For the 20th consecutive year, “snowbirds and snowflakes” who live or winter in Southeastern Florida but who have roots in Southern New Jersey, recently had the chance to reconnect at two separate Florida Reunion programs. In a unique collaboration, the Jewish Community Foundation, Inc. and the Jewish Federation of Southern New Jersey worked hand-in-hand with the Jewish Federation of Atlantic and Cape May Counties as well as the Jewish Federation of Cumberland, Gloucester, and Salem Counties. By doing so, the entire SNJ Jewish community from river to ocean had the opportunity to connect as one.
The first program was a memoir-writing workshop on Feb. 27 at Temple Beth El in Boca Raton. There, nearly 20 attendees learned how to write their personal life stories to share with children and grandchildren. Led by Myles Ludwig, a Florida-based writer and presenter on the subject, the workshop provided the basics for getting one’s history down on paper. Following the interactive discussion, attendees enjoyed lunch, a brief presentation on the history of the Boca Raton-area Jewish community, and a tour of the synagogue.
Then, on Mar. 1, the festivities headed northward to Palm Beach to the luxury resort of The Breakers. Over 50 SNJ-natives engaged in an evening reception featuring speaker Lisa Friedman Clark. Her story is one of heartbreak and triumph, having survived ovarian cancer at 23 years old and successfully being able to give birth to twin sons. Unfortunately, when the boys were 11 years old, their father, Andrew Friedman, tragically perished in the 9/11 attack in New York City. The family received tremendous support from their local Jewish Federation, helping them get back on their feet. Since then, Lisa has remarried and the family has continued to heal, with volunteerism and tzedakah becoming staples in their daily lives.
In all, this year’s Florida Reunion events and collaboration were very well received, and several snowbirds are already thinking about planning next year’s programming.
If you live or winter in Florida and would like to assist with planning next year’s Florida Reunion, please contact the JCF at (856) 673-2528 or firstname.lastname@example.org