Chabad @ the Beaches Gala Dinner and Celebration | Events

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Chabad @ the Beaches Gala Dinner and Celebration

On Sunday, June 10th, Chabad at the Beaches will be celebrating its ninth year of commitment to Jewish Life in the Jacksonville and Ponte Vedra Beaches community with its annual Gala Dinner and Celebration.  This year, we will be honoring Dr. Michael Mendel and Mrs. Eliana Batya Galer, Mrs. Robin Olson, and Dr. Andrew Forrest.  All of our honorees have made great contributions to the Beaches Jewish community through both sweat and spirit.  As we honor our longtime friends and supporters, we also take time to reflect on another year of spiritual growth in the community.
The evening will feature a delectable four course dinner.  At Chabad @ the Beaches, we are taking our annual dinner to another level with the Comedy Hypnosis of Hypnotist Rich Alexander.  This will be an adventure in imagination that you will enjoy and talk about for years!  Get ready for some side-splitting fun when you see your audience members go on stage to become part of the show.  Laughs are guaranteed!

Also during the dinner, Chabad will host its second annual Chinese and silent auctions.  There will be raffles for tickets to the Masters Tournament and the Grammys as well as jewelry, cameras, trips to Cancun, Disney Passes and a host of other prizes being auctioned off.  The Auction is already online and bids and tickets can be placed at

The dinner will highlight the vast educational and social work of Chabad around the world in general and Chabad in Jacksonville and Chabad @ the Beaches in particular, which is testimony to the vision, passion, and leadership of the Lubavitcher Rebbe.  In Florida alone there are 154 Chabad institutions, 5 of which are in the Jacksonville area.  This year 10,000 children attended Chabad's 10 schools, 37 preschools, 45 Hebrew Schools, and 21 summer camps.

Robin Olson will receive the Aishes Chayil (Woman of Valor) Award for her outstanding dedication to her family and community's Jewish Values.  Undaunted by living two and a half hours away from any Synagogue in rural Arizona, she made the drive weekly for Bar Mitzvah lessons.  Eventually, she formed and hosted a Hebrew School in her home to fill the Yiddishkeit void.  Robin's holiday celebrations with all her kids’ friends were yearly highlights in her community.  These events helped bring cultural understanding to others and Jewish pride to her children.  Upon moving to Ponte Vedra and discovering Chabad, Robin continues to be an asset to her community.  With her legendary cooking for Jewish Holidays, volunteerism, warmth and friendship to those around her Robin is a true Aishes Chayil.

It is with great pride that we will present Dr. Andrew Forrest with the Chesed Award.  Chesed is one of the most cherished Jewish values.  Its English translation, ‘kindness,’ does not do it justice.  Chesed is kindness done truly from the heart and in a manner that the recipient too feels dignified.  A very gifted periodontist, Dr. Forrest has quietly made his impact on numerous people's lives.  His specialty in jaw reconstruction is a life changer for accident and abuse victims.  In addition to his devotion to his patients, he consistently volunteers to help those less fortunate.  Andrew uplifts those around him with his generosity of spirit, contagious optimism and dignified persona. Together with his lovely wife Paulina the Forrests continue to be a true asset to the entire community.

The dinner will present an opportunity for us to honor our longtime friends and devoted supporters Dr Michael Mendel Galer and His lovely wife Eliana Batya (formerly Terri Hattaway).  Eliana Galer grew up in North Miami Beach and moved to the Chabad Beaches community in 2005.  Wherever Eliana goes she brings a strong commitment to the community.  Eliana was an integral member of the Beaches team that cooked for Friday night dinners and helped plan and coordinate community events.  No matter where she is, Eliana is a woman of valor.  Dr. Michal Mendel Galer, originally from Boston, moved to Ponte Vedra Beach where he was the Director of Academic Affairs for the University of Phoenix in North Florida. Mendel assisted the Rabbi and Rebbetzin extensively with fundraising.  Mendel recently retired from the University and has moved with Eliana to East Boca Raton, Florida where they continue their relationship with Chabad.

We are currently gathering greetings and well wishes from friends and associates of Dr. Andrew Forrest, the Galers, Robin Olson and Chabad @ the Beaches (to honor Chabad’s ninth anniversary) for our dinner journal.  It is this event that provides much of the funds necessary to maintain our programs.  Thank you in advance for keeping us in mind with your early response.  

The event will be held at The Crosswater Hall at the town of Nocatee, Little River Rd. Ponte Vedra Beach, FL 32081 on June 10th at 5:00 PM.

For sponsorship opportunities or to RSVP please contact Chabad @ the Beaches via email: or 904.543.9301begin_of_the_skype_highlighting            904.543.9301      end_of_the_skype_highlighting or visit


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