Miami Beach

New board president at Temple Beth Sholom

Peter D. Russin was recently elected president of the board of trustees of

Temple Beth Sholom for 2010-11. A longtime Miami Beach resident, Russin, 47, is co-founder and shareholder in the Miami law firm Meland, Russin and Budwick, P.A.  The firm specializes in corporate bankruptcy, commercial litigation and real estate.

       Russin's parents, Lynn and Dr. David Russin, joined the temple in 1970 (he was 7), upon moving to Miami Beach from Texas. The family has remained actively involved with the Reform synagogue ever since.

    "I basically grew up there," says Russin, who has celebrated many milestones at the temple, including his bar mitzvah in 1976; his wedding to wife, Andi, in 1989; and the bar mitzvahs of sons Jake (now 18) and  Noah (now 15). The bar mitzvah for son Asher, 11,  is scheduled for March 2012.  Russin has served on the board of trustees for 15 years.

    As president, Russin's goals include "completion of the third phase of the

synagogue's renovation of its sanctuary and social hall, the dedication of a new Torah on Oct. 3 and continuing the important work we do in the community."

     Russin addressed the temple's 1,500 members during the recent High

Holy Day services.

   "It was definitely nerve-wracking," he said. The biggest laughs came when Russin described being asked how he was sleeping lately, given the pressures and responsibilities of being the president of such an esteemed synagogue.

    "I sleep like a baby," said Russin. "I wake up every two hours and cry."

      Temple Beth Sholom is located at 4144 Chase Ave., Miami Beach. Call 305-538-7231 or visit its website.


       St. John's on the Lake United Methodist Church, 4760 Pinetree Dr. in Miami Beach, will host its eighth annual pet blessing at 11 a.m. Oct. 3.

       Well-behaved pets and their human companions of all faiths and denominations are invited to attend the special service, followed by an outdoor "yappy hour."

      The pet blessing service celebrates the feast day of St. Francis of Assisi, the

patron saint of animals and the environment. Participating pets will each receive a St. Francis medallion to commemorate the occasion.

       The service will be conducted by St. John's new pastor, Chris McNeill, who joined the church in July. New also this year will be a pet adoption and fundraising drive for Spotted Dog Animal Rescue. The event is free and open to the public.

     To learn more, call 305-531-7166 or visit the church website


     Kobi Karp Architecture and Interior Design has received two prestigious awards from the Latin Builders Association. The firm was named "Architecture Firm of the Year" and "Interior Design Firm of the Year" at the LBA 30th annual awards ceremony, held Sept. 11  in downtown Miami. More than 700 guests attended.

       Established in 1971, The Latin Builders Association is the largest Hispanic

construction association in the United States, representing more than 750 member companies throughout South Florida.

    "It's nice that the LBA recognized us. We have been working all over the world for years.  They like to see Miami firms representing the city internationally," said Kobi Karp, a longtime Miami Beach resident. He founded the firm in Miami Beach in 1996.

      Today, the firm is internationally recognized for projects in the United States and around the world.  The firm is based at 2915 Biscayne Blvd. in Miami, with a regional office in Abu Dhabi. 

      Karp attributes his firm's success, in part, to "vertical integration".

   "There is no hierarchy. We have big open studios ... no offices or cubicles. Staff

members at all levels work together," Karp said. "This allows people to grow within the company.  It's more transparent and more efficient from an operations standpoint."

     The firm's portfolio includes high-rises, mixed-use developments, hospitality and entertainment centers, commercial/retail spaces and single-family homes.

   Local landmarks include: The Biscayne Courtyard Marriott, The Strand and Capri hotels; Grand Venetian and Britto Gallery on Lincoln Road.

    The product Karp is most proud of?

   "My boys," he says of sons Jordan, 14 and Aden, 8. "And I'm still working on


   Debra K. Leibowitz writes about the people and businesses of the Beaches. Call her at 305-531-7887, e-mail her at, and fan Beach Buzz on Facebook.