By Pat Launer
Phyllis Mintz Eisenberg, one of the desert’s favorite divas, knows how to throw a party. This year she sent invitations to 200 of her favorite friends inviting them to an old-fashioned ice cream social. She said this is her favorite party theme and has been host to such parties for 15 years.
“The ice cream social is now my signature, because it is truly a going away party for the ‘snowbirds,’ of which I am one,” she said. “I didn’t know a soul when I moved here in 1988 after a career as a financial advisor in Chicago. Like many fleeing the freezing Midwest, I resided in the desert from December through May. My parties began with a small group of 15 and grew to what you see here today, at least 200 friends, old and new!”
For the second time, Mintz Eisenberg planned the party around local charities, asking guests to make contributions of donated items on their way into Beach House Frozen Yogurt, where the party was held. NU4U Thrift Shop, operated by Chabad of Rancho Mirage; Jackie Lee Stroke Center Thrift Shop, which benefits the Stroke Recovery Center in Palm Springs; and Angel View, which operates nine thrift shops in the area to benefit Angel View Crippled Children’s Foundation, were all beneficiaries of guests’ good will.
On April 24th, friends of Mintz Eisenberg arrived at the new frozen yogurt shop in Palm Desert’s Desert Crossing. Guests began arriving (and donating used goods) at 11:30 a.m., and as the day went on, generous donations mounted. Guests were greeted with a big smile, checked off the list and given a silver ice cream scoop.
Once inside Beach House Frozen Yogurt, it was a who’s who of desert resident mingling with snowbirds — many from Chicago, where Phyllis and Marvin Eisenberg live during the summer. Who needed nametags when Mintz Eisenberg provided each guest with “The 2011 Honored Guest List?” This is another Phyllis ‘original.’ Each guest’s name was followed by a little-known fact about them. For example, “Joannie Goldberg from Chicago, who has seven great grandchildren all living in Israel” and “Ralph Tash, who donated the Agam windows at Temple Isaiah.”
During the afternoon, many of the desert’s leading philanthropists created and dug into some of the most delicious frozen yogurt sundaes imaginable. Seen at the impressive fro yo dispenser was Lori Sarner, founder of the Pegasus Riding Academy for Handicapped Children; Denny Seidenfeld, also known as the “ singing philanthropist” and a sponsor of the McCallum Theatre’s Open Call event; Bob Silberstein and Paris Snider, who live in the desert year round; Mark Feinberg, producer of the film “Play the Game,” which explores senior dating, and his four toddlers, each 18 months apart; Peter Solomon, the desert’s well known philanthropist and real estate developer; Mel Haber, owner of Melvyn’s Restaurant in Palm Springs and president of Angel View, a charity devoted to crippled children; Stuart and Ellie Weiner, former publishers of Highway 111, an extraordinary magazine that covered desert philanthropy; and Sam Oberman and Judy Wallis, past presidents of
Jewish Family Service.
The back room held even more surprises. A table was decked out with the exclusive Eisenberg hot dogs made in, you guessed it, Chicago! Mintz Eisenberg mentioned that her latest handbag, a Timmy Woods original, is a “bigger than life hot dog studded in crystals.” Woods was also on the guest list and got a kick out of how the party’s host views her countless friends when Mintz Eisenberg said, “Girlfriends are like handbags: just one will never do!”