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Reflecting on grief over Richard Sharpstein’s death — three months later


Special to The Miami Herald

It has been three months since the death of my boyfriend, Miami criminal defense attorney Richard Sharpstein.

I thought I might have made more progress in dealing with my grief by now, but the process is painstakingly slow. I understand depression is justifiable: I am grieving the end of my 25-year friendship and marriage following a difficult divorce, the unexpected illness of my ex-husband, having to sell the home I’ve lived in for 25 years — and the shocking death of the man I had fallen in love with and hoped to share a future with. Not to mention how this all affects my two sons, ages 24 and 20.

Many suggest I should be more accepting of my progress thus far: Give myself credit for getting up and out daily and trying to function “normally,” one day at a time. As a lifelong overachiever, this seems less than sufficient, and yet, it is all I can manage at the moment. I continue to need the support I described in my Feb. 4 column but am glad that my suggestions seem to have helped others in the community — and are even being discussed at bereavement and suicide survivor meetings.

However, food is still unappealing to me; I still cry a lot; I’m still fearful and I still miss Richard more than I can say. I feel as if the rug has been pulled out from under me — and the ground below is shaky. On a positive note, I have helped raise the initial $25,000 needed to establish the Richard Sharpstein Humanitarian Fund in perpetuity. We continue to seek additional funds to host an annual event in Richard’s memory to bring food and cheer to homeless individuals in our community. Tax-deductible contributions can be made online at:


In celebration of Purim, Young Israel of Bal Harbour will host a Megillah reading, Masquerade and festive meal on Sunday at the Aventura Turnberry Jewish Center, 20400 NE 30th Avenue in Aventura. The festivities, which begin at 5:30 pm, will feature a magician, mentalist show with Gary Goodman, photo booth and a raffle. Adults can learn to mix a Mojito (courtesy of Elite Bartending School), while children enjoy castle building and a costume parade. Cost is $50 per adult; $36 per child (under 6 free). To RSVP, contact Yakira at or 305-866-0203.


NCJW Teens will host their ninth annual fashion show, “NCJW Masks the Runway” at 4 p.m. Sunday at The Moore Building, 191 NE 40th St.

NCJW Teens co-presidents are Amanda Gavcovich and Carly Galitz. Fashion show chairs are: Amanda Baldor, Alyson Milberg, Mila Boano, Rachel Kahn, Stefanie Suster and Yocheved Simon.

General admission tickets are $20 each ($25 at the door). Sponsorships range from $100-$5,000. Proceeds will benefit Casa Valentina, Lotus House, StopSexTraffickingMiami, Girl Up and Turning the Tables (an Israeli organization that helps troubled women improve their lives through the fashion industry).

For details, call 305-336-8397. To purchase tickets online, visit:


Miami Jewish Health Systems and the Holocaust Memorial Miami Beach will present a program about late-onset post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in Holocaust Survivors at 7 p.m. Tuesday at the Aventura Turnberry Jewish Center, 20400 NE 30th Ave., Aventura.

There will be a screening of the award-winning PBS documentary, Prisoner of Her Past, by author/producer Howard Reich. It explores Reich’s mother’s struggles as a senior after fleeing the Nazis during World War II as an adolescent (a subject previously hidden from her son for nearly 60 years).

Afterward, there will be discussion featuring Reich and Dr. Marc Agronin (MJHS Director of Mental Health and Clinical Services). Admission is free. RSVP via email or call 305-514-8623.


Dance NOW! will host its second annual gala on from 6:30-9:30 p.m. March 28 at the Miami Beach Botanical Garden, 2000 Convention Center Dr.

The event will honor Michael Spring and Deborah Margol (director and deputy director of the Miami-Dade Department of Cultural Affairs).

Chaired by George Neary and Merle Weiss, the gala will feature dance performances throughout the garden, the Max Farber Duo and INSIGNIA, the vocal ensemble of the Miami Gay Men’s Chorus.

Tickets (including VIP reception) are $125 each; $175 per couple; Reception only: $75 each, $125 per couple. Proceeds benefit Dance NOW’s educational outreach programs.

To attend or donate, call 305-975-8489 or visit


More than 500 guests attended the Miami Children’s Museum disco-themed “Be a Kid Again” gala on March 1. The event, chaired by Ana and Neisen Kasdin, raised nearly $1 million to support educational programs, according to presenting sponsor Jeff Berkowitz and CEO Deborah Spiegelman.

Highlights included culinary delights by Chef David Schwadron, a Studio 54 Tribute by The Boogie Knights, an extensive silent auction and live auction hosted by Dave Barry and Paul Castronovo. An afterparty, chaired by Zak Mann and Amber Toback, featured DJ Corey Chase and electro violist David Damage.

To learn more, call 305-373-5437 or visit

Beach Buzz appears every other Sunday, and focuses on people and businesses throughout the Beaches, Aventura and Miami. To reach Debra K. Leibowitz, call 305-531-7887 or email, or become a fan of her Beach Buzz page on Facebook.

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