Central Florida's Independent Jewish Voice

Articles written by Wendy Ring Levine


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  • Join the Jewish Pavilion mask challenge

    Wendy Ring Levine and Nancy Ludin|Apr 10, 2020

    Jill Goldsmith is a home seamstress who learned to sew as a girl and continues to sew items that bring her joy and comfort. She has a small home-based business making one-of-a-kind handbags. When the virus first appeared Goldsmith looked at her fabric stash and realized she could make washable, home-sewn masks for friends and family. (These are not masks a frontline caregiver would use, and Goldsmith said the masks must be washed in hot water first. "I did wash all the fabric before any sewing...

  • A hard worker for the Jewish Pavilion

    Wendy Ring Levine|Mar 20, 2020

    Brenda Fisher Wetmore uses her talents in many ways. An avid supporter of The Jewish Pavilion, Wetmore has been on the Friends of the Jewish Pavilion Board for many years. She actively helps plan each Jewish Pavilion event. An experienced business woman, Wetmore brings valuable planning skills. No job is too big or too small. Always hard working, she sat on the floor organizing auction bidder paddles for the 2013 Gala and models in many of the Fashion Shows, including this year. The Jewish...

  • Jewish Pavilion plans 'Seders for Seniors'

    Wendy Ring Levine|Mar 13, 2020

    Julie Levitt, Susan Bernstein and Hope McCormack, Jewish Pavilion program directors, are planning "Seders for Seniors" to celebrate Passover in elder-care communities throughout the greater Orlando area. Each program director works with the communities they visit to ensure a traditional holiday meal. Recipes are shared with the community chefs that do not have Jewish cooking experience. Can you smell the chicken soup with matzo balls? The seniors will soon. Who will ask the four questions?...

  • Living far away and sandwiched in between

    Wendy Ring Levine|Mar 13, 2020

    Stories from the Orlando Senior Help Desk Lydia is an only child with a mother in early stage Alzheimer’s. Her father has no patience with her mother’s shifting personality and needs. At 90 years old, he is resistant to change and doesn’t understand or like what is happening. He yells a lot. They are not getting along. Lisa has been trying to handle the situation from over 1,000 miles away while taking care of her three teenage children. She is part of the Sandwich Generation that is in the middle of raising teenagers and elderly parents at th...

  • Jenny bracelets benefit our senior citizens

    Wendy Ring Levine|Mar 13, 2020

    Overheard at a luncheon a few months ago, two women were talking about the Jenny bracelets they were both wearing. They loved the natural stones, the beautiful colors and most of all, they loved Jenny. Jenny Ruben Forero had some challenges during her teen years that often kept her at home. To fill the time Forero made bracelets for the Jewish Pavilion volunteers to distribute to the seniors they visited. She also sold the bracelets at Jewish Pavilion Walks and donated all of the money to the...

  • Bereavement through a Jewish lens

    Wendy Ring Levine|Mar 6, 2020

    The need was evident. When looking for a grief support group, every group listed was held at a church. If you are Jewish, churches are not necessarily comfortable surroundings. Seeing a cross or statue of Jesus is not comforting. The Jewish Pavilion recognized the need for Jewish people to have an inviting atmosphere to contribute to their healing. They teamed with VITAS and Rabbi Maurice Kaprow and began semi-annual support groups at non-religious places. Grieving for a loved one is always difficult. Bereavement support groups teach methods...

  • Jewish Pavilion Fashion Show exceeds all expectations

    Wendy Ring Levine|Mar 6, 2020

    No successful event is ever accomplished alone. It takes organization and attention to every detail. The Jewish Pavilion Fashion Show held on Feb. 26 was one of those well-coordinated events. Honoree Penny Goldstein and her husband, Steven, sponsored a beautifully presented breakfast from Bagel King. Dillard's went beyond expectations creating an extraordinary gift bag for Jewish Pavilion Pearls members filled with fabulous gifts and an exclusive invitation to a make-up demonstration in April. The models said it was the best experience they...

  • Jewish Pavilion receives award from CERA

    Wendy Ring Levine|Feb 28, 2020

    Dedication to provide education and resources to seniors, caregivers and families is the mission of The Community Education & Resource Affiliation, Inc. The Jewish Pavilion has been an active member and partner in the Central Florida community. Because of their commitment, the Jewish Pavilion was awarded $1,000 for their dedication to helping seniors in elder care communities. The Jewish Pavilion is honored and thankful for their recognition by a group of professionals that have come together...

  • Quality life requires humor and heart

    Wendy Ring Levine|Feb 28, 2020

    Creating the best quality of life for seniors' needs requires both humor and heart. Building the optimum life experience includes waking up each day with the ability to invest in your physical and emotional well-being, making sure there is purpose in life. It also includes taking care of your physical body, creating social contacts and friends and keeping your intellect and curiosity alert and stimulated. Satisfying spiritual needs can be one of the most important aspects of a senior's life,...

  • Asking the right questions

    Wendy Ring Levine|Feb 21, 2020

    If you have not had experience with senior citizens, you may have difficulties interacting and connecting. Some relationships are immediate; some take time. All interactions with strangers may be difficult. The Jewish Pavilion has solved the communication problem. Recognizing that new volunteers may not have experience except with their own parents, the Pavilion has come up with some ideas to use when volunteers visit seniors in elder care communities. The Pavilion recognized everyone likes to talk about themselves. Try these questions to get...

  • Friends make a road trip to the Jewish Pavilion Fashion Show

    Wendy Ring Levine|Feb 14, 2020

    Its road trip time for Penny Goldstein's friends. They are on their way to the Jewish Pavilion Fashion Show that is honoring their friend. When one friend called to make her reservation, Goldstein told her it was too much to travel from Tampa. She just laughed and invited more friends. They are pleased to be part of honoring their friend. Marci Gaeser, Fashion Show chair, loves this occasion because it brings women of all ages together for a happy and fun event that showcases the latest...

  • Dealing with crisis

    Wendy Ring Levine|Feb 14, 2020

    Stories from the Orlando Help Desk Man plans, G-d laughs. No matter how much planning is done, life is unpredictable. Accidents, illnesses and unforeseen circumstances can change life in an instant. Years of planning for a special vacation, moving to Florida for retirement, a wedding, a bar/bat mitzvah, it could be anything, Then one thing happens and changes your world. Often we feel alone. We feel that we have to handle everything. What do you do? How do you handle overwhelming situations? Take a deep breath and take a step back. Let the bad...

  • Licks and hugs

    Wendy Ring Levine|Feb 7, 2020

    Pet therapy happens every month at Oakmonte Village in Lake Mary. In coordination with the Jewish Pavilion, Pet Rescue by Judy volunteers bring therapy dogs and cats to the residents for licks and hugs. This month Kathy Nevins, Jackie Jones-McAleer and Bhavya Prabhu from Pet Rescue brought Duncan and three sister kittens to play. Susan Bernstein, program director from the Jewish Pavilion, joined them directing Duncan to a woman in a wheelchair. The Pet Rescue team took the kittens from resident...

  • Hope McCormack, bat mitzvah to program director

    Wendy Ring Levine|Feb 7, 2020

    At the age of 13, Hope McCormack needed a bat mitzvah project. Happy to fulfill this Temple Israel requirement, her mother, Michelle Bilsky, guided her to the Jewish Pavilion. She started going to assisted living communities and nursing homes to give out challahs and visit with the Jewish residents. She continued to volunteer periodically while going to Hebrew high school. As often as she could through college, McCormack helped her mother with Shabbat services at Cascade Heights and Orlando Lutheran Towers. McCormack had enjoyed her bat...

  • My parents are hoarders

    Wendy Ring Levine|Jan 31, 2020

    Stories from the Orlando Senior Help Desk Tammy knew her parents, especially her mother, saved everything. They had every class picture, report card, book report, school and sports uniform she and her four brothers ever owned. Her parents had inherited each of their parents' belongings when they passed away. There were boxes and boxes of pictures of family and friends, some long forgotten. The house was full of fond memories. It was also full magazines saved for recipes, sewing patterns, DYI...

  • Honoring Penny Goldstein at the Jewish Pavilion Fashion Show

    Wendy Ring Levine|Jan 24, 2020

    When Penny Goldstein met Nancy Ludin at a Jewish Community Center fundraiser, she was new in Central Florida. Nancy offered her a warm invitation to meet other Jewish women through the Friends of the Jewish Pavilion. Goldstein was amazed at the volunteer opportunities available from event planning to visiting seniors. She quickly found ways she could contribute. Mitzvah Maj with a resident at Tuskawilla Nursing & Rehab keeps Goldstein and other volunteers current on their mahjong skills. Their...

  • Are you a Friend of the Jewish Pavilion?

    Wendy Ring Levine|Jan 24, 2020

    Once a month on a Monday, a group of women get together to plan events, discuss success, improve processes, tell touching volunteer stories and share jokes and tears of laughter. This group is called the Friends of the Jewish Pavilion. This diverse group of women share their ideas and talents to support seniors in elder communities. New members are welcomed and quickly made to feel like part of the group. As they go around the table introducing themselves to new members, each one has a story. Some have been president of the Friends Board over...

  • Susan Bernstein-a woman of many talents

    Wendy Ring Levine|Jan 17, 2020

    The audience can feel Susan Bernstein's passion as she starts her presentation. She is there to share the knowledge she has gained throughout her life. A lifelong educator, Bernstein loves to tell stories. She continues the tradition of the early Jews sharing history in both the written word and the voices of all that came before her. Bernstein is the lesson she teaches, as she lives her life by the examples she shares. Besides a strong Judaic background, Bernstein also has a strong musical...

  • Life continues to bring changes

    Wendy Ring Levine|Jan 10, 2020

    Stories from the Orlando Senior Help Desk Sidney was in a panic. He had taken his wife, Helen, to the mall to go shopping and have some lunch. He paid the bill at the restaurant and turned around. Helen had disappeared. He franticly looked around the area and called her name. He couldn’t find her anywhere. He had just looked away for a moment. How could this happen? He contacted mall security who found her 20 minutes later. Helen had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease eight years earlier. The disease had been progressing, sometimes qui...

  • Bagels, lox, latkes and learning

    Wendy Ring Levine|Jan 10, 2020

    Sixty people gathered on a Wednesday afternoon in December expecting to hear the Chanukah story. Much to everyone’s surprise, Susan Bernstein began speaking about the art of writing the Torah. As the residents of Oakmonte Village in Lake Mary feasted on their bagels, lox and latkes, Bernstein, a program director for the Jewish Pavilion, began to speak. She described the process from the requirements to become a Sofer, the preparation of the parchment, the special ink, the writing and assembly process and the final Torah. She also spoke about t...

  • Reenacting the story of Chanukah for the Maitland Chamber of Commerce

    Wendy Ring Levine|Dec 27, 2019

    The Story of Chanukah reenactment, as told by Nancy Ludin, CEO of the Jewish Pavilion, was a hit at a breakfast with the Maitland Chamber of Commerce. Ludin's unique storytelling style guided the group through the historic event with laughter and enthusiasm. Chamber members enjoyed the presentation and Nancy answered many questions about the holiday. The Chanukah breakfast was hosted by Jewish Pavilion staff and volunteers. The food is a big part of every holiday tradition because it's made...

  • The Kinneret Chanukah party was one to remember

    Wendy Ring Levine|Dec 27, 2019

    From 14-month-old Liam Osteen, grandson of Michal Osteen, to the oldest resident Jean Dolan, who claims to be 98-1/2 years old, everyone enjoyed the latkes, music by Walter Goldstein, singing and dancing at the Kinneret Chanukah party. Residents and party volunteers danced the hora winding through the crowd, stopping to dance at the tables and led the groups in song. Three Jewish organizations joined together so seniors could continue to celebrate a Jewish holiday. These included Nancy Ludin,...

  • Peace of mind

    Wendy Ring Levine|Dec 27, 2019

    Stories from the Orlando Senior Help Desk Celeste Thomas was having a wonderful conversation at the Chamber of Commerce breakfast when her phone rang. Her mother's caregiver was going out of town for the holidays and she needed to find a replacement quickly. The caregiver also informed her she would not be continuing this assignment after the first of the year. You could see Thomas's mood change immediately. She had six days to find a holiday replacement and then start looking for a permanent ca...

  • Jewish Pavilion volunteers enjoy a 'friendraising' experience

    Wendy Ring Levine|Dec 20, 2019

    Randi Cunningham and Myrna Ossin were honored by the Jewish Pavilion at the annual JP Connections Volunteer Appreciation event. Both women are shining examples of "enriching the lives of residents in elder-care communities" by sharing their love and compassion. The beautiful awards they received were designed by artist Sandy Silbert, another Jewish Pavilion volunteer. Making new friends and seeing old friends, sharing stories and laughter, shopping 'till you drop, these are the "friendraising"...

  • Jewish Pavilion Chanukah parties through the end of the year

    Wendy Ring Levine|Dec 20, 2019

    The parties have begun! Thirty-five Chanukah parties celebrated in 35 different senior communities in the month of December planned by Jewish Pavilion program directors Julie Levitt, Susan Bernstein and Hope McCormick. Menorahs, dreidels, Chanukah gelt and latkes abound. Songs fill the air with off-key voices sharing their joy for the season. Sixteen parties are now fond memories of sharing Chanukah traditions. Eighteen more parties are scheduled from today through the end of the month. Join the Jewish Pavilion lighting the menorah, singing...

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