Heritage Florida Jewish News - Central Florida's Independent Jewish Voice

Shalom Families committee earns JFGO Creative Programming award


The Shalom Families Committee: Top (l-r), Whitney Kuvin, Aleah Mathews; Bottom (l-r), Pam Weissman, Fiona Anavi, Julie Oshins.

This August, the Jewish Federation of Greater Orlando is recognizing outstanding leaders who have made an impact in Jewish Orlando this past year. The awards presentation will be made on Aug. 24 at the JFGO Annual Meeting. This year's Creative Programming Award will be given to the Shalom Families Committee: Whitney Kuvin, Aleah Matthews, Fiona Anavi, Pam Weissman and Julie Oshins.

The Creative Programming Award is given annually by the Federation to a person or committee that through programming promotes Jewish continuity, awareness, affiliation or identity in the Orlando Jewish community.

In October 2013, the Jewish Federation launched Our Jewish Orlando (OJO) an initiative focused on connecting the next generation of Jews in Central Florida.

One focus of OJO includes reaching out to young families and thus, Shalom Families was born. Shalom Families hosts monthly interactive, cultural and Jewish holiday events. Growth has been impressive, far exceeding expectations. From exploring the trucks at the Orlando Fire Department to learning about the importance of tzedakah at the local park, there have been up to 100 people at these gatherings with new faces attending every month.

Shalom Families has also been a great enhancement for the PJ Library, a Federation-supported program that provides 400 families in Greater Orlando with free Jewish books each month geared toward their child's age. Shalom Families has held very successful collaborative programs with the Jewish Academy of Orlando and the JCC Early Childhood Learning Center, and as the group continues to grow, there will be more opportunities for partnerships with other community agencies and synagogues.

Shalom Families provides families the opportunity to come together and connect with other Jewish families, creating community. The success is due in no small part to the committee whose enthusiasm and dedication have set the tone for a welcoming environment at every gathering. New and unaffiliated families find a warm and inviting Jewish community to be part of and seamlessly find their place within Orlando's Jewish community. Shalom Families is building a strong Jewish community for the future and we are honored to have these five ladies' commitment to this incredible program.

The Shalom Families committee will be honored at the Jewish Federation of Greater Orlando Annual Meeting on Sunday, August 24, 2014, at 3:30 p.m. in the JCC Auditorium at the Maitland Jewish Community Campus. All members of the community are welcome to attend the annual meeting. To RSVP, visit http://www.jfgo.org or call Becca Ginns at 407-645-5933.


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