January 2021
January 5, 9, & 18: Young Israel Presents COVID-19 Vaccine Series - and a Glow-in-the-Dark Drive-In Havdalah  
On Tuesday, January 5 and Tuesday, January 19 at 8 p.m., join Young Israel of West Hartford for a two-part series, "The COVID-19 Vaccine: The Intersection Between Jewish Law, Ethics and Public Policy." Presented by Rabbi Tuvia Brander, this program will explore how approaches in Judaism address vaccine prioritization, development, and distribution, whether a bracha should be recited, and what obligation exists to be vaccinated. For the Zoom login or to submit questions in advance, email  
info@youngisraelwh.org. And on Saturday, January 9 at 6:15 p.m., families of all ages are invited to drive in to our parking lot at 2240 Albany Avenue in West Hartford for an exciting glow-in-the-dark Havdalah! We'll have fun, festive glow-in-the-dark supplies on hand for you. Click here for more information or email Leora at youthdirector@youngisraelwh.org.
"Fire on Ice" Draws Over 1,000 to Safely Celebrate Hanukkah 
Chabad Hartford Fire & Ice Hanukkah Celebration 2020 
Over 1,000 people came out on December 13 for Connecticut's largest Hanukkah extravaganza, Chabad House of Greater Hartford's "Fire on Ice" drive-in celebration at Blue Back Square in West Hartford. Beloved contemporary Jewish singer Benny Friedman energized the attendees while artists carved a stunning, 8-foot menorah out of ice. Each car also received a goodie bag with games, crafts, and cookies. View the video at left for a recap, or click the link above to learn more about Chabad.

January 7: "Embracing Judaism" Classes Begin
Always been curious about Judaism? Never paid attention in Hebrew school? Thinking about (or is someone you love thinking about) officially joining the Tribe? Our program, "Embracing Judaism," will begin January 7. The Rabbinical Assembly of Connecticut is hosting American Jewish University's Miller Intro to Judaism Program, and everyone is welcome to join. Taught by several Hartford area rabbis, classes cover Judaism's biggest and most life-changing ideas, as well as the nuts and bolts of daily Jewish living. We'll meet for 18 sessions on Thursday evenings, from 7 to 8:45 p.m. Classes will be held online until it is safe to meet in person. This year, due to the pandemic, the registration fee has been reduced to $90. Scholarship funds are also available. This class is for both Jews and non-Jews, and it meets the Conservative Movement's requirements for those considering conversion to Judaism. To learn more, contact Rabbi Richard Plavin at 860.573.4503 or riplavin@gmail.com.
January 10: NCSY Kicks Off WeLearn Winter Fest 2021  
WeLearn, a project of Northeast NCSY, builds community by and for teens across the region through shared Torah experiences with help from our knowledgeable and awesome advisors. Since we can't all be together in person this winter, we're kicking it up a notch! WeLearn Winter Fest 2021 will include an exciting "havurah wars" event on Sunday, January 10 with swag, prizes, raffles, surprises, and lots of fun. Earn 30 points in NCSY rewards for each time your group gets together to learn all winter long. Points can be redeemed for gift cards, electronics, scholarships, and more! And save the date for Monday, February 15 for our 3K Challenge, where we'll have 3,000 combined minutes of learning Torah on one Zoom... with even more swag and prizes. If and when we hit our 3K Challenge goal, we'll have a siyum party to celebrate our achievements! (This is tentatively planned for sometime in March.) Click here to register. Questions? Email northeast@ncsy.org.  
January 10: Soup's On at Congregation Kol Haverim
What better way to welcome 2021 than with a bowl of steamy goodness? Join Kol Haverim Foodies and our own Beth Hillson -  food writer, cooking teacher, and food editor - as we dish about matzoh balls and chicken soup and share our favorite soups, recipes, and pictures. We've set a place at the table for you at our Zoom gathering, which will be held on Sunday, January 10 from 4 to 5 p.m. Click here to register.  
January 12: "Poland, the Jews, and My Family" with Leon Chameides, M.D. 
Leon Chameides, M.D. 
Although most American Jews trace their ancestry to Poland, there are many misconceptions about Polish history and historical Polish-Jewish relations. In this talk, co-presented by the Jewish Historical Society of Greater Hartford and Connecticut Voices of Hope, Leon Chameides, M.D. - former director of pediatrics at Hartford Hospital - will share his own family's experiences. Born in Poland, Dr. Chameides spent the war years hidden in a Ukrainian Greek-Catholic monastery. He arrived in England in 1946 and came to the United States in 1949. He has written two books: "Strangers in Many Lands," a family and personal history, and "On the Edge of the Abyss,"  a translation and annotation of essays written by his father, Rabbi Kalman Chameides, between 1932 and 1936. Click here to register. Questions? Email lnewman@jewishhartford.org or call 860.727.6171. 
JTConnect Celebrates Hanukkah 2020, Safely and In Person! 
JTConnect teens and their families had an amazing time celebrating Hanukkah in a socially distant (albeit chilly) way, adding light and warmth to the darkness this season. Over the course of the holiday, JTConnect led six different Hanukkah celebrations in West Hartford, Simsbury, and South Windsor - complete with games, a photo booth, a hot chocolate bar and lots of grab-and-go sufganiyot! Click here for more information on JTConnect.  
January 13: Teammates in Citizenship: An Evening with MLB Veteran Doug Glanville
Doug Glanville 
Beth El Temple and its Men's Club, Women's Network, and Chai Society are excited to invite you to a special Zoom event with ESPN analyst and former MLB player Doug Glanville. Glanville will join us on Wednesday, January 13 at 8 p.m. to discuss his career and the relationship between sports, media, and social justice. His distinct vision combines his years of experience participating in and covering major league baseball, his lifelong civil rights work, and his work as a college professor on the topics of athletes, society, activism, public policy, and the media. Together we'll navigate today's demanding climate for social change and learn how to become better teammates in citizenship. Click here to register. For more information, email Lydia Lutt at marketing@bethelwh.org.
Schechter Offers Interdisciplinary Approach to Education
Solomon Schechter Day School of Greater Hartford's interdisciplinary approach to learning helps students make connections across multiple subject areas for a broad, holistic view of the world. The Parparim (grades K - 1) team's recent unit on Noah and the Ark brought together Judaic studies, science, and art to ponder big philosophical questions from the Torah and learn about taxonomy and animal habitats in a hands-on way. Students selected a habitat that interested them and, after studying it, they sculpted the animals that live there out of salt dough. This is just one example of Schechter's multifaceted approach to learning, which teaches students to think critically and connect ideas across time, traditions, subject matters, and modalities. To learn more about the benefits of a Schechter education, call Karen at 860.561.0700 or visit the Schechter website. 
Click this image to learn more about Living with Intention on January 19.
January 24: BSBl Presents Comedy Night with Rhonda Corey
Rhonda Corey 
Comedian Rhonda Corey - winner of the Clean Comedy Challenge 2018 and producer and host of the livestream sensation "Talk is Cheap" - is putting on a comedy show just for you! Get ready to laugh your masks off from the safety of your own home on Sunday, January 24 at 7:30 p.m. as Beth Sholom  
B'nai Israel presents a virtual comedy show featuring several national touring comics from across the country. Click here to purchase tickets. 
Chai Mitzvah's "Grandparents & Beyond"
Connect with your grandchildren! Enjoy meaningful Jewish conversations and engaging activities for all ages. Be part of fun, interactive virtual community events. A year-long subscription to "Grandparents & Beyond" is only $18! Click here to learn more. Questions? Contact Nina at nina@chaimitzvah.org
January 27 - 28: Tu B'Shevat  
Tu B'Shevat, "the New Year of the trees," has been a part of our calendar since Talmudic times. It falls on the 15th day of the month of Shevat; this year, it begins at sundown on Wednesday, January 27. 
In the 16th century, the mystics of Tzfat, Israel, established the Tu B'Shevat seder, eating fruits, grains and nuts associated with the land of Israel. Early Zionists re-established Tu B'Shevat as a tree planting holiday as part of their efforts to green the land of Israel. Today, our worldwide Jewish community celebrates Tu B'Shevat in these and other ways that celebrate nature and the bounty of the land.
Here are a few ways our community will mark Tu B'Shevat. We hope you'll join the fun!
Augment your celebrations with Hazon's Tu B'Shevat Haggadah, available as a free download by clicking here. You'll also find resources, recipes, and sustainability tips. And be sure to save the date for the Big Bold Jewish Climate Fest (January 27 to 31)!  

January 17  
On Sunday, January 17 at 11 a.m., join the Camp Laurelwood team and our friends at Jewish Federation of Greater New Haven and PJ Library for a nature walk on the  beautiful campus of Camp Laurelwood, 463 Summer Hill Road, Madison. Come explore the beautiful flora and fauna while learning more about Tu B'Shevat. This free in-person event is for explorers of all ages! Please dress warmly, wear a mask, and be prepared to socially distance; health and safety are our main priority. To RSVP, please call the camp office at 203.421.3736 or email Tess at info@camplaurelwood.org. You can also enjoy the nature walk from the comfort of home: We'll be livestreaming the walk on our Facebook page here beginning at 11 a.m. (Please note: The date of this event is subject to change due to inclement weather.) Whether in person or virtually, we hope you'll join us! You can also click here to sign up for the Camp Laurelwood e-mail list. 
January 24 
The Jewish Association for Community Living will hold a virtual Tu B'Shevat program on Sunday, January 24 at 11 a.m. We'll celebrate with a discussion, a story, and a trivia quiz. One tradition is to feed the birds on Shira Shabbat - the Shabbat before Tu B'Shevat - so JCL residents will also receive goodie bags to make their own bagel-and-peanut-butter bird feeders. Click here to visit our website and here to like our Facebook page.
January 27: Register Today for Teen Leadership Summit on Antisemitism
Antisemitism typically surges in times of political or economic uncertainty and rapid social change. But it isn't just the high-profile and lethal incidents that should concern us; it's also the kids who snap "heil Hitler" salutes as a "joke," tell Holocaust jokes, or scrawl swastikas on public bathroom doors. On Wednesday, January 27 from 4 to 5:15 p.m., ADL Connecticut will hold a Zoom program to let Jewish teens know that they are not alone. Teens will also learn how to stand up to antisemitism and have tough conversations. To register or learn more, contact Susan Walden at swalden@adl.org
January 27: 11th Annual International Holocaust Remembrance Day
Voices of Hope invites you to our 11th Annual International Holocaust Remembrance Day on Wednesday, January 27. The commemoration will take place on YouTube Live at 7 p.m., and Bea Israel will receive the 2021 Chesed Award. Click here to register. For more information, email info@ctvoicesofhope.org.
Click this image for details on our upcoming program with Ben Zachs_ COO of Fine Fettle Dispensary.
University of Hartford Hillel Welcomes New Manager of Programming and Engagement
Emma Strumpf 
University of Hartford Hillel is thrilled to welcome our new Manager of Programming and Engagement, Emma Strumpf. A Connecticut native, Emma found her passion for Jewish life as a student at UConn, where she was an avid Hillel participant. She recently completed a two-year Springboard Innovation Fellowship with the University at Albany Hillel, where she excelled at engaging students of all backgrounds and building an inclusive Jewish community. We're grateful to the Jewish Community Foundation of Greater Hartford, Hillel International, and the University of Hartford for supporting the creation of this position. For more information about our programs, email Lisa Langsner, Director of Jewish Student Life, at langsner@hartford.edu
January 29 & 30: Emanuel Synagogue to Hold ADL Shabbat  
Suzanne Pinkes
The Emanuel Synagogue invites you to a special Shabbat honoring the Anti-Defamation League. On Friday, January 29, following 7:30 p.m. services, we'll host a Zoom discussion with Mayors Suzette DeBeatham-Brown of Bloomfield and Shari Cantor of West Hartford moderated by Steven Ginsburg, Connecticut Regional Director of ADL. Tune in to learn about a new ADL initiative! On Saturday, January 30, during Shabbat services beginning at 9 a.m., we'll honor distinguished ADL leadership and staff including Emanuel members Suzanne Pinkes, Board Chair of Connecticut ADL; Alan Lazowski, ADL National Board member and chair of the ADL Growth Committee; and ADL member Sheryl Levin. Kira Simon, Director of Curriculum and Training at ADL and a graduate of the Emanuel Religious School, will also be honored. In addition, during Shabbat morning services, Rabbi David Small will convene a panel discussion on bridge building in our community. Rabbi Small and Emanuel President Melvin Simon are co-chairs of ADL Shabbat, which is open to the community. To learn more or to register, call The Emanuel office at 860.236.1275 or click here to visit our website. 
January 31: IRAC Executive Director Anat Hoffman to Speak on Current Legal Status of Reform Movement in Israel 
Anat Hoffman 
Congregation Beth Israel is pleased to welcome Anat Hoffman, Director of the Israel Religious Action Center, for a free virtual program on the current legal status of the Reform movement in Israel on Sunday, January 31 at 11 a.m. Hoffman will discuss Reform conversion and wedding recognition, equal governmental funding, and challenges faced by Reform congregations - as well as plans to work with the new Israeli government on these issues. A Jerusalem-born Israeli, Hoffman has headed IRAC since 2002, fighting for and winning recognition of Reform and Conservative conversions by the state and leading the struggle against gender segregation in the public domain. In addition, for over three decades, Hoffman has led the Women of the Wall in their struggle toward gender equality at the Western Wall; she also served on Jerusalem's city council for 14 years, heading the opposition. She was named Person of the Year by Haaretz in 2013, one of the 50 Most Influential Jews by the Jerusalem Post in 2014, and one of Israel's top women activists by Globes, the Israeli business daily, in 2018. The program is open to the public; registration is required. Click here for details and here to register. 
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