HARTFORD – Rabbi Phillip Lazowski, a Holocaust survivor and rabbi emeritus of Beth Hillel Synagogue in Bloomfield and The Emanuel Synagogue in West Hartford, is among four prominent citizens of Jewish, Chinese, Polish and Puerto Rican heritage who will be inducted into the state’s Immigrant Heritage Hall of Fame (IHHF).
The IHHF Class of 2019, which includes individuals who have been pioneers, leaders and scholars in religion, education, science and public service, will be inducted into the IHHF at a ceremony and gala to be held on Thursday, Sept. 26, at the Aqua Turf Club in Southington.
Born in Poland in 1930, Rabbi Lazowski was 11 when the Nazis invaded his hometown, destroying his family’s home and possessions. For four years he survived in desperation, being saved by a stranger who claimed him as her son, narrowly escaping execution by being tossed by his mother from a second story window and living in the woods for two years.
In 1947, Lazowski made his way to America, where he attended Brooklyn College and the Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary (RIETS), of Yeshiva University, from which he received his ordination. After relocating to Hartford, he married the daughter of the stranger who had saved him from certain death years earlier and, together with his wife, raised three sons.
In addition to his position as rabbi emeritus at two local synagogues, Lazowski was chaplain of the Hartford Police for 55 years, and remains chaplain of the Connecticut State Senate. He is also the author of more than a dozen books, including his autobiography Faith and Destiny.
In addition to Rabbi Lazowski, the other honorees being inducted into IHFF include: Dr. Henry C. Lee, internationally renowned forensic scientist; Lucian Pawlak, former mayor of New Britain; and, Dr. Zulma R. Toro, president of Central Connecticut State University.
“The IHHF Class of 2019 is a diverse group of remarkable individuals who embody the kind of perseverance, scholarship and achievement that have made our world a better place,” said Andre Blaszczynski, long-time Tunxis Community College professor of economics, co-chair of the IHHF Planning Committee and president of the Polish American Foundation of Connecticut. “Their noteworthy contributions serve to inspire and encourage future generations to excel.”
Founded in 2013, the Immigrant Heritage Hall of Fame is a program of the Polish American Foundation of Connecticut, Inc. dedicated to celebrating the diverse ethnic heritage of Connecticut by honoring individuals and institutions who have made contributions to the life of the state and the nation. With the inductions of this year’s honorees, the number of individuals and families honored by the Immigrant Heritage Hall of Fame since its inception in 2013 will total 31.
The 2019 IHHF Induction Ceremony and Gala is open to the public. In addition to honoring each inductee, the evening will be highlighted by performances reflecting the cultures of the inductees.
For more information visit www.immigrantheritage.org or call (860) 829-1215.
Main photo: Rabbi Phillip Lazowski