Stein, honoree and woman of note, at Jewish Pavilion Gala
The Jewish Pavilion's Black and White Gala will be held on Sunday, March 13th at the Orlando Sheraton North in Maitland. This year's honorees are two stellar volunteers who cherish the elder-care community-Carol Stein and Sammy Goldstein. The Gala will include a silent auction, gourmet meal, and the musical sounds of Paul Stenzler and his band. Register at http://www.jewishpavilion.org
Carol Stein has literally been playing the Jewish Pavilion's song since 2014, when the acclaimed pianist, vocalist and composer was asked to write a theme song for the Pavilion at the 20th anniversary of Choices for the Women's Division of the Jewish Federation of Greater Orlando. Stein noted that the words to the song represent her great affection for the Jewish Pavilion and its mission to bring community and companionship to the doorsteps of elder-care residents. "The Piano Lady" has been employed as a Disney entertainer for more than two decades, and has been charming seniors served by the Pavilion with countless musical performances throughout the years. "We are so lucky to have a world-class performer like Carol Stein to share her songbook, along with her heart, with our elderly community. It is an honor to celebrate a women who gives so much of herself to Orlando's Jewish community," stated Nancy Ludin, Jewish Pavilion executive director.
As a Jewish Pavilion volunteer, Stein shares her celebrated musical talents along with friendly visits with residents of senior living communities near her home in South Orlando. Growing up in a loving and bustling household, Stein makes it a point to reach out the elderly who have no local family. She recalls a special relationship she formed with an elderly gentlemen who was bedridden at a local facility, and had infrequent visitors. Though the resident's memory was failing, he still had a strong command of the Yiddish language, which he had spoken in his youth. Stein had lived and performed in Switzerland for many years as an international performer. Her facility with language and fluency in Swiss-German allowed her to converse with the resident in his native tongue. Carol noted, "The elderly gentleman was ecstatic to have someone to talk to and to make a connection with. Later, I received a grateful phone call from his daughter in New York, who shared how much my visits meant to him. I was heartbroken when I found out he had passed away, but was so glad we had our time together."
Carol credits her parents, the late Betty and Daniel Stein, for instilling the passion of giving to others, so that she and her siblings would continue the tradition. Carol stated, "Together, my parents embraced the philosophy of Tikkun Olam and they made the world a better place." Carol recalls their familial involvement in Hadassah, Jewish Family Services, and Give Kids the World. The elder Steins lived a vibrant and full life in their own home until Daniel was 91 and Betty was 88. The adventurous couple traveled worldwide well into their eighties, visiting Carol as she played overseas in more than 30 countries.
As the years passed and her parents began to slow down, the ride to their home in Maitland from hers in South Orlando became challenging. Carol noted, "I needed them closer- so I moved my parents here in Hunters Creek near me into an assisted living community in November of 2013." Stein noted, "I performed music and visited the elderly for the Jewish Pavilion for many years before my parents were ever in need of this wonderful organization. I saw what a difference the visits made to the seniors, and gave them something to look forward to. That is why the Jewish Pavilion is so important."
Following the move, the Jewish Pavilion became a regular part of Betty and Daniel's life, bringing holiday festivities, engaging programs and a Jewish feeling to their new residence. She added, "While my parents could rely on having me around, so many residents relied on the Jewish Pavilion for the nurturing and love that every person needs and deserves."
Sadly, Stein has lost both her parents not long after they relocated. This past fall, Stein honored both her parents with a Memorial Sponsorship to the Jewish Pavilion. Carol shared, "Both my parents were loving, amazing and vibrant. My heart is broken and still in pieces from missing them. They were truly special people. It has been such a profound year with losing both my parents. I just wanted to honor them."
With her mother's dedication just around the corner, Stein took some time to reflect upon her blessings. She shared that her mother encouraged the development of her musical talents from the time she plugged away at the piano as a toddler. Betty Stein was her greatest fan, and attended Carol's shows as often as possible at the Rose and Crown Pub at Disney's Epcot, where Carol currently plays a variety of musical genres, from jazz to classical, to musicals and cabarets, to pub songs. Prior to her gig at Epcot, Stein played for Disney at Pleasure Island's Comedy Warehouse for 18 years. Stein shared that she loves her job, where she is paid to make people happy. "I sing everything from Frozen to the Beatles, and am so lucky to work for a company that brings positive, joyful experiences to so many people."
Stein's husband, Lee Wolfson, is another blessing in her life. The newlyweds of 3½ years share an optimistic view. Like her parents before them, they have a passion for adventure, travel, and of one another.
The singer is humbled to be honored by the Jewish Pavilion for doing what she loves, and states that she is thrilled to be honored alongside Jewish Pavilion Board member, Sammy Goldstein. She concluded, "I was raised to appreciate what you have, and to always give a lifting hand to those in need."
Register for the Jewish Pavilion's Black and White Gala honoring Sammy Goldstein and Carol Stein at http://www.jewishpavilion.org/special-events/ or call 407-678-9363. Black and White Attire Optional.