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CT in the News 2017

January

Author Ayelet Tsabari is selected as the recipient of the 2016 Edward Wallant Award, presented by the University of Hartford’s Maurice Greenberg Center for Judaic Studies, for her short stories, The Best Place on Earth.

 

“Keeping the Beat,” a painting by artist and Bloomfield resident Beth S. Goldberg, is selected a winner in the National Platford Show in the category of mixed media.

 

Voices of Hope, a statewide organization founded in 2008 as a way for the descendants of Holocaust survivors to preserve their parents’ and grandparents’ legacy, announces the group’s new status as an independent 501(c)3 non-profit.

 

The Hartford Yard Goats announce the appointment of Jerry Weinstein, manager of the Israeli team in the 2017 World Baseball Classic, as the team’s manager. But Weinstein doesn’t last long – before the close of 2017 he moved on to a better professional opportunity.

 

Rabbi Joshua Ratner, executive director of the Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC) of the Jewish Federation of Greater New Haven, is among the 15 Jewish leaders from across the U.S. selected to participate in the Global Justicd Fellowship sponsored by the American Jewish World Service. (Later in the year, Ratner leaves Connecticut for a new position in New York).

 

Rabbi Alan Lefkowitz, spiritual leader of Beth Ahm Synagogue in Windsor, is appointed a chaplain of the House of Representatives in Hartford.

 

In his new book, Rabbi Daniel Cohen, spiritual leader of Congregation Agudath Sholom in Stamford, asks “What will they say about you when you are gone?”

 

 

MARCH

The Hebrew High School of New England in West Hartford is among 29 Jewish organizations across the country to receive bomb threats.

 

Becky Davidoff of West Hartford is elected president of the Clark University Hillel in Worcester, Massachusetts.

 

Yale University Hillel receives a grant from Hillel International to host a Springboard Fellow in the coming academic year.

 

Michael Bloom of West Hartford is appointed the new head of the Jewish Federation Association of Connecticut (JFACT), taking over from Bob Fishman, who steps down after 23 years at the helm.

 

The Hartford chapter of HaZamir: The International Jewish High School Choir, sings at a gala at New York’s Metropolitan Opera House.

 

In a unique collaboration, Jewish Senior Services, located in Bridgeport, and the National Multiple Sclerosis Society Connecticut Chapter create a place where those with MS can Iive independent lives with support.

 

 

APRIL

PBS releases a NOVA documentary that tells the remarkable story about the discovery of the ‘Holocaust Escape Tunnel’ by an international team of researchers led by the University of Hartford’s Dr. Richard Freund.

 

Chabad of Greater Hartford begins offering a six-week Jewish Learning Institute course in Talmudic law through which lawyers – Jewish and non-Jewish – can receive state-approved continuing legal education credits.

 

The American Jewish Year Book 2016 is published, revealing an optimistic view of today’s American Jewish community. The book is co-edited by Arnold Dashefsky, PhD, and founding director of the Center for Judaic Studies and Contemporary Jewish Life and director emeritus and current senior academic consultant of the Berman Jewish Databank; and Ira M. Sheskin, PhD, of the University of Miami.

 

Hartford’s Charter Oak Cultural Arts Center pays tribute to the group of people who rescued its building from demolition 40 years ago. And, in so doing, saved its Jewish heritage.

 

After a devastating fire puts the future of the New Haven JCC into jeopardy, the Jewish community holds a passionate two-hour town hall to discuss the future of the JCC and the services it should provide for the area’s 23,000 Jews.

 

Close to four dozen spiritual and community leaders get together at a Westville synagogue to learn how to identify and report hate crimes, respond to bomb threats, and create a plan for active shooter situations.

 

 

MAY

On May 7, Westport residents wake up to find fliers with a white supremacist/neo-Nazi message strewn about their driveways, almost two years to the day after a similar incident in Westport, and three months after a similar incident occurred in Norwalk.

 

In celebration of Israel’s 69th birthday, an the Israeli flag is hoisted up the Capitol flag pole. State Representatives David Baram (Bloomfield) and Brian Becker (West Hartford) issue a statement honoring Israel into the record of the State House of Representatives.

 

In court and under oath, New Haven’s Rabbi Daniel Greer invokes his 5th Amendment right when questioned about the sexual abuse of a former yeshiva student.

 

A jury orders Rabbi Daniel Greer and the Yeshiva of New Haven to pay $20 million to a former student who accused the rabbi of sexually abusing him 15 years ago.

 

Chabad at Wesleyan, which has been housed in a small rental home in Middletown since it was founded six years ago, purchases a new building that it plans to turn into a permanent home.

 

 

JUNE

Hadassah Connecticut hosts a special statewide forum in Cromwell highlighting the issue of violence against women that is fast becoming a worldwide problem. The forum is led by former Weston Selectwoman and current board president Lower Fairfield County’s Center for Sexual Assault Crisis Counseling and Education Gayle Weinstein.

 

Citing a decline in membership and financial woes, Congregation Beth El in New London announces plans to sell its building and set up stakes elsewhere. The sale also affects the Solomon Schechter Academy, which says it will look for a new home.

 

After taking the pulse of community members, the JCC of Greater New Haven makes a decision to repair and return to its Woodbridge facility, severely damaged six months prior by a fire.

 

Jewish communal leaders from all across Connecticut gather at the state Capitol to mark the state’s first annual Jewish Heritage Celebration.

 

A homeless man is arrested and charged with an antisemitic hate crime in Stamford earlier this month.

 

The passing of CT Senate Bill 1014 means the West Hartford and Woodbridge JCCs will be able to access $1 million in state grants as reimbursement for the cost of increasing their security.

 

Jed Margolis, who once served as executive director of Hartford’s JCC, announces his retirement as executive director of Maccabi USA after 15 years of service.

 

For the third time in the past eight months, antisemetic and racist graffiti is found at a park in Ridgefield.

 

 

JULY

Twelve Jewish residents of the Greater Hartford area are among the community’s senior adults named “60 over 60” by Duncaster, a senior adult community located in Bloomfied, who continue to impact their community as well as the world beyond.

 

 

AUGUST

Camp Laurelwood, Connecticut’s only Jewish overnight camp, celebrates the 80th anniversary of its Madison facility.

 

“Faith Over Fear: Welcoming Refugees Through Faith in Connecticut,” a video produced by THE NGO Religions for Peace International and UNICEF, spotlights the efforts of Congregation Mishkan Israel in Hamden to resettle Syrian refugees.

 

The Commission on Jewish Education and leadership of the Jewish Federation of Greater Hatford announced the launch of a new leadership development resource called the Greater Hartford Jewish Leadership Academy.

 

Friends of Israel Defense Forces (FIDF) New England Region announces the appointment of Guy Ronen as executive director. A 20 year resident of Boston, Ronen is a former IDF commando in an elite counter-terrorism unit.

 

The Temple Beth Israel Preservation Society in Willimantic receives a Patriotism Grant of $9,200 from the National Daughters of the American Revolution that will provide partial funding for the production of a film that tells the stories of Holocaust survivors and the soldier who freed them.

 

 

SEPTEMBER

The 112-year-old Orthodox Congregation Ahavath Achim sells its building to a developer planning to build a senior assisted living center on the property, and announces plans to rent a small building next door.

 

The Young Israel of Hartford located in West Hartford changes its name to Bet Mordechai and switches davening to the Sephardic tradition – but the congregation’s leaders stress that the synagogue is open to all Jews.

 

Connecticut welcomes this year’s Israeli Young Emissaries

 

The Jewish Children’s Service Organization, Hartford’s all-volunteer agency that helps children and families in need, celebrates its centennial.

 

Former JFACT head Bob Fishman is named the new director of the Connecticut Immigrant and Refugee Coalition – a job that has him following his passion.

 

New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft says he is “deeply disappointed” by President Trump’s clash with NFL players whom the President called out for kneeing during the national anthem in protest against the treatment of blacks by police and other officials.

 

 

OCTOBER

Bi-Cultural Day School in Stamford is selected a 2017 National Blue Ribbon School by the U.S. Department of Education – the only Jewish day school in the country, and one of only five schools in Connecticut, to earn the honor.

 

Judie Jacobson, editor of the Connecticut Jewish Ledger, is awarded second prize in the prestigious 2017 Moment Magazine-Karma Foundation Short Fiction Contest, a celebration of outstanding stories that touch upon Judaism, Jewish culture and Jewish history. Jacobson, who won for her story “The Mark,” will be among the three top winners honored by Moment Magazine on Jan. 16, 2018, in New York City.

 

UConn celebrates the career and accomplishments of Dr. Arnold Dashefsky, founding director of the Center for Judaic Studies and Contemporary Jewish Life.

 

 

NOVEMBER

For the third time in a month, a note with an antisemitic message is left at Middlebrook Middle School.

 

A new exhibit at the Greenwich Historical Society chronicles the integration into American life of the Jews of Greenwich – and the outsized role they played in the formation of that town’s prominent stature.

 

After an acrimonious 10-year fight, Rabbi Joseph Eisenbach earns the right to convert an historic 136-year-old Victorian home in Litchfield into a Chabad House.

 

Beth El Temple in West Hartford raises $200,000 for the restoration of its 60-year-old Austin organ.

 

 

DECEMBER

West Hartford’s revamped, remodeled and rejuventated kosher food emporium, The Crown Market, hires a new manager Jeffrey Ingber.

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