Jewish Federation Announces 2016-17 Season

Art, history, music and more are all included in the line-up.

By Kay Kipling September 12, 2016

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Amnon Weinstein


The Jewish Federation of Sarasota-Manatee has announced a 2016-17 season blending visiting celebrities, a historic exhibit and the annual Jewish Film Festival.

The season begins with an appearance by singer, dancer, choreographer and TV personality Paula Abdul, who will share stories about her connection to her Jewish roots and overcoming obstacles for the 10th anniversary of Women’s Day. ABC7 News anchor Hayley Wielgus will moderate the discussion with Abdul, which takes place Dec. 7 at Michael’s On East. (Tickets $80, plus a minimum $100 gift to the federation’s development efforts; call Trisha Stafford at 941-706-0029.)

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Paula Abdul. Photo by Nick Saglimbeni


Next up is a three-week event called Violins of Hope, which ties together both concerts and talks. In 1996, Israeli master violinmaker Amnon Weinstein began to collect and restore violins, some of which were played by Jewish prisoners in Nazi concentration camps, while others belonged to the klezmer tradition, which was all but destroyed in the Holocaust. Weinstein will speak about his work at an opening night gala emceed by actor Henry Winkler, himself the son of refugees from Nazi Germany, on Feb. 1 at the Ritz-Carlton, Sarasota. The evening will also feature performances by Turkish violinist Cihat Askin and musicians from the Sarasota Orchestra. Gala tickets are $100 each, with a minimum household gift of $6,000 to the federation; there will also be numerous events featuring alumni from the Perlman Music Program/Suncoast and State College of Florida’s Presidential String Quartet, Feb. 1-16. Tickets will go on sale for these in November; for more details, visit

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Henry Winkler will host the federation's gala on Feb. 1.


Generations of readers have grown up learning the story of Anne Frank through her diary. A History for Today exhibition, traveling from the Anne Frank Center House, will allow visitors to consider the effects of discrimination, hate and violence, April 17 through May 27 at Selby Public Library.

The eighth annual Jewish Film Festival focuses on films that “explore, record and celebrate” Jewish life and experience. This year’s film line-up is still to be announced, but dates for the fest are March 12-19, with tickets starting at $12.

In addition to all these events, the federation is the lead sponsor for the six-month-long exhibition Marc Chagall’s Cote d’Azur: The Artist’s Botanical Imagery and Inspiration Found on the French Riviera, on view at Selby Gardens February through July 2017. An event with Bella Meyer, Chagall’s granddaughter, will take place Jan. 13 at Selby Gardens; this is the Lion of Judah and Pomegranate Luncheon welcoming federation donors of a certain level, and ticket information has not yet been announced.

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Mark and Bella Chagall. Copyright Archives Mark et Ida Chagall


For more information about the federation and its season, call (941) 371-4546 or visit


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