It may still be cold outside, but underneath the snow, daffodils are preparing for spring. And our Jewish community is already in full bloom: every day seems to bring at least one new opportunity to learn, grow and repair the world.

I am especially proud of two collaborations under way at Federation: the Dignity Project, a new initiative launched by our Women of Impact on February 28, and back-to-back interfaith dialogues with noted Israeli author and journalist Yossi Klein Halevi, happening on March 24 in West Hartford and on March 25 at UConn Storrs. You can read more about both below.

I hope to see you soon!

President and CEO
Jewish Federation of Greater Hartford
March Madness! Jewish Family Services Community Discount Card Is a Slam Dunk Deal

Support the JFS Anja Rosenberg Kosher Food Pantry! Purchase a $20 Community Discount Card to use at local restaurants including A.C. Petersen Farms; Blue Plate Kitchen; Concetta's Italian Restaurant; Crown Market; Effie's Place; Harry's Bishops Corner; Icy Rolls; Lox, Stock & Bagels; Moe's; Noodles World Kitchen; Sally & Bob's Eatery; Subway and Thai Palace. The card is valid through December 31, 2019. Click here to download and print an order form.
March 7: Mitzvah Mamas Celebrate Rosh Chodesh Adar II

Celebrate Rosh Chodesh Adar II (the new month of Adar II) with the Mitzvah Mamas, friendly Jewish women ages 13 and up from around the Greater Hartford area. Our next gathering is on Thursday, March 7 at 7 p.m. Shomerot (lay leaders) facilitate our hour-long circle. Our shomeret this month is Candra Smith-Slatas; she'll present a Purim-related program on "The Blessing of Being Bold" in her home at 19 Saint Andrews Drive, Avon. The gathering starts promptly, so please plan to arrive at 6:45 p.m. if you would like to schmooze before we get started. Bring a friend! 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.
March 8: Women of the Wall Shabbat at FVJC

Join Farmington Valley Jewish Congregation - Emek Shalom and Jewish communities around the nation on Friday, March 8 at 6 p.m. as we celebrate Shabbat and honor women. At the same time, Women of the Wall will be celebrating its 30th anniversary with " Let Me Hear Your Voice," a weekend of learning and solidarity at the Kotel (Western Wall) in Israel. Please bring your dinner along and we'll all eat together after the service. FVJC is locatd at 55 Bushy Hill Road, Simsbury.
BSBI Commemorates the World Wide Wrap

BSBI Brotherhood lays tefillin during the World Wide Wrap.
On Sunday, February 3, the Beth Sholom B'nai Israel Brotherhood and Rabbi Leon Wind Religious School participated in the national World Wide Wrap program. Approximately 30 people participated as Brotherhood members taught the students about the mitzvah of wearing tefillin (phylacteries). Click here to view more pictures from the World Wide Wrap and to learn more about BSBI Brotherhood and what they do. BSBI is located at 400 Middle Turnpike East, Manchester.
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. Questions? Contact Lynn Newman at 860.727.6170 or
March 13: Holy Archaeology of Yavne and Nazareth at Maurice Greenberg Center

From left: Richard Freund, Ph.D., Rabbi Barnea Selavan, and Maha Darawsha, Ph.D.
The Maurice Greenberg Center for Judaic Studies at the University of Hartford invites you to attend free, public conference presentations on the holy archaeology of Yavne and Nazareth with Professor Richard Freund of UHart, Rabbi Barnea Selavan of Tel Aviv University and Professor Maha Darawsha of UConn on Wednesday, March 13 beginning at 7 p.m. For more information and to RSVP, call 860.768.5018 or email You can also register online here. The Greenberg Center is located on the University of Hartford campus at 200 Bloomfield Avenue, West Hartford.
Voices of Hope Presents Film, Operas in March and April

Voices of Hope invites you to learn and remember the Holocaust this month through the performing arts. The Samuel Project will make its Connecticut premiere on Tuesday, March 12 at 7 p.m. at the Mandell JCC as part of the Hartford Jewish Film Festival. In addition, the Connecticut Lyric Opera and Connecticut Virtuosi will perform The Emperor of Atlantis, an opera by Viktor Ullman written in the Theresienstadt concentration camp, on March 28 in New Britain, March 31 in Hartford, and April 11 in New London (tickets coming soon).
Jewish Federation's Women of Impact Launch the Dignity Project

Dignity Project launch participants with Dignity Packs.
More than 50 Women of Impact attended the launch event for the Dignity Project on Thursday, February 28. (View the Facebook photo album here.) The Dignity Project will provide discreet packs of menstrual supplies and toiletries to women and girls in need through Jewish Family Services and Mikveh Bess Israel. These supplies are not covered by federal grant programs such as SNAP and WIC, and some women and girls in our region are unable to attend work and school because they can't afford to buy them. Attendees assembled 150 Dignity Packs at the launch event, and 850 more will be assembled throughout the year, for a total of 1,000 in the first year. Donations of money and products are welcome; please contact Alana Butler or Meredith Chandler to learn more. For details on the Dignity Project and its leaders and sponsors, click here.
March 16: Third Annual Cholent Cookoff at Young Israel of West Hartford

The Young Israel of West Hartford is excited to invite you to our Third Annual Cholent Cookoff on Shabbat morning, March 16. Think you have what it takes to compete for the coveted Golden Ladle? Click here to enter today! Just want to sample the BEST cholents in West Hartford? Join us Shabbat morning and cast your vote. The Shacharit (morning prayer) service begins at 9 a.m. and the cookoff lasts all day. Young Israel of West Hartford is located at 2240 Albany Avenue, West Hartford.
March 17: Emanuel Brotherhood Breakfast and Program on the Community Leadership Initiative's Trip to Israel

Community Leadership Initiative participants herd sheep in Israel.
On Sunday, March 17 beginning at 9 a.m., The Emanuel Brotherhood will sponsor a free breakfast buffet and speaker program, "Our Israel Trip and the Leadership Initiative" and featuring Mel Simon, Jeff and Jenn Cohen, and fellow travelers to Israel from the Jewish Leadership Academy's Community Leadership Initiative. Come see what they learned about Jewish leadership - you will be surprised! RSVPs are not required. For more information, email Ken Malley at The Emanuel Synagogue is located at 160 Mohegan Drive, West Hartford.
March 17: "Family History before Our Eyes" with Jewish Genealogical Society of Connecticut

The Jewish Genealogical Society of Connecticut welcomes everyone interested in Jewish genealogy to its monthly meeting on Sunday, March 17 beginning at 1:30 p.m. at Temple Sinai, 41 West Hartford Road, Newington. Marcia Indianer Meyers, a past president of JGSCT, and Arthur Meyers, former editor of Quest, JGSCT's newsletter, will present "Family History before Our Eyes." They will discuss a remarkable 400-year-old wooden synagogue in the Ukraine where Marcia's father became a Bar Mitzvah and tell us about the family files that Marcia uncovered - family history before our eyes! For more information, visit
New Term, New Classes, New Educators at JTConnect

Every week, Jewish teens come together through JTConnect to explore all aspects of Judaism in a relaxed social setting with their friends. They choose from a variety of elective classes that encourage introspection, thoughtful debate, active learning and fun. With our new term starting a few weeks ago, our new classes are now in full swing! Click here to learn more about what our teens are learning.
March 20 - 21: Purim

Chef Jeff Nathan's white chocolate and cherry hamantaschen, from Jamie Geller's Joy of Kosher website. Click the photo above for 41 hamantaschen recipes from sweet to savory.
Purim is one of our most joyous holidays: it commemorates the defeat of Haman's plot to massacre the Jews by the wise and virtuous Queen Esther. Purim traditions include reading the Megillah (scroll) of Esther, wearing costumes, baking hamantaschen ("Haman's hats"), giving to charity, and sending small gifts (Mishloach Manot) to friends. Our community is celebrating Purim in so many ways... come join the fun!

Earth-Friendly Purim Ideas
Hazon offers sustainable mishloach manot, recycled costumes, edible groggers, and more to help you green your Purim! Learn how to plan a Purim celebration that is fun for you and good for the planet using our sustainable Purim tips. To further your sustainability efforts, learn about the Hazon Seal of Sustainability. Hazon's home in Connecticut is at the Isabella Freedman Jewish Retreat Center in Falls Village.

March 16
Join Temple Beth Hillel for a "Rock of Ages" themed Purim costume party on Saturday, March 16 at 5 p.m. Sponsored by the Men's Club, the evening includes dinner, drinks (including a signature drink), dancing and a photo booth. Child care will be available for anyone who needs it, at no extra cost. Tickets are $25 per person in advance and $30 at the door. For more information, call 860.282.8466 or email Temple Beth Hillel is located at 20 Baker Lane, South Windsor.

March 17 & 20
Congregation Kol Haverim will celebrate Purim in two ways, and you are welcome to join the fun! The synagogue's monthly Temple Tots program for children age birth to 4 and their caregivers will learn about Purim on Sunday, March 17 from 9 to 11 a.m. The program includes circle time, stories, art, music and a snack; the cost is $12 in advance or $15 at the door. Click here to learn more. On Wednesday, March 20, all ages are welcome to celebrate Purim with HamiltonShpiel 2019: A Purim Musical! Our intergenerational cast and crew has worked hard, learned a lot and had fun, and we can't wait to put on a show for you. The evening starts with a pizza dinner at 5:30 p.m. ( click here to register). A Purim service begins at 6 p.m., followed by the Shpiel at 6:45 p.m. and hamantaschen Oneg (reception) afterward. Congregation Kol Haverim is located at 1079 Hebron Avenue, Glastonbury. For more information, call 860.633.3966.

March 20
Click the photo above to learn how to make a homemade mishloach manot basket on the Tory Avey website.
You're invited to join The Emanuel Synagogue on Wednesday, March 20 for Purim. We'll begin with Mincha (afternoon prayer) at 6 p.m. and Ma'ariv (evening prayer) at 6:15 p.m. The Megillah reading is at 6:30 p.m., and there will be a festive Purim Café with holiday treats at 8 p.m. All are welcome! The Emanuel Synagogue is located at 160 Mohegan Drive, West Hartford.

Young Israel of West Hartford will celebrate Purim Night Madness on Wednesday evening, March 20. Kids ages 2 to 14 are invited to enjoy a breathtaking live show at 6:30 p.m., followed by a costume parade at 7:15. A community Megillah reading will begin at 7:25 p.m. followed by a light break-fast. Click here for details. Young Israel of West Hartford is located at 2240 Albany Avenue, West Hartford.

Beth David Synagogue welcomes you to a Harry Potter Purim party on the evening of Wednesday, March 20. A little kids' party starts at 7 p.m., followed by Megillah readings at 7:30 and a great feast at 8:15 p.m. Late Megillah readings will take place at 9:15 p.m. Click here to see all the amazing Harry Potter fun you'll have! Please come in costume and bring along clean, gently used clothes for our "Save the House Elves" clothing drive and an extra mishloach manot for the Hebrew Home. Free for kids under 13; $10 for adults; $5 for the open bar band. Beth David Synagogue is located at 20 Dover Road in West Hartford.

B'nai Tikvoh-Sholom and the Neshama Center for Lifelong Learning will celebrate Purim with Megillah, masks, merriment and munchies on Wednesday, March 20 at 7 p.m. We promise to laugh no matter what! Free and open to all. RSVP at 860.243.3576 or BTS is located at 180 Still Road, Bloomfield.

March 20 & 21
Beth Sholom B'nai Israel is holding multiple Purim events this year. On Wednesday, March 20, we'll enjoy dinner at 5 p.m. followed by the Megillah reading at 6 p.m.; the cost for dinner is $10 per BSBI member family and $15 per non-member family. Wear your best costume (optional), bring anything that makes noise (we have extra groggers if you need them) and join us for our Ma'ariv service, a parade of children in costume and a full Megillah reading! We'll also hold a Shacharit (morning prayer) service with Megillah reading on Thursday, March 21 at 8 a.m. Come celebrate with us! Questions? Contact our office at 860.643.9563. BSBI is located at 400 Middle Turnpike East, Manchester.

Purim in Israel.
Beit Mordechai, Connecticut's only Sephardic Orthodox synagogue, welcomes you to celebrate Purim Israeli style! The fun begins on Wednesday, March 20 at 6:40 p.m. with Mincha, Ma'ariv and the Megillah reading, followed by drinks, music, dancing and fun. On Thursday, March 21 we'll begin at 6:20 p.m., once again with Mincha and Ma'ariv and the Megillah reading. This will be followed by the Purim party of a lifetime with drinks, music, dancing, standup comedy, and much more! Costumes are required for both nights. Suggested donation is $18 per person, with a maximum of $45 per family. To learn more, contact or 860.982.1656. Beit Mordechai is located at 1137 Trout Brook Drive in West Hartford.

March 23
Gishrei Shalom Jewish Congregation will celebrate Purim at 2 p.m. on Saturday, March 23. Join us for a Purim Shpiel, lots of singing and - of course! - hamentaschen made by our Shabbat school children. The congregation makes its home at 37 Main Street, Southington, at the First Congregational Church. Please enter through the door at the parking lot level to access Memorial Hall.
March 24: "The Jewish Songs of Bob Dylan" at Temple Beth Hillel

Bob Dylan
Explore the Jewish songs of Bob Dylan with guest speaker Rabbi Stephen Karol on Sunday, March 24 at 10:30 a.m. at Temple Beth Hillel, 20 Baker Lane, South Windsor. The talk and musical demonstration will take place in the library, and light refreshments will be served. All are welcome. For more information, call 860.282.8466 or email Temple Beth Hillel is located at 20 Baker Lane in South Windsor.
March 24: Kehilat Chaverim Presents "How to Create a Memorable Seder" Workshop

Kehilat Chaverim invites the entire community to an innovative and entertaining participatory workshop, "How to Create a Memorable Seder," with Dr. Murray Spiegel on Sunday, March 24 from 3 to 4 p.m. at the Mandell JCC, 335 Bloomfield Avenue, West Hartford. Dr. Spiegel, whose innovative Seders have been featured in The New York Times and on PBS, will offer novel ideas that include music, games, parodies, and quizzes that draw from historic as well as contemporary versions of the Four Questions. He also will make captivating connections to Jewish cultures across the globe. This workshop is free and open to the public - please bring your friends! No RSVP required. To learn more, contact Debby Szajnberg at
March 24 and 25: Acclaimed Israeli Journalist Yossi Klein Halevi Visits Greater Hartford

Yossi Klein Halevi
This month, bestselling Israeli author and journalist Yossi Klein Halevi will speak at 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, The 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. Click here for details and registration. 
  • On Monday, March 25 at 7 p.m., Halevi will speak 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. Click here for details and registration. 
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.
UConn Hillel Welcomes New Director of Engagement

Jacqui Schulefand
UConn Hillel is excited to announce the appointment of Jacqui Schulefand as Director of Engagement. Although Jacqui has experience in the business world, she comes to UConn Hillel after 16 years of teaching experience at Ezra Academy, a Jewish Day School in the New Haven area. She has held a number of roles in the school including Hebrew and Judaic Studies teacher, girl's Rosh Chodesh group leader and track coach. Jacqui has two daughters, one who lives in Connecticut and the other in Tel Aviv. She likes to spend every chance she gets in Israel and has volunteered in the IDF for the past five summers. She is very excited to join the UConn Hillel team.
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.
March 31: Turning Words of Torah into Works of Art

The Neshama Center for Lifelong Learning presents the next in its series of hands-on Jewish art workshops. "Remember that You Were Refugees: Turning Words of Torah into Works of Art" will take place on Sunday, March 31 from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at B'nai Tikvoh-Sholom, 180 Still Road, Bloomfield, with instructors Melinda Wright and Rabbi Debra Cantor. We'll create "calligrams," merging language with imagery to create a work of art. We'll use Jewish teachings, poetry, quotes from refugees, and your own thoughts as sources and employ pen and ink, watercolors and markers on paper to create a visual statement. No artistic experience needed! All materials provided. Join us for this expressive and engaging event. $10; free for Neshama patrons. RSVP at 860.243.3576 or
April 4: "Graffiti and the Forgotten Jews of Antiquity" at UConn Storrs

Karen Stern, Ph.D.
On Thursday, April 4, Karen B. Stern, Ph.D., associate professor of history at CUNY's Brooklyn College, will present the Gene and Georgia Mittelman Lecture in Judaic Studies, " Graffiti and the Forgotten Jews of Antiquity." A kosher lunch will be provided. The talk will be held from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. in Oak Hall 236 on the UConn Storrs campus; it is free and open to the public. This program is made possible by the UConn Center for Judaic Studies and Contemporary Jewish Life, the Humanities Institute, the Anthropology Department, and the Department of Literatures, Cultures, and Languages.
April 6: Comedy Night at Kol Haverim

Join Congregation Kol Haverim for 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). Click here for tickets, or call 860.633.3966 to learn more. Congregation Kol Haverim is located at 1079 Hebron Avenue, Glastonbury.
Free Large-Print Haggadot Available From Jewish Braille Institute

Established in 1931, the Jewish Braille Institute is a nonprofit agency serving people of all ages and backgrounds. JBI is pleased to offer free large-print haggadot for the visually impaired or reading disabled. To reserve your haggadah, call 800.999.6476 before April 12, 2019, or order online at
April 14: Descendants of the Shoah Speak Up & Kindertransport Exhibit Opening

Children on the Kindertransport.
Voices of Hope and Speak Up Storytelling invite you to the Fifth Descendants of the Shoah Speak Up on Sunday, April 14 from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the Mandell JCC, 335 Bloomfield Avenue, West Hartford. The program is free and open to all; it features torytelling from children and grandchildren of Holocaust survivors. Immediately after the program, you are cordially invited to an exhibit opening and luncheon for "Childhood Left at the Station," a tribute to the children of the Kindertransport, in the J's Chase Family Gallery. Tickets for the luncheon are $18 in advance or $20 at the door. Click here for details on both events.
April 14 and May 5: S'mores and Tours at Camp Laurelwood

Come explore Camp Laurelwood's newly renovated campus, meet our friendly staff, and enjoy s'mores by the campfire on Sunday, April 14 or Sunday, May 5 from 1 to 3 p.m. Camp Laurelwood offers day camp for grades K and up, and overnight camp for grades 2 through 10. New camper discounts and financial assistance are available. To RSVP or to schedule a tour on another day, contact Jennifer Gelband at Camp Laurelwood is located at 463 Summer Hill Road in Madison.
"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.