Dear Friends and Neighbors:
By now, we have kind of wrapped our heads around the tragedy that happened in Newtown on Dec. 14. I say, "kind of," because I am still finding it hard not to tear up when I think about the victims, and also the family of the person who did the shooting.
That this happened at a time when the world is celebrating the birth of the Prince of Peace, is terribly ironic. Still, my message to you is that we still can find space in our hearts for peace and joy and love, in spite of our loss, by having a forgiving spirit.
The 20 little angels who were taken away so suddenly and violently will never be forgotten. At this time of the year for the rest of our lives, we will remember their smiling little faces and the teachers who so bravely gave their lives to protect the children placed in their care.
So, even at this time, when the Christmas lights seem a little dimmer and the laughter of children seems a bit strained, let us remember that this is still a season of peace, and thank God for all the years that the victims brought laughter and joy to their families and loved ones.
May you find peace during this season and throughout the New Year.
Historic homes tour
On a happy note: On Saturday the Miami Springs Historical Society will have it annual tour of homes, starting at 6 p.m.
At this time of the year, Miami Springs hosts and hostesses open their lovely homes to the community in the true spirit of the holidays.
Visitors will experience what makes the homes unique and special, whether it be its rich history, the lovely decor, or the festive holiday atmosphere. The tour will end in a festive holiday party with food and drink at the home of Dr. Karen Williams and Ken Amendola, at 454 Hunting Lodge Dr. in Miami Springs.
For more information call Tom Snook, president of the Miami Springs Historical Society and Museum at 305-805-3321.
Florida’s maritime history will be the topic of discussion at the Bea Peskoe Lunchtime Lecture series at noon, Jan. 7, at the First National Bank of South Florida’s third floor Pioneer Room, 1550 N. Krome Ave. in Homestead.
The speaker will be Ray Stewart, Florida maritime historian and enthusiast, who believes that Floridians survive, profit and die because of the sea, His extensive maritime experience began with his boating family’s home on the New England shore. He served in the U.S. Coast Guard based in Key West. One of his career highlights was rescuing crews off freighters in the North Atlantic.
Because of his upbringing and his Coast Guard experience, Stewart has a love of all things nautical, especially for the nation’s maritime service. He visits and photographs lighthouses all around the nation and has been a U.S. Power Squadron member since 1953.
The lecture is free. But an optional simple lunch will be available for $10 starting at 11:30 a.m. by reservations only. To make lunch reservations, call Barbara at 305-230-9185, before 2 p.m. on Jan. 4. Handicapped access is available and parking on the bank lot is free.
Here’s one for you diehard Wizard of Oz fans: the Miami Shores Fine Arts Commission and O Cinema Miami Shores and the Miami Theater Center will present "Sing-A-Long Wizard of Oz" at 7 p.m. on Jan. 4, at the Miami Theater Center, 9806 NE Second Ave. in Miami Shores.
If you go, the cost is only $5 per person and you are asked to dress "dress up your munchkins, click your ruby slippers and fly away ... for a boisterous Sing-A-Long.’’
Michael Stock of WLRN-FM (91.3), will emcee the event, which will include a costume contest with prizes for best adult, best child, and best duo/group. Advance tickets are available online at o-cinema.org or at the door on the day of the event. Proceeds will benefit the Fine Arts Commission. Call David Traupman at 305-758-3067 for more information.
Music ed program to continue
Young music lovers will be happy to know that the music education program started last September at Virrick Park and the Barnyard Community Center in Village West, will be extended for at least the next five years.
The project started when city of Miami Commissioner Marc Sarnoff partnered with the University of Miami’s Frost School of Music to provide the opportunity for children to explore the world of music.
The program was originally only to be from September 2012 to May 2013. It has been extended for at least the next five years, and will be managed by graduate students from the UM Frost School of Music.
In a press release Sarnoff said, "The Virrick Park Music Room is the culmination of an initiative to bring a world class music education program that will benefit the children and families of Coconut Grove and provide a wonderful opportunity for the University of Miami to give back to the community."
Frost School of Music graduate students Joy Adams and Zach Piper created a curriculum unique to each program site with the assistance of undergraduate mentor Najjah Thompson.
"The partnership in the Grove will continue to provide the opportunity for the children to explore the world of music," said Stephen Guerra Jr., Director of Outreach for the Frost School of Music. "Through this program they will not only learn musical skills, but life skills as well, such as teamwork, creativity, expression and discipline."
In the spring, children in the music program can learn to play traditional string instruments such as violin, viola, and cello, and will meet with their mentors twice a week at each site. They will also perform concerts throughout the length of the program.
For information on how enroll your child in the program, call Alexandra Bassil at 305-284-1092 or email her at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Cantor Julie Jacobs and her Latin Band will perform at the monthly Shabbat Pasion service at 7 p.m. Friday at Beth David Congregation 2625 SW Third Ave in Miami.
You don’t have to be Jewish or know about prayer, to enjoy such traditional prayers as "Hashkeiven," as they are sung and played with musical instruments such as a tres (Peruvian guitar), and a conga beat drum in "Mi Khamoka."
An Oneg Shabbat will follow services and there is no admission charge.
Call 305-854-3911 for more information, or go to www.bethdavidmiami.org.