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

By Rabbi Gabi Gittleson
J.O.in Orlando 

Families sense connectivity and vibrancy at Jewish Fun Day


Shaina Singer

More than 200 people attended the Jewish Family Fun Day from all over the Orlando area.

Imagine an empty patch of concrete being transformed into an action-packed hub of activity, filled with the laughter of over 200 people. That is what transpired on Sunday, Sept. 7, when four local Jewish community organizations-Orlando Torah Academy, Jewish Outreach INitiative (J.O.IN Orlando), Orlando Jewish Experience and Orlando Torah Center-organized a Jewish Family Fun Day. In addition to the bounce houses and cotton candy, popcorn, balloon sculpting and face painting, three grills worked overtime to keep everyone well fed. In the words of 4-year-old Nachi, "I had a lot of cotton candy that totally filled my tummy (except for the hot dog!)."

Families came from all over the greater Orlando area, from Hunters Creek to Lake Mary and everywhere in between. Aside from being afforded the opportunity to catch up with old friends, guests were able to meet new people and see new faces, furthering a real sense of Jewish pride and connectivity. As one participant enthused, "I never saw so many Jews in one place before!"

'Jewish' definitely was the theme of the day-as the delicious scent of kosher meat wafted through the air and Jewish music played over the sound system, children were absorbed in arts-and-crafts projects including fashioning Rosh Hashanah cards and decorating an array of Jewish-themed tiles. All the while, adults discussed different Jewish community programs and initiatives with members of the presenting organizations and interested parents were given a personal tour of Orlando Torah Academy's new home located in the Liner building on Commodity Circle in South Orlando.

The Fun Day was sponsored by newly formed J.O.IN. Orlando, OTA, OJE and OTC. Together, these four community organizations are helping support and strengthen Orlando's Jewish community by promoting an environment conducive to raising a Jewish family.

Shaina Singer

Temima Paris and Devora Wachsman paint tiles with Jewish themes.

"It's so nice to see how much the Jewish community in Orlando has grown. Seeing so many Jewish children and families is inspiring. There is a real feeling of a 'community' and a real sense of vibrancy; it's refreshing and exciting. You can see that there is a bright future for the Jewish community here," commented Rabbi Avraham Wachsman, dean of OTA. This feeling was eloquently summed up by Mordy, 6, when asked about the Jewish community of Orlando, "You could ask the rabbis of OTA and the directors of J.O.IN. Orlando if your children could go into the school, and you can try to get some of your friends to join the community also!"

For information on any of the four organizations, please call 407-569-8840 or email Office@JoinOrlando.org (J.O.IN. Orlando office).


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