Community Voices

Friends and Neighbors: Easter, Passover holidays mark a time of renewed hope

Happy Easter to all our Christian friends and a happy Passover to our Jewish friends.

This season, especially Easter, is a time of renewed hope. And Lord knows, we need more hope in Miami-Dade County, where it seems the price of one’s life is next to nothing.

Still no matter how bleak it seems, or how high the mountain, I believe that with prayer and faith, we can come through this dark time of death and destruction.

I’m praying that someone out there, someone who has been shooting and killing the innocent, will read this column and find the strength, through my faith and the faith of thousands, to lay down their arms and seek peace. I know that is a tall order to some of you, but I have enough faith to believe this can happen.

Prayer and faith can go where you and I can’t go. To paraphrase a verse in the Bible, if God’s people (believers) would turn from their wicked ways and seek His face, He would hear our prayer and heal our land.

Our land needs healing. And what better time to start the healing than on this wonderful Resurrection Day?

‘Sephardic food traditions’

When the Sephardic Jews were expelled from Spain during the Inquisition, they scattered to all corners of the Mediterranean. They carried with them their varied cultural experiences and new locales created a melding of flavors from Portugal, Spain, Italy, France, Algeria, Greece, Morocco, Israel and the remains of the Ottoman Empire, according to Dr. Annette B. Fromm, coordinator of Graduate Certificate in Museum Studies at Florida International University.

At noon April 16, Fromm will give a talk entitled, “Sephardic food traditions in the Balkan and Latin American Diasporas.” The event will be at the Miami Beach Jewish Community Center, 4221 Pine Tree Dr. in Miami Beach.

Tickets are $10 per person for the talk and an additional $8 for lunch. For tickets and more information visit or call Karen Sepsenwol at 305-534-3206, ext. 214.

Spring Tea Party

The Collie Edison and Willie Tee Coats Foundation will have its second annual Spring Tea Party from 1 to 3 p.m. April 11 at Glendale Baptist Church , 14580 SW 117th Ave.

The foundation is a 2½-year-old, private nonprofit organization devoted to providing needed services and programs that benefit residents in the South Miami-Dade area, specifically Richmond Heights, Perrine, Cutler Bay and Goulds, said Dianne Coats-Davis, a foundation board member and one of the coordinators of the tea party fundraiser.

“Our mission is to promote, build, and educate neighborhoods by facilitating growth,developing awareness and supporting community involvement programs,” Coats-Davis said. “In addition, we believe it is our professional responsibility to always serve the community ... by implementing programs that will cause our neighborhoods to ultimately strengthen and flourish successfully.”

For more information about the foundation and the Spring Tea party, call Coats-Davis at 305-778-2128.

Autism Awareness in April

Autism Awareness is commemorated throughout April. It’s the time when autism organizations worldwide celebrate with awareness-raising events.

In keeping with that, the University of Miami-Nova Southeastern University Center for Autism and Related Disabilities (UM-NSU CARD) will host a variety of events throughout the month for its clients and the community.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about one in every 68 American children is on the autism spectrum. More than three million Americans are affected by autism spectrum disorders.

On April 11, the Palmer Trinity School Autism Club will host “Ace for Autism,” a fundraising event to include junior and adult tennis tournaments, raffles and a silent auction to support UM-NSU CARD. The event will be from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Biltmore Tennis Center, 1150 Anastasia Ave. in Coral Gables. For more information, contact Waleed Mneimneh at 305-934-3324 or

At 7 p.m. April 13, a new initiative called “Creative AGE Support Group” will have its first meeting at 400 N. Andrews Ave., Suite 300, in Fort Lauderdale.

The group is geared to helping families affected by autism plan individualized, successful solutions for their loved ones’ lives as adults. The program is offered through the Daniel Jordan Fiddle Foundation Transition and Adult Programs at CARD. the group will meet monthly at the above address. To RSVP for the meeting or for more information, contact Mona Nasser at 305-219-3905.

Watch this column for information on more events throughout the month.

Jewish life in Germany

Beginning 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, Temple Beth Sholom will exhibit the art work of Sidney Rosenstein, a 94-year-old Holocaust survivor whose works were recently featured at the German consulate.

In addition to Rosenstein’s works, a series of panels depicting Jewish life in Germany today will be on display.

At 7 p.m., the acclaimed PBS documentary Treblinka’s Last Witness will be screened.

Temple Beth Sholom is at 4144 Chase Ave. in Miami Beach. For more information, go to the website, or call Mark Baranek(cq) at 305-538-7231.

Seraphic Fire and visual artist Sebastian Spreng

Seraphic Fire, in collaboration with Miami visual artist Sebastian Spreng, will present a melding of music and art at a program entitled “Bach + Mahler.” To be featured: Gustav Mahler’s intimate Das Lied von der Erde (The Song of the Earth) , along with paintings from Spreng’s Mahler-inspired exhibit, “A Song for the Earth.”

Spreng’s work includes the CD cover for the Grammy award-winning Da Pacem by Arvo Pärt. “Mahler’s music has been an important part of my life. It always seems to create a balance between unease and catharsis,” Spreng said.

Patrick Dupré Quigley, founder and artistic director of Seraphic Fire, will explore the haunting emotions and symbolic overview of life and death contained within Rainer Riehn’s re-orchestration of Das Lied von der Erde. He will be joined by Metropolitan Opera stars mezzo soprano Susanne Mentzer and tenor Bryan Hymel.

There will be three performances: 7:30 pm, April 17, All Saints Episcopal Church, 333 Tarpon Dr., Fort Lauderdale; 8 p.m. April 18 at Miami Shores Presbyterian Church, 602 NE 96th St., Miami Shores; 4 p.m. April 19 at South Miami-Dade Cultural Arts Center, 10950 SW 211th St.

For tickets and more information concerning this program, call 305-285-9060 or go to

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.