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

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Aviva Diamond

It's a dog's life...

People who know me know that I prefer dogs to people... well some people. I've hardly ever been without a dog in my life. They give unconditional love (and don't care how I look without makeup.) I read this a while back in a magazine and want to share it with you:

"We Americans love our dogs and nearly half of our households have one. They protect our homes (or think they do), play fetch, beg for attention (usually with great charm) and, if we let them, hog the sofa.

Our relationship with dogs goes way back. When Columbus landed in the Americas, domesticated dogs were already keeping Native Americans company on hunts and protecting their teepees.

Today, many of us treat our dogs like children; we cook their meals, dress them up and Instagram them.

The American Pet Products Association says we'll spend $60 billion on pets in a year and Fido will get a good percentage. What do we get in return?

Studies show that hanging out with dogs can boost immunity, lower blood pressure, improve our social lives and alleviate depression. Unconditional love has health benefits, and our dogs take care of us without even trying. But taking care of dogs does take effort, including making sure they get plenty of exercise and companionship, taking them to the vet for checkups and vaccinations, and administering heartworm, flea and tick prevention.

With nearly 4 million dogs entering shelters each year, spaying or neutering your pup is also an act of love."

(Speaking of loving a dog, I once told my spouse that our dog, Chloe, was our biological child. He answered, "I've been known to lay down with bitches.")

Beaming with pride...

I recently received an email from a proud mom, rightfully so, and I pass it along to you:

"AVIVA DIAMOND, age 15, has qualified to play on USA Junior Tennis Team at the 20th Maccabiah Games in Israel this summer.  She is one of six girls ages 14-17 who will represent their country in the most competitive and prestigious Jewish Sporting event in the world. The tryouts took place in New York in November.

Aviva has been playing competitive tennis since age 7. She is currently a freshman at Winter Park High School and will be playing on the varsity tennis team. Aviva is in the International Baccalaureate program and enjoys playing saxophone in the concert and marching bands. Her parents are LAURA FELSON of Orlando and Dr. DAVID DIAMOND of Winter Park.

The opportunity to try out and represent Team USA, your Jewish heritage, and play tennis in Israel is an indescribable feeling. The experience of meeting other talented Jewish athletes, while having the ability to get closer to Israel is life-changing," said Head Coach LONNIE MITCHELL. Yachad is the Hebrew word for together. There is a Yachad commitment of every member of the team that represents the US to raise $8,000 to participate in the games. Maccabi USA is sponsoring a Raffle Extravaganza where 100 percent of the funds go toward the athletes' fundraising efforts. Each raffle ticket is $100, the winner can choose from travel packages, major sporting events, or cash alternatives. Please visit http://support.maccabiusa.com/maccabiah and type Aviva's full name to find her 'Athlete's Page', donations of any amount are greatly appreciated. If you would like to purchase a raffle ticket locally, contact Laura (Aviva's mom) at 407-694-8328. Aviva will also be hosting a tennis tournament in the spring.

A "heart to heart"...

At the Congregation Ohev Shalom Seniors meeting on Jan. 8th (which everyone enjoyed tremendously including "yours truly"), the fabulous Faith &Jazz Big Band performed and not only did they bring us great music, they also held a couple of contests!

The winner of the first contest was our own special guy, SHELDON BROOK. The prize he earned? SEE HIS PHOTO. Sheldon is very prepared for Valentine's day, isn't he?)

Sixty years of bliss...

Knowing these people as I do, I'm sure this is a blissful union. MORRIS and SHEILA RASHY are the most wonderful people I know... and I'm sure many others can echo the same thing.

Yesterday (Jan. 19th) was their 60th wedding anniversary! They plan to celebrate this evening (Jan. 20th) at Congregation Beth Am located at 3899 Sand Lake Road, Longwood, beginning at 7:30.

Everyone is invited to rejoice with this very special couple!

One for the road...

Sister Maria, a very devout nun, dies and goes to heaven. She's greeted at the gates by St. Peter with a fanfare of trumpets. St. Peter then says to her, "Whilst we're getting your place ready, are there any questions you want to ask me, or is there anything I can do for you?"

"If it's possible," replies Sister Maria, "I would love to meet the Holy Mother Mary."

Sheldon Brook

St. Peter immediately takes her to a little building nearby and knocks on the door. "Come in," says a gentle voice from inside. Sister Maria enters and sees a middle-aged woman dressed in the clothes of biblical times sitting on a wooden chair knitting. So Sister Maria sits down at Mary's feet and waits to be addressed.

Mary looks up from her knitting and says, "Yes, my child, you have a question for me?"

"Reverend Mother," says Sister Maria, "you were a simple woman, yet you were chosen from all the women on Earth to be the Mother of God. Could you give me just a brief idea of what you were thinking of when Jesus was born?"

With a glazed look in her eyes, Mary replies with a sigh, "Oy veh. Ich hob dafke gevolt a maydel." (Well, I was really hoping for a girl).


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