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

Pavilion honors Susan Livingstone

 

Susan Livingstone

On Wednesday, May 6, the Jewish Pavilion will host its annual fashion show at Bloomingdales in Orlando, where giving back to the senior community is always in style, honoring Pavilion Friends Board member Susan Livingstone. Currently the president of the Orlando Chapter of Hadassah, Livingstone has been an active member of the Friends Board for the past seven years and chaired last year's fashion show.

"Susan Livingstone has given to the Pavilion community, not to mention a host of other Jewish and community organizations, with a sense of style, grace and humor. We are pleased to get 'all dressed up with someplace to go' in Susan's honor," said Nancy Ludin, executive director of the Jewish Pavilion.

For the past 40 years, Livingstone has fashioned a life based on charitable and community works. "I have always believed that charitable giving should take place at the local, community, and national levels. When my kids were small, I volunteered at the schools. Now I give back to the community by volunteering with the Jewish Pavilion. I give my time both locally and nationally with Haddassah," she explained.

Livingstone began her community activism in Dublin, Ireland, where she was born and received her education as a dental surgical assistant. While in Ireland, she was very active in the Women's International Zionist Movement (WIZO), a European charity similar to Hadassah. Prior to coming to the states, Livingstone served as regional president of WIZO for the entire Republic of Ireland.

In the mid-1980s Ireland was facing a depressed economy. In 1985, Livingstone and husband, Ron, jumped across the pond, moving to the U.S. for a better economic and financial future for their family. Friendships came quickly to the fun and quick-witted Livingstone after moving to Orlando. She has laughed and volunteered alongside close friend, Marlene Adler, since her first days in Orlando, when Adler invited her to join the COS sisterhood just two days after she moved to town. Later, Livingstone invited Adler to join the Friends Board of the Pavilion. She also spends time with friends at regular bridge and mah jongg games.

She also found herself at home as a volunteer with the Orlando Chapter of Hadassah. Livingstone recalled viewing the famed Chagall windows at Hadassah Hospital while visiting Israel when she was 18 years old, and thought that an organization that could support such an endeavor must be something special. For the past 30 years she has carried that sentiment, serving a variety of executive functions for the Florida Central Region of Hadassah, including past and current president.

In 2008, Livingstone received a call from Ludin, who invited her to join the Friends Board, asking for her support for seniors in more than 50 elder facilities throughout Greater Orlando. Livingstone has great compassion for the elder community, and readily accepted the invitation. Each month Livingstone delivers the monthly D'var Torah, an inspirational message based on the weekly Torah portion.

"Susan kicks off each of the board meetings of the Friends of the Pavilion with a thoughtful and moving monthly inspiration that gives us pause, gratitude, and a smile all at the same time. Susan's sense of humor and empathy sets the tone and the style for a connective and productive meeting," Ludin said.

Livingstone noted that she enjoys her monthly preparation for the D'var Torah. She explained that after reviewing the weekly online D'var Torah, she reviews a host of other related inspirational readings, looking for one that matches the time of year and the mission of the Pavilion.

A favorite D'var Torah of hers is about three wise men who visit a household with the punch line being, "when you let love in, wisdom and happiness will come, too." Livingstone shared that the message of love, wisdom, and happiness is reflective of the Jewish Pavilion, and its mission to enhance the lives of seniors. She stated, "I know we are called the Jewish Pavilion, but we show love and respect for all our elders."

In addition to her monthly inspirations, Livingstone has used her creative talents with baking and the needle arts to enrich the lives of her elders. Livingstone credits her mentors and her elders for making a fashion statement out of community activism. An aunt inspired her to knit when she just a child, and now the self-described "needlework addict" donates scarves and blankets to a host of causes. Her "potato chip" or curly scarves are in especially high demand at charity functions. The late Audrey Pearlman, Trina Herman, and Rose Meltz of the Orlando Hadassah Chapter were great friends and mentors who inspired Livingstone and her passion for giving back.

When Livingstone isn't busy volunteering, she can be found spending time with friends and family. She has passed on her passion for giving to her three adult children, and her five grandchildren. The Livingstone family contains four generations of lifetime Hadassah members including her mother, daughter, daughters-in-law and granddaughters. Daughter, Zvia (Steven Shever), and daughters-in law, Melanie (Avri) and Nikki (Gilad), will attend the Pavilion Fashion Show, along with youngest granddaughter, Paige.

The Jewish Pavilion "Spring into Fashion" show, held May 6 at 10:45 a.m. at Bloomingdales, will be a morning of friendship, fashion, finger foods and fun, while raising funds for seniors in long-term care in more than 50 elder facilities in Greater Orlando. General admission is $25 couvert; $50 Fashionista-enjoy front row seating; $100 Couture Patron-enjoy front row seating, be entered in a drawing to win gifts from Bloomingdale's; $500 Benefactor-Enjoy front row seating, be entered in a drawing to win gifts from Bloomingdale's, and be listed in an ad honoring Susan Livingstone.

RSVP to Susan Sparrow at susansparrow@jewishpavilion.org or call 407-678-9363.

 

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