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snh published by the Jewish Federation of Greater New Haven non-profit org. U.S. postage paid permit #2134 New Haven, CT SHALOM NEW HAVEN september - october 2013 / elul - cheshvan 5773-5774 Michael Bolton Offers Backstage Pass Into His Life, Loves and Music New Grant Program to Strengthen Local Jewish Community Singer/songwriter Michael Bolton is known throughout the world for his unmistakable, soulful voice and Grammy Awardwinning, charttopping music. He is also known locally as a hometown hero who made it big from his humble beginnings in New Haven. The past five years have been a period of extended economic challenge globally, and many New Haven Jewish institutions are experiencing crisis or distress. In response the Jewish Federation in collaboration with the Jewish Foundation has implemented an extraordinary program to provide funds to our community partners to enable them to restructure and adapt, or to address their most urgent needs. Bolton began a career in music writing songs as early as age 9. He eventually landed a label deal with Epic Records, however, it would be many years before he would score his first definitive hit and breakthrough as a superstar. In his first memoir, The Soul of it All, Bolton offers a backstage pass into the fascinating life journey from anonymity to a world-renowned music career. Die-hard Michael Bolton fans will hear Bolton continued on page 7 Online Database Now Available for Jewish Cemeteries The Jewish Cemetery Association of Greater New Haven (JCAGNH) announces the completion of its central database of the 25,000 interred in the Jewish cemeteries of Greater New Haven. JCAGNH board member Eliezer Greer conceptualized this prodigious project, and a dedicated team of volunteers brought it to fruition. Greer spent more than two years walking the cemeteries in the heat of summer and bitter cold of winter to draw the maps, complete the compilation of data, and create the central database. JCAGNH President Bob Goodman stated that he is very pleased that this two-year project is ready and available to anyone trying to find the location of a deceased loved one buried in a Jewish cemetery in the area. The central database is free and can be accessed via the JCAGNH link at “The central database has been a huge help to the many monthly inquiries from people throughout the country and around the world,” Goodman said. “The inquiries are not only for information about the burial site in anticipation of a trip to New Haven, but also for folks engaged in Cemeteries continued on page 3 The program is a $1 million grants initiative to enable local Jewish agencies, organizations and synagogues to apply for grants matching funds dollar for dollar, that they raise for capital improvements as well as innovative community initiatives. Don Hendel, President of the Jewish Federation, commented on the announcement. “We are aware our community is shrinking, and average age of our members is among the oldest in the country. We need to attract new and retain existing members. I am pleased the boards of directors of the services for young and old. “We are excited to receive proposals that have high potential to stimulate fundraising and help implement innovative projects that will benefit the community,” said Dena Schulman-Green, grants committee member. The Jewish Federation and Foundation of Greater New Haven have ongoing efforts in place to monitor, examine and improve their community outreach. Federation and Foundation overwhelmingly approved the program. I believe it will energize and grow our entire community.” A grants committee consisting of members from both the Foundation and Federation is administering this program. “Under their guidance I am confident this program will help build our community and allow our partners to grow and prosper,” Hendel further stated. The program is an investment in the future for all Jewish people and organizations throughout the New Haven area. It will go a long way to sustain existing As Foundation chairperson, and longtime board member Jeffrey Hoos put it “We are in the business of helping Jewish people and organizations in New Haven. And by help I mean finding ways to build and nourish Jewish life in every way. This grant process is a perfect example of how the Federation and community can work together to attain that goal.” The matching grant monies are made possible thanks to the unrestricted funds of the Jewish Foundation. The grants will be awarded in two tranches, one this fall and one in the spring. Francesca Segal Discusses Award-Winning Book Call it a winning debut: The Innocents, Francesca Segal’s first novel, has already been named winner of the National Jewish Book Award for Fiction, the Sami Rohr Prize for Jewish Literature and the Costa First Book Award. No stranger to fiction, Segal – the daughter of Love Story author Erich Segal – was inspired to reimagine Edith Wharton’s wry The Age of Innocence for the modern age and show that society hasn’t changed much over the last 150 years. Set in the modern-day upper-crust North West London, a Jewish community still under the shadow of the Holocaust and where the bonds of family and tradition run deep, The Innocents is slyly humorous and deeply satisfying. It illuminates the conflict between responsibility and passion, security and exhilaration, tradition and independence. Shalom New Haven spoke with Segal about her influences and how she came about writing the novel. Shalom New Haven: Have you always been interested in writing? At what age did you begin to write? Were there certain topics you were drawn to? Francesca Segal: I can’t remember a time when I didn’t want to be a writer. I think I wanted to be a storyteller even before I could write. I’m drawn to human relationships – I enjoy constructing a plot but only so far as it facilitates my constructing the people who enact it. SNH: How was it growing up with a father who was a famous novelist? Did you feel any pressure to follow in his footsteps? Segal: No pressure other than what I put on myself. At home the only pressure was to work as hard as I could at whatever I chose to do – no one pushed me into a certain path, but there was the expectation, which I am grateful for, that whether I became a writer or a doctor or a pilot, a lot of hard work would be required to be any good. SNH: Who is your favorite author and are you drawn to a certain genre? Segal: My heart is in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, I think, but there are a lot of contemporary writers I adore. Jennifer Egan, Salman Rushdie, Jane Gardam, Zadie Smith, Lauren Groff, Siri Hustvedt. And then it’s Jane Austen, up and above anyone else, Charles Dickens, Edith Wharton, Henry James. SNH: Your novel is set in a Jewish community in London. How did you get the idea for the setting? Isn’t it ironic since Wharton was a known anti-Semite? Segal: It’s set in a world that I know inside-out, and when I was re-reading The Age of Innocence I kept hearing echoes – I think any small community has those same pressures that she describes, and I could see it so clearly in North West London that I just had to write it. I don’t think Wharton would have been thrilled about it, but I certainly never set out to write any sort of revenge novel. It just felt so contemporary. SNH: If the novel was set in a Jewish community in the United States, do you think that would affect the story line? Segal: I think it would affect the essence of the story very little – but I believe that’s true if it were set in a small town in the Baptist South or a Hindu family in Mumbia. People are people, after all, and the way in which we structure our communities – the benefits and the pressures of such interwoven lives – areaaz same everywhere. Tuesday, Oct. 15, 11 a.m. JCC, $10 More: Enid Groves (203) 387-2424 x267

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