Miami-Dade County

Dorian’s destruction in the Bahamas is bringing out South Florida’s big heart

Members of the Royal Caribbean GoTeam help download supplies from the Empress of the Seas cruise ship on the port at Freeport, Bahamas, on Thursday, September 5, 2019.
Members of the Royal Caribbean GoTeam help download supplies from the Empress of the Seas cruise ship on the port at Freeport, Bahamas, on Thursday, September 5, 2019. pportal@miamiherald.com

Dorian is bringing out South Florida’s big heart

The human spirit never ceases to amaze me.

As we anxiously awaited the arrival of Hurricane Dorian, I witnessed many acts of human kindness — strangers smiling at each other and making small talk as they stood in long lines waiting for supplies. They wished each other safety as we faced the impending killer hurricane.

It touched me that strong, young men offered help to women and older people who struggled to get their supplies into their shopping carts.

I am sure I am not the only one who witnessed and experienced these acts of kindness. It seems that in times of trouble, this is just the way we roll.

Now, we need to roll even more to help the people of the Bahamas in the aftermath of Hurricane Dorian. In times like these, when the need seems to be so great, it is easy to simply say that what little you do won’t matter very much.

Let me tell you, every little bit does matter and it matters much. Hurricane Dorian left many people in the Bahamas desolate. They need EVERYTHING — from non-perishable food items and water, to diapers and bandages. And from cleaning items and toiletries to baby wipes, baby food and formula.

We can keep rolling in the right direction by helping our fellow human beings in the Bahamas. If you don’t know where to drop off your donations, go to your nearest fire station or read The Herald’s list of organizations that are helping those in the Bahamas.

So many people are helping, from local governments, to Catholic Charities, to the Greater Miami Jewish Federation to local civic and business groups.

Time to pitch in!

New rabbi loves life and kosher salami sandwich

It isn’t easy being a single mother.

Now, couple that with guiding families in a synagogue as their spiritual leader. Just thinking about that scenario is enough to frighten the average person. Not so with Rabbi Amy Morrison, who on Sept. 7, was installed as the new senior rabbi at Temple Israel of Greater Miami. And there to witness the installation was Morrison’s 100-year-old grandmother.

Morrison 41, a lesbian, is the mother of Ezra, 5. She comes to Temple Israel from Temple Beth Sholom in Miami Beach, where she served for eight years.

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Rabbi Amy L. Morrison, who becomes senior rabbi of Temple Israel of Greater Miami on June 1, 2019. Miami

In the years since she decided to become a rabbi, Morrison hasn’t stopped. Her educational and synagogue experience covers four full pages, single spaced.

At Temple Beth Sholom, she once served as a rabbi for “The Tribe,” a group of 20- and 30-year-olds, who met monthly for shabbat services as well as for the High Holiday services.

She has been religious counsel for the Miami-Dade Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce, created a chapter of Parents and Friends of Lesbian and Gays in Miami Beach, and co-founded an interfaith clergy organization working on LGBT issues.

She also is co-founder/recording artist of Willy K Music in Ann Arbor, Michigan, a Jewish music company that raises funds for MAZON-Jewish Response to Hunger.

She is a youth magnet. A Teen High Holiday Service and values program she started grew from five to 60 teens in a matter of weeks.

“She is great!” said Mark Nedlin, a member of Temple Israel, founded as Miami’s first Reform synagogue in 1922. “She is a mover and a shaker. And the fact that she is a lesbian was a non-issue for us [at Temple Israel]. We have always been an all-inclusive synagogue — not just for the LGBTQ community, but for people of all walks of life,” he said.

Morrison came to South Florida from the Detroit area. Her father was in the automotive business and her mother ran an art gallery.

She received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor in 2000, graduating cum laude. She received a master’s in Hebrew Letters in 2006, and was ordained as a rabbi in 2008.

“Engaging with people, truly connecting my inner spark with theirs, is what inspires and activates me the most as a person and as a rabbi… a close second is enjoying a kosher salami sandwich at my favorite deli, Roasters ‘N Toasters, in Miami Beach. So, when the two worlds, unreservedly collided, I was ecstatic, and my true light was able to shine through…,” she said.

And shine, she does.

As Temple Israel President Julia Zaias said, “The congregation is thrilled to welcome Rabbi Morrison and Ezra, and we look forward to progressive and exciting new leadership to lead us into the next 100 years!”

Homecoming Sunday at Trinity

Sunday is Homecoming Sunday at Trinity Cathedral, when the congregation will launch its fall program and the Cathedral Choir will return after its summer hiatus. Members are encouraged to bring a friend or friends to introduce them to Trinity.

Services are 8 a.m., 10 a.m., 12:15 p.m. (in Spanish) and Choral Evensong at 6 p.m.

After the service there will be a Ministry Fair, along with refreshments and fellowship.

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The Right Rev. Bishop Peter Eaton, center, is joined for a group portrait at Trinity Cathedral after his installation as head of the Episcopal Diocese of Southeast Florida. Sunday is Homecoming Sunday at Trinity. MARSHA HALPER Miami Herald file photo

Gospel brunch on tap for Sunday

Check out Gospel/jazz Singer Maryel Epps, who performs at a Gospel Brunch from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. each Sunday at Miriam’s Grill, 2190 NW 183rd St. in Miami Gardens.

This is a great after-morning-worship outing. And if you have ever heard/seen Epps perform, you know you are in for a treat.

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