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Celebrating our history

THE THIRTIES

1931

• Unemployment rises to 16.3% as the stock market crash takes effect.

• Al Capone is convicted of tax fraud and receives an 11-year prison sentence in Alcatraz.

• A Jewish day camp is founded 1931 in a shed on Double Beach in East Haven, as a day camp by the Women’s Assembly (the women’s auxiliary of the Young Men’s Hebrew Association now the JCC of New Haven.) During the 30s the camp became an overnight camp and in 1937 land was purchased for a larger camp in North Madison. It was named Camp Laurelwood for the abundance of laurel in the area.

Judge Abraham Bordon

Judge Abraham Bordon

• Abraham S. Bordon of Hartford is appointed associate judge of the Court of Common Pleas of Hartford County. Born in Russia, Bordon eventually became a justice on the Connecticut Supreme Court. He was the first Jewish judge in Hartford and the third to serve in one of the Connecticut upper courts.

 

1932

• The economy continues to deteriorate as 24 percent of Americans face unemployment, leaving many ordinary Americans to live in the streets or old cars.

• Pres. Herbert Hoover is defeated by Franklin D. Roosevelt.

• The first ever splitting of the Atom occurred in Britain.

Rep. Herman Koppleman

Rep. Herman Koppleman

• U.S. Representative Herman P. Koppleman becomes Connecticut’s first Jewish Congressional Representative. Koppelman emigrated from Odessa at the age of one to become a life-long resident of Hartford. He was re-elected twice, only to lose his seat in 1938, and to be re-elected again in 1940 and 1944.

 

1933

• The worst year of the Depression results as unemployment peaks at 25.2% – one out of every four Americans is without a job.

• Adolf Hitler becomes the chancellor of Germany and opens the first concentration camp at Dachau.

Congregation Beth Israel

Congregation Beth Israel

• Temple Beth Israel (today known as Congregation Beth Israel), one of the two oldest Jewish congregations in New England, moves from its original location in Hartford to a two-story limestone building in West Hartford. Capped by a byzantine dome, the synagogue is built in the shape of a 12-sided polygon, symbolic of the 12 tribes of Israel. The building was listed on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places in 1995.

 

1934

• Hitler declares himself “fuhrer” – ultimate ruler.

• In Russia, Stalin begins his massacres.

• In China, Mao Tse Tung spreads the communist doctrine.

• The FBI ends the careers of several notorious criminals, including John Dillinger, Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow, Pretty Boy Floyd and Baby Face Nelson.

• Al Capp creates his popular, satirical comic strip Li’l Abner. Capp was born Alfred Gerald Caplin in New Haven, where he was also raised. He died in 1970.

 

1935

• Germany begins passing the Nuremberg Laws, stripping Jews of their civil rights.

• Mussolini’s Italy attacks Ethiopia.

• The Gallup Poll is introduced.

• A completely synthetic fiber called “nylon” is introduced by a Dupont chemist.

• Young Israel of Hartford, a new Orthodox congregation, begins meeting at Agudas Achim. In 1943, the congregation purchased its own building, and in 1963 built a new sanctuary at 339 Blue Hills Avenue. Six years later, a West Hartford “branch” of Young Israel was opened at 2240 Albany Avenue.

• William M. Citron of Middletown is elected to the U.S. House of Representatives. After visiting Berlin, Citron led American opposition to the Berlin Olympic games based on German discrimination against Jews.

 

Anshei Israel

Anshei Israel

1936

• The Boulder Dam (later renamed the Hoover Dam) is completed.

• Anshei Israel Synagogue, an Orthodox congregation in Lisbon, Conn., builds a new facility. The congregation’s membership dwindled throughout the 1940s and 1950s, and closed in the early 1980s. The property is currently maintained by the Lisbon Historical Society. The synagogue was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1995.

 

1937

• The flying German commercial passenger airship called the “Hindenburg” catches fire while landing in New Jersey, killing 36 passengers.

• Aviation pioneer Amelia Earhart disappears over the Pacific Ocean.

• Adin Steinsaltz, author of the first comprehensive Babylonian Talmud since Rashi in the 11th century, is born.

 

1938

• On Nov. 9 and 10, the assassination of a German diplomat by a German-born Polish Jew triggers the infamous anti-Jewish rampage Kristallnacht, during which 91 Jews are murdered; close to 30,000 are sent to concentration camps; 267 synagogues are destroyed; and thousands of homes and businesses are ransacked.

• British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain goes to Germany and, after agreeing to allow Hitler to occupy Czechoslovakia, declares “peace in our time.”

• Orson Welles’ “War of the Worlds” radio program causes panic.

 

1939

• The SS St. Louis sails from Germany in May carrying 936 (mainly German) Jewish refugees. On June 4 it is also refused permission to unload on orders of President Roosevelt as the ship waited in the Caribbean Sea between Florida and Cuba.

• Germany and the Soviet Union attack Poland; Britain, France, India, Australia and New Zealand declare war on Germany; the U.S. decides to remain neutral. The British government issues the “White Paper,” limiting to 75,000 the number of Jewish immigrants allowed to enter Palestine between 1940-1944. After this date, further immigration would depend on the permission of the Arab majority; restrictions were also placed on the rights of Jews to buy land from Arabs.

• The United States hosts the World’s Fair in New York.

• The first section of the Wilbur Cross Parkway is opened.

 

 

THE FORTIES

1940

• Germany invades France.

• “Gone With the Wind” and “The Great Dictator” open in theaters.

• Jazz, featuring the music of Benny Goodman, Count Basie and others, takes the country by storm.

• The first peacetime draft occurs.

• The Hartford Yeshiva is founded by members of the Orthodox community. The first Jewish day school in Connecticut and the second in all of New England, the Hartford Yeshiva is one of the first day schools in the country to offer girls a Jewish education equal to that offered to boys. Originally located on Cornwall St. in Hartford, in 1974 it relocated to a new facility in Bloomfield built to resemble the city of Jerusalem, and became known as the Hebrew Academy, and later as the Bess & Paul Sigel Hebrew Academy.

 

1941

• British Prime Minister Winston Churchill addresses a joint session of Congress asking for help in the form of arms.

• “Citizen Kane” and “Dumbo” hit movie theaters.

• More than 2,000 American servicemen are killed when the Japanese attack Pearl Harbor in Hawaii, and America enters the war.

• Between 1941-1945, approx. 210,000 Connecticut men enlist in World War II.

 

1942

• 120,000 people of Japanese descent are sent to internment camps.

• Allied forces in Europe invade North Africa.

• Congregation Tikvoh Chadoshoh (meaning “New Hope”) is organized by German refugees fleeing Hitler’s persecution. Throughout the 1940s and 1950s, its membership consists mainly of these refugees and, later, Holocaust survivors who settled in Hartford. The congregation later became known as Young Israel of Hartford.

 

1943

• Due to shortages, America sees its first rationing.

• Italian and German forces surrender in North Africa.

• The Glenn Miller Orchestra is all the rage.

 

1944

• On June 6, the D-Day invasion starts with Allied forces crossing the English Channel to land in Normandy, signaling the end of the war in Europe.

• Glenn Miller is reported missing following a plane crash.

Hartford Circus Fire

Hartford Circus Fire

• The Hartford circus fire occurs on July 6 during an afternoon performance of the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus that was attended by approximately 7,000 people. One of the worst fire disasters in the history of the United States, an estimated 167-169 people die and more than 700 are injured.

 

1945

• President Roosevelt dies on April 12.

• The war officially ends in Europe on May 1 (V-E Day).

• President Truman orders the use of the atomic bombs in Hiroshima and Nagasaki; five days later, on Aug. 14, Japan surrenders (V-J Day).

• British troops detain Holocaust survivors attempting to enter Palestine illegally.

• The Jewish Community Council, formed in 1935, and the Jewish Welfare Fund, formed in 1937, merge into a single Jewish Federation (later called the Jewish Federation of Greater Hartford), uniting all Jewish communal and philanthropic endeavors under one roof.

Annie Fisher

Annie Fisher

• Annie Fisher, Hartford’s first female district superintendent of schools and first female principal who sometimes had to suffer the prejudices of colleagues who didn’t want to accept a female or a Jew in these positions, retires after a lifetime devoted to public education. Fisher, who came to America as a child with her family to escape the persecution of Jews in Russia, later had a Hartford elementary school named in her honor. She died in 1968.

 

1946

• The struggle for the creation of a Jewish state in the British mandate of Palestine intensifies.

• The “baby boom” begins.

 

Jewish Federation of Greater Hartford

Jewish Federation of Greater Hartford

1947

• On Nov. 29, the United Nations approves the creation of a Jewish state and an Arab state in the British mandate of Palestine.

• The transistor and the mobile phone are invented.

• The four-decades long “Cold War” between the world’s two superpowers – the USA and the USSR – begins.

 

1948

David Ben Gurion, the future prime minister of Israel, reads Israel’s Declaration  of Independence in Tel Aviv during the ceremony founding the state of Israel.

David Ben Gurion, the future prime minister of Israel, reads Israel’s Declaration of Independence in Tel Aviv during the ceremony founding the state of Israel.

• On May 14, the State of Israel declares itself an independent nation; Andrei Gromyko, the Soviet Union’s UN ambassador, calls for the UN to accept Israel as a member state. The UN approves.

• On May 15, Syria, Iraq, Transjordan, Lebanon and Egypt invade Israel.

• The Soviet Union blockades West Berlin in Germany; the U.S. counters with an 11-month airlift of food and supplies.

• Between 1948 and 1949, 250,000 Holocaust survivors make their way to Israel; Operation Magic Carpet brings thousands of Yemenite Jews to Israel.

 

1949

• Postwar prosperity begins; cars and TVs get bigger and more plentiful.

• China becomes a communist country.

• Russia acquires the nuclear bomb.

• In November, the Association of Jewish Registered Nurses is formed in Hartford by three Jewish registered nurses. Their mission is to further their interest in nursing; learn the newest techniques in nursing procedure; and offer scholarships to help Jewish nursing students.

• The Waterbury Jewish Federation is formed.

 

 

THE FIFTIES

1950

• Families begin moving out to the suburbs; kids watch “Howdy Doody” on 12-inch black and white TV sets; drivers signal right- and left-hand turns with their hands.

• Approximately 52,000 Connecticut men serve their country in the Korean War.

 

1951

• Unemployment dips to 3.3 percent.

• The New Jersey Turnpike opens to accommodate the alarming increase in the number of cars on the road.

• Television continues to grow with popular programs like “I Love Lucy” and the first tests for color TV are broadcast from the Empire State Building.

 

1952

• Three out of five families now own a car; two out of three homes have telephones; one in three homes have a television.

• The scourge of polio hits an estimated 50,000 families.

• The world’s first passenger jet, The Comet, is produced in Britain.

Rabbi Philip Lazowski

Rabbi Philip Lazowski

• The Bloomfield Jewish Community Center is founded. A Conservative synagogue, in 1955 it adopts the name Beth Hillel and erects a new building at 1095 Blue Hills Avenue in Bloomfield. In 1967, a new synagogue and school is built at 160 Wintonbury Avenue. In 1969, Beth Hillel merged with Beth Sholom of 209 Cornwall Street in Hartford, led by Rabbi Philip Lazowski.

• Jonas Salk discovers the polio vaccine.

 

1953

• The first color television sets appear, selling for $1,175; transistor radios start to appear for sale.

 

1954

• The films “On the Waterfront” and “The Wild Ones” open in movie theaters.

• Elvis Presley cuts his first commercial record.

• “Nautilus,” the world’s first atomic-powered submarine, is launched at Groton.

 

1955

Governor Abraham Ribicoff

Governor Abraham Ribicoff

• Seven out of 10 families now own an automobile; new laws require seatbelts to be installed on all new cars.

• Abraham Ribicoff is sworn in as Connecticut’s first — and, to date, only — Jewish Governor.

• The first McDonald’s is erected.

• The Shakespeare Memorial Theater opens in Stratford (Connecticut, that is).

United Synagogues of Hartford

United Synagogues of Hartford

• Congregation Ateres Israel and the Koretzer Synagogue, both located in Hartford, merge under the new name of Ateres Knesseth Israel Congregation. In 1962, the congregation merges with Shaarey Torah Beth Hamedrash Hagodol and is renamed the United Synagogues of Hartford. The United Synagogues built a new synagogue in West Hartford in 1967, under the rabbinic leadership of Rabbi Isaac Avigdor.

 

1956

• Egypt blockades the Gulf of Aqaba and closes the Suez Canal to Israeli shipping. Egypt’s President Gamal Abdul Nasser calls for the destruction of Israel. Israel, England and France go to war and force Egypt to end the blockade.

• The soap opera “As the World Turns” premieres on TV.

• Disposable diapers and non-stick frying pans are introduced to make life easier for the mostly stay-at-home moms.

bi-cultural day school

Bi-Cultural Day School

• Elvis Presley shakes his hips on “The Ed Sullivan Show” and hits the music charts for the first time with “Heartbreak Hotel.”

• The Bi-Cultural Day School in Stamford is founded, becoming the second Jewish day school in Connecticut and the first in the southern part of the state.

 

1957

• The Soviet Union launches the first space satellite, Sputnik I.

• Slinkys and Hula Hoops are all the rage.

• South Vietnam is attacked by Viet Cong guerrillas.

• Troops are sent to Arkansas to enforce anti-segregation laws.

• The University of Hartford opens.

 

1958

• America’s first satellite is launched from Cape Canaveral.

• The microchip is developed.

• The Connecticut Turnpike opens.

 

1959

• “Rawhide,” “Bonanza” and “The Twilight Zone” are on TV; “Some Like it Hot,” “Ben Hur” and “North by Northwest” are in the movies.

• Alaska and Hawaii are granted statehood.

• The Boeing 707 Jet Airliner comes into service.

• The Barbie doll by Mattel is born.

• Fidel Castro comes to power in Cuba.

 

 

THE SIXTIES

1960

• John F. Kennedy wins the Presidency with one of the smallest margins in history.

• The U.S. sends the first troops to Vietnam, following the French withdrawal in 1954, in the fight against communist North Vietnam.

• Ground is broken for the first building in Hartford’s Front Street redevelopment area, now known as Constitution Plaza.

• Synagogue affiliation jumps from 20% in 1930 to 60% in 1960, the fastest growth coming in Reform and, especially, Conservative congregations.

 

1961

• The Berlin Wall separating East from West Berlin is erected.

• Americans finance anti-Castro Cubans for an invasion at the Bay of Pigs.

• In April, the Soviets put the first man in space; the Americans follow in May with Alan Shepard.

• Chubby Checker’s “The Twist” is all over the radio; “West Side Story” and “The Parent Trap” are in the movies.

 

1962

• The Cuban Missile Crisis occurs when the Russians place ballistic missiles on Cuban land just 90 miles away from the coast of Florida; JFK calls their bluff.

• The President sets a goal of landing a man on the moon before the end of the decade.

• The first of the James Bond movies, “Dr. No,” is boffo at the box office.

 

1963

Rabbi Stanley Kessler and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Rabbi Stanley Kessler and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

• On Nov. 22, President John F. Kennedy is assassinated; Lyndon Johnson is sworn in as president.

• Several Connecticut rabbis – including Rabbi Stanley M. Kessler of Beth El Temple in West Hartford and Rabbi Jack Bloom of Congregation Beth El in Fairfield – are among a group of 19 rabbis to march with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in Birmingham and Selma, Ala.

• Abraham Ribicoff is sworn in as U.S. Senator from Connecticut.

• “Lassie” is on TV.

• Ahavath Achim Synagogue moves from Bridgeport to Fairfield. The Bridgeport building, built in 1926 is added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1995. The Orthodox synagogue catered to Bridgeport’s sizable Hungarian Jewish community whose members settled primarily in the city’s West End. Today, it functions as a church.

 

1964

• Three civil rights workers – two of them Jewish – are murdered in Mississippi; the president signs the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

• On Feb. 9, the Beatles give their first live U.S. television performance  on The “Ed Sullivan Show”, watched byapproximately 73 million viewers.

• Jewish-Christian relations are revolutionized by Vatican II.

 

1965

Sandy Koufax

Sandy Koufax

• Sandy Koufax, one of the outstanding Jewish athletes in American sports, retires as one of baseball’s greatest pitchers at the age of 30. Koufax’s decision not to pitch Game 1 of the 1965 World Series because it fell on Yom Kippur garnered national attention and won him the admiration of the American Jewish community.

• 35,000 people march on Washington, D.C. to protest the Vietnam War.

• Government-mandated health warnings appear on cigarette packs.

• The miniskirt makes its debut.

• Connecticut voters approve a new state constitution.

 

1966

• Shmuel Yosef Agnon becomes the first Hebrew writer to win the Nobel Prize in Literature.

• Race riots spread across the U.S. and the National Guard is called in to restore law and order.

 

1967

Israeli soldiers at the Kotel in Jerusalem after it was captured during the six day war.

Israeli soldiers at the Kotel in Jerusalem after it was captured during the six day war.

• On May 16, Egyptian President Nasser demands that the U.N. dismantle its emergency force between Israel and Egypt. He then closes the Straits of Tiran to Israeli shipping and declares Egypt to be in a state of war with Israel; Egyptian troops mass in the Sinai.

• On June 5, the Six Day War begins.

• On Sept. 1, Arab leaders meet in Sudan and issue the “Three No’s of Khartoum: No recognition of Israel. No negotiations with Israel. No peace with Israel.”

• Discotheques and singles bars appear across cities around the world.

• “The Graduate,” “Bonnie and Clyde” and “Cool Hand Luke” are on the big screen.

 

1968

• On April 4, Martin Luther King, Jr. is shot to death in Memphis, Tenn.

• On June 5, U.S. Senator Robert Kennedy of New York is assassinated in Los Angeles, Calif.

• The first Black Power salute is seen on TV during an Olympics medal ceremony.

 

1969

• On July 20, astronaut Neil Armstrong becomes the first human to set foot on the moon.

• More than 400,000 young people spend the weekend of Aug. 15 at the Woodstock music festival in upstate New York.

 

 

THE SEVENTIES

1970

• The Concord makes its first supersonic flight.

• The voting age is lowered from 21 to 18.

 

1971

• The invention of the microprocessor heralds the beginning of the digital age.

• Residents in the northeast section of Hartford founded Bess Israel Synagogue, (The Barbour Street Shul), in 1927. The congregation later moved to a building on Hebron Street and remained there until 1971, when it ceased having services.

• Solomon Schechter Day School of Greater Hartford is founded.

 

1972

Rabbi Morris Silverman passes away in 1972.

Rabbi Morris Silverman passes away in 1972.

• Eleven Israeli athletes competing in the Summer Olympics in Munich, Germany are massacred by Arab terrorists.

• Swimmer Mark Spitz wins seven Olympic gold medals at the Munich Olympics, setting a world record for most gold medals won in a single Olympics.

• On June 17, five men are arrested for breaking and entering into the Democratic National Committee headquarters at the Watergate complex in Washington, D.C.

• Rabbi Morris Silverman, the long-time spiritual leader of The Emanuel Synagogue in West Hartford and the author of Hartford Jews, 1659-1970, passes away on March 2. Silverman edited the High Holiday Prayer Book, popularly known as the “Silverman Machzor” in 1939, which became the Conservative movement’s official prayer book for Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur for more than half a century.

 

The bodies of the Israeli Olympians murdered in Munich come home

The bodies of the Israeli Olympians murdered in Munich come home.

1973

• The Yom Kippur War begins.

• OPEC reduces oil production and restricts the flow of oil to countries supporting Israel, driving up oil prices and triggering a global economic crisis.

• The landmark case Roe v. Wade makes abortion a constitutional right.

• The Watergate hearings begin in the U.S. Senate.

 

Governor Ella Grasso

1974

• Ella Grasso becomes the first woman  elected governor in Connecticut.

• The earliest forms of word processors appear.

• Richard Nixon becomes the first U.S. president to resign from office.

 

1975

• Bill Gates and Paul Allen create the company Microsoft.

• The Vietnam War ends.

• President Gerald Ford signs the Jackson-Vanik amendment, tying U.S. trade benefits to the Soviet Union to freedom of emigration for Soviet Jews.

• The United Nations adopts a resolution equating Zionism with racism (rescinded in 1991.)

 

1976

Lt. Col. Yoni Netanyahu

Lt. Col. Yoni Netanyahu

• On July 4, the Israel Defense Forces rescue airline passengers held hostage by Arab terrorists in Entebbe, Uganda. Unit commander Lt. Col. Yonatan Netanyahu is the mission’s sole fatality.

• The Concorde is introduced, cutting transatlantic flying time to 3 ½ hours.

• Apple is formed by Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak.

• Riots in Soweto, South Africa mark the beginning of the end of apartheid.

• Punk rock bands emerge on the music scene.

• Jimmy Carter is elected President of the United States.

 

1977

• The first Apple Computer goes on sale.

• Quebec adopts French as its official language.

• The first oil flows through the Trans Alaskan Oil Pipeline.

• The precursor to the GPS system in use today is started by the U.S. Department of Defense.

• Elvis Presley dies of a heart attack at age 42.

 

1978

• Yiddish writer Isaac Bashevis Singer receives the Nobel Prize for Literature.

• The first cellular mobile phone is introduced in Illinois.

• “Son of Sam” serial killer David Berkowitz is convicted of murder after terrorizing New York for 12 months.

• “Saturday Night Fever” and “Close Encounters of the Third Kind” hit movie theaters.

 

1979

• Prime Minister Menachem Begin and President Anwar Sadat are awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

• Israel launches Operation Elijah, the rescue of Ethiopian Jewry.

• Margaret Thatcher becomes the first woman to be elected prime minister of the United Kingdom.

• Sony releases the Walkman.

• Following the return of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, Iran becomes an Islamic Republiare taken hostage in the American embassy in Tehran.

 

 

THE EIGHTIES

1980

• Camcorders and fax machines begin to hit store shelves.

• The arcade game Pac-Man is released.

• The U.S. boycotts the Moscow Olympic Games.

• War breaks out between Iraq and Iran.

• Mount St. Helens erupts on March 27.

• The world tunes in to the nighttime soap “Dallas” to find out “Who Shot JR?”

 

1981

Rep. Sam Gejdenson

Rep. Sam Gejdenson

• The space shuttle Columbia lifts off for its first flight.

• The word “Internet” gets its first mention; MS-DOS is released by Microsoft, along with the first IBM PC.

• Lady Diana Spencer marries Prince Charles.

• A little known group called “Solidarity” inspires protests and a general strike in Poland.

• Sam Gejdenson is elected to the U.S. House of Representatives from Connecticut’s greater New London area, serving until 2000. Born in 1948 in an American displaced persons camp in Eschwege, Germany, Gejdenson was the first child of Holocaust survivors elected to the U.S. House of Representatives.

 

1982

• Israel invades southern Lebanon in June to drive out the PLO.

• The first CD player is introduced.

• Argentina invades the Falkland Islands, and Argentina and Britain go to war over a small island thousands of miles away.

• The International Whaling Commission ends commercial whaling.

• A major recession hits the United States.

 

1983

Attorney General Joe Lieberman

Attorney General Joe Lieberman

• Microsoft Word is launched.

• Following the worst drought in history, the death toll in Ethiopia reaches four million.

• Reform Jews formally accept patrilineal descent, creating a new definition of “Who is a Jew?”

• Joseph I. Lieberman of Stamford is elected as the state’s Attorney General, serving until 1989, when he successfully runs for the U.S. Senate.

 

1984

Operation Moses rescues Ethiopian Jews

Operation Moses rescues Ethiopian Jews

• The AIDS virus is identified.

• Apple releases the Macintosh computer.

• The Soviet bloc boycotts the Los Angeles Olympic Games.

• Recession continues to plague the U.S.; 70 U.S. banks fail in just one year.

• Israel launches “Operation Moses” to rescue Ethiopian Jews. (Known as the “Beta Israel” community or “Falashas”).

 

1985

• The first dot com is registered and the first version of Windows is released.

• Palestinian terrorists hijack TWA Flight 847 and the Italian cruise liner Achille Lauro, killing a wheelchair-bound Jewish American passenger.

• Live Aid concerts around the world raise many millions to help the starving in Africa.

 

1986

Elie Weisel accepting the Nobel Peace Prize.

Elie Weisel accepting the Nobel Peace Prize.

• The space shuttle Challenger explodes shortly after take-off.

• Soviet Jewish dissident Natan Sharansky is finally freed from prison.

• The Chernobyl Nuclear Power Station in Russia explodes, causing the release of radioactive material across much of Europe.

• Elie Weisel wins the Nobel Peace Prize.

• “Mad Cow Disease” in Britain causes many deaths over the next few years and brings about major reform in farming practices.

 

1987

• On Oct. 19, the stock market drops 22.6% in one day and throughout the rest of the world major falls are recorded by the end of October.

• The first Arab intifada against Israel begins.

 

1988

• The Hubble Space Telescope goes into operation to explore deep space and is still in full use today mapping our universe.

• On Dec. 21, a bomb is exploded on Pan Am Flight 103 over Locerkbie in Scotland.

• Prozac is sold for the first time as an anti-depressant.

 

1989

• Microsoft releases its Office Suite, including Spreadsheet, Word Processor, Database and Presentation Software, which today still dominates in office applications.

• Following massive protests, the Berlin Wall collapses, leading to the reunification of East and West Germany.

• In China, pro-democracy protesters clash with Chinese Security Forces in Tiananmen Square.

• Joe Lieberman is elected to the U.S. Senate, serving alongside Connecticut’s senior Senator Abraham A. Ribicoff.

 

 

THE NINETIES

1990

Attorney General Richard Blumenthal

Attorney General Richard Blumenthal

• The Soviet Union allows its three million Jews to leave – hundreds of thousands move to Israel.

• Following the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait, the U.S. and Britain send troops into Kuwait; Iraq bombards Israel with 39 Scud missiles.

• “The Simpsons” premieres on TV.

• East and West Germany reunite.

• Tim Berners-Lee publishes the first webpage on the World Wide Web.

• A hole is discovered in the ozone layer above the North Pole.

• Richard Blumenthal is elected Connecticut Attorney General.

 

1991

• Lech Walesa is elected  president of Poland.

• The airbag is invented.

• Israel rescues the remainder of Ethiopian Jewry with a 24-hour airlift known as “Operation Solomon.”

 

1992

Senator Joseph Lieberman with his mother, Marcia Lieberman, and President Bill Clinton.

Senator Joseph Lieberman with his mother, Marcia Lieberman, and President Bill Clinton.

• The first nicotine patch is introduced to help stop smoking.

• DNA fingerprinting is invented.

• Bill Clinton is elected President.

• Minnesota’s Mall of America is constructed, spanning 78 acres.

 

1993

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg

• On Sept. 13, Israel and the PLO sign the Oslo Accords.

• Islamic fundamentalists bomb the World Trade Center.

• Beanie Babies are all the rage.

• The bagless vacuum cleaner is invented.

• Intel introduces the Pentium Processor.

• On August 10, Ruth Joan Bader Ginsburg takes the oath of office to become associate justice of the Supreme Court of the United States – making her the second female justice and the first Jewish female justice.

 

1994

Prime Minister Yitzchak Rabin

Prime Minister Yitzchak Rabin

• On Oct. 26, Israel and Jordan sign an official peace treaty.

• Israeli Prime Minister Yitzchak Rabin, Foreign Minister Shimon Peres and PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat share the Nobel Peace Prize.

• The English Channel tunnel is opened, joining England to France for the first time.

• Tensions erupt over the inspection of nuclear plants in North Korea.

• The Lubavitcher Rebbe Menachem Mendel Schneerson dies on June 12.

• Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach dies on Oct. 20. Considered by many to be the foremost Jewish religious songwriter of the 20th century, his influence continues to this day in “Carlebach minyanim” and Jewish religious gatherings around the globe. He also encouraged disenchanted Jewish youth to re-embrace their heritage, using his special style of enlightened teaching, and his melodies, songs, and highly inspiring story-telling.

 

1995

• On April 19, a car bomb destroys Oklahoma City’s Murrah Federal Building, killing 168 people.

• On Dec. 10, Prime Minister Yitzchak Rabin is assassinated.

 

1996

Hebrew High School of New England.

Hebrew High School of New England.

• Shimon Peres is defeated in the Israeli election for prime minister by Benjamin Netanyahu

• Britain’s Prince Charles and Princess Diana divorce.

• Mad Cow Disease hits Britain, causing the mass slaughter of herds of cows.

• The number of users on the Internet swells to more than 10 million.

• Ebay and “Ask Jeeves” are launched.

• The first ever cloning of a mammal creates Dolly the sheep.

• The Hebrew High School of New England opens its door. Located in West Hartford, the school is a joint effort between three local Jewish communities: Greater Hartford, Greater New Haven and Greater Springfield, Mass.

 

1997

Carmel Academy

Carmel Academy

• Great Britain hands Hong Kong back to China.

• The bird flu hits China, where the first documented case of the jump to humans causes Hong Kong to kill 1.25 million chickens.

• Princess Diana dies in a car accident.

• The Westchester Fairfield Hebrew Academy opens in a rented space in Port Chester, N.Y.  In 2001, the Jewish day school relocate it to Temple Sholom in Greenwich and, in 2006, it moved to its current 17-acre campus on Lake Ave. The school was renamed Carmel Academy in 2011.

 

1998

• Protestants and Catholics in Northern Ireland agree to the Good Friday peace agreement.

• Bill Clinton denies having “sexual relations” with former White House intern Monica Lewinsky, but later recants.

 

1999

• Ehud Barak is elected prime minister of Israel.

• Computers around the world run testing for the so-called “millennium bug” that many fear will cause wide-scale disruption of business and infrastructure in the year 2000.

 

 

THE TWENTY-FIRST CENTURY

2000

• Y2K passes without anticipated computer failures.

• Democrats nominate Joseph I. Lieberman for vice president – making the Connecticut senator the first Jew nominated for a national office by a major political party. But George W. Bush defeats Al Gore in the presidential election.

• In Yemen, several U.S. soldiers die when terrorists bomb the U.S.S. Cole.

• Pope John Paul II visits Israel and prays for forgiveness for the sins of those involved in the Holocaust.

• Israel unilaterally withdraws its remaining forces from its security zone in southern Lebanon.

• Nine Orthodox Jewish families arrive in Waterbury to form what may well be the first planned Jewish community in the U.S. Today, that community is several hundreds strong.

• In the beginning of the 21st century, there are more than 125,000 Jews residing in Connecticut, ranking Connecticut the10th highest state for Jewish population. The largest growth is in the southern part of Connecticut, considered suburbs of New York City.

 

2001

September 11, 2001

September 11, 2001

• Ariel Sharon is elected prime minister of Israel.

• On Sept. 11, 19 terrorists hijack four U.S. commercial airliners, crashing into the World Trade Center, which collapses, the Pentagon and a field in Pennsylvania. Several thousand people die.

• In response to the Sept. 11 attacks, the U.S. invades Afghanistan with the goal of ousting the Taliban and find Al-Qaeda mastermind Osama bin Laden.

• Enron files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

 

2002

• In the first three months of 2002, 14 suicide bombers kill dozens of Israeli civilians and wound hundreds. In response, Israeli tanks and warplanes attack several West Bank towns.

• The International Atomic Energy Agency discovers Iran’s concealed nuclear activities.

• Pres. George Bush creates the Department of Homeland Security to fight threats of terrorism.

• In May 2002, Trinity College dedicates the new Zachs Hillel House.

 

2003

• Former Iraqi president Saddam Hussein is captured by the U.S. Later, he is convicted of crimes against humanity by an Iraqi court and hanged in Baghdad.

• The first Palestinian prime minister, Mahmoud Abbas, is elected.

• Terrorists from Al-Qaeda drive two trucks packed with explosives and bombs into the Bet Israel and Neve Shalom synagogues in Istanbul, Turkey, killing 27.

 

2004

• Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon announces plans to unilaterally withdraw from the Gaza Strip.

• Following ethnic cleansing by government-backed militia in Darfur, Sudan, one million people flee their homes.

• Chechen rebels take 763 hostages in a Moscow theater. Russian authorities release a gas into the theater, killing 116 hostages and freeing the remainder.

• A tsunami devastates Asia; at least 290,000 people are confirmed dead.

• Yasser Arafat dies in Paris.

 

2005

• Hurricane Katrina strikes the Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama coastal areas, flooding roughly 80% of the city of New Orleans.

• Islamic terrorist bombings kill 52 and wound about 700 in London.

• Israel evacuates 8,000 Israeli settlers from the Gaza Strip.

• Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon quits as head of the Likud party to start a new party called Kadima; in December, Sharon suffers a massive stroke and is replaced by Ehud Omert, who is elected prime minister in 2006.

• Jordan Farmar becomes the only Jew in the National Basketball Association.

 

2006

• Militant group Hamas wins 74 of 132 seats in Palestinian legislative elections.

• A Danish newspaper prints several negative cartoons depicting Muhammad, sparking riots throughout the Muslim world.

• Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad announces that Iran has successfully enriched uranium.

• The terrorist group Hezbollah fires rockets into Israel and captures two Israeli soldiers. In response, Israel launches a major military attack into Lebanon lasting 34 days.

• On April 20, President George W. Bush proclaims May to be Jewish American Heritage Month. The resolutions to proclaim a month that would recognize the more than 350-year history of Jewish contributions to American culture, passes both houses unanimously.

 

2007

• A student on the Virginia Tech Campus fatally shoots 30 students.

• Former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto is assassinated.

• The U.S. housing bubble bursts, causing increasing numbers of foreclosures.

• Al-Qaeda terrorists explode bombs in Algiers, killing 50.

• Nancy Pelosi is elected as the first female Speaker of the House.

• The Jewish High School of Connecticut opens its door in Bridgeport, serving Jewish families in New Haven and Fairfield Counties. The school later relocates to Woodbridge, where it is housed at the Jewish Community Center of Greater New Haven.

 

2008

• Fidel Castro steps down as president of Cuba after almost 50 years in power.

• President Bush signs the $700 billion bailout/rescue package bill.

• Israel responds to the persistent rocket attacks from Hamas by launching “Operation Cast Lead,” a military invasion of the Gaza Strip that lasts 23 days.

• Same-sex marriage becomes legal in Connecticut.

• Barack Obama is elected the first African American President of the United States.

• The Likud party’s Benjamin Netanyahu becomes Prime Minister of Israel.

• The longest total solar eclipse of the 21st century occurs over parts of Asia and the Pacific Ocean; it is believed to be the most widely observed total eclipse in human history.

 

2009

• On Nov. 5, Nidal Malik Hasan, a U.S. Army major and psychiatrist based at Fort Hood in Texas, fatally shoots 13 people and injures more than 30. Several senators and congressman call the shooting a terrorist attack, but the U.S. Dept. of Defense classifies it an act of workplace violence.

 

2010

Elliot Donn and Jerry Blum of CT Jewish War Veterans at the Jewish chaplains’ memorial at Arlington National Cemetery.

Elliot Donn and Jerry Blum of CT Jewish War Veterans at the Jewish chaplains’ memorial at Arlington National Cemetery.

• A monument honoring 14 Jewish chaplains who died in service to our nation is unveiled at Arlington National Cemetery, in a ceremony attended by five members of Connecticut’s Jewish War Veterans. Among those memorialized by the monument is Rabbi David M. Sobel, a West Hartford native who died while serving in the U.S. Air Force on March 7, 1974.

• A new, state-of-the-art building to house the Smithsonian-affiliated National Museum of American Jewish History (NMAJH) in Philadelphia is opened in November.

• Tresser Boulevard, named for Pvt. Samuel Tresser, who was killed in action in France on August 24, 1918, is rededicated after its memorial plaque is moved to a new location.

 

2011

• Though it “officially began with unrest in Tunisia in Dec. 2010, the revolutionary wave of demonstrations and protests, riots and civil wars, that came to be known as the “Arab Spring” erupts in full force in 2011. Within two years, rulers forced from power in Tunisia, Egypt (twice), Libya and Yemen, With civil uprisings in Bahrain and Syria.

 

2013

Rabbi Henry Okolica

Rabbi Henry Okolica

• The Hebrew Congregation of Woodmont, a wood-framed synagogue built in Milford in 1926 as a resort synagogue for seasonal use by vacationing Jewish families, is badly damaged by a fire. By 2014, it is reconstructed and restored for use year-round for Shabbat and holiday services.

• Rabbi Henry Okolica, a Holocaust survivor who has served for 50+ years as spiritual leader of Congregation Tiphereth Israel in New Britain, marks his 100th birthday with a celebration attended by many local dignitaries.

• Connecticut’s Jewish population was approximately 116,050.

 

2014

Rabbi Joseph Ehrenkranz

Rabbi Joseph Ehrenkranz

• Beth Israel Synagogue in New Haven – also known as the “Orchard Street Shul” – celebrated its centennial birthday on January 13. The building at 232 Orchard St. was built in 1925.

• Temple B’nai Abraham in Meriden celebrates its 125th anniversary.

• Congregation Kol Ami in Cheshire shuts its door in June, after 15 years of operation.

• Rabbi Joseph Ehrenkranz, who served as spiritual leader of Stamford’s Congregation Agudath Sholom for close to 45 years, and was co-founder of the Center for Christian-Jewish Understanding at Sacred Heart University in Fairfield, dies

• Dr. Stuart Miller, director of UConn’s Center for Judaic Studies and Contemporary Jewish Life, makes national and international headlines when he unearths a nearly perfectly preserved mikveh in the basement of a house in Chesterfield.

• The Himmelstein Homestead Farm will mark its 100th anniversary next month. One of the first Jewish family farms to be established in Lebanon, it is now the only active one in the area, owned and operated by a third-generation family member, and may be the oldest Jewish family-owned farm in Connecticut.

• Connecticut College in New London celebrates the opening of the new Zachs Hillel House.

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