The last month has been chock full of opportunities to celebrate our Jewish community. Perhaps the biggest highlight was the Israel@70 Community celebration held on June 3 at the Mandell JCC. A joint production of the Mandell JCC and Jewish Federation of Greater Hartford with financial support from the Jewish Community Foundation of Greater Hartford, Federation, and numerous sponsors, the festival drew hundreds of people for a beautiful afternoon of entertainment, education and Jewish pride. You'll find a photo album here

As the school year winds down and we shift into a gentler pace, there are still plenty of opportunities to celebrate our beautiful Jewish community. I hope to see you during the summer!


President and CEO
Jewish Federation of Greater Hartford
Schechter Unveils Holocaust Memorial Sculpture

Solomon Schechter Day School unveiled a beautiful Holocaust memorial sculpture created by the seventh graders as part of a collaboration with Facing History and Ourselves. Entitled "Our Legacy Lives On," this multi-layered sculpture features life-castings of their hands, from which plants will grow, symbolizing both the generations that have thrived despite such tragedy as well as the students' personal journeys as Jews today. Their message: even through devastation, rebirth and growth is possible. Click here to see a video featuring Schechter students and some of their work.
June 8: Organ Service and Book Discussion at Beth El Temple

Enjoy a Friday Night Organ Service tonight at 7 p.m. at Beth El Temple, followed by an Oneg Shabbat and forum with guest speaker and Beth El member Irene Berman. Irene will discuss her book, We Are Going to Pick Potatoes: Norway and the Holocaust, The Untold Story, and her personal story of escaping Norway during the Shoah. Beth El Temple is located at 2626 Albany Avenue, West Hartford.
June 10: Young Israel of West Hartford's Siyum Tanach Gala  

Join Young Israel of West Hartford on Sunday, June 10 at Beth El Temple to celebrate the completion of our study of the entire Hebrew Bible (Siyum Tanach) and to honor two incredible couples: Daniella and Rabbi Avi Robinson, and Elisheva and Zev Davidovics. The gala begins with a program at 4:15 p.m.; a dinner will follow. We will honor the Robinsons' and Davidovics' dedication to Torah learning and Torah values, which are at the core of our Young Israel community. For more information or to register, click here. Beth El Temple is located at 2626 Albany Avenue, West Hartford.
June 12 Emanuel Synagogue Holds Bereavement Workshop

Maria Sirois, Psy.D.
The Emanuel Synagogue's Chesed Committee is sponsoring two bereavement workshops at the synagogue, which is located at 160 Mohegan Drive in West Hartford. The first workshop, "Exploring the Myths of Grieving," took place on Tuesday, May 8. The second, "Practices of Belonging, Optimism and Meaning," will be held on Tuesday, June 12. Both are being led by Maria Sirois, Psy.D., a clinical psychologist, inspirational leader and author. The workshops are held from 6 to 9 p.m.  and  include a light supper and evening services. An RSVP is required; please email to reserve your spot.

June 12: "Pinot and Planning" with Hadassah Greater Hartford

Calling all Hadassah members - and anyone interested in joining! Hadassah Greater Hartford is holding a "Pinot and Planning" party on the evening of Tuesday, June 12 and you are invited. We're looking for new and exciting ideas that will help us mobilize and attract new participants for a great 2018-19 year. All suggestions are welcome. For details, contact Debbie at 860.206.4832.
Join the Discussion: Hebrew Senior Care Television Program Features Ambulance Services

The May episode of Join the Discussion, Hebrew Senior Care's monthly cable access show, focused on ambulance services. Robert Mara, a field supervisor from Aetna Ambulance, joined host Madelene Francese of Hebrew Senior Care to discuss the other care options that ambulance companies provide beyond 911 call response. You can view the program here. If you have a suggestion for a show topic, please contact Madelene at or 860.523.3994.
June 13: Federation's Annual Meeting and Ice Cream Social

Jewish Federation of Greater Hartford invites you to attend our 2018 Annual Meeting on Wednesday, June 13 at 7 p.m. at Beth El Temple. We'll present the Henry M. Zachs Spirit of Judaism Award to David Goldfarb, a congregant at Young Israel of West Hartford, and Denis Geary, Executive Director of Jewish Association for Community Living. Deputy Chief Brian J. Foley of the Hartford Police Department will receive the President's Award, and we'll recognize the best young Jewish educators and educational programs from across Greater Hartford. Stay for the Ben & Jerry's ice cream social afterward! RSVP to or 860.727.6112. Beth El Temple is located at 2626 Albany Avenue, West Hartford.
Micha Biton will give one last Israel@70 performance tonight at Farmington Valley Jewish Congregation.
Micha Biton will give one last Israel@70 performance tonight at Farmington Valley Jewish Congregation.

The Israel@70 Community Celebration may be over, but our year of celebration isn't! Be sure to check out the many events listed on the Israel@70 calendar here. To learn more about Greater Hartford's Israel@70 commemorations, visit

June 8: Tonight is your last chance to see Israeli rocker Micha Biton in Greater Hartford! He has been visiting our community as part of the Israel@70 festivities. Tonight he'll give one final performance at Farmington Valley Jewish Congregation's Shabbat services, beginning at 6:30 p.m. Registration is closed for the dinner afterward, but all are welcome to attend the Shabbat service. FVJC is located at 55 Bushy Hill Road, Simsbury. For more information, call the synagogue office at 860.658.1075.

June 10: Join Camp Laurelwood for a free community celebration of Israel's 70th birthday! From games and outdoor activities (including swimming, boating and ropes) to music to shopping in the shuk (open air market) and Israeli food for purchase - there's fun for everyone, and all are welcome! The fun happens on Sunday, June 10 from 2 to 6 p.m. at Camp Laurelwood, 463 Summer Hill Road, Madisond.

Bess and Paul Sigel Hebrew Academy's middle school went to the State Capitol in Hartford on Yom HaAtzmaut (Israel Independence Day) to join in JFACT's celebration of Israel's 70th anniversary. After the program, JFACT Executive Director Michael Bloom gave us an extensive tour of the Capitol and introduced us to a number of State Senators.  It was an incredible experience for our students.  We hope that in the future they will get involved in Israel advocacy!

Register now for these trips to Israel: 
  • October 7-15: Join Hadassah to celebrate 100 years of the Hadassah Medical Organization! Spend a unique evening at Peres Center for Peace and march in the footsteps of our nurses on the streets of Jerusalem. Enjoy a VIP Hadassah Hospital visit and a special Haifa Naval Base visit. Click here for information and to register, or call 800.237.1517.
  • October 17 - 24: It's the biggest anniversary party ever! Join Federation for a joint mission to Israel and General Assembly in Tel Aviv this fall. You'll see how you're making a tangible difference through Federation and you'll make friends from Israel, North America and around the world at one of the world's largest Jewish gatherings. Click here to learn more, or contact Linda Toce at 860.727.6112 or
  • October 23 - 30: Love to bicycle? The Israel Ride will take you from Jerusalem to Eilat and broaden your understanding of the region as you meet Israelis, Palestinians, and Jordanians working toward peace, environmental sustainability, and regional cooperation. Visit for more information and to register.
  • October 30 - November 13: Rabbi Jeff and Mindy Glickman from South Windsor's Temple Beth Hillel are leading a mission to Israel. The itinerary will include many must-do sites, chances to meet Israeli families, and much more. Click here for all the details and an application form, or contact Mindy Glickman at 917.698.7952.
June 16: B'nai Tikvoh-Sholom Honors Bea Israel

B'nai Tikvoh-Sholom of Bloomfield  will honor longtime member, Holocaust survivor and well-known caterer Bea Israel on the occasion of her special birthday, on Saturday, June 16. Shabbat services begin at 9:30 a.m. followed by a kiddush luncheon. For more information, please contact the synagogue office at 860.243.3576. BTS is located at 180 Still Road, Bloomfield.
June 16: Mitzvah Mamas Celebrate Rosh Chodesh Tammuz at the Beach

Women (and their families) are invited to welcome Rosh Chodesh Tammuz at the beach in Milford, Conn., on Saturday, June 16.  Arrive at noon for a potluck lunch, or come at 2 p.m. for a one-hour Mitzvah Mamas women's circle. We'll play in the sand afterward! Shelley Haslett is our shomeret (hostess) this month. Please note that while families are welcome, the 2 p.m. hour will be for women only, so please arrange for someone to watch your children during that time. For the street address and what to bring, contact us through the Mitzvah Mamas Facebook group, or contact Mindy Glickman at 917.698.7952.
June 16: Chavurah Kickoff at FVJC

Join Farmington Valley Jewish Congregation for a family fun night on Saturday, June 16 from 5 to 8 p.m. to meet new people and learn about our Chavurah groups. Chavurah comes from chaver, the Hebrew word for "friend." Each Chavurah is a small group that comes together around a common interest - from Jewish study to interfaith relationships to good food. For details and registration, click here. FVJC is located at 55 Bushy Hill Road, Simsbury.
June 18: First Meeting of a New Community Jewish Meditation Circle

Please join us on Monday, June 18 at 7 p.m. at Beth David Synagogue for the first meeting of a community-wide, multi-congregational, grassroots circle of spiritual practice, including chanting, silent meditation and compassionate listening. A formal 30-minute meditation period will begin at 7:15 p.m.; please arrive early to get settled. Afterward we'll discuss next steps. You are welcome to stay for traditional Mincha/Maariv (afternoon/evening) services at 8:15 p.m. if you wish. Beth David Synagogue is located at 20 Dover Road, West Hartford. For more information, email Alyssa at or Joel at
Institute for Basic Judaism Offers Overview of Jewish Religion and Values

Curious about Judaism? Check out the Institute for Basic Judaism program.  It provides an overview of the Jewish religion (observance and spiritual values) in 20 sessions of 2 hours each. Generous scholarships available. For more information, contact Rabbi Richard Plavin at
June 22, July 27, & August 24: Special Musical Shabbat with BSBI

Join Beth Sholom B'nai Israel for Shabbat Nariya! We'll welcome Shabbat with rousing musical settings of the psalms of Kabbalat Shabbat for voice and instruments. They were written by Rabbi Micah Shapiro and have been used in Boston, Mass., and in Jerusalem. The tradition of Shabbat Nariya is to teach the music ahead of time to singers and instrumentalists who become m'halelim - helping to lead the music from within the congregation. For more information, contact Cantor Sarah Bolts at  BSBI is located at 400 Middle Turnpike East, Manchester.
Chai Mitzvah Study Groups Are Forming Now!

Looking to add some inspiration to your life? Why not start a Chai Mitzvah group? It's fun, easy, and it's a great way to socialize with good friends and talk about meaningful things. To learn more, contact Susan Fried at
June 24: "Torah Tiyul" Walk from Congregation Beth Ahm to Temple Beth Hillel

On Sunday, June 24, Congregation Beth Ahm and Temple Beth Hillel will come together to walk the Torah from Beth Ahm in Windsor to its new home at Temple Beth Hillel in South Windsor! Many volunteers will be needed to carry the Torah (and the 4 poles of chuppah) over the 10-mile route. Join us on a tiyul (journey) to remember! We've broken the route into segments of different lengths. You can walk half a mile, a couple of miles, or the entire 10 miles... or help us pass the Torah across the Windsor Town Green. There are also options for those unable to walk. Join us afterward at Temple Beth Hillel as we celebrate the union of our Temples with a reception from 2 to 4 p.m. Click here for details and to register. Questions? Contact the TBH office at 860.282.8466 or
June 25: An Evening with Author Vera Schwarcz at the Mandell JCC

Vera Schwarcz, Ph.D.
You're invited to an evening with author Vera Schwarcz, PhD, on Monday, June 25 at 7 p.m. at the Mandell JCC. Dr. Schwarcz is the Mansfield Freeman Professor of East Asian Studies, Emerita, at Wesleyan University; she'll discuss her new book, In the Crook of the Rock: Jewish Refuge in a World Gone Mad: The Chaya Walkin Story, which chronicles the journey of a young Jewish girl from Poland to Vilna, Kobe and Shanghai during World War II. This program is free and open to all. The Mandell JCC is located at 335 Bloomfield Avenue, West Hartford.
June 26: Exhibit Opening: "Power of Protest: The Movement to Free Soviet Jews"

The Jewish Historical Society of Greater Hartford is proud to present "Power of Protest: The Movement to Free Soviet Jews," a traveling exhibition created by the National Museum of American Jewish History. It showcases Americans' efforts in the late 1960s through 1990 to free refuseniks - Jews who lived in the Soviet Union and were denied the rights to live freely, practice Judaism, or leave the country due to their religion. The exhibit opens with a program after the JHS Annual Meeting on June 26 at the Mandell JCC, 335 Bloomfield Avenue, West Hartford. The Annual Meeting begins at 6 p.m. and the program follows at 7. Sheldon Benjamin, MD, Professor of Psychiatry and Neurology and Director of Neuropsychiatry at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, will discuss his 20-year involvement with the movement to free Soviet Jews. The exhibit remains at the Mandell JCC from June 26 to August 29. To learn more, contact Lynn Newman at or 860.727.6170.
Full Scholarships to Hartford Seminary's International Peacemaking Program Available for Jewish Students

Are you passionate about peace? Interested in exploring peacebuilding with Christian and Muslim peers? Full scholarships to Hartford Seminary are available for Jews interested in interfaith peacebuilding through the International Peacemaking Program (IPP), a one-year, fully funded learning opportunity that includes a six-course graduate certificate and a skill-building co-curriculum. You'll learn about the Abrahamic traditions and receive training in dialogue methods, mediation, public speaking, working with the media and project planning. You can apply your graduate credits toward a master's degree at Hartford Seminary; credits are typically also transferable to other institutions. Admission to this program is rolling. Click here to learn more about IPP, or contact Phoebe Milliken To learn more about Jewish Studies at Hartford Seminary, click here.
July 23 - 29: National Havurah Committee's Summer Institute at UHart

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.
August 1 - 5: Hazon Food Conference and Jewish Food Festival in Falls Village

At Hazon's Food Conference and One-Day Jewish Food Festival, taking place August 1 through 5 at the Isabella Freedman Jewish Retreat Center in Falls Village, Conn., you can expand your culinary expertise; enjoy local, seasonal organic fruits and veggies; unpack the complexities of our global food system; and connect to our ancient food tradition. The Kids' Food Conference, specially designed for young foodies, makes it perfect for the whole family! Click here to learn more and register for the best summer vacation ever!
October 4: Save the Date for HINENI: An Evening of Voices and Visions

Mark your calendars for Thursday, October 4 at 5:30 p.m., when we'll kick off Jewish Federation of Greater Hartford's 2019 Annual Campaign and get a very personal look at the impact that we can achieve when we work together in times of need. HINENI: "Here I Am": An Evening of Voices and Visions will take place at The Emanuel Synagogue, 160 Mohegan Drive, West Hartford. It will feature firsthand stories of Federation's rapid response to Hurricane Harvey in Houston, Texas, and the school shooting in Parkland, Florida. More information is coming soon. If you'd like to help us expand our guest lists by becoming a Table Captain, please contact Rachel Berezin at 860.727.6123 or
October 10: Voices of Hope Presents Violins of Hope

Voices of Hope invites you to an evening with Violins of Hope: Strings of the Holocaust on Wednesday, October 10 at 6 p.m. at the G. Fox Ballroom, 960 Main Street, Hartford. We'll award the Simon Konover Recognition for Excellence in Holocaust Teaching to Joseph Olzacki, Ed.D., and Avinoam Patt, Ph.D. and honor Elysha and Matthew Dicks with the L'Dor V'Dor ("from generation to generation") award. For ticket information and sponsorship opportunities, click here.