By Bob Fishman
WEST HARTFORD – The Jewish Federation of Greater Hartford raised more than $1.2 million through an event that focused on the good that communities can do when they come together in times of need.
Held on Oct. 4 at The Emanuel Synagogue in West Hartford, more than 500 guests were in attendance at HINENI: ‘Here I Am’ – An Evening of Voices and Visions, which featured personal stories from three American crises: the high school mass shooting in Parkland, Florida; Hurricane Harvey in Houston, Texas; and the resettlement of Hurricane Maria survivors in Hartford.
‘“HINENI’ is Federation’s response to Jewish needs locally and beyond… here we are for wherever, whenever and whatever is required… doing good, bringing help, comfort, support, resources and love,” said event co-chair Ron Schlossberg, who also served as the evening’s emcee.
The evening’s guest speakers gave powerful accounts of how Jewish Federations and Jewish communities across the U.S. help their neighbors move from tragedy to hope.
Among them was Darlene Wolliston of Capitol Region Education Council who spoke about the Relief Center for Our Caribbean Friends in Hartford.
“The Jewish Federation and the Jewish community provided support throughout the relief center’s operation – from the first day we opened until the very last week,” she recalled.
Praise for Federation’s support also came from guest speaker Allison O’Mara of Parkland, Florida.
“We know that we will never be alone because of all of you and Federations like yours reaching out and offering support and assistance,” she said.
“Many people don’t realize that the Federation system plays a role in crisis response. We play a vital role not just supporting our local Jewish organizations but also sending money, supplies and volunteers to locations all over the world where Jews and their neighbors are in need,” said Rachel Berezin, the Federation’s vice president of development.
HINENI served as the kickoff to Jewish Federation of Greater Hartford’s 2019 Annual Campaign.
CAP: HINENI guest speakers and event co-chairs: (Front row, l to r) Speakers Harold Gernsbacher of Dallas, Texas, Darlene Wolliston of Hartford, and Ivy Schamis of Parkland, Florida; co-chairs Judy Schlossberg, Ron Fishman, and Alisha and Ron Cipriano; (back row, l to r) co-chair Kathy Fishman; speakers Allison O’Mara of Parkland, Florida and Yael Ross of Houston, Texas; co-chairs Nancy and Jay Gershman. Not pictured: co-chairs Shari and Michael Cantor.