Help the homeless by sharing your skills

More than a decade ago, the Rev. Pedro A. Martinez, watched the struggles of the homeless in Miami Beach. Then, he decide to do something about the problem. He designed and organized an outreach ministry to provide the homeless with much needed food, supportive services and community resources.

On Saturday the program called H.O.P.E. at Miami Beach Community Church, will begin its 11th year of reaching out to the chronically homeless in Miami Beach. The organization partners with the city of Miami Beach to have half-day events six times a year at the church, 1620 Drexel Ave., where the Rev. H.E. "Hunter" Thompson is the senior pastor.

During one of the events, it is not uncommon for individuals to receive a hot meal, clothes, shoes, hygiene products, a haircut, foot care, glasses, and referrals to agencies specializing in assisting the homeless. "Providing support and encouragement to the hungry and homeless is an important ministry, and we are pleased to partner with H.O.P.E. in Miami Beach," Thompson said.

Martinez said, "We seek to provide immediate assistance, while complementing the work of other churches and social-service agencies.”

In addition to the event on Feb. 9, five other events will be on April 13, June 8, Aug, 10, Oct. 12, and Dec. 7. All events are from 7 a.m. to 10:30 a.m., and all who are in need are welcome. However, the priority is serving the homeless.

Although H.O.P.E. receives donations of clothing and food, Thompson said, "The help of professional specialists such as podiatrists, dentists, chiropractors, massage therapists and barbers/haircutters are needed to share their skills and expertise."

Said Martinez: "Providing food and clothing is just the beginning. The homeless need and deserve, access to basic care."

If you have a service that can be used to help the homeless, or for more information about H.O.P.E., please contact Martinez at 305-220-3467, or go to the website,

For more information on the programs and services at Miami Beach Community Church, call Thompson at 305-538-4511 or visit the website,

Temple to honor leaders

Temple Beth Tov-Ahavat Shalom in West Miami will present "The Grand Celebration" at 4 p.m. Sunday to honor four of its leaders — Rabbi Manuel Armon, Cantor Irving "Babe" Resnick, and Frances and Milton Miller.

Born in Buenos Aires, the center of one of the largest and most influential Jewish communities in Latin America, Rabbi Armon studied at the Buenos Aires Hebrew Teachers Seminary, and was later granted a scholarship to pursue rabbinical studies at the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York, where he earned a masters degree in Hebrew Literature and became the first Latin American to be ordained a rabbi. He later graduated from Columbia University in New York, and from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. While at the University of Jerusalem, he served as the secretary of the Institute of Jewish Studies. He also taught Bible and Talmud at various schools in Israel.

Armon later moved to the United States and served as various pulpits as a rabbi. For the past 15 years, Armon has served as the spiritual leader of Temple Beth Tov-Ahavat Shalom. He is a member of the Rabbinical Assembly of the International Association of Conservative Rabbis, and the Greater Miami Rabbinical Association. The Rabbinical Assembly recently honored him for 50 years of service as a rabbi.

His family include three sons and a daughter and six grandchildren - all of whom live in Israel. In addition, Armon is the author of the Bibliography of Jewish Studies.

An active Zionist for much of his life, honoree Cantor Resnick was born and raised in the Greater New Jersey area. He has lived and worked in Stroudsburg, PA, and also in Plainfield, N.J., where he served for 10 years as the Baal Sheni at Temole Beth El.

In 1977, he moved to Miami and served various synagogues in the area, including The Shul of Bal Harbor, Beth David Congregation and Young Israel of Kendall. For the past 15 years, he has served as cantor at Temple Beth Tov-Ahavat Shalom, a position he proudly holds.

An opera lover, Resnick has studied with such notables as Cantor Larry Loed of Temple Beth el in Plainfield, and with Cantor William Lipson of Beth David Congregation in Miami. For the past two years, he has studied opera and cantorial music with Charles Schneider of Highland park, N.J.

Resnick is the father of Kyle, Noah and Eva, with his late wife Carol; two grandsons and recently a new daughter-in-law. Resnick is now married to Adriene.

Honorees Milton and Frances Miller were born, raised and married in Brooklyn, NY. Milton served in World War II, and after the war, the couple moved to Miami in 1949. Six years later, using the GI Bill, Milton earned a law degree from the University of Miami. He later went to work for the Veterans Administration and the Circuit Court of Miami Dade County.

The couple became charter members of Temple Beth Tov Ahavat Shalom in 1956. Their children George, Sharon and Enid had their Bar Mitzvah and confirmations there.

After their children were older, Frances studied real estate and became a licensed mortgage broker and started her own business in Coral Gables with their son George, as the vice president of the company. She remained in business for over 35 years, while Milton practiced law for 50 years.

Over the years, Milton has held many temple offices from vice president to president and legal chairman, a position he still holds.

According to a press release from the temple, the generosity and dedication of the honorees have "amply helped to sustain the synagogue for over 55 years.

The Grand Celebration is in conjunction with the Millers’ 71st wedding anniversary. the couple will receive special honors at the Feb. 10 gala.

Tickets are $36 per person in advance and $40 at the door. children tickets are $10 each. If you go, make your reservations by calling Rhonda at 305-661-1421. The synagogue is at 6438 SW Eighth St. in West Miami.

Mt. Tabor celebrates 112 years

Mt. Tabor Missionary Baptist Church, a Liberty City landmark, will celebrate its 112th birthday during special worship services at 10 a.m. Sunday. The theme of the celebration is: "Acknowledge God, His Will and His Timing."

The Rev. Dr. Edward L. Wheeler, an ordained Baptist minister and a highly regarded community leader and theological educator, will be the guest speaker.

Wheeler is a graduate of Morehouse College and has a master’s in divinity from Colgate-Rochester Divinity School, and a doctorate in Historical Theology from Emory University.

The community is invited to celebrate with the Mt. Tabor family on the occasion of this important milestone. Music will be provided by the church’s renowned music department led by the Rev. Richard A. Clements Jr.

Cantor to give concert

In the mood for some great and uplifting music? Then you should attend the concert featuring Cantor David Propis, today at 7 p.m. at Aventura Turnberry Jewish Center, 20400 NE 30th Ave.

Propis, who has performed at Carnegie Hall, has been recognized by CNN as one of the year’s best for his powerful renditions of the "Star Spangled Banner," at numerous national sporting events.

At today’s concert, he will sing traditional Jewish music, modern show tunes and Yiddish selections. Admission is free for members of the center and $18 for non-members. Call the center at 305-937-1880 or email your reservation to: and enjoy.

Jewish spirituality series continues

Temple Israel of Greater Miami will continue its spirituality series with the program, "The Spiritual Path of Mussar," at 7 p.m. Sunday. Mussar is a centuries-old Jewish practice for living a more spiritual and fulfilling life. The program will be led by Dr. Alan Morinis, a Rhodes Scholar, anthropologist, filmmaker, author, and founder of The Mussar Institute.

The program is co-sponsored by Florida International University’s Program in the Study of Spirituality, and The Mussar Institute and the Center for the Advancement of Jewish Education.

Morinis is a student of spiritual traditions and an interpreter of the teachings and practices of Mussar. He was born and raised in a culturally Jewish, but non-observant home, and studied anthropology on a Rhodes scholarship to Oxford University, which published his first book, Pilgrimage in the Hindu Tradition. He has studied Hindu and Buddhist thought and practice and for the past decade the Jewish spiritual discipline of Mussar has been his practice. His most recent books are, Climbing Jacob’s Ladder, and Everyday Holiness: the Jewish Spiritual Path of Mussar.

The program is the third in Temple Israel’s Jewish spirituality Series. For more information on the Feb. 10 program and the Jewish Spirituality Series, visit the series’ web page at You may also call the temple office at 305-573-5900 or email Temple Israel is at 137 NE 19th St.

Also, the Program in the Study of Spirituality will present Rabbi Mitchell Chefitz as guest lecturer at 7 p.m. today at Florida International University Modesto A. Maidique Campus. Chefitz is the best-selling author of The Seventh Telling: The Kabbalah of Moshe Katan. the program is free and open to the public.

Ash Wednesday at St. Thomas Episcopal

St Thomas Episcopal Church at 5690 N. Kendall Dr. in Coral Gables invites the community to its Ash Wednesday worship services to be at 7 and 10 a.m., and noon in the Becket Chapel, and at 8:15 a.m. (with the day school) and 7 p.m. in the main sanctuary. Ash Wednesday is Feb.13.

Unitarians celebrate 50 years

Congratulations to the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Miami on the occasion of its double jubilee — 50 years in its present home at 7701 SW 76th Ave., and 75 years as a presence in Miami.

To honor the occasion, a series of events, starting with the rededication of its current home on Feb. 10, has been planned. The rededication service is 50 years to the day after the original dedication in 1962. The congregation is proud that the sanctuary, inspired by the surrounding palmettos, still looks strikingly modern.

At 1 p.m., following the 11 a.m. worship service, Earl Starnes, the architect who designed the sanctuary, will participate in a forum on the building’s design and construction. Attendance is free, but lunch is $5 per person. For more information call 305-667-3697.

Jewish Federation marks Holocaust month

The Holocaust Memorial of the Greater Miami Jewish Federation will have a series of free programs throughout February — its Holocaust Education Month — at several locations throughout the county.

The events will include a film series, lectures and other diverse and informative programs, will begin at 10 a.m. today with a public lecture presented by Holocaust scholar Dr. Robert Van Pelt, at the Miami Dade College Kendall Campus, 11011 SW 104th St.

Van Pelt will discuss the concentration camp diary of student David Koker, who perished during his imprisonment. His diary was one of the few to survive the concentration camps. Van Pelt’s book, At the Edge of the Abyss: A Concentration Camp Diary, 1943-1944, is a finalist for a 2013 National Jewish Book Award.

The program’s film series will include two films, "Yours Ivan," which takes a look at the Terezin ghetto of Czechoslovakia, and will be shown at 2 p.m. Wednesday at the Holocaust Memorial of the Greater Miami Jewish Federation, 1933-1945 Meridian Ave in Miami Beach. Following the screening, Dr. Miriam Klein Kassenoff, Miami Dade County Public Schools’ Educational Specialist for Holocaust Studies, will lead a discussion.

The Holocaust Memorial has a mission to educate students and teachers throughout the community and therefore will feature special programs throughout the month designed for them.

The month of programs kicked off on last Wednesday with ninth and 10th grade students at Miami Beach Senior High School spending the morning with two Holocaust survivors — Alex Gross and Bessie Bedzow. The two shared their insights about surviving Nazi occupation and forging new lives in the United States. The program was titled, "First Person: Conversations with Holocaust Survivors," and was led by David Reese, a language arts teacher.

An advanced symposium on the history of the Holocaust will be presented to Dade County Public School teachers on Sunday, and will feature presentations by Michael Berenbaum, director of the Sigi Ziering Institute of American Jewish University, and Van Pelt.

Attorney Andrew C. Hall, chair of the Holocaust Memorial and himself a child survivor of the Holocaust, said, "This month is extremely important to our community. By teaching the lessons of the Holocaust, we hope to ensure that this type of tragedy never happens again."

Watch this column for more Holocaust events throughout February.

Send all items at least two weeks in advance to Religion Notes, c/o Neighbors, 2000 NW 150th Ave., Suite 1105, Pembroke Pines, FL 33028, fax it to 954-538-7018 or email Pictures are accepted but cannot be returned.

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