As we wrap up our solemn observance of Yom HaZikaron, Israeli Memorial Day, I want to share with you this beautiful poem, The Silver Platter, by Nathan Alterman, featured in yesterday's issue of eJewishPhilanthropy. As American Jews, we should not underestimate the significance of Yom HaZikaron for our Israeli brothers and sisters, many of whom have lost family members in the fight to establish and protect our Jewish homeland. 

That sacrifice makes Yom Ha'Atzmaut - Israel Independence Day - even sweeter. This week will bring many opportunities to celebrate our connection to Israel, particularly through the Greater Hartford Community Israel Festival presented by our friends at the Mandell JCC. We've collected a selection of the festivities below. I hope you will join us for these and many other exciting activities throughout the month of May.

We welcome your submissions and feedback on JLink. To contribute your news or share your thoughts, please contact our editor, Susannah MacNeil, at for guidelines.

President and CEO
Jewish Federation of Greater Hartford
May 3: Voices of Hope Presents "An Evening of Hope" 

Voices of Hope will hold its annual gala, An Evening of Hope, on Wednesday, May 3 at The Emanuel Synagogue, 160 Mohegan Drive, West Hartford. Holocaust historian Deborah Dwork, Ph.D., will speak on "For You, Too, Were Strangers in a Strange Land: Refugees Then and Now." The program begins at 6:00 p.m. with cocktails and music; dinner is at 7:00 p.m.; and the program follows at 8:00 p.m. Click here to register.
Now through May 21: Beth Sholom B'nai Israel Offers Amazing Raffle Prizes 

Through the generosity of its members, Beth Sholom B'nai Israel in Manchester is offering two great raffle prizes to the community:  a 7-day, 6-night stay at a beach home in Niantic valued at $2,500, and a 3-hour sail around Fishers Island Sound, departing from Mystic, valued at $400. Raffle tickets are $75 each and are on sale now until the drawing on May 21 at noon. Ticket holders need not be present to win, and anyone is welcome to participate. For more information, click here or call the synagogue office at 860.643.9563.
Be Part of the "Faces of Federation" Campaign!

Jewish Federation is united by our core values: leaving the world better than we found it, helping those less fortunate, learning from the wisdom of our tradition and treating each other with dignity. We're celebrating those values with a new "Faces of Federation" campaign - and you are invited to participate! Just review these important guidelines, then submit your photo and a brief quote (75 words or less) about why you support Federation to Susannah MacNeil at The campaign will run through June 30 and will be featured online and at the Federation's Annual Meeting on June 13.
Throughout May: Jewish Community Foundation Supports Jewish History Documentaries on CPTV 

In observance of Jewish American Heritage Month, Jewish Community Foundation is proud to support a series of Jewish history documentaries airing on CPTV.  They range from 60 to 90 minutes in duration and include new PBS documentaries as well as recent award-winning works by independent filmmakers from the United States and Israel. Click here for a full list and be sure to tune in!.
Wednesdays in May: Hebrew Health Care's Join the Discussion Explores the JMAP Community Study 

This month, Hebrew HealthCare's cable access show, Join the Discussion, will feature Kathryn Gonnerman, Director of the Center for Innovative Philanthropy at the Jewish Community Foundation.  Kathryn will discuss the purpose of the JMAP Community Study and share some of the fascinating insights gathered from the 1.2 million+ pieces of data collected by the study.  JMAP is co-sponsored by the Jewish Federation of Greater Hartford and the Jewish Community Foundation.  Tune in to Join the Discussion on Wednesday evenings at 7:30 p.m. throughout the month of May, click here, or go to and search for "Join the Discussion."
Federation 2017 Annual Campaign Update 

There are just two months left in the 2017 campaign year! We have raised $3,076,250 so far toward our $4,360,000 goal. Your campaign contribution helps to support programs at more than 20 partner agencies here in Greater Hartford, in Israel, and around the world as well as Federation's unique leadership, education, Israel advocacy and social justice programs. A generous donor has also offered a $100,000 match on any increased or new gifts - which means your gift goes farther! You can give online or contact Elizabeth Appelman, Vice President of Development, at 860.727.6123 or
Greater Hartford Celebrates Israel!

Yom Hazikaron (April 30 - May 1) and Yom Ha'Atzmaut (May 1 - 2) remember the sacrifices of Israeli soldiers defending our Jewish homeland and celebrate the country's official establishment  in 1948. We mark these days with solemnity and rejoicing - and in Greater Hartford, we enjoy an entire week of activities as part of the Greater Hartford Community Israel Festival, presented by the Mandell JCC from April 28 to May 7. Below just a few examples to choose from; click here for a complete list of Israel Festival activities.

May 1: 
The Green Prince Film Screening at University of Hartford

Join the Maurice Greenberg Center for Judaic Studies and University of Hartford Hillel for a screening of The Green Prince at 7:30 p.m. in the Wilde Auditorium of the Harry Jack Gray Center at University of Hartford, 200 Bloomfield Avenue, West Hartford. The film is about the son of the leader of Hamas and how he became an Israeli spy; it is followed by a conversation with Michal Abramoff, Mandell JCC Shlicha and Director of Israel Programs. The screening is free and open to the community, and walk-ins are welcome. Part of the Israel Festival. The Greenberg Center also invites you to attend its Annual Awards Evening on May 8 at 6:30 p.m., also in the Wilde Auditorium. The Greenberg Center Awards, Holocaust Educator Awards, Fishman Family Fund Awards in American Jewish Life and Culture, and Muriel Hoff American Jewish Poetry Award will be presented. To learn more or to register, please contact Susan Gottlieb at 860.768.5018 or

May 2: 
Israel Independence Day at the State Capitol

You're invited to celebrate Israel Independence Day at the Connecticut State House with Jewish Federation Association of Connecticut (JFACT), Jewish Federation of Greater Hartford and UJA Greenwich on Tuesday, May 2 from 10:30 a.m. to noon. The program will take place in Old Appropriations Room 310 at the State Capitol, 210 Capitol Avenue, Hartford. Governor Dannel Malloy, Lieutenant Governor Nancy Wyman and Consul General of Israel to New England Yehuda Yaakov will speak, and the Israeli flag will fly over the State Capitol. Light snacks will be served. Kindly RSVP to or 860.727.5701.

May 4:
Israel Trivia Night at Hog River Brewing

Young adults ages 21 to 35 are invited to join YAD and the Hartford Birthright Alumni Network for Israel Trivia Night at Hog River Brewing on Thursday, May 4 from 5 to 8 p.m. Hog River Brewing is located at 1429 Park Street in Hartford. Whether you're an Israel trivia maven or you don't know Tiberias from Tel Aviv, you'll have a great time and learn something new! There's no cover charge and the first drink is on us. Click here to register. Part of the Israel Festival.

May 5: 
Celebrate Israel's Birthday with PJ Library

PJ Library is celebrating Israel's birthday on Friday, May 5 at 11:00 a.m. at the Mandell JCC. Young children and their parents or caregivers are invited to join PJ Bear for a drop-in playtime and Israel-themed stories, plus songs, Shabbat blessings and challah! Free and open to the community - please bring a friend!  Look for PJ Library at the Yom Ha'Atzmaut Community Celebration too. The Mandell JCC is located at 335 Bloomfield Avenue in West Hartford. Both events are part of the Israel Festival.

May 7:
 Nava Tehila Concert at Congregation Beth Israel

Musicians from the innovative Israeli prayer community Nava Tehila (Hebrew for "beautiful praise") will perform a free concert on Sunday, May 7 at Congregation Beth Israel, 701 Farmington Avenue, West Hartford, to celebrate Yom Ha'Atzmaut, Israeli Independence Day. The band is a regular guest at Jerusalem's popular Shabbat services at Tachanat HaRishonah (the First Station). A lunch of Israeli food will precede the concert at 11:30 a.m.; the concert begins at 12:30 p.m. Congregation Beth Israel's adult and youth choirs will also perform. Tickets are $5 for kids under 12 and $10 for adults, up to a maximum of $25 per family. Advance registration is required; click here to register. Part of the Israel Festival. 

May 7:  Yom Ha'Atzmaut Community Celebration

Celebrate Israel's Independence Day with a free, community-wide celebration on Sunday, May 7 from 3:00 to 6:00 p.m. at the Mandell JCC, 335 Bloomfield Avenue, West Hartford. It will feature Israeli games, music and crafts; food will be available for purchase. And bring your bike for a special "Ride Around Israel!" For more information, contact Michal Abramoff at 860.231.6333 or  Presented by the Mandell JCC as part of the Israel Festival. 

Bess and Paul Sigel Hebrew Academy Offers Active Science Learning

Bess and Paul Sigel Hebrew Academy of Greater Hartford is engaged in hands-on science learning! Dr. Zev Davidovics recently gave third and fourth graders "the scoop on poop" as they studied the digestive system. He discussed his job and some interesting research he's doing. It was a fantastic learning experience for everyone; after all, in our prayers we thank Hashem every day for creating humans with "many openings and many hollows... And if one of them were ruptured, or if one of them were blocked, it would be impossible to exist and stand!" A big thanks to Dr. Davidovics for visiting. Meanwhile, seventh graders kicked off their anatomy unit with a dissection lab. Our outstanding teacher Jack King guided the students as they explored the body systems of a fetal pig.
May 6: "It's Complicated: Our Journey with Interfaith Partners for Peace"

Rabbi Debra Cantor of B'nai Tikvoh-Sholom and Reverend Steve Camp, Senior Pastor of Faith Congregational Church in Hartford, will lead a Lunch & Learn on Saturday, May 6 about their experiences as part of Interfaith Partners for Peace, a group of clergy who visited Israel together last fall. The program will take place at B'nai Tikvoh-Sholom at 180 Still Road in Bloomfield. Shabbat services begin at 9:30 a.m., and the Lunch 'n' Learn follows at 11:30 a.m. Free and open to the public - but please RSVP by May 2 for lunch to or 860.243.3576.
Nearly 200 Community Members Learn about Battling Terrorism in Court

On April 26, Nitsana Darshan-Leitner, President of Shurat HaDin (Israel Law Center), visited Greater Hartford for three Federation programs about battling terrorism through the court system. She spoke at a Lunch and Learn at UConn Law School, attended a private reception with members of the Federation's Solomon Society, and gave a public presentation in the evening at B'nai Tikvoh-Sholom. In total, nearly 200 community members attended the programs. The public programs were presented by Federation's Jewish Community Relations Council and Jewish Professionals Network; all three programs were sponsored by Hinckley Allen.
May 11: "Embracing Possibility for Mental Health Awareness" with NBC Today Host Jenna Bush Hager 

To mark Mental Health Awareness Month, Jewish Family Services and Tara's Closet will host a compassionate, community-wide conversation led by an outstanding panel of national experts and local community members who have been impacted by mental illness. "Embracing Possibility for Mental Health Awareness: A Conversation about Compassion & Education" with special guests Jenna Bush Hager; Evan Fox, MD; Karin Stahl; and Risa Sugarman will be held on May 11 at 7:00 p.m. in the Roberts Theater at Kingswood Oxford School, 170 Kingswood Road, West Hartford. Join us for an unforgettable evening to start the conversation and stop the stigma. Seating is limited and advance reservations are recommended. Order today!
Religious School Teachers Needed! 

Many of Greater Hartford's religious schools are already looking for teachers for the 2017-2018 school year. If you - or anyone you know - may be interested, please contact Carrie Berman at the Federation's Commission on Jewish Education and Leadership (CJEL) at
Mondays Beginning May 15: Course on the Six-Day War at Chabad House of Greater Hartford 

One fateful week in June 1967 redrew the map of the Middle East. Fifty years later, Israel continues to face numerous existential threats. Experience an inspiring and thrilling account of the Six-Day War as you've never experienced it before. In six sessions, we'll confront the impossible yet important questions of our times with affectionate and fervent patriotism, while also remaining realistic and morally anchored. The course will be held over six Mondays, starting May 15 at 7:30 p.m., at Chabad House, 2352 Albany Avenue, West Hartford. Click here to learn more or to register.
May 18: "Living with Intention" Women's Program Focuses on Optimism in Difficult Times 

Lisa Friedman Clark likes to call herself the "luckiest unlucky" person she knows. Everything in her life has been big - both physically and experientially. At 6'1" with bright red hair, she clearly stands out in a crowd. Yet it is her life story of "dancing between the raindrops" that is Lisa's most memorable attribute. She will share her story of embracing optimism in difficult times on Thursday, May 18, at Living with Intention, presented by the Women's Philanthropy Division of Jewish Federation of Greater Hartford. The program will take place at Beth El Temple at 2626 Albany Avenue in West Hartford, beginning at 7:00 p.m. with dessert and coffee; Lisa's remarks follow at 7:30 p.m. The couvert is $15; click here to register online.
May 21: "Securing Your Online Footprint" with Jewish Genealogical Society of Connecticut 

The Jewish Genealogical Society of Connecticut (JGSCT) will meet at its home, Temple Sinai, 41 West Hartford Road, Newington, on Sunday, May 21 from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. The program will begin with a brief biennial meeting for members, including a "State of the JGS" report and elections. After the meeting, Doris Loeb Nabel, JGSCT President, will give a free, public presentation on securing your online footprint by limiting what others can discover about you and controlling your tracking, browser preferences, cookies, passwords, social media, mobile phones, and more. (To get the most from this presentation, Doris suggests doing a quick Internet search on your name beforehand by entering it into the search bar of your browser.) The JGSCT library is also housed at Temple Sinai; members may borrow selected items.
May 21: Last Chance! "Back to the Old Neighborhoods" Bus Tours with Jewish Historical Society

This is your last chance to take the Jewish Hartford bus tour - no more tours will be offered! "Back to the Old Neighborhoods" is a three-hour, professionally guided tour of the sites of synagogues, community centers, schools and businesses where Hartford's Jewish community once thrived. You'll learn about the first Jews to arrive in Hartford in the 1600s and the challenges that they and future generations faced. The tour also includes visits to the first synagogue in Connecticut, Congregation Beth Israel, and the landmark sites of the former Agudas Achim Synagogue and The Emanuel Synagogue. Two tours will be offered on Sunday, May 21: 9:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. The cost is $20 for Jewish Historical Society members, $24.00 for non-members, and free for students. Please call 860.727.6170 for more information. To register, click here.
May 22: UConn Center for Judaic Studies Brings Its "Road Show" Lecture Series to Bridgeport 

As part of UConn Center for Judaic Studies' Road Show lecture series, Stuart Miller, Ph.D., Academic Director of the Center, will present "Separating Out the Facts: The Origins of Christianity and the History of Judaism" on Monday, May 22 from 7:00 to 8:30 p.m. at Congregation Rodeph Sholom, 2385 Park Avenue, Bridgeport. The talk will provide an in-depth exploration of the beginnings of Christianity and its roots in Judaism, as well as the reasons for the eventual "parting of the ways." To learn more about the May 22 presentation, click here. For more on the Road Show series, click here.
May 23: Schechter Honors Local Innovators at Ner Tamid Gala

In keeping with its renewed commitment to experience and innovation, the Solomon Schechter Day School of Greater Hartford is pleased to announce Lee Ann and Dr. Claudio Benadiva as the honorees for its 2017 Ner Tamid Gala. The Gala will also feature a special presentation of Schechter's Community Service Awards to Michael Johnston, President and CEO of the Jewish Community Foundation of Greater Hartford, and Howard Sovronsky, President and CEO of the Jewish Federation of Greater Hartford. The Ner Tamid Gala will take place on Tuesday, May 23 at Beth El Temple, 2626 Albany Ave, West Hartford. The awards ceremony will begin at 7:00 p.m., followed by a performance by Ophira Eisenberg, comedian and host of NPR and WNYC's Ask Me Another. Tickets and sponsorships are available; please call 860.561.0700.
Make a Friend and Do a Mitzvah with the Caring Community Senior Shopping Program

The Caring Community Senior Shopping Program is seeking pairs of volunteers to assist older Jewish adults with grocery shopping and create a Jewish cultural connection. Recently launched by the Federation's Jewish Community Relations Council, the program pairs two volunteers with a Jewish senior for weekly or biweekly visits in perpetuity. In addition to developing a social relationship, volunteers shop for groceries using a provided shopping list and store gift cards that are paid for by the client. A background check and a brief training session are required; anyone over age 12 is eligible to volunteer (children must be accompanied by an adult). To learn more, please contact Jo Schubert at 860.727.6139 or
May 24: Mandell JCC to Hold Annual Meeting

The Mandell Jewish Community Center's 102nd Annual Meeting will take place Wednesday, May 24, at 7:00 p.m. in the JCC's Innovation Center at 335 Bloomfield Avenue, West Hartford. Hosted by Annual Meeting Chair and outgoing Teen Board Representative Annie Tilden, the program will honor outgoing Mandell JCC Board President Richard B. Fechtor and welcome new President Gayle W. Temkin. We will also celebrate employee anniversaries, including 30 years of service by Ron Dionne and Lia Wald. A dessert reception will follow. Kindly RSVP to Donna Goldstein at 860.231.6315 or
May 25: The Emanuel Synagogue Honors Gloria Bein with Chaya Olam/Woman of Valor Award

Gloria Bein has been named the 2017 recipient of the Chaya Olam/Woman of Valor Award by The Emanuel Synagogue Sisterhood. She will receive the award at the Sisterhood Torah Fund Dinner on Thursday, May 25 at 6:30 p.m. at the synagogue, 160 Mohegan Drive, West Hartford. The award honors outstanding Sisterhood women who have shown a commitment to ongoing study and a Conservative Jewish lifestyle. Service to the synagogue, Sisterhood and community and attendance at synagogue are also criteria for the award. For tickets and information about the 2017 pin/pendant, contact Faith Helene at 860.232.9950 or In other news, The Emanuel Synagogue's Green Team is partnering with Hazon to receive the Hazon Seal of Sustainability! Green Team members will audit the synagogue's sustainability practices and receive training to implement three projects by the end of 2017. To learn more, contact
May 25: Join the Mitzvah Mamas for Rosh Chodesh Sivan!

The Mitzvah Mamas are hosting their Rosh Chodesh Sivan gathering to welcome the new month of Sivan on Thursday, May 25 from 7:00 to 8:00 p.m. Women ages 13 and up are invited and welcome to be part of our hour-long friendship circle. This month, our shomeret and hostess is Nancy Asnas; the gathering will take place in her West Hartford home.  For details about this gathering, please join the Mitzvah Mamas Facebook group. To learn more about Mitzvah Mamas' monthly Rosh Chodesh gatherings or the free trip to Israel for moms, please contact Mindy Glickman at or 917.698.7952. Chodesh tov - a good month!
June 4: FVJC Sisterhood Holds Mah Jongg Tournament

Calling all mah jongg mavens! The Farmington Valley Jewish Congregation - Emek Shalom Sisterhood will hold a Mah Jongg Tournament on Sunday, June 4, from 8:45 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the synagogue, which is located at 55 Bushy Hill Road in Simsbury. The tournament includes six rounds, coffee, a catered kosher-style lunch and a cash raffle. The cost is $36 per person; you can bring your own set (no vintage sets please). Registration closes on May 30 or at 80 players, whichever comes first. Click here for a downloadable registration form. Please contact Terry Cole with any questions at 860.558.2587.
Jessie's Community Gardens Recognized by Jewish Family Services

Jewish Family Services recently recognized Jessie's Community Gardens, a Federation program, for helping to provide fresh produce to clients in need. The first Jessie's Garden was established in memory of Jessica Kostin by her family in 2010; today, several gardens yield hundreds of pounds of nutritious food each year while bringing together volunteers from many faith communities. To learn more about Jessie's Gardens and how you can get involved, please contact Jo Schubert at 860.727.6139 or
June 7: Hebrew High School of New England's Annual Unity 5K Color Run

Join Hebrew High School of New England for the Third Annual 5K Unity Color Run on June 7! The event begins with 5:30 p.m. registration on the HHNE campus at 300 Bloomfield Avenue, West Hartford. At 6:00 p.m. we cross over to the Zachs Campus, and the run starts at 6:15. A celebration follows. Options are available for 2.5K and 5K routes. Registration is open to individuals and teams; walkers are welcome. Teens and families are encouraged to participate! To learn more or to register, click here.
June 10: Congregation Kol Haverim Hosts Comedy Hypnotist Steve Wronker

Mentalist Aaron Kehdabra presents comedy hypnotist Steve Wronker for an exciting evening of laughter and entertainment on Saturday, June 10 at Congregation Kol Haverim, 1079 Hebron Avenue, Glastonbury!  Doors open at 7:00 p.m. and the show starts at 8:00 p.m. $60 per person includes appetizers, beer and wine, and desserts. (This is a 21+ event.) There will also be a silent auction and raffle prizes. Click here for tickets. For sponsorship, VIP tables and advertising, call Aaron Kehdabra at 860.633.8330. Questions?  Call 860.633.3966.
WOW! in a Box Puts a New Twist on Passover

Are these local teachers playing with toy cars and LEGO, or are they preparing for an exciting Passover journey with their students? The answer is, both! WOW! in a Box's Passover-themed teacher training session brought together 10 Jewish educators from 5 schools to learn new ways to combine the story of Passover with a hands-on, STEM-based activity. The teachers in turn shared the lesson with about 220 students and even some parents! WOW! in a Box is a program of the Federation's Commission on Jewish Education and Leadership.
June 13: "Davening Do's and Don'ts" with Temple Beth Hillel Cantor Scott Harris

Have you ever wondered when and why we stand, sit, bend our knees and bow during prayer? Join Cantor Scott Harris of Temple Beth Hillel on Tuesday, June 13 at 7:00 p.m. for "Davening Do's and Don'ts" and learn the answers! Cantor Harris will explain the whys and wherefores of our rituals and the choreography of our services. All are welcome at this free program presented by the Adult Education Committee. Temple Beth Hillel is a Reform Synagogue located at 20 Baker Lane in South Windsor. For more information, contact the synagogue office at 860.282.8466 or
June 14: Chai Mitzvah Holds Community-Wide Inspiration Fair and Celebration

Ignite Hartford: Inspire. Connect. Celebrate! Come celebrate the Chai Mitzvah journey with your friends and neighbors from across Greater Hartford on Wednesday, June 14 at 6:30 p.m. in the Innovation Center at the Mandell JCC, 335 Bloomfield Avenue, West Hartford. The evening begins with an Inspiration Fair showcasing volunteer opportunities with community agencies; then we'll hear how Chai Mitzvah participants have grown their Judaism by building their "Jewish Bucket Lists" this year. Everyone is invited, whether you have participated in Chai Mitzvah or not - so please bring your friends and join us! Questions? Contact Ilana Bernstein at or 860.922.0448.