Community Voices

More than 50,000 expected May 22 at Celebrate Israel Florida event

Bea L. Hines
Bea L. Hines

Congratulations are in order to wish Israel and our Israeli friends here in South Florida a happy Independence Day.

To celebrate the 68th anniversary, which officially was May 12, the Israeli -American Council (IAC) is hosting a series of celebrations in six key cities such as Los Angeles, New Jersey, New York, Boston, Las Vegas and Miami. And according to a press release from IAC, the Celebrate Israel festivals — which promise to bring together more than 50,000 people in the six cities, will be the largest ever Israeli Independence Day celebrations held outside of Israel.

The celebrations will not only bring together the Jewish -American and pro-Israel community, they will celebrate Israel’s extraordinaire achievements, deeply held values, vibrant culture and rich history.

The Celebrate Israel Florida event, which will include Miami, will be on May 22 in Pembroke Pines at C.V. Smith Park, 900 N. Flamingo Rd., and is expected to draw more than 10,000 people from the Latin, Jewish and Christian communities, who will celebrate Israeli culture, food, and music, including entertainment by Mashina.

“From coast to coast, pro-Israel Americans will come together in an unprecedented display of pride and unity around our shared love for the Jewish State,” said Naty Saidoff, the visionary behind Celebrate Israel and an IAC national board member. “The Israeli-American community is serving as a living bridge between the U.S. and Israel like never before. Our growing [IAC] movement has incredible potential to unite, engage, and inspire a new generation of Jewish and pro-Israel Americans from all backgrounds and from all walks of life.”


Ramadan, the holy month when Muslims from throughout the world fast from dawn to dusk, refraining from food, water and any worldly pleasures, will begin on June 6. Aside from fasting, the holy month is a time of “intense prayers and asking for forgiveness from Almighty God,” said Dr. Abdul Hamid Samra, Imam and religious director of the Islamic Center of Greater Miami.

As in the past, Muslims in South Florida will have open houses at various mosques and will hold “Iftar” (breaking of the fast) followed by dinner, and invited all their non-Muslim friends and their families to join in the breaking of bread together.

Open house at the Islamic Center of Greater Miami, also known as the Miami Gardens Mosque, at 4305 NW 183rd St. , will have its open house from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. on June 9.

If you go, please RSVP so your presence will be acknowledged. To make reservations, call Shabbir Motorwala at 305-283-2261, Khalid Mirza at 305-904-0074, or send email to to reserve your space.


The Bahá’í of Miami-Dade will host another of its Community Fireside Gatherings at 7 p.m. Saturday, May 21, at the Miami Bahá’í Center, 300 S. Dixie Hwy., Suite 209. The topic will be “Loving your neighbor in today’s world” and will be led by Gerald Schwartz, who went from activity in the peace and civil rights movements to participation in the Intentional Community MOvement, to membership in the Bahá’í Faith. He has taught English at Wayne State University in Detroit; at the Instituto Pedagogica de Barquisimeto, Venezuela, and for the past 12 years, at Miami Dade College.

“All of the great spiritual teachers and founders of religions agree that love should be the guiding principle in our treatment of others. their own lives provide us with numerous examples of how theis principle can be expressed,” Schwartz said. “While these beautiful actions are rich with the spirit of love, we can see, however, that many of the things which they did could not be repeated in today’s world.

“If I decide to give part of my food to the person sitting next to me in a shopping mall food court, they may not interpret this as an act of generosity. likewise, if I give my jacket to someone walking on the streets of Miami, I’m not sure how they will react, even though there are beautiful stories of great spiritual teachers who have done this,” he said. “The challenge for spiritually minded people becomes ... how to translate the timeless call to love our neighbor into the language of contemporary life, an era radically different in its norms and expectations.”

The fireside event, which is free and open to all, will include an open discussion, followed by light refreshments. For more information call 305-915-7247 or visit


The Lynn Dumas Russin Memorial Community Celebration “Celebration of Jewish Learning,” sponsored by the Central Agency for Jewish Education will begin at 12:45 p.m. May 22 at Temple Israel of Greater Miami, 137 NE 19th St. near downtown Miami. The event will feature acclaimed author Dr. Erica Brown and will honor the year-end graduation of the Florence Melton School of Adult Jewish Learning.

Brown, the author of 10 books, also writes a monthly column for the New York Jewish Week. Her topic will be “Why Be Jewish: 21st Century Jewish Identity”, which is an exploration of where a Jewish person is in the spectrum of Jewish identity and how to engage others to see things differently.

The Florence Melton School graduation will recognize 21 local students who have completed a two-year core curriculum covering a broad range of Jewish topics.

The event will open with a wine and cheese welcoming reception and the cost is $18 per person. and optional $50 per person will include 2016-2017 membership in the Friends of he Florence Melton School. Reservations are required and may be made by calling 305-576-4030, ext. 117 or by visiting,


Temple Bet Breira Samu-el Or Olom at 9400 SW 97th Ave. will conclude its Saturday Night Learning (SNL) film and discussion series at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, May 21, with the topic, “Triumph Over Tragedy: Remembering Stories of Jewish Survival.”

The film is a documentary about Shanghai’s little-known Jewish ghetto, which was settled in the 1930s by Jews who fled Nazi Germany.

The cost is $10 per person for refreshments. For more information and reservations, call 305-595-1500.


The Universal Truth Center for Better Living at 2130 NW 37th Ave. in Miami Gardens will continue its Lesson Series with the theme: “Boldly Living a Life of Greatness” with the sermon lesson, “It is Never Too Late to be Great,” taught by the Rev. Charles Taylor, senior minister of the church.

It’s free and open to the community. For more information call the church at 305-624-4991 or visit


Kudos to the Miami Mormon teenagers from the Miami Lakes Stake, 8201 NW 186th St. , who volunteered to reach out to the Opa-locka United Methodist Church on April 22, in a project of “neighbors serving neighbors.”

The Mormon youth, all from the Miami Lakes Stake, helped members of the United Methodist church, which is made up of African Americans, prepare the ground for a community garden to be maintained by the church at 630 Sharar Ave. and the surrounding community.

On the day of the project, which coincided with Earth Day, the Mormon youth also cleaned the sanctuary, washed windows, and watered and trimmed plants.

At the completion of the service project, the Mormon youth volunteers sang I Am a Child of God to the Rev. Joann Brookins and members of the congregation.

Jim Robinson, president of the Miami Lakes Stake said, there is a need to be “anxiously engaged” in serving others in the community.

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