By Judie Jacobson
DANIELSON – The Temple Beth Israel Preservation Society in Danielson has received a Patriotism Grant in the amount of $9,200 from the National Daughters of the American Revolution (NSDAR), it was recently announced by the Society board member and co-founder Dr. Elsie Fetterman. The matching grant will provide partial funding for the production of a film entitled “Embracing America: Preserving the Stories of Holocaust Survivors and the United States Military Who Freed Them.”
“The film will share a message of hope and resilience during one of the world’s darkest moments,” says Dr. David Fetterman, who together with his wife Summer provided $10,000 in matching funds for the project.
Fetterman grew up in Danielson and attended Hebrew school at Temple Beth Israel. The story of what Beth Israel and the local community efforts to help the remants of European Jewry in the aftermath of World War II, he says, is the same story that unfolded in many American communities – both Christian and Jewish – who reached out to help Holocaust survivors make a new home.
“It is a story of generosity of spirit and kindness,” says Fetterman, a professor emeritus at Stanford University and CEO of Fetterman Associates in San Jose, California. “This is the true spirit of Americans we hope to rekindle with the story – coming together to help the weak and the weary in spite of, if not because of, our differences. The Society Board of Directors believes in the power of this story to help Americans reaffirm their commitment to our great nation it is a reminder of what we can all do when we work together.”
Founded by Holocaust survivors as well as local Jewish families, Temple Beth Israel is listed on both the Connecticut and National Registers of Historic Places.
According to Elsie Fetterman, the Temple Beth Israel Preservation Society is a multi-cultural center committed to honoring the synagogue’s founders, “especially the Holocaust survivors who celebrated their new American lives in this historic Temple. The Society seeks to create an archive documenting the history of the community through films, books, letters, photographs, oral histories and other historical artifacts that bear witness to the remarkable contributions of both the liberators in World War II and the Holocaust survivors who came to this community. The Society also collaborates with schools, colleges and cultural institutions in creating valuable and unique learning opportunities of how the Holocaust survivors embraced America.”
The film, which will be produced by Amherst Media, a non-profit community access center, will include oral histories of the synagogues founders, and will be distributed to 2,200 television stations nationally, as well as the History Channel and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. It will also be available for screening on the Temple’s web site.
The Deborah Avery Putnam Chapter, NSDAR in Plainfield, sponsored the Society’s grant application. For information on applying for a DAR Special Projects Grant, visit www.dar.org/grants.
CAP: In July, DAR members were on hand at Temple Beth Israel to present the Temple Beth Israel Preservation Society with a grant from the organization. Pictured here are: (first row, l to r) Melissa Bourn-Leblanc (DAR), Melody Guillemete (DAR Regent Deborah Avery Putnam Chapter of Plainfield), Elsie Fetterman, Martin Israelit, Mary Brown (DAR), Denise Bachand (DAR), Norman Berman (president, Temple Beth Israel Preservation Society), Marty Weiner, Naomi Weiner (Temple). Joel Rosenberg, Paula Rosenberg Bell, Rosa Drobiarz Goldblatt; Tonijean Ellenberg, Matthew Goldblatt, Judy Fetterman Engel (Temple)