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December 18, 2009     Heritage Florida Jewish News
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December 18, 2009
 

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Editorials ................................ 4A Op-Ed ..................................... 5A Calendar ........................... ... .. . 6A lhl,,h,l,,,,lh,lh,ll,.,,ihd,llh.h,hi,lihll,,,l,,ll 22*l~*~MIXED ADC 320 TO: SMALL TOWN PAPERS 17270 F 5026 CALIFORNIA AVE SW 3 SEA'I-I'LE WA 98136-1208 Choices committee members include (front row, left to right) Jeannie Leavitt, Eve Homburger and Lauren Friedman; and (back row, left to right) Rachel Gebaide, Rene Brent, Jan Rothfeld, Lisa Feldman, Monique Eyal, Renee Roberts and Lori Brenner. O The Planning Committee for Jewish Federation of Greater Orlando's an- nual Choices fundraiser met Dec. 7 to discuss goals and the program for the 2010 Women' s Division event scheduled for March 11. The committee co-chairs, Lisa Feldman and Rachel Gebaide, are longtime community leaders and say they are both very excited to have the opportunity to engage women of all ages in the community's most impressive all-female Jewish philanthropic event. Choices 2010, to be held at Church Street Station, promises to be one of the most memorable events yet, with luxurious raffle prizes and renowned speaker, Iris Krasnow, says event plan- ners. Author of New York Times best- seller, "Surrendering to Marriage," as well as "I am My Mother's Daughter" to name a few, Krasnow has been a jour- nalist, writer and professor for many years, discussing life in the context of marriage, childrearing and aging. Event organizers say, "Come cel- ebrate the power of women's philan- thropy in Central Floridawith over 400 women and the Jewish Federation on Thursday, March 11, meet like-minded women and raise vital funds for those in need." Donations to the Jewish Federation help individuals who have lost their jobs, cannot pay the rent or need food to tide them over for the month. "We are also here for our seniors, providing social activities and helping with urgent needs like housing and food," say event planners. "Moreover, Federation dollars help Jewish families and children overseas in Israel and 60 countries around the world. We want all of the money we raise at this event to go toward strengthening Jewish identity through these important programs, but in order to do so we need the con- tributions of valued sponsors in order to defray program costs." Sponsorships start at $500 and give sponsors the opportunity to market their business to more than 15,000 people through print and Internet advertisements. For sponsorship opportunities go to www.JFGO.org and click on Choices or contact Emely Katz, director of de- velopment, at 407-645-5933, ext. 239 regarding any sponsorship questions. The deadline is Friday, Jan. 15, 2010. For more information, visit the Jew- ish Federation of Greater Orlando's Web site at www.jfgo.org or call 407- 645-5933. Central Florida-based singer/songwriter Beth Schafer's new CD, "Raise It Up Bring It Down," of- fers a mixture of pop and rock grooves and a dose of inspiration. CDs and downloads are available now on her Web site, www. bethschafer.com, and in other music venues such as amazon.corn, cdbaby. com and itunes. The release marks "a pro- found departure from the purely faith-based titles" of previous entries in Scha- fer's catalog, progressing from faith-based to coffee house during the course of a single listening session. Little about Schafer's career has been typical. Her fan-base has stretched beyond the contemporary Jewish music roots that drove her early releases, and crossed into the main- stream. Nowhere is that more evident than on "Raise It Up Bring It Down." Her last release, "Build That Bridge," was a re- sponse to her interfaith fans who voted her the winner of the American Idol Underground Faith- based competition. The O O Courtesy of www.bethschafer.com Beth Schafer unifying messages of"Build That Bridge" landed her a spot on then-candidate Barack Obama's campaign trail playing for the future President and thousands of eager supporters. It was there that she debuted a song she had yet to record called "Prayer of the Wor- kin' Man." The song struck a nerve, and sent Schafer's writing in a new direction. Schafer on page 22A O Defining who is a Jew is the perennial question. Defining Jewish art is al- most as challenging. And then there is the question for artists of "How does your identity influence your art?" and if it does, "How is it expressed?" Is Jewish art any art produced by a Jewish artist, regardless of content? Is Jewish art any art product that focuses on a specifically Jewish theme? Where does the "Jewishness" lie, in the artist or in the art? The Jewish Museum of Florida will present a conver- sation on this topic for the kickoff of the seventh annual observance of Florida Jewish History Month on Sunday, Jan. 3, 2010 at 10:30 a.m. at the museum, located at 301 Washington Avenue in Miami's South Beach. The panel discussion will Illl!l!{!lllll!l!llll Artist Neitzah Benbenisti will be a featured speaker at the Jewish Museum of Florida's kick-off event for Jewish History Month. Her work, such as the piece shown here, is guided by a search for the magical depths of Torah and Chassidus. be moderated by Diane Cam- ber; participants scheduled include Deborah Disilets, Dina Weinstein, Rabbi Shoni Labowitz and Neitzah Ben- benisti. Following the pro- gram, there will be an art show, featuring acrylics, sculpture and silk screen- ings by Florida Jewish art- ists Shimon Dray, Natasha Ten, Shoni Labowitz and Neitzah Benbenisti. There is no admission charge for this event. RSVP by calling 305-672-5044, ext. 3175. As the Museum approach- es its fifteenth birthday, it has presented 50 exhibitions of Jewish art. A native daughter of Miami Beach, Diane Camber retired in 2007, after more than 26 years as executive director and chief curator of the Bass Museum of Art. She is an art historian, educator and architectural preservation- ist. Since her retirement from the Bass Museum, Camber has continued her association with historic architecture and museums, working with organizations and individuals in the areas of collections management, establishing professional standards in museum op- erations and programs and developing programs in community education and cultural tourism.. Deborah Desilets obtained her B.S. in architecture from Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University in 1983, then worked with several firms. In 1996 she founded Virtual Visions Architects, Inc. and joined Morris Lapidus, interna- tionally renowned for his pioneering architectural designs that included the Fontainebleau Hotel, Eden Roc Hotel, Americana Hotel, and Lincoln Road, all in Mi- ami Beach, as associate and personal design architect. History on page 22A Discussing a movement's present and future at its biennial are, from left: Rabbi Julie Schonfeld, Cantor Stephen J. Stein, Rabbi Steven Wernick and Rabbi Bradley Shavit Artson. By Bryan Schwartzman Jewish Exponent PHILADELPHIA--Do Con- servative Jews need a new, per- haps even jazzier way to pray? Rabbi Steven Wernick, executive vice president of the United Synagogue of Con- servative Judaism, apparently thinks so. During his installation speech at the USCJ's biennial gathering, which concluded earlier last week in Cherry Hill, N.J., he called for the immediate creation of a move- mentwide task force to tackle the issue of prayer. "Many of our congregations report that tefillot in many of our synagogues do not speak to them, do not inspire them, and do not reach their heart or their souls,"saidWernick, who took over the helms of national organization in July. He reported that many participants of Ramah Camps and United Synagogue youth programs, for example, "come home to find the excitement and spiritual engagement they experience elsewhere missing in their own communities." USCJ is undergoing a struc- tural upheaval brought about, in large part, by the dissatisfac- tion of congregations, which relayed that they weren't get- ting necessary programmatic and other kinds of guidance in exchange for the dues they paid to the organization. Many of the more than 500 lay leaders and professionals Confab on page 23A