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

Choices 2017 will be beautiful


The Jewish Federation of Greater Orlando is planning something beautiful.

Choices, the Federation’s largest women’s philanthropy event of the year, will kick off at 5:45 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 9, at Congregation Ohev Shalom in Maitland. The theme for Choices 2017 is “Beautiful Inside and Out,” and JFGO has put together an evening to celebrate the qualities and virtues that make every woman uniquely beautiful.

Online registration is now open at http://www.jfgo.org/choices.

The co-chairs for Choices 2017 are Leigh Norber and Heidi Zissman, both of whom are actively engaged in Jewish life in Orlando and with the Federation. Norber was part of last year’s Federation/JOIN Orlando Jewish Women’s Renaissance Project trip to Israel, and Zissman went on this year’s trip. They have recruited more than 70 Choices Ambassadors, who are working to spread the word about the event and helping to plan some of the special “finishing touches” that make Choices such a unique and memorable evening.

“I am honored to be a part of the Choices legacy of giving back to Federation,” Norber said. “This year’s theme, ‘Beautiful Inside and Out,’ is something I believe all women strive to live by.”

It has been an annual tradition at Choices to honor one Woman of Choice who embodies the values of philanthropy, volunteerism, service and leadership that are the backbone of the Greater Orlando Jewish community. This year, Federation is honoring eight Women of Choice, each nominated by and representing one of the eight Jewish agencies serving Greater Orlando.

“We’re all incredibly proud of the eight women who will be celebrated this year,” Norber said.

This year’s Women of Choice, who will be profiled later this month are: Es Cohen (The Roth Family JCC), Wendi Harris (Rosen JCC), Dr. Eve Homburger (Holocaust Memorial Resource & Education Center), Nina Oppenheim (Central Florida Hillel), Ali Polejes (Kinneret Council on Aging), Elise Schilowitz (The Jewish Pavilion), Miriam Varnagy (Jewish Academy of Orlando), and Madeline Wolly (Jewish Family Services of Greater Orlando).

“This year’s Choices gala is honoring so many wonderful, deserving women,” Zissman said. “Their choices every day have made such an impact on our community. I’m looking forward to celebrating with them and so many other spectacular women.”

Of course, it wouldn’t be Choices without a celebrity speaker, and this year’s special guest is befitting of the ‘Beautiful Inside and Out” theme: renowned makeup artist and entrepreneur Sonia Kashuk.

Kashuk pioneered the unique category of “luxury at mass,” partnering with Target department stores in 1999 to launch her namesake beauty brand, providing exceptional cosmetics and professional beauty tools that focused on great quality and beautiful design with an affordable price tag.

In 2003, she was honored with the prestigious Cosmetic Executive Achiever Award in recognition of her visionary thinking and dedication to the beauty industry. In 2015, she was honored by Cancer and Careers with the Beauty of Giving Award for her philanthropic support of the charity.

At Choices, Kashuk will not be delivering a traditional speech, per se, but rather will be part of a lively interview-style presentation featuring her sister, Winter Park Realtor Sheryl Kashuk.

Sonia Kashuk has also generously provided a special gift that will be given to all the women at Choices who contribute to Federation’s 2017 Annual Campaign.

The evening will begin with an extended social hour starting at 5:45 p.m., with a lavish hors d’oeuvre and dessert buffet by Arthur’s Creative Events & Catering. Women will be able to indulge in delicious chef-inspired creations while enjoying a selection of wines and cocktails, including the signature Choices Pinktini.

The Choices Raffle, as always, will feature high-end prizes including jewelry, dining/hotel packages, electronics and more. Raffle tickets are on sale now on the Choices web page or can be purchased at the event. Women who register for Choices by Jan. 13 at 5 p.m. will receive one complimentary raffle ticket, a $25 value.

Two new twists for 2017: You can bring a friend who has never attended Choices before—for free! Just provide your friend’s name and contact information when you register. In addition, whether you are able to attend or not, you can be a “Crystal Sponsor” and share a personal congratulatory note to a Woman of Choice that will be printed in the Choices program. Details are available on the Choices registration form.

Registration for Choices 2017 will remain open through the end of January. You can register on the Federation’s website, http://www.jfgo.org/choices, via email at choices@jfgo.org, or by calling the Federation office at 407-645-5933, ext. 236.

Choices is made possible in part due to the generosity of our sponsors. This year’s Diamond Sponsors are Dick and Dottie Appelbaum. Ruby Sponsors are FastSigns of Orlando-Central, 5000 E. Colonial Drive, and Orlando Health.

You can read more about Choices—and keep up with all the latest items added to the Choices Raffle—at http://www.jfgo.org/choices.


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