407-645-5933 ext. 236 marisa.west@shalomorlando.org

November 14-15: Community Service Day


We’re offering two opportunities to serve your community in November!

Thursday, November 14, 10 a.m. – 12 p.m.
Friday, November 15, 10 a.m. – 12 p.m.

Join your friends or make new ones as we help empower women to achieve economic independence by providing professional attire and tools to help women thrive in work and in life.

We need 4–5 volunteers on Thursday, November 14, to help suit clients (no experience necessary) and 8–10 volunteers on Friday, November 15, to assist with boutique spruce-up.

Sign up for one or both days!



3/18: Designing Your Life

A Women’s 55+ Discussion Group

Facilitated by Randa Marder, M.Ed., Certified Life Coach and former director of Jewish organizations

Did you know an extra 30 years of healthy and potentially powerful life cycle has been added to your life expectancy? How will you make the most of it?

If you want to learn more about this unprecedented life cycle, we invite you to join Getting Bolder, a discussion group made up of women who are re-imagining this new “Third Act” of life. It’s an opportunity to explore, discover and declare so that you may “do what you want to do.” Our discussions will reflect the personalities and requests of the participants.

Even if you’ve missed our previous sessions. it’s never too late to join us on our quest for motivational and even bolder aging!

All meetings are from 3:00-5:00pm:

March 18 – Designing Your Life. How to build a well-lived, joyful life — a possible new beginning.

RSVP by email or phone: Carol Feuerman, or 407-645-5933 ext. 228

In remembrance of a family torn apart by hatred

By Joanie Holzer Schirm

On this day 80 years ago, May 21, 1939, my 27-seven-year-old Czech Jewish father, Oswald “Valdik” Holzer, said his last goodbye to his parents at the Prague railway station. After Nazi occupation and persecution, dad was driven from his native land. His first port of refuge was Shanghai, China. Soon he was practicing medicine in the interior of China. In Peking/Beijing in fall 1940, he met and fell madly in love with my mother, Ruth Alice Lequear, born in China of American missionaries. Their love affair lasted 60 years before dying within two days of each other in Melbourne, Florida.

Because of pure hatred, my dad lost his parents and 42 relatives in the Holocaust. Today I remember that I exist because my father chose to leave all that was precious to him and against all the odds find a way to start a new life of good works in America.

Dad’s story is timeless, timely, and relatable for so many people today. With these words of remembrance, I honor my grandparents Arnošt and Olga and their son, my dad.

Quote from Olga Holzer’s letter, May 1942, Prague: “My dear Valdik, Today is Sunday, and it has been exactly two years that I saw you off to the railroad station. That was the most painful day of my life. What all has changed in your life, perhaps it was just your good luck. In my mind, I send you and your Ruth a kiss.” Your Mom

 Never forget: What you do can banish the darkness. What you do can protect the dignity of others. We each can make a difference in creating a more caring world.  Let’s do it.

Joanie Holzer Schirm is the author of “My Dear Boy: A WWII Story of Escape, Exile, and Revelation.”

JFGO statement on Chabad of Poway attack

The Jewish Federation of Greater Orlando and the Central Florida Jewish Community are heartbroken by the hateful anti-Semitic violence perpetrated against the Jewish community of Poway, Calif., on Saturday.

Like people of all faiths, Jews have the right to feel safe and secure in their homes, communities, schools and houses of worship. To the friends and family of the victims of this senseless violence, we send our deepest condolences. Today and always, may all of their memories be a blessing.

We asked … and YOU delivered!

On Monday afternoon, we asked you, our Greater Orlando Jewish community, to make history with us and eliminate the debt that has burdened the Maitland Jewish Community Campus for more than a generation.

As you have so many times in the past, you came through for us — in a big way!

We have shattered our goal of raising $113,000 in 24 hours! We were blessed to receive gifts totaling more than $75,000, all of which have been matched dollar-for-dollar by The Harris Rosen Foundation.

Thank you to everyone who supported the Focus on the Future campaign. A special shout-out to Andy Pargh, who officially put us “over the top” at 5:37 pm with his $10,000 gift.

You can still make an investment in the future of our Jewish community by giving to the Campus 2020 campaign. All gifts made online by noon Friday, March 29, remain eligible for the Harris Rosen Foundation match!

Thank you again for your support. Your generosity has opened the door to endless possibilities for our Jewish community!

 – Your friends at the Jewish Federation of Greater Orlando

Statement on New Zealand mosque attack

In Judaism, after the loss of a loved one, we say, זכרונו לברכה (zikhrono/zikhronah livrakha), “may his/her memory be a blessing.”

The Jewish Federation of Greater Orlando and the Central Florida Jewish Community are heartbroken by the hateful violence perpetrated against Muslims at prayer in New Zealand. Like people of all faiths, our Muslim brothers and sisters have the right to feel safe and secure in their homes, communities, schools, and houses of worship.

We are committed to upholding our shared values of religious plurality and partnership. Islamophobia is but one branch of the wider tree of hate. The racist ideology that claimed 49 innocent lives today is the same ideology that led to the murder of 11 Jews at Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh last year. Just as the Muslim community stood with Jews then, we stand with Muslims now. We are prepared and willing to provide whatever support is required to make sure that our Muslim friends and neighbors feel welcome and safe in our shared community.

To the friends and family of the victims of this senseless violence, we send our deepest condolences. Today and always, may all of their memories be a blessing.

May this Sabbath be one of peace for all people – of any faith and of no faith – and may we all strive to treat every person as a creation in G-d’s image.


Federation, Roth Family JCC announce JFed Alliance



We are proud to announce an important new partnership between The Jewish Federation of Greater Orlando (JFGO) and The Roth Family Jewish Community Center of Greater Orlando that enables us to better serve the Central Florida Jewish community.
Since early last year, a task force made up of board members from our two organizations, community members and senior staff has been working to identify the most advantageous areas in which The Roth Family JCC and JFGO could collaborate for the betterment of our community. The JFed Alliance, an agreement on shared programming and business services, is the product of this group’s extraordinary dedication.
The boards of directors of both organizations approved the terms of the alliance’s shared business services in January.
Under the JFed Alliance agreement, effective Feb. 1, 2019:  
  • The following departments have been consolidated to serve both of our organizations: Marketing, Facilities Management, Security, Administration, Community Relations activity, and some areas of Family and Young Adult programming.
  • Each organization will continue to have staff focused on execution in each area.
  • Keith Dvorchik, CEO of The Roth Family JCC, will serve concurrently as JFGO’s Executive Director.
  • JFGO and The Roth Family JCC will continue to have separate and autonomous boards of directors, governance, and fiduciary accounts and responsibility.
These changes represent the first step in a phased consolidation of services and programming where appropriate. Remaining departments that will later be consolidated include Accounting Services and Development. A joint search for a chief development officer to serve both organizations is under way.


As the alliance moves forward, several areas – including Israel and overseas philanthropy, educational programming, leadership development and senior programming – will require ongoing research to determine the best possible routes of collaboration.


This alliance is truly a testament to the power of collaboration. It is built on the belief that together we can maximize our impact and work with the other critical agencies in our community to ensure a growing and vibrant Jewish life in Central Florida. By working as partners and not competitors, both the Federation and JCC will be much better positioned to accommodate the next generation of Jewish Orlando.
If you have any questions about this new partnership, please feel free to contact us.


Thank you for your continued commitment to our community! 


Brad Jacobs,
Board President, The Jewish Federation of Greater Orlando
Todd Haber,
Board President, The Roth Family JCC of Greater Orlando
P.S. — We want to extend a special thanks to Dick Appelbaum, whose leadership, insight and expertise was pivotal to the success of the JFed Task Force.

Be a Table Captain for our 25th Choices!

Will you help us make the 25th Choices our best yet?
Choices 2019, Orlando’s largest women’s philanthropy event of the year, will be Thursday, Jan. 10, 2019, at Congregation Ohev Shalom in Maitland. Our theme is Celebrating Women’s Empowerment, and our special guest speaker will be radio personality Lynn “Moira” Dictor.
We’re planning an inspiring program with a sit-down dinner by Arthur’s Catering. That’s where you come in!  
We are recruiting Choices Table Captains to help us fill the room (or at least your table of 10) and serve as an ambassador of the Women’s Division at the event!
Being a Choices Table Captain isn’t all work and no fun. Perks include:
  • Two complimentary tickets for Choices raffle drawings.
  • One complimentary pass to bring a friend who’s never attended Choices.
  • A night of inspiration and fun unlike any other with hundreds of proud Jewish women all in one place!
  • A special shout-out during the event!
We only have 36 18 tables left to fill, so be sure to click the YES! button today to secure your spot as a Table Captain.
If you have questions about serving as a Table Captain, please contact me by phone at the Federation office (407-645-5933 ext. 236) or by email.

Community event Oct. 30: Stop the Hate

Please join us at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 30, for “Stop The Hate: Remembering the Victims in Pittsburgh,” an interfaith and multicultural memorial service, coordinated by Central Florida Jewish organizations and the Greater Orlando Board of Rabbis.

This community event, hosted by Congregation of Reform Judaism, will demonstrate Central Florida’s solidarity with the Pittsburgh Jewish community in the wake of Saturday’s attack at the Tree of Life synagogue, and feature a call to action against hate speech.
Open to all members of the Greater Orlando community.

Congregation of Reform Judaism
928 Malone Drive
Orlando, FL 32810

IMPORTANT SECURITY NOTE: Bags will not be permitted into the building during the event.




JFGO statement on Pittsburgh synagogue massacre

The Jewish community of Greater Orlando stands in solidarity with the people of Pittsburgh in the wake of Saturday’s horrific attack on Jews in their place of worship. We pray for the victims, their families and loved ones, and we will continue to pray for the Squirrel Hill community as it heals.

Amid our grief, we remain resolute that Americans must reject anti-Semitism and all forms of hate and extremism. Through our words, our deeds and our prayers, we will continue to demonstrate to the world that love and compassion are more powerful than hate.


JCRC issues statement on Pittsburgh shooting