March 25, 2021
Image: Seder plate
Jewish Federation of Greater Hartford wishes you and your loved ones a sweet, happy, and healthy Passover!
Connecticut's Congressional Delegation Talks Security, Education and Combating Hate with JFACT
Last month, JFACT Executive Director Michael Bloom moderated a discussion with all seven members of Connecticut's U.S. congressional delegation. They discussed their plans to combat the rise in hate, securing our Jewish institutions, additional education in our schools (including Holocaust education), and other resources to combat hate crimes. Click here for a Zoom recording of the discussion or here to learn more about JFACT.
Through April 4: Passover
Passover celebrates the Israelites' historic freedom from Egyptian bondage. Traditionally, we gather with friends and family for the Seder meal that recounts the Passover story. It's common to abstain from leavened foods during Passover, as we remember that our ancestors had to leave Egypt so quickly that there was no time for bread to rise. Passover runs though April 4 this year, and our community's safe and virtual celebrations continue through the start of the month. We hope you'll join us virtually!

Looking for last-minute Passover recipes? Federation's Jewish Professionals Network and Women's Philanthropy Division recently held a virtual Passover cook-along where over 70 community members made a delicious dairy matzo strata and chocolate macaroons from the comfort of their own kitchens. Click here to download the recipes and a shopping list, and here to watch the program on Youtube.

NATAL: Israel Trauma and Resiliency Center and the Masorti/Conservative Movement have created a special Passover Haggadah supplement to help us turn the Seder into an "island of resilience" in the sea of a turbulent year. It includes activities to reflect on this past year of pandemic and view Passover as a springboard for growth. Click here to view or download the supplement

Make your Passover Seder more ecologically sustainable! Click here for recipes, tips, and more on Hazon's Sustainable Passover Resources page.

Solomon Schechter Day School of Greater Hartford has increased our community outreach to families with young children with free activities and special holiday-themed kits! Most recently, participating families received a booklet of Passover-themed STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics) activities and instructions, plus the necessary supplies and a list of Hebrew words, meanings, and transliterations - all delivered to their doorstep before Passover. Through a collaboration with Prizmah and PJ Library, we reached more families than ever! To learn more about Schechter’s programming, contact Karen at 860.561.0700.

March 26 - April 5: Celebrate Pesach in the Berkshires from Friday, March 26 - Monday, April 5! Hazon's Isabella Freedman Jewish Retreat Center, 116 Johnson Road in Falls Village, will hold an intimate Passover retreat with social distancing, outdoor davening, and options for outdoor dining. The program is cosponsored by Yeshivat Maharat, with guest educators including Rabbi Dr. Erin Leib Smokler, Rabbi Jeffrey Fox, and others. Spots are still available for Friday through Monday, April 2 through 5, or you can join a waitlist for a full Passover stay or the first few days. Click here for more information.

March 27, 28, & 31: Congregation Beth Israel is holding a number of virtual Seders this Passover and all are free and open to the public! Our Community Seder will be held on Saturday, March 27 at 5 p.m. and will be led by Rabbi Michael Pincus. A special Women's Seder will take place on Sunday, March 28 at 5 p.m.; it's open to women of all ages and focuses on the voices and heroism of women, and the liberation of all those who are not yet free. And finally, our Chocolate Seder will take place on Wednesday, March 31 at 4:30 p.m. Connect, listen and be heard, and see yourself fully in the stories of our people! Click here to learn more and register for CBI Seders.

March 27 & April 3: On Saturday, March 27 and Saturday, April 3 at 11 a.m., join B'nai Tikvoh-Sholom for a virtual Shabbat "deep dive" into Passover. Rabbi Debra S. Cantor will lead us in an interactive weekly Shabbat Torah and text study. After a short Torah reading, we'll delve into a section of the portion together and conclude with Kaddish and Kiddush. On March 27, we’ll celebrate Shabbat HaGadol, and on April 3, we’ll focus on texts that relate specifically to Passover. One registration is all that’s needed to join these and future Shabbat Deep Dive events. Click here to register; if you'd like more information or want to participate by phone, call Maria at 860.243.3576 for details.

March 28: On Sunday, March 28 at 4 p.m., PJ Library of Greater Hartford will present the JKids Radio Musical Passover Seder! For the Zoom link, RSVP to; we'll send you a digital download of the PJ Library Haggadah and a home activity kit you can use to enhance your Seder.

March 29: Gishrei Shalom Jewish Congregation will celebrate Passover with a virtual Seder on Monday, March 29 at 6 p.m. Rabbi Alana Wasserman will lead us with joy and lots of music as we celebrate Passover together — safely in our own homes. For the Zoom link, email
April 5: Jewish Historical Society Presents "Sharing Credit: Jewish Loan Societies, Past and Present"
Federation recently launched a new Jewish Free Loan Fund that provides interest-free loans for members of Greater Hartford’s Jewish community. And on Monday, April 5 at 7 p.m., the Jewish Historical Society of Greater Hartford will look at the history of these funds during "Sharing Credit: Jewish Loan Societies, Past and Present." Ann Pava, chair of Greater Hartford's new fund, will give us an overview, and other speakers will explore the historic roots of Jewish free loan funds and credit cooperatives (known as aktsiyes or “oxies”). Professor Shelly Tenenbaum, Ph.D., of Clark University will discuss the broader significance of Jewish loan associations, and community members will share recollections of the Kief Protective Mutual Benefit Association, which continues to operate today. Click here to register and receive the Zoom link. To learn more, email

Above: Shelly Tenenbaum, Ph.D.
April 7: Virtual Community Yom HaShoah Commemoration
On Wednesday, April 7, please join the Mandell JCC and Voices of Hope via YouTube Live for a virtual community Yom HaShoah Commemoration. The Reading of the Names of local victims and deceased survivors will begin at 6:30 p.m., followed by a commemoration at 7 p.m. This year, Shiri Sandler will moderate "A Conversation Between Generations" with Holocaust survivor Leon Chameides and his sons, Daniel and David. Click here to register. For details, email
April 8: Beth El Temple Men's Club Yom HaShoah Program: Rescuing Danish Jews During WWII
The Men's Club of Beth El Temple invites you to mark Yom HaShoah with an afternoon of Jewish history on Thursday, April 8 at 1 p.m. on Zoom. For almost 400 years, the royal family in Denmark supported and protected its Jewish community - and when Denmark was occupied by the Nazis in April 1940, King Christian X made a huge effort to protect the Jews. In this program we'll learn about the miraculous transport of almost 7,000 Danish Jews - more than 95% of Denmark's Jewish population - to the neutral country of Sweden via small fishing boats. Our guide, Charlotte Thalmay, is CEO of the tour company Jewish Copenhagen. To learn more or to register, email Lydia at Please let us know how you heard about this event and whether you are belong to another synagogue.

Above: Charlotte Thalmay
April 9: Zoom Shabbat at GSJC
You're invited to join Rabbi Alana Wasserman and the Gishrei Shalom Jewish Congregation for a Zoom Shabbat service on Friday, April 9 at 7 p.m. We are a small, warm and welcoming Reform congregation based in Southington, and we would love to see you! For the Zoom link or more information, email
UConn Hillel Announces New Development Director
UConn Hillel is excited to welcome our new Development Director, Danielle (Dani) Bergman! Dani has served in several key development roles, including with Selfhelp Community Services, Inc., DOROT, and most recently Yachad, a Jewish-focused disability inclusion agency. She sits on the Board of Trustees for GrowTorah, a nonprofit that aims to cultivate a more passionate, compassionate, and sustainable Jewish future driven by Torah values. Dani is excited to bring her experience to UConn Hillel and looks forward to working with students, alumni, staff, and leadership to support Hillel’s vital programming. She graduated with a B.A. in English Language and Literature from the University of Maryland in 2011, where Hillel played an important role in her college career. You can reach her at

Above: Dani Bergman
April 12: Jewish Leadership Academy Workshop on Managing Lay/Professional Minefields
Image: headshot of Hal Lewis
Executive coach, nonprofit CEO, and Jewish communal leader Dr. Hal M. Lewis will explore the key components of healthy lay/professional relationships during a Jewish Leadership Academy Zoom workshop on Monday, April 12 from 6:30 to 8 p.m. He will discuss key roles and responsibilities, how to have difficult conversations, how to develop a meaningful communication strategy, and how to create a healthy context in which to manage conflict. This is a free, can't-miss program for all Jewish communal professionals and lay leaders. Click here to register.

Above: Dr. Hal M. Lewis
April 13: European Rabbinical Student to Speak at BSBI’s Virtual Annual Torah Fund Event
On Tuesday, April 13 at 4 p.m., Beth Sholom B’nai Israel invites you to join us for our annual Torah Fund event with guest speaker Karen Engel, a rabbinical student at the Zacharais Frankel College of Potsdam, Germany - one of five Conservative/Masorti seminaries supported by the fund. Karen was involved with the Austrian Jewish community for many years and decided to become a rabbi in order to help strengthen European Jewish life. The price of admission to this virtual program is a donation of any amount to the Torah Fund. Email us at to learn more about the program and how to contribute.

Above: Karen Engel
Chai Mitzvah Offers Free "Grandparents & Beyond" Program
Chai Mitzvah is offering our "Grandparents & Beyond" program for free! This program includes fun-filled, intergenerational Jewish activities for all ages. You'll receive a new sourcebook every month for 12 months, share meaningful text-based conversations, and have access to exclusive virtual community events. Our goal is to enroll 1,000 participants in "Grandparents & Beyond" by Grandparents Day, which is Sunday, September 12. To meet our goal, we're offering materials and registration at no cost. Click here to subscribe and receive all 12 sourcebooks. For more information, contact Nina Woldin at
April 17: Yom HaAtzmaut Celebration with Fireworks at BTS
Yom Ha'Atzmaut begins at sundown on April 15, and B'nai Tikvoh-Sholom invites you to join our socially distanced celebration on Saturday, April 17 at 8:30 p.m.! Bring your camp chairs and join us in the BTS parking lot at 180 Still Road,
Bloomfield. We'll celebrate Havdalah followed by a real, live fireworks display! Please arrive 15 minutes early to pick up your Havdalah candle and more. If the forecast is bad, we'll post an update on our website by 5 p.m. on Friday, April 16; our rain date will be Saturday, April 24. For details, call Maria at 860.243.3576. No registration is required.
April 18: Tour the Fantastic Foods of Israel with CBI
On Sunday, April 18 at 1 p.m., zoom in on the foods and culture of Israel during Congregation Beth Israel's free, virtual Israeli food tour! Our expert guides will share their unparalleled knowledge and introduce us to the vendors who make Israeli food come alive. The presentation will feature exclusive interviews, engaging videos, maps, and a Q&A with a local culinary expert. Click here to register.
April 21: Greenberg Center Honors Authors Peter Orner and Lee Conell with Edward Lewis Wallant Award
The Maurice Greenberg Center for Judaic Studies at the University of Hartford invites you to join us virtually on Wednesday, April 21, from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m., as we honor the 2019 and 2020 recipients of the Edward Lewis Wallant Award. Each year, the award recognizes an American writer who has published a significant work of American Jewish fiction. Past winners include Chaim Potok, Dara Horn, Nicole Krauss, and Eduardo Halfon. This year, we are honoring Peter Orner for his short story collection "Maggie Brown and Others" (2019) and Lee Conell for her novel "The Party Upstairs" (2020). Click here to register for this free program.

Above: Peter Orner and Lee Conell
In-House Judaic Programs at Hoffman SummerWood Senior Living Community
Hoffman SummerWood is bustling with activities and events this spring - including a wide variety of Judaic services and programs led by Community Rabbi Aaron Jaffee. In April, SummerWood residents will enjoy weekly Judaic classes, an onsite Yizkor ceremony for Yom HaShoah, a commemoration of Yom HaZikaron featuring the Israeli National Siren and the Mount Herzl Memorial, and an Israeli-themed celebratory dinner for Yom HaAzmaut. We'll end the month with an outdoor live music and bonfire celebration for Lag B’Omer. To learn about available units or a trial stay, email Sophia Cannavo-Ostroski at or visit us online.
April 25: JCL Virtually Celebrates Lag B'Omer and Shavuot Plus a Surprise Visit from a Familiar Face
On Sunday, April 25 at 11 a.m., Jewish Association for Community Living will discuss the holiday of Lag B'Omer, which is celebrated on the 33rd day of the Counting of the Omer. Lag B'Omer celebrates the day that a great plague ended many centuries ago. We'll also celebrate Shavuot, the day the Jews received the Torah on Mount Sinai. If you'd like to join us, please email Bonnie at; we'll send you the Zoom link three days before the event. We're also delighted to share a recent virtual reunion with a dear friend! On March 14, Ruthanne Faust — the amazing person who started JCL's Judaic programs back in the 1990s — surprised our community members through the miracle of Zoom. Ruthanne no longer lives in Connecticut, and everyone was thrilled to see her again. She'll be joining us for future virtual events as well; come say hello!

Above: Ruthanne Faust
April 25: Spring into Summer at Camp Laurelwood's Open House
Camp Laurelwood, Connecticut's premier Jewish co-ed overnight camp, is holding an outdoor, socially distanced open house on Sunday, April 25 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on our beautiful grounds located at 463 Summer Hill Road in Madison. You'll learn more about Camp Laurelwood, meet members of our team, and tour our idyllic campus! Click here for more information and here to join our email list - we have lots of other exciting events coming up!
Voices of Hope Seeks HERO Center Director, Hosts April 26 Presentation on Polish Jewish Genealogy
Voices of Hope is seeking a director for the Holocaust Education Resource and Outreach (HERO) Center. This joint initiative with the University of Hartford's Maurice Greenberg Center for Judaic Studies coordinates school visits to UHart's Museum of Jewish Civilization and provides speakers and resources to educators, students, and community members statewide. Click here for the position description and application. Voices of Hope also welcomes you to join us on Monday, April 26 at 7 p.m., for a Zoom presentation on researching Polish Jewish genealogy with professional genealogist Jeffrey Cymbler. Details and registration are coming soon. Questions? Email Robin Landau at, or click here to visit our website.
April 26: "The Biden Administration – 100 Days: Perspectives from the Middle East" with Avi Melamed
Image: headshot of Avi Melamed
Federation's Jewish Community Relations Council is pleased to present a free webinar with noted Middle East intelligence analyst Avi Melamed on Monday, April 26 from noon to 1 p.m. Melamed will explore how the Biden administration's Middle East policy is playing out so far and examine the perspectives of the region's key geopolitical players. Click here to register by April 23. All are welcome!

Above: Avi Melamed
Beginning April 26: Chabad Hartford Presents "This Can Happen: A Credible Case for Feeling Good About the Future"
Beginning Monday, April 26, join Chabad House of Greater Hartford for a virtual six-part series to be held on Mondays at 7:30 p.m. For thousands of years, the prophecies of a “messianic age” stretched the imaginations of even the most fervent believers — but not anymore. Instant media, mass social movements, and a pandemic have shown us how suddenly and radically the world can be rewired by the actions of a few. Why not for the good? Join us to demystify the Jewish idea of a perfect world and discover a practical path for reaching it in our lifetime. Click here for details and registration.
JTConnect's Teen Leadership and Philanthropy Seeks Grant Proposals
Teens in JTConnect's Teen Leadership and Philanthropy Initiative (TLPI) recently published a request for grant proposals from nonprofit organizations for up to $2,000 to fight food insecurity in our community. TLPI is an intensive year of learning in which teens learn to analyze grant proposals, fundraise, prioritize need, and actually fund meaningful projects. Through TLPI, teens learn that they can make a tangible difference in the world — starting right now. Click here for details on the grant application process or here to learn more about TLPI.
April 29: Virtual Book Launch for Kol Haverim's Rabbi Kari Tuling
On Thursday, April 29 at 7:30 p.m., join Congregation Kol Haverim via Zoom to celebrate the publication of “Thinking About G‑d: Jewish Views," by our own Rabbi Kari Tuling! Rabbi David Ellenson, Ph.D., Chancellor Emeritus of Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, will have a conversation with Rabbi Tuling about the Jewish views of G‑d explained in her book. Click here to register, or call the synagogue office at 860.633.3966 for more information.

Above: Rabbi Kari Tuling and Rabbi David Ellenson, Ph.D.
Register Today! JFS/Tara's Closet Mental Health Awareness Event with Brooke Shields on May 13
Image: Brooke Shields
Please join Tara's Closet and Jewish Family Services on Thursday, May 13, from 7 to 8 p.m. for our fourth annual mental health awareness event. One in five Americans will experience mental illness in their lifetimes - and the pandemic has only amplified the struggles we all face. During this program, we'll have a live conversation with model, actress, and award-winning author Brooke Shields about her own journey with depression. Click here to register today.

Above: Brooke Shields
Enter By May 19: Shmita Prizes Recognize Jewish Art on Themes of Sabbatical, Rest, and Sustainability
Hazon's Shmita Project aims to raise awareness, create discussion, and inspire change based on the principles and practices of the Jewish shmita, or sabbatical year. The Shmita Prizes recognize Jewish artistic achievement in five categories: ritual object, fine art, film or video, performance art/music/liturgy, and the written word. The next shmita year begins with Rosh Hashanah this fall, and we invite to submit your artistic works for consideration by Wednesday, May 19. One artist in each category will receive a lead prize of $1800; there will be three additional awards of $250 in each category. Click here to learn more about the Shmita Prizes and enter your creation!
May 25: Save the Date for Federation's HINENI Celebration with "Fauda" Star Lior Raz
Image: headshot of Lior Raz
We say HINENI – “here I am!” – in so many ways: By providing food, shelter, and social support. By securing our institutions and neighborhoods. By connecting and inspiring each other through Jewish values. Federation's biggest (virtual!) community event of the year will take place on Tuesday, May 25, from 7 to 8:15 p.m. We'll explore the many ways we strengthen our vibrant Jewish community and enjoy an exclusive interview with Lior Raz, star and co-creator of the hit Israeli Netflix series “Fauda” (Arabic for "chaos"). Please save the date; invitations are coming soon! Click here to learn more.

Above: Lior Raz
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