Shalom Jax’s Jewish Java finds permanent home at River Garden


Shalom Jax Director


Jewish Java has sure come a long way since Panera Bread, Let’s Nosh and Village Bread Café. Just by happenstance, Leslie Held, Jewish Life and Volunteer Coordinator at River Garden, came to one of the Java programs at Village Bread, where the attendance was so overwhelming that extra chairs had to be brought in to accommodate everyone. Seeing the need for more space for more people, Held said she would check with River Garden and ask if Shalom Jacksonville could hold its monthly Jewish Java programs there. As one of the Federation’s partner agencies, River Garden Senior Services responded with enthusiasm and in addition, generously offered to provide a delicious, complimentary bagel and lox breakfast and their Cohen Auditorium through October.


Last month, River Garden Executive director Martin Goetz welcomed everyone and shared his appreciation of Federation’s generous financial support of River Garden Senior Services. During his talk, Goetz said that he and his staff were delighted to offer Shalom Jacksonville’s Jewish Java a permanent home. This move will allow Java to ultimately expand its programming and provide more than enough space to invite locals to meet newcomers and reacquaint with old friends. River Garden’s gesture confirms that we are truly a cohesive and caring community, helping each other grow and thrive.


Much appreciation goes out to August’s featured storytellers extraordinaire Rabbi Dov and Alina Kentof. Both, in their own way mesmerized the Java group of 60 with their personal and bubbe meise stories. The Sept. 7th program will feature Barbara Kiersh, genealogist, who will share lots of handouts and information to help you research your roots and on Oct. 5th, Stanley Greenfield, a participant in the ‘Volunteers for Israel’ program will talk about his experience in the program. Many more wonderful programs are planned and we invite everyone to join us no matter how long you have lived in Jacksonville.