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

Congratulations to 2017's '8 over 80' honorees


Seated (l-r): Edie Fenster; Judy Cohen; Sonia Mandell; Sheldon Brook; Standing (l-r): Phyllis Englander; Dick Appelbaum; Mel Kohn; Helen Tetenbaum.

Plans are well underway for The Kinneret Council on Aging's (KCOA) seventh annual 8 over 80 Honorary Dinner that will be held on Sunday, March 5, 2017. The 8 over 80 event recognizes individuals over the age of 80 who continue to contribute to our community through their volunteer and philanthropy efforts. This year's honorees are a dedicated and dynamic group of individuals. They are:

Dick Appelbaum, 81, was nominated by Elise Schilowitz, a close personal friend and a 2017 Woman of Choice. Appelbaum has been involved in many aspects of Jewish organizational life since moving to Florida in 1962 to take a job with Tupperware. He has been president of the JCC twice and chairman of the Federation for three years. He has been involved with all of the Campus expansions in the last 40 years, including the creation and building of the Rosen JCC (South JCC). He was the recipient of the 2002 Heritage Human Services Award as well as the 2008 Jerome J. Bornstein Leadership Award. He now serves on the Board of Directors of Kinneret, The Jewish Pavilion and Jewish Family Services. He and Dottie, his wife of 53 years, are also involved in working on the pay down of the Campus debt. The Appelbaum's belong to Ohev Shalom and are the proud parents of three girls and six grandchildren.

Sheldon Brook, 83, was nominated by Jennifer Jacobson, Senior Program coordinator for the Rosen JCC. Brook is current co-president of the C'hai Steppers, a senior activity group at the J. He is also a vice-president of the 39ers, the senior group at the Roth JCC and currently on the program committee for them. In addition, Brook is an active member of local Elks Lodge 1079 and The International Brotherhood of Magicians, Ring 170. In the past, he has served as a board member of the Central Florida Jazz Society and has a very big interest in the music of his generation. He enjoys sharing his collection of documentary, musical and classical videos with senior groups. Brook, raised on the Jersey shore, is a 1960 graduate of the University of Alabama and a Fellow in the American Society of Civil Engineers. He is also a Lifetime Member of the American Water Works Association.

Judith (Judy) Cohen, 80, was nominated by her husband Melvin (Mel). Cohen has been active in many aspects of Jewish organizational and religious life throughout her adult life and wherever she has lived. Since moving to the Orlando area in 1987 she has been involved in various levels of leadership at Congregation Ohev Shalom. She served on the Sisterhood Board on committees and Membership V.P. She took education classes including beginning Hebrew to prepare for an adult bat mitzvah and was proudly one of the Torah readers for the service. She continued as a Torah reader for several years and also served on the Ritual Committee and became chairwoman of the Committee. When Cohen moved to Orlando, she transferred her Hadassah membership to Rishona Masada Group of the Orlando Chapter of Hadassah and eventually became president of the Rishona Masada Group. Cohen was appointed to the Florida Central Region of Hadassah board, served in several positions including Organizational vice president. In 1997 Cohen was selected by National Hadassah as one of 50 Hadassah members from around the U.S. to lobby our U.S. senators and congressmen for Women's rights, health care and to advocate on behalf of Hadassah's mission in Israel and the United States. In 1999 Cohen was appointed to National Hadassah's Southeast Area Development Center headquartered in Atlanta, eventually becoming the chairwoman of that committee travelling to Atlanta and 11 southeast states training and doing Major Gift fund raising. Judy and Mel participated in a Hadassah Mission to Poland and Israel in 2006. She also supports Orlando Women's Federations "Choices" since the event started and knits lap throws for residents of the Jewish Pavilion. As a Jewish adult Cohen has always felt that wherever she has lived it is very important to be involved in Jewish life.

Phyllis Englander, 80, was nominated by Susan Godorov. Englander was a past president of Temple Israel twice; past president of Temple Israel Sisterhood, and has served on numerous other boards including Jewish Family Service, Jewish Federation of Central Florida, ORT, Women Playing for Time, and United Jewish Appeal. She is an avid bridge player and enjoys golf and her family.

Edie Fenster, 87, was nominated by Debbie Meitin. She moved to Orlando in 1959, when her husband Charlie's company transferred him here. Seeking involvement in the Jewish community, they joined Temple Israel, where Fenster sang in the choir for 50 years and where, at the urging and encouragement of Meitin, she now volunteers as a service leader at Shabbat morning services. She became active in Hadassah and is a life member. Since the pull of the business world has always been strong for her, Fenster pursued this interest, and to this day, she stays involved as a paraprofessional with the accounting firm of Glickstein, Laval, Carris, P.A. She thrives on the stress of meeting due dates in the preparation of tax returns and financial statements. In both her religious and business pursuits Fenster is driven to give back to the community that has given her so much.

Melvin (Mel) Kohn, 90, was nominated by Dr. Sheryl Sacharoff. He has been very active at Congregation of Reform Judaism since moving to Orlando over 27 years ago. He is a past president of the CRJ Brotherhood. Kohn served on the Temple Board of Directors first as secretary and then as president of the Congregation for two years. He was president of the CRJ Seniors Group for eight years and currently is on the Seniors' Executive Committee. Kohn was appointed by the mayor and City Council of Apopka as its representative to the Citizens' Advisory Committee of Metroplan Orlando where he served for 12 years, two of which he was chairman of the CAC. Kohn was a member of the Executive Committee of the Errol Estates Property Owners' Association and an officer of the Men's Golf Association at Errol Estates Country Club. He is a licensed professional engineer in Florida, seven other states, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Kohn served in the U.S. Navy during World War II. He is a Fellow and Life Member of the Institute of Traffic Engineers and the American Society of Civil Engineers. In 2006 during Engineers' Week, Kohn received the Engineering Achievement Award as recognition by his peers of his long and illustrious career.

Sonia Mandell (Sunny, as she is known by her friends), 89, was nominated by her long-time friend Phyllis Kamenoff. Her husband Lester, was a past 8 over 80 honoree. Mandell came to Orlando in the 1950s and immediately became involved in the Central Florida community working with numerous local, state and national organizations. She has served in many capacities on Temple Israel's board, including Sisterhood president. She has been the president of the Jewish Federation of Central Florida twice; head of the Women's Division of United Jewish Appeal; chairwoman of the Combined Jewish Appeal and was honored by the Jewish National Appeal for her leadership by receiving the Sapir National Campaign Achievement Award in Washington, D.C. Mandell is blessed with eight grandchildren and five great-grandchildren and enjoys spending time with them whenever possible. In her spare time she enjoys Mahjong and Bridge and especially spending time with her husband, Lester, of 70 years.

Helen Tetenbaum, 88, was nominated by her friend Bette Anne Leidner. Tetenbaum came to Orlando in 1948 from Savannah, Georgia, as the new bride of Oscar Tetenbaum, the eldest son of Morris and Etta Tetenbaum, a pioneer Orlando family. Tetenbaum brought with her a commitment to community, heritage and humanitarian causes. She was involved in the development and chartering of Temple Israel and designed and handmade their first Ark curtain. She served on the initial committee that helped to develop Kinneret. Tetenbaum has been active in the Alzheimer's Association-facilitating support groups and was recognized with as a "Women of the Year" by the North and Central Florida Chapters. She stays active and continues to do weight lifting, yoga and chair exercises.

The Honorary Dinner will start at 5 p.m. in the Jessie Render Social Hall at Kinneret where hors d'oeuvres and cocktails will be served. At 5:45 p.m., guests will move into the Delaney Dining Room where dinner will be served. The highlight of the evening will be the introduction of the honorees and a viewing of a specially produced video.

There are several ways for the community to support KCOA and celebrate this year's 8 over 80 honorees. For information on tickets, please contact Leslie Collin at 407-425-4537 or by email at kinneretcouncil@gmail.com. Seating will be limited. In addition, congratulatory ads and messages can be placed in the 8 over 80 Tribute Ad book. Ads must be received by Feb. 24, 2017.


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