Miami Beach

Beach Buzz: Dancing with survivors to raise funds for breast cancer patients

Left to right, Dancing With The Survivors participants: Mary Montero, Carolyn Leonhard, Mikhail Zharinov, Linda Biondo, Galina Zharinov, Joni Meiselman, Stefan Ilies, Regina Schertzer, Sebastian Apostolescu, DeAnne Connoly, Bonnie Jaffe, Suzie Jaffe.
Left to right, Dancing With The Survivors participants: Mary Montero, Carolyn Leonhard, Mikhail Zharinov, Linda Biondo, Galina Zharinov, Joni Meiselman, Stefan Ilies, Regina Schertzer, Sebastian Apostolescu, DeAnne Connoly, Bonnie Jaffe, Suzie Jaffe.

A group of local breast cancer survivors will take to the dance floor with professional dancers from the Fred Astaire Dance Studio on Thursday, Oct. 1 at 7:30 p.m. to raise money for fellow breast cancer patients.

The event, Dancing With The Survivors® 2015, is one of seven similar fundraisers happening at dance studios across the U.S. the same night. It will be held at Fred Astaire Miami Beach, 1055 Kane Concourse in Bay Harbor Islands.

Local dancers/survivors are: Linda Biondo, Deanne Connolly Graham, Bunny Jaffe, Susan Jaffe, Carolyn Leonhard, Joni Meiselman, Mary Montero and Regina Schertzer.

The novice dancers — who each received eight free dance lessons from Fred Astaire Miami Beach — will be paired with a professional dancer to perform a variety of ballroom dances.

Proceeds will support The Pink Fund (, a nonprofit that provides short-term financial assistance to breast cancer patients during treatment and recovery.

“I’ve really enjoyed meeting other breast cancer survivors and understanding their stories. It reinforces the importance of annual mammograms,” said Joni Meiselman of Bay Harbour Islands, who raised almost $5,000 for the cause. Meiselman, 51, was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2012 and had a bilateral mastectomy in 2013.

In addition to dancing a la “Dancing with the Stars”, the evening will feature music, cocktails and light bites.

“We have received tremendous community support for this fundraiser, thanks to supervision by our student Nicolina Carrano,” said Fred Astaire Miami Beach owners Galina and Mikhail Zharinov.

Tickets are $50 each. The event is open to the public. Pink-inspired attire is encouraged. To attend or support one of the dancers, visit


Suzanne Wachtel, LCSW and Jeana Lynn Katz of Rock Om Yoga and Meditation will host a seminar entitled “Let It Go … Free Yourself” on Thursday, Oct. 1, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Carillon Hotel (formerly Canyon Ranch), 6801 Collins Ave. in Miami Beach.

“The goal is to empower participants to deal with, and let go of, anything that doesn’t serve them in order to walk away feeling stronger and happier,” says Wachtel, who is in private practice in Boca Raton and co-author of the parenting book, “Like Mother Like Son.”

Katz, a resident of Sunny Isles, is the author of “Bliss,” and the founder of Rock Om Yoga and Meditation, which combines the practice of yoga and meditation with the healing energy of crystals.

The event will feature three empowerment workshops, guided meditations (some with crystals) and an ocean-side yoga session (weather permitting). All yoga levels are welcome (bring a mat).

Cost for the full-day session is $250, including lunch and valet parking. Space is limited. Pre-registration preferred. To learn more or RSVP, email or call (305) 206-1198.


Congratulations to Chef Thierry Isambert of Thierry’s Catering and Event Design, who recently received the Officer Level of Ordre du Merite Agricole medal from the French republic for his excellence in the culinary and hospitality industry.

The award was presented Sept. 17 by French Consul General Philippe Létrilliart during an event at Palm Court in the Miami Design District. More than 100 guests attended, including community and business leaders as well as longtime clients and friends.

The French Ordre du Mérite Agricole was established in 1883 to reward services that had a direct impact on the French national economy. The Ordre comprises approximately 340,000 knights to date.

A native of the Champagne region in Northern France, Isambert opened his catering company in 1989 at age 28. Today, the firm employs 25 chefs, a front house staff of 16 and more than 100 servers (in season).

Chef Thierry (pronounced Terry) said he was particularly honored to receive the coveted medal because his grandfather, Pierre Isambert, a long-respected farmer and one-time mayor of the family’s hometown in France, had received the same award.

For details (or catering), call (305) 635-6626 or visit


Miami-based educator/author Merle R. Saferstein will hold a series of classes about “Living and Leaving Your Legacy” at Temple Sinai of North Dade, 18801 NE 22nd Ave. in North Miami Beach. The classes will be Wednesday evenings 6-8 p.m., Oct. 27 through Dec. 1.

A former elementary teacher, Saferstein served as director of educational outreach at the Holocaust Documentation and Education Center in Hollywood for 26 years. She is the author of more than 350 journal volumes and the novel, “Room 732,” which takes place at the Hollywood Beach Hotel (1934-2012).

According to Saferstein, the interactive “Living and Leaving Your Legacy” course helps participants “examine their lives and determine what matters most and what they hope to leave behind for loved ones.”

“They’ll be able to put their priceless legacy into an ethical will, a journal, legacy letter, memoir, oral history, annotated recipe books, a scrapbook and more,” she adds.

For registration information, email or call 305-931-2234.

Beach Buzz appears every other Sunday, and focuses on people and businesses throughout the Beaches, Aventura and Miami. To reach Debra K. Leibowitz, call 305-531-7887 or email, or become a fan of her Beach Buzz page on Facebook.