RECOGNIZING THE STERN FAMILY
Jerome “Jerry” Stern was born and raised in the Bronx NY. He went to the University of Miami for his undergraduate degree and then pursued his law degree at UM as well. He moved to Florida in 1951, met his first wife, settled in NMB and joined the Jewish Center of Monticello Park in 1959 with children, Brett, Erin and Loren in Nursery School followed by Religious School in the early years of Beth Torah Congregation.
Jerry joined the firm of Arthur Snyder and Burton Young in the early 60’s and it became a landmark law firm in South Florida, which left its impact on the community and Beth Torah for generations to follow. All three partners were committed to Beth Torah, Rabbi Lipschitz and the growth of our community. During the next decades, two ex-wives and four more children, Jerry Stern, now a successful attorney embarked on a business trip to Bogota, Colombia, in 1975 which was to change his life forever.
Connie Gold an Interior Decorator, was coordinating PR events in Bogota for the development firm that Jerry had come to do legal work. It was “Absolutely love at first sight”! The rest is history. Connie & Jerry were married in 1977. They were in love then and always until Jerry passed away 41 years later on November 28, 2017. Connie accepted all of Jerry’s five children as her own and they had two children together, Brian and Jonathan, who grew up at Beth Torah with Rabbi Max and Rabbi Farber, through Religious School and Bar Mitzvah. Brian had a brain injury early in life, viral encephalitis and then suffered again from an auto accident. He became “a walking miracle” and with Rabbi Max’s and family guidance and encouragement received a Special Needs Diploma.
Jonathan attended Miami Country Day School, and graduated from Dr. Michael Krop Senior High. He went on to University of Central Florida and received his law degree from St. Thomas University. Jonathan and Dana were married in 2010 and have two children, Chloe (9) and Isla (6) who were part of Suzy Fischer ECA Academy and now the Scheck Family Religious School. Jonathan and Dana support Jewish Education and Beth Torah and are proud and happy to continue the family legacy.
Like previously indicated, Connie & Jerry kept alive the family connection with Jerry’s five children and their families: Brett (Terry) Stern Erin (David) Shelnutt; Loren (Richard) Vandegrift; Mara (Joel) Bloom and Alaina (Adam) Jacobs and grandchildren Brandon (Valerie), Matthew (Krista) Nicholas (Morgan) Nathaniel, Aliya, Nicole, Noah, Chloe and Isla, for a total of 9…and 3 great grandchildren born to Brandon and Valerie …Katerina, Avaline and Zandar.
For many years Connie and Jerry were hands-on involved and contributors to various charities and organizations, including diabetes, cancer and Alzheimer’s. Later on becoming seekers of spiritual knowledge, taking Kabbalah to further their Judaism understanding. Connie and Jerry turned their passion for traveling into serendipitous spiritual journeys throughout the US and abroad. For many years they were co-producers of numerous community spiritual events.
It was 62 years ago that Jerry Stern came to our community and began raising his family at Beth Torah. Connie continued this commitment and now Jonathan and Dana are following the family tradition. As part of the 80th Anniversary Celebration, we recognize the Stern Family and hope that the next generation will follow in their Grandparents footsteps.
Each week one of our generational families will be recognized by our congregation blessed
by the rabbis at both the “virtual” Friday evening and Shabbat morning services.
Over 50 families have been identified with 50 + years of membership at Beth Torah and another
25 families as their children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren who are currently members of Beth Torah Benny Rok Campus.