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The Jewish Press of Tampa and the Jewish Press of Pinellas County are Independently- owned biweekly Jewish community newspapers published in cooperation with and supported by the Tampa JCC & Federation and the Jewish Federation of Pinellas & Pasco Counties, respectively. Copyright © 2009-2018 The Jewish Press Group of Tampa Bay, Inc., All Rights Reserved.


 

April 11, 2014  RSS feed
Front Page

Text: T T T

Eight Over 80 freilich gala draws close to 400


Eight over 80 guests celebrate with a hora. For more photos, see Pages 10-11. Eight over 80 guests celebrate with a hora. For more photos, see Pages 10-11. Nearly 400 communuity members came together March 30 to celebrate the lives of a distinguished group of seniors who have made significant contributions to both the Jewish and general communities.

The occasion was the inaugural Eight Over 80 gala at the historic Coliseum in downtown St. Petersburg.

The honorees were: sisters Marilyn Benjamin and Sonya Miller, Joan and Jerry Benstock, Harold Haftel, Harvey Hertz, Reva Kent, Walter Loebenberg, Loren and Joy Pollack, and Mel and Betty Sembler. They were all presented with awards following a moving video tribute that included remarks and remembrances from each of them.

The event was purposely planned to be unique in a number of ways. All the tables were set up in a circular pattern with four small stages surrounding them. Various speakers addressed the crowd from different stages throughout the evening, providing for a celebration “in the round” with no front or back to the room.


Cantor Deborah Jacobson performs the national anthems of the United States and Israel. Cantor Deborah Jacobson performs the national anthems of the United States and Israel. “Feedback following the event, from both honorees and attendees, has been overwhelmingly positive,” said Jewish Federation Executive Director Mark Segel. “These honorees helped build this Jewish community and this event was an excellent opportunity to thank them and bring us all together to share our pride in Jewish Pinellas and Pasco.”

Toni Rinde, the event planning committee chair, said, “We had a fantastic committee that was 100 percent committed to creating a memorable evening for everyone. Our goal was to wow the honorees and guests and we did just that.”

In addition to Rinde, the committee included Jeanie Abelson, Fagl Oxman, Deena Silver, and Elaine Wolstein.


Cantor Jonathan Schultz sings Jerusalem of Gold, backed by the Mike Eisenstadt Band. Cantor Jonathan Schultz sings Jerusalem of Gold, backed by the Mike Eisenstadt Band. Honoree Joan Benstock remarked, “It was best event the Federation has ever produced,” and Reva Kent called it “a lovely evening and a superior, outstanding event.”

It has not yet been determined whether Eight Over 80 will be held every year, but future events like this one are anticipated.

“Our leadership recognizes the success of the event and realizes the importance of providing opportunities to bring our Jewish people together to enjoy each other’s company, build community, and express our pride in who we are and all we have and will accomplish,” said Karen Reich, Jewish Federation president.

Although not designed to be a fundraiser, the event was profitable.

The Federation’s Annual Campaign leadership hopes that folks will recognize the resources necessary to make such a program happen and will choose to generously support the Annual Campaign so that the Federation can further its mission to grow, strengthen and ensure the future for the Jewish people.

For more information, contact Segel at the Jewish Federation at (727) 530-3223.


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