WEST HARTFORD – It was the spring of 1947 when Leah Horowitz and Felix Bronner met at a liberal veterans’ organization in New York City.
Leah, a native New Yorker and the youngest of 11 children, was a daughter of the Horowitz-Margareten matzah-making clan. She had joined the U.S. Army after graduating Hunter College with a degree in nursing. Felix, who was born in Vienna, had spent his childhood in Berlin before arriving in the United States in 1936 to live with cousins in Washington, D.C. while finishing high school. His parents, caught in Europe during the rise of Nazism and the start of World War II, barely escaped via Portugal and landed in New York City in 1941. (The Bronner’s other son, Hanan, escaped to Palestine and joined the Israeli Foreign Ministry, where he eventually served as an ambassador and senior official.) Felix went on to receive his undergraduate degree from the University of California at Berkeley, then enlisted in the U.S. Army during World War II.
Less than a year after they met – on Oct. 12, 1947 – Leah and Felix married.
Felix went on to earn his PhD from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, then began his career at the Rockefeller Institute in New York.
Thirty nine years ago, after serving as a professor at the University of Louisville Medical School, he accepted a position at the University of Connecticut and the couple set up home on West Hartford’s Ferncliff Drive.
Leah, a nurse and health educator, worked for the Connecticut state health department for many years. Today, Felix is emeritus professor at the University of Connecticut Health Center, where he specialized in calcium metabolism.
Over the years, the Bronners have become an integral part of the Hartford community, active in West Hartford’s Beth El Temple and other Jewish organizations, as well as Democratic politics. Felix is also an accomplished painter of abstract works who has had exhibitions in galleries across Connecticut.
Now, on Friday, Oct. 12, the Bronners will celebrate their 65th wedding anniversary in the company of their two children – Deborah Bronner, a Los Angeles attorney, and Ethan Bronner, a New York-based correspondent for The New York Times – their four grandsons – Joseph, Joshua, Eli and Gabriel – as well as their friends at Hoffman Summerwood in West Hartford, where they have lived for the past year.
The next day, on Saturday, Oct, 13, the Bronner’s milestone will be noted at services at Beth El Temple.
“To be in the presence of Leah and Felix is not only to witness the power of a love that has spanned more than six decades, it is to see the currents of Jewish history reflected in their very lives,” Beth El’s Rabbi Jim Rosen told the Ledger. “They are living examplars of a deep embrace of Jewish life here and in Israel in all of its intellectual, religious and cultural depth. We are all enriched by the example they set of devotion to our people, each other and family. A true blessing in our midst.”