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Hartford historical society receives funding to family history project

WEST HARTFORD – The Jewish Historical Society of Greater Hartford has announced that it has received funding from the Jeffrey Hoffman family for an educational oral history project entitled “Family History on the Road.” The project, in which Hartford-area students will share their family stories for the community archive, aims to highlight the importance of documenting and preserving family history as a means of promoting Jewish continuity among future generations.

The students will be interviewed by local synagogue and day school educators, who last summer underwent a professionally-led workshop sponsored by the Society. A copy of each interview will be placed in the Family History Collection of the Hoffman Archive within the Society’s community repository.

“We encourage all families in our community today, whether or not they are originally from this area, to take part in this process,” says the Society’s Executive Director Estelle Kafer. “The students involved in this project are creating their own Hartford roots to be passed down to their descendants. This unique opportunity will enable the students to experience the process of learning to interview, while learning the importance and understanding of their place in their family’s ongoing history and why it is necessary to preserve this history for the next generation.”

For this pilot year, educators at Hebrew High School of New England, Beth El Temple, The Emanuel Synagogue and Congregation Beth Israel – all in West Hartford – worked with students. Plans are underway to assist teachers to conduct interviews at Solomon Schechter Day School in West Hartford, Farmington Valley Jewish Congregation-Emek Shalom in Simsbury, and other institutions, for the coming year.

The Society also received a community grant from the Jewish Community Foundation of Greater Hartford for this project.

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