CT News

WHAT’S HAPPENING – February 4 – March 3

Jewish organizations are invited to submit their upcoming events to the our What’s Happening section. Events are placed on the Ledger website on Tuesday afternoons. Deadline for submission of calendar items is the previous Tuesday.  Send items to: judiej@jewishledger.com.


Short Story Coffee Break: The Spinoza of Market Street 

Stories from The Spinoza of Market Street by Isaac Bashevis Singer is up for discussion at the next Short Story Coffee Break on Feb. 4, 11 a.m. Hosted on Zoom by Congregation Beth Israel of West Hartford, on the first and third Thursdays of each month, Short Story Coffee Break is a discussion of short stories by Jewish authors led by Beth Israel’s Learning Center Director Karen Beyard. For more information or to register and receive a copy of the next short story and Zoom link, email kbeyard@cbict.org.

Coming up: Feb. 18Purim Nights by Edith Pearlman

Writing modern Jewish history

UConn will host a virtual conversation on writing modern Jewish history with Dr. Nancy Sinkoff, academic director of The Allen and Joan Bildner Center for the Study of Jewish Life and Professor of Jewish Studies and History at Rutgers University, and author of, and Dr. Natalia Aleksiun, professor of modern Jewish history at Touro College, Graduate School of Jewish Studies, New York and author of the forthcoming Conscious History: Polish Jewish Historians before the Holocaust. To register or for more information: judaicstudies.uconn.edu/upcoming-events/

The Rise and Fall of the Jewish New York Speech

The Museum of Jewish Heritage – A Living Memorial to the Holocaust presents “The Rise and Fall of the Jewish New York Speech,” with author EJ White (You Talkin’ To Me?), filmmaker Heather Quinlan (If These Knishes Could Talk and O Brooklyn! My Brooklyn!), Queens College linguistics professor Dr. Michael Newman, and author and Georgetown University linguistics professor Dr. Deborah Tannen explore the evolution of Jewish New York speech. Admission is complimentary with a suggested donation. For more information, visit mjhnyc.org/currentevents.


In the Footsteps of David and Goliath: A Virtual Tour

Yoram Preminger will lead a virtual tour of the Elah Valley, the site of the battle between David and Goliath, on Zoom, Feb. 7 at 1 p.m. The biblical text aid in the exploration of the geographical setting for the battle, as participants look at some of the sites mentioned such as Azekah and Sha’arayim. The story opens a window into the important historical period of the early days of the Kingdom of Israel. For more information, visit cbict.org/calendar.

World Premiere of Hershey Felder’s “Before Fiddler – Live from Florence”

The World Premiere production of Before Fiddler – Live From Florence, featuring actor, playwright and pianist Hershey Felder as Yiddish author Sholem Aleichem, as well as performances by the Florence-based Klezmer music ensemble, Klezmerata Fiorentina, will be streamed live on Feb. 7 at 5 p.m. Filmed on location where events actually took place, this streaming production will feature the stories and characters of Sholem Aleichem, along with music that is sure to move the soul.

Tickets will be available for on-demand streaming until 11:59 pm on Sunday, Feb. 14. Tickets are $55/household and are available for purchase at hersheyfelder.net. Proceeds frwill benefit over 20 national and international theaters, arts organizations and publications. 


The NY Librarian who spied on American Nazis

Museum of Jewish Heritage – A Living Memorial to the Holocaust presents  “The New York Librarian Who Spied On American Nazis” on Tuesday, Feb. 9 at 2 p.m. Marshall Curry, Academy Award-winning filmmaker (A Night at the Garden); Dr. Daniel Greene, president and librarian at the Newberry Library, professor of history at Northwestern University, and curator of “Americans and the Holocaust;” and Michael Simonson, head of public outreach and archivist at the Leo Baeck Institute discuss the life and legacy of Florence Mendheim, a Jewish librarian who went undercover in the 1930s to spy on local Nazi groups in the New York area. Co-presented by the Museum and the Leo Baeck Institute. For more information on this virtual program, visit: mjhnyc.org/events.


The power of unplugging on Shabbat

The 9th Annual Saul Cohen-Schoke JFS Lecture Series presents “Tech Shabbat,” with guest speaker Tiffany Shlain, Emmy-nominated filmmaker and author of 24/6: The Power of Unplugging One Day A Week, who will focus on regaining your inner calm and connection to people instead of screens. The free lecture to be held Feb. 10 at 7:30 p.m., is co-sponsored by UJA/JCC Greenwich, Federation for Jewish Philanthropy of Upper Fairfield County and the UJF Greater Stamford, New Canaan and Darien, in partnership with the Jewish Book Council..

To register, visit www.ctjfs.org/saul-cohen-jfs-lecture. For more info, contact Matt Greenberg at (203) 921-4161 or mgreenberg@ctjfs.org.   


“Purim On Tap” for Young Adults

The Tribe, a group for adults in their 20’s and 30’s organized by Congregation Beth Israel in West Hartford, and JewGood, a branch of the Jewish Community Foundation of Greater Hartford that empowers young professionals to engage in philanthropy, are hosting “Purim on Tap,” a virtual discussion of the Purim story on Feb. 11 at 6:30 p.m., with refreshments. For more information, visit cbict.org/calendar.


“Before Fiddler – Live from Florence “with Hershey Felder

“Before Fiddler – Live From Florence,” featuring actor, playwright and virtuoso pianist Hershey Felder as Yiddish author Sholem Aleichem, as well as performances by the Florence-based Klezmer music ensemble, Klezmerata Fiorentina. Filmed on location where events actually took place, this streaming production will feature the stories and characters of Sholem Aleichem, along with music that is sure to move the soul. This World Premiere production will be streamed live on Feb. 7  at 8 p.m., and will be available for on-demand streaming until Feb. 14 at 8:59 p.m. Proceeds will benefit over 20 national and international theaters, arts organizations and publications. 

Tickets: $55 per household, available at hersheyfelder.net.


“The Garden of the Finzi-Continis,” screening & discussion

“Museum of Jewish Heritage – A Living Memorial to the Holocaust presents a screening and discussion of the 1970 classic film “The Garden Of The Finzi-Continis” on Feb. 11 at 2 p.m. Ricky Ian Gordon, composer of the operatic adaptation of the film, and Portia Prebys, longtime companion of Giorgio Bassani, join Italian film and history experts for a discussion on the film. Attendees will receive a private link to screen the film during the four-day period before the program. For more information on this virtual program, visit: mjhnyc.org/events.


Jewish Ethics, Social Justice, and the 21st Century Rabbinate  

Rabbi Stephanie Ruskay of the Jewish Theological Seminary will discuss “Jewish Ethics, Social Justice, Community Organizing and the 21st Century Rabbinate” on Feb. 18 at 7:30 on Zoom, as part of the 2021 series of virtual lectures surrounding the theme of “The Jewish Roots of Social Justice,” presented by the ALEPH Institute, a learning initiative sponsored by the Mandell JCC and UConn Judaic Studies. Rabbi Ruskay will focus on raising the scope and profile of social justice work and community organizing skills in the role of the contemporary rabbi. For more information, visit judaicstudies.uconn.edu or mandelljcc.org. 

Beyond the Ghetto Gates with author Michelle Cameron

The book Beyond the Ghetto Gates by Michelle Cameron is set in 1796-97, a rare happy epoch in Jewish life when Napoleon marched into Italy and demolished the ghetto gates, freeing the Jews who had long been trapped behind them. This virtual book discussion with Cameron on Feb. 18 at 7 p.m., explores issues the novel raises issue that remain pertinent today, including antisemitism, the conflict between assimilation and religious tradition, intermarriage, and the struggle between love and familial duty. For more information, visit cbict.org/calendar.

A talk with Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla

Museum of Jewish Heritage – A Living Memorial to the Holocaust presents “ Legacies: A Talk With Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla,” who has overseen the development of the world’s first safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine, will discuss his experience as the son of Holocaust survivors and how his upbringing informed his accomplished career. He will be joined in conversation by Robert Krulwich, science and technology journalist and longtime host of the double Peabody Award-winning show Radiolab. Admission is complimentary with a suggested donation. For more information on this virtual program, visit: mjhnyc.org/currentevents.


JTConnect’s Pink Shabbat raises breast cancer awareness

In keeping with Sharsheret Pink Day 2021, a worldwide initiative to raise breast cancer awareness that will take place on Wednesday, Feb. 10, JTConnect will host its annual Pink Shabbat on Feb. 20, 7 – 8 p.m.  Led by JTConnect teen engagement fellows and open to all ages, the evening will include Havdalah and a meal certified kosher by the HKC and ready for pick up by Friday, Feb. 19. JTConnect Pink Shabbat Boxes that include a pink Havdalah set, Sharsheret swag, mitzvah cards, and more, may be purchased for $36. Procees will benefit Sharsheret, a national non-profit that improves the lives of Jewish women and families living with or at increased genetic risk for breast or ovarian cancer. Reservations a must by Friday, Feb. 12. Zoom link will be sent upon registration. To register, contact cara@jtconnect.org. 


UJF Community Read to feature author Rachel Barenbaum

Author Rachel Barenbaum will discuss her debut novel A Bend in the Stars on Zoom, Monday, Feb. 22, 7:30 p.m. at the Community Read hosted by United Jewish Federation of Greater Stamford, New Canaan and Darien.

Set in Russia during World War I, in A Bend in the Stars Barenbaum melds the science relating to solving Einstein’s theory of relativity with a love story. The book was named a New York Times Summer Reading Selection and a Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers selection. Barenbaum, who lives in Brookline, Massachusetts, is a reviewer for the LA Review of Books, the Tel Aviv Review of Books and DeadDarlings. She is an honorary research associate at the Hadassah-Brandeis Institute and a graduate of GrubStreet’s Novel Incubator, and is founder of Debut Spotlight and the Debut Editor at A Mighty Blaze. 

To register for this free program, visit ujf.org/communityread, or email Diane Sloyer at dianesloyer@ujf.org. 

AFTERLIFE: What does Judaism say about the world to come?

Cantor Abramson of Congregation Shir Ami will lead a virtual exploration on the Jewish perspective on the afterlife and the concepts of heaven and hell on Feb. 22 at 7:30 p.m. For more information, contact Cantor Abramson cantorjea@gmail.com.


Purim Story Slam

Congregation Shir Ami will host a Purim Story Slam on Feb. 26 at 7:30 p.m.

A Story Slam is a live story-telling event where individuals share a personal story (about 3-5 minutes long) in the form of a story, a poem or a song; it can be funny, inspiring or dramatic. (If you have never heard a story slam before, listen to The Moth on NPR to get the idea). The Purim Story Slam theme is inspired by the way Mordechai and Queen Esther found a way to foil Haman’s nefarious plan to harm the Jews. If you can recall a time when you felt stuck but you found a way to get out of it, or if you have a personal story that speaks about confronting adversity? If so, contact Cantor Abramson at cantorjea@gmail.com with a brief description of your idea.


Bi-Cultural Hebrew Academy’s gala goes virtual

Bi-Cultural Hebrew Academy 65th Annual Celebration Dinner, to be held virtually on Sunday, Feb. 28 at 6:30 p.m., will honor several community leaders, including: Guests of Honor Stephanie and Josh Bilenker; Young Leadership Award recipients Nicole and Jonathan Makovsky; Doris Zelinsky, recipient of the Morton G. Scheraga President’s Award; and the many school alumni who are currently serving in the Israel Defense Force. In addition, Jacqueline Herman, who will be retiring as Bi-Cultural head of school at the end of this academic year, will receive the inaugural Walter Shuchatowitz Award for Excellence in Education. For more information, call (203) 329-2186 or visit bcha-ct.org.

Looking for God in All the Right Places with author Rabbi Jeffrey Salkin

Rabbi Jeffrey Salkin will discuss his book Looking for God in All the Right Places, on Zoom, Feb. 28 at 4 p.m. Rabbi Slakin is well known for his writing, teaching and activism. He has written or edited three Torah commentaries – two of which are for teens. Several of his books have won national awards. His award-winning blog, “Martini Judaism: for those who want to be shaken and stirred,” is published by the Religion News Service. He is currently spiritual leader of Temple Israel in West Palm Beach, Florida.For more information, visit cbict.org/calendar. 


Two women talking: A rabbi and a pastor sit down for coffee

The Open MINDS Institute of Fairfield University’s Regina A. Quick Center for the Arts present “Women Who Transform Tradition: Or, What Happens When a Female Rabbi and a Female Pastor Sit Down for Coffee,” on March 3 at 1 p.m. Rabbi Sarah Marion of Congregation B’nai Israel in Bridgeport and Reverend Vanessa Rose of First Church Congregational in Fairfield, talk about about women who serve as religious leaders: their history, opportunities, and challenges. No registration is required for this FREE virtual program. For more information, visit quickcenter.com or call  (203) 254-4010.

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