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A community comes together for “Our Boys”

Laura Zimmerman, director of Hartford’s Jewish Community Relations Council; Atif Quaraishi; Gary Jones, ADL Connecticut regional director; and Dr. Saud Anwar.

Laura Zimmerman, director of Hartford’s Jewish Community Relations Council; Atif Quaraishi; Gary Jones, ADL Connecticut regional director; and Dr. Saud Anwar.

It was standing room only in the Mandell Jewish Community Center’s (JCC) Herbert Gilman Theater in West Hartford on Tuesday, July 1, when the Jewish Federation of Greater Hartford, the Jewish Federation Association of Connecticut (JFACT) and the JCC hosted a “Remember Our Boys Solidarity Memorial” service as a tribute to the three Israeli teens who in June were kidnapped and murdered by what is believed to be Hamas terrorists.

More than 400 people attended the community-wide interfaith program, including Connecticut’s Senators Richard Blumenthal and Chris Murphy, Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty, as well as West Hartford Mayor Scott Slifka and Windsor Mayor Atif Quaraishi. Quaraishi, who is executive director of the American Muslim Peace Initiative, also spoke, as did Dr. Saud Anwar, mayor of South Windsor and president of the Pakistani American Public Affairs Committee, and Reverend Steve Camp of Faith Congregation Church.

Other speakers included Judy Schlossberg, Federation chair emerita, Rabbi Michael Pincus of Congregation Beth Israel, and Ronny Siegel, Federation Young Emissary coordinator.

Judy Singer, Israel chair of the Jewish Community Relations Council, read a moving poem; and Sarai Barzel, a past Israeli Young Emissary, and Raz Newman, director of the JCC’s Israel programs, lit three candles in memory of the murdered teens.

Rabbi Brahm Weinberg of Young Israel of West Hartford recited a prayer for the Israel Defense Forces, and Cantor Sanford Cohn of the Emanuel Synagogue led the audience in a recitation of the “Eil Malei Rachamim” and Kaddish.

The evening ended with all 400+ voices raised in the singing of “Hatikvah.”

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