Community Voices

Neighbors in Religion: Freedom of speech doesn’t protect racist attack on first lady’s looks

It pains me to admit this, but we are living in an age of pure disrespect of authority. It was bad enough to have one of the nation’s lawmakers shamelessly call the president of the United States a “Liar!” from the Senate floor, or for certain persons to spend thousands of dollars trying too prove Barack Obama’s birth certificate was a fake. Now, the ugliness has spread to the president’s family.

I was always taught to respect authority, even if I didn’t agree. That goes back to my mom, a single parent who raised me and my brother, Adam. I never would have dreamed of “talking back” to her (out loud, anyway) or to disrespect her in any other way. She was the No. 1 authority figure in my life and I respected her.

Likewise, I never would have disrespected any of my teachers; they were the No. 2 authority figures in my life. Then, there were the kind neighbors who served as parental figures when our mom wasn’t around. To have disrespect any of them only meant big trouble for us.

Getting back to the president: Since I began voting, I’ve seen 10 presidents take the oath of office. And while I didn’t agree with what every one did or said, I never would have disrespected any of them, in any way. That includes mocking their loved ones, which is what TV fashion expert Rodner Figueroa did last week when he likened our beautiful first lady to looking like an ape. Then, he said he wasn’t a racist because his father is black. Having a black father doesn’t mean Figueroa isn’t a racist. It goes a lot deeper than that. Perhaps he hates the blackness in his DNA. I’m just saying.

In this country, we often fall back on the “freedom of speech” crutch, whenever we want to say something horribly hurtful and disrespectful about one of our nation’s leaders, or even about each other. But that is no excuse. I believe in freedom of speech. But I also believe in being responsible and not saying everything I think.

The Bible tells us that It’s not what goes into a person that corrupts him or her; it’s what comes out.

Miami Beach anniversary Mass and concert

Happy 100th birthday to the city of Miami Beach!

To celebrate the city’s centennial, St. Patrick Catholic Church will celebrate a Mass for the Solemnity of the Annunciation at 7:30 p.m. March 25.

Florida International University Concert Choir and the FIU Symphony Orchestra will perform Franz Schubert’s Mass in G.

The celebration Mass and concert is open to the public. St. Patrick is at 3716 Garden Ave. in Miami Beach. For more information, call 305-531-1124.

Rev. Jets Media to preach in Pinecrest

St. Louis Catholic Church in Pinecrest invites the community to hear the Rev. Jets Medina at the parish Abba Lenten Mission, March 23, 24 & 25 at the church, 7270 SW 120th St.

Medina is known as a “tell it like it is priest,” and is considered one of the finest preachers in Southeastern Florida. He is the chaplain at Archbishop Coleman Carroll High School and is highly respected for his “down to earth” preaching.

On March 23, Medina will tell the congregation that the season of Lent gives many opportunities to grow in openness to God. On March 24, Medina will focus on the people’s pain and suffering. “Jesus has great love and compassion for our illnesses and poor and hurting people.”

Then, on March 25, Medina will celebrate a Healing Mass, which will include the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick. All are welcome to all services.

Prince of Kosher Gospel to perform

Joshua Nelson, who calls himself the “Prince of Kosher Gospel,” will perform 5 p.m. March 22 at Temple Sinai, 18801 NE 22nd Ave. in Northeast Miami-Dade.

Nelson has given himself that title because he combines the two parts of his own heritage — African American and Jewish — and has created a new style that combines Jewish meaning and gospel sounds.

His performances have been inspired by the Black Hebrew synagogue he attended as a child with his family, observant Jews who traced their lineage back to Senegal.

The concert will be the only performance Nelson gives in the Miami-Dade/Broward area. To purchase tickets for adults, visit: or call the temple at 305-932-9010. Children ages 3 to 12, are admitted free.

Sisterhood Passover at Temple Israel

The Sisterhood of Temple Israel of Greater Miami invites women in the community to its annual Sisterhood Passover Experience, at 6:30 p.m. March 26 in the Wolfson Auditorium on the temple campus, 137 NE 19th St.

The event’s program will trace the personal and unique history of Jewish women from the time of the Exodus to the present. Participants will sing the joyous songs of freedom and dance to Miriam’s timbrels; eat the bitter and the sweet; read passages from a special Haggadah, and share in retelling the story of the journey traveled in search of freedom and equality, according to a news release.

The seder will be chaired by Patty Taxman Craven. If you go and wish to help lead the reading of the special Haggadah, please let the committee know when you make your reservation.

The cost for the evening, which includes a light dinner and four glasses of wine or grape juice, is $15 for sisterhood members, $18 for nonmembers. RSVP to Craven by calling 305-756-6751, or the temple office at 305-573-5900; or by email at

Church Women United forum

Church Women United invites women of all faiths to its meeting April 2 at Palm Springs United Methodist Church, 5700 W. 12th Ave. in Hialeah.

The forum begins at 10:30 a.m. and will be followed by a program that focuses on Holy Week and the celebration of Easter. A lunch will follow the program at noon and will be served by Palm Springs Methodist Women.

St. Paul Lutheran Church swap meet

An annual swap meet hosted by St. Paul Lutheran Church at 10700 SW 56th St. will be 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. March 21. The day will include Baptist Health providing free health screenings from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

If you go, try the fresh baked goods and the “famous” pork sandwiches served by the church’s women’s ministry. Also on the menu are hamburgers and hot dogs, straight from the grill.

In addition, vendors will be selling new and used items, plants and treasures.

Joining the action will be the church’s youth group, and their flea market under the chickee to raise funds for The National Youth Gathering in New Orleans.

This an event that also raises money for Wounded Warriors Project, a charity for severely wounded veterans returning from their tours of duty, and many other outreach projects.


You are invited 7:30 p.m. March 21 to Ahavat Olam Synagogue at 10755 SW 112th St. (on the grounds of Killian Pines United Methodist Church) for Bingo Night with cash prizes.

With an entry fee of $18.00 per person, you get 10 game cards and four special game cards. There will be hot dogs, chips and beverages for sale and all attendees must be at least 18.

Seating is limited and prepayment will assure you a seat. For more information and for prepayment, contact the synagogue at 305-412-4240 or send and email to:

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.