By Al Bottner
Yaakov Smirnoff (the Russian comedian) had a saying - “what a country” - when referring to how one lives in the USA. Our slogan should say - what a city - when speaking of our beloved cities of Sarasota, Bradenton and Venice.
Why you may ask? Well our 13th annual Holocaust Survivors luncheon was held on December 17, 2009, at Temple Beth Sholom, Sarasota. We’ve (I say we - because I am a survivor) made strong strides in folding in to these affairs our 2nd generation survivors. Second generation survivors are the offspring’s of survivors who by inevitability begin to carry the banners of stories and memories told to them by their unfortunate parents who underwent for the most part unbelievable tragedies at the hands of the Nazis. Functions like these serve as a reminder, and more importantly, so the world not forget what happened to the Jews of Europe and elsewhere. In a way we celebrate life by sharing and enjoying each others company and recounting our various stories. For some it is a difficult time as it resurfaces the pains of WW II.
The gathering took place in the social hall of Temple Beth Sholom, and one immediately felt comfortable and at ease with its surroundings. The Jewish Federation chapter of Sarasota’s welcoming committee made you feel you belonged. The absolutely beautiful table settings and Hannukah menorahs gave thoughts of our forefathers plights and a deliciously anticipated luncheon. All invited guests celebrated day 6 of the Hannukah candle lighting ceremony lead by Rabbi Mishkin and included 2nd generation attendees.
Orna Nissan, Annette Kirshner, Daisy Steadman , Rabbi Mishkin , Hazzan Nathanson, Carolyn Kaplan, Helen Fagin including the young children from Goldie Feldman Academy who sang and danced for us - were warm and inspiring. Kudos to all the volunteers who made it happen and to the Temple Beth Sholom caterer who prepared a tasty luncheon with the all important “latkes“. The event was consummated in a wonderful performance of a piano recital by Ms. Lillette JenKins Wisner, who gave us a rendition of her musical talents. Finally let us thank Mr. and Mrs. Martin and Barbara Archer for sponsoring this memorable luncheon.