Special to the Ledger
WOODBRIDGE – Last year, when Barbara Cadranel, a Stratford resident and world-class harpsichordist, approached the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) for assistance in standing up to her condominium association – which had demanded that she remove her mezuzah from the doorpost of her home – she couldn’t have known that her case would ultimately affect Connecticut legislation.
A mezuzah – a small, unobtrusive object placed on the doorpost of a Jewish family’s home in fulfillment of religious obligations — is not a decorative choice or a choice of any kind for Jews and requiring its removal is tantamount to requiring a Jewish person to move.
After the condominium association turned down multiple respectful and private requests from Cadranel, ADL and her legal counsel to leave the mezuzah in place – and threatened to fine her $50 per day if she did not acquiesce – Cadranel and the ADL turned to the media. The story spread quickly across Connecticut, the United States and even the world, as the Stratford woman received an outpouring of support from people in places as far away as Israel and Argentina.
One person paying close attention was State Senate Majority Leader Martin Looney, who reached out to the ADL for our help in crafting legislation to ensure that others would not be subjected to the same treatment as Cadranel. That legislation, which protects the rights of Connecticut residents to hang mezuzahs and other religiously prescribed objects on the doorframes of condominiums, passed during the 2012 legislative sessions and was signed into law by Gov. Dannel Malloy.
Standing up for her right to post a mezuzah on her home was the beginning of a spiritual journey for the “Mezuzah Lady,” as she refers to herself, which ultimately led her to celebrate her bat mitzvah for the first time at the age of 61.
“I admire Barbara Cadranel a great deal,” said Gary Jones, ADL regional director. “She stood tall in the face of an unfair demand, and her perseverance and bravery served as the catalyst for ADL to work with the Legislature to ensure that no one else in Connecticut will be subject to this type of discrimination.”
Now, in an effort to support the organization that fought so ardently to defend her, Cardanel is hosting “Harpsichord Delight: A Benefit Concert for the Connecticut Anti-Defamation League,” on Sunday, Sept. 29, 3 – 4:30 p.m., at the JCC Greater New Haven in Woodbridge. She will be joined by other musicians in performing works composed by Soler and Scarlatti, and a Bach concerto for two harpsichords. The concert is sponsored by Go Baroque of CT, and a free master class for ticketholders is also offered at the JCC.
“Not only will this exciting program be my first formal concert in Connecticut since becoming a resident, but it is also a chance for me to give back to the Anti-Defamation League,” said Cardanel. “Gary Jones and his staff were crucial to combating and overcoming the housing discrimination that I experienced. The concert proceeds will help support their efforts into the future. I am honored to be a part of that.”
Tickets are $36, $18 for students. For tickets and more information visit http://gobaroqueofct.eventbrite.com. Tickets are also available at the door.