Dear friends,

Next Monday, our nation will honor the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.  Below are some opportunities to join our friends and neighbors in commemorating Dr. King's life and values. We hope you will participate!

President and CEO
Jewish Federation of Greater Hartford
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
This year, Martin Luther King Jr. Day coincides with the Jewish holiday of Tu B'Shevat, the "New Year of the Trees." Hazon has created a Tu B'Shevat haggadah that offers thoughts and ideas to help you celebrate the new year for trees in your home or community - and it includes a social justice component with excerpts from Dr. King's teachings. You can download a free copy of the haggadah by visiting this page and clicking the red button.

January 19
Beth El Temple invites you to Shabbat morning services this Saturday, January 19, beginning at 9:30 a.m. Toward the end of the service David Brandwein, past president of Federation's Jewish Community Relations Council, will speak about his experience as part of the recent interfaith civil rights delegation to Alabama. (Scroll to the bottom of this email to learn more about the trip.) Beth El Temple is located at 2626 Albany Avenue, West Hartford.

Rev. Stephen W. Camp and Rabbi Debra Cantor
You're invited to join
B'nai Tikvoh-Sholom for an MLK Shabbat Lunch & Learn, "Two Friends Reflect on Making a Pilgrimage to Montgomery," with Reverend Stephen W. Camp, Senior Minister of Faith Congregational Church in Hartford, and Rabbi Debra Cantor of BTS, on Saturday, January 19 at 11:30 a.m. at BTS. Rev. Camp and Rabbi Cantor are old friends who have spoken and taught at one another's places of worship and traveled together to Israel. Recently, they each visited the new National Memorial for Peace and Justice in Montgomery, Alabama, which is dedicated to showing the history of slavery and lynching of African-Americans and how that legacy continues to the present day. This program is free and all are welcome (donations are also welcome); please call the BTS office at 860.243.3576 to RSVP. BTS is located at 180 Still Road, Bloomfield.

Young Israel of West Hartford invites children and their parents and/or grandparents to a free evening of family Torah learning, pizza, raffles and prizes... and a special educational packet on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Dor L'Dor ("generation to generation") will take place on Saturday, January 19 from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. at Young Israel of West Hartford, 2240 Albany Avenue, West Hartford. You can bring something to learn or check out our specially curated, age-appropriate guided learning options. Questions? Email us at

January 20
JTConnect invites all teens from eighth through twelfth grade to join in an MLK (sun)Day of Service on Sunday, January 20 from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at Congregation Beth Israel, 701 Farmington Avenue, West Hartford. We'll be sorting donations from Children's Reading Partners' Holiday Book Drive so that the books are ready to distribute to at-risk students and their schools.

To honor Dr. King's legacy, Congregation Beth Israel invites you to a "Sunday Soup Supper for the Soul" on Sunday, January 20 from 5:30 to 8 p.m. at 701 Farmington Avenue, West Hartford. A casual Sunday-night supper was Dr. King's favorite tradition. How far have we come in making Dr. King's goals a reality? At this interfaith cross-cultural event, we'll share a meal and engage in conversation about social justice and Dr. King's legacy. The cost to attend is $20 per person; click here to register. Questions? Contact Sue Fulleton at or 860.810.0027. Co-sponsored by the CBI Social Justice Committee, the Connecticut Council for Interreligious Understanding and other Greater Hartford area faith groups.

January 21
Temple Beth Hillel's annual Shema Tour of local nonprofit organizations will take place on Martin Luther King Day, Monday, January 21. The bus will leave Temple Beth Hillel at 9 a.m. to visit Jewish Association for Community Living, South Park Inn and the Charter Oak Cultural Center. We will return at approximately 3 p.m. All are invited; children must be accompanied by a parent. A free lunch will be provided. Donations to help cover the cost of the bus transportation and lunch are appreciated.  We will regroup at noon on the following Sunday, January 27, to choose which organization we'll support for our TBH 2019 Social Action Project. Kindly RSVP for the bus tour to or 860.282.8466. Temple Beth Hillel is located at 20 Baker Lane, South Windsor.

The Mandell JCC invites you to Reduce, Reuse, Recycle and do a mitzvah for Tu B'Shevat and MLK Day on Monday, January 21 from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. at the J's West Hartford location at 335 Bloomfield Avenue. We'll create recycled bags to fill with snacks and socks for local neighbors in need. After your bag is finished, you can make sandwiches that will be donated to Hands On Hartford. This program is free and open to people of all ages; please bring an adult-size T-shirt and a loaf of bread for each participant who is attending. RSVP to Elana MacGilpin at by Thursday, January 17. The J is also holding a brunch and learn about Jews and civil rights and a morning of volunteering at the Fern Street Community Kitchen Food Pantry. Click here to learn more.

Faith Congregational Church, UCC invites the Jewish community to attend "No Time to Rest!," its ninth annual Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. celebration, on Monday, January 21 beginning at 3:30 p.m. We'll enjoy great music, singing, food and fellowship and special guest preacher Rev. Dr. Lilton J. Marks, Sr. of Smithfield, Virginia. David Brandwein, past chair of the Federation's Jewish Community Relations Council, will also be speaking at this event. All are welcome!  The church is located at 2030 Main Street, Hartford. 

Students at Bess and Paul Sigel Hebrew Academy will spend the day learning about respect and tolerance for all human beings. The eighth grade Language Arts class will also begin reading a new book together. Rising Out of Hatred: The Awakening of a Former White Nationalist, written by Pulitzer Prize winning author Eli Saslow, is about a young man who was being groomed as the future leader of the White Nationalist Movement. (His godfather is David Duke.) Although he kept a low profile in college, he was exposed and subsequently ostracized by most of his fellow students - with the exception of an Orthodox Jew who invited him to Shabbat meals and drew him in, helping to turn around his life.

Students at Solomon Schechter Day School will engage in conversation about social protest music and its impact during the civil rights era. Students will discuss and perform integral components of social protest music including call and response, improvisation and the blues scale. They will learn how music served as a cultural ambassador during times of adversity and make connections between the spoken words of masterful orators such as Dr. King and musicians such as Mahalia Jackson and Tommy Dorsey. Learning about Dr. King's message through the power and timelessness of music is part of Schechter's regular collaboration with Facing History and Ourselves, an organization that engages students in examining racism, prejudice, and antisemitism in order to promote the development of more humane and informed citizens. 
A Journey Inspired by MLK

Interfaith Freedom and Justice Ride participants outside 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama, the site of a 1963 KKK bombing that killed four young Black girls.
A delegation of 36 Jews and Christians from Greater Hartford recently returned from retracing the historic footsteps of civil rights leaders in Alabama. The Interfaith Freedom and Justice Ride 2019 was spearheaded by the Jewish Federation Association of Connecticut (JFACT), Federation's Jewish Community Relations Council, the Connecticut Conference of the United Church of Christ, and Faith Congregational Church UCC and Immanuel Congregational Church UCC in Hartford. Participants visited a number of civil rights landmarks from Montgomery to Selma, learned from local civil rights activists and worshiped together. The trip was intended to be a step toward building stronger relationships between Jews and Christians, Blacks and whites in Greater Hartford. The delegates hope to continue their work through joint advocacy and educational programs. You can read more about the trip here or view a Facebook photo album here.