Greetings!

In this week’s Torah reading, Parshat Bereishit, G-d asks Adam the question ayecha, “where are you?” It is intended not as a literal question but as a spiritual or existential one in the wake of the first humans’ disobedience: What are your values? What responsibility do you take for your actions?
Just an hour ago, I witnessed firsthand the generosity with which so many members of our community have answered that question when I joined Governor Ned Lamont, Mayor Shari Cantor of West Hartford, and Jewish Family Services CEO Katie Hanley for a tour of JFS’s Anja Rosenberg Kosher Food Pantry. Governor Lamont marveled that almost every room in Federation’s Community Services Building has been transformed to facilitate food storage and delivery, and he learned how JFS has expanded its efforts to provide counseling, senior services, clothing, and job training in the wake of the pandemic. He also learned that hundreds of you have increased your gifts to Federation’s Annual Campaign to help ensure that our Jewish safety net remains strong, both here and abroad.
Governor Lamont could have visited any one of dozens of local safety net agencies doing wonderful work across our region. He chose JFS – and by doing so, he honored our Jewish community as an exemplar of responsibility and social action. Governor Lamont knows that our community is responding to the question of ayecha with a resounding, collective hineni – “here we are!”

Shabbat shalom.
David Waren
President & CEO
Informing Voters about Jewish Community Issues
How do Connecticut’s candidates for U.S. Congress view the intersection of racial equity and anti-Semitism? What role do they see for America in resolving Middle East conflict? How do they feel about the Iran deal? The Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Hartford (JCRC), part of your Federation, is shedding light on these and many other topics through a series of Congressional candidate forums presented in partnership with other Federations, the Jewish Federation Association of Connecticut (JFACT), and local synagogues. On Wednesday night, candidates for Connecticut’s Fifth Congressional District respectfully shared their views on a Zoom webinar; viewers added their own questions through the chat feature. You can view the video below. You may also want to mark your calendar for the Second District candidate forum at 7pm on Wednesday, October 21 (register for the webinar here) and the Third District candidate debate at 7pm on Thursday, October 22, which will be broadcast live on WTNH News 8. To learn more about JCRC, contact Alana Butler at abutler@jewishhartford.org.
Standing Strong against Security Threats
Now more than ever, the safety of the Jewish community remains at the forefront of Federation’s work both locally and globally. Your contributions to the Annual Campaign help support the Secure Community Network (SCN), exclusively dedicated to the safety and security of Jewish institutions and communities across North America. As we enter the final weeks of a turbulent election season, SCN and The Jewish Federations of North America – one of SCN’s founders – are convening security experts, crisis communications experts, and Jewish communal leaders to assess the current situation and prepare for new security threats wherever they might arise. To learn more about Federation’s security work, contact Laura Zimmerman at lzimmerman@jewishhartford.org.
Image courtesy of Secure Community Network
Learning from Today to Benefit Tomorrow
As philosopher George Santayana said, “Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it,” and as Jews, we know how crucial it is to preserve and share the lessons of history. That’s why contributions to Federation’s Annual Campaign support the Jewish Historical Society of Greater Hartford’s ongoing efforts to document our region’s rich Jewish life, history, and culture. We are living in an historic era, and JHS is seizing this opportunity for the benefit of future generations. On Tuesday evening, the organization hosted a virtual panel discussion with several leaders of local Jewish institutions – including Federation’s own David Waren – to discuss our community’s COVID-19 response, what we’ve learned so far, and how the pandemic is reshaping Jewish life. Click below to view a video of the program, or click here to learn more about JHS.
Thinking Jewishly, Educating Globally
“All Jews are responsible for one another.” - Talmud Shevuot 39a

Like the Jewish people, the Federation network of care extends beyond all national borders. Through international partners like World ORT, your gift to Federation’s Annual Campaign helps Jews in more than 30 countries achieve economic independence and financial self-sufficiency through science education and technical training. In the most recent allocations cycle, our Board awarded nearly $9,000 to ORT’s KesherNet Center in Yekaterinburg, Russia, to help Jewish community members develop the skills needed for stable employment. Inna Korotayeva (above) developed her computer skills at the center 15 years ago – and during the COVID-19 pandemic she’s using them to stay connected to her children, who live abroad. "It is only thanks to the skills I’ve learned that I don’t feel detached from the world and its possibilities," said Inna. You can learn more about ORT’s Yekaterinburg center here.
Image courtesy of World ORT
Meet Hayley Wasser, Federation’s New Vice President of Development
Although she currently lives more than 800 miles away in Michigan, Hayley Wasser, Federation’s new Vice President of Development, already feels at home in our warm and welcoming Jewish community. A native Rhode Islander, Hayley will be moving to Connecticut in the coming months with her husband, two children, and three dogs. As one of few Jewish students in her Barrington, R.I., elementary school, Hayley felt a certain responsibility to educate her fellow classmates on the “why and how” of Jewish life. “My family was the rock for my Jewish identity,” said Hayley. “And right off the bat, I was struck by the Greater Hartford Jewish community’s strong creative and familial spirit. I’m so impressed and honored by the warm welcome I’ve received!” To say hello to Hayley, drop her a note at hwasser@jewishhartford.org.