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2017-11-03 digital edition
TODAY in the Jewish World:

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The Jewish Press of Tampa and the Jewish Press of Pinellas County are Independently- owned biweekly Jewish community newspapers published in cooperation with and supported by the Tampa JCC & Federation and the Jewish Federation of Pinellas & Pasco Counties, respectively. Copyright © 2009-2018 The Jewish Press Group of Tampa Bay, Inc., All Rights Reserved. 


November 3, 2017  RSS feed
Front Page

Text: T T T

Transplant recipient is WOD speaker

Amy Silverstein Amy Silverstein Amy Silverstein, a two-time heart transplant recipient, will tell her unforgettable story about survival, faith and the power of friendship at this year’s Bobbe Karpay Women of Distinction (WOD) event.

Though it is uncommon to undergo a heart transplant at 25 and another at age 51, everyone will recognize their own stories in her insightful, unflinching look at life, love, and extraordinary courage.

The WOD program is sponsored by the Tampa Jewish Federation Women’s Philanthropy and will be held on Thursday, Nov. 30 at 7 p.m. at Congregation Rodeph Sholom, 2713 Bayshore Blvd., Tampa.

Women of Distinction honorees – nominated by local Jewish organizations and synagogues - embody the principles of tikkun olam and elevate their group’s mission through dedicated leadership and commitment. This year, 20 women will be recognized.

More than 300 people are expected to attend the annual event.

Selected for their exceptional service to the community, the 2017 Women of Distinction are:

Deborah Barnes, TampaBay-Job-Links; Lynn Chernin, State of Israel Bonds; Denise Freedman, Congregation Kol Ami; Maxine Gourse, Brandeis National Committee; Andrea Holper, Tampa Ameet Chapter of Hadassah; Sara Ingber, Congregation Rodeph Sholom; Stacy Leeds, Tampa Jewish Federation; Alicia LeVine, Congregation Schaarai Zedek; Rachel Levy, Young Israel of Tampa; Ricki Lewis, Florida Holocaust Museum; Beth Morris, Jewish National Fund; Andi Parker, Weinberg Village Assisted Living Residences; Kristin Schmidt, Tampa JCCs; Talia Shuman, Hillels of the Florida Suncoast; Vikki Silverman, Congregation Beth Am; Sheila Slavkin, Congregation Beth Shalom; Joanne Sudman, TOP Jewish Foundation; Bonnie Wise, Tampa Jewish Family Services; Jan Wuliger, Hillel Academy of Tampa and Sandra Zians, Beth Israel of Sun City Center.

The guest speaker, Amy Silverstein, was a vibrant, energetic 24-year-old student when she learned she had a failing heart. After undergoing heart transplant surgery at age 25, she experienced an extraordinary kind of “medical miracle.” Silverstein’s new heart beat strong for nearly three decades, despite a 10-year prognosis.

Silverstein wrote about that experience in the 2007 memoir, Sick Girl, which was a recipient of the “Books for a Better Life” award and a finalist for the “Borders Original Voices” award Elle Magazine reported that “the crowning miracle is that she wrote this feisty, insightful, improbable book at all. Silverstein has cheated death to thrive in her post-transplant existence and to write about it with incredible courage, determination, self-scrutiny, and verve.”

That was not the end of the story though. In 2014 doctors informed her that her transplanted heart was worn out and her best shot at survival depended on moving across the country from New York to California to wait for a donor match. Silverstein’s friends dropped everything and followed her, in a constant rotation, to sit by her bedside until a new heart became available.

Silverstein tells her life-altering experience and the powerful influence of friendship in life’s most difficult times in her 2017 memoir, My Glory Was I Had Such Friends. Director and producer J.J. Abrams recently optioned the book for a limited television series.

Silverstein is a graduate of NYU School of Law and practiced corporate law prior to beginning her writing career. She has served several years on the board of the United Network of Organ Sharing (UNOS), a federally contracted transplant network and is an active speaker on women’s health issues and patient advocacy. She has written articles for articles for SELF, Prevention, and Glamour magazines.

Prior to Nov. 27, the cost to attend is $25 or $36 for patrons. Patrons will receive special recognition and priority seating at the event. After that date, general seating tickets will be available for $36 at the door.

To RSVP or for more information, visit or contact Michelle Gallagher at or (813) 739-1687.

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