Interfaith Community Dinner 2023 

Community Conversations: Fighting Hate Together

Thursday May 18      |  6:30 – 9 pm   |   UNF Adam W. Herbert University Center

Community Conversations: Fighting Hate Together

This year we gathered to recognize our awardees, enjoyed a 3 course meal, and were led by our keynote presentation into community table conversations. The Interfaith Center of Northeast Florida was excited to have Tehilah Eisenstadt Feil as our  keynote speaker for our 2023 Interfaith Dinner. 

For over a decade Tehilah Eisenstadt has directed educational schools and programs in Reform, Reconstructionist, Conservative, Renewal, Open Orthodox Montessori and JCCs. She mentored new directors and teachers throughout the Jewish world and “Cordoba House,” a Muslim school in NYC. Tehilah received her MA’s in Jewish Education, and in Midrash/Biblical Exegesis from the Jewish Theological Seminary in NYC. She writes for various publications and is brought in to speak to churches, mosques, synagogues, and educational conferences on a variety of topics. Tehilah, works with international multi-faith activists, is a Mandel Institute Educational Leadership Fellow, and rabbinical student at the pluralistic Academy for Jewish Religion.

Tehilah’s keynote and presentation guided our community table conversations.

2023 Interfaith Awards recognized unsung local heroes in our community:



Community Emerging Leadership Education Award  – This award recognizes an emerging member of the northeast Florida community who has demonstrated leadership in interfaith understanding or activism.

2023 Award winner: Alejandra Amegin, Owner and Founder, Jax Natural Healing and Vive Yoga Studio. 

Alejandra’s story is one of resilience and healing, as a Mexican immigrant and successful entrepreneur here in northeast Florida. She is co-founder and owner of Jax Natural Healing and Vive Yoga, the first woman of color to open a yoga studio in northeast Florida. She focuses her time on healing and wellness and has worked very hard to make her business accessible to all. She is a certified yoga instructor who is known for supporting women, BIPOC, and LGBTQ communities. She also collaborates with other organizations, such as Girls Inc., to support young people in schools in our area. She connects people with diverse spiritual wellness and healing practices.  She is the founder of Vive Wellness Fest, hosted the last five years in James Weldon Johnson Park in Downtown Jacksonville.


Community Education Award  – This award recognizes those who have made a large contribution to our local community through involvement in community service, organized projects, and /or promoted diversity while still striving for excellence.

2023 Award winner: Hazzan Jesse Holzer, Cantor, Jacksonville Jewish Center

A native of Worcester, Massachusetts, Hazzan Holzer serves as the cantor for the Jacksonville Jewish Center congregation since 2008.  He received his BA from New York University and completed a Masters Degree in Sacred Music and ordination as a Hazzan from the H.L. Miller Cantorial Institute of the Jewish Theological Seminary in 2008. This Spring, Hazzan Holzer was elected to the Executive Board of the Cantors Assembly, the largest professional organization of cantors in the world. Locally, Hazzan Holzer currently serves as Vice President of ICARE, the Interfaith Coalition for Action, Reconciliation & Empowerment, playing a key role on their Mental Health Steering Committee. Hazzan has enjoyed participating in a number of social justice and interfaith initiatives in Jacksonville, from hosting community suppers for OneJax to singing at soil burial ceremony created by 904ward to advocating for the expansion of our local Human Rights Ordinance. He is an avid sports enthusiast, enjoys travel and playing piano, and is a devoted collector of Jewish music and rare prayer books.  Hazzan Holzer is happily married to Leora and has three adorable children, Rena, Dafna, and Eitan.

Go To Hazzan Holzer’s Blog


Mutual Curiosity Award  – This award recognizes and celebrates an exemplary effort to build mutual curiosity in northeast Florida around matter of interfaith concern.

2023 Award winner: Connie Smith, Founder, Daughters of Abraham Book Club

Connie retired from Wells Fargo in 2021 after 26 years.  Throughout her career, her work was community-focused – responsible for volunteerism and corporate philanthropy.  Several years ago, she ventured out to create a space to bridge the gap between her Christian faith and women of other interfaith communities. From this desire stemmed Jacksonville’s branch of the Daughters of Abraham – a local interfaith book club that brings together women of the three Abrahamic faiths: Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Each month, they read a book that deals with each of their religions and come together to discuss with a group of women who have since become friends.  The space is not only a great opportunity to learn about other religions, but Connie and her welcoming spirit have really put together a unique community of friends. In 2022, she helped launch a new Daughters Chapter in World Golf Village. Connie is mother to Graham and Stuart, “Grams to her grandson Dare, wife to David, sister, friend, and citizen of Jacksonville for more than 30 years.  A lifelong Presbyterian, she is involved in worship and civic programs at South Jacksonville Presbyterian Church.