David and Sydney Schaecter to be honored by Temple Judea
David and Sydney Schaecter

Temple Judea, located in Coral Gables, has announced that world-renowned Holocaust survivor David Schaecter, and his wife Sydney Schaecter, are the synagogue’s 2019 Pillars of Judah Honorees.

The Pillars of Judah Award honors individuals who are extraordinary volunteers with the ability to engage the hearts and minds of others. Pillars galvanize and educate community and are dedicated to making Temple Judea — and the world — a better place.

These unique individuals continually inspire, lead by example and take personal responsibility for ensuring the well-being of others.

The Saturday, Apr. 13, Gala, considered Temple Judea’s premier fundraising event, is appropriately titled “L’Chaim, To Life!” celebrating the lives of Holocaust survivor, David Schaecter and his wife, community activist, Sydney Schaecter.

Co-chairs, Linda and Michael Bittel and Bella and Jay Newmark, along with a dedicated volunteer leadership committee, are planning a meaningful evening which will highlight the individual and combined accomplishments of the Schaecters through their decades of unwavering devotion to the local and global needs of the Jewish people.

“As the L’Chaim, To Life! Gala co-chairs we feel honored to have the privilege of spearheading this distinguished tribute event for Sydney and David. Their collective contributions have literally shaped the infrastructure of the Jewish community worldwide.

The Schaecters live a life focused on hope, perseverance, and strengthening the Jewish people,” the co-chair said in a joint statement.

David, a Miami resident and a founding member of the Holocaust Memorial Miami Beach, speaks globally recounting his

“Choose Life” story. Schaecter is the subject of the 2017 documentary A Call to Remember by Holocaust scholar Michael Berenbaum. Born in a small village in Czechoslovakia, Schaecter was a young boy when the Nazis rose to power in Germany and is the only member of his family to survive the Holocaust. The film recounts his struggle for survival in Auschwitz, his escape, and how Schaecter pieces his life back together following the war, determined to recount the stories of all those who were lost by ensuring that we never forget about the atrocities of the Holocaust.

Sydney Schaecter’s contributions to the South Florida Jewish community have been recognized for more than 40 years dating back to her board leadership positions at the South Dade area office of the Greater Miami Jewish Federation and the Alper JCC.

Her more recent contributions came notably through her roles as associate director of Major Gifts for the Greater Miami Jewish Federation as well as the Employment & Business Development Specialist for ParnossahWorks Miami (now known as J-Works Miami).

One of Schaecter’s most successful programs for J-Works was the outreach she spearhead during a time when unemployment was exceedingly high in South Florida. Schaecter built partnerships with local employers by identifying their hiring needs in order to create synergies to find employment for Jewish members of the community so they could return to the work force.

In a statement Sydney said, “We are so moved to have been chosen by Temple Judea as the 2019 Pillars of Judah Award Honorees. Temple Judea is our spiritual home. The clergy and professional staff have created a community that welcomes and values each and every congregant. There is a warmth, appreciation and respect that David and I feel at Judea that is like no other.

David and I have been embraced by our synagogue and we are continually fulfilled to pray and play with as many as four generations — including our children and grandchildren.

“Having both served the Jewish community (and beyond) for decades: I, as a volunteer and then a Federation professional, and David as an inspirational hero, leader and educator for the Holocaust Community, this beautiful tribute means so very much to us both. We have dedicated our lives to service and pledge to continue to do so as Pillars of Judah. Our hearts are full as we look forward to celebrating at the L’Chaim, To Life! Gala with our loving friends and family this spring.”

The Temple Judea L’Chaim, To Life! Gala tickets are $180/$250 per person.

For more information on the Schaecter Tribute Book and Gala Sponsorships contact Danielle Spiegelman, senior director of Campus Advancement for Temple Judea at d.spiegelman@judeagables.org or at 305-667-5657, ext. 2119.

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