IN THE NEWS: Seniors go to the prom

Shani McManus


May 14, 2013

Eighty-year-old Janet Simon never got to go to her senior prom at Walton High School back in the Bronx.

But the Boca Raton native got a second chance last week when she attended the "Diamonds Are Forever" senior prom," hosted by the Ruth Rales Jewish Family Service's Shirley & Barton Weisman Delray Community Center.

Dressed to the "nines" in gowns and suits, with each lady wearing a prom corsage and the men, a boutonnieres, more than two hundred seniors ages 75-plus showed up for the event, many of whom hit the floor to dance to the "oldies," and do the Macarena, backed by the Danny Beck six-piece band. So many people attended, in fact, the prom had to be moved next door to the ballroom at Temple Anshei Shalom to accommodate everybody. In addition, each guest received a keepsake photo in a silver frame inscribed for the event.

"I just don't have words to describe it," said Simon, who dropped out of high school in 10th grade to go to business school. "It was positively beautiful. It was so much like a real prom that it felt like everybody was going to get their graduation certificate."

The prom was the season's capstone event for the Feldman Family Diamond Club which meets every Monday at the Weisman Center where members enjoy current events discussions and educational programs, community service projects, entertainers, special events, day trips and guest speakers — along with bagels, coffee and companionship.

"When the Feldman Family Diamond Club meets on Monday morning, it may be the only chance some of our members have to socialize all week," Lynn Ouslander, the group's JFS facilitator said.

"The Senior Prom was an excellent way to celebrate life. Everyone dressed beautifully, laughed and had a wonderful time," she said. "I couldn't keep up with them on the dance floor. All are asking for a repeat next year."

Seven men were on hand specifically to twirl the ladies around. JFS Board Chair Jon Kimmel, Board Members Ivan Gefen and Jeff Lamm, and volunteers Herb Fogel and Herman Molina also did the honors on the dance floor.

"I, along with several other gentlemen, was asked to attend as a dance partner because of the overwhelming number of single ladies coming to the Senior Prom, Jon Kimmel said. "While dancing and talking with all these wonderful ladies, it reaffirmed what a positive impact the Weisman Delray Community Center and the Feldman Family Diamond Club has had on so many lives. Prior to the opening of the Weisman Center and the expansion of the Diamond Club, many had nowhere to go and socialize with other people.

Diane Feldman, whose family funds the Diamond Club, and for who the club is named, also attended the prom.

"What a joy to behold all those fabulous seniors dancing and partying, bringing true meaning to the term 'senior prom,'" Feldman said. "Beautiful women and handsome men enjoying life to the fullest. The Feldman Family was proud to be a part of this amazing event."

Seniors Marty Schiller and Annie Weisner, who are dating, attended together.

"I wore a fancy gown and everybody had a wonderful time," Weisner said.

"When people our age get together for an event like this, you forget everything," Schiller said. "The only thing missing was the booze."

Delray Beach resident Bernice Foster, age 82, called the prom "fantastic."

"It did my heart good to see everybody have such a good time," she said. "The band was just great and the men looked so handsome. We should have something like this every month."

For information about joining the Diamond Club, contact Lynn Ouslander at 561-558-2156.

Ruth Rales Jewish Family Service (JFS) offers help, hope and humanity through a comprehensive range of programs and services which support people of all ages and beliefs. With locations in Boca Raton and Delray Beach, JFS programs and services include food and financial assistance, senior services, counseling and mental health services and many volunteer opportunities. Funding is provided by private and corporate support, grants, special events and individuals who reach thousands in need each year. For more information, contact 561-852-3333 or visit

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