Mandell, and the salesman came over and he said, "Hy these people are JFS Orlando presents Friends of JFS Sunday Brunch in celebration of its 36th anniversary and to honor Sol Schick, recipient of the George Wolly Leadership award, on Sunday, Nov. 16 at noon at the Heathrow Coun- try Club, 1200 Bridgewater Drive, Heathrow. Proceeds from the event benefit JFS Orlando. Schick is a long-time supporter of JFS Orlando, the Winter Park community and the thousands of people in Central Florida that JFS serves a year. The Friends of JFS Sun- day Brunch will support the continuation of JFS' critical services and programs in- cluding emergency services, counseling, and food pantry programs, which help stabi- lize the community. "We're incredibly grate- Hy Lake so qualified. He's a veteran, he's got like two or three kids. It's just difficult. If we sell the house we're going to have to close up because we'll never ever sell another house and the people who live here will be leaving. They're not going to live in the same neighbor- hood where there's a black." And Hy replied, "You know what? I have been discrimi- nated against all my life and I'm not going to start now. If the man is qualified and he's responsible and he has a fam- ily, he's going to move in the minute we sign the papers." Sol Schick ful to Sol for his leadership, generosity and friendship to JFS," said Eric Geboff, JFS ex- ecutive director. "Sol Schick is an exemplary member of our community, and set the bar high for future contribu- So the black family moved in and signs went up and down the streets in the neighbor- hood--"For Sale"--and life went on. Nobody bought the houses because of the black family, at first. Then little by little the signs went down and the whole place became integrated. And it is the first community that I know of maybe in Florida, I'm not sure, that had an integrated housing project ... Lake passed away in 2010, however he was given post- humously the John Young History Maker Past Award for his generous support of civil rights, anti-discrimination, Jewish, and other causes. The Grits and Bagels Brunch, featuring Brad Her- zog, will be held Sunday, Nov. 2 at I pm in the auditorium of the JCC. Admission is free but RSVP is requested. The program is hosted by the Jewish Community Relations Council of the Jewish Federa- tion of Greater Orlando and is sponsored in part by The Florida Humanities Council and Landry's Restaurants. For more information about Grits and Bagels, please contact Lisa Sholk at 407-261- 3175 or tors. It's with this Friends of JFS Sunday Brunch and the George Wolly Community Leadership Award that we commemorate his efforts and help to secure future successes within our orga- nization." Tickets are $175, sponsor- ship packages are available. To buy tickets go to www. and click on events. JFS Orlando was estab- lished in 1978 as a nonprofit human service agency, JFS Orlando provides social pro- grams and services to strug- gling children and families of all faiths in the Central Florida community. JFS par- ticularly supports efforts to prevent hunger and provide counseling to those in need. For more information on JFS and its programs, please visit Presents The Publication Date cember 2, 2014 Deadhne: November 9, 2014 A Chanukah Greeting is a Good Way to Thank Your Jewish Customers for Their Patronage or to Sell Your Holiday Merchandise For More Information Call 407-834-8787