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Temple Beth Israel member donates $500,000 for renovations

Susan Goldfarb, Sy Goldblatt, Corina Mintz, Rabbi Stephen Sniderman and Susan Landau
Susan Goldfarb, Sy Goldblatt, Corina Mintz, Rabbi Stephen Sniderman and Susan Landau
Photo by Petra Rivera
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Temple Beth Israel honored Harold Ronson at its 45th anniversary gala, “Making Memories." Ronson donated a total of $500,000, which is the largest contribution in the history of the synagogue. 

The event started at 5:30 p.m. with hors d'oeuvres on Feb. 25 at the Sarasota Yacht Club. Co-president Marion Levine thought it would be a nice change to move the location this year after having the celebration every year at Michael’s On East. 

As people arrived at the party, they couldn’t help but reminisce on why they love being a part of Temple Beth Israel. 

“I think the temple is unique,” said member Heddy Sabol. “This is truly becoming a cultural center and attracts a diverse number of people, and not just for Jews because we have opportunities such as The Education Center.”

Harold Ronson and Molly Schechter
Photo by Petra Rivera

Bob Gary was picked to be the emcee for the night, and he swore it is because of his performance in a play TBI once put on, which is his favorite memory from his time in the synagogue. 

Once everyone sat down at their tables, TBI leaders gave their welcoming speeches. Levine, Co-President Michael Boorstein, Executive Director Isaac Azerad and Rabbi Stephen Sniderman all spoke about their gratitude for Ronson. 

“Harold is a remarkable man,” said Azerad. “He navigates life with grace and kindness. In his love affair with Judaism and his fellow humans, he expresses his support with an abundant generosity of spirit. The world is enriched by Harold's care. You have gifted our temple with the largest single gift it has ever received. On its 45th anniversary, your kindness permits Temple Beth Israel to fund the renovation of its aging structure.”

Co-presidents at Temple Beth Israel Marion Levine and Michael Boorstein
Photo by Petra Rivera

Ronson’s donations will allow the temple to renovate its entryway, bathrooms, kitchen and social hall. Temple Beth Israel will be dedicating the hall to him as the Kay and Harold Ronson Social Hall. 

During the dinner, Program Director at The Education Center at Temple Beth Israel Susan Goldfarb organized performances from Sherri Nadelman, SoulRCoaster and Chris Eisenberg of the Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe. They provided background music while people ate and participated in the silent auction. Once the clock hit 8:30 p.m., people were on the dance floor.

“After having spent so many years working overseas as a diplomat, I didn’t have many opportunities to give back,” said Boorstein. “But the temple has been an opportunity for me to volunteer in a very rewarding way. It's been a source of meeting people and being able to express my own spirituality. There are so many incredibly talented people. You put anyone on the spot and you will get the most incredible stories. We've all had different backgrounds including religion because we're a reformed synagogue.”



Petra Rivera

Petra Rivera is the Longboat community reporter. She holds a bachelor’s degree of journalism with an emphasis on reporting and writing from the University of Missouri. Previously, she was a food and drink writer for Vox magazine as well as a reporter for the Columbia Missourian.

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