HARTFORD – The Greater Hartford Rabbinical Association presented an Ethical Will to the Greater Hartford Jewish community on May 27. It is believed to be the first document of its kind created for the entire community.
A time-honored though little known Jewish tradition, the Ethical Will is intended to preserve and pass ethical values from one generation to the next. The rabbis of the area’s Rabbinical Association were inspired to come together to create the will by the Aim Chai Endowment Campaign, a collaboration of nearly 30 local Jewish agencies, schools and synagogues.
Presented to the community by Rabbi Michael Pincus of Congregation Beth Israel in West Hartford and Rabbi Gary Atkins of Beth Hillel Synagogue in Bloomfield, the Ethical Will was the highlight of a celebration held at Farmington Gardens in Farmington to mark the accomplishments of the Aim Chai campaign. The document will hang in the Community Services Building in West Hartford.
The following is the text of the Ethical Will:
“As the Rabbis of the Greater Hartford area, we see ourselves and our congregations as stewards of the generosity of those who came before us. We found orchards of learning, bushes burning unconsumed and our air filled with compassion.
“We affirm the centrality of Torah, Chesed, Tikkun Olam, Tzedakah, and Achrayut, of learning, compassion, justice and communal responsibility. We have committed our rabbinate to the belief that our tradition and connection with our Creator brings meaning to our lives as individuals and as a community. We recognize that from our creation we were not meant to be alone, and that we need each other. Our enduring legacy is to exhibit generosity of resources, faith, wisdom and kindness that others might be as fortunate as we are. We affirm that we bear responsibility to each other and that our own spiritual journey is part of a larger covenantal framework which guides our lives.
“The challenges of today and tomorrow present both manifold needs and opportunities to assist in continuing the chain of tradition that is our inheritance. We affirm the inspiration and truth of the essential teaching of our tradition: ‘You are not obligated to finish the task, but neither are you free to neglect it” (Pirke Avot 2:21).
CAP: At the Aim Chai celebration, featuring the presentation of the community-wide Ethical Will are: (l to r) Aim Chai Campaign Co-Chair Bruce Fischman, Jewish Community Foundation of Greater Hartford President Michael Johnston; Rabbi Pincus, Rabbi Atkins, Jewish Federation of Greater Hartford CEO Howard Sovronsky, Aim Chai Campaign Co-Chair Eric Zachs.