Hands holding a baby fern planted in a clump of soil
 
 
"And the Lord G-d formed man of dust from the ground, and He breathed into his nostrils the soul of life, and man became a living soul." - Bereishit 2:7

Ground. Earth. Adamah. According to the secular calendar, we have just marked Groundhog Day - and by the Jewish calendar we will soon welcome Tu B'Shevat, the New Year of the trees, which celebrates our connection not only to Eretz Yisrael (the Land of Israel) but also to the entire planet.

In this February edition of JLink, you'll find an abundance of opportunities to live life on this Earth to the fullest by learning, repairing the world, and doing deeds of loving kindness - in short, by living Jewishly. I hope it will inspire you.
 
 
  
President and CEO
Jewish Federation of Greater Hartford
TONIGHT! Lillian Fund Tours Prudence Crandall Center
 
The Lillian Fund, the Jewish Community Foundation's giving circle of women, will visit the Prudence Crandall Center (PCC) in New Britain on Tuesday, February 4 at 6 p.m.  The Center is Connecticut's
largest domestic violence shelter, which provides comprehensive services for victims of domestic violence. Lillian Fund members will tour the Center's Rose Hill housing facility, which offers 18 apartments for victims of domestic violence. On the tour, they will see a family apartment, speak to a former shelter resident, and learn about the invaluable services that PCC provides to the community. To attend, please contact Elana MacGilpin at emacgilpin@jcfhartford.org .
The Prudence Crandall Center is located at 594 Burritt Street, New Britain
TONIGHT! Unlock Your Voice with Rosh Lowe
 
Rosh Lowe
Celebrate 70 years of the Lubavitcher Rebbe's leadership, inspiration, and empo werment with Rosh Lowe at "Unlock Your Voice" on Tuesday, February 4 at 7: 30 p.m. at Chabad House , 2352 Albany Avenue, West Hartford. Come hear Rosh's story - and learn how to share your own story and use it to empower others. Learn how the Rebbe has impacted Ros h personally and professionally and continues to impact his life today. Rosh Lowe is CEO of Micdrop, a communications training firm that empowers thousands in corporate America to overcome their fear of public speaking. He is an award-winning journalist who has been breaking big stories for Miami's WSVN for 15 years. He's also a veteran of the Broadway theatre, appearing in numerous shows and professional productions. For more information or to register, call 860.232.1116 or email info@ChabadHartford.com.  

Preschool Pals literacy volunteer training sessions
February 7 - 9:  Scholar-in-Residence Weekend with Rabbi Elana Zaiman at Beth El Temple
 
Rabbi Elana Zaiman
Join Beth El Temple for a special Scholar-in-Residence weekend with Rabbi Elana Zaiman from Friday, February 7 through Sunday, February 9! The celebrated author and beloved leader will be our guest teacher and give a sermon at Friday evening services at 6 p.m., followed by Oneg Shabbat (a social with refreshments). At Shabbat morning services, she will be our guide on a storytelling journey into forever letters - what they are, why write them, and how they can be powerful tools to authentically connect us with ourselves and with the people we love. On Sunday morning, join us for a forever letter writing workshop. No need to be a writer or love to write; you don't even have to know  to whom you will write! Feel free to bring a special notebook and pen or your laptop. Coffee and a light breakfast will be served. This Scholar-in-Residence weekend is being underwritten by the Leonard & Vicki Eisenfeld Endowment Fund and the Amy E. Toyen Endowment Fund, named funds within The Endowment Fund of Beth El Temple. Click here for complete details and registration. Beth El Temple is located at 2626 Albany Avenue, West Hartford
February 9: "Crossing Delancey" at Temple Beth Hillel
 
Temple Beth Hillel's
Adult Ed Committee invites you to the showing of "Crossing Delancey" on Sunday, February 9 at 2 p.m. at Temple Beth Hillel, 20 Baker Lane, South Windsor. Thirty-something Isabelle "Izzy" Grossman (Amy Irving) spends her time going from her tiny, solitary West Side apartment to that of her grandmother (Reizl Bozyk) on the Lower East Side. In between, Izzy builds a glowing reputation at the swank bookstore where she works. While her grandmother plots to find her a romantic match, Izzy is courted by a married, worldly author, Anton (Jeroen Krabbé), yet can't seem to shake the down-to-earth appeal of Sam (Peter Riegert), a pickle vendor. Candy bars, popcorn, and soda will be provided. Admission is free. To learn more or to RSVP, contact the Temple office at 860.282.8466 or admin@tbhsw.org.

February 9 - 10: Tu B'Shevat 
 
Tu B'Shevat, "the New Year of the trees," has been a part of our calendar since Talmudic times. It falls on the 15th day of the month of Shevat; this year, it begins at sundown on Sunday, February 9.
 
In the 16th century, the mystics of Tzfat, Israel, established the Tu B'Shevat seder, eating fruits, grains and nuts associated with the land of Israel. Early Zionists re-established Tu B'Shevat as a tree planting holiday as part of their efforts to green the land of Israel. Today, our worldwide Jewish community celebrates Tu B'Shevat in these and other ways that celebrate nature and the bounty of the land.
 
Here are a few ways our community will mark Tu B'Shevat. Come join the fun!
 
February 6: PJ Library invites you to the Family Room Parenting Center at the Mandell JCC,335 Bloomfield Avenue, West Hartford on Thursday, February 6 at 12:30 p.m. to reduce, reuse, and recycle for Tu B'Shevat. Use recycled materials to create a tree in honor of Tu B'Shevat, the birthday of the trees. There will also be PJ Library stories about taking care of the world around us. Please bring along pairs of gently worn sneakers to be donated to those in need. This event is free and open to all. RSVP to Susan at slentini@mandelljcc.org or 860.231.6374. For more PJ Library Greater Hartford events and updates, click here.
 
February 7: Join B'nai Tikvoh-Sholom, 180 Still Road, Bloomfield, for a special Oneg following 7 p.m. Tu B'Shevat Shabbat services on Friday, February 7. RSVP to BTS at 860.243.3576 or office@btsonline.org.

February 9: February's Bagels, Blocks & Beyond, a program for children ages 5 and under and their families
at The Emanuel Synagogue,  will focus on Tu B'Shevat. On Sunday, February 9 from 10:30 a.m. to noon, we'll host a fun morning of learning about the birthday of the trees through songs, stories, crafts, and games. Call 860.233.2774 or email school@emanuelsynagogue.org to register. The Emanuel Synagogue is located at 160 Mohegan Drive, West Hartford.
 
February 9: Join Jewish Association for Community Living  for a Tu B'Shevat seder with JTConnect on Sunday, February 9 from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. at The Emanuel Synagogue, 160 Mohegan Drive, West Hartford. Our special needs community and friends will enjoy eating fruit, nuts, and other delicious foods that are native to Israel. This event is free, and all are welcome! For more information, contact Bonnie at beisenberg@jcl-ct.org or 860.522.5225 ext. 2237.  
 
Hazon's
new Tu B'Shevat haggadah is now available online for  free download. The haggadah offers thoughts and ideas to help you celebrate the new year for trees in your home or community. This haggadah uniquely focuses on the role that trees play in sustaining a healthy planetary ecosystem and mitigating climate change. Click here to download a free copy.
 
February 23: Join the Young Israel of West Hartford on Sunday, February 23 at 10 a.m. for Planting Parent & Me, a hands-on planting experience for children ages 2 and up and their parents or grandparents. Feel the soil and plant more than seeds as we dig deep into the experience and meaning of Tu B'Shevat. RSVP to Yair at YouthDirector@YoungIsraelWH.org. Young Israel is located at 2240 Albany Avenue, West Hartford.
BBYO Connecticut Valley Region Hosts 200 at Winter Kallah

Over the weekend of January 24, 
Teens heard from JFACT's Michael Bloom and State Senator Julie Kushner at BBYO's Winter Kallah
BBYO Connecticut Valley Region hosted 200 local teens for a Winter Kallah exploring their Judaism and relationship to Israel. Participants selected from different tracks focused on art/cooking, athletics, and politics. They heard from Jewish Sports Hall of Fame Inductee Adam Greenberg, Jewish Federation Association of Connecticut Director Michael Bloom, State Senator Julie Kushner, LGBTQ activist Hannah Simpson, and comedian and mental health advocate Pamela Schuller. They also cooked  Jewish foods with chef and author Jeffrey Yoskowitz, created a mural with an Israeli artist, learned Krav Maga from The Legion and enjoyed  Israeli dancing.
Almost free Israel trip for moms
February 10: Rabbi Josh Weinberg to Discuss Reform Zionism at Congregation Beth Israel
 
Rabbi Josh Weinberg
Rabbi Josh Weinberg, Executive Director of the Association of Reform Zioni sts of America, will discuss "How to Raise your Voice for Israel and Build a Strong Refor m Movement in Israel" on Monday, February 10 at 7 p.m. at Congregation Beth Israel, 701 Farmington Avenue , West Hartford . Rabbi Weinberg will explain the World Zionist elections and how each of us can make a difference. He currently serves as the Vice President of the Union for Reform Judaism for Israel and Reform Zionism and is Executive Director of ARZA, the Association of Reform Zionists of America. He is also a reserve officer in the IDF spokesperson's unit. For more information, call 860.233.8215 or click here.
Got Sneakers? PJ Library Donation Drive at the Mandell JCC
 
PJ Library is proud to kick off a sneaker drive in the spirit of environmental s ustainability and helping others. Each year, over 200 million pairs of sneakers end up in landfills while millions of people need footwear. By simply cleaning out your closets and sharing your unwanted sneakers, you can make a difference! During the month of February, bring your donations to the Mandell JCC,335 Bloomfield Avenue, West Hartford. All new sneakers collected will be donated locally in our community. The gently used sneakers will be sent to Got Sneakers? for worldwide distribution to people in need. Unwearable sneakers will be recycled into new products. To see PJ Library Greater Hartford events and updates, click here.
February 10: "Why Are We Still Afraid?" with Award-Winning Author and Reporter Mark Lavie
 
Mark Lavie
All are invited to the lecture "Why Are We Still Afraid?" by award-winning author and reporter Mark Lavie on Monday, February 10 at 7 p.m. at the Wilde Auditorium at the University of Hartford. This event, presented by Maurice Greenberg Center for Judaic Studies at the University of Hartford, is free and open to the public. Seating is limited and reservations are required. To reserve your spot, please call 860.768.5018 or email mgcjs@hartford.edu. The University of Hartford is located at 200 Bloomfield Avenue, West Hartford. 
February 13: Shalom Reggio Café - Where Reggio and Jewish Meet
 
Parents and caregivers with children ages birth through four are invited to the Solomon Schechter Day School, 26 Buena Vista Road, West Hartford for Shalom Reggio Café on Thursday, February 13 from 8:45 to 9:45 a.m. In the spirit of the Reggio Emilia early childhood philosophy, we'll enjoy exploratory play, arts and crafts, Jewish experiences, snacks, and coffee and conversation. This event is free and open to the public. The future dates for Shalom Reggio Café are March 12, April 23, and May 21. For more information or to RSVP, please contact Karen at kshakun@ssds-hartford.org.  
Check Out What's New at Chai Mitzvah!
    
Are you looking to connect with your Judaism in a new way? Like the ide a of Jewish engage ment that works like a book group? Come check out what's n ew and what West Hartford's Chai Mitzvah can offer you and your friends! We have added new tracks of study for both adults and teens. Our newest program is Aseret: The Big Ten. If you have any questions, please email Nina Woldin at nina@chaimitzvah.org.  
February 15: Songwriters in the Round at The Emanuel Synagogue
 
Join
The Emanuel Synagogue
 for "Songwriters in the Round," a benefit for IsraAid and Yazda's programs supporting survivors of the Yazidi genocide, on Saturday, February 15 from 8 to 10 p.m. Enjoy an intimate acoustic café experience with songs and stories by the talented Kate Callahan, Eric Paradine, and Melanie Michaud. Desserts, coffee, and tea will be served. Couples age 21 and up are invited to BYO kosher wine (one bottle per couple). The evening is sponsored by The Emanuel Synagogue B'Yadeynu Social Justice Committee and The Connecticut Coalition for Yazidi Relief. General admission is $18 on Eventbrite (click here for tickets) or $20 at the door; admission is free for students with a school ID. Donations are welcome.The Emanuel Synagogue is located at 160 Mohegan Drive, West Hartford.
February 22: 4th Annual Cholent Cook-Off at Young Israel of West Hartford
 
Cholent is the traditional Sabbath stew of Ashkenazi (Eastern European) Jews.
Sample the finest cholents in the Greater Hartford area and cast your vote to crown this year's Golden Ladel winner! Join the  Young Israel of West Hartford  on Shabbat morning, Saturday, February 22, for 9 a.m. services and a gala cholent kiddush at approximately 11 a.m. Think you make the best cholent? Click here to enter your cholent today! Young Israel is located at 2240 Albany Avenue, West Hartford.
February 23: BSBI Community Breakfast Benefits Local Children in Need

The B eth Sholom B'nai Israel (BSBI) Brotherhood works with other community organizations to hold the annual Brotherhood in Action (BIA) breakfast on Sunday, February 23 from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. at Masonic Temple, 25 East Center Street, Manchester. For years, our BSBI community has strongly supported this annual event, which raises funds to support area families of children with life-altering diseases or disabilities. Please consider supporting BIA through ticket purchase and/or other contributions and also through attendance at the breakfast. Brotherhood in Action proudly announces that our annual community breakfast will benefit the families of Jayden Szkirka of East Hartford and Icek Dejesus of Manchester. For more information on the fundraiser and its beneficiaries, click here. 
February 23: Character Breakfast for Purim

What do Elsa, Elmo, Spider-Man, and hamantashen have in common? Purim, of course! PJ Library invites you to a character breakfast in anticipation of Purim, to be held on Sunday, February 23 from 10 to 11 a.m. at the Mandell JCC, 335 Bloomfield Avenue, West Hartford. PJ Bear invites you to come in costume, enjoy a breakfast snack, have your face painted, mingle with the characters, create a mural with Shlicha Tom, and make hamantashen to take home to bake. The cost is $18 per family (pre-register by February 19) or $25 per family at the door (if space allows) To register, email Jessica at jfarrell@mandelljcc.org.
February 23: Partners in Creation - Turning Everything Upside Down

Come celebrate the beginning of the Jewish month of Adar - when we celebrate Purim -  with Rabbi Debra Cantor and Terry Wolfisch Cole as we explore the notion of turning everything inside out and upside down. We'll meet on Sunday, February 23 from 10:30 a.m. to 12:45 p.m. at B'nai Tikvoh-Sholom, 180 Still Road, Bloomfield, to learn how this idea plays out in "Purim Torah," experiment with some abstract art, and even move around a bit (but only if you want). No experience necessary. Co-sponsored with the  Mandell JCC  and the  Charter Oak Cultural Center as part of the Neshama Center for Lifelong Learning The cost is $10; free for Neshama Patrons. Click here to register, or contact the BTS office at 860.243.3576 or office@btsonline.org
February 23: "The Life and Times of Hank Greenberg" at Gishrei Shalom 
 
Gishrei Shalom Jewish Congregation will show the third film in our Jewish Film Festival on Sunday, February 23 at 1:30 p.m. in Memorial Hall of First Congregational Church of Southington, 37 Main Street, Southington. The movie is "The Life and Times of Hank Greenberg," Aviva Kempner's documentary about the famous Jewish baseball player. There is no charge for the event, and refreshments will be provided. RSVP to president@gsjc.org.  
Frank Stavis Leadership Program for rising leaders under 40
February 27: Federation & JLA Present the Howard J. Siegal Leadership Institute 
 
Dirk Bird
If you raise funds for a Jewish nonprofit agency, school or synagogue, you won't want to miss the Howard J. Siegal Leadership Institute, presented by Jewish Federation of Greater Hartford and the Jewish Leadership Academy on Thursday, February 27 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. in the Mandell JCC Board Room, 335 Bloomfield Avenue, West Hartford. Consultant Dirk Bird has spent nearly 20 years as a development professional in the Jewish community, and he'll show us how to build a fundraising toolkit and craft a case for support that will inspire meaningful donor conversations. This program is named for Howard J. Siegal z"l, a top Federation fundraiser, storyteller and mentor. To learn more or to RSVP, email info@jlahartford.org by February 20.
 
February 29: Jazz Night at B'nai Tikvoh-Sholom
 
Join B'nai Tikvoh-Sholom at its home in Bloomfield on Saturday, February 29 for an evening of jazz. Doors open at 7 p.m. for wine and hors d'oeuvres, followed by dessert and two 45-minute sets of songs from "The Great American Songbook" with jazz vocalist Corinne Thurstan and pianist Bill Growth. Dairy-free, vegan, and gluten-free options will be available. There will also be an art show with work by local artists and a silent auction. Tickets are $45 per person for reservations made by Thursday, February 20 and $50 after February 20 or at the door. The snow date is Saturday, March 7. To make reservations, click here or mail a check, made out to B'nai Tikvoh-Sholom, with "Jazz" on the memo line, to: B'nai-Tikvoh-Sholom, 180 Still Road, Bloomfield, CT 06002. (If reserving by check, your check is your reservation.) For more information or to RSVP by phone or email, contact the BTS office at 860.243.3576 or office@btsonline.org.
 
March 1: "A Taste of Ayeka" at Temple Beth Hillel     
   
Edna Levy
Please join Temple Beth Hillel of South Windsor for "A Taste of Ayeka" on Sunday, March 1 from 10 to 11:30 a.m. This free, innovative adult ed program for the soul provides a safe venue for Jews of all backgrounds and affiliations to discover, explore, and deepen their own unique relationship with G-d. Facilitator Edna Levy will engage your mind, heart, and body through Jewish text study, honest conversation, and experimental exercises. Levy has brought Ayeka to numerous JCCs, Day Schools, and Jewish camps; she recently arrived in Connecticut where her husband, Jacob Schreiber, heads the Jewish Community Foundation of Greater Hartford. For more information, click here. Temple Beth Hillel is located at 20 Baker Lane, South Windsor.
March 5 - 15: The 24th Mandell JCC Hartford Jewish Film Festival  
   
Tickets are now on sale for the 24th Mandell JCC Hartford Jewish Film Festival, which will run from Thursday, March 5 through Sunday, March 15. This year the Mandell JCC presents 20 outstanding films 
celebrating the richness of the Jewish experience. From dramatic features and documentaries to comedies and short films, all reflect a Jewish lens. Films will be shown at three different venues: Mandell JCC, 335 Bloomfield Avenue, West Hartford; Spotlight Theatres (SPOT), 39 Front Street, Hartford; and AMC Classic Bloomfield 8, 863 Park Avenue, Bloomfield. General admission (excluding opening and closing night) is $12 in advance and $15 at the door. For tickets, call the Mandell JCC Box Office at 860.231.6316 or email  tickets@hjff.org . Click here for a downloadable brochure.