Community Voices

Friends and Neighbors: Easter marks a time of new beginnings

Happy Easter, dear Friends and Neighbors!

I’ve got to tell you, Easter is one of my favorite holidays. The day reminds me that this is a time of new beginnings, new starts and makeovers. It is no wonder that Easter comes in the spring, a time when we work on our gardens, tilling the soil and making way for new plants and vegetables. It is also a time when we clean out closets, getting rid of the things that we no longer need or want.

I see this also as a time for spiritual cleansing — cleansing ourselves of the grit and grime of life that held us back last year, keeping us from reaching our full potential. If you are reading this, I believe you are doing it with a sound mind, which tells me you have been given another chance to right the wrongs in your life.

Easter Sunday this year is also bittersweet for me. It is my mom’s birthday, as well. Had she lived (she died in December 2002) Mom would have been 97. So, as I think about new beginnings, I can’t help but think that Mom is living her new beginning with the Lord. And while I miss her terribly, the thought of her being in the presence of the Lord makes me happy and gives me hope.

I can’t think of Mom and Easter without remembering the times leading up to that special day when my brother, Adam, and I got new Easter clothes. When we were little, Mom always tried to surprise us, hiding our new clothes like the grown-ups hid eggs for our Easter egg hunt after church. I remember one Easter I got a pretty yellow-and-pink dress and shiny Mary Jane shoes. I could hardly wait for the big day to come when I could be dressed in my new clothes, wearing my Easter hairdo of “candy curls” that Doris “Doll” Dorsett, one of Mom’s friends, had whipped together, topping it off with a two-toned pink-and-yellow hair bow.

But even as a little girl, it was the Easter sunrise services that held the most meaning for me. Mom used used to tell us that on Easter morning the sun would be so happy about the resurrection of Jesus that it came up dancing. With the imagination I had, it surely did seem like the sun arose to the beat of “Hallelujah, He is risen!”

I have been blessed to see many Easter mornings. As a young mom, I tried to instill the same love of this holy day in my two sons. They grew up saying their Easter speeches in church and wearing their new spring suits. Later, when they were grown, married and the father of daughters — Rick had three and Shawn had one — I would take a week’s vacation from my job just to sew pretty dresses for them, sewing matching lace on their socks and making fancy bows for their hair. It was a labor of love.

Today, even my grandchildren are grown and I have a new generation of children to tell the Easter story to — my three great-grandchildren. Thankfully, there is only one little girl to sew for.

As I share the memories of my Easters as a child, I can only hope and pray that my little great-grands will grow up loving Easter as much as I do. More than anything, though, I want them to understand the meaning of Easter and how the day also symbolizes a new beginning.


The 11th annual A Starry Night in Redland will be from 7 to 9:30 p.m. April 1 at the Munz Redland estate, 23600 SW 162nd Ave.

The wonderful, star-gazing event will have something fun for the entire family as Southern Cross Astronomical Society members bring their powerful telescopes to the estate for star-watching. There will also be a silent auction, hayrides, face painting, crafts, games, horseback riding, goody bags, baked goods and much more.

In addition to a Starry Night Cafe, where attendees can dine under the stars, and where the menu will include island food, hot dogs, sodas and desserts, there will also be an All Star Yogurt Food Truck. Best of all, the event benefits the Miami Youth for Christ KIX Ministry in Homestead.

“This star party and silent auction ... is to help raise funds to send youth to spring break camp, help fund summer trips for teens and elementary school children, as well as fund a day camp for children and youth throughout the summer at multiple neighborhood sites,” said Stacy Morales, founder and director of Homestead YFC KIX.

The KIX Ministry strives to inspire youngsters to make good moral decisions so they can be healthy, productive members of the community.

“The goal of this year’s event is to raise $15,000 through corporate and individual sponsorships, donations and attendance,” Morales said. “We have a great track record and with God’s help, we believe we can do this.”

The entrance fee to Starry Night is only $3 per person. A $5 ticket covers all activities. Tickets for food and beverages will be sold separately. Anyone who wishes to make a donation to the auction — whether a service, gift card, gift certificate, hotel stays or whatever — should contact the Homestead Youth for Christ office at 786-243-1600. You may also mail your contribution directly to Youth for Christ, ATT: Stacy Morales, P.O. Box 56110, Miami, FL 33256.


The 20th annual Breaking the Glass Ceiling Awards Luncheon will be at noon April 3 at the Jewish Museum of Florida-FIU, 301 Washington Ave., Miami Beach.

The luncheon will feature the 2016 honorees, who will discuss the obstacles they faced in various fields and how they broke through the glass ceiling: Ruth VanDyke, Wendy Mann Resnick, Karen Asher-Cohen and Dr. Lynn Leight.

Tickets are $54 for museum members and $65 for nonmembers, or $100 including luncheon and family membership. Scholarships are available for FIU students and faculty.

To RSVP visit or call 786-972-3164.


The Women’s Fund invites the community to its The Power of the Purse Luncheon and Auction on April 7 at BankUnited Center at the University of Miami.

At the event, the Marilyn Gladstone Lifetime Achievement Award will be presented to Greenberg Traurig co-president Hilarie Bass and the 2016 Honor Roll will include Lucia Davis-Raiford, Natacha Munilla, and Darlene Perez. Teresa Rodriguez will serve as the mistress of ceremonies.

The event will have a VIP kickoff at 10 a.m., followed at 11 a.m. with the silent auction and reception. Lunch will be at noon. For tickets visit or call 305-441-0506.


Kesher is a nonprofit Jewish school that serves children with special needs in first through 12th grades. At 6 p.m. April 7, at Beth Torah Benny Rok Campus in Northeast Miami-Dade, the school will have its 20th annual scholarship dinner, at which time two individuals who are committed to the school and its efforts will be recognized.

Honorees are Rebecca H.Fischer, Kesher vice chair, and Diane Wander, educator, author and a founding member of Kesher. Also, student volunteers Alexandra Mundlak, Daniela Schmutter and Aaron Traub will be honored at the event.

While many of Kesher’s students receive tuition assistance through the support of the Jewish Federations of Miami-Dade and Broward counties, as well as foundations and private donors, the annual dinner provides much-needed additional scholarship funds.

This year’s event will feature a cocktail hour and a Chinese auction followed by the formal ceremony and dinner. Tickets are $136 and may be purchased by calling 305-792-7060 or emailing

Send all items at least two weeks in advance to Friends and Neighbors, c/o Neighbors, 3511 NW 91st Ave., Doral, FL 33172 or email Pictures are accepted but cannot be returned.