The weather outside may be chilly, but our Jewish community is as warm and vibrant as ever. In this edition of JLink you'll find a wide variety of opportunities to expand your mind, enrich your soul, and fill your belly - everything from Jewish lectures and ethics courses to concerts and art workshops to hearty Jerusalem cholent and a Mexican Shabbat dinner. Come out and try something new... you'll be glad you did!

President and CEO
Jewish Federation of Greater Hartford
Voices of Hope Seeks Director of Programming and Development

Voices of Hope is growing! We are seeking a Director of Programming and Development to plan and implement 10+ educational and commemorative events per year about the Holocaust and genocide, create a wide range of marketing and communication materials, cultivate community relationships, research grant opportunities, maintain a donor database, organize fundraising events, and more. The ideal candidate will be committed to our mission and contribute to a respectful, collaborative environment. Click here for a full position description and application instructions.
Throughout February: Chabad's "Crime and Consequence" Series Offers Three Tracks and Two Locations

Whichever side of the "smart on crime" versus "tough on crime" debate you're on, this course is for you. In Crime and Consequence, we explore 3,000 years of Jewish wisdom concerning criminal convictions, sentencing, crime prevention and rehabilitation. We'll challenge our thinking and ponder the application of Talmudic principles to real and complex, modern-day cases. You have a lot of scheduling options for this six-session learning series. Choose from six Mondays beginning February 4, at 7:30 p.m. at Chabad House in West Hartford; six Sundays beginning February 10, at 10 a.m., also at Chabad House; and six Tuesdays beginning February 5, at 7 p.m. at the Harold Rothstein Chabad Jewish Center in Glastonbury. Connecticut lawyers can receive up to 9 CLE Ethics credits for this course. Click here to learn more or to register.
February 4 and 18: Learn and Share with Rabbi Bekah at FVJC-Emek Shalom

Everyone is welcome to learn, connect and share with Rabbi Bekah during Rabbi's Hour, which happens twice monthly at Farmington Valley Jewish Congregation - Emek Shalom. Rabbi's Hour in the month of February will take place at 11 a.m. on Monday, February 4 and Monday, February 18. Families with children through age 5 are also welcome to join us for a fun, friendly and informal PJ Havdalah on Saturday, February 23 at 5 p.m. We'll say goodnight to Shabbat with the youngest among us. The celebration includes crafts, songs, and a light snack. You'll find these programs and much more on our website at FVJC - Emek Shalom is located at 55 Bushy Hill Road, Simsbury.
February 5: Celebrate Rosh Chodesh Adar with the Mitzvah Mamas

All Jewish women ages 13 and up are invited to celebrate Rosh Chodesh Adar with the Mitzvah Mamas on Tuesday, February 5 at 7 p.m. (location provided upon request). This month's shomeret (facilitator), Elysa Gordon, will present a program on gratitude. The gathering lasts one hour and starts promptly, so please plan to arrive 15 minutes early if you'd like to schmooze. New faces and friends are always welcome! No RSVP necessary, but do give a call if you have questions. To engage with Mitzvah Mamas, join The Mitzvah Mamas Facebook group, check out or simply come to a monthly gathering or event. For information on Rosh Chodesh gatherings, pop-up road trips or the next free trip to Israel for moms, please email or call 917.698.7952.
February 5, 7, 17 and 24: Sample the SummerWood Lifestyle

You're invited to sample the Hoffman SummerWood lifestyle on one of four dates in February: Tuesday, February 5 at 2 p.m.; Thursday, February 7 at 1:30 p.m.; or Sunday, February 17 or 24, both at 1 p.m. Each date will have a special cultural or educational component, a tour, and a meal to go! Seating is limited; click here to learn more, or call Anabela at 860.523.3808. Hoffman SummerWood is an independent and assisted living community at 160 Simsbury Road, West Hartford.
February 6, 14 and 21: Hillel Panel Discussion, Humor and the Holocaust, and Diversity Concert and Lecture at Maurice Greenberg Center

From left: Lisa Langsner; David Slucki, Ph.D.; and Joel N. Lohr, Ph.D.
The Maurice Greenberg Center for Judaic Studies at the University of Hartford invites you to three exciting events in February. On Wednesday, February 6 at 7 p.m., meet new UHart Hillel director Lisa Langsner and join us for a panel discussion with Hillel directors from Trinity College, UConn, and Connecticut College. On Thursday, February 14 at 7 p.m., David Slucki, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Jewish Studies at the College of Charleston, will lecture on "Laughter After: Humor and the Holocaust." And on Thursday, February 21 at 7 p.m., we'll celebrate an evening of diversity and culture with a concert by Ian Pomerantz of The Hartt School accompanied by Aaron Larget-Caplan, and a lecture by Hartford Seminary President Joel N. Lohr, Ph.D. All events will be held in the Center's Millie and Irving Bercowetz Research Library, in Harry Jack Gray E300 on the University of Hartford campus at 200 Bloomfield Avenue, West Hartford. Click here to register or contact Susan Gottlieb at 860.768.4964 or for more information.
Thursday Evenings: Studying, Cholent and Dancing at Beit Mordechai

Click the image for a recipe for Jerusalem cholent from Claudia Roden.
Beit Mordechai, Connecticut's only Sephardic Orthodox synagogue, welcomes everyone to an evening of learning and celebration. Each Thursday from 7:30 to 9 p.m., we meet for Shiur (text study), followed by homemade cholent and dancing. It's a Jerusalem tradition that Rabbi Eliyahu Tal and his wife Sarah have brought to Greater Hartford. There is a mixed study group in Hebrew and English, and a women's study group in Hebrew. No need to RSVP; just join us! Donations are welcome. Beit Mordechai is located at 1137 Trout Brook Drive in West Hartford. Questions? Contact Rabbi Tal at
February 7: Guy Mendilow Ensemble Performs The Forgotten Kingdom at UConn Storrs

The Guy Mendilow Ensemble.
The Guy Mendilow Ensemble will perform The Forgotten Kingdom, a mélange of Mediterranean Jewish stories and music, at UConn's von der Mehden Recital Hall on February 7 at 8 p.m. The ensemble is an award-winning quintet with a cast of world-class players hailing from Israel, Palestine, Argentina and the U.S. Its unique performances combine premier musicianship with cinematic storytelling that brings the music of Sephardic Jewry to life. This free public performance is presented by UConn's Center for Judaic Studies and Contemporary Jewish Life in partnership with the UConn Department of Music, with support from the Center for Judaic Studies' Scholarship and the Arts initiative. Click here for details and to register; click here for directions to the recital hall, which is located at 875 Coventry Road, Storrs.
February 8, 15 and 22: PJ Library Shabbat Club

Young children and their families are invited to join PJ Library for Shabbat Club every Friday from 11 a.m. to noon at the Mandell JCC, 335 Bloomfield Avenue, West Hartford. We'll have playtime beginning at 11 a.m. and songs, stories, blessings and challah beginning at 11:30. Feel free to drop in and join us! Click here for details. You're also invited to colorful challah making on Thursday, February 7 at 4 p.m. The cost is $10 per family; the deadline to register is February 5. You'll find all the details here.
February 9: Free Screening of The Band's Visit at BSBI

You're invited to join Beth Sholom B'nai Israel for Sisterhood Film Night: a free screening of The Band's Visit on Saturday, February 9 at 7 p.m. Members of an Egyptian band are booked to play at an Arab cultural center in Israel - but when they arrive they find themselves in a town in the middle of the desert, with no transportation out until the following day. Watch as two groups of ordinary people with ordinary hopes form an unexpected bond. Click here for event details or visit the BSBI website. Beth Sholom B'nai Israel is located at 400 Middle Turnpike East, Manchester.
Sigel Academy Eighth Graders Read Rising Out of Hatred

Bess and Paul Sigel Hebrew Academy's eighth graders are beginning a fascinating new book, Rising Out of Hatred: The Awakening of a Former White Nationalist by Pulitzer Prize winning author Eli Saslow. It's about a young man named Derek Black, the godson of former KKK Grand Wizard David Duke, who was being groomed to be the future leader of the White Nationalist Movement. Although he kept a low profile in college, he was exposed and subsequently ostracized by most of the other students - except for one Orthodox Jew who invited him to Shabbat meals and engaged him in thoughtful conversation. Elisha Wiesel, the son of Eli Wiesel, recommends this book as "beautiful and important.... I am a changed person for having read it." During our MLK Day commemorations, our middle school students were moved by a number of interviews with Derek Black and the Jewish friend who changed his life. Bess and Paul Sigel Hebrew Academy is located at 53 Gabb Road, Bloomfield.
February 10: "BLT: Bagels, Lox and Tefillin" with Chabad in Glastonbury

Rabbi Wolvovsky and East Hampton Rotary Club President Mark Cibula hold the Rotary bell, used to begin Rotary Club meetings.
Chabad East of the River invites you to join us for a meaningful mitzvah, delicious breakfast and friendly interaction on Sunday morning, February 10 at the Harold Rothstein Chabad Jewish Center, 25 Harris Street, Glastonbury. You'll be in by 9 a.m. and out by 10... for real! This program is free and open to all. Our February BLT is dedicated in honor of Mitch Marcus, marking his big birthday! Call 860.659.2422, email, or visit to learn more. In other news, Rabbi Wolvovsky recently addressed the East Hampton Rotary Club on the true meaning of charity, asking "Has the old crazy become the new normal?" The answer? "Crazy is not necessarily bad; it's just extreme. Both love and hate can make you crazy. And the opposite of crazy bad is crazy good. So when we see crazy bad, we must transform it to crazy good!".
February 10 and 20: Congregation Beth Israel Winter Film and Discussion Series

Everyone is welcome to attend Congregation Beth Israel's winter film and discussion series, which continues this month with This Is Home on Sunday, February 10 at 9:30 a.m. and Lemon Tree on Wednesday, February 20 at 7 p.m. This Is Home is an intimate portrait of four Syrian refugee families arriving in America and struggling to find their footing. Following the film, we will hear from members of the CBI community who helped settle Syrian refugee families in Greater Hartford. Lemon Tree is a documentary about Palestinian widow Salma Zidane, who owns a lemon grove. When Israeli Defense Minister Navon becomes her new neighbor, his security guards demand she remove the trees on the grounds that they could be shelter for terrorists. Zidane takes her case all the way to the Israeli Supreme Court. Both evenings include light refreshments; there is a suggested donation of $5 per person. Screenings take place at Congregation Beth Israel, 701 Farmington Avenue, West Hartford. Click here for more information.
February 10 and 23: Special Needs Community Gathers for Art Project, Shabbat Service

The Jewish Association for Community Living and friends are coming together in February for an art project and an interactive Shabbat service. On Sunday, February 10 at 12:30 p.m., we will pair with JTConnect teens at Congregation Beth Israel, 701 Farmington Avenue, West Hartford to create unique organic art using canvas and paints. All members of the special needs community are welcome! On Saturday, February 23 at 10:30 a.m. we'll meet at Beth El Temple, 2626 Albany Avenue, West Hartford for an interactive Shabbat service led by Nancy Rosen with storytelling by Sara deBeer. We'll join the Torah procession in the main sanctuary and then enjoy a light Kiddush lunch. Everyone is welcome at our Shabbat services; they are geared toward those with special needs. To learn more, contact Bonnie Eisenberg-Greene at 860.522.5225 ext. 2237 or
February 11: "Bernstein and Friends" Dinner and Concert at The Emanuel Synagogue

Cantor Sanford Cohn
You're invited to "Bernstein and Friends," a dinner and a musical evening with Cantor Sanford Cohn on Monday, February 11 at 6:30 p.m. at The Emanuel Synagogue, 160 Mohegan Drive, West Hartford. Our program will celebrate the centennial of American Jewish genius Leonard Bernstein. Accompanied by Natasha Ulyanovsky, Cantor Cohn will perform his favorites by Bernstein, Aaron Copland and George Gershwin. Pre-registration is required for dinner, which includes your choice of a chicken or vegetarian entrée, salad, sides, dessert and drinks. Register by February 4 for our early bird price of $18; the regular price is $28. Deadline to register is February 7. For reservations and more information, contact Ken Malley at or click here. This program is sponsored by The Emanuel Synagogue Brotherhood.
"Embracing Judaism" Course Taught by Area Conservative Rabbis

Embracing Judaism is an adult learning program for Jews and others that provides an overview of Jewish traditions, values, prayers, holidays, rites of passage and more. Sponsored and taught by the Conservative Rabbis of the Greater Hartford area, classes meet on Thursday evenings at Beth El Temple, 2626 Albany Avenue, West Hartford. New students are always welcome.  For more information, contact Rabbi Richard Plavin at or 860.573.4503.
February 14, 21 and 28: "Breath & Blessing: Beginning a Jewish Mindfulness Journey"

What happens when a rabbi and a therapist bring together classic mindfulness techniques with ancient Jewish practices and spiritual texts? Join Jeryl Brown, MSW, and Rabbi Debra Cantor as we explore divergent and overlapping pathways to knowledge, gratitude and insight on three consecutive Thursdays - February 14, 21 and 28 - from 10:30 a.m. to noon at the Mandell JCC, 335 Bloomfield Avenue, West Hartford. This Neshama course is $60 for the general public and free for Neshama patrons. To register, call 860.243.3576 or email Neshama is a collaboration of B'nai Tikvoh-Sholom and the Mandell JCC.
February 17: The Wedding Photo that Sparked a Genealogical Adventure

How much can we really learn about family members who lived just three generations ago? In his book The Wedding Photo, Dan Oren, M.D., takes us on an amazing genealogical search for his grandmother's roots in Poland. Dr. Oren will share his story and his findings with us at the next meeting of the Jewish Genealogical Society of Connecticut on Sunday, February 17 at 1:30 p.m. at Temple Sinai, 41 West Hartford Road, Newington. All are welcome. For more information, visit
February 20 & 25: Beth El Temple Music University: Beethoven Intensive Part I

Ludwig van Beethoven
Ludwig van Beethoven was a revolutionary man living in a revolutionary time. He captured his inner voice, demons and all - along with the spirit of his time - creating a body of music the likes of which no one had ever before imagined. As part of Beth El Temple's Music University, Cantor Joseph Ness will present a lecture on Beethoven on Wednesday, February 20 at 7:45 p.m. with an encore lecture on Monday, February 25 at noon. The lecture will include some analysis and historical background but will mainly explore and demystify Beethoven's compositions through discussion and recorded examples of his early, middle, and late period piano works. This lecture is free and open to the public! Part II will follow in March; more information is coming soon. Click here for details. Beth El Temple is located at 2626 Albany Avenue, West Hartford.
Area Reform Rabbis Offer "Intro to Judaism" Class

Learn the fundamentals of Judaism including Torah, basic Hebrew, prayers, history, and more from the Reform rabbis of Greater Hartford. Classes will rotate among local Reform synagogues. For more information, contact Cheryl Goldberg at or 860.233.8215 x2230.
February 22: Shabbat Dinner Over the Border at Young Israel of West Hartford

Join the Young Israel of West Hartford for a spirited, Mexican themed Shabbat dinner and hear firsthand accounts of Jewish life from south of the border on Friday, February 22! Mincha/Maariv (afternoon and evening) prayers begin at 5:19 p.m., and dinner follows at 6:20 p.m. The cost for dinner is $15 per person, with a family cap of $55. For questions or to RSVP, contact Eric at, or click here. Young Israel of West Hartford is located at 2240 Albany Avenue, West Hartford.
February 22 & 23: Richard Freund, Ph.D., Featured as Beth David Synagogue's Scholar-in-Residence

Richard Freund, Ph.D.
Beth David Synagogue will host Richard Freund, Ph.D., Director of the Maurice Greenberg Center for Judaic Studies and Greenberg Professor of Jewish History at the University of Hartford, for a Scholar-in-Residence weekend on February 22 and 23. On Friday, February 22, Shabbat prayers begin at 5:15 p.m., followed by dinner and a presentation by Dr. Freund on the archaeology of the Exodus at 6:30 p.m. On Saturday, February 23, text study begins at 9 a.m., followed by Shabbat prayers at 9:30 a.m. and a noon Kiddush lunch and presentation by Dr. Freund on the archaeology of the Holocaust. The cost for meals is $25 adults, $12 children ages 5 to 12 for Friday dinner and Shabbat lunch, or $7.50 adults, $5 children ages 5 to 12 for Shabbat lunch only. The registration deadline is February 15. Shabbat services are always free and open to all. Click here for details and registration. Beth David Synagogue is located at 20 Dover Road, West Hartford.
February 24: Temple Tots at Kol Haverim... and Comedy Night Is Coming!

June Renert
Congregation Kol Haverim in Glastonbury is offering a new monthly program for children ages birth to 4 with their loving adult - parents or grandparents - taught by experienced preschool teacher June Renert. Each class focuses on a Jewish holiday and includes circle time, stories, art, music and snack. Our February class on Shabbat will be held Sunday, February 24 from 9 to 11 a.m. All are welcome. Individual sessions are $12 in advance, $15 at the door. Click here for details. Temple Tots is partially funded by the Alfred and Helen Weisel Education Endowment Fund of the Jewish Community Foundation of Greater Hartford. We also hope to see you at Comedy Night 2019 on Saturday, April 6 from 7 to 10:30 p.m. This 21+ event will feature three New York comedians, appetizers, beer/wine and desserts, and over 30 raffle and silent auction items! Advance tickets are $65 each ($75 at the door). Call 860.633.3966 to learn more. Congregation Kol Haverim is located at 1079 Hebron Avenue, Glastonbury.
February 24: "Partners in Creation: Atzei Hayyim - Trees of Life" Art Workshop

The Neshama Center for Lifelong Learning invites you to a morning of meaningful creativity at "Partners in Creation: Atzei Hayyim - Trees of Life" on Sunday, February 24 from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the Mandell JCC, 335 Bloomfield Avenue, West Hartford. Art therapist Harriet Winograd and Rabbi Debra Cantor of B'nai Tikvoh-Sholom will lead us in exploring the symbolism of the Tree of Life, and we'll create one of our own using simple collage techniques. No artistic experience is needed! Neshama is a collaboration of B'nai Tikvoh-Sholom and the Mandell JCC. The cost is $10 for the general public; free for Neshama patrons. To register, call 860.243.3576 or email
February 24: "Four Centuries of Jewish Music" at Charter Oak Cultural Center

The Zamir Chorale
Charter Oak Cultural Center is excited to present a concert by the Zamir Chorale of Boston on Sunday, February 24 at 4 p.m. at the Center's historic location at 21 Charter Oak Avenue, Hartford (Connecticut's oldest synagogue building, formerly Congregation Beth Israel). The program will include 19th and 20th century liturgical music, Italian Baroque works, a tribute to Leonard Bernstein and Israeli compositions on the theme of reconciliation. Ticket prices range from $5 to $20; click here for details or to purchase.
February 28: "Israel, Palestinians and the Middle East Crisis: Is There a Light at the End of the Tunnel?" at UConn Storrs

Neil Lazarus
Middle East expert Neil Lazarus will speak on "Israel, Palestinians and the Middle East Crisis: Is There a Light at the End of the Tunnel?" on Thursday, February 28 at UConn Hillel, 54 North Eagleville Road, Storrs. Lazarus has given presentations to the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Israeli Ministry of Tourism, The Jewish Agency for Israel, Sky TV, and many other national and international organizations. All are welcome to attend this free lecture presented by Huskies for Israel, part of UConn Hillel. Advance registration is requested (call 860.429.9007) but walk-ins are also welcome. Parking is available at the North Garage.
March 11: Remember Baghdad Film Screening and Iraqi Jewish Dinner with the Jewish Historical Society

Experience an unforgettable look at the untold story of Iraq through the eyes of the Jews who lived there for 2,600 years. In 1917, one-third of Baghdad's citizens were Jewish. After 1967, Saddam Hussain mobilized a mass movement against them, causing most to flee. With vivid home movies and archived news footage, eight characters share their remarkable life stories in Remember Baghdad. Join the Jewish Historical Society of Greater Hartford for a pre-screening Iraqi dinner at 6 p.m., followed by the film at 7:30 p.m., both at the Mandell JCC, 335 Bloomfield Avenue, West Hartford. The cost for the dinner and film is $32 per person. Register here by March 5. Questions? Contact Lynn Newman at 860.727.6170 or
March 12: Connecticut Premiere of The Samuel Project at Hartford Jewish Film Festival

Voices of Hope invites you to the Connecticut premiere of The Samuel Project at the Hartford Jewish Film Festival on Tuesday, March 12 at 7 p.m. at the Mandell JCC in West Hartford. The film is about a young man named Eli who gets to know his grandfather for the first time while working on an animated art project for school. He discovers that his grandfather, a San Diego dry cleaner, was saved from Nazi capture in Germany as a young boy. Voices of Hope, Lisa and Peter Fishman, and Marcia and Alan Lazowski are proud to sponsor this film. Click here to learn more.
March 17: Hamantashen and RELISH at Schechter

Save the date for Solomon Schechter Day School's Hamantashen and RELISH program on Sunday, March 17 from 2:30 to 4 p.m.! We're celebrating Purim with music, fun, costumes, and of course... hamentashen! Free and open to the public; all are welcome. Schechter is located at 26 Buena Vista Road, West Hartford. Click here to view the Facebook event.
March 24 and 25: Acclaimed Israeli Journalist Yossi Klein Halevi Visits Greater Hartford

Yossi Klein Halevi
Save the date for March 24 and 25, when bestselling Israeli author and journalist Yossi Klein Halevi will speak at not one but two free community programs in Greater Hartford. Halevi's most recent book,  Letters to My Palestinian Neighbor,  is a heartfelt plea for peace and new dialogue based on common ground in faith. He is a senior fellow at the Shalom Hartman Institute in Jerusalem and a frequent contributor to the  New York Times, Wall Street Journal, The Times of Israel and more.  On Sunday, March 24 at 7 p.m. at the West Hartford Town Hall, Halevi will converse with Muslim American commentator Parvez Ahmed, Ph.D., a former fellow of the Shalom Hartman Institute's Muslim Leadership Initiative and a regular contributor to Huffington Post. On Monday, March 25 at 7 p.m., Halevi will dialogue with former Palestinian Authority advisor Ghaith Al-Omari, a senior fellow at The Washington Institute for Mideast Policy and fellow at the American Task Force on Palestine. Both programs will include a time for audience Q&A. Both are sponsored by Federation's Jewish Community Relations Council, UConn Global Affairs, the World Affairs Council of Connecticut and the Shalom Hartman Institute. Monday's program is also sponsored by UConn Hillel, the Thomas J. Dodd Research Center at UConn and The Nachshon Project. Registration information is coming soon.
May 16: Save the Date for the Third Annual JFS Embracing Possibility Mental Health Program

Save the date for Jewish Family Services' third annual Embracing Possibility program for mental health awareness, which will be held on Thursday, May 16 at Kingswood Oxford School in West Hartford. "Are You Happy?" will feature award-winning ABC news anchor and correspondent Elizabeth Vargas and Laurie Santos, Ph.D., professor of psychology and cognitive science at Yale University. More information is coming soon!