Local families and their young children prepared for the Jewish New Year with the recent Rosh Hashanah family program, “What’s the Buzz? Honey for a Sweet New Year,” in Coral Springs.
The event was co-sponsored by the PJ Library of the Jewish Federation of Broward County and Orloff Central Agency for Jewish Education of Broward County. It took place at the Sawgrass Nature Center and Wildlife Hospital.
The children made arts and crafts, learned how bees make honey through a beekeeper’s demonstration, toured the Nature Center habitat, made honey dippers, made birthday hats for the birthday of the world and tasted apples and honey for a sweet new year.
Marney Tokar, PJ Library director for the Jewish Federation of Broward County, said that an estimated 100 people, including approximately 35 families, attended the program.
As the event was rescheduled because of Hurricane Irma and took place a week after the storm passed through South Florida, Tokar said that the sponsoring organizations were concerned because of the limited communication with families that people wouldn’t show up. However, they were impressed with the turnout.
“We were thrilled with the turnout and I think it really gave us and our families the opportunity to be together and learn about the holiday and the process of honey making as well as the opportunity to just get out after the hurricane.”
Tokar noted that there were a lot of new families that had not attended previous PJ Library events before as well as the regular ones who show up for everything.
Judy Asuleen, Orloff CAJE’s director of adult learning and leadership, echoed Tokar’s sentiments that the event’s turnout was terrific and that it provided the community an opportunity to get and out and come together following the storm.
“I think just being together with the whole community, meeting a lot of children and being able to do crafts was an emotional relief for them. They got to see a lovely center with all these animals and it was nice for the families to come together and wish each other Shana Tova in an early childhood setting.”
Asuleen said that this event was Orloff CAJE’s executive director Arnold Samlan’s original idea.
“He thought of doing something for Rosh Hashanah about the bees because bees are important to Rosh Hashanah and they’re dying out, so it all kind of spiraled from there,” Asuleen noted. “We contacted the Nature Center and Dr. Leo Gosser, who was the beekeeper who gave the presentation, had taken some bees from our home, so it all came together.”
Debbie Gober, the Federation of Broward County‘s board chair, attended the event and discussed its importance.
“The Jewish Federation of Broward County really supports programs of Jewish education, especially with children, and we thought it was important that in spite of the recovery after the storm that we still hold the event. I think not only did the children enjoy the event, but the parents as well, and the networking is so important for young families.”
Pamela Dyson of Coral Springs, who took her two children Jacob, 5, and Max, 3, to the event, said, “It was a really nice outdoor activity to do with my children.”
Dyson felt the program prepared her children for the High Holidays.
“I think it gave them a sense of community that they’re not the only children celebrating Rosh Hashanah, so it’s nice to see other families who live in our community celebrating.”
Allan Rose, executive director for the Sawgrass Nature Center, said the children who attended were very excited.
“When we took them out afterwards and showed them the animals, they were very enthusiastic and asked very good questions.”