The Voice of the Greater New Haven Jewish Community
Summer Camp Section See pull-out Camp Coverage pages 17-20
WINTER 2017•TEVET/SHEVAT 5777
The Journey to
RECOVERY THE NEW HAVEN ERUV
When the eruv required repairs this fall to remain intact, the loss of its important function impacted the community PAGE 25
JFS FIGHTS HOMELESSNESS
Check out the exciting new programs and opportunities at local schools. PAGES 3, 5-10
Read Dolores’s story and see how JFS made all the difference. PAGE 27
SHALOM NEW HAVEN, 2017/5777, Page 2
FROM THE DESK OF
JUDY ALPERIN DIAMONDSTEIN CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER I email@example.com
A Vision for the Future Upon my departure from my last community I was given a journal. On the cover it says, “if you dream it, you can do it.” While the quote is not attributed to Theodore Herzl, his words, “im tirzu ain zo agadah”-- “if you will it, it is no dream” are also apt for this moment in time.
As we go to print on this edition of Shalom New Haven and welcome 2017, we are entering the year embracing a new reality in our community that none of us could have predicted. Just weeks ago we witnessed the heroic and the heartbreaking as our members and children were brought to safety as our beloved JCC building filled with smoke from a fire that broke out in the men’s sauna. The building is currently uninhabitable as it is readied for reconstruction and renewal. What lies ahead for our Jewish community? While change is never easy, it often brings good things if we are able to look carefully at our needs and work to address them. While we do not have the luxury of time that would be afforded to us under different circumstances, we will do our best to work as quickly and efficiently as possible to understand the emerging needs and complexities of our Greater New Haven Jewish community and seek input and expertise to guide us in re-imagining our physical centerpiece so that it fits with that vision.
At the same time, we will continue to expand on our model of serving our entire catchment area with programs and services to build stronger connections to Jewish life and community. From the data and conclusions of the 2010 community study we know that our population centers are shifting and that our population is skewing older. These concepts and others drawn from the survey will be incorporated into the planning for the renewed Jewish Community building on Amity Road and our broader community road map.
In the interim, look for Jewish community happenings across our area with sports and recreation activities in Woodbridge, Bethany and Orange— at Hopkins and Albertus Magnus. Yeladim Early Learning Center and Afterschool have been relocated to Congregation B’nai Jacob. The JCC Fitness Center and camp, membership and program office held its grand opening on Jan. 2, 2017, at 4 Research Drive in Woodbridge, and administrative offices for the Jewish Federation, Foundation and JCC are at 1764 Litchfield Turnpike, also in Woodbridge. The Jewish Federation’s Guilford office will continue to be a hub of activity and planning on the Shoreline. Many programs, meetings and activities will be offered and supported by our wonderful Jewish community at local synagogues, agencies and spaces. The true test of the bonds of community happens under
difficult circumstances and I cannot praise our community’s institutions and leadership enough for their caring offers for and the opening of their doors to all that we may need. Under different circumstances my column this month might have shared some wistful thoughts on my first year of service as CEO. Instead, I have come to recognize that my first 11 months laid the ground work for this moment in time. Thank you for educating me about the beautiful fabric of Jewish life in Greater New Haven and for helping me to understand our past. All of this will be essential as we work together to bring our community to a sustainable and thriving future. While I confess that I still require my GPS at times to find my way, I no longer consider myself a newcomer. As we continue to forge ahead, I do so as a New Haven’er—full of pride for who and what we are and full of promise for what lies ahead for our community. Please allow me to indulge in a very hearty todah rabah to all of you who welcomed me so warmly, guided me gently, and encouraged my vision which brought solid results over the past year. Keep your encouragement, thoughts, suggestions and ideas flowing. All of our energy and creativity will be necessary for this next exciting chapter of our community story. With warmest wishes for a happy and healthy new year,
SHALOM New Haven is published six times per year and delivered free of charge to the Greater New Haven Jewish community by the Jewish Federation of Greater New Haven. COPY DEADLINES Copy deadlines for the upcoming Shalom New Haven issues are: • Jan. 27 for March /April issue • March 28 for May/June issue • May 28 for July/August issue • July 28 for September/October issue _________________________________ SUBMISSIONS To submit an article or photo, please email firstname.lastname@example.org, Please include your contact information when submitting. Space is limited; submission does not guarantee publication. All articles are subject to approval by editorial committee. SHALOM NEW HAVEN STAFF Jessica McWeeney Editor/Editorial Content Manager Nurit Kohl Director of Marketing & Communications Christina Cagliotti-Diglio Art Director Wendy Bowes Senior Graphic Designer Advertising Sales TEL: (203) 387-2424, x216 email@example.com _________________________________ LEADERSHIP Dr. Norman Ravski President Judith Alperin Diamondstein Chief Executive Officer Scott Cohen JCC Executive Director Lisa Stanger, Esq. Foundation Executive Director _________________________________ Jewish Federation of Greater New Haven 360 Amity Road, Woodbridge CT 06525 (203) 387-2424, fax: (203) 387-1818 firstname.lastname@example.org jewishnewhaven.org/SNH
A 4 -A L A R M F I R E D E VA S TAT E S LO C A L J C C F O R C I N G 3 0 0 MEMBERS, CHILDREN, SENIORS A N D S TA F F TO E VAC T UAT E .
Globally and locally
MILLIONS OF JEWS FIND EVERY DAY A STRUGGLE – FEDERATION IS THE SAFETY NET.
Strong Jewish Communities are built on the foundation of excellent Jewish Federation of Greater New Haven jewish education. Ezra Academy Development Director is a K - 8 Jewish day school offering outstanding academics and a nurturing community, rooted with a Jewish tradition of critical thinking and ethical behavior. The continual emphasis on Jewish learning and ethical behaviors helps teachers, students, parents and administrators build positive relationships and a welcoming community. An Ezra education is available to any Jewish child, regardless of financial circumstances. Ezra families vary widely in their Jewish expression, practice and belief, while sharing a commitment to learn, study and celebrate together. The Academy welcomes all Jewish families whether they identify as Conservative, Orthodox, Reform, Reconstructionist, unaffiliated or secular, and many famiBy Amy Holtz
lies also include non-Jewish parents. With small class sizes and a faculty that strives to meet each student at his or her developmental level, Ezra offers an intellectually rigorous, dual secular and Judaics curriculum including Hebrew and Spanish languages, a progressive approach that emphasizes collaborative, project-based learning, critical reading and writing, and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math).
Music to the Ears: Feb. 12
Ezra Academy is creating citizens of the world, instilling a sense of responsibility for the community at large through Gemilut Chasdaim (acts of loving kindness) and Tikkun Olam (repairing the world). By attending the school, students foster connections to Jewish history, traditions and practice. They nurture relationships with the State of Israel while developing skills to become future leaders of the Jewish community. Ezra students and alumni are our BBYO leaders and USY Presidents; they attend March of the Living and fight for Israel causes; they are engaged at Jewish Family Services helping with the food pantry; they perform a Mitzvah project for their Bnai Mitzvot and support each other’s projects. Your contribution in support of the Jewish Federation’s Annual Campaign assists with Ezra Academy with providing financial assistance for students to attend the school. Fifty percent of the Ezra students receive some financial assistance, which can be anything from a small subsidy to a full scholarship. The funds come from your support of the Jewish Federation’s Annual Campaign, and addition to direct contributions to Ezra. Your generosity ensures that every child who would like to attend the transformational educational experience at Ezra can participate. Support the Annual Campaign of the Jewish Federation of Greater New Haven and let’s continue educating tomorrow’s Jewish leaders.
The Sixth Annual Debbie Friedman Memorial Concert will be held on Sunday, Feb. 12, 10 -11:30 a.m., at Tower One Tower East, celebrating the musical legacy of Debbie Friedman. This morning of song will feature several Greater New Haven Hebrew schools, along with the children’s choir, adult choir and bands from Temple Beth Tikvah and Temple Emanuel.
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Your Campaign Dollars at Work
SHALOM NEW HAVEN, 2017/5777, Page 4
Welcome to America
Let There be Light! Да будет свет. By Yelena Gerovich New American Acculturation Coordinator “One kind word can warm three winter months,” a Japanese proverb says. Jewish proverbs say “Do not be wise in words - be wise in deeds,” and, “Whoever enjoys his life is doing the Creator’s will.” What is your plan to enjoy the long dark winter evenings? Books, movies and tasty food with your family and friends? Among your choices are the many interesting classes and programs for all ages offered by the New American Acculturation Program. On Friday, you can purchase a tasty challah, and then it is up to you to go home to continue the 4,000 year old tradition of lighting Shabbat candles. In her article, “The Meaning Behind the Flames,” Rhona Lewis reminds us of a story that happened 17 years ago: “On Jan. 1, 2000, The New York Times ran a Millennium Edition. It was a special issue that featured three front pages. One had the news from Jan. 1, 1900. The second was the actual news of the day, Jan. 1, 2000. And then they had a third front page, projecting envisioned future events of Jan. 1, 2100. This fictional page included things like a welcome to the fifty-first state: Cuba; a discussion as to whether robots should be allowed to vote; and so on. And in addition to these fascinating articles, there was one more thing. Down on the bottom of the year 2100 front page was the candle-lighting time in New York for Jan. 1, 2100. Reportedly, the production manager of The New York Times, an Irish Catholic, was asked about it. His answer was right on the mark. It speaks to the eternity of our people, and to the power of Jewish ritual. He said, “We don’t know what will happen in the year 2100. It is impossible to predict the future. But of one thing you can be certain-that in the year 2100, Jewish women will be lighting Shabbat candles.” This passage serves as a reminder of how important continuing the tradition of lighting Shabbat candles is to the Jewish people. The entire week we are caught up in a hectic pace, where it is easy to think only of personal accomplishments and individual achievements. Yet, once the candles are lit, it is the time to remember that everything is a blessing. There are about 400 families from the former Soviet Union in our area who, because religion was prohibited under the communist regime and Jewish people were severely discriminated against, may have not been taught why and how to light Shabbat candles. The New American Acculturation program offers many educational programs, including gathering together for Shabbat and keeping Jewish traditions. Our programs were made possible by the help and support we received from the Jewish Federation of Greater New Haven, the Women of Vision Society of the Jewish Foundation of Greater New Haven, the State of Connecticut Department of Social Services, and the Jewish Federation Association of Connecticut. Thank you! Let there be light. Please join us this winter! For more information about the New American Acculturation Program, including sponsorships of specific programs, please contact Yelena Gerovich at (203) 387-2424, ext. 321, or e-mail email@example.com.
“Один доброе слово может согреть три зимних месяца”, говорит японская пословица. Еврейские пословицы говорят: “Не будь мудрым в словах - быть мудрым в делах,” и “Тот, кто наслаждается своей жизнью, исполняет волю Творца.” Каков ваш план, чтобы насладиться длинными темными зимними вечерами? Книги, фильмы, и вкусная еда с вашей семьей и друзьями? Наш Еврейский центр закрыт на ремонт после пожара, программы проводятся в других зданиях. Звоните, я помогу вам найти много интересных классов и программ для всех возрастов. В пятницу вы можете купить вкусную халу, а затем, вернувшись домой, вам надо решить будeте ли вы продолжить 4000-летнюю традицию зажигания субботних (шабат, пятница вечером) свечей. В одной из своих статей Рона Льюис напоминает нам историю, которая произошла 17 лет назад: Это было 1 января 2000 года. «Нью-Йорк таймс» выпустила праздничный номер, посвященный «миллениуму», и вышла с тремя титульными страницами. На первой рассказывалось о том, что публиковалось в «Нью-Йорк таймс» сто лет назад — 1 января 1900 года. На второй помещался современный новогодний материал, а на третьей приводились прогнозы на будущее — о чем напишет газета 1 января 2100 года (то есть через сто лет). На этой фантастической странице можно было найти такие заголовки: «Добро пожаловать в 51 й штат — Кубу!», «Имеют ли роботы право голосовать?» и так далее. А в дополнение к этим захватывающим воображение новостям из будущего на той же странице было поставлено объявление, сообщающее о времени зажигания субботних свечей 1 января 2100 года. Редактора газеты — католика ирландского происхождения — спросили, зачем он поместил столь незначительное объявление. Его ответ с ошеломляющей точностью подтвердил вечное существование еврейского народа и силу традиции, которая передается из поколения в поколение. Он сказал: «Мы не знаем, что произойдет в 2100 году. Невозможно предсказать будущее. И только в одном мы можем быть полностью уверены — в 2100 году еврейские женщины будут зажигать субботние свечи…» Кстати, после этого выяснилась еще одна примечательная деталь. Кто-то из прочитавших эту историю не поленился проверить по календарю, на какой день недели выпадает 1 января 2100 года, и обнаружил, что это… пятница! Этот отрывок служит напоминанием о том, насколько важна традиция зажигания субботних свечей. Всю неделю мы проводим в суете, думая о текущих делах и о личных достижениях. Тем не менее, как только зажигают свечи, наступает время покоя и радости, напоминание о благословении. В районе Нью-Хэвена живут около 400 еврейских семей из бывшего Советского Союза. Религия была запрещена при коммунистическом режиме, евреи были жестоко дискриминированы, многие не знали почему и как зажечь субботние свечи. Благодаря образовательным программам для эмигрантов из бывшего Советского Союза мы собираемся вместе, веселимся, отмечаем праздники и изучаем еврейские традиции. Наши программы стали возможными благодаря помощи и поддержке многих еврейских организаций, местным лидерам и волонтирам. Спасибо вам. Да будет свет! Пожалуйста, присоединяйтесь к нам этой зимой! С вопросами и предложениями обращайтесь к координатору культурнообразовательных программ Елене Герович по тел. 203-387-2424 доб.321 firstname.lastname@example.org
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International Math at JHSC
Pictured from left to right: Ami Fogel, Celia Rosen, Jakob Okun The Jewish High School of Connecticut follows the Physics First sequence for science courses; physics followed by chemistry then biology. Labs are used to underpin and reinforce the fundamental concepts discussed in the classroom. Students in Dr. Castle’s physics classes worked in teams to construct a desk top ‘scaffold’ using spring scales, clamp stands and meter sticks, which they then used to investigate and test the experimental aspects of the concepts of net force, tension, support force and static equilibrium.
Jewish Community Relations Council
Pictured from left to right: Jakob Okun, Nate Herman
One of the biggest challenges of 21st century education in the U.S. is remaining competitive with international achievement standards of global excellence in mathematics. This is one of the reasons that international baccalaureate programs have steadily gained in popularity in some North American schools. The Jewish High School of Connecticut, located in Stamford, has addressed this issue by expanding a U.S. based math curriculum and adding some new international approaches to teaching mathematics. Ms. Natasha Cohen brings her expertise from the elite Russian mathematics program to her students with a focus on proving and mastering in-depth mathematical concepts. Dr. Yidi Zhang blends the best of his training at the Stevens Institute of Technology with his mastery of the Chinese mathematics approach of broad mastery of high level mathematical subjects. Mr. William Berson holds over 50 U.S. patents and adds a practical
flair to his classes using manipulatives and real world applications of abstract mathematical concepts for his students. “As technology makes the world a ‘flatter’ place, it is critical to provide our contemporary students with the most sophisticated approaches and global best practices to education that are available. In this way, they will be prepared to compete successfully on the emerging global playing field of interconnected business and commerce,” commented Rabbi Elisha Paul, JHSC Head of School. The Jewish High School of Connecticut held its open house on Sunday, Oct. 30, with high attendance. Prospective students visited from as far away as New Rochelle and New Haven. Families who were not able to attend the open house are welcome to schedule a tour and visit by contacting the school office at (203) 357-0850 or srich@ jhsct.org
LEFT VS. RIGHT The Battle for Israel’s Soul
J. J. GOLDBERG
JONATHAN A. TOBIN
Don’t miss this timely event
Jonathan S. Tobin, senior online editor and chief political blogger of Commentary Magazine, and J. J. Goldberg, editor-at-large of the Forward newspaper and former U.S. bureau chief of the Israeli news magazine The Jerusalem Report, will debate critical issues concerning the State of Israel. Light refreshments will be served.
DATE: Thursday, Feb. 9, 2017 TIME: 7 p.m. PRICE: $18 LOCATION: Temple Beth Tikvah 196 Durham Road, Madison, CT 06443
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Ready, Set, Kindergarten! By Laura Riccio-Prestash Mentor Teacher/ Head Teacher, Yeladim Early Learning Center It seems hard to imagine planning for a new school year when winter has only just begun, but it is at this very time that kindergarten registration begins in many of our communities. For parents of children potentially entering kindergarten, the anticipation of a new school year may bring new questions about their child’s readiness for the increasing demands and expectations of kindergarten. “Readiness” as it relates to kindergarten entry can have a variety of implications depending on perspective. Recently many schools in both the public and private sectors have adopted a curriculum based on a set of “standards” for learning. While there is value in approaching our planning as educators with intention, it is also generally recognized that many of these skill-based standards are not necessarily developmentally appropriate for children of kindergarten age. This can place an enormous burden of stress upon children who find that school is often no longer a place for play, creativity, exploration and socialization. In these instances, children of differing developmental levels may have very different school experiences. Readiness for this type of programming can be defined by a list of skills or knowledge mastered prior Jewish Preschools in to the start of school.
Greater New Haven
Southern Connecticut Hebrew Academy 261 Derby Ave, Orange, CT 06477 (203) 795-5261 www.schacademy.org Preschool Director: Raizy Kaplan School Director: Dini Druk 18 month-Kindergarten 8:15 a.m.-3:15 p.m. Temple Beth Tikvah Nursery School 196 Durham Rd, Madison, CT 06443 (203) 245-8039 www.tbtshoreline.org Nursery School Director: Bernadette Stak A readiness program for 2 year olds Program for caregivers and the child Preschool program for 3-5 year olds Mon-Fri: 9 a.m.-3 p.m. K’tanim (little ones) Nursery School at Temple Beth Sholom 1809 Whitney Ave, Hamden, CT 06517 (203) 288-7748 www.tbshamden.com Nursery School Director: Sheryl Sandinsky 2-5 years old Mon-Fri: 9 a.m. - 2 p.m. Mishkan Israel Nursery School 785 Ridge Road, Hamden, CT 06517 (203) 288-2375 www.cmihamden.org Early Childhood Director: Susan Witten Nason 6 weeks-Pre K Mon-Fri: 7:30 a.m. - 5:30 p.m. Yeladim Early Learning Center at the JCC of Greater New Haven Congregation B’nai Jacob, 75 Rimmon Rd., Woodbridge 06611 (203) 389-2111 x222 www.jccnh.org Early Learning Center Director: Lynn Bullard 3 months-Kindergarten Mon-Fri: 7:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m.
From our philosophical standpoint at Yeladim Early Learning Center, kindergartens need to be ready for children rather than children needing to be ready for kindergarten. Our developmentally-based philosophy prepares us for children of varying developmental levels entering our program. Individualizing instruction means that the unique needs of each child can be met while supporting their growth in all domains. A balance of childinitiated and adult-guided experiences minimizes stress and maximizes children’s learning. Parents may wonder what can be done to support their child’s readiness for kindergarten. This does not need to be done in a structured way. Natural opportunities for learning and supporting readiness can easily be made a part of your daily routine. Children entering kindergarten should have a growing facility with language. You can support this by providing many opportunities for speaking and listening during your time together. Encourage your child to talk about his or her day. Ask questions to help them elaborate and use descriptive language. Talk about your own day when appropriate or share experiences from your childhood that are relatable to your child’s experience. Use new vocabulary when speaking with
your children, explaining meanings as needed. Sing songs together and share poetry. Rhyming is an important part of supporting auditory discrimination, and also sets the stage for the introduction of “word families” later on. Children should be familiar with their names. Give them many opportunities for seeing their name in print and encourage them to print their own names. This is easily done by printing names on their pictures or allowing them to sign their own names on greeting cards or letters to family members. Remember that children’s art is their first means of communication. Give them lots of opportunities to use crayons, pencils, markers, and scissors to express their creativity and build fine motor skills. Help children to focus on printed language in their environment. Traffic signs, food labels in grocery stores, menus, all provide opportunities for parents to point out letters for children to become familiar with. Of course one of the most important things any parent can do to support their child’s literacy development is to read, read, read! Read to your child often. Allow your child to select favorite stories for their own collection, and visit the local public library to augment their exposure to quality children’s literature. Supporting mathematics development can be as simple as sorting laundry! Have your child assist in sorting laundry based on clothing item (socks, pants, etc), size, or color as a concrete experience with classification. Have your child assist in setting the table for dinner. “Grandma and Grandpa are coming to visit. Can you count out enough plates for our family’s dinner?” One to one correspondence can be demonstrated by having your child match one napkin for each plate…The possibilities are endless! Encourage your child’s curiosity about their world. Most children have a natural curiosity about the outdoors. It is important, not only to encourage questioning, but also to encourage children to hypothesize about their observations, make comparisons, seek answers and pursue deeper understandings. Provide your child with multiple real life experiences and limit screen time as well as time using technology for entertainment. Active engagement in the real world is the best preparation for kindergarten and for life! KINDERGARTEN INFORMATIONAL EVENING February 9, 7-8 p.m. (snow date: Feb. 23) B’nai Jacob, | 75 Rimmon Road, Woodbridge CT Free babysitting RSVP: Lynn Bullard, 203-389-2111 x222 | email@example.com
A new parashah curriculum at Ezra Academy challenges students in the middle school. Students are finding new and exciting ways to reexamine their understanding of the Torah.
“That was fantastic. The students were so excited about parashah; I couldn’t believe it.” Liz Ball, the learning specialist at Ezra Academy, reacted to her observation of our Torah portion of the week. At Ezra Academy, middle school students have started a new parashah curriculum where they meet twice weekly and study in mixed-aged groups. Each week, they focus on particular pieces of the Torah text and each week there are different types of learning in which the students engage. Earlier in the year, our gym teacher asked why the entire gym smelled of fish! For Parashat Re’eh we were examining the kashrut of various fish based on the criteria in the parashah. For Parashat Shoftim we compared the laws of witnesses in the Torah with the American and Israeli laws about court testimony. During Hevruta (study time) several enthusiastic
groups decided to phone different Israeli and American attorneys to pick their brains about their experiences! Some of the parashah discussions are tied to current events. The students held a fascinating discussion during the week of the election. It was Parashat Lech Lecha, and the
question they were examining was why Avram calls out, “in the name of G-d” in 12:8. They studied several commentators and focused their attention on the Ramban (Nachmanides). They linked this with the concept of advocacy, and the students created buttons and magnets with the ideals for which they wanted to advocate. The text of the Akedah was challenging for everyone. As a group, we discussed the concept of an inclusio, a literary concept where a passage begins and ends with almost the same phrase and how it might affect our understanding of the narrative. Rachel Logue, an eighth-grade student, discovered that Avraham’s name comes up 18 times in the passage, so she believes that Avraham knew that Isaac was going to live through this experience since the number 18 symbolizes “life” in Judaism. CONTINUED ON PG. 34
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Parashah Curriculum at Ezra
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Take a Tour of Yeladim Yeladim Early Learning Center: Infant, Toddler, Preschool, & Kindergarten Quality programs in a supportive, nurturing environment that promotes the social, emotional, physical and cognitive development of young children ages three months to five and one-half years. Our child-emergent play-based curriculum encourages experimentation, problem-solving, logical thinking and cooperative learning, as well as the assimilation of values, development of social skills and positive self-concept. Children explore, create and build in an enriching and stimulating learning environment. Yeladim is fully licensed by the State of Connecticut. Children and families of all religious and cultural backgrounds are welcome in our program. ● Child-centered, developmentally appropriate play-based program
Discover the difference. • Play-based curriculum • Specialties in music, library & swim • Powered by Jewish values
Schedule a tour today..
Now temporarily located at B’nai Jacob, 75 Rimmon Rd.
Schedule a tour: Lynn Bullard, firstname.lastname@example.org, (203) 397-7415 x278
● Dynamic learning environment ● Excellent teacher-child ratio ● Additional enrichment programs available ● Weekly library and music programs ● JCC Family membership included in tuition ● Financial aid/sibling discounts available
Yeladim Hours: Monday-Friday, 7:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m.
“Come explore our play-based classrooms and meet our seasoned and dedicated staff”
Temple Emanuel Earth Day
Tu B’Shvat brings back memories of Temple Emanuel’s Earth Day. It was celebrated with a special art project lead by in-house artists, Margot Rocklen and Anne Eisner. The morning started with a conversation about the environment and ways to protect it. The children were then introduced to the print-making technique, and proceeded to create their own stamps, which they used to create unique environment-related art pieces. Their work was combined into display panels, first displayed at the Israel Fest at the JCC and then at Temple Emanuel.
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Ezra’s Rosh Chodesh Group Makes Body Care Items to Explore Torah By Aly Crenshaw Director of Strategic Initiatives, Ezra Academy
With the cold weather months approaching, it’s the perfect time to start paying extra attention to our bodies. What better way to do that than by using the natural products we made ourselves? Ezra Academy girls in seventh and eighth grade participated in the Rosh Chodesh Group, which is funded by the Women of Vision Grant, sponsored by the Jewish Foundation of Greater New Haven. The group is an educational program built to challenge the traditional gender roles that girls face, and promote selfdiscovery. The girls made their own natural beauty products. The entire activity connected to the Torah and why it is important for women to take care of themselves. The message was that we are made in God’s image. We are God’s partners in helping the world. Morah Jacqui Schulefand started off by asking the girls, “Why is it important for women to take care of themselves?” She explained that girls must respect the fact that they are made in God’s image and that it is our responsibility to take good care of ourselves. If we don’t take care of ourselves then we are no help to anyone else. During lunch and recess the girls gathered around to make the beauty products. They made three all-natural products: a lip balm, lip scrub and body wash. The lip balm consisted of three simple ingredients: cocoa butter, beeswax and coconut oil. This nontoxic lip balm is perfect for the girls to use to take care of their lips during the cold winter months. The purpose of making a lip balm was for the girls to see how simple it is to make an everyday product on their own. Using all-natural ingredients is important in taking the best care of our bodies. The girls then mixed up a batch of vanilla lip scrub using vanilla extract, coconut oil and sugar. Many of them were excited to learn how to make their own since they often use lip scrubs at home. Lip scrubs are a small luxury that the girls can integrate into their everyday morning or night routines. Taking the time each morning and night for yourself is important for your mental health and well-being. For the shower, the girls made a refreshing peppermint body wash. They worked together to carefully measure out all the ingredients. Peppermint is a useful essential oil that has a calming effect on the body and can relieve sore muscles. The girls can take care of their bodies by taking time to relax and feel beautiful in their own skin. All of the girls went home with their own bag of products that they made themselves, and note cards with instructions on how to make them again.
of the nine candidates be interviewed in person and invited to make an in-person presentation. Those four candidates were SCS Financial, Prime Buchholz, Colonial Consulting, and Meketa Group. Following the in-person presentations by the four finalists, SCS Financial was recommended by the subcommittee to the Foundation Investment Committee which approved the recommendation and in turn made the same recommendation to the Foundation Board of Trustees which approved SCS Financial as the new investment advisor for the Jewish Foundation of Greater New Haven.
By Lisa Stanger Executive Director, Jewish Foundation of Greater New Haven In the summer of 2016, the Jewish Foundation of Greater New Haven Board of Trustees, following a recommendation of the Foundation’s Investment Committee, approved a RFP process (Request for Proposal) for a new investment advisor/consultant for the Foundation. The Board also hired InHub Consulting of Chicago to assist with the RFP process and a RFP subcommittee was formed. “The growth of the Foundation over the last few years warranted a review of the current consultative process. We recommended a RFP process as part of our due diligence as fiduciaries and because we wanted to explore options. One of the goals of the RFP process was to determine if it was appropriate to have both tactical and strategic in one consultant,” said Stephen August, Investment Chair of the Jewish Foundation. For over 18 years, Prime Buchholz had served as the Investment Consultant for the Jewish Foundation. The process began with a RFI (Request for Information) which was submitted to numerous firms and
publicized through financial outlets. Eighteen firms submitted RFIs. The submissions came from firms which ranged from large national to small boutiques and included consultants, outsourced chief investment officer models, as well as hybrids. From the 18 firms which submitted RFIs, the subcommittee recommended nine candidates who were then invited to submit full proposals. Those nine candidates were SCS Financial, Prime Buchholz (which was the Foundation’s current investment consultant), Colonial Consulting, Meketa Group, DiMeo Schneider, Fiduciary Investment Advisors, Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan and Segal Rogerscasey. After full review of the nine proposals as well as supporting documentation, the subcommittee then recommended that four
“The analysis was that SCS was very flexible in both of these areas. They have unique models that offer broad exposure to new sectors at lower cost and commitment. In addition, their communication and response were analytical and timely,” said Stephen August. Founded in 2002, SCS Financial is one of America’s leading independent investment and wealth management firms with offices in Boston and New York. SCS currently supervises approximately $17 billion in investment assets on behalf of 140 clients. SCS’ client base is diverse, encompassing endowments, foundations, ultra-high net worth individuals, family offices, sovereign wealth funds, and insurance companies.
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Foundation Approves New Investment Advisor
SHALOM NEW HAVEN, 2017/5777, Page 12
Delayed Bar Mitzvah Celebrated Middle School students at Southern Connecticut Hebrew Academy threw a lavish Bar Mitzvah party for Mr. Mark Savran, a middle-aged gentleman whom they heard had never been Bar Mitzvah’d in his youth. Savran was invited to join the Middle School prayer service, where he was called up to the Torah and assisted with donning his Teffilin for the first time. Savran was joined by his son and a small crowd of family and friends, who all commented about the uniqueness of the moving ceremony. After his Aliya, Savran was showered with candy, as shouts of “Mazal Tov” evolved into lively singing and dancing. The celebration culminated with an elaborate feast prepared by the students and parents,
where Savran shared his Bar Mitzvah speech with the students, many of whom were very moved by his words. Savran thanked the school and the headmaster, Rabbi Hecht for accepting him with open arms and for inviting him to explore his Jewish heritage in such a warm and meaningful way. Southern Connecticut Hebrew Academy is celebrating 70 years of Jewish education in the Greater New Haven community and continues to provide stellar academics and Judaic studies for students in preschool through high school. For more information, visit www. schacademy.org or call 203-7955261. For more information, visit www.schacademy.org or call 203795-5261.
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confidential and anonymously reviewed by the Podoloff scholarship committee. Go to www.jewishnewhaven.org/scholarships for an application and more information. Israel Experience Scholarships The Jewish Foundation Israel Experience Scholarship Program enables local Jewish students ages 14-19 the opportunity to participate in an Israel experience to develop and enrich their Jewish education and reinforce their Jewish identity. The Jewish Foundation provides scholarships for both short-term (minimum of three weeks program) and long-term organized Israel educational programs. Greater New Haven youth ages 14-19 are eligible. For 2017 summer trips, applications are due by March 7, 2017. For the 2017-2018 gap or academic year programs, applications are due by May 2, 2017. An essay and two recommendations are required. All applications are confidential and anonymously reviewed by the Israel Experience Scholarship committee. Go to www.jewishnewhaven.org/scholarships for more information, a list of qualifying programs and application requirements.
The Jewish Scholarship Initiative (JSI) provides scholarships for area day schools, synagogue schools, Jewish preschools and camps. Thanks to a generous donor in our community, last year JSI distributed $87,000 in local scholarships. Scholarships are need-based and are for Jewish households residing in Greater New Haven. Qualifying schools include Southern Connecticut Hebrew Academy, Ezra Academy and Bais David Yeshiva of New Haven. Qualifying Jewish camps include Camp Laurelwood, JCC camp, Camp Gan Israel and local synagogue camps. Qualifying Jewish preschools include local synagogue preschools, JCC Yeladim and Southern Connecticut Hebrew Academy. All local synagogue religious schools are included as well. The deadline for camp scholarships is May 5, and for day schools and preschools is July 14. The synagogue school deadline will be in the late summer and will be announced on the website and to the synagogues. All applications are confidential and anonymously reviewed by a scholarship committee. Go to www.jewishnewhaven.org/scholarships for the application, more information and to see the catchment area. Stuart J. Drell Scholarship Fund—College Scholarships for High School Seniors who are Congregation B’nai Jacob Members Renee Drell and her daughters Elana, Jordana and Marissa established a fund to honor their beloved late husband and father, Stuart J. Drell. The fund was established in 2001 at Congregation Beth Israel in Scotch Plains, New Jersey. When Renee Drell relocated to Connecticut, she transferred the fund to the Jewish Foundation of Greater New Haven and it now awards scholarships to high school seniors headed off to college. Awards are $1,000, and applicants must be members of Congregation B’nai Jacob and entering their freshman year of college. Applications require an essay and the deadline for applications is May 17, 2017, with awards announced in June. All applications are confidential and anonymously reviewed by the Drell family. Go to www.jewishnewhaven.org/scholarships for an application and more information. Emma Kohn Podoloff Scholarship Fund of the National Council of Jewish Women’s Greater New Haven Section-College Scholarships for High School Seniors The Emma Kohn Podoloff Scholarship Fund of the National Council of Jewish Women’s Greater New Haven Section is designed to assist Jewish high school seniors to advance their scholastic and vocational education. The average award is $1,500. Applicants must have resided in the Greater New Haven area for at least one year prior to the application date. The application includes an essay and three recommendations. The deadline for the application is May 31, 2017. The awards are granted in June. All applications are
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Feb. 16 | Mar. 16 | Apr. 20 TEL-AVIV
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SPACE IS LIMITED. RSVP REQUIRED. More information: Jill Lesage, email@example.com, 203-738-0033
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Jewish Foundation Scholarship Opportunities
SHALOM NEW HAVEN, 2017/5777, Page 14
Tragedy Strikes Our Home By Jessica McWeeney SNH Editor On the afternoon of Dec. 5, 2016, a fouralarm fire broke out in the menâ€™s sauna of the JCC building. The building will remain closed to the public until repairs are completed. All staff, members and children were evacuated safely, while firefighters from Woodbridge, Bethany, Orange and Prospect responded to the fire. Seymour firefighters assisted with coverage for those towns. Everyone who was in the building at the time of the fire was able to wait in neighboring Brookdale Senior Living in Woodbridge. The fire was put out by 5 p.m., but the building continued to be consumed by smoke and high carbon monoxide levels until late into the night. The building experienced significant water and smoke damage, with the lower level saturated by about six to eight inches of water. The recently redone basketball courts and aerobics studio were ruined. The 100,000-squarefoot building, including two miles of air ducts, needs to be completely cleaned. Crews are working on-site daily to remove debris and clean out the damaged building. The process of repairing and renewing the building is expected to take between six to 12 months.
Although the location has changed, the response to the fire has clearly shown that the JCC is not limited to a physical building – along with its many programs and services, it is the people that make up the community. In the days and weeks following the fire, the flood of support from local community agencies, synagogues, nonprofits, schools, town officials and other JCC’s and Federations, has been essential. Members of the community reacted immediately upon news of the fire. With their help, the JCC was able to quickly transition Yeladim Early Learning Center and the afterschool program to its new home at Congregation B’nai Jacob in Woodbridge. As a result of this tireless hard work, Yeladim obtained its license to operate within 72 hours. The new JCC Fitness Center opening took place on Jan. 2, at 4 Research Drive in Woodbridge, resuming fitness classes and babysitting services, along with access to cardio and weight equipment. Members love the new space almost as much as they loved reuniting with one another. The Fitness Center has taken on a motto of “making lemons out of lemonade.” A recent spinning class was themed around this motto, and participants shared inspirational thoughts on the white board in the spinning studio. One of the quotes read, “Every challenge we successfully conquer serves to strengthen our will and our confidence, and therefore our ability to confront future obstacles. ”You can see these and other well-wishes, as well as share your own, on our Facebook page, Facebook.com/JCCofGNH. The planning process has begun to rebuild with a vision that will address the evolving needs of the community now, and into the future.
Activites & Locations Visit jccnh.org for full details, schedules and location information
FITNESS* Fitness classes, Personal Training, Wellness /Nurition, Babysitting 4 Research Dr., Woodbridge
MASSAGE Bethany Body Works
41 Village Lane, Bethany Call 203.249.2977 to schedule.
Amity Chiropractic and Rehab 194 Amity Road, Woodbridge Call 203.768.4152 for Deb or 203.640.2510 for Charles.
YOUNG FAMILIES Yeladim Early Learning Center Afterschool & Vacation Camp Cong. B’nai Jacob, 75 Rimmon Rd., Woodbridge
Open Swim & Adult Classes
Open Gym, Boys & Adult Basketball
1. Beecher School, 40 Beecher Rd., Woodbridge 2. Town of Orange Pool, 525 Orange Center Rd., Orange
Albertus Magnus College, 700 Prospect St., New Haven
Children’s Swim Lessons
Town of Orange Pool, 525 Orange Center Rd., Orange
Hopkins School, 986 Forest Rd., New Haven
Girls & Biddy Basketball
Beecher School, 40 Beecher Rd., Woodbridge
Albertus Magnus College, 700 Prospect St., New Haven
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The Journey to Recovery
SHALOM NEW HAVEN, 2017/5777, Page 16
Challenging Your Spiritual Fitness through Silence, Stretch, and Song Rabbi Benjamin Shalva, author of “Spiritual Cross Training” and “Ambition Addiction”, both published in 2016, is a “jack of all trades” when it comes to spiritual exploration. Invoking wisdom from a cadre of both Eastern and Western traditions, Shalva challenges his readers to engage in spiritual practices, whether while worshiping in a house of prayer, practicing in a yoga studio, or even sitting in traffic. His text tells stories from journeying through India and Tibet on a search for authentic spirituality. Originally scheduled to take place at the JCC of Greater New Haven, Shalva gave his mindfulness and movement workshop on Sunday, Jan. 22, 2017 at 10 a.m. Last month, the JCC’s Program Director, Mara Gross Balk (MGB), spoke with Rabbi Benjamin Shalva (RBS) about “Spiritual Cross Training,” and the path he took to becoming an author and spiritual trainer. MGB: What inspired you to begin the journey that eventually inspired “Spiritual Cross Training?” RBS: At the time, I was thinking I was venturing off to explore different lands and spiritual traditions, because I was seeking adventure. But looking back, I think I was really trying to address some anxiety and depression in my life, and I didn’t really know how to do that. I didn’t have a sense that the world views I was surrounded by—classic American suburban thought and relatively uninvolved Jewish family life—were speaking to what I was grappling with. So I went searching for ways to work through the anxiety and depression, to make meaning in my life, find ways to relax, find ways to stay positive and hopeful. So really that exploration started when I was 18, going to Zen centers during my senior year in high school, and then in college when I went to India and Tibet. And even though I was getting academic credit for those experiences and studying Tibetan culture, I had this underlying wish to learn more about spiritual life and how to address these issues.
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MGB: Where did Rabbinical school come into that equation? RBS: Rabbinical school is funny. While I was exploring different religions, I was attracted to Buddhism and Yoga, and while that was happening, I was also spending my summers working as a drama director and song leader at a Jewish summer camp. And so, what I was finding was that spiritually, my heart was in the east. But professionally, I was really clicking with Jewish work and Jewish youth, and feeling like a lot of my skills lended well to connecting with my Tribe. And then I started to lead services in that camp setting, and I found that my background in music and theater and spirituality helped me help folks connect in a deep way. So Rabbinical school felt like a natural professional step, even though at the time I made that decision, I was still at the Judaism 101 stage of my Jewish knowledge. CONTINUED ON PG. 35
Alan S. Pensky
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Your ofямБcial guide to Greater New Haven Jewish camps.
Camp Gan Israel
SHALOM NEW HAVEN, 2017/5777, Page 18
Have a Summer to Remember at Camp Gan Israel By Chanie Wilhelm Director, Camp Gan Israel In what way is the Camp similar to other camps and in which way is it different? CGI’s motto is “We have it all!” We like to say that Gan Izzy is like a dozen specialty camps rolled into one. Today, there are science camps, sports camps, art camps, etc...at CGI, campers get to experience the breadth of all of these and so much more. A typical camp day will include swimming, archery, martial arts, yoga, sports, art, and science workshops. One of the highlights for older campers is the iClub experience, where campers can customize a part of their day, choosing which club they want to join for an indepth, hands-on experience. This past summer, campers participated in 3D printing, skateboarding, string art, and speedcubing, just to name a few. CGI has three divisions: Mini Gan (ages 2-5), Junior Division (Grades 1-3) and Sr. Division (Grades 4-6). With each new stage, children encounter age-appropriate adventures, field trips, and activities with the area’s top instructors, all built on the CGI hallmarks of safety, fun, and unconditional love. CGI has long been known as an innovator, bringing the latest and best in sports/technology/art to the campers. For example, speedstacking, paper quilling, drumming, raingutter regatta, pinewood derby, rocketry, and “Bash the Trash” (a music/recycling/environmental program) are all programs we have recently run at camp. STEM programming has also been a big focus at CGI; working together with Bricks4KidzTM, we’ve developed a series of workshops in which campers design and engineer their own creations, using math and technology. Campers are also encouraged to think of others and show kindness and compassion. Each summer, campers join our fundraising drive for Chai Lifeline, an organization which supports seriously-ill children and their families. Over the last 8 years, CGI campers have collectively raised tens of thousands of dollars for this special organization. CGI has a strong focus on Jewish identity and Jewish pride and spirit. Campers can be heard on buses to their field trips, at lineup, or walking in the hallways at camp, singing and cheering. Time is spent each morning discussing Jewish stories, lessons, history, etc. Many Jewish-themed days and dress-up days round out the fun. What makes CGI really special? The feeling of unity among the campers. Campers want to return and often bring their friends with them for subsequent summers. Besides for all the great activities we offer, we know that at the end of the day, camp is really about building campers’ self-esteem and giving them new and different avenues to express their creativity and curiosity. The stimulating camp experience we provide essentially serves our goal of helping our campers develop new skills and encourages the Jewish values of kindness, caring, and
charity. Campers meet new friends and learn about their heritage in a fun, exciting manner. If we had to narrow it down to one element, it’s the love and care shown by the teachers and counselors at CGI that really set us apart. Parents have often commented that the personalized attention we give each camper and camper family is unique and is what keeps them coming back each summer. Additionally, we are very flexible with enrollment. We have no minimum-stay requirement—campers can join for however long they’d like. We also offer extended-care options and financial aid. How has CGI changed over the years and why? In the past several years, we’ve seen tremendous growth in our camper numbers. Our camper group is very diverse, ranging from very Jewishly-affiliated to not-affiliated-Jewishly at all. CGI is a totally non-judgmental environment which caters to children of all backgrounds. All children enjoy a shared Jewish spirit through songs and activities. It is wonderful to see the new friendships formed each summer at CGI.
Feb. 1, 2017 Ages 2-12 Dates for Summer 2017: June 26- August 4. More info can be found on our website
Watch our Camp Video at www.GanIsraelNH.com/video
Making a Difference that Lasts a Lifetime By Evelyn K. Cohen Camp Laurelwood Director of Outreach & Community Engagement
Each summer, Jason’s friends would go off to Camp Laurelwood, leaving him behind. It wasn’t that he didn’t want to go – his family believed that they couldn’t afford it. It seemed to Jason to be just another situation in which the world was judging him based on financial status. However, Jason’s family then learned of Camp Laurelwood’s financial assistance program, which allowed him to attend for four weeks the next summer. While Jason was happy to be going, his excitement was tainted by the chip on his shoulder, expecting to be ostracized because he was there on a scholarship. To his amazement, however, Camp Laurelwood provided a wildly different atmosphere, where no one cared about status and the culture was one of inclusion. Camp was a “safe, structured environment where [he] could let down [his] guard and just enjoy being a kid, making lifelong friendships.” Camp Laurelwood provided a nurturing staff, over 140 acres to play, a boating lake, ropes course and dozens of cabins filled with bunk beds and laughter. The counselors were heroes; the friendships, magical. Jason quickly realized that this was a special place, and his concerns turned to hopeful anticipation for future summers at camp. Jason attended Camp Laurelwood for two more summers, and continued for six more years as a staff member. While at the time Jason never fully understood the impact and value of his experience and the importance of the financial assistance, as an adult he sees his time at Camp Laurelwood as the most formative years of his life – laying the groundwork for a life of confidence, personal achievement and financial success. And while he might not have imagined that camp could get any better, Camp Laurelwood has enjoyed much revitalization since Jason was a camper. With a completely renovated recreation hall, main office, health center and media studio, upgraded bunks, five new Gaga courts, two pools for swimming (one just resurfaced) and several other upgrades, the facilities only add to the wonder of camp.
Registration: NOW Ages 7-16 Dates for Summer 2017: June 25- August 13 More info can be found on our website
Today, Jason is an ardent camp parent, board member and supporter, giving generously of both of his time and money to ensure that other children can benefit from the Camp Laurelwood experience as much as he did. We truly hope that Jason’s story can become yours. Welcome to camp!
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JCC Day Camps
Community Roots Run Deep at JCC Day Camps
By Jennifer Gelband Special for Shalom New Haven The JCC has always been known for its outstanding summer camp, giving children the opportunity to get outside and connect with their community. If ever there was a question about how deep-rooted and uniting the JCC Day Camps really is, just look to Jason Zoock, whose compelling story is just one of the many examples. Jason is a special education teacher at Wintergreen Magnet School in Hamden during the year, but 10 years ago, when he was still in high school, he started his long tenure working for the JCC Day Camps – first as a counselor and then, for the last two summers, as a unit head. “I love working with the kids, working outside, having everyone so excited and happy,” he said. “Seeing kids in a different light in the summer than in the school year, it brings me joy.” Like the campers, Jason made many friends as a counselor. Some he stayed in touch with through the school years. “It’s just a great experience,” he said. “One of my very close friends now was from working at the camp. It’s a great place for campers and for the staff as well.” One of his friends was Krystal Menker, another counselor working at camp on summer break. After several years, college, and other relationships, the two reconnected while working at the JCC’s Afterschool Program four years ago. Jason and Krystal are now a couple living in Hamden and raising Krystal’s 7-year-old daughter, Olivia Leon, a current JCC camper with two summers under her belt. Last summer the family experienced the extent of the community roots firsthand. The trio reminisced over photos of their early camp counselor years and noticed a familiar face in the old pictures – Oliva’s present counselor, Emily Sachs, was also Krystal’s long-ago camper. “We didn’t realize it was Emily until we looked through the old camp photos,” Jason said. “We didn’t really think about it and then we saw a photo Krystal had with Emily as a camper and were surprised; it’s full circle.” Indeed, people young and old love staying connected once they become part of the JCC Day Camps’ family. There are a lot of camps in the Greater New Haven area, but not all of them have the allegiance and dedication that the JCC Day Camps does. Maybe it’s because of the strong, healthy and welcoming community that inspires lifelong friendships. Or maybe it’s because of the structure and unique camp activities. The JCC Day Camps provides children of all backgrounds, ages 4 - Counselor in Training (14+), with a variety of unique camp options. The full-day program runs all summer and gives kids the opportunity to grow in spirit, mind and body through programs including swim lessons, sports, arts, music and dance, and exciting field trips. Camp also offers childcare before and after camp, and free transportation to centralized locations, along with wonderful amenities, such as an outdoor pool and Gaga Ball, on 54 acres.
Feb. 17, 2017 | Ages 4-15 Dates for Summer 2017: June 26- August 11. More info can be found on our website
“I think it is a very diverse camp with kids from all over the area,” Jason said. “Many kids make friends and stay with the camp, grow and then are so excited to come back [as adults].”
“It says something about the community,” adds Krystal. “It’s nice to see the kids grow up.”
And as Jason, Krystal and Emily continue to stay connected to the camp they all hold so dear, they hope that Olivia too will share the same steadfast bond to the community. And it’s likely she will.
By Bluma Hecht Principal, Beth Chana Academy
Beth Chana Academy is delighted to be offering its seniors a University of Connecticut college credit course, English 1011, where seniors will earn four college credits for a full-year course. Courses taken through the UConn Early College Experience program are equivalent to the courses offered on any of the University of Connecticut campuses. Courses are taught on the high school campus by high school instructors who have been certified as adjunct faculty members by the University of Connecticut. The course is taught by Dr. Theresa Vara-Dannen, who has received the UConn ECE Instructor Award for Excellence, and has been teaching 9th-12th grade students in Darien, Hartford and Waterbury, Connecticut, for the past 25 years. Her philosophy of teaching revolves around respect for her students; she feels the creation of a warm classroom environment centered on scholarly inquiry and student engagement is critical for the development of young minds. This “pedagogy of belonging” allows students to feel they can safely speak their minds and hearts, and makes student growth the shared mission.
A graduate of an all-girls parochial school, Dr. Vara-Dannen is a great believer in the value of a single-gender religious education, and is pleased to be teaching at Beth Chana Academy. “A wonderful addition to the BCA staff this year, Dr. Vara-Dannen brings a wealth of experience with students of all ages in university, high school and adult education settings,” said Bluma Hecht, BCA principal. “Teaching English and History courses at Beth Chana this year, while acting as secular studies curriculum coordinator, Dr. Vara-Dannen will open many opportunities for our students in their research and writing,” she said. Beth Chana Academy High School is located in Orange, Connecticut. For more information about the school, please call 203-795-5261.
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Camp Laurelwood isn't just a "summer thing". Come join us fo f r "S'mores and To T urs" to see fo f r yo y urself! f f! Come meet with fr f iendly staff f and see our ff newly renova v ted campus during one of our open houses va f om 1:00-3:00 on one the fo fr f llowing Sundays y: ys
MARCH 19 APRIL 23 MAY A 7 AY Can't make k it on these days ke y? ys Contact Evelyn Cohen to schedule a priva v te tour: va eve v firstname.lastname@example.org. ve
We can't wa w it to meet yo y u! 63 Summer Hill Rd. Madison, CT 06443203.421.3736 www.laurelwood.org
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Beth Chana Academy High School Seniors Earn College Credits
SHALOM NEW HAVEN, 2017/5777, Page 22
Hesch Sommer Retires Perry and Hyman Take Over Adult Ed., Pastoral Care, Counseling Rabbi Hesch Sommer, D.Min., has retired after seven years as director of the Jewish Family Serviceâ€™s Jewish Wellness and Healing Center. The JWHC provides spiritual, emotional and educational programming within existing Jewish institutions. Despite being called a center, the JWHC is not limited to a physical space, but instead brings programs and support into the community wherever needed. This collaborative program began in 2010, in conjunction with the Jewish Federation of Greater New Haven. Sommer has been involved as director of the program from the beginning. The JWHC offers education and outreach related programs in the community, Rabbi Hesch Sommer as well as pastoral care. Sommer, who has a 26-year background as a rabbi, taught classes and facilitated discussions using Jewish texts to apply ethical insights and spiritual reflection to daily life. As of Jan. 2017, Sydney Perry has taken over as director of education for the JWHC. She will continue to provide adult educational programming for the community. Perry plans to make her programming a dialogue around current
Junior Maccabi Practice Begins in April
events and Jewish values. Perry has long been involved in the Greater New Haven Jewish community. Perry served as the CEO of the Jewish Federation of Greater New Haven, and was involved with the organization for nearly 30 years. She currently serves as interim executive director of the Jewish Federation Association of Connecticut. Sydney A. Perry Rabbi Fred Hyman She has been recognized for her commitment and service to the community, and received the 2015 Business New Haven Citizen of the Year Award. Rabbi Fred Hyman will take over pastoral care and counseling. The JWHC emphasizes reaching out to elderly members of the community who are unaffiliated with a synagogue, and who are looking for a Jewish connection. Outreach takes place in 15 local senior living facilities. Hymanâ€™s outreach will include working with local rabbis and senior living facilities to identify Jewish residents who might need support. He will also run the JWHC support groups, as well as individual care and home visits.
SIGN UP TODAY: jccnh.org/maccabi
TEMPLE BETH DAVID MITZVAH DAY EVENT: Temple Beth David members winterize the Mitzvah Garden
TEMPLE BETH DAVID ARTIST-IN-RESIDENCE EVENT:
TBD members with Rosalie Gerut at the Artist-in-Residence event. Pictured from left to right are Deb Gaudette, Ron Zeiger, Michael and Hilary Rutberg, Rosalie Gerut, and Sarah and Larry Erwich.
TEMPLE BETH DAVID TEENS AT CHOPPED! EVENT:
TBD teens with their Chopped! culinary creations. Pictured from left to right are Ellie Rockoff, Seymone Rosenberg, Anna Curran, Jeremy Alliger, and Ryan Feldman.
Congregation Mishkan Israel Hosts Interfaith Service to Honor Dr. Martin Luther King Congregation Mishkan Israel’s annual Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Service took place on Friday, Jan. 13, at 7:30 p.m. The guest speaker was Stephen Bright. Bright has been a Yale University Law School fellow or visiting lecturer in law since 1993. He is also president and senior counsel at the Southern Center for Human Rights, a human rights organization that deals with human rights in the criminal justice and prison systems. Bright has represented people facing the death penalty at trials and on appeals and prisoners by challenging inhumane conditions and practices; written essays and articles on the right to counsel, racial discrimination in the criminal justice system, judicial independence and other topics that have appeared in scholarly publications, books, magazines and newspapers; and testified before committees of both the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives. In addition to Yale University, he has taught courses on criminal law and capital punishment at Harvard University, the University of Chicago, Emory University,
Georgetown University, Northeastern University and other law schools. The work of the Center and Bright has been the subject of a documentary, “Finding for Life in the Death Belt,” (EM Productions, 2005), and two books, “Proximity to Death” by William McFeely (Norton, 1999) and “Finding Life on Death Row” by Kayta Lezin (Northeastern University Press, 1999). Beginning in the 1970’s, Congregation Mishkan Israel began to pay tribute for Dr. King’s life in order to celebrate his legacy and his ties to the congregation. Rabbi Robert Goldburg had invited his friend Dr. King to speak at Congregation Mishkan Israel on Oct. 21, 1960, to help dedicate the new synagogue. Dr. King was arrested two days before he was to speak, but was able to be a guest preacher one year later on Oct. 20, 1961. This was a historic moment that the Congregation wanted to preserve following Dr. King’s assassination and thus the annual service began. For the sixth year, the service was interfaith. Faith leaders from the Jewish, Catholic Christian, Muslim, Bahai and Unitarian Universalist traditions will join Rabbi Brockman in leading services.
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Temple Beth David Concludes a Busy Fall
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Jewish Cemetery Association of Greater New Haven Names New President The Board of Directors of the Jewish Cemetery Association of Greater New Haven (JCAGNH) has named Andy Weinstein to succeed Bob Goodman as president of the JCAGNH.
Weinstein has been a JCAGNH board member for many years. He brings a great deal of experience and involvement in the Jewish Community of Greater New Haven. Weinstein has served on the boards of the Federation and the Foundation. He has been the cemetery chairman at Beth El-Keser Israel for many years. He also brings plenty of business acumen as owner of Star Tire in West Haven and Wethersfield.
Goodman served as President of the JCAGNH since its inception 12 years ago. During that time, Goodman saw the transition of the JCAGNH from a fledgling organization to its own non-profit corporation. Over Goodman’s tenure, the JCAGNH has grown and now has the title to 12 Jewish Cemeteries in the Greater New Haven area that could no longer continue on their own. Although Goodman has retired to Florida, he will remain an active and involved board member. Both Goodman and Weinstein will continue the mission of the JCAGNH to provide a decent and dignified final resting place for our loved ones.
Expanding the New Haven Holocaust Memorial Over 40 years after it was built, the Greater New Haven Holocaust Memorial is expanding to include a sitting area for reflection and new flowering trees. The Memorial, located on the corner of Whalley Avenue and West Park, is the first Holocaust Memorial built in the U.S. on public land. “As we brought groups of school children and teachers to the Memorial to learn about this wonderful piece of our city’s history, we realized that the increased traffic on Whalley Avenue made it easier to stand at the back of the Memorial to view it, to understand it and to talk about its lessons about the dangers of hate,” said Doris Zelinsky, one of the three directors of Greater New Haven Holocaust Memory (GNHHM). “And, families and neighbors who have traditionally visited the Memorial around the Jewish holidays have shared with us that there is no area in which they can sit and reflect with their children and grandchildren, as they share stories of families and communities who perished in the Holocaust,” said Zelinsky. “This expansion to the back of the Memorial area will meet both needs,” she said. The expansion of the Memorial will include grey bricking that matches as closely as possible the 6,000 bricks which were retrieved from the renovation of the West Side Highway in New York City and added as an apron in the front of the Memorial plaza. Two benches for reflection will be affixed in this added area and new flowering trees will be planted. “To me, the Memorial is a jewel in the crown that is New Haven,” said Zelinsky. “It is a testament to the power of our community coming together to help new neighbors, immigrant Holocaust survivors, create a lasting Memorial to the communities obliterated by the Holocaust and to the 6 million Jewish people who were murdered.” “In so many ways, it captures what is so wonderful about our city,” she said.
“Neighbors joined the survivors to knock on the Mayor’s door to request a plot of land on which they could build. Mayor Logue gave them an instant yes on behalf of New Haven. The deal was sealed with a firm handshake.” “The Memorial was erected solely with private funds and donated time from private individuals, such as the architect, Gus Franzoni, and the landscaper, Marvin Cohen,” Zelinsky said. “Today, GNHHM continues that tradition. The expansion and all ongoing maintenance is supported through private resources.” The expansion will be completed in spring 2017, and a small opening commemoration is planned. For further details or to request a docent tour, please contact Doris Zelinsky at email@example.com.
By Cindy Papish Gerber Special for Shalom New Haven
The New Haven Eruv was temporarily closed for repairs this fall, impacting the Shabbat routines of over 200 observant families living within the eruv’s boundaries. While the necessary repairs were being completed, people living in this area had to forgo pushing strollers, carrying prayer books or tailit bags to shul, and other tasks per Jewish law. “The New Haven Eruv is vital for those who need it in the community,” said Miriam Sandman, president of New Haven Eruv, Inc. A Hebrew word for “union” or “joining,” an eruv is a symbolic boundary around an area that permits Jews to carry, push, or throw objects outdoors on Shabbat, actions which are otherwise prohibited by Jewish law. By symbolically enclosing this area, the boundary converts the outside public space into a private domain, as if all the inhabitants were members of one family. At close to 11 miles in length, the New Haven Eruv is checked weekly by four inspectors who rotate through this task. After years of making temporary repairs, it became necessary to make permanent upgrades. All major repair work needed for the eruv to function has now been completed, and final work to maintain it in best condition will be finished throughout this year. Rabbi Shnayer Roth, the Eruv’s head of inspections explains: “Recently, the eruv has undergone a complete overhaul, updating many of the wire guards that fell to disrepair and improving the eruv so that it should be able to be checked more easily. The overhaul was overseen by Rabbi Rephoel Szmerla from Lakewood, New Jersey, a known expert in Eruvim,” Roth said. “He was brought in early fall and immediately suggested the changes.” “The New Haven Eruv uses black wire guards that run along the height of the utility poles and are indistinguishable from the wire guards that the electric company uses to cover their own wire,” Roth explained. “When something breaks, such as a piece of the wire guard goes missing, that is usually fixed by an inspector. If it is something larger, then we usually contract out the electric company to install it for us.” In New Haven, there are two eruvim, The New Haven and Yale University Eruvs, that are joined into one large eruv that share Orchard Street as a border. An annotated map can be downloaded from the New Haven Eruv’s website (nheruv.net).
dent, “because I felt it was very important that we have an eruv in the city, so everyone can enjoy Shabbat in a more full way.” “The purpose of an eruv is not to make Shabbos more mundane, but to make Shabbos more sanctified. The New Haven Jewish community is fortunate to have reached the point of having an eruv.”
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The recent improvements cost close to $12,000. Half of that amount was raised through an emergency campaign, the other half through the annual budget. The remainder of the annual budget comes from the Jewish Federation of Greater New Haven and some synagogues. Rabbi Michael Whitman spearheaded the organization of the New Haven Eruv in 1989. “I was rabbi at Young Israel,” he said via telephone from Montreal, where he currently serves as the rabbi of Adath Israel. “I had great support from the City, the utilities. It was a fantastic learning experience to design the route, which allowed me to combine practical and Jewish legal knowledge. Although it took a lot of effort, working together with lay leaders, we never had a Shabbos without the eruv in operation.” “I became involved,” said Dr. Mark Schwartz, the New Haven Eruv’s first presi-
Valid from 2/1 - 4/30. New members only. Not an active member since 1/1/16. JCC of Greater New Haven • 360 Amity Road, Woodbridge • 203.387.2424 • jccnh.org
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The New Haven Eruv
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What will your Jewish Legacy be?
Create a Jewish Legacy for: - Jewish Federation of Greater New Haven (PACE) - Temple Beth Tikvah - Beth Israel Synagogue, Wallingford - Young Israel of New Haven - Congregation Sinai - Westville Synagogue - Congregation Mishkan Israel - Hebrew Congregation of Woodmont - Temple Beth David - Congregation Or Shalom - Temple Beth Sholom - Temple Emanuel - Congregation Beth Shalom Rodfe Zedek - Bikur Cholim Sheveth Achim - Jews in Need - Congregation Bâ€™nai Jacob - Congregation Beth El Keser Israel - Orchard Street Shul
- Jewish Family Service - Camp Laurelwood - Tower One/Tower East - Ezra Academy - Southern Connecticut Hebrew Academy - Hebrew High School of New England - Jewish High School of CT - Jewish Community Center - UConn Hillel - Jewish Education - Jewish Cemetery Association of Greater New Haven - Jewish Historical Society - Jewish Community Relations Council/Jewish Coalition for Literacy - Israel - New Haven Holocaust Memorial - New American Acculturation
Create a Jewish Legacy New Haven is a program of the Jewish Foundation of Greater New Haven and is funded in part by the Harold Grinspoon Foundation of Western Massachusetts.
For more information about Create A Jewish Legacy, contact Lisa Stanger, (203) 387-2424 x382, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Delores brings two cups of freshly brewed coffee to the table and looks around her kitchen. Her new found sense of comfort, security and permanence makes her choke up with emotion. “I would have been on the streets if it weren’t for Jewish Family Service,” she said. Just a year earlier, at 60 years old, Delores made a decision to flee from a domestic violence situation. She felt that it was the only thing she could do to save her life. This led to several months of staying in a hotel with reasonable weekly rates, but soon her limited money ran out and she didn’t know where to turn. Delores called JFS for help.
cal toll on our families and our community. Ever since the economic downturn began in 2008 and 2009, JFS has been besieged by requests for assistance from desperate individuals and families grappling with serious crises, such as prolonged bouts of un or underemployment, imminent foreclosures, evictions, impending home-
In 2016, JFS began its participation in the Greater New Haven Coordinated Access Network. As such, we provide drop-in intake hours to assist clients with who are at immediate risk of homelessness. Many of our referrals come through The United Way InfoLine 2-1-1. This work is geared toward providing housing diversion interventions, targeting individuals and families at the very critical state as they are applying for entry into shelters.
Delores met with a JFS social worker who helped her to make an action plan. Together, they were able to complete the paperwork for supportive services, food stamps and a redetermination hearing for Social Security Disability. A placement at a local female shelter helped keep her off the street while she applied for more permanent housing. Delores also met weekly with a JFS clinical social worker to help her through the emotional turmoil of her transition and coping with a new way of life. She also made regular use of the JFSGNH Food Pantry & Nutritional Health Center while waiting for her food stamp approval. Delores is now living in permanent supportive housing, where there are two on-site case managers. “So much good happened in the last year and I can’t imagine where I’d be if I hadn’t made that first phone call,” she said. Delores is just one of the many who regularly come to JFS for help. The ever deteriorating economic climate in Greater New Haven County has exacted an enormous financial and psychologi-
Prevention Program is individuals and families residing in Greater New Haven County who are confronting homelessness due to dire financial circumstances that threaten their ability to maintain or obtain suitable housing arrangements. Given the overwhelming need in our community for housing assistance, priority has always been given to those who face imminent danger of losing their current homes, and as a result, face potential homelessness. Today, a family in our region needs to earn at least $45,000 to afford a two-bedroom apartment.
lessness, utility shut-offs and food shortages. JFS does its best to forestall and or mitigate housing crises by simultaneously working with our families via financial and mental health counseling, comprehensive case management, community advocacy, benefits screening, housing dispute mediation, information and referrals and vocational coaching. The target population for our Emergency Housing and Homelessness
Unfortunately, JFS receives no state or government funding for our work to combat the scourge of homelessness, and relies on the support of the community and the Jewish Federation of Greater New Haven. Please Save the Date, Saturday, March 25, 2017, and join us in our mission to end homelessness during our special Spring Celebration featuring the music of The Jassmen. Visit www.jfsnh.org and the JFS Facebook page for additional information.
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JFS on a Mission to End Homelessness
The Sharp-Joukowsky Award for Moral Courage has been established by Artemis Joukowsky, in association with the University of California, Irvine’s Center for the Scientific Study of Ethics and Morality, in honor of his grandparents, Waitsill and Martha Sharp, and their work rescuing Jews and others persecuted by the Nazis during World War II. The Sharps’ story is told through the documentary “Defying the Nazis,” produced by Joukowsky and Ken Burns. The Committee on Moral Courage is inviting submissions of personal stories of moral courage and/or psychological profiles of altruism and moral courage as illustrated by people like Waitstill and Martha Sharp.
What causes moral courage? Why do so many of us stand by doing little or nothing in the face of injustice and prejudice while a few find the strength to speak out and act to help others?
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Sharp Joukowsky Award for Moral Courage
Stories should be submitted via e-mail to email@example.com by March 1, 2017: •Length: The story should be at least 10 pages long. •Form: Stories may be in the form of an interview with the person who demonstrated moral courage or a summary/description of their acts by the person nominating them. All submissions will be featured on the Defying the Nazis website in the order received. The award-winning story will receive $10K; $5K to the nominator and $5K to the charity selected by the nominator. An expert panel in moral courage and altruism, under the direction of Professor Kristen Monroe, will review all stories. The best stories will be collected and published in a volume every five years. For more information, visit www.storiesofmoralcourage.org.
SUNDAY, MARCH 5, 2017 FORMERLY SUPER SUNDAY
Volunteers of all ages will have the opportunity to participate in meaningful mitzvah projects. Collectively we will do our part to improve our community through acts of kindness. Registration opens Sunday, February 5 at jewishnewhaven.org/rsvp. More information: Debbie Brander, firstname.lastname@example.org
PJ LIBRARY EVENTS:
By Stacey Battat PJ Library Professional “Happy Birthday, Tree! A Tu B’Shevat Story,” by Madelyn Rosenberg and illustrated by Jana Christy, is a story about Joni and Nate who want to celebrate the “Birthday of the Trees.” They try a number of ways to make the tree happy, but singing the tree songs or creating earth cupcakes don’t seem to do the trick. In the end, they plant another tree and promise to take care, water and honor the trees, and all that they produce, along with their families and neighbors. Since the first book of the Bible, we are taught to respect all that grows, as in Genesis 2:15, Adam is told to “keep it and watch over it.” Traditionally, Jews eat the fruit of a tree only after it is three years old. The 15th day of the Hebrew month of Shevat – usually around February – became the trees’ birthday to help people determine when to first harvest their fruit. Today the holiday has gained significance as Jewish Earth Day. This book suggests many ways to take care of the Earth. Early in the Torah we read that every plant with seeds is ours for eating. The next time your family eats fruits or vegetables, set aside the seeds to examine. Try sprouting some of the seeds to grow parsley or other house plants. Join PJ Library and Massaro Farms for a “Birthday of the Trees” program and planting on Sunday, Feb. 5, at 10 a.m. at Temple Emanuel, 150 Derby Avenue, Orange CT 06477
CELEBRATION OF THE TREES WITH MASSARO FARMS TEMPLE EMANUEL 150 DERBY AVENUE, ORANGE, CT 06477 SUN. FEBRUARY 5, 10:00 A.M. Tree Planting and Celebration for Birthday of the Trees. $5 materials cost Ages 2-7 TOT SHABBOT WITH PJ LIBRARY TEMPLE BETH EL-KESER ISRAEL 85 HARRISON ST., NEW HAVEN CT 06515 SAT. JANUARY 14, 10:45-11:00 A.M. Stories, songs, musical fun, play, snack and meet new friends at this joint PJ Library-Temple “BEKI” Tot Shabbat add-on to ongoing BEKI programming. No membership required. Ages 0-4 year olds welcome with parent to BEKI’s “Havurah” program. BEKI welcomes families to join their entire morning service beginning at 9:15.
STAR GAZING FAMILY CELEBRATION OF NEW WEEK YALE LEITNER PLANETARIUM & OBSERVATORY 355 PROSPECT STREET, NEW HAVEN, CT 06511 SAT. FEBRUARY 25, 6:30-8:30 P.M. Join PJ Library, Orchard Street Shul, and Camp Laurelwood for a family friendly evening under the stars. Program includes Havdallah ceremony, film, snacks, stories, and social time. All ages.
BOUNCE AND SING WITH PJ LIBRARY BOUNCE TOWN USA 1770 BOSTON POST RD., MILFORD, CT 06460 MON. JANUARY 16, 10:30-NOON Ages 2-8 $10 per child or $15 max per family
TOT SHABBAT WITH PJ LIBRARY CONGREGATION B’NAI JACOB 75 RIMMON ROAD, WOODBRIDGE, CT 06525 SUN. MARCH 4, 10:30-11:30 A.M. Stories, songs, musical fun, play, snack and meet new friends for ongoing fun at B’nai Jacob’s Tot Shabbat program. No membership required. Ages 0-6.
MINDFULNESS & MOVEMENT WITH PJ LIBRARY YOUR COMMUNITY YOGA CENTER 39 PUTNAM AVE., HAMDEN, CT 06517 MON. JANUARY 22, 9:00 A.M. Enjoy learning child friendly mindfulness tools, a story that reflects the value of quiet and listening, and some movement that goes along with the joy of celebrating our bodies. Ages 3-8
MISHPACHA WITH PJ LIBRARY TEMPLE BETH TIKVAH 196 DURHAM ROAD, MADISON, CT 06443 SUN. MARCH 5, 11:00-NOON Family learning for children and their caregivers. Join us for stories, songs, musical play, snack and meet new friends for ongoing fun at Temple Beth Tikvah’s early childhood programs. No membership required. Ages 0-6.
Join our Mitzvah Day Efforts on Sunday, March 5 Mitzvah Day, the event formerly known as Super Sunday, will be a day of community service taking place on Sunday, March 5. Mitzvah Day combines fun with fundraising and allows volunteers of all ages the opportunity to participate in meaningful mitzvah projects. Collectively we will do our part to improve our community through acts of kindness.
The new JCC Fitness Center at 4 Research Drive will be the location for the phone call center this year. From 9 a.m. to noon, volunteers will enjoy a light brunch and make thank you calls to our community donors for their generous gifts and for the positive impact they have on our community. In addition, some reminder calls will go out to give community members the opportunity to give to the annual campaign. Beginning at noon, Mitzvah Day t-shirts will be distributed at the various project sites, and we will kick-off the mitzvah project portion of the day. Volunteers are requested to sign up in advance at jewishnewhaven.org/rsvp so you will have the opportunity to choose how you want to help the community, with projects hosted by different major Federation beneficiary agencies including Tower One, the JCC, the Federation Shoreline office, and Ezra with Jewish Family Service. BBYO and JTE teens are also participating in Mitzvah Day this year.
ways to say thank you to the fire department with their bravery and skill on display fighting the fire at the JCC.
Although most of the projects involve organizations under the Federation umbrella, there are two places in Woodbridge that are special to the JCC this year. “We could not have a day of mitzvot without including the Woodbridge Volunteer Fire Department and Brookdale Assisted Living” states Judy Alperin Diamondstein, CEO of the Jewish Federation. She continues, “the hospitality and care that Brookdale showed our Yeladim children, our staff and our displaced members after the fire was heart-warming. And of course there aren’t enough
A few of the projects on Mitzvah Day include: thank you note making for Brookdale and the Woodbridge Fire Department, preparing toiletry kits at Ezra that JFS will distribute, Baking for Good at the Towers, a Mitzvah Spin class at the fitness center, making sandwiches at the Shoreline office for a shelter, and more. Project information and registration will be online at jccnh.org and jewishnewhaven.
Mitzvah Day is an opportunity to unite as a community to support those in need. It is also an opportunity to celebrate together our special Jewish Community of Greater New Haven, and why we are proud to be a part of it. Volunteers and sponsors are needed to make the first Mitzvah Day a success! Please email Debbie Brander at email@example.com for more information.
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PJ Library Book Review: Tu B’Shavat
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Perry Fund Exceeds Expectations to Support Future Wexner Fellows By the 2014 Wexner Fellows The Sydney A. Perry Fund for Jewish Learning and Leadership was established at the Jewish Foundation of Greater New Haven to honor Sydney Perry upon her retirement as CEO of the Jewish Federation of Greater New Haven. At Perry’s request, donations to the fund were designated to support future fellows of the Wexner Heritage Program from the Greater New Haven area. In a tremendous display of respect and affection for Perry, and as an incredible investment in our community leadership, donations to the Perry Fund have reached an amazing $600,000. Perry reinstated the Wexner Heritage Program in Greater New Haven in 2014, after a 20-year hiatus. She commented, “I will feel gratified if we develop a cadre of people who are strengthened, empowered and emboldened to meet the challenges and opportunities of today and tomorrow through engaging with Jewish history, Jewish texts and Jewish values.” The five fellows from the 2014 cohort recently graduated from the program, and all have taken on new leadership roles in the community: Lauren Hass is the President-Elect of Ezra Academy; Scott Hurwitz is President of the Jewish Com-
munity Center; Meir “Chesky” Holtzberg is Secretary of the Jewish Federation Executive Board; Sharon Hasbani is Chair of the Federation’s Leadership Development and Young Adult Division; and Dena SchulmanGreen is President of Women’s Philanthropy at the Federation. The $600,000 raised by the Perry Fund will underwrite the participation of six new Wexner fellows every five years in perpetuity. “We are eternally grateful for Sydney’s vision of ensuring skilled leadership in Greater New Haven, and we thank everyone who has enabled her vision to become a reality. Our community will benefit for generations,” said Scott Hurwitz, who was instrumental in developing the fund. The next cohort from Greater New Haven is expected to participate in the program in 2021. The Wexner Heritage Program is the premier Jewish learning and leadership development program for lay leaders in North America. The program
Shlichim “First learn, then form opinions” – Jewish Proverb
We view ourselves as more than Israeli Emissaries. We are community ambassadors, bringing our experiences of Israel to New Haven. We want to show the community our country through personal connections and we believe we’re making a difference one personal connection at a time. Every day we meet new and interesting people who enrich their knowledge of Israel when we share our experiences. We are very excited about our work and enjoy educating and working with community members of all ages. This week, following a presentation of Israel through our eyes at Tower One, so many individuals approached us with questions and a deep interest in sharing stories of their Israel as well. It was one of those moments when you feel like you have really reached people. We have learned through these experiences as well. Working with others is a crucial part of education as it broadens the perspectives of all parties—we learn while you learn.
offers a two-year study experience encompassing Jewish history, thought, and religion that focuses on leadership training. Fellows attend four-hour evening seminars every two weeks for a total of 36 seminars. In addition, the program includes three week-long summer institutes in the United States and Israel. For more information, visit wexnerfoundation.org.
JEWISH COMMUNITY CENTER In honor of ALLEN GREENBERG & RED KLEINBERG Michael Kahn In honor of SCOTT HURWITZ Anonymous JEWISH FEDERATION In memory of SHERMAN JACOBSON Elissa Schpero In memory of LEONARD KIRSCHNER Debra Kirschner In memory of LILLIAN ROTHBERG Barak Zelinsky Barbara Nierenburg Wendy Perlman Robert Weiss Jill Birdwhistell Pierce & Fred Cory Michael Reichbart Richard Shiffrin & Jill Shiffrin Hammond Adam & Sean Fetterman Ivan Teper Katie Gordon Carol Imperati Harold Greenbaum In honor of JIM VLOCK’S 90TH BIRTHDAY Gloria Schaffer In honor of STEVE BANNON Helene Spielman Torker In honor of DENA SCHULMAN-GREEN Debra Barbieri In honor of JUDY ALPERIN DIAMONDSTEIN Aaron Gorodzinsky In honor of ANDY SARKANY Neil Berro JEWISH FOUNDATION BECKERMAN FAMILY SUPPORTING FOUNDATION ENDOWMENT FUND FOR THE BENEFIT OF HAMDEN HALL COUNTRY DAY SCHOOL In memory of CHESTER HUGHES JR. Ruthann & David A. Beckerman BECKERMAN FAMILY SUPPORTING FOUNDATION ENDOWMENT FUND FOR THE BENEFIT OF CONGREGATION MISHKAN ISRAEL In memory of PHYLLIS KAUFFMAN Ruthann & David A. Beckerman BETH MARGOLIS FUND FOR CAMP LAURELWOOD
In memory of DAUGHTER BETH Marilyn Margolis FOUNDATION UNRESTRICTED FUND In memory of LILLIAN ROSENSTOCK ROTHBERG Mitchell R. Goldblatt DAUGHTERS OF 1853 NURSING SCHOLARSHIP FUND In memory of JULIUS & BESSE KRAFT/JEANNE & JOSEPH ALTERMAN Betsy & Lawrence E. Rosenthal In memory of ROSALYN STRAUS Mr. & Mrs. Bruce A. Meyer In memory of SOPHIE WOLFE HANFF & DOROTHY HANFF ZABIN Dr. & Mrs. Burton I. Korelitz In memory of RUTH, ELLIAT, BERTHA & WILLIAM KRONISH Betsy Ann Kronish In memory of LILLIAN & CHARLES GRANNICK & CHARLES GRANNICK JR. Ruth B. Grannick In memory of RALPH L. GROSSMAN, CHARLOTTE ULLMAN LABOV & HARRY W. LABOV; & JOSEPH ULLMAN LABOV Elizabeth Grossman In memory of JANE JUDD & EVELYN TROMBINO Mr. & Mrs. David L. Judd In memory of PEGGY & PAUL ROSS, SARAH HAYDEN & GERTRUDE COOPER Deborah R. Schaller In memory of SCHOENBERGER SCHNURMACHER HAHN Mr. & Mrs. Edward Cowan In memory of WILLIAM J. MACK JR., CELINE MEYER LESKOWITZ, HENRIETTE MEYER SEGAL, HENRIETTE B. CAHN & LEILA GOMPERTZ Millard H. & Helen K. Mack In memory of REGINA WEIL BAUMANN, RUTH BAUMANN LEICHTER, CLAIRE BAUMANN GINSBURGH & DELIA ZUNDER WEIL Dennis & Sandra Barnes In memory of KATHERINE ASHEIM ABSON, JANE ASHEIM SCHNITMAN, ELSBETH MILICENT ASHEIM & LINDA LOEWITH ASHEIM Nancy Chesler In memory of LOTTIE COHEN, SAMUEL COHEN, WILLIAM COHEN, LILYAN ULLMAN & MAURICE ULLMAN Linda C. Epstein In memory of MARJORIE LEO GUTMAN & SAMUEL NICHOLAS GUTMAN Rosann Gutman In memory of ROLLYN OSTERWEIS KRUNBAUM, ROLLIN G. OSTERWEIS & MARJORIE OSTERWEIS RUBENS Ruth O. Selig In memory of
HAHN/SCHOENBERGER FAMILIES Elizabeth H. Barnston In honor of RUTH LABOV GROSSMAN’S 90TH BIRTHDAY Elizabeth Grossman In honor of RHODA WEINER FELDMAN & HANNAH STODEL WEINER Mr. & Mrs. Joel B. Bard In honor of BIRTH OF SPENCER BRUBAKER Deborah R. Schaller In honor of SAMUEL NICHOLAS GUTMAN Rosann Gutman SYDNEY A. PERRY FUND FOR JEWISH LEARNING & LEADERSHIP In memory of LYNDA GREENBERG Bernice Seigel In honor of NEW GRANDSON Lisa A. Stanger & Gregory Colodner JENNA GOLDBERG TZEDAKAH FUND In memory of BELOVED SISTER Ernest Wolf MARCIA & STANLEY F. REITER PHILANTHROPIC FUND FOR JEWISH EDUCATION In memory of MRS. HELEN KOHN Marcia & Stanley Reiter In memory of PHYLISS KAUFFMAN Marcia & Stanley Reiter JEWISH COALITION FOR LITERACY In memory of SUSAN EPSTEIN’S FATHER Robert & Brenda Brenner In honor of ENID GROVES’ BIRTHDAY Robert & Brenda Brenner GAIL BREKKE & JIM VLOCK FUND In honor of JIM VLOCK’S 90TH BIRTHDAY Norman H. Rashba Armand E. Rossi Lisa Stanger & Gregory Colodner THE LICHTMAN FAMILY PACE FUND In honor of WISHING A SPEEDY RECOVERY TO JOHN LICHTMAN Lisa A. Stanger & Gregory Colodner Robyn & Jeffrey Teplitzky DIAMOND FAMILY PACE FUND In honor of OUR WEDDING Michael Diamond WOMEN OF VISION SOCIETY ENDOWMENT FUND In honor of MARNI SMITH KATZ Stuart Katz
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Tributes & Remembrances
To purchase a tribute card: jccnh.org, jewishnewhaven.org, newhavenjewishfoundation.org
SHALOM NEW HAVEN, 2017/5777, Page 32
january Westville Synagogue University Film Night presents ‘Shine’, Jan. 1, 7:30
PM - 10:00 PM, Westville Synagogue, 74 West Prospect Street, New Haven, Contact Steven Zalesch, 203-3879666, firstname.lastname@example.org, WestvilleShul. org
Winter Break School Vacation Program, Jan. 2, 9:00 AM - 4:00
Congregation Mishkan Israel Annual Interfaith Martin Luther King Service,
Jan. 13, 7:30 PM - 8:30 PM, Merav Canaan, 785 Ridge Rd., Hamden, Contact Merav Canaan, 203-2883877, email@example.com, cmihamden.org
Tot Shabbat Family Together (HAVURA) at BEKI, Jan. 14, 10:45 AM - 11:30
AM, , Beth El Keser Israel, 85 Harrison St., New Haven
Westville Synagogue University Film Night presents ‘Son of Saul’, Jan.
PM, Congregation B’nai Jacob, 75 Rimmon Road, Woodbridge,Contact Kari McInerney, 203-387-2424 x236, firstname.lastname@example.org, jccnh.org
14, 7:30 PM - 10:00 PM, Westville Synagogue, 74 West Prospect Street, New Haven, Contact Steven Zalesch, 203-387-9666, email@example.com, WestvilleShul.org
Torah Studies, Jan. 3, 7:00 PM - 8:00
Chabad of Orange Woodbridge Comedy Night, Jan. 14, 7:30 PM - 11:00 PM,
PM, Jewish Federation of New Haven office on the Shoreline, Lighthouse Square, 705 Boston Post Rd., Guilford, Contact Yoseph Yaffe, 203-645-4635, firstname.lastname@example.org, jewishoreline.org
Israeli Dance Class, Jan. 3, 7:30 PM -
10:15 PM, $15, Congregation Beth-El Keser, 85 Harrison Street, New Haven, Contact Leng Tan, 203-912-4086, email@example.com, ctisraelidance.com
Westville University “The Piety of Job’s Literary History”, Jan. 4, 7:30 PM 8:30 PM, Contact BetsySchulman@ gmail.com
New Haven School Vacation Program, Jan. 6, 9:00 AM - 4:00
PM, Congregation B’nai Jacob, 75 Rimmon Road, Woodbridge, Contact Kari McInerney, 203-387-2424 x236, firstname.lastname@example.org, jccnh.org
Torah Studies, Jan. 10, 7:00 PM - 8:00
PM, Jewish Federation of New Haven office on the Shoreline, Lighthouse Square, 705 Boston Post Rd., Guilford, Contact Yoseph Yaffe, 203-645-4635, email@example.com, jewishoreline.org
Parenting Pointers: Challenging Behaviors, Jan. 11, 7:00 PM - 8:00 PM, FREE, Temple Emanuel of Greater New Haven, 150 Derby Avenue, Orange, Contact Grace Koo, firstname.lastname@example.org, jccnh.org
$54, Chabad of Orange Woodbridge, 261 Derby Ave, Orange, Contact Randy Marks, 203-795-7095, email@example.com, chabadow.org
Martin Luther King Day School Vacation Program, Jan. 16, 9:00 AM - 4:00 PM, Congregation B’nai Jacob, 75 Rimmon Road, Woodbridge, Contact Kari McInerney, 203-387-2424 x236, firstname.lastname@example.org, jccnh.org
Bounce & Sing with PJ Library, Jan.
16, 10:30 AM - 12:00 PM, $10, Bouncetown USA, 1770 Boston Post Rd., Milford, Contact Stacey Battat, 203-387-2424 x317, email@example.com,
Israeli Dance Class, Jan. 17, 7:30 PM
- 10:15 PM, $15, Congregation Beth-El Keser, 85 Harrison Street, New Haven, Contact Leng Tan, 203-912-4086, firstname.lastname@example.org, ctisraelidance.com
Westville Synagogue University presents Rabbi Jeremy Bruce, Jan. 18, 7:30 PM - 9:00 PM, Westville Synagogue, 74 West Prospect Street, New Haven, Contact Steven Zalesch, 203-3879666, email@example.com, WestvilleShul. org
A Taste of Israeli Cuisine Cooking Series On the Shoreline, Jan. 19, Feb.
16, 7:00 PM - 8:30 PM, $80 series or $20 per class, Shoreline Office - Jewish Federation of Greater New Haven, 705 Boston Post Rd., Building C, Suite 2A, Guilford, Contact Jill Lesage, 203-7380033, firstname.lastname@example.org, jewishnewhaven.org/rsvp
Event details subject to change. Please visit jccnh.org/events. A Celebration of Leonard Cohen, Jan.
21, 4:30 PM - 6:30 PM, Congregation B’nai Jacob, 75 Rimmon Road, Woodbridge, Contact Rosalind Atkins, 203-393-2111, rozatkins@optonline. net
Mindfulness & Movement with PJ Library, Jan. 22, 9:00 AM - 9:45 PM, Your Community Yoga Center, 39 Putnam Avenue, Hamden, Contact Stacey Battat, 203-387-2424 x317, email@example.com
Author and Mindfulness Coach Benjamin Shalva, Jan. 22, 10:00
AM - 11:00 AM, $5, Your Community Yoga Center (YCYC), 39 Putnam Ave., Hamden, Contact Grace Koo, 203-3872424 x228, firstname.lastname@example.org, jccnh. org/rsvp
Tower One Tower East Presents - My Time in Cuba - by artist Cathy Weiss,
Jan. 22, 1:00 PM - 3:00 PM, Tower One/Tower East, 18 Tower Lane, New Haven, Contact Susan Skalka, 203772-1816 x150, email@example.com, towerone.org
Israeli Dance Class, Jan. 24, 7:30 PM
- 10:15 PM, $15, Congregation Beth-El Keser, 85 Harrison Street, New Haven, Contact Leng Tan, 203-912-4086, firstname.lastname@example.org, ctisraelidance.com
Westville Synagogue University Film Night presents ‘Breaking Home Ties’,
Jan. 28, 7:30 PM - 10:00 PM, Westville Synagogue, 74 West Prospect Street, New Haven, Contact Steven Zalesch, 203-387-9666, email@example.com, WestvilleShul.org
Ezra Academy Comedy Night, Jan. 28,
7:30 PM - 9:30 PM, $36, Congregation B’nai Jacob, 75 Rimmon Road, Woodbridge, Contact Lauren Hass, 203-535-2784, laurenhass@hotmail. com,
february SCHA Israel Experience Auction, Feb.
1, 2:00 PM - 9:00 PM, Southern Connecticut Hebrew Academy, 261 Derby Avenue, Orange, Contact Betsy Schulman, BetsySchulman@gmail.com, schacademy.org/auction
Westville Synagogue University presents Rabbi Elisha Paul of JHSC, Feb.
1, 7:30 PM - 9:00 PM, Westville Synagogue, 74 West Prospect Street, New Haven, Contact Steven Zalesch, 203-387-9666, firstname.lastname@example.org, WestvilleShul.org
Liz Alpern-The Gefilte Manifesto -Food Tasting, Lecture & Book Signing, Feb.
5, 9:30 AM - 11:30 AM, Temple Beth Tikvah, 196 Durham Rd., Madison, Contact Jill Lesage, 203-738-0033, email@example.com, jewishnewhaven.org/rsvp
Celebrate the Trees Birthday and Planting with PJ Library & Massaro Farms, Feb. 5, 10:00 AM - 11:55 AM,
$5, Location TBD, Contact Stacey Battat, 203-387-2424 x317, sbattat@ jewishnewhaven.org,
Israeli Dance Class, Feb. 7, 7:30 PM -
10:15 PM, $15, Congregation Beth-El Keser, 85 Harrison Street, New Haven, Contact Leng Tan, 203-912-4086, firstname.lastname@example.org, ctisraelidance.com
Parenting Pointers: Structure & Routine at Home, Feb. 8, 7:00 PM - 8:00 PM, Temple Emanuel of Greater New Haven, 150 Derby Avenue, Orange, Contact Grace Koo, 203-387-2424 x228, email@example.com, templeemanuel-gnh.org
Left v. Right: The Battle for Israel’s Soul: Tobin vs. Goldberg, Feb. 9, 7:00
Brunch and Talk with Miri Eisin, Jan.
29, 10:30 AM - 12:00 PM, $36, Contact Jennifer Bayer, 203-387-2424 x320, firstname.lastname@example.org,
PM - 9:00 PM, $18, Temple Beth Tikvah, 196 Durham Road, Madison, Contact Keilah Bisbee, email@example.com
Israeli Dance Class, Jan. 31, 7:30 PM
Kindergarten Informational Evening,
- 10:15 PM, $15, Congregation Beth-El Keser, 85 Harrison Street, New Haven, Contact Leng Tan, 203-912-4086, firstname.lastname@example.org, ctisraelidance.com
Feb. 9, 7:00 PM - 8:00 PM, FREE, Congregation B’nai Jacob, 75 Rimmon Road, Woodbridge, Contact Lynn Bullard, 203-389-2111 x222, lynnb@ jccnh.org
Tot Shabbat at Congregation Mishkan Israel, Feb. 11, 10:30 AM - 11:30
AM, Merav Canaan, 785 Ridge Rd., Hamden, Contact Merav Canaan, 203288-3877, email@example.com, cmihamden.org
Westville Synagogue University Film Night presents Rosenwald, Feb.
11, 7:30 PM - 10:00 PM, Westville Synagogue, 74 West Prospect Street, New Haven, Contact Steven Zalesch, 203-387-9666, firstname.lastname@example.org, WestvilleShul.org
Debbie Friedman Community Concert with area Synagogue Hebrew Schools,
Feb. 12, 10:00 AM - 11:30 AM, Tower One Tower East, 18 Tower Lane, New Haven, Contact Rabbi Michael Farbman, 203-397-3000, email@example.com
Zohar: Kabbalah, Part 2, Feb. 13, 7:30 PM - 9:00 PM, Congregation B’nai Jacob, 75 Rimmon Road, Woodbridge, Contact Rosalind Atkins, 203-3892111, firstname.lastname@example.org Israeli Dance Class, Feb. 14, 7:30 PM - 10:15 PM, $15, Congregation Beth-El Keser, 85 Harrison Street, New Haven, Contact Leng Tan, 203.912.4086, email@example.com, ctisraelidance.com A Taste of Israeli Cuisine Cooking Series On the Shoreline, Feb. 16, 7:00
Zohar: Kabbalah, Part 2, Feb. 20, 7:30 PM - 9:00 PM, Congregation B’nai Jacob, 75 Rimmon Road, Woodbridge, Contact Rosalind Atkins, 203-3892111, firstname.lastname@example.org
Winter Break School Vacation Program,
Feb. 21, Feb. 22, Feb. 23, Feb. 24, 9:00 AM - 4:00 PM,Congregation B’nai Jacob, 75 Rimmon Road, Woodbridge, Contact Kari McInerney, 203-3872424 x238, email@example.com, jccnh.org
Kishkes: Jews and Digestive Diseases, Feb. 25, 12:30 PM - 1:30 PM, Congregation B’nai Jacob, 75 Rimmon Road, Woodbridge, Contact Rosalind Atkins, 203-389-2111, rozatkins@ optonline.net
temple beth tikvah בית תקןה
Feb. 25, 6:30 PM - 8:30 PM, $10, Yale Leitner Planetarium & Observatory, 355 Prospect Street, New Haven, Contact Stacey Battat, firstname.lastname@example.org, leitnerobservatory.org
Westville Synagogue at the Whale,
Zohar: Kabbalah, Part 2, Feb. 27, 7:30 PM - 9:00 PM, Congregation B’nai Jacob, 75 Rimmon Road, Woodbridge, Contact Rosalind Atkins, 203-3892111, email@example.com
PM, Congregation B’nai Jacob, 75 Rimmon Road, Woodbridge, Contact Kari McInerney, 203-387-2424 x236, firstname.lastname@example.org, jccnh.org
A Taste of Israeli Cuisine Cooking Series On the Shoreline, Jan. 19, Feb. 16, 7:00 PM - 8:30 PM, $80 series or $20 per class, Shoreline Office - Jewish Federation of Greater New Haven, 705 Boston Post Rd., Building C, Suite 2A, Guilford, Contact Jill Lesage, 203-738-0033, email@example.com, jewishnewhaven.org/rsvp
Star Gazing with PJ Library, Camp Laurelwood & Orchard Street Shul,
The Whiffenpoofs at Temple Emanuel,
Winter Break School Vacation Program, Feb. 20, 9:00 AM - 4:00
Israeli Dance Class, Feb. 21, 7:30 PM - 10:15 PM, $15, Congregation Beth-El Keser, 85 Harrison Street, New Haven, Contact Leng Tan, 203-912-4086, firstname.lastname@example.org, ctisraelidance.com
PM - 8:30 PM, $80 series or $20 per class, Shoreline Office - Jewish Federation of Greater New Haven, 705 Boston Post Rd., Building C, Suite 2A, Guilford, Contact Jill Lesage, 203-7380033, email@example.com, jewishnewhaven.org/rsvp
Feb. 18, 7:00 PM - 10:00 PM, Ingalls Rink, 73 Sachem Street, New Haven, Contact Dov Horowitz, 203-3899513, DovHorowitz@hotmail.com, WestvilleShul.org
Event details subject to change. Please visit jccnh.org/events.
Feb. 26, 12:00 AM - 12:00 AM, $20, Temple Emanuel of Greater New Haven, 150 Derby Avenue, Orange, Contact Temple Emanuel Office, 203397-3000, office@templeemanuel-gnh. org, TempleEmanuel-gnh.org
Israeli Dance Class, Feb. 28, 7:30 PM - 10:15 PM, $15, Congregation Beth-El Keser, 85 Harrison Street, New Haven, Contact Leng Tan, 203-912-4086, firstname.lastname@example.org, ctisraelidance.com
Featuring Cookbook Author
The Gefilte Manifesto
Sunday, February 5 | 9:30-11:30 a.m. Temple Beth Tikvah, 196 Durham Rd. Madison
Torah Studies, Jan. 3, Jan. 10, 7:00
PM - 8:00 PM, Jewish Federation of New Haven office on the Shoreline, Lighthouse Square, 705 Boston Post Rd., Guilford, Contact Yoseph Yaffe, 203-645-4635, email@example.com, jewishoreline.org
Page 33, SHALOM NEW HAVEN, 2017/5777
SHALOM NEW HAVEN, 2017/5777, Page 34
Mishkan Israel Welcomes Garilli Completes Guests From Abraham’s Tent Leadership Academy Mark Garilli, president and CEO of Tower One/ Tower East, recently graduated from the Leadership Academy program developed by LeadingAge National, a membership organization representing not-forprofit provider organizations serving elderly and disabled individuals across the U.S. Members include continuing care retirement communities, residential care homes, housing for the elderly, nursing homes, adult day centers, home care agencies and assisted living communities throughout the country. During the year-long program, 40 participants grew together, shared new experiences while exploring the changing way we age. Each stop along the way has included visits to communities providing services across many spectrums.
This coming winter marks the eighth year for Abraham’s Tent, an interfaith program in which churches, synagogues and mosques partner to house individuals from Columbus House’s overflow shelter. This sorely needed New Haven program was founded when it became clear that the number of homeless was growing, while resources to provide for them were shrinking. To address the problem, members of the religious community and staff from the Columbus House met to seek some solutions – at least in the immediate sense. Rabbi Herbert Brockman of Congregation Mishkan Israel, one of the program’s founders, shared with the group the story of Abraham and the lessons rabbis derived from it. The group decided that focusing on the resources available; synagogues and churches and their cadre of volunteers, would be a workable solution to house some of the overflow shelter. Abraham’s Tent was born. Congregation Mishkan Israel has since been among the estimated 900 volunteers from 19 congregations across New Haven’s religious spec-
trum to provide housing to alleviate overcrowding at the Columbus House Overflow Shelter during the winter months.
This year, Congregation Mishkan Israel will host Abraham’s Tent during the week of Jan. 9-15. During their stay, the stigma of homelessness disappears and the group is welcomed as guests into a friendly and relaxed atmosphere of enjoying dinner, playing cards, watching TV and socializing with caring volunteers before going to bed. In the morning, they wake up to a hearty breakfast and then leave for the day with brown bag lunches decorated by children in Congregation Mishkan Israel’s Religious School. Volunteers from Congregation Mishkan Israel have found participation in Abraham’s Tent to be so fulfilling that many sign-up year after year, and have even become regular volunteers at Columbus House year round. Congregation Mishkan Israel is a reform synagogue located at 785 Ridge Road in Hamden. For more information, contact the synagogue office at 203-288-3877.
Parashah Curriculum at Ezra FROM PAGE 7
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KNOW! Text follow jccnhalerts to 40404 for JCC facility updates, cancellations and closings.
One of the most interactive and engaging activities was focused on the study of Parashat Noah. Students were given three texts to compare: a section from the story of Noah, a passage about Avraham and one about Jonah. Through the study of these texts, students were asked to create arguments for a formal debate on whether or not Noah was a righteous man, or if he was only a righteous man compared with the rest of the people in his generation. For Kabbalat Shabbat, students staged a debate with both sides prepared and raring to go! There were statements, rebuttals and arguments about the meaning of different Torah verses and the debate raged on. Each side presented their arguments in compelling speeches. In the end, Rachel Logue’s passionate citing of her understanding of the verses won her team a draw. Every single student was engaged and committed to their interpretation of the text. The new program began with a desire for students from different grades to work together and to integrate the ideas in Bloom’s Taxonomy with their Torah learning. We wanted to analyze text, dig deep, synthesize the material and create meaning for ourselves. We emphasize the importance of close readings of the texts, questioning our assumptions and creating meaningful experiences connected to Torah. This isn’t your ordinary Parashat Ha-shavua (weekly Torah study), and for that, everyone is very engaged and excited each week.
FROM PAGE 16 But it turns out that a lot of folks end up at Rabbinical school not having a ton of Jewish educational background. It’s just kind of the way it works in American seminary. So I ended up picking it up along the way right before school, and during too. MGB: And do you feel like it opened doors for your spirituality work that wouldn’t necessarily have been otherwise? RBS: Oh yeah. I think that ultimately the spiritual path is one of self realization, one of coming home to the self in a deep way, and for a Jew, that has to involve a wrestling with Jewish life and Jewish identity. So even if one concludes at the end that Judaism is not for them, and they’re going to move on to other traditions and other paths, I think it’s important to understand that our very DNA holds these memories, this ancient wisdom, and this tradition of struggling with G-d and faith. So it was very powerful to reconnect with my Jewish roots and to find that Jewish wisdom had a lot to offer for the spiritual path as well. Especially Kabalistic thought (Jewish mystical thought). I was blown away by what I found there. And now I find in my life that I’m weaving back and forth between Eastern thought and Jewish thought all the time. And they just live somewhat comfortably side by side in my head and my heart. And I’ve made it work. MGB: Does that side-by-side thinking come through in your writing? RBS: Absolutely. In “Spiritual Cross Training” I’m telling stories about the Zen centers, and then I’m connecting what happened in a Zen meditation to let’s say Kabalistic theory about existence or mind or emotions. So definitely in my writing, I’m bringing all of these different journeys with me. And I really don’t feel a need to focus solely on the Jewish path, but I don’t feel a need to exclude the Jewish path either. So I’m writing for a general audience, not just a Jewish audience. But I’m a Jew and I’m a Rabbi, and I’ve spent a lot of time learning the wisdom of our sages, and I think that wisdom can speak to Jews and non-Jews, so I try to blend it in when appropriate. MGB: In “Spiritual Cross Training” you focus on three pillars you identify as silence, stretch and song. How does that resonate with the varying audiences you speak to as part of this book tour? RBS: What I’ve found in a lot of my spiritual exploration is that spiritual communities would coalesce around one central spiritual path. So in Zen centers they do chant, and there’s sometimes physical practices too like bowing or stretching, but the central practice is silent meditation. And when I was in the yoga community, Yogis would sing or chant, or sit silently in meditation at the end. But—at least in the yoga communities I was involved in—the
focus was stretching and physical practice. And the same with the Jewish communities that I’ve been involved with spiritually, the focus is song. An expressive devotion through prayer and song; less so with silent meditation, less so a physical practice. So as I’m going around to different communities and talking about “Spiritual Cross Training,” I find that most folks are interested in spirituality. They’ve maybe dabbled, or are maybe very experienced in a practice, but it’s often that they’ve focused in on one specific practice, and have made it the meat of their spiritual sandwich. And that’s totally natural. But what I’m encouraging myself and others to do is to really keep branching out, because it’s important for us to work different spiritual muscles that we’re not accustomed to working, just as we would physical muscles.
for people who are already leaning in this direction. Because one thing I ran into was a feeling that what I was doing was not authentic, because I didn’t have just one thing I focused on. Or because I was pulling from so many different wisdom traditions, I had this feeling that I was somehow an imposter or dilettante, and that the real spiritual work was when you were a Zen monk and you were doing this all day every day and that’s all you did. But when I started connecting with people through this book, I started to see that, actually, so many of us are reaching out in a very honest, authentic way through a blend of different practices and traditions. And that’s part of being a contemporary seeker, and part of living in a global age where one has access to so many traditions.
On the other hand, sometimes when people focus on one path alone, that practice can become very routine and safe. It kind of goes from this passion project to being a hobby, even though it’s within the guidelines of being important spiritual work. As a Rabbi, I saw a lot of that in synagogue life, a sort of routine approach to prayer. Where initially prayer was anything but routine, even though it was a regular practice, it could be this vibrant, divine encounter. So I think that a lot of Jews began to explore other traditions because they were looking to be back on the mountain, in a very organic and meaningful relationship with G-d, as opposed to something that had been routinized by prayer books or a certain setting. So I think it’s really great. I’m in support of people reaching out when they feel like their spiritual life has become a little too safe. And it’s something a lot of people are doing, which is great.
In my books, I struggle with tough subjects and wrestle with demons, but my ultimate goal is to give others and myself a path forward that’s full of light and laughter. Yes. I’d love it if, after reading my books, you felt permission to smile, laugh, and enjoy your life.
From another interview with Benjamin Shalva
MGB: Are there one or two key practices that have transformed your life or your thinking about this topic? RBS: When we talk about the paths of silence, stretch and song, they really can be defined in a lot of different ways. You don’t have to do meditation to practice silence. You could be gardening, being with your breath, and gently experiencing what’s coming up in your mind, and returning your consciousness to the present moment as much as possible. With the path of stretching, it doesn’t have to be yoga. It could be Tai Chi, it could be surfing. With the path of song it could be drumming or dance or anything that’s expressive, and has a bit of devotional aspect to it where you’re calling out or reaching out. So I think that the definitions are pretty fluid in terms of silence, stretch and song. But for me personally, the actual work of sitting meditation and yoga and singing out, whether in a prayer setting or not have been the most transformational. MGB: Are you getting response from others who feel like this is defining or structuring feelings that they’ve already experienced? RBS: Yeah, when the book first came out, people came up to me and said, “Oh, I’ve been ‘spiritual cross training’ all along, I just never called it that.” And I think that’s really cool. So part of this book is also stories that I hope will be encouragement
MGB: Is that disruption of routine the crux of the spiritual cross training practice? RBS: One key aspect of spiritual cross training is that we, as the designers of our own spiritual practice, need to challenge ourselves. We need to keep pushing to new frontiers. Sometimes that can be done within one practice. So you can be practicing yoga and challenge yourself with different postures or to be more present and embodied during the postures. So it doesn’t necessarily mean you have to do a different practice. But what I’ve found is that mixing it up often helps surprise us. Instead of walking up to the meditation cushion and thinking “OK, here’s that old thing again,” if one day we sat down and someone handed us a guitar and told us to sing through our meditation, it would raise our eyebrows. We’d be open and surprised and our hearts would flutter a little, and my belief is that openness, that surprise, and the lack of complacency is really the heart of an authentic spiritual practice. And so we just have to keep challenging ourselves.
Page 35, SHALOM NEW HAVEN, 2017/5777
Challenging Spiritual Fitness
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