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

By Gloria Yousha
Scene Around 

Scene Around


(L-r), Susan Sparrow, Pam Ruben, Nancy Ludin, Julie Levitt, Emily Newman, Judy Procell and Gloria Green.

I've never been to Cuba...

Let's see... in South America I've been to Puerto Rico, Mexico, The Bahamas, Brazil (a few times as I record and perform there and my agent is Brazilian), and other Latino places... but never, ever to Havana.

I would love to go, mind you, but because of restrictions I couldn't... that is... until now!

Listening to the "State of the Union" speech last night, I feel optimistic. I even heard a news flash on NBC television a while ago, stating that a high United States government official just arrived in Havana on "official business." (How promising!)

This comes directly from The Week magazine:

"Cuba has freed all of the 53 political prisoners it had promised to release as part of last month's agreement to normalize diplomatic relations with the U.S.

Many of those released are members of the dissident group Cuban Patriotic Union, while some are Ladies In White, a group of wives and mothers of political prisoners who protested their relatives' detention.  

Still, Havana-based human rights activist, ELIZARDO SANCHEZ said at least 70 political prisoners remain behind bars.

Secretary of State JOHN KERRY said the U.S. would press Cuba's government to ensure that no more Cubans are arrested merely for 'exercising their universal right to have their voices heard.'"

(Okay, I'm not in a great hurry to go, but I have a visit to Cuba on my Bucket List.)

A Can-Can line up?...

I didn't say it, rather Jewish Pavilion Executive Director NANCY LUDIN did. Here is her exact email (with two asides by me):

"While this may look like a can-can line up, (aha! I told you she said it, not me.) it is a photograph (see photo) of the wonderful women who work for the Jewish Pavilion.

With two full-time staff people and five part-time employees, they are able to impact the lives of over one thousand seniors and all of their family members.

Our elders in independent, assisted and skilled-nursing facilities depend on these lovely ladies to provide them with companionship, Shabbat and Jewish holiday festivities. They also depend on them for entertainment such as Mah Jongg games, ice cream socials, musicales and intergenerational activities.

EMILY NEWMAN operates the Jewish Pavilion's information and referral service, The Orlando Senior Help Desk, and anyone in the community can call her and receive assistance with issues pertaining to seniors. Best of all, this service is free, and paid for by generous donations to the Jewish Pavilion."

(I plan to write more about The Orlando Senior Help Desk in the near future.)

I love Disney musicals...

Part of Orlando's Broadway Series, "Newsies" is here in town. It opened on Tuesday, Jan. 27 and will be performed through Sunday, Feb. 1 at the Dr. Phillips Center, Walt Disney Theater, 445 S. Magnolia Avenue, Orlando. There are currently eight performances scheduled. The running time is approximately 2 hours and 30 minutes, with one intermission.

"Newsies" opened on Broadway in March 2012 and has been delighting audiences young and old ever since. The musical is based on the Newsboys Strike of 1899, when thousands of homeless and orphaned children earned a living selling the newspapers of the day. With music by Alan Menken, lyrics by Jack Feldman and a book by Harvey Fierstein, "Newsies" was nominated for no less than eight Tony Awards, and went on to win the awards for Best Original Score and Best Choreography. Disney Theatrical Productions brought the musical to the stage basing this production heavily on Disney's 1992 movie of the same name.

"Newsies" follows the story of young orphan newsie Jack Kelly and his friends Davey and Les, who are forced to work when their father has an accident at work. It's 1899 and the publishing industry is getting competitive. The publisher of the New York World, Joseph Pulitzer, raises the cost of his paper, a cost that shrinks the newsies margins on what they sell. Outraged Jack and his friends try to rally the other newsies together to stand up and strike against the injustice of the system.

Set against a lively score of musical numbers such as "Sante Fe," "Seize the Day" and '"The World Will Know," expect an entertaining and dance-packed show to ensue.

Phone the Dr.Phillips Center box office for ticket information.

(This is great family entertainment!)

Thank you, thank you, thank you...

How can I thank you enough, Dr. ANDREW TAUSSIG, super-talented cardiologist (and a member of our Jewish community) for your expert care of my spouse recently?

Together with LOUIS ROMAN, RN, and STEPHANIE HARDY, RN, they treated my Irv with such expertise, care and kindness.

Actually, I want to thank the complete staff at Central Florida Cardiology Group on Mills Avenue, Orlando.

(Also, thank you all for keeping me comfortable and fed for about four hours!... It's almost all about food with me!)

One for the road...

This was sent to me by my friend, HILDE SANDS:

Their three successful kids agreed to a Sunday dinner in honor of their parent's anniversary.

"Happy Anniversary, Mom and Dad," gushed Son No. 1.

"Sorry I'm running late. I had an emergency at the hospital with a patient, you know how it is, and I didn't have time to get you a gift."

"Not to worry," said the father. "Important thing is we're all together today."

Son No. 2 arrived. "You and Mom look great, Dad. I just flew in from LA between depositions and didn't have time to shop for you."

"It's nothing," said the father. "We're glad you were able to come."

Just then the daughter arrived.

"Hello and happy anniversary! Sorry, but my boss is sending me out of town and I was really busy packing so I didn't have time to get you anything."

After they had finished dessert, the father said, "There's something your mother and I have wanted to tell you for a long time. You see, we were really poor, but we managed to send each of you to college. Through the years your mother and I knew we loved each other very much, but working long hours for your educations, we just never found the time to get married."

The three children gasped and said, "WHAT!? You mean we're bastards!?"

"Yep", said the father. "Cheap ones, too..."


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