I couldn't be more excited to assume leadership of the Federation this month. Addressing vital social service needs, bolstering our local agencies, supporting vulnerable Jewish communities around the world, strengthening Jewish learning and practice, protecting our institutions and building bridges of understanding within the Jewish community and more broadly - all depend on a strong, efficient and innovative Jewish Federation, as well as leadership and generosity. 

One of my communal role models, a leader in this community for decades, was Gerry Gelles, who passed away last week at age 88.  At his funeral his sons, David, Steven, Stuart and Richard, described a giant of a man who consistently exuded wisdom, confidence and warmth and who always prioritized both his family and the Jewish community.

Repeatedly, Gerry was described as exemplifying the admonition from Pirkei Avot,"If I am not for myself, who will be for me, if I am only for myself, what am I, and if not now, when?" Gerry's life reflects an ethos that permeates this close knit community - a community that cares for one another, for broader societal challenges and for the Jewish people writ large.

Building upon a storied 70-year Federation history, the vision and generosity of communal leadership, the wisdom of my predecessor, Howard Sovronsky, and an outstanding staff, the Federation is poised for success. As I start my tenure this month, I look forward to meeting more members of this community, participating in many of the events described below, learning more from you about our challenges and opportunities and working together to ensure a vibrant, engaged and meaningful Jewish future.

President and CEO
Jewish Federation of Greater Hartford
Federation Welcomes New Board Members, Presents Awards at Annual Meeting

New Federation Board members from left: Robert Stillman, Bruce Goldsmith, Judy Schlossberg, Tracy Taback, Leslie Silvers, Risa Filkoff and Ronald Cipriano.
At our Annual Meeting on June 13, Jewish Federation of Greater Hartford welcomed new officers and members of the Board of Directors who will assume their roles in September. New officers include Carolyn Gitlin, Chair of the Board; Dana Keller, Vice Chair of General Development; Judy Schlossberg, Vice Chair of Women's Development; Gary Starr, Vice Chair of Long Range Planning; and Robert Stillman, Assistant Treasurer. New Board members include Ronald Cipriano, Risa Filkoff, Bruce Goldsmith, Judy Schlossberg, Leslie Silvers, Robert Stillman and Tracy Taback.

Mazal Tov to Federation Award Recipients
Please join us in congratulating the following community members who help make Jewish Greater Hartford a great place to live! They received awards at Federation's Annual Meeting. An album of photos from the evening is available here.

Henry M. Zachs Spirit of Judaism Awards
  • Alan Solinsky, M.D., a longtime member of Beth El Temple who has created job opportunities for adults with special needs
  • Richard B. Nabel, J.D., Ed.D., Head of General Studies and Interim Head of School at Hebrew High School of New England
Outstanding Madrichim Awards
Presented by Federation's Commission on Jewish Education and Leadership to teen classroom aides (madrichim) who are nominated by their religious schools for significant contributions to classroom teaching.
  • Jess Ashton, Congregation Beth Israel, West Hartford
  • Emma Finer, Beth Sholom B'nai Israel, Manchester
  • Zoe Friedman, The Emanuel Synagogue, West Hartford
  • Natalie Goodman, The Emanuel Synagogue, West Hartford
  • Lucy Gottfried, Beth El Temple, West Hartford
  • Max Harris, Beth El Temple, West Hartford
  • Dara Hechter, Beth El Temple, West Hartford
  • Lauren Lesser, Temple Sinai, Newington
  • Mollie Nardone, Congregation Kol Haverim, Glastonbury
  • Alison Souder, Congregation Kol Haverim, Glastonbury
New Community Data Are Now Available on the JMAP Dashboard

How is Jewish Greater Hartford changing? Find out with the JMAP Dashboard. JMAP is a study of Greater Hartford's Jewish community commissioned by Federation and the Jewish Community Foundation of Greater Hartford in 2016. In 2018, we launched the JMAP Dashboard to aggregate data from local Jewish organizations. More than 1,200 community members, 27 agencies and 8 synagogues have participated so far, and we've just updated the data with the results of a new mini-survey. Visit www.jmapct.org to view the dashboard and learn more.
Bess and Paul Sigel Hebrew Academy Congratulates Graduates

Bess and Paul Sigel Hebrew Academy graduates in their caps and gowns.
Bess and Paul Sigel Hebrew Academy of Greater Hartford experienced a joyful eighth grade graduation last month. We are so proud that our graduates will be attending NEJA, the New England Jewish Academy. A full crowd came to honor our graduates, who have impacted not only our school but also the broader Jewish community. We are fully confident that they are the future of our people.
July 8 - 26: Community Diaper Drive Benefits Homeless Families

Several organizations across our Jewish community are partnering to collect disposable diapers and other supplies for homeless families with young children at CRT's East Hartford Community Shelter. The Community Diaper Drive runs from Monday, July 8 through Friday, July 26, with eight drop-off locations. The drive is seeking new, closed packages of diapers in sizes newborn through 6 (sizes 3 and 4 are the most needed), baby wipes, diaper cream, sensitive skin baby wash and baby powder. Drop-off locations include B'nai Tikvoh-Sholom in Bloomfield, Congregation Kol Haverim in Glastonbury and six West Hartford locations: Beth David Synagogue, Jewish Federation of Greater Hartford, Congregation Beth Israel, the Mandell JCC, The Emanuel Synagogue and Young Israel of West Hartford. Click here for street addresses and additional details. The Community Diaper Drive is co-chaired by Susan Seid and Linda Brooks with help from the Jewish Community Relations Council, part of Jewish Federation of Greater Hartford. The drive is generously sponsored by MSA Worldwide.
July 10 & 17: Voices of Hope Informational Meetings for March of the Living

Voices of Hope will lead a delegation to the 2020 International March of the Living.
More than 260,000 people from 52 nations have participated in the International March of the Living, a 3-kilometer walk from Auschwitz to Birkenau on Yom HaShoah (Holocaust Remembrance Day). Voices of Hope will lead a delegation to the march next April, and we want you to join us. Learn more at one of two informational meetings: Wednesday, July 10 at 7 p.m. at the Mandell JCC in West Hartford, or Wednesday, July 17 at 7 p.m. the home of Adele Jacobs and Michael Liebowitz in Fairfield. For details or to RSVP, email info@ctvoicesofhope.org or call 860.470.5591.
July 11 - 15: Annual Tag Sale at The Emanuel Synagogue

The Emanuel Synagogue's annual Tag Sale is happening this month! Early birds may come on Thursday, July 11 from 5 to 8 p.m., for a $5 admission fee. The Tag Sale will also be held on Friday, July 12 and Sunday, July 14 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. and on Monday, July 15 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. There is no charge for those dates. A bag sale will take place on Sunday, July 14 from 1 to 3 p.m.; get one bag for $10 and two bags for $15! Or join us on Monday, July 15, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., for $5 a bag. The Emanuel Synagogue is located at 160 Mohegan Drive in West Hartford. For more information, contact Joanne at sauljo66@gmail.com.
Fridays in July: PJ Shabbat Club at the Mandell JCC

All young children and their grownups are invited to join PJ Bear in the Mandell JCC Family Room for a drop-in PJ Library playgroup every Friday morning beginning at 10:45 a.m. At 11:15, we'll welcome Shabbat with songs and a story followed by blessings and challah. This program is free... please bring a friend! To learn more about PJ Library activities in Greater Hartford, visit our Facebook page. To sign your children or grandchildren up for free Jewish books and music, visit pjlibrary.org for ages 8 and younger or pjourway.org for ages 9 to 11. PJ Library books are a gift from the Harold Grinspoon Foundation and are funded locally by Jewish Federation of Greater Hartford's Lions of Judah and by the Jewish Community Foundation advised by the Zachs Family. The Mandell JCC is located on the Zachs Campus at 335 Bloomfield Avenue, West Hartford.
July 12: Meet Beth El Temple's New Lay Leadership Team at a Shabbat Picnic in the Park

Beth El's new lay leadership team, from left: Second Vice President Sharon Neiberg, Congregational President Judy Rosenthal and First Vice President Steve Rabb.
Beth El Temple's new lay leaders for the 2019-2021 session would love to see you at our Shabbat Potluck Picnic in the Park on Friday, July 12 from 6 to 7:30 p.m. at Eisenhower Park, 13 Sheep Hill Drive, West Hartford! You can learn more here. Our new Congregational President, Judy Rosenthal, is a significant presence in Jewish Greater Hartford; she serves as Beth El's fundraising chairwoman and sits on the Board of Jewish Family Services. She was named a Federation Woman of Impact last June. "It is a great time to be the president of a synagogue," she remarked, "and I am deeply honored and grateful for the opportunity to serve this organization comprised of professionals who do such important work, both ethically and spiritually, to advance truth and dedication in the pursuit of Conservative Judaism." Rosenthal and our new First Vice President Steve Rabb recently completed the Jewish Leadership Academy's Community Leadership Initiative. Both Rabb and Second Vice President Sharon Neiberg are well-known in the Jewish community. Rabb serves as co-chair of Beth El's award-winning Men's Club and was recently named Chair of the Federation's Jewish Community Relations Council; Neiberg has served as chairwoman of the synagogue's NextGen group and co-chaired the Parent Action Group for SULAM, the synagogue's religious education program.
July 14: Explore The Emanuel's History with a Centennial Bike Ride

The Emanuel Synagogue is continuing its centenary celebrations with a Centennial Bike Ride on Sunday, July 14, starting from the synagogue's home at 160 Mohegan Drive, West Hartford. There are three distances to choose from: 15 miles (check in at 9 a.m.), 30 miles (check in at 8:30 a.m.) or a metric century (about 100 km or 63 miles; check in at 8 a.m.). All rides will visit historic locations from The Emanuel's rich history. Click here for details and registration.
Sign Up Now for Schechter's Early Childhood 2 Program

Solomon Schechter Day School of Greater Hartford has limited spots available in its Early Childhood 2 program. Inspired by the Reggio Emilia early childhood philosophy, Schechter's Early Childhood program celebrates the uniqueness of each child. Our nurturing environment teaches responsibility, respect, values and independence. Schechter students grow to see themselves as an integral part of a Jewish community and to understand that Judaism is a way of life. For more information, visit us online or call 860.561.0700. Schechter is located at 26 Buena Vista Road, West Hartford.
July 17: Free Screening and Discussion of White Right: Meeting the Enemy at B'nai Tikvoh-Sholom

The Farmington Valley League of Light, Neshama Center for Lifelong Learning and B'nai Tikvoh-Sholom invite you to a screening and facilitated conversation featuring White Right: Meeting the Enemy, a documentary film by Deeyah Khan, on Wednesday, July 17 from 7 to 9 p.m. at B'nai Tikvoh-Sholom, 180 Still Road, Bloomfield. Bilal Sekou, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of Hartford, will help us explore why far-right extremism is on the rise and discuss what we can do to challenge it. RSVP to 860.243.3576 or office@btsonline.org.
Hundreds Attend Congregation Beth Israel's First Pride Shabbat

Congregation Beth Israel raises the Pride flag.
Amidst gatherers sporting rainbow hair and Pride flags, Congregation Beth Israel celebrated its first ever Pride Shabbat on June 28. Rabbi Andi Fliegel honored the movement for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer equality and inclusion while celebrating LGBTQ+ Jews and the intersection of Jewish identity and LGBTQ+ identity. CBI also raised its Pride flag at the synagogue for the weekend. CBI is located at 701 Farmington Avenue, West Hartford.
The Three Weeks and Tisha B'Av
July 20 - August 11

What is Tisha B_av_ The Jewish Day of Mourning
Learn more about the Three Weeks and Tisha B'Av in this short video from BimBam.
The Three Weeks are a period of mourning observed by many traditional Jews from the 17th of Tammuz to the Ninth of Av ( Tisha B'Av). During this time, we remember the conquest of Jerusalem, the destruction of the Temple and the dispersion of the Jewish people. Several restrictions associated with mourning are observed during this time. Tisha B'Av itself is considered the considered the saddest day in the Jewish calendar.

We hope you find meaning in this solemn time. Local Tisha B'Av observances will be listed in the August edition of JLink.

July 24 and 31: Free Summer Concerts at Hoffman SummerWood

Hoffman SummerWood welcomes the entire community to enjoy its free Summer Concert Series. The Klezmenschen of Eastern Connecticut will play traditional songs from the Old Country, Yiddish theater songs and Israeli dance tunes on Wednesday, July 24; the Dick Santi Orchestra will perform Big Band favorites on Wednesday, July 31. Both concerts begin at 7 p.m. at Hoffman Summerwood. Bring your friends! Hoffman SummerWood is an award-winning nonprofit rental community for seniors located at 160 Simsbury Road, West Hartford.
July 29 - August 4: National Havurah Committee's Summer Institute at the University of Hartford

The National Havurah Committee's week-long Summer Institute is a unique, non-denominational opportunity for serious study, moving prayer, spirited conversation, late-night jam sessions, singing, dancing, swimming, meditation and hiking - all in the company of more than 300 people from a wide range of backgrounds. This year the Institute will once again be held at the University of Hartford, located at 200 Bloomfield Avenue in West Hartford. Click here to learn more or to register.
Chai Mitzvah: Register before August 1 for a 10% Discount!

Come see what's new with Chai Mitzvah, a nine-month-long Jewish study, discussion and action program for adults and teens. Our newest program debuting in the fall is "Aseret: The Big Ten." Register your group before August 1 and receive 10% off! To learn more, call Nina Woldin at nina@chaimitzvah.org.
Now through August 31: Apply for an Interfaith Family Connection Mini-Grant

Are you part of an interfaith family? Now through August 31, you can plan "a little something" Jewish with your friends and receive up to $100 to cover the cost of your gathering! You can hold your activity at home, in your neighborhood or in a public space. Just choose a theme (e.g. a Shabbat pizza party, a picnic with Israeli food, painting Shabbat candlesticks, or collecting school supplies for children in need), invite a couple of families and email your plan to us for approval. If we approve your plan, take photos of your activity and submit your photos and receipts for up to $100 of reimbursement! This mini-grant program is made possible by the Interfaith Family Connection grant, generously funded by the Jewish Community Foundation. For more information or to apply for a mini-grant, contact Susan Lentini at slentini@mandelljcc.org or 860.231.6374.
September 12: Save the Date for "Female Trailblazers: Connecticut Jewish Women Who Made a Difference"

Judith Rosenbaum, Ph.D.
Jewish Historical Society of Greater Hartford invites all women to save the date for "Female Trailblazers: Connecticut Jewish Women Who Made a Difference," a luncheon with guest speaker Judith Rosenbaum, Ph.D., Executive Director of the Jewish Women's Archive, on Thursday, September 12 in the Chase Family Gallery of the Mandell JCC in West Hartford. The luncheon will happen in conjunction with the traveling exhibit of the same name, which will be on display from Tuesday, September 3 through Wednesday, October 2. The luncheon is co-sponsored by Federation's Women of Impact. Details are coming soon.
October 30: Save the Date for an Evening of Hope

Voices of Hope is excited to announce that its signature annual event, an Evening of Hope, will take place on Wednesday, October 30 beginning at 6 p.m. in the G. Fox Ballroom, 960 Main Street, Hartford. Author Steven Pressman will share the inspirational story of an American Jewish couple's mission into the heart of Nazi Germany to rescue 50 children. Details are coming soon to our website; you can also email info@ctvoicesofhope.org for more information.
New "Embracing Judaism" Classes Begin in October

Explore the richness of the Jewish tradition with "Embracing Judaism," an 18-week introduction to Judaism program taught by Conservative rabbis in the Hartford area. This program will be of value to Jews, Christians and people of any or no faith. The first session this fall will be held on October 31. For more information, contact Rabbi Richard Plavin at riplavin@gmail.com or 860.573.4503. You can also check out our website here.