Shema Koleinu

Mitzvah Makers New Member Welcome

August 29, 2015Debbi BallardServices0

Title: Mitzvah Makers New Member Welcome
Location: Victoria Isle Park – Weston Hills
Description: We can’t wait to welcome our new Mitzvah Makers this year so join us as we gather for a meet-and-greet – come have a bagel and a coffee, get to meet our senior Mitzvah Makers, and kick this year off right!

Our Mitzvah Makers are amazing! This year, we have a record 45 students registered for the new season.  Every month, we meet for a social hour and to plan the upcoming events for the next 2 months.  We support amazing initiatives like Jeans for Teens, Feeding the Homeless, Children’s Harbor, JAFCO and many more!

Mitzvah Makers celebrating our donation to Jeans for Teens

Mitzvah Makers celebrating our donation to Jeans for Teens

Mitzvah Makers at Fort Lauderdale's Children's Harbor

Mitzvah Makers at Fort Lauderdale’s Children’s Harbor

We’d love to have you join us for an amazing year!

Contact Cantor Debbi for more information!
Start Time: 11:30
Date: 2015-08-30
End Time: 12:30

reJEWveNation: A Celebration and Innovative B-Mitzvah Showcase Experience

Cantor Debbi Ballard and edjewcation station will reveal the first-ever Jewish education mobile classroom in the country at this ribbon-cutting – reveal – Mitzvah Showcase!



For more information, visit

Our Sponsors:

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Check out these awesome vendors at the showcase!

Chez Gourmet –
Temptations Catering & Event Planning –
Better Party Rentals –
Artisan Foods –
Life of the party –
Dance Heads –
Max Booth –
Florida Photo Booth –
Potions and Motions –
Graffiti Pop –
Party Deco –
Cocktail Hour Entertainment –
Wendy J Studios –
Cold Stone Creamery –
Event Studio Productions –
Cruise Planners (Norweigan) –
Hyatt Place –
Green Capital Realty Advisors/Over the Top Catering – |
Photography by Linzi –
Courtyard by Marriot –
SOR Entertainment –
Origami Owl –
Donut Divas –
Café a la Cart –
Express Café –
Traditions –
Catarina Merlot Macaroons
Mari Salon – Facebook Page
You’re Invited Invitations – Facebook Page

Shema Koleinu announces early bird pricing for High Holy Days, 5775

Dear Shema Koleinu families,

We are so excited to announce that our High Holy Day tickets are now on sale exclusively through Shema Koleinu, and if you purchase before July 31, you can save 10% on all ticket sales, saving a possible $40-50 per family!


We have another amazing year planned already and can’t wait to welcome you back and welcome new families as well, we are sure it’s going to be another amazing year!  Of course, we are excited to return to The Miramar Cultural Center this year, and are already hard at work planning an incredible service for you.

The discount code, good until 7/31/14 is “hihoearly”

You can purchase your tickets here:

Apple Picking for a Sweet New Year 5774

Last weekend, I traveled to Atlanta for a skater-boy themed Bar Mitzvah. I also had the opportunity to reconnect with a couple I married four years ago and meet their beautiful new baby. As if that wasn’t already a perfect weekend, I was fortunate enough to spend some quality bonding time with my sister, Nina Spiegel. One of the highlights of our time together was going apple picking at Mercier Orchards in the Blue Ridge Mountains.

Apple picking with my sister brings back joyful memories from my childhood.  It was a timely activity in preparation for Rosh Hashanah, as we eat apples dipped in honey to symbolize our wish for a sweet new year. Not only are they inexpensive and good for you, but they are delicious too!

Now that I have all these apples, the only question left is what to do with them. I wanted to share with you a childhood favorite recipe my mom always made for me – Apple Fritters:

If you have any favorite Rosh Hashanah recipes, please feel free to share by emailing We’ll post some of our favorites to the Shema Koleinu Facebook Page as it gets closer to the New Year. Remember to use the hashtag #skhiho13 when you post to Facebook and Twitter about the event.

I’m amazed that Rosh Hashanah is only a week away, but even more surprised that Yom Kippur is also just around the corner. We have a record number of people attending High Holiday Services this year, so if you haven’t yet bought your tickets, please do so as soon as possible. You can purchase tickets through Miramar Cultural Center’s website –

L’Shanah Tovah,

To purchase High Holy Day Services tickets through the Miramar Cultural Center, please visit And be sure to follow us on TwitterLike us on Facebook, and contact Cantor Debbi Ballard directly at with any questions you may have about this year’s High Holy Days and how you can get involved.

Top 5 Reasons to Attend Shema Koleinu High Holy Day Services 2013/5774

August 16, 2013adamServices0

We could write all day about why we love our High Holiday Services, but we figured there is no better way to tell you than to seek out one of our congregants to help tell the story! In this blog post, Melissa Ferber, from Weston, tells us why Shema Koleinu is her favorite place to be for the High Holidays and for all her Jewish community connections.

Spotlight on: Melissa Ferber is an avid member of the Shema Koleinu community. Melissa lives with her husband, two children, and two terriers in Weston, Florida. She is originally from New Jersey and loves to travel.

What was your connection to Judaism before Shema Koleinu?

I think I am typical of many Jews in Southern Florida. My family and I were members at a Reform temple in the area. I sent my kids to Jewish preschool, but ultimately felt like I wasn’t getting anything from the establishment.

How did you get involved with Shema Koleinu?

I first met Cantor Debbi Ballard about 5 years ago through temple, where Debbi was also a congregant. After my mother in law passed away, I was looking for a change from the traditional synagogue environment, and through word of mouth, was introduced to Debbi. When we spoke over the phone, she was exactly the warm spiritual leader I was looking for. She had me at hello.

Can you describe your impressions of Shema Koleinu and Cantor Debbi?

Through Shema Koleinu, Debbi has truly created a congregation without walls. She brings people together whether it is though High Holy Days services, community Shabbats, the Mitzvah Makers program (a post B’Nai Mitzvah youth group for children to earn service hours), book clubs, lunch and learns, and Torah study.  My whole family is active in the Shema Koleinu community – my children became bar and bat mitzvahs with Cantor Debbi, we attend her High Holy Day Services at Miramar every year, and she is our 24/7 spiritual leader. I am honored to call Debbi a close friend.

Cantor Debbi Ballard greets a member of the Shema Koleinu community

What about High Holy Day Services?

Debbi’s High Holy Day Services at Miramar Cultural Center is unlike any other High Holidays services you’ll ever attend. My favorite moment is when Debbi first comes out singing from the back of the room. There is a certain drama and beauty to that moment, and the whole service is as captivating as a Broadway production. Debbi is so inspiring and engaging with her words and her song that even the children don’t want to get up for a bathroom break!

Cantor Debbi engages her children congregants – everyone is included and gets the opportunity to participate.

What are the top 5 reasons to attend Shema Koleinu High Holy Day Services?

  1. High Holy Day Services are a great way to turn over a new leaf and start fresh with another New Year. Everyone gets up and starts singing along and dancing. Debbi leaves you feeling inspired, and looking toward the future with hope. I can’t imagine a better way to bring in the New Year.
  2. The community breakfast afterwards is a great way to connect with the rest of the Shema Koleinu community. Everyone brings something to the table, there are plenty of bagels and fish, and Debbi’s blintz soufflé is amazing. My signature dish is a spring salad – it’s my mother in law’s recipe, a mixture of cottage cheese and fresh vegetables.
  3. Debbi is the most positive spiritual leader you’ll ever meet. She is always encouraging you to better yourself.
  4. The Shema Koleinu community is extremely open and welcoming to new people, including unaffiliated Jews, interfaith families, and the LGBT community.
  5. Debbi does a great job of blending the traditional and the new. If you’re looking for something special this year, I would highly recommend High Holy Day Services with Shema Koleinu.

Cantor Debbi Ballard and her father Rabbi Steve Spiegel stand in front of Miramar Cultural Center

To purchase High Holy Day Services tickets through the Miramar Cultural Center, please visit And be sure to follow us on Twitter, Like us on Facebook, and contact Cantor Debbi Ballard directly at with any questions you may have about this year’s High Holy Days and how you can get involved.



And the announcement is…(drum roll please) – EdJEWCation Station has arrived!

As many of you know, I have long been seeking a name for our amazing Jewish education program, that has grown in excess of 200% per year over the last 5 years.  Our curriculum has focused on 5 core areas:  Torah, Mitzvot/Ethics, Food/Culture, Prayer/Tefillah, Judaica/Holidays and Traditions.  In our program, we cook and experience the fun of being Jewish, we sing and learn through music, learn how to build a relationship with G-d, and overall – celebrate Judaism in a fun environment together.


Five  years ago, I began teaching a group of five 5th and 6th graders, in their homes, bi-weekly.   We now have reached almost 100 students, and anticipate a possible enrollment next year of 130-150!  The growth has been phenomenal, however, it has taken us out of family’s homes and clubhouses, and led us to several Dunkin Donuts locations, with (thankfully) private conference rooms. But even the blessing of private conference rooms has its drawbacks… It’s kind of hard to whip out my guitar and have 13 3rd graders belt out a whopping rendition of Jonah and the Whale!


So, given the challenge of needing a classroom that serves multiple locations in any given week (Weston, Davie, Plantation, Miramar, and Parkland)  I kept searching for a solution to a demand that required mobility.

And – that’s where edJEWcation Stationcomes in!


For our first step, we are rebranding our current Jewish education program as edJEWcation Station! But “further down the road”…


Imagine – a coach bus – that has been converted into a clean, comfortable, and above all, functional mobile classroom – with 10 workstations, a teacher station, air conditioning, generator, and satellite!  Yes, that’s right – a mobile classroom Jewish education solution to serving hundreds of students throughout South Florida, WITHOUT the need for real estate and exorbitant building funds!  Your future edJEWcation Station mobile solution will be pulling into a location near you in the coming year!

Now hang on!  There’s still lots of work to do!  And while I am in current negotiations on an already converted bus – it’s not quite ready to go yet…

So we have a name, and we will (hopefully soon), have a bus, and what we have most of is lots of ideas!  The main goal is that edJEWcation Station will continue to serve the unaffiliated Jewish population of South Florida with quality Jewish education programs, observance, and fun/engaging celebrations within our community – without the need for high membership costs.   I am hoping that this idea can not only serve the needs of my current population, but that we can also use it for adult education within our community, serving retirement villages with options for adult ed/Torah Study and more.

For this to come to fruition, I would love YOUR ideas:  How else can we use the bus? What would you like to see? How can I use this concept to serve you, my community?

Please share, ask questions, (help me write a grant or two), and join me in celebrating the naming of our project at our upcoming Shabbat Service, on February 22nd.  We will all say a Shehecheyanu together!


For more information on edJEWcation Station, contact Lauren DelGandio at 954-646-1326 or me at!

Thanks! See you on the bus!