On Sunday, June 11th, Chabad @ The Beaches commemorated 14 years of commitment to Jewish life in the Ponte Vedra and Jacksonville Beaches communities with its annual Gala Dinner and Celebration. Actor and Comedian Mendy Pellin entertained the crowd.
This year’s honorees were Rabbi Eli and Esther Wilansky and Mr. Todd Bernstein. Our honorees made great contributions locally and to the broader Jacksonville Jewish community. The evening featured a lavish dinner replete with first class entertainment, Chinese and silent auctions and multimedia presentations.
The Gala was timed to coincide with the yahrtzeit Chabad’s beloved friend, Mr. Aaron Scharf. Mr. Scharf and his wife Blanche of blessed memory are Chabad Beaches’ namesake.
The dinner highlighted the vast educational and social work of Chabad around the world and Chabad @ the Beaches in particular; all of which is testimony to the vision, passion, and leadership of the Lubavitcher Rebbe. In Florida alone there are 185 Chabad institutions, 6 of which are in the Jacksonville area. This year 12,000 children attended Chabad’s 16 schools, 48 preschools, 70 Hebrew Schools, and 24 summer camps in Florida.
Rabbi Eli and Esther Wilansky spent nearly seven years with the Jacksonville Beaches community. Rabbi Eli served as the Program Director for Chabad at the Beaches’ numerous services and events. His cheerfulness, positive demeanor and positive attitude are unmatched. Esther served as a teacher in Chabad of Southside’s Ganeinu Preschool. She is beloved by her students and staff alike. The Wilanskys recently accepted an offer to join the Pittsburgh, PA, community. While they will be sorely missed, their impact will last for many years to come.
Mr. Todd Bernstein was honored at the Gala for his longtime friendship, financial support and involvement in our Beaches Jewish community. Mr. Bernstein is a Vice President and financial advisor at BB&T Scott & Stringfellow. Todd’s continued personal growth in his Jewish observance and support of his community are an incredible example to his three beautiful children.