Choices ticket sales, sponsorships soar


Rhonda Forest

Choices 2016, the Jewish Federation of Greater Orlando's largest women's philanthropy event of the year, is proving to be a hot ticket.

Just three days after invitations began arriving in the mailboxes of local women, JFGO had sold more than 100 tickets online for the Feb. 9 event at Congregation Ohev Shalom. Those who responded early were rewarded with a bonus-one free ticket for the Choices Raffle, a $25 value. That promotion ended Jan. 18.

"We couldn't be happier with the response so far," said Rhonda Forest, chair of the JFGO Board of Directors. "I think it's a testament to the hard work of our ambassadors and co-chairs-Sandi Saft, Karen Selznick and Ronni Mendelsohn-as well as the top-notch program we've assembled this year."

Forest added that event sponsorships are up more than 900 percent over last year-and it's still early. Sponsors so far include Orlando Health, Florida Cancer Specialists, Orlando Orthopaedic Center, Lakemont Plastic Surgery and Laser Center, Flourish Floral Productions, Inc., and Trademark Press Solutions, Inc.

The theme for Choices 2016 is "Celebrating the Spirit of the Woman," and JFGO has put together a fast-paced but meaningful program that is both a celebration of women and a tribute to Jewish heritage.

Barbara Chasnov will be honored at Choices as the Harriet Ginsburg Woman of Choice. The tribute to Chasnov will include a special videotaped musical performance by singer Andra London, who prepared the video especially for the event.

Other highlights will include:

• A special presentation by renowned magician and entertainer Kostya Kimlat, who delights crowds with a unique, sophisticated blend of magic and mentalism. Kimlat will share the story of his extraordinary journey from the Ukraine to the United States with the help of the Jewish Federation.

• Special guest speaker Linda Hurwitz, the immediate past national campaign chair of the Jewish Federations of North America.

• A presentation by Rhonda Forest, chair of JFGO's Board of Directors. Both Hurwitz and Forest will discuss the power of women's giving and the significance of supporting Federation.

• A presentation by Leigh Norber, who will discuss her recent life-changing trip to Israel and share the incredibly moving story of Susan's House Jerusalem, a unique workshop that empowers at-risk teens through creative expression.

• "A Taste of Your Heritage," a themed celebration featuring a lavish buffet with hors d'oeuvres, tapas, dessert and an open bar by Arthur's Creative Events & Catering.

• The popular Choices Raffle, with prizes ranging from high-end jewelry to travel packages and, of course, a reserved parking space at the Maitland Jewish Community Campus.

Every woman who attends Choices is encouraged to "Share of Piece of Your Heritage" by wearing a special piece of clothing or an accessory from her mother or grandmother to the event. Attendees will be able to preserve their memories of this special night in a photo booth that will be set up in the celebration area.

"We also have a very special little surprise in store for every woman who attends," Forest said. "But my lips are sealed until Feb. 9th."

Choices 2016 will take place from 6 to 9 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 9, at Congregation Ohev Shalom in Maitland. Registration will remain open through late January. You can register online at, via email at, or by calling the Federation office at 407-645-5933, ext. 236.

Read more about Choices 2016 at

Olga Yorish


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