CT News

New book unearths history of Jews in Connecticut

House of Peace & Justice book launch set for Oct. 29

House of Peace & Justice, a new illustrated book profiling 100 years of Jewish farming and community in the shoreline-lower Connecticut River area, will be released in a celebration scheduled for Sunday, Oct. 29, 11 a.m., at Congregation Beth Shalom Rodfe Zedek in Chester. The event is free of charge and features brunch with foods linked to early Jewish farming in Connecticut.

House of Peace & Justice: The First 100 Years of Congregation Beth Shalom Rodfe Zedek chronicles the development of the synagogue from its dual roots: in a small rural temple, Rodfe Zedek (‘Pursuers of Justice’), founded in 1915 by Jewish chicken farmers in Moodus, and in another small Jewish group formed in Chester and Deep River in the 1930’s that grew into the Jewish Community Center, later Congregation Beth Shalom (‘House of Peace’) in Deep River. Author Ellen Nodelman unearthed colorful details of momentous events in the Jewish community of the area, including how the two synagogues merged in 1998 to form one, Congregation Beth Shalom Rodfe Zedek. The fused congregation moved in 2001 to its current home in Chester, a building renowned in the international art world as the only public space designed by 20th-century artist and CBSRZ congregant, Sol LeWitt.

The Oct. 29 launch will feature three speakers: Ellen Friedman, Jon Joslow, and Michael Price, representing Rodfe Zedek, the JCC/Beth Shalom and the merged CBSRZ. Rabbi Marci Bellows will moderate a session for long-time community members to share memories. House of Peace & Justice author Ellen Nodelman will read selections from the new book.

Congregation Beth Shalom Rodfe Zedek is located at 55 East Kings Hwy., Chester. For more information, contact CBSRZ at (860) 526-8920, www.cbsrz.org. Books will be available for purchase (list price: $36).

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