Thank you to the many people who responded to my recent column about my grief following the death of my boyfriend, Richard Sharpstein.
My sadness seems to have struck a chord — the replies have been staggering.
Mostly, people seem appreciative for my “baring my soul.” I’ve received hugs (often from strangers in public) and advice from those who have experienced loss. People have offered to share meals, exercise, events and shoulders (I still cry a lot). I’ve even gotten to know a few long-time neighbors and co-workers better.
I appreciate the support, as well as the contributions to the Richard Sharpstein Humanitarian Fund, which I co-founded in Richard’s memory.
I pray for continued support as I struggle to survive three upcoming milestones without Richard: Valentine’s Day, my 56th birthday (2/21) and the pending sale of my Miami Beach home after 25 years.
These events will come and go — whether I like it or not. I will try my best — with the help of others — to get through, one step at a time.
A HAPPY PLACE
Following a girls’ trip to Las Vegas in January 2012, Highland Lakes’ resident Bari Schanerman decided she wanted to go to a “Happy Island” — a neighborhood place where happy people could meet to congregate.
That vision ultimately led her to open “Your Meeting Place” at 20630 Biscayne Blvd., (second level) in Aventura last month. The 900-square-foot facility features a small office, flexible conference area and tables/chairs for approximately 30 people. In addition, Schanerman (who formerly worked in the banking industry for years) became a certified professional coach.
“I wanted a place where people could come together to learn new things, share information and grow through different activities, including workshops, meetings and to make vision boards to help clients define their own ‘happy islands,’ ” she explains.
Schanerman, 58, says she was inspired to create the space, in part, after two large area bookstores (Barnes & Noble and Borders) closed, leaving a void in the community where people could gather to interact in a positive way.
To date, the facility has been utilized to host a coaching workshop, a Meet & Greet for a women’s camp, CAMPOWERMENT (run by North Miami Beach native Tammi Leader Fuller) and volunteer meetings for Heart-Fest 2014, an upcoming event in Fort Lauderdale designed to promote healthy living.
“My goal is to be coaching three-to-five business clients and to rent the space when available to other related businesses, including tutors for sessions with students,” Schanerman said.
For programming or rental information, call 305-792-9917 or visit www.yourmeetingplace.com.
MITZVAH DAY ADDS CHICKEN SOUP
More than 800 volunteers are expected to participate in Temple Beth Sholom’s 19th annual Mitzvah Day on Sunday, Feb. 23. The open-to-the-public event features 40 community service projects at locations throughout Miami-Dade County. Projects are designed for all ages, including area clean-ups, a get-together with retired veterans and a salute to Miami Beach firefighters.
The Hebrew word mitzvah means “meritorious deed.” The overall theme for this year’s event is Immigration Reform. Mitzvah Day kicks off at 8:15 a.m. with registration and breakfast, followed by opening ceremonies at 9 a.m.
New this year: the inaugural “Not Your Bubbe’s Chicken Soup” contest, to be held at the Temple at 2 p.m. Amateur chefs will compete for best tasting soup and best chef.
In keeping with the Immigration Reform theme, the contest will feature recipes from around the world, including a Jamaican Chicken Pumpkin Soup, A Filipino Tinolang Manok and an African Soup with Nut Butter, plus more traditional chicken soups (aka “Jewish penicillin”). Chefs may still enter the contest.
Guests will sample the soups and cast their votes, alongside Miami Herald Food editor Kathy Martin, artisan bread maker Zac The Baker and Chef Michael Meltzer of Michael’s Catering. Chicken Soup entrance tickets are $5 per adult; $1 per child, with proceeds to benefit Chapman Partnership for the Homeless.
Co-chairs for Mitzvah Day 2014 are Myra Spindel and Heidi Cooper.
Temple Beth Sholom is at 4144 Chase Ave., in Miami Beach. To pre-register for a project and/or the Chicken Soup contest, call 305-538-7231 or visit www.tbsmb.org.
• Congratulations to Judge Seymour Gelber and Judge William E. Gladstone. The new Miami-Dade Children’s Courthouse was named in honor of the two longtime juvenile court judges (and longtime friends) during a ceremony held Feb. 6. The Gelber-Gladstone building, located at 155 NW Third St., is still under construction.
“This is not a monument to me, but a challenge to all of us to do better for our children,” said Gelber, 94.
• Leading Ladies, an auxiliary of The Transplant Foundation, will host its “Tweetheart Ball” at 5 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 16, at Temple Solel in Hollywood. The black-tie optional event will feature an open bar, dinner, dancing and the musical comedy duo Rodi and Mark.
Chairwomen are Beverly Berland and Jackie Edwards. Cost is $100 per person; proceeds benefit patient housing, services and transplant research.
For details, call Elaine Steinhauser at 305-937-7447 or visit www.transplantfoundation.org/ladies.asp.