Friends and Neighbors

Holidays can also be season of depression — here’s help


For many, the holiday season is one of merry-making, visiting with friends and sharing special time with loved ones.

But for many others, the holiday season is a time of depression, isolation and loneliness.

If you are feeling sad and left out at this wonderful time of the year, Switchboard of Miami wants you to know there is help for you. The organization is a leading provider of telephone counseling, information, referral and crisis intervention services. The services are available to give those who need it, support and guidance during the holiday season.

According to Catherine F. Penrod, Switchboard CEO, this is something that Switchboard of Miami does every day, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. She said a team of trained counselors provide assistance in English, Spanish, Creole and several other languages as well, to those calling 305-358-HELP (4357). All services are provided confidentially, anonymously and without charge to the caller.

"If you or someone you know needs counseling, food, shelter or support for the holidays or year round, call the help line or dial 211," Penrod said.

Penrod offers these tips to help you cope with the "holiday blues":

•  Keep healthy. Avoid alcohol or substance use which can lead to further, deepened depression. Try to avoid eating too many sweets. Such sugar binges can create feelings of lethargy, similar to an emotional crash.

•  Enjoy the moment. If opportunities arise to talk to family members or friends about challenges, then talk about the solutions instead of just focusing on the negative sides of situations. Don't wallow in the what-ifs of yesterday.

•  Maintain a holiday budget. While gift giving is fun, going beyond one's means may backfire with depression.

•  Try to get over it. Holding resentments is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die. Look at what can be done before family gatherings to let go of the tension.

•  Acknowledge your feelings. The healing process begins when you admit that your emotions are creating issues. Then pick up the phone and call Switchboard.

Christmas Eve Mass with the archbishop

Archbishop Thomas Wenski invites the community to celebrate the birth of Christ at a Christmas Eve Mass at 10 p.m. Tuesday at St. Mary Cathedral, 7525 NW Second Ave.

The service will include special Christmas music performed by St. Mary Cathedral Choir.

Redland history

George Grunwell, the senior, local chronicler of Redland history, will be the guest speaker at the Bea Peskoe Lunchtime Lecture Series at noon on Jan. 6. The lecture will be in the third floor Pioneer Room of the First National Bank of South Florida, 1550 N. Krome Ave. in Homestead.

Grunwell spent his entire life in Redland, except for the first six months when his family lived in Key West, and in 1943-46, when he served in the U.S. Navy. He is a licensed architect and was Homestead's first non-politically appointee postmaster (1972-1980).

In his lecture, Grunwell will tell you about Redland's first two homesteaders, the first woman homesteader and much more colorful history. He will have photos from his personal collection on exhibit. The lecture will end with a question and answer session.

The lecture is free and open to the public. For an optional lunch to be a 11:30 a.m., call 305-290-9185 before 2 p.m. on Jan. 3 to RSVP.

‘Breaking the Glass Ceiling’

It is time again for the Jewish Museum of Florida-FIU's annual Breaking the Glass Ceiling Award nominations.

The museum, dedicated to telling the story of 250 years of Florida Jewish heritage, arts and culture, is searching for nominations for the prestigious award. The award is presented to women who have broken the proverbial glass ceiling in professional fields that are normally dominated by men, and serving as role models for other women.

The deadline for nominations is at 5 p.m. on Jan. 17.

Jo Ann Arnowitz, director of the museum said, "While there have been outstanding strides made by Jewish professional women throughout the state, it is important that we continue to recognize these women as an inspiration to others to aim for the stars."

"We encourage the Florida community to nominate women who they feel are worthy of this honor. Each year, we receive a fascinating assortment of nominations of women from all over the state in diverse professions, from fire fighters to forensic artists," she said.

The award was established by the museum in 1995. To date, more than 75 outstanding winners have been honored from a variety of fields that include medicine, banking, accounting, academia, politics, law, aviation, journalism, sports and entertainment.

The awards ceremony will be at 2 p.m. on March 30, and will feature the honorees who will discuss the obstacles they faced and how they broke through the glass ceiling.

To submit a nominee for the award, visit:, to download the nomination form. You may also contact the Nancy Cohen, the museum's membership director at 786-972-3164 or

For more information call Arnowitz at 786-972-3180.

Holocaust Education Week

Holocaust Education Week, presented by the Holocaust Memorial Miami Beach, a committee of the Greater Miami Jewish Federation, will be Jan. 6-10, and will feature an exhibit from Shanghai entitled: "Sanctuary in Shanghai: Rescue During the Holocaust".

According to a press release. from 1933 to 1941, Shanghai became a modern-day Noah's Ark, accepting more than 18,000 Jews fleeing the Holocaust in Europe. This lesser-known part of Holocaust history will be told through the exhibit, on display Jan. 6 through 15, at Florida International University's Miami Beach Urban Studios, 420 Lincoln Rd. Third Floor, in Miami Beach.

The exhibit is on loan from the Shanghai Jewish Refugee Museum and includes the history of the rescued Jews of the Shanghai community, Jewish cultural life, video and eyewitness testimony and artifacts. The exhibit is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and from 7 to 10 p.m.

In conjunction with the Shanghai exhibit, two evening lectures about the Shanghai Jewish community and the Holocaust will be presented at FIU Miami Beach Urban Studios.

At 7 p.m. on Jan. 7, Fred Ezekiel will discuss childhood as a Jew in Shanghai and the community's effort to assist Jews fleeing Nazi Europe in his lecture of "The Jews of Shanghai: 1890-1945".

At 7 p.m. on Jan. 8, Evelyn Pike Rubin will discuss the story of survival in her lecture, "Shelter Found in Shanghai".

On opening night of the program at 7 p.m., there will be a performance of classical Jewish music performed by the Amernet Quartet.

For more information visit For reservations, contact the Holocaust Memorial at, or call 305-538-1663.

Send all items at least two weeks in advance to Friends and Neighbors, 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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