ARTS-Tasting 2015-3097

Photo by Jessica Wronker Photography

By Marcia Caller Jaffe | mjaffe@atljewishtimes.com

Thursday night, May 14, trumpeted The Tasting, the annual display of food and wine and a silent auction to benefit Jewish Family & Career Services’ Zimmerman-Horowitz Independent Living Program.

Why was this night different from all other nights? According to Brenda Fiske, the chief marketing officer of JFCS: “This year’s Tasting was record-breaking in that we had 22 participating gourmet suppliers, 40 percent of whom were new this year. The event was a raging success, with 600 tickets sold and the largest silent auction proceeds in our history. We also salute the vendors, who showed appreciation by giving back to the community.”

Attending with Zoe Zelby, Dr. David Zelby is newly independent of day-to-day responsibilities at the Ben Massell Dental Clinic. - Photo by Marcia Caller Jaffe

Attending with Zoe Zelby, Dr. David Zelby is newly independent of day-to-day responsibilities at the Ben Massell Dental Clinic. – Photo by Marcia Caller Jaffe

In other words, everything was donated.

This was the first time in 15 years that the event was held in a venue other than the Grand Hyatt. The new Mason Fine Art location was off the beaten path, even for many GPS devices, and our Priuses and Porsches were scouring Ottley Drive, where the gallery used to be.

It was a small thing to forgive after arriving to see 20 handsome, charcoal-clad valets lined up to hustle cars.

More important, the event, chaired by Mindi Sard and Lani Preis, drew a “hip, younger crowd” alongside the more traditional diners to further value what the program represents.

“Our son runs a developmentally challenged program, and we believe in what they do — help people who may be not able to totally take care of themselves,” Dr. Charles Rosenberg said.

Angie Weiland said: “We have a child who is severely impaired and will one day need help in a program like this. And remember, this serves the entire community.”

Dr. David Zelby, who recently stepped down as chief of staff at the JF&CS Ben Massell Dental Clinic after 15 years, said: “This is among our community’s best resources for following the Jewish tradition of tikkun olam.”

Alan Lubel said, “This is a tremendous service umbrella that gives others the opportunity to experience the life we all want for ourselves.”

Pearlann and Jerry Horowitz’s 1999 endowment of $500,000 (the largest gift at that time in the history of JF&CS) kick-started the program. “This is totally nonsectarian,” she said. “It encourages independence according to the specific need for adults to be able to function even without family present.”

And who could resist seared tuna on field peas and Red Bliss potatoes stuffed with caviar, followed by pistachio gelato chased by champagne?

Photos – The Tasting