WeHa Magazine Vol. 11, No. 3, 2021

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Vol. 11, No. 3 , 2021


Vol. 11, No. 3, 2021 west hartford I 1 • TRAVEL • GARDENING • magazine SEPTEMBER 11 • FASHION FINANCE






An interactive art exhibit & FUNdraiser featuring artfully painted oversized bears on display at Webster Walk, 20 South Main St. in West Hartford!

For the latest updates and fun events and contests go to 20media20.com or follow us on Twitter: @wehabearfair Facebook: @wehabearfair Instagram: @wehabearfair This event is brought to you by

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Vol. 11, No. 3, 2021 west hartford magazine


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Vol. 11, No. 3, 2021 west hartford magazine


contents Vol. 11, No. 3, 2021


Getting the most out of your fall garden


Find your new and improved game


College funding choices

That essential wardrobe item

44 STYLE 48

CHAMBER NOTES Meet the Chamber Pictured on the cover: Detail of the "ABEARica" bear supporting APK Charities by Bryan Wziontko













Vol. 11, No. 3, 2021 west hartford magazine

West Hartford, CT 65 Memorial Rd, Ste 530 (844) 248-9998 Westport, CT 55 Post Rd W, Ste 300 (800) 491-8875 www.gyllnsyn.com ww info@gyllnsyn.com

How can you invest with purpose? We believe that people should have the opportunity to align their investments with what matters most to them. What issues, causes, and factors matter to you and your family?


Vol. 11, No. 3, 2021 west hartford magazine


Publisher Tom Hickey Associate Publisher Leslie Iarusso Editor in Chief Judie Jacobson Sales and Marketing Director Donna Edelstein Creative Director Elisa S. Wagner Digital Media Manager Hillary Sarrasin Graphic Designer Chris Bonito Accounts Manager Judy Yung Proofreader Tim Knecht Office Manager Howard Meyerowitz

proud sponsor of

We provide our community with the BEST possible service in their time of need.

Contributing Writers & Columnists: Matt Banever, Chris Conway, Karla Dalley, Garrett Hickey proud sponsor of Stacey Dresner, Karen Herbert, Barbara Karsky, Robert Laraia, Lisa Martin Photography Todd Fairchild/Shutterbug CT Publishing Partner Ledger Publications


Websites: We-Ha.com, WestHartfordMagazine.com, Wehawheels.com, JewishLedger.com, 20Media20.com, wehacal.com Mike Roy/Roy Web Design Principals Thomas P. Hickey II James H. Gould III

40 Woodland St., Hartford, CT 06105 westhartfordmagazine.com office: 860.508.4032 West Hartford Magazine is published by 20/20 Media. To subscribe, renew or change address write: West Hartford Magazine, PO Box 271835, West Hartford, CT 06127; www.we-ha.com/subscribe. ADVERTISING: 860-508-4032. ©20/20 WHMedia, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this periodical may be reproduced without express permission of the publisher. West Hartford Magazine is a registered trademark owned by WHMedia, Inc. The opinions expressed by writers published by West Hartford Magazine are not necessarily those of the magazine.


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Follow us on Social Media: Facebook  West Hartford Magazine We-Ha.com Twitter @westhartfordmag @wehartford Instagram @westhartfordite Hashtags #wehaevents #bestofweha #weha #westhartford #wehahacomedy

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e are so proud to announce the WEHA BEAR FAIR 2021! Our ribbon cutting (thanks to Chris Conway and the West Hartford Chamber of Commerce) took place on August 31st revealing the 12 Bears. Special thanks to the Town of West Hartford for all their support and assistance in placing the Bears around the Noah Webster statue on South Main Street and the Blue Back stage on Isham Road. The Bears will remain there until October 29th when they move indoors to Westfarms! We are all excited about this outdoor art FUNdraiser but it’s only as successful as we make it by supporting the nonprofit beneficiaries! Go to 20media20. com for more details/information and to DONATE! So many businesses throughout West Hartford are supporting the Bears with creative activities/events/food-beverage offerings so please support them as well. Follow us on social media to see the latest updates @wehabearfair. Take a selfie with a Bear, post on social media and tag it with #wehabearfair! Twenty years ago on September 11th our world changed in so many ways. We wanted to mark this occasion in a special way. We are so honored to have West Hartford's own Leonard Holtz and Joe Spalluto share their personal 9/11 experiences.

On a personal note, every time I cross over the bridge joining Webster Hill Boulevard with Mayflower Street I think of West Hartford’s own Joe Lenihan, lost that day. Watch for our updated Club Membership coming just in time for our 20th Anniversary Issue (yes, we started West Hartford’s first lifestyle magazine, Living in West Hartford, 20 years ago). Now we are proudly digital, enabling us all to share, share, share and share some more. Our reach grew, almost overnight from 7,000 printed to nearly one million digitally. Yes, that’s not a typo, nearly one million! THANK YOU! Town of West Hartford and Blue Back Square - THANK YOU! Our sponsors are exceptional and continue to be today. Please see page 32 and join us in saying THANK YOU. Updates on WeHa Wheels (garaged TFN during this pandemic) and our Annual Tastes of West Hartford (returning in 2022) will all be shared via social media (see below and please follow us). The 7th Annual BEST OF WEST HARTFORD voting will take place October 1 – 22. The ballot will be available on wehacal.com. If you haven’t checked out WeHaCal.com yet, you’re missing out on the comprehensive calendar of community-wide events serving West Hartford and its surrounding areas. The first of its kind in West Hartford, WeHaCal. com has been averaging 20,000 visitors monthly.

We welcome you (if you haven’t already) to join us: FIND US ON: Facebook  West Hartford Magazine We-Ha.com Wehabearfair Twitter @westhartfordmag @wehartford @WeHaBearFair Instagram @westhartfordite @wehabearfair Hashtags #wehaevents #bestofweha #weha #westhartford #wehahacomedy LinkedIn #wehaevents #2020Media

Be Safe, Be Well,

Thomas P. Hickey, Publisher tomh@westhartfordmagazine.com



Vol. 11, No. 3, 2021 west hartford magazine 11

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SEPTEMBER 11, 2001

A West Hartford man rushes to Ground Zero to help in the search. BY STACEY DRESNER


uring the week following the 9/11 attacks, Leonard Holtz of Hebrew Funeral Association got a call from Rabbi Joseph Gopin of Chabad House of Greater Hartford. “Rabbi Gopin asked me if I would act as a representative of the Jewish community at Ground Zero. He was concerned that there be Jews involved in the recovery,” Holtz explains, referring to the halacha (Jewish law) of collecting all body parts and blood for proper burial. “Since I was 13 years old, I had been working with my father, who was the former director of Hebrew Funeral Association. I was uniquely trained in handling human remains as a Jewish funeral director. After 9/11 so many people were coming together, of all faiths…and I wanted to be a part of that effort,” he says. Rosh Hashana – the Jewish new year – fell on Sept. 17 that year, just one week after the tragedy. Holtz, then co-president of Agudas Achim Synagogue in West Hartford, was the one who always blew the shofar – a ram’s horn fashioned into a kind of trumpet that traditionally is blown during the holiday prayer service. But Holtz told his family and his synagogue co-president that he would not be in attendance for High Holiday services that year. Instead, he packed a duffel bag with all his protective gear, bought a bus ticket to New York City and, as per Rabbi Gopin’s wishes, made his way down to the chaotic scene at Ground Zero. There, he connected with a network of Orthodox Jews, including members of Chabad, who pledged to take care of incoming rescue and recovery personnel, both Jewish and non-Jewish. “It was an amazing network. They provided me with a place to sleep and eat and converted a coffee house into a synagogue for Jewish responders,” Holtz says. Holtz had no idea if he would even be able to get close to Ground Zero when he arrived. But with his funeral director identification ID hanging around his neck, he entered the chaotic fray. “I made my way on my own, to the different police checkpoints. First, I was told, ‘You may get past one police checkpoint, but you’re not going to get past a second. But each time, I explained and identified myself as a licensed Connecti

cut funeral director and explained that my mission was to help in the search.” Along the way, Holtz had picked up one of the numerous photos of missing victims posted on fences around the site.



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“There were hundreds of photos and this one stood out – a handsome young Jewish man from [the investment firm] Cantor Fitzgerald. Joshua David Birnbaum, who was on the 102nd floor of 1 World Trade Center. I said, ‘I’m going to make it my mission to find this young man,” he says. Holtz eventually made it through three police checkpoints. “My intention was to aid in the search. But it was a week later, and I was told that all that was being found were little fragments,” Holtz quietly recalls. “It was a very moving feeling and it's just beyond imagination what I was seeing – the gray dust and the squawking on the police phones, hearing all of the real graphic information being conveyed.” Right then and there his mission changed. “I was carrying with me a tallis (prayer shawl) bag with a machzor (Rosh Hashana prayer book) and a shofar. I took out the tallis and I opened the machzor. And just as I opened it, a young couple came over to me, and said, ‘Can we help you?’ I said, ‘Well, I wanted to say some prayers. And I thought I might blow the shofar,” he recounts. The couple, who turned out to be Jewish, were members of a family that owned a respirator company. They were there to donate breathing equipment to first responders. They also knew the military commander in charge and introduced Holtz to him. “I showed him my Connecticut licensed funeral director tag, and I said, ‘I'm here as a responder, but today I would just like to do something spiritual. It's the second day of the Jewish holiday Rosh Hashana,’” says Holtz. The sympathetic commander had one of his soldiers take Holtz and the young couple as close to Ground Zero as they could. They ended up near the pile of debris that President George W. Bush had stood next to two days earlier. With the young couple calling out the Hebrew notes, Holtz



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blew the shofar, the sound of which calls on Jews to examine their deeds and correct their actions as the new year begins. “Of all the millions of people in New York, I was standing there blowing the shofar,” Holtz says. “The whole experience was so powerful.” Earlier this year the disaster Surfside, Florida caused by the collapse of a high-rise condominium building, and the effort to rescue and then recover victims reminded Holtz of 9/11. But he never really forgets what he saw at Ground Zero 20 years ago. “Every year since, when I have blown the same shofar, in my mind I am always remembering Joshua David Birnbaum,” Holtz says. “Whenever a clock digitally shows 9/11, my mind basically stops and I say one sentence: ‘Shema Yisrael Adonai eloheinu Adonai ekhad’ (‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord is our God, the Lord is one”) – the single most defining statement in Judaism. And that has been etched indelibly in my mind every day of my life. I could be doing anything. I could be talking to you; I could be laughing… And then I see 9/11 and it’s a trigger. And the name Joshua David Birnbaum is a name that I think of almost every day.” Serendipitously, 15 years later at a picnic in West Hartford, Holtz mentioned Birnbaum’s name and an Israeli woman he didn’t know said, “I know his mother.” Holtz eventually was able to speak to Birnbaum’s father Samuel on the phone. “I told him that I carried his son's picture. I said, ‘I never found your son, but I’ve got to tell you, spiritually, your son found me. He's been with me,” said Holtz, fighting for a few seconds to hold back tears. “I get emotional, even 20 years later. “There's an expression, that true death only occurs when the memory of a person's life is lost or forgotten,” adds Holtz. “And that's how I feel about Josh. His spirit found me.”


A World Trade Center executive survives and devotes himself to helping others. BY STACEY DRESNER


n the morning of September 11, 2001, Joe Spalluto could have been sitting at his desk in the offices of Keefe, Bruyette & Woods, an investment firm housed on the 88th and 89th floors of the World Trade Center. But he wasn’t. Instead, he was driving his oldest daughter Maureen to Saint Timothy’s Middle School in West Hartford. In an ironic twist of fate, Joe Spalluto was in Hartford and not New York that infamous morning – to attend his father-inlaw’s retirement party. Except there wasn’t any retirement party planned. In fact, it was all a ruse his wife Ellen cooked up to keep secret a surprise party Joe’s co-workers at KBW’s Hartford office were planning to throw him that day to celebrate the busy executive’s 20th anniversary with the company. And so, Spalluto found himself in Hartford when he learned what happened on the tragic morning that became known as 9/11 – instead of at his firm’s New York office, where he spent one or two days a week. “From our offices we would sometimes actually see small planes flying below our floors,” says Spallto. When he first heard the news, he says, “I thought maybe a pilot had blacked out.” After dropping off Maureen at school and heading to KBW’s office in The Gold Building in Hartford, Spalluto began trying to reach his co-workers in New York via the office phones and then through their cell phones. “I couldn't get through to anybody,” he recalls. At the office, he and his co-workers in the Hartford office watched the scene at Ground Zero unfold live on television. “People told me that they had been on the phone with the New York office – typically at that hour of the morning our trading desk in Hartford would be talking to the traders and salesmen in New York – and they just lost connection,” he recalls. “At first, the guys in New York had said there was a major boom. They looked next door and all they could see was paper flying all over the place. The building next door had been hit and within minutes, obviously, our building was also. We literally watched our building come down before our eyes on TV. We lost 67 colleagues in the mayhem.”

Spalluto and his colleagues in the Hartford office immediately began assisting the victims’ families. “Pretty soon we became the clearinghouse for all information related to the building collapse because the New York office was obviously decimated, and we didn’t know where people were, but we JOE SPALLUTO were the one place people were calling and asking, ‘What do you know?’ ‘What have you heard?’ ‘Do you know where my loved one is?’” he says. The Hartford office's phone number even went out on CNN for those needing information about KBW employees. “One of the things we started to do pretty quickly is create a list of everybody in the firm. The problem was we lost all the personnel records. It's not like today where everything is digitized, and the offices are networked. Everything had to be from memory. We had to pool all the data that we knew and really identify who was in the building, how to reach their loved one, where they lived. We collected all this information, then I'd say within a couple of days, we had a pretty good snapshot of who was accounted for and who wasn’t.” Spalluto and 20 other senior staff became “shepherds” – each one specifically assigned to two or three families – who going forward would be their contact person for information about their missing loved one. They also made sure benefits were in place for the families – including, after the dust settled, college funds for victims’ children. For weeks they attended the funerals of their deceased colleagues – sometimes three in a day. And they made the decision to rebuild Keefe, Bruyette & Woods. They found space in a midtown Manhattan office building, began hiring – growing to more than 400 employees – and went public in 2006. “We were able to rebuild the firm with a core group of people who survived and grow,” Spalluto explained. “The firm was very successful before this happened. But I don't think that any of us would ever forget that opportunity and that success was built on the backs and the efforts of those who came before us. Every day, for me personally, it is important to


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Tribute in Light | National September 11 Memorial & Museum Creator: Jin Lee Credit: Photo by Jin Lee, 9/11 Memorial

find a way to make sure that their memory, their legacy, isn’t forgotten.” To that end Spalluto has been involved in 9/11 Day, a program founded in 2003 by public relations executives David Paine and Jay Winuk, who lost his brother Glen, an attorney and trained EMT on 9/11. “Jay and his family and friends talked about this and said it would be really sad if on the anniversary of this tragedy every year, all we talked about and remembered is how sad, how ugly it was. They said, if we allowed that to be the way this story gets told, shame on us,” Spalluto says. “We ought to try to make something good come out of this because God knows we're going to remember this day every year.” Originally called “My Good Deed” and now called “9/11 Day,” Winuk gathered supporters from many of the firms that lost employees on 9/11. The goal was to encourage people to do any good deed of their choosing on September 11. “If you remember, for weeks and months after 9/11 everybody treated everyone else with a little more deference and kindness. It was remarkable,” Spalluto recalls. “[Winuk and his group] said wouldn't it be great if for one day we


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recaptured some of that goodness and really made sure those lights weren’t totally lost.” Congress and the Obama administration signed legislation that formally recognized 9/11 as a day of volunteerism and service. 9/11 Day’s president David Payne devised organizing a major volunteer project in New York City. Since 2015, corporations ‘volunteer’ their employees – from their senior executives down the line – for a day of packing meals for the New York food banks. The program has grown from 1,200 volunteers, 50 corporations and half a million meals packaged the first year to more than 3,000 volunteers, 150 corporations and three million meals. It has also spread several other cities. The volunteer project is held on The Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum on Pier 86 in Manhattan. Spalluto, chairman of 9/11 Day, has been in New York each year for the volunteer effort. “9/11 Day has taken on a life of its own, and really that's what we want,” Spalluto said. “The hope is it lives on long after us... Let’s remember, for sure, but by doing something positive.”


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t’s been a long and difficult year, to be sure. No worries, though, because the bears are here to make you feel better! The painted bears, that is. The WEHA BEAR FAIR is a spectacular exhibition and FUNdraiser guaranteed to send the spirits of West Hartford residents soaring…fill local shops and restaurants with oodles of out-of-town visitors…and, most of all, help numerous non-profits carry on their important work. Sponsored by 20/20Media, The WEHA BEAR FAIR features one dozen beautifully painted fiberglass bears, each one individually designed and decorated by a talented local artist and sponsored by a local

business that has selected a nonprofit organization to benefit from proceeds raised by visitors to the fair. The WEHA BEAR FAIR will run outdoors September through October at Webster’s Walk at 20 South Main Street and on Isham Rd. in Blue Back Square and indoors November through January at Westfarms. Flip through the following pages for a quick peak at what awaits you at The WEHA Bear Fair. To support the fair’s beneficiary non-profits, you can scan the QR code in person on the signage attached to each bear on display or click on the links provided on the pages that follow.


THE AREA’S BEST EVENTS Strategic Marketing Event Marketing Social & Mutli-Media Production Publishing Creative Branding



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WEHA Bear Fair photography by Todd Fairchild, shutterbugct.com



SPONSOR: ELMWOOD BUSINESS ASSOCIATION (JERRY’S ARTARAMA OF CONNECTICUT, DR. RICK LIFTIG & WEBSTER BANK) The Elmwood Business Association is a not-for-profit organization comprised of business owners and representatives from the Elmwood section of West Hartford. At monthly meetings, members discuss community activities and issues, including those related to law enforcement, government, and business enterprises. Town and state government officials are frequently in attendance. For more information follow them on Facebook @elmwoodct



Corey Pane uses a wide variety of mediums and materials in focusing on the process and experience of creating impressive works of art. Corey holds a Bachelor of Fine Art in Illustration from Hartford Art School. His work has been exhibited in galleries and public community spaces and he has also created artwork for musicians, bands and music-related enterprises and events, as well as professional athletes and other sports-related ventures, such as painting the cleats of many athletes. For a look at his unique artistry, visit coreypane.com

The Faxon branch of The West Hartford Public Library brings people, information and ideas together to strengthen and enrich the cultural, social and economic vitality of our diverse community. The Faxon Library is nothing short of empowering - providing each and every West Hartford resident with the tools they need to reach their potential, pursue life-long learning, and freely access a broad range of ideas and information. The Faxon Library is located at 1073 New Britain Avenue, Elmwood. For more information visit: www. westhartfordlibrary.org

CLICK HERE TO DONATE: paypal.com/donate/?hosted_button_id=TF67ZZECTPAKQ


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Beach Bear



Cantor Colburn LLC is one of the largest, full-service intellectual property law firms in the US, with 100+ lawyers representing clients worldwide, ensuring they get maximum value from their intellectual property. Cantor Colburn LLC is well known and highly regarded for depth and breadth of technical, legal, and business experience of its professionals, and this includes many prestigious third-party rankings – among them #4 for patents and #8 for trademarks among all US law firms. For more information visit: Cantorcolburn.com

Westmoor Park is a premier environmental, horticultural and agricultural center owned and operated by the Town of West Hartford. The 162-acre park combines property donated to the Town by the estate of Mr. and Mrs. Charles Hunter along with 110 acres of contiguous state watershed land. Westmoor Park provides a quintessential, farm-like atmosphere complemented by high-quality, hands-on learning opportunities through educational programs and camps. Annually, over 100,000 visitors explore pastures and gardens, woodland paths, an active stream and ponds, a nature center and a demonstration farm. Operational expenses are funded through the Hunter Trust Funds, program fees, and generous donations from the community, not through tax dollars. For more information visit: Westmoorpark.com

ARTIST: STEVE HUNTER Steve Hunter is a graduate of the Art Institute of Boston. Currently painting in acrylics, Steve describes his style of painting as Contemporary Realism. His subjects tend to be anything out there in the real world that catches his eye and provokes his thoughts. He is particularly drawn to landscape, seascape and architectural scenes. For a look at his work, visit stevehuntersart.blogspot.com

CLICK HERE TO DONATE: westhartfordct.gov/town-departments/leisure-services/westmoor-park


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Dancers Under the Sun



Founded in 1853, Westfield Bank is the largest publicly traded bank headquartered in Western Massachusetts. Westfield Bank’s 25 branch offices and 52 ATMs serve the counties of Hampden and Hampshire in Western Massachusetts and Hartford and Tolland Counties in northern Connecticut. The Bank’s commercial lending team is based in Springfield, Massachusetts, and has a lending limit of $34.8 million per business entity. As of December 31, 2020, the Bank employed 346 full- and part-time employees, had $2.4 billion in total assets, $1.9 billion in its loan portfolio, and $2.0 billion in total deposits. For more information: Westfieldbank.com

A proud Hartford native, Anne Gogh is committed to uplifting her community. Utilizing self-care, expression, and safe spaces, she is determined to fortify the importance of veracity and altruism. For her whole life she has gravitated towards art. Not only was it all around her but also it completely filled her being. Before she learned to write her name, she was producing art. For Anne, inspiration can come through any & everything-from vibing with fellow creatives to particles of sand. For more information: annegogh.com or follow her on Instagram @whos_bold_enuff_2_rebel

NONPROFIT: THE RON FOLEY FOUNDATION The Ron Foley Foundation was established in memory of Ron Foley, who lost his battle with pancreatic cancer in October of 2005. Established in 2009 by Ron’s wife and a team of volunteers, this charitable organization sponsors a series of annual events that build awareness and raise funds for pancreatic cancer research and education. They also provide direct financial aid to pancreatic cancer patients in need through the Foundation’s Ron’s Rescue Fund. To date, the Ron Foley Foundation has raised nearly $3 million to support its mission. For more information visit: Ronsrun.org

CLICK HERE TO DONATE: paypal.com/donate/?hosted_button_id=CK42U5HTLWUCG


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ARTIST: BRYAN WZIONTKO Bryan Wziontko holds a Bachelors of Fine Art in Illustration from Paier College of Art and his certification in Art Education from Southern Connecticut State University. He has taught art at Rocky Hill High School since 2011. Bryan specializes in Ceramics and 3D Design. Follow Brian on Instagram at @b_chunka_art

SPONSOR: WEST HARTFORD FUNERAL HOMES AND WTNH Embracing traditional values and accompanying families as they say goodbye to loved ones is the hallmark of West Hartford’s three independent and locally owned funeral homes. Each offers compassion and years of experience in honoring the lives of the people they serve and comforting families of all faiths, traditions and backgrounds. Sheehan Hilborn Breen Funeral Home Sheehan Hilborn Breen Funeral Home, located in the Elmwood section of West Hartford, embraces traditional values, diversity and innovation in honoring the spirit and life of each person they serve. They offer complete ethical care and genuine compassion so that families can focus on comforting each other as they prepare to say goodbye to someone dear to them. For more information visit: Sheehanhilbornbreen.com Molloy Funeral Home Molloy Funeral home is an independent, locally owned, family-operated service, dedicated to ensuring families of all faiths, traditions, and

backgrounds are able to remember their loved ones in a way that is tasteful and comforting to them. With more than 100 years of experience, Molloy Funeral Home stands ready to serve their community when they need it most. For information visit: Molloyfuneralhome.com Hebrew Funeral Association For more than 100 years, the Jewish community of West Hartford and the surrounding area has trusted Hebrew Funeral Association Inc. with providing traditional Jewish funeral services for their friends and loved ones. They take care of all arrangements and preparations while accompanying mourners through this difficult time, accompanying families in their time of need. For information visit: Hebrewfuneral.com WTNH: For more than 70 years, News 8 has been Connecticut’s News Leader. WTNH News 8 continues to set the standard for news coverage excellence in Connecticut. News 8 provides news, weather and information around the clock through its television newscasts, WTNH.com website and through its digital and mobile platforms. News tips can be sent to News 8 at reportit@ wtnh.com.

NONPROFIT: APK CHARITIES Like Special Forces soldiers and their families all across the United States, Connecticut military families have made - and continue to make - enormous sacrifices for the safety and well-being of their country. Among those who have made the ultimate sacrifice is Connecticut native Capt. Andrew Pedersen Keel, who on March 11, 2013, was killed in action in Afghanistan, while serving as the commander of his Special Forces detachment. Capt. Pedersen Keel’s parents, Bob and Helen Pedersen-Keiser (above), created the APK Charities Corporation and the APK 5K/5K Ruck Walk/March to honor and remember their son’s ultimate sacrifice. APK Charities seeks to raise awareness and support for our country’s active, retired, wounded and fallen warriors and their families, and to provide financial aid and material assistance to charitable organizations and causes. For more information visit: APKcharities.org

CLICK HERE TO DONATE: apkcharities.org/campaigns/apk-charities-general-fund/


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Helping Hands



Udolf Properties owns, manages, and redevelops a variety of commercial and residential properties throughout Connecticut. Led by Robert Udolf, the company continues to expand, guided by the core principle of putting tenants first. With decades of hands-on experiences, Udolf continues to fulfill its mission: to provide quality settings in desirable locations. For information visit: UdolfProperties.com

Connecticut native Ray Talbot has been taking art classes ever since his sophomore year in high school. Now a student at the University of Hartford Art School, where he is majoring in Visual Communication Design with a minor in Marketing, Ray has tackled projects dealing with branding, typography, package design, website layout, magazine layout, and even motion design. Outside of the design world Ray enjoys not only painting, but also photography and video editing. The WEHA Bear Fair is Ray’s first art project outside of college and the very first art piece he has created for the benefit of the West Hartford community. For a look at Ray’s work, visit ratalbot.wixsite.com/my-site

NONPROFIT: RONALD MCDONALD HOUSE Ronald McDonald House Charities of Connecticut and Western Massachusetts (RMHC CTMA) operates on the simple idea that nothing else should matter when a family is focused on the health of their child – especially not where they will lay their head at night. Ronald McDonald House ® of Connecticut and Ronald McDonald House of Springfield serve as a “home away from home” for families with seriously ill children, making it possible for children from around the state, the country and the globe to access specialized and life-saving treatments not available in their local communities. For information visit: rmhc-ctma.org

CLICK HERE TO DONATE: rmhc-ctma.org/donate


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Grow Where You are Planted

SPONSOR: MODERN TIRE OF WEST HARTFORD Locally owned and operated for more than 40 years, Modern Tire West Hartford offers the kind of service, dedication and experience one expects from a major automotive center. Multiple generations of local families have depended on Modern Tire for their honest, no-nonsense service. Modern Tire offers not only tires, but also a wide range of automotive services, and its team of dedicated technicians provides fast, courteous and personal service to all its customers. For more information: Moderntire-autoservice.com

ARTIST: CHE’ LA’MORA HARDY Che’ La’Mora Hardy is a professional mixed-media artist using different mediums such as acrylics, colored pencil, markers, pencil, and outdoor-friendly paints. She expresses her creativity through photography, painting, experimenting with textures, and poetry. Che’ directed and founded Procreate Artist Group, a multi-culturally diverse group of artists based in Connecticut. She has been creating art all of her life and believes art is not limited to one type of medium or to the use of the traditional canvas. Che’ feels it is important to make an impact by inspiring others to explore their own creativity and purpose. For a look at Che’s work visit: chelamora.com or follow her on Instagram @chelamoraart

NONPROFIT: FOUNDATION FOR WEST HARTFORD PUBLIC SCHOOLS The Foundation for West Hartford Public Schools was founded in 1997 by Dougie Trumble and Heather Congdon to provide unique and exceptional educational opportunities for West Hartford public school students through teacher and school enrichment grants. The Foundation’s goal is to reach beyond the everyday classroom experience and make exceptional learning opportunities a reality. Through healthy leadership and community support, the Foundation is now in its 23rd year and has to date provided over $1,800,000 in grants to teachers and schools. For information visit: whps.org

CLICK HERE TO DONATE: simplecheckout.authorize.net/payment/CatalogPayment.aspx


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Founded in 1998 by social worker Andrei Brel, Juniper Homecare is a home-health agency based in West Hartford offering services such as Homemaker, Companion, PCA, Adult Day Centers, Meals-on-Wheels, Adult Family Caregiving and more. Juniper’s mission is to “Help People Age at Home,” Juniper’s Adult Family Caregiving program helps make it possible for family members or friends who are living with and caring for individuals 65+ to qualify for support and compensation. Juniper is contracted by state agencies such as DSS and also cares for private pay clients statewide. For information visit: juniperhomecare.com

Taylor Talmage is a sign painter and glass gilder based in Eastern Long Island, N.Y. who, in the age of digital publishing, hopes to save the art of hand-lettered lettering and its warmth and charm. “My objective is to share and display my love & affection for my sign painting trade & art form. By applying my passion & training into a physical mark on the local landscape I aim to enrich the culture of the area one letter at a time.” For more information visit: longoddssignsmiths.com thedayoflongodds/instagram

NONPROFIT: THE CONNECTICUT CHAPTER OF THE ALZHEIMER'S ASSOCIATION The Connecticut Chapter of the Alzheimer's Association serves the more than 80,000 people living with Alzheimer's in Connecticut today, plus their caregivers as well as those concerned about brain health. The association offers free education classes, support groups, care consultations and activities for those in the early stages of dementia as well as robust advocacy efforts on both the state and local levels. The Alzheimer’s Association raises money through events such as Walk to End Alzheimer's in the fall to help fund research to get closer to new treatments and a cure. For information visit: alz.org/ct.

CLICK HERE TO DONATE: pact.alz.org/goto/JuniperHomecare


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SPONSOR: FLEET FEET OF WEST HARTFORD Fleet Feet is more than a shoe store. For 24 years, the West Hartford enterprise has served as a starting line for those looking to live healthier lives – whether that’s through running and walking or just needing comfortable sneakers to keep your feet happy all day long. Fleet Feet’s knowledgeable staff provide an extraordinary one-on-one customer experience utilizing modern 3D measurement and Dynamic Pressure Mapping technology to help customers find their perfect sneaker. They also offer a great selection of fitness apparel and accessories, as well as training programs and free commUNITY runs for all ages and abilities. For more information: www. fleetfeethartford.com



Bill Dougal has more than three dozen years experience as a professional caricaturist. He was ranked among the top ten caricaturists at a recent National Caricaturist Network convention, where he also won an award for speed. His caricatures have been published for advertising and editorial purposes. Live caricature drawing gigs throughout Connecticut have helped to prepare him for drawing any face. He loves each challenge presented to him in custom orders. Bill holds a BFA from Hartford Art School. For a look at Bill’s work visit: dougalart.com

Since 2016, Footwear with Care (FwC) has been providing Hartford’s homeless with durable footwear and medical footcare. Through large-scale clinics held at Dunkin’ Donuts Park, a mobile outreach truck and direct referrals from shelters, schools, police and other organization that help the homeless, FwC has donated over 2,000 pairs of high-quality footwear (sneakers in summer, boots in the winter) and socks. Footwear with Care is a non-profit organization that is a partnership between the Connecticut Podiatric Medical Association, Hartford Police and Fleet Feet. It is powered by a dedicated corps of volunteers from throughout Greater Hartford and supported by donations from individuals and grants from foundations. For information: www. footwearwithcare.org

CLICK HERE TO DONATE: members.cpma.org/donations/donate.asp?id=17365


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Dog Star Rescue is a non-profit, volunteer-run dog rescue organization in Greater Hartford that works with shelters to save the lives of loving and loyal dogs who have lost their way and find themselves on death row. Dog Star’s volunteers get these adoptable dogs the medical and emotional care they need so they can transition into a loving forever home. “Dog Star” comes from the common name for the star Sirius which is in the Canis Major (Greater Dog) constellation. The symbolism of the Dog Star as a guide to a safe passage is synonymous with Dog Star Rescue’s mission – finding dogs a new life with a loving family. For more information visit dogstarrescue.org

Renee Sawyer is an artist and art teacher at Newington High School. She has received her BFA/MS in Art and Design Education from Pratt Institute and MFA from Maine College of Art. Jackie Flock is a graduate in visual communication and design major from Hartford Art School at the University of Hartford. She has a diverse set of graphic and technical design skills including; web, mobile, video, digital illustration, photography, and synchronized lighting.

NONPROFIT: DOG STAR RESCUE Dog Star Rescue, Inc. is a grass-roots effort started by a group of dog lovers with experience in the rescue world. Learn about our organization’s mission, along with our reasons for adopting a rescue dog and information about some of our current volunteers. To check out our recommendations for other companies and services that love dogs almost as much as we do, see our Friends of Dog Star Rescue page.

CLICK HERE TO DONATE: dogstarrescue.org/donate-to-dog-star-rescue/


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Florence Nightingbear

SPONSOR: HARTFORD HEALTHCARE Over the past decade, Hartford HealthCare (HHC) has evolved into a nationally recognized integrated system that provides care for more than 1.7 million people annually — one out of every two Connecticut residents. Hartford HealthCare’s goal has been to create a different kind of health system — one capable of providing seamless, coordinated care to all patients, fulfilling its mission to improve the health and healing of the communities it serves, while being most trusted for personalized, coordinated care. As healthcare advances beyond the Covid-19 pandemic, Hartford HealthCare is leading transformation and optimizing its system of care to adapt to the evolving healthcare landscape. For more information: hartfordhealthcare.org



Joanna Cistulli is a Newington, Connecticut-based artist. Beginning from her days as a young child, creating art has continued to be one of her favorite hobbies. She graduated with a B.S. in Graphics Technology from Central Connecticut State University and is currently a member of the Newington Art League. Joanna’s broad range of artistic medium includes colored pencil, watercolor and acrylic paint. Joanna has participated in numerous art shows, commissions, and public art projects. She continuously strives to develop her craft and skills, while expanding her portfolio.

Hartford HealthCare is committed to health equity. Food insecurity is associated with some of the most serious and costly health problems in the country. In Greater Hartford, one in seven adults lacks reliable access to affordable, nutritious food, which puts them at an increased risk for a variety of adverse health outcomes, including heart disease, hypertension, and type 2 diabetes. The Hartford Hospital Food FARMacy is a proactive approach to our mission of improving the health and healing of the people and communities we serve. Through a unique partnership with the regional food bank Foodshare, Hartford HealthCare patients will be able to get specific healthy food items prescribed by their doctors, reducing the risk of chronic diseases.

CLICK HERE TO DONATE: giving.hartfordhospital.org/west-hartford-bear-fundraiser


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Duncaster is a locally founded not-for-profit senior living community located in Bloomfield, Connecticut. A Life Plan community celebrating its 37th anniversary in 2021, Duncaster sits on 94 beautifully landscaped acres and offers comprehensive solutions for active adults seeking independent living, assisted living, memory care, short- or long-term rehabilitation services, and long-term skilled nursing care. Duncaster was voted the Best Retirement Community by readers of Hartford Magazine and is CARF-certified. Our skilled nursing community, Caleb Hitchcock Health Center at Duncaster, has consistently received 5-star ratings from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services since 2008. For more information: www.Duncaster.org

For All Ages members (Northwest Catholic Students & Duncaster residents) Coordinator: Deb Bibbins;

NONPROFIT: FOR ALL AGES For All Ages is Connecticut’s only nonprofit organization dedicated to connecting the generations and inspiring action to end loneliness, reduce ageism, and improve health and well-being. Through evidence-informed programs and events, For All Ages creates positive, collaborative experiences between the generations that showcase the wisdom and vibrancy of older adults while countering the loneliness and isolation that are at epidemic levels across all age groups. We enrich lives, promote kindness and caring, and provide social connection for people of all ages that improves mental and physical health. Since launching in 2019, our volunteer-driven organization has facilitated thousands of hours of intergenerational programming, serving residents across the state. For more information visit: Forallages.org

CLICK HERE TO DONATE: forallages.org/donate-today


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BlueBeary Bush

SPONSOR: DALEY MOVING AND STORAGE & HODGES LANDSCAPING DALEY MOVING has been family-owned and operated since the 1930’s. Founded by John Daley, it was acquired by Tony Mariano of Mariano Brothers of Danbury, another family-owned moving company, who took over the business in 1970. Today, Tony’s daughter Gina Bunch and her husband Tony continue to operate Daley Moving, treating each customer relocation as if they themselves were packing up and making a move. Specializing in relocations between Connecticut and Florida, Daley Moving prides itself on their kid-glove treatment of valuable antiques. By paying close attention to the needs of each individual customer, whether residential or commercial, Daley Moving builds lasting relationships. For more information: daleymoving.com JEFF HODGES LANDSCAPE CONTRACTOR is a full service landscaping and hardscape contractor located in the West Hartford, CT area. We have been in the landscaping and hardscape business for over 30 years and we service both commercial and residential properties. Go to landscapingwesthartfordct.com for all your landscaping needs

ARTIST: ART OF TAO Tao LaBossiere is an award-winning muralist, sculptor, and illustrator whose personal mission is to celebrate community through creativity. The art director of the WEHA Bear Fair, Tao is also volunteer co-director of the Hartford ArtSpace Gallery and founder of Art of Tao LaBossiere LLC. A professional artist for more than 25 years, Tao calls himself a “developing artist.” His long list of satisfied clients includes municipalities, public libraries, schools, restaurants, and private art patrons in the tri-state area. Prior to launching his own business, for ten years he was the lead creative partner and visionary at Still Waters Retreat Center. Tao studied at Norwich Free Academy and Lyme Academy and also attended The Cleveland Institute of Art and Hartford Art School. Art of Tao LaBossiere LLC was created by Tao and his wife Amy to bring Tao’s artistic vision to life for the benefit of his clients. With Tao himself serving as master artist and Amy managing the business itself, Art of Tao creates largescale public art murals, art commissions in various mediums, including sculpture, paintings, and illustration. See his work at artoftaolabossiere.com

NONPROFIT: THE BRIDGE FAMILY CENTER Founded in 1969, the West Hartford-based Bridge Family Center is a comprehensive, regional nonprofit agency that provides a broad range of services for children, adults, and families throughout the Greater Hartford region, focusing equally on prevention and intervention and supporting members of the community at each stage of their lives. Over 8,500 people each year find hope and healing through their residential programs, mental health counseling, youth and family services, and Family Resource Center. For information visit Bridgefamilycenter.org

CLICK HERE TO DONATE: bridgefamilycenter.org/index.php/give-today/


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Sun. Sept 12 | 8:00pm

Billie Jean King All In: An Autobiography Holistic Health Options support you in your quest for health. Whether you want to reduce pain, decrease anxiety, increase energy or resiliency, or simply relax and feel better, our modalities can help make a difference in your physical and mental well-being.

In Conversation with Katie Couric, Award-winning Journalist and Founder, Katie Couric Media ZOOM Webinar Author Talk + Q & A Thank You Mandell JCC Partner


What’s New at the Mandell JCC Zachs Campus | 335 Bloomfield Ave. | West Hartford, CT 06117 | 860-236-4571 | www.mandelljcc.org



FOR FALL PROGRAMS www.mandelljcc.org/fall LYNN G. BECK




SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 19 | 7:30 PM | MANDELL JCC Reception and author signing at 6:00 pm

Tickets (In Person or Virtual): $25 ticket & book | $10 ticket only Registration required - www.mandelljcc.org/tix


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Get ready– These will all be back soon!

e t s a T st of We d

r o f t r Ha


connecting everyone

2020 2020 MEDIA | 20MEDIA20.COM

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Sheehan Hilborn Breen FUN ER A L

connecting everyone


MSC SEASIDE August 2021


he wife of the best man at my wedding was coming home to the USA after completing a long year of military service overseas. Our best man wanted to celebrate her return with a cruise, so I suggested he try the MSC Seaside cruise to the Caribbean, which seemed like the best match for them. Since the happy couple returned home from the cruise, they told me again and again (at least 8 times) how incredible the experience

was, and that it was the perfect cruise for them. At that point, I realized that I had to check it out for myself. From the outside, this ship looks like a classic Miami Hotel. After I entered the ship, I was brought to the Atrium – the “heart” of the ship. The Atrium is a large 4-deck open area crowned with an expanse of glass that lets in the breathtaking view of the royal blue sky and waters that surrounded the ship. Inside of the Atrium are several bars and restaurants accompanied by live music

and lightshows that complimented the ambience nicely. To be honest, the thing that first caught my eyes were the impressive and glamorous stairs that permeated throughout the atrium – the stairs were see-through and filled with thousands of sparkling Swarovski crystals. There are dozens of venues sprinkled throughout the ship including restaurants, bars, the casino, theater, and pools; two of my favorite venues being the Lavazza Coffee Bar and the Venchi Chocolate Bar.


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My balcony stateroom was modern and comfortable, with great attention put into making sure that everything has its own place – a fung-shui that made it feel quite spacious. I explored the Yacht Club, the exclusive area for clients who want more personal space, which includes a private restaurant, a 24-hour butler, private beach area, private shore excursions, and lounge. MSC calls their Yacht Club a “ship within a ship” luxury experience. After leaving the Yacht Club, taking the elevator to deck 8, I strolled the Waterfront boardwalk which wraps itself all around the ship. Tables and chairs are set up for you to relax while you are adjacent to restaurants and bars for drinks and meals. Part of the Boardwalk includes a glass skywalk where you can look down at an amazing view of the sea. As I explored the ship, I found an exciting variety of different specialty restaurants, each with its own flare and experience. You can enjoy fresh seafood at the Ocean Cay, prime cuts of beef at Butcher’s Cut, a delicious spread of authentic delicacies at the Kato Sushi Bar, as well as a dazzling culinary performance at the Kato Teppanyaki, where guests sit around a sizzling grill and watch the chef prepare the food while the chef entertains them with acrobatic moves and fun tricks. I found that each restaurant had something that I really enjoyed, and I’d suggest you try them all to see which you like best!” The star of the cruise is MSC’s new private island – Ocean Cay in the Bahamas. Ocean Cay is a Marine Reserve, and MSC is working with scientists to make the island as eco-friendly and as sustainable as possible. I got to visit this private island one week after it opened. This is not a jam-packed amusement park, but truly a relaxing family-friendly place with crystal clear water where you can share idyllic vacation time. Throughout most the island there is music in the background, and depending on where you are, it is different – on one side near a quiet empty beach, the sounds are almost spa-like. Near the lagoon, the music is more playful. At the tip of


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the island is the Wedding Pavilion – simple yet dramatic. In the evening, we returned to the ship, and relaxed on our balconies to watch a musical parade march up the main path on the island towards the ship. As the sun set and the night grew dark, a laser light show emanating from the lighthouse on the island began flashing and sending out rays of colored light to the beat of Bahamian musical artists. MSC is known to have an international clientele. Announcements are read in at least three languages to make their guests feel comfortable and welcome. I was impressed by the warmth of the Master of Ceremonies on this ship. She introduced the entertainment each evening, and each night the shows did not disappoint. I was very impressed by this troupe and their acrobatic performances. MSC stands for Mediterranean Shipping Company. It is the 3rd largest shipping company in the world and the largest privately owned cruise company in the world. If you have sailed in the Mediterranean, you can probably remember seeing these letters on container ships throughout the region. All the MSC Cruise ships have the same godmother, Sophia Loren. Sophia Loren made history by being the godmother of the whole fleet. This MSC Seaside is remarkable in many ways and the new private island part of its Caribbean itinerary is exceptional. I think it is time to go back on MSC Seaside with our best man and his wife to enjoy this new island jewel in the sea! new private island part of its Caribbean itinerary is exceptional. I think it is time to go back on MSC Seaside with our best man and his wife to enjoy this new island jewel in the sea! Lisa Martin, Travel Advisor, Luxury Cruise Specialist, ACC, Cruise Planners; Land and Cruise 860.929.0708 lisa.martin@ cruiseplanners.com TotalTravelToday.com


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We are physical therapists specializing in Orthopedic Manual Physical Therapy, tissue-specific exercise programs, concussion management and developers of our new Posture & Alignment Performance Training utilizing Redcord. We view our clients as life-long partners in their physical well-being.

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Getting the most from your autumn garden BY KARLA A. DALLEY


y September, many gardeners are ready to hang up the trowel (so to speak) to do something else — to take in the lovely foliage we are so well known for here in New England, to go to an orchard and enjoy cider and apples, or to just relax and think about the upcoming fall and winter holidays. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. Many years, I do just the same thing — or perhaps I indulge in my other favorite activity, reading. But if you want to maximize the enjoyment you get from your garden, as well as to make things a little easier on yourself next spring, here are a few things to do on those lovely autumn days. First, consider planting a few autumn containers. You can get some mums if you like, but those aren’t and shouldn’t be your only choices. If you choose some perennials and even grasses, your containers can look good into the winter and perhaps even survive from year to year. If you don’t care about a perennial grass, you can choose the red pennisetum that is sold in the fall as a centerpiece for containers. It’s not hardy for us but it’s definitely striking and it can be left to winter in the container as it will turn a lovely buff brown once frost hits it. Surround it with some true perennials like heucheras and heucherellas (otherwise known as coral bells and foamy bells). They are likely to winter over in the pots and will provide some lovely winter interest as well—but before that, their fall foliage colors can be dramatic


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and striking as they come in lots of colors like yellow, orange and deep purple. In the spring, you can leave them in the container, or plant them in the garden. Add some asters for additional color and pollinator nectar and you have a lovely fall display! If you want something completely perennial, put a dwarf conifer in a container. There are loads of dwarf conifers that will suit — I’ve had two arborvitaes in containers, one on either side of my stone steps for years. They are in containers with heucheras and in the summer I just add a few annuals for “extra” color. They are true four-season containers. Next, consider a few bulbs--just a few. I am not talking about the big showy bulbs like tulips, or daffodils or hyacinths—although by all means, if you are planting bulbs and you like them (and squirrels and deer aren’t a problem for you) go right ahead and plant them. When I say a few bulbs, I mean the “minor” bulbs: things like snowdrops, scilla (Siberian squill), chionodoxa (glory of the snow), grape hyacinths, and perhaps early crocus. Some of these are more attractive to the critters who plague us. Snowdrops are never bothered if you have a critter problem and since they are the earliest of these minor bulbs you might want to consider them. A couple of tricks when planting. First, put multiple bulbs in a single hole—10 or so. Because these bulbs are small, plant them in clumps for a nice effect. Next, you’ll also want to plant them where you can enjoy them. Snowdrops,

for example, often begin their bloom in February. No one is outside admiring plants in February—at least not for very long! I planted my snowdrops on the walk just next to the door to my house. They are the first thing I see on the way inside in the evening and on the way out in the morning. They never fail to make me smile, even on a gray day. Pick up these minor bulbs at any good garden center—and while you are there, see if there a last-minute tree and shrub that you might want to add to your garden. Garden center clearance sales are an autumn event that’s not to be missed. You can often find plants that you might not otherwise think of adding (due to budget constraints) that are now priced just right! After all, who doesn’t love a garden center sale? Remember to water these newly purchased plants until the ground freezes. Finally, and this is not a pleasant task, but if you at least deadhead the weeds that are going to seed in your garden you will save yourself a lot of heartache for next year and all the proceeding years. If the weeds are perennial weeds and you remove them, even better. If you do one or more of these things, you can look forward to a better, renewed garden come springtime—perhaps with some bulbs to greet you in February! Karla Dalley is a garden writer and speaker from West Hartford. kdalley@comcast.net. gardendaze.wordpress.com

VOTING STARTS OCTOBER ! FOR THE 7TH ANNUAL BOWH! Each category includes this year’s finalists


(a composite from the past 6 years) as well as space to write in your personal favorites... even a new category to include who you love that we missed! Go online and vote, and remember to share, share and share some more! Businesses are counting on your support and we know of several that are determined to retain their “best” title, so don’t be shy about sharing this contest everywhere! Thanks for taking the time to vote!


Voting will run between October 1-22


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What do you get when you add a GOLFTEC lesson with GOLFTEC clubs? A new and improved game. BY GARRETT HICKEY


started my summer golf game using my new fitted clubs from GOLFTEC. Since then, I’ve played numerous rounds and have had my first lesson with my GOLFTEC instructor, Dave. Since using my GOLFTEC -fitted clubs and beginning my lessons with my GOLFTEC pro, the most profound change I’ve noticed is in my new grip and the accuracy with which I am striking the ball. That isn’t to say I don’t still miss the ball! I do. But I miss it with far less frequency and my mistakes are not as pronounced as they were previously. I have noticed a marked and welcome improvement in the confidence with which I play. I attribute this to Dave’s guidance, advising me to establish a routine and sticking with it every single time without second guessing myself and without hesitation when I’m standing over the ball. I’ve been working on this at the range and with the simulator I frequent, and I have found that with this advice and my new clubs in hand, and the knowledge that my misses are not all that bad, I have indeed become a more confident golfer. At my first lesson with Dave, I immediately knew this was going to be a great experience! The technology at GOLFTEC is state of the art. I took a few swings and within seconds a video appeared on the monitor, together with a side-by-side comparison of a pro golfer’s swing. Dave used the video to zero in on different points and areas of concern. Seeing it right up there on the monitor made what he was saying easy to understand. I was able to see where my swing had flaws and Dave keyed the


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information into my profile as areas to work on. Next, he gave me two points to look at and think about before I followed through with my swing. He advised me (1) to keep my right knee in the center on the circle on the monitor and (2) to get my belt buckle to point forward at the finish. In less than five swings, I felt the difference and was making better contact with the ball and hitting farther distances. As a final point, Dave had me download the GOLFTEC app, which

stores the videos taken at practice, the voice recordings of Dave’s instructions, the goals/factors to work on that we had discussed, and even a variety of tutorial videos. This means that I can go to the range or simulator whenever I choose and look back at the points of emphasis I need to focus on in order to improve my game. Lessons and practice time can also be scheduled using the app. Needless to say, I’m pumped up and raring to go — excited to continue my lessons with Dave and improve my golf game! Join me?



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FINANCE COLLEGE FUNDING CHOICES Explore the different ways you can help finance the costs of higher education. PROVIDED BY ROBERT A. LARAIA, RFC, FOUNDING PARTNERNORTHSTAR WEALTH PARTNERS

How can you help cover your child’s future college costs? Saving early (and often) may be key for most families. Here are some college savings vehicles to consider. 529 college savings plans. Offered by states and some educational institutions, these plans allow you to save up to $15,000 per year for your child’s college costs without having to file an I.R.S. gift tax return. A married couple can contribute up to $30,000 per year. However, an individual or couple’s annual contribution to a 529 plan cannot exceed the yearly gift tax exclusion set by the Internal Revenue Service. You may be able to front-load a 529 plan with up to $75,000 in initial contributions per plan beneficiary—up to five years of gifts in one year—without triggering gift taxes.1,2 Remember, a 529 plan is a college savings plan that allows individuals to save for college on a tax-advantaged basis. State tax treatment of 529 plans is only one factor to consider prior to committing to a savings plan. Also, consider the fees and expenses associated with the particular plan. Whether a state tax deduction is available will depend on your state of residence. State tax laws and


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treatment may vary. State tax laws may be different than federal tax laws. Earnings on non-qualified distributions will be subject to income tax and a 10% federal penalty tax. If your child doesn’t want to go to college, you can change the beneficiary to another child in your family. You can even roll over distributions from a 529 plan into another 529 plan established for the same beneficiary (or another family member) without tax consequences.1,2 Grandparents can also start a 529 plan or other college savings vehicle. In fact, anyone can set up a 529 plan on behalf of anyone. You can even establish one for yourself.1,2

trust terminates (i.e., adulthood). At that point, your child can use the UGMA or UTMA funds to pay for college; however, once that age is reached, your child can also use the money to pay for anything else.5 Using a trust involves a complex set of tax rules and regulations. Before moving forward with a trust, consider working with a professional who is familiar with the rules and regulations. Imagine your child graduating from college, debt-free. With the right kind of college planning, that may happen. Talk to a financial professional today about these savings methods and others. n

Coverdell ESAs. Single filers with modified adjusted gross incomes (MAGIs) of $95,000 or less and joint filers with MAGIs of $190,000 or less can pour up to $2,000 into these accounts annually. If your income is higher than that, phaseouts apply above those MAGI levels. Money saved and invested in a Coverdell ESA can be used for college or K-12 education expenses.3

Northstar Wealth Partners

Contributions to Coverdell ESAs aren’t tax-deductible, but the accounts enjoy tax-deferred growth, and withdrawals are tax-free, so long as they are used for qualified education expenses. Contributions may be made until the account beneficiary turns 18. The money must be withdrawn when the beneficiary turns 30, or taxes and penalties may occur.3,4

This material was prepared by MarketingPro, Inc., and does not necessarily represent the views of the presenting party, nor their affiliates. This information has been derived from sources believed to be accurate. Please note - investing involves risk, and past performance is no guarantee of future results. The publisher is not engaged in rendering legal, accounting or other professional services. If assistance is needed, the reader is advised to engage the services of a competent professional. This information should not be construed as investment, tax or legal advice and may not be relied on for the purpose of avoiding any Federal tax penalty. This is neither a solicitation nor recommendation to purchase or sell any investment or insurance product or service, and should not be relied upon as such. All indices are unmanaged and are not illustrative of any particular investment. Prior to investing in a 529 Plan investors should consider whether the investor's or designated beneficiary's home state offers any state tax or other state benefits such as financial aid, scholarship funds, and protection from creditors that are only available for investments in such state's qualified tuition program. Withdrawals used for qualified expenses are federally tax free. Tax treatment at the state level may vary. Please consult with your tax advisor before investing.

UGMA & UTMA accounts. These all-purpose savings and investment accounts are often used to save for college. They take the form of a trust. When you put money in the trust, you are making an irrevocable gift to your child. You manage the trust assets until your child reaches the age when the

Robert A. Laraia, RFC, Founding Parnter Northstar Wealth Partners 433 South Main Street Suite 120 West Hartford, CT 06110 888.886.7737 860.561.1906 fax rlaraia@nstarwp.com www.nstarwp.com

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west hartford magazine 43


The Essential Wardrobe Item BY MATTHEW BANEVER


ven before March 2020, the occasions that require you to dress up in a suit are increasingly few and far between. And with the impact of sportswear on clothing, or at least the move to dressing more comfortably, it’s hardly surprising that tailoring is getting a major re-think. But one product of this shift is already here and has been proving its worth for a while. The unstructured blazer takes the stiffness and the stuffiness historically inherent to tailoring, and like sneaker/ shoe hybrids, creates a new class of garment in the process. Unlike the more rigid suit jacket, an unstructured blazer carries the recognized hallmarks of formal dressing but which – depending on what it’s teamed with – feels much more at ease. And as a result, it looks so much more modern with it. In short, the unstructured blazer is arguably the 21st-century’s greatest wardrobe essential, and if you don’t already own one, you need to get involved. At first hearing, the term ‘unstructured’ blazer sounds like a bad thing: surely structure is something you want in tailoring? A traditional Savile Row tailor might say it’s essential for a jacket to hold its form and to strike the right silhouette. But in these times of easier, softer dressing, retaining an air of formality without the straitjacket fit is in order, hence the unstructured blazer, which has no shoulder padding or chest canvassing. It might not even have a lining, or perhaps just a half lining to allow for a couple of inside pockets. In fact, the unstructured blazer is often close to being a medium to heavyweight shirt – but cut like a jacket, with lapels, vents, and pockets. Or


44 Vol. 11, No. 3, 2021 west hartford magazine

mer m Su


perhaps a cardigan, which is why sometimes this type of garment is referred to as a ‘cardigan’ jacket. The result is a garment that’s ideal for any season, as it weighs less than your typical suit jacket, and being mostly lining-free, more breathable. In warmer seasons its breathable nature is essential to maintaining the look while not sweating to death. Equally as important, in colder months you can layer and not begin to look like the Christmas Story snowsuit. Use this jacket as a layering piece. That also makes it more comfortable and easier to travel with, because the unstructured blazer folds down relatively simply. Wear one in wool, and the natural stretch means that creases will drop out too. But its greatest advantage is the stylistic versatility of that soft appearance. The unstructured blazer is the jacket equivalent of a decent pair of chinos. It retains enough formality that it can be dressed up with a shirt and tie but is also relaxed enough that it looks good over a T-shirt and with jeans. No matter how casual your office dress code is, there is always a reason to look good out in the real world. An unconstructed coat is the perfect blend of comfort and chic.

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Vol. 11, No. 3, 2021 west hartford magazine 47


The West Hartford Chamber of Commerce:

The people behind the area’s premiere business support organization BY CHRIS CONWAY


he West Hartford Chamber of Commerce has been serving local businesses and nonprofits for over 100 years. We wanted to show you the people behind the area’s premiere business support organization. MISSION: The goal of the West Hartford Chamber of Commerce is to encourage the development of business and enhance the quality of life in the West Hartford community.

EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE Amy Babich Amy Babich, Realtor®, Downsizing & Staging Consultant Chairperson West Hartford Chamber of Commerce "As a local Realtor, the West Hartford Chamber of Commerce is an invaluable part of my business. Our Chamber’s trusted member businesses provide an array of services for my buyers and sellers, from real estate services to home improvement. My membership in the Chamber keeps me up to date on town initiatives, new businesses, and local happenings through timely communications and regular events."


48 Vol. 11, No. 3, 2021 west hartford magazine

Chip Janiszewski Happiness and Success GPS First Vice Chairperson “I serve on the Board to share my organizational/operational expertise and participation in shaping how our awesome Chamber serves its members and the community through our committees and programs/events.” Jeffrey Brine- Kurien Ouellette Chamber Legal Counsel “I serve on the West Hartford Board of Directors to give back to the community my family and I have lived in and thoroughly enjoyed for almost forty years.” Brett Bushnell CliftonLarsonAllen Treasurer “Engaging with and creating opportunities for our communities is a fundamental part of our CLA purpose. It is a pleasure serving an organization that provides such a measurable impact to its members and the town in which I work and live.”

Christopher Clark Merrill - Bank of America Chairperson Minority Business Network “I serve on the West Hartford Chamber Board as a way to support the community I live in. The Chamber has been instrumental in connecting local businesses with the resources and exposure that was necessary to keep our town flourishing during the pandemic.”

COMMITTEE CHAIRPERSONS Maura Keating Keating Agency Insurance Chairperson FLOW (Future Leaders of West Hartford) “I serve on the Chamber BOG as the FLOW chairperson with the aim of maintaining a connection between our young professional’s group with the greater chamber. Sharing the progress and vision of our FLOW committee with the Board of Directors has provided me the opportunity to learn from other businesses and community members.”

Chuck Coursey Coursey & Company Chairperson Economic Development Committee “I believe we all have a responsibility to do what we can to help make a great community event better. I am grateful for the opportunity the Chamber provides me to be of service and help others grow and thrive.”

Judy Schuler East-West Engineering Director “As a longtime West Hartford resident and first-time business owner, I am excited to add a fresh perspective to further shape our community as an extraordinary place to live, work, and play. I, along with East-West Engineering, are dedicated to being a development partner in our vibrant and connected community.”

Matthew Cuddy Westfield Bank Chairperson Membership Committee “I feel privileged to serve on the Chamber’s Board as one way to give back to the community that I have worked in for the better part of the past 25 years. I enjoy collaborating with the other business and community leaders on the Board on ways to continuously move forward the Chamber’s mission as a resource to all the businesses in the area.”

Judy Travers Legrand North America Director “I am pleased to serve on the Chamber Board of Directors because like Legrand, the West Hartford Chamber of Commerce aims to transform our community. At Legrand, we improve lives by transforming the spaces where people live, work, and meet, with electrical and digital infrastructures and connected solutions that are simple, innovative, and sustainable. I'm excited to get involved and see how we can contribute to enhancing the quality of life in West Hartford.”

DIRECTORS Daryl Jackson Chick-fil-A Director “The Chamber did so much for me and my business when we first opened that I wanted to give back!! That is why I joined originally, now after getting to know this community more after four- plus years later, it’s truly my honor to serve with and for this community, GOD has blessed me beyond my wildest dreams through all of them!!!”

Alberto Arebalo Westfarms Director “As I am new to Westfarms and the community, it is important to me to not only work here but also support our neighboring business community. Together, I hope to be involved in programming and advocacy that creates a robust business climate for our town while continuing to meet exceptional business owners along the way.”

Nancy Brecher People’s United Bank Director “I’ve been an active member of the WHCOC for many years and am now proud to serve on the Board. This is a board that stands above the rest for their dedication to the town of West Hartford. I’m continually impressed with the many active committees and events the board works on all year long and the results are a testament to the hard work of the board and the WH Chamber staff.” Daniel Hovey Turnpike Motors Auto Body Director “Being a business who pulls from many different towns, we have always prioritized being members in multiple Chambers of Commerce. West Hartford sets themselves apart by their openness to new ideas to solve the new and ever-changing problems that businesses face. I have loved being a part of such a creative and collaborative group of people. I look forward to many more years of service.” Scott Miller DORO Restaurant Group Director “I moved to West Hartford in 2004 from Colorado and immediately fell in love with West Hartford. I have cheffed at and owned restaurants in the area and have never seen such a vibrant community that really appreciates local business.”


Vol. 11, No. 3, 2021 west hartford magazine 49

Jason Jakubowski CT Food Bank/Foodshare Director “I serve on the West Hartford Chamber board because of this organization’s commitment to philanthropy. As a proud resident of West Hartford, it is so important to me that we have a business community that is dedicated to giving back to our town.” Rachel Stein Mandell JCC Director “I serve on the WH Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors because I care about how businesses and non-profits in West Hartford better the quality of life for our residents & guests who live in and/or visit our amazing town. I feel being part of the Chamber BOD is also a way I can give back to the West Hartford community I live in.” Kristen Gorski Town of West Hartford Director (Town’s Representative) “I serve as the Town of West Hartford’s representative to the Chamber Board. The Town and Chamber have forged such a strong, symbiotic relationship, especially over the last year, to support businesses and the overall economic vitality of the Town. Serving on the Board allows an ability to continuously increase and enhance offerings between both organizations so we can best serve the community.”


50 Vol. 11, No. 3, 2021 west hartford magazine

Dave Calibey BigThunk Director “As part of the West Hartford Chamber of Commerce I’ve met so many wonderful, creative, earnest, hardworking business owners. By joining the Board I am able to do my part to help them, the Chamber itself, and the town in general.” Amy Fernand Boulton Noah Webster House Director “I am proud to serve on the chamber as it allows me to support friends, neighbors, and small businesses and to give back to the greater West Hartford community.” Avi Smith-Rapaport We Care Computers Director “I choose to serve on the BOD as it fits in with our missions at We Care. We are a communityfocused organization with a mission to help heal our world. Serving on the board allows me to be on the forefront of decisions that will affect businesses near and far.”

Tom Hickey 2020 Media Director "As a lifetime resident of West Hartford and small business owner, the Chamber helps me keep a pulse on WeHa." Nathaniel Mardoc Comcast Business Director “I serve on the board because West Hartford is an incredible town with a vibrant business community and the Chamber plays a critical role in serving that community. I’m proud to represent Comcast Business in our support of the Chamber and the town of West Hartford.”



Robyn Rifkin Blue Back Square Second Vice Chairperson

Christopher Conway Executive Director

Joe Defeo The Children’s Museum Secretary Christine Looby Trinity Health/ The Mercy Community Chairperson Community Engagement Committee

Jessie Bouclier Member Services Coordinator

Armen Manukyen Armeny Custom Jewelry Design Director Gina Mariano Bunch Daley Moving & Storage Director Steve Hunt Thomas Fahy Insurance Associates Director

Kate Kobs Outreach & Development Coordinator

Tony Leesha Computer Repair & Upgrade Director

The West Hartford Chamber of Commerce is the largest single town chamber of commerce in the Greater Hartford area, with over 550 members. We offer many programs, networking opportunities and resources to support businesses of all sizes and industries. We hold weekly networking meetings to help businesses share information and connect with other professionals. Signature Events include: The Mayor’s State of the Town Address, West Hartford Economic Development Update, Annual Meeting & Spotlight Awards and Annual Golf Tournament. Our committees focus on various aspects of business and community support. They are: The Minority Business Network, FLOW (Future Leaders of West Hartford) Economic Development Committee, Membership Committee, and Community Engagement. We are also the primary coordinators of The Holiday Stroll and our co-partners in WHyWestHartford.com, a new website designed to feature the best West Hartford has to offer for residents, visitors, and businesses.


Vol. 11, No. 3, 2021 west hartford magazine 51

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Vol. 11, No. 3, 2021 west hartford magazine 53

ONLINE STYLE BETTER THAN BEING THERE Transition from summer to fall with Virtual Styling on Facebook Live EVERY Wednesday 7pm! Barbara & Karen have been styling fabulous women on Facebook Live every Wednesday at 7pm for over a year. Grab your favorite BFF, glass of wine and settle in... it’s fun! THE BK & CO. DIFFERENCE From clothing and accessory consultation to perfect selection, BK & Co. helps define your own extraordinary style. Developing intimate, personal relationships with their “client-friends” is what motivates them to understand and cater to your needs thoroughly and meticulously. Their stylists are dedicated to helping women (and men shopping for women) find beautiful clothing that fits and flatters. They ensure that you look as fabulous as you feel, so you are always your very best!

CLICK ON ANY of the Virtual Styling links on this page to begin your online fashion adventure! Contact: Barbara & Karen, BK & Co. 983 Farmington Avenue West Hartford, CT 06107 860-232-6225 bkcostyle.com style@bkcostyle.com facebook messenger: bkcostyle


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There’s only one place to be seen by everyone. And it’s FREE!

WeHaCAL Introducing West Hartford’s all-inclusive online event calendar! List your own event by going to WeHaCAL.com and click on ADD MY EVENT.


For more information or to advertise on this free service, contact Donna Edelstein at 860-833-0839 or Donna@20media20.com Made possible in part from our sponsors:


Vol. 11, No. 3, 2021 west hartford magazine 55


THANK YOU to all of our sponsors, donors, vendors, supporters, and volunteers for helping us raise nearly $200,000 at the 12th Annual Ron's Run for the Roses on May 1st, 2021. A special thanks to presenting sponsor New Country Motorcars Group, Honorary Chair Dennis House, and Master of Ceremonies, Joe Furey.

Use our easy to fill out online form and your event will be uploaded to WeHaCal within 24 hours! WeHaCAL

Thank you to our generous guests, sponsors, vendors, donors and volunteers for making our 12th Annual Ron’s Run for the Roses the most successful and spectacular ever! For more information: ronsrun.org, e-mail info@ronsrun.org or call 860-521-0500.



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Vol. 11, No. 3, 2021 west hartford magazine 59

ROYAL FLUSH Three CT kosher caterers launch a new full-service culinary enterprise BY STACEY DRESNER

WEST HARTFORD – For decades, Margery Gussak Catering, Abel Caterers, and The Crown Market were friendly competitors in the Connecticut kosher catering


market, each providing their own special kosher cuisine and service at weddings, bar and bat mitzvahs, and other

along with Michael Hansen, in reinventing our catering

food items many clean-eating clients are looking for

Jewish celebrations and events.

department, from the nuts and bolts on out,” says

these days – all fully supervised by the Hartford Kashrut

Crown’s Store Director Jay Dollinger.

Commission (HKC).

Now Andrea Gussak and Meredith Abel-Berei – second-generation members of the Gussak and Abel

“Due to all of this work, we all thought it was in every-

“My background has always been in a very farm-to-

families – have joined gastronomical forces with The

body’s best interest to spin off’ a whole new catering

table aesthetic,” said Gussak. “I’ve always used whatever

Crown Market to form Royal Catering and Events.

identity. Since we are The Crown Market and have been

is fresh and in-season and created from that, and I’ve

“We’re going to be more of a full-service catering

for 81 years, we thought, what better name than Royal

kind of been bringing that same feel to the store and

department than Crown has had in the past, with

Catering and Events?... It’s the ultimate kosher catering

overlapping it into the catering menus as well.”

full-service management and event planning, china,

experience with more than 100 years of combined

flatwear… being able to offer very large events and

kosher catering expertise,” he says.

very small events – not just the shivas and kiddushes and baby-naming’s and brisses,” Abel-Berei explains.

Abel-Berei called her arrival at Crown “good timing in terms of revamping the catering department.”

“We’re really looking to capture the corporate market,

While Gussak’s experience is in the kitchen, Abel-Berei

the simchas, the Federation work, all of the non-profit

said hers is more “front of the business and warehouse.”

As executive chef, Gussak says she has been introducing a lot more vegan and vegetarian and seasonal items at the store and in the catering menus. “The menus are ever evolving. Meredith and I have been talking a lot about this. There will always be the ‘core’ things that people can choose from – basic

organizations…all the different work that my family and

“Andrea is a very talented person who knows how

Andrea’s family did over our careers; and we’re bringing

to get the job done,” notes Abel-Berei. She puts out

and the appetizers for the most part won’t change.

all of that to the Crown.”

beautiful work and she understands how challenging

But we want to really be creating new menus for each

Gussak will serve as executive chef of both Crown

chicken, meat, fish;

catering is. It’s nice having a partner in catering who grew

customer based on their needs, dietary restrictions,

Market and Royal Catering and Events. The daughter of

up in the business like I did. We both have the same goals

allergies – all of that stuff. What we are creating now is

Margery Gussak, who owned and operated her Manches-

in mind, and I think we both have enough experience

sort of a ‘feel’ of what we can do, and then, once we can

ter-based kosher catering company for 35 years, Andrea

and enough work ethic to work together to make great

actually sit down and meet with the clientele, we will,

spent years working in her mother’s business before

products and great parties.”

through conversation, create a menu specifically for

Margery shut her doors in June 2018. Andrea Gussak

Gussak agrees.

joined Crown in 2019.

“We’re all on the same page and we’re all working

With their combined contacts, Royal Catering and

to make this new Royal Catering and Events the best

Events plans to cover most of Connecticut, south to

and Events, is the daughter of Neil Abel, who founded

premier catering in Connecticut and hopefully beyond,”

Westchester and north to Boston and Vermont.

Abel Caterers in Woodbridge more than 45 years ago.

Gussak says. “Over the years Meredith and I had never

Abel-Berei took over Abel Catering when her father died

met in person. We had always sort of heard of each

to start planning events again now that the pandemic is

more than 13 years ago.

other. Even though we were friendly rivals, so to speak,


Abel-Berei, director of catering for Royal Catering

Last December, as the Covid-19 pandemic wreaked

we had never met, and we never really overlapped much.

them and their event.”

Already Royal Catering is hearing from clients excited

“I’m excited to see the Crown continue to grow,” Abel-

havoc on catering firms everywhere, Abel-Berei decided

There’s always that hesitation meeting someone new but

Berei says. “The Crown weathered the storm and we’re

to close Abel Catering’s doors. When Crown’s leadership

it’s been fantastic. We collaborate well, we communicate

going to come out of this stronger and with the catering

learned that Abel was closing, they approached Abel-

well. We get each other. We come from a similar back-

part, I feel that the right pieces are being put into place to

Berei, seeking to bring her on board to help with the

ground; we’ve been there, done that. It’s been great.”

continue to be a success.”

catering business.

In terms of menus, Gussak said that Royal Catering

She started at Crown on March 1.

and Events will focus on providing clients with not only

“Meredith helped us and was extremely instrumental,

classic kosher fare, but also the popular farm-to-table


60 Vol. 11, No. 3, 2021 west hartford magazine

Says Gussak: “I think it’s going to be a great marriage of all of us. And I only see great things ahead.”

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find us online all the time at westhartfordmagazine.com


Outdoor and/or indoor seating will be limited in accordance with guidance from the CDC, CT state mandates and/or our medical consultants at the time of each concert.

BETH EL TEMPLE IN WEST HARTFORD WHERE ELSE CAN MUSIC BE THIS HEAVENLY? 2626 Albany Ave., West Hartford • (860) 233-9696 • betheltemplemusic.com

On behalf of the Children’s Charity Ball Committee & the Bridge Family Center THANK YOU Your generous support of our virtual Ball raised $201,000 for children and families in our community A special thank you to our Diamond Sponsor – Pratt & Whitney


62 Vol. 11, No. 3, 2021 west hartford magazine

TRENDING Senior Living 2021


Vol. 11, No. 3, 2021 west hartford magazine 63



64 Vol. 11, No. 3, 2021 west hartford magazine

Jewish young adults increasingly define themselves as “Jews of no religion.”*

What does this mean to you?

“We need to be the link for the next generation.” – Sarah M., participant *A recent PEW study found that 41% of young Jewish adults describe themselves as “Jews of no religion” – they describe their religion as atheist, agnostic or nothing in particular. You can make a difference in the lives of your grandchildren and in the future of the Jewish people.

Share the wisdom and joy of our tradition with the next generation through Chai Mitzvah's Grandparents and Beyond program. • Fun activities and conversations to engage all ages: 4-18+ • Not just for grandparents, but for any older adults and younger friends. • Activities are designed to work both in person and virtually • For everyone, regardless of background

Be Part of Chai Mitzvah's NATIONAL GRANDPARENTS DAY CHALLENGE! Join in our goal of having 1,000 grandparents sign up for Grandparents and Beyond by National Grandparents Day, Sunday, September 12, 2021. To reach this goal, we are offering Grandparents and Beyond at NO CHARGE to the first 1,000 grandparents who sign up.

Sign up and send the link to your friends!


66 Vol. 11, No. 3, 2021 west hartford magazine

contents PAGE 70



Page Turners

Free Stuff

Reading a magazine

A Prayer Answered

a day keeps the


discounts awaits you

doctor away.

Romay Davis visits

— so don’t wait!

A world of freebies &

Jerusalem…without leaving Alabama.


Fight Back


‘Cane Fu’ and

They Said What?

Secrets to a long

other self-defense


techniques to

inspirational and

protect yourself.

even hilarious quotes


Wedded Bliss and successful marriage from those who’ve lived it.

about growing old.


Vol. 11, No. 3, 2021 west hartford magazine 67

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Vol. 11, No. 3, 2021 west hartford magazine 69

THE BEST MAGAZINES FOR SENIORS What do magazines and apples have in common? They both keep the doctor away. No kidding. Just ask researchers at the University of Michigan who found that seniors who spent a mere 3.5 hours each week reading lived 2 years longer than those who stayed away from books. And if the prospect of increased longevity isn’t enough to get you flip through the pages of any of many informative magazines, consider these other ways in which reading magazines can enhance your life. Reading… • reduces boredom and gives your brain a good workout; • takes the sting out of stress by transporting you to another world • prevents or delays degenerative diseases from taking root; • teaches you about the ever-changing world around you • improves your vocabulary While the shift in publishing from print to digital has claimed some publications, others remain vibrant while also offering greater flexibility — most print subscriptions now include a parallel online version for reading on your tablet or other mobile device. There are dozens of magazines that inform, inspire, and bring joy to readers of any age. But finding the right magazines for seniors means thinking about publications that tailor their content to match the interests of older adults. Here are just a few of the choices seniors can choose from. The greater challenge may be deciding which one to subscribe to first! AARP THE MAGAZINE Visit: AARP.org

AARP The Magazine features lifestyle topics for anyone over 50, which means it includes information on everything from loving your job to taking that post-retirement, once-in-a-lifetime European vacation. The magazine’s health and wellness columns, as well as movie reviews and other features, are all tailored for older adults.


Reader’s Digest offers a large-print version that makes it the perfect magazine for seniors. This edition features a largeprint version all of the magazine’s typical


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content, including the crossword puzzle, as well as images and illustrations, and even non-glare paper that makes it easier to read.


Visit: prevention.com It becomes increasingly important for older adults to know which foods can help you stay healthy, which exercises are great, lesser-known side effects of common medications, and more. Prevention takes a holistic approach to wellness that makes it an excellent choice for health-conscious adults.


Visit: birdsandblooms.com Few things evoke thoughts of a relaxing retirement like Birds & Blooms. Geared towards birdwatchers and gardeners of every age. Birds & Blooms provides a convenient, seasonal resource to enjoy both hobbies, whether it means getting more from a daily nature walk or helping you decide what to plant next in your garden.


Visit: golfdigest.com Golf Digest is a respected monthly publication that offers ways to improve your score when out on the course and learn more about the personalities of the game’s


leading players. Enjoy a deeper level of access to everything from equipment technology to the secrets of leading swing coaches.

Visit: travelandleisure.com Although not a senior-specific travel magazine, Travel+Leisure helps would-be tourists visualize what travel to nearby or far away locations would be like. From the regular tourist haunts to those “off the beaten track” attractions, this magazine covers them all with drool-worthy pictures, as well as practical, detailed information.


Visit: reminisce.com Memories of the 1940s to 1970s are the focus of Reminisce magazine. From images of classic cars to the routines of a 1950s beauty salon, Reminisce transports seniors to years gone by and offers a great platform to share memories of their lives with children or grandchildren.


Visit: travel50andbeyond.com This publication addresses the specific needs of the 50 plus traveler, covering national and international vacation hotspots, as well as details on various travel options. So, for those interested in a cruise or tour group, this magazine offers all the practical information you will need for a fun filled, hassle free holiday.


Visit: discovermagazine.com For those that have memories of everything from early airline travel to grainy images of the moon landing, Discover magazine is a fascinating way to keep current with new frontiers in science and find out what’s next. Monthly issues cover a variety of topics to special issues dedicated to Einstein and medical mysteries.


Visit: healthyaging.net Created for adults nearing 60, this magazine features recipes, travel guides, articles on sports and hobbies for older adults, product


of retirement.

reviews, latest news and technology related content and more. Its goal is to help readers enjoy an active lifestyle and change the classic perception

3RD ACT AGING WITH CONFIDENCE Visit: 3rdactmagazine.com

This publication is all about artful aging. So, in its pages, you will find information on senior lifestyle, wellness, healthy living, traveling for older adults and more. The cover story is almost always about the exceptional accomplishment of an older adult — and not just celebs.

ACTIVE OVER 50 MAGAZINE Visit: activeover50.com

Each issue of this magazine carries the personal profile of an active older adult over the age of 50, that sends the message that fun begins at 50 or 60, and is endless. Dedicated to helping its readers live a healthy, active life, the magazine offers practical and relevant information to help you to switch to healthy living.

Visit: goodolddaysmagazine.com Like Reminisce magazine, Good Old Days magazine publishes stories, pictures, comics and even classic print advertisements from decades ago. But this interactive publication also accepts reader submissions in the form of pictures and photographs. So, not only can seniors read about the stories of others but they can also tell their own stories


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Vol. 11, No. 3, 2021 west hartford magazine 73


FIGHTING BACK! Seniors take up self-defense training to stay safe

The sad reality is that some people do prey on seniors. A U.S. Department of Justice report noted that between 2003 and 2013, 93 percent of all crimes were against people over age 65. The good news is, age and physical limitations do not have to prevent you from learning how to protect yourself. Whether you study basic self-defense techniques or pursue advanced martial arts training, knowing that you’re capable of defending yourself can be a great confidence booster. And when you feel (and look) confident, you show the world that you are not weak or vulnerable, which can potentially deter would-be aggressors. Besides protecting you, self-defense training brings a host of physical benefits: You can improve your balance, coordination, stamina, strength, and flexibility. Even if you never have to use the techniques you learn, the exercise you get through self-defense training can have a positive impact on your overall health. SAFETY TIPS: HOW TO AVOID BEING TARGETED Prevention should always be your primary objective. After all, the best way to stay safe is to not get into dicey situations in the first place. Did you know that your body language and mannerisms can give off signals that make you more likely to be a target for criminals? To avoid appearing vulnerable, try following these tips: • Be alert and aware of your surroundings. • Stand straight and keep your chin up and your shoulders back. • Walk smoothly and fluidly to convey confidence. • Make brief eye contact with the people around you to demonstrate that you are aware of them. • Don’t talk on your phone or stare at a map while out walking.


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• Don’t let a potential attacker distract you. If a stranger asks you for the time, don’t stop and look down at your watch. Instead, keep walking and raise your watch up to your eye level ito keep the person in your line of sight. • Don’t draw attention to yourself. Keep valuables out of sight and carry your purse close to you. BASIC TECHNIQUES TO FEND OFF AN ATTACK Even if you do your best to prevent becoming a target of crime, you still might end up in a dangerous situation. Always remember that self-preservation is the ultimate goal. So, if a thief demands your money or personal property, especially if he or she is wielding a weapon, give it up. If you’re able to do so, keep a safe distance from the thief by tossing your valuables in his or her direction rather than handing them over at close range. Sometimes, a physical confrontation is unavoidable. You typically have just a few seconds to make a move, so you need to be prepared. These tips can help you better pro-

tect yourself if you end up in such a situation: • Make noise. Shout, blow a whistle, or activate a personal alarm. • Use whatever you have on hand. Anything from car keys to canned goods. Throw dirt in the attacker’s eyes if possible. • Pepper spray causes extremely painful burning of the eyes and nose and will temporarily blind your attacker. • Stun guns and firearms can be effective weapons, but you need to be extremely cautious about using one. Learn more about factors to consider, including your state laws. • Aim for the most vulnerable areas. Even a strong attacker has weak areas. Sensitive pressure points include the eyes, nose, neck, groin, and knees. The one you should target depends on how close the attacker is and what position he or she is in relative to you. For instance, if he or she is a leg’s length away from you, you might choose to kick or knee the attacker in the groin.If the assailant is very close, the best move is to jab your fingers, knuckles, or keys into his or her eyes.

Most of its movements involve throws and joint locks. You will be taught how to dodge attacks and escape from holds. It’s about leverage and technique as opposed to size and strength.

MARTIAL ARTS FOR SENIORS OF ALL ABILITY LEVELS Studying martial arts regularly can be an empowering way for seniors to learn how to defend themselves. It can also help boost their stamina, coordination, range of motion, and mental acuity. In addition, students learn respect and self-discipline. There are hundreds of martial arts. The best martial art for seniors is the one that aligns with their capabilities. So before beginning any training regimen, be sure to assess your physical abilities. Here are a few types of defensive martial arts that may be good options for seniors

• Wing Chun is a form of kung fu that uses open-handed strikes and low kicks. Wing chun can be excellent training for older adults. It’s a low-impact activity that does not involve jumping or acrobatics. • Krav Maga Many people believe that Krav Maga is the best martial art for self-defense. Developed by the Israeli military, Krav Maga is really more of a street combat system than a martial art. You learn to neutralize an assailant quickly using simple, natural movements. Techniques are highly efficient and can be used by people of any age, since they do not rely on strength, speed, or flexibility.

• Tai Chi is often said to be the best martial art for beginners because it involves slow, gentle movements with low impact. Most tai chi for seniors classes focus on health and meditation as opposed to self-defense, but they can show you how to move your body and can act as a good bridge to other disciplines.

CANE FU: A GROWING TREND A discipline known as “cane fu” teaches seniors to fight back against attackers using an ordinary walking stick. Defense experts point out that a cane can be taken anywhere and is always ready for action. Often perceived as a symbol of weakness, a cane can instead be an excellent way to inflict pain and neutralize aggressors.Cane-fighting classes are becoming increasingly available through senior centers, retirement communities, and police departments. Some are offered free of charge. Ask around to see what the options are in your community.

• Judo focuses on using an adversary’s strength against him or her. It allows you to disable an opponent by throwing him or her to the ground, then subduing him or her through pins, holds, and locks. You need a certain amount of dexterity for this. • Aikido is ideal for older adults as well as people with disabilities. Aikido is based on turning an attacker’s strength and power against him or her. By redirecting the force of an attack, a less physically equipped adult can overcome a younger and stronger opponent. • Jiu-Jitsu concentrates on manipulation and balance rather than counterforce.

WHAT TO CONSIDER BEFORE GETTING A GUN For some older adults, having a gun for self-protection can alleviate anxiety and make them feel like they are in a better

position to defend themselves against an aggressor. However, many self-defense experts advise against carrying a gun, as it can easily be used against you in an attack. Also, many seniors have issues like poor eyesight or weak fine motor skills that can make it difficult to operate a gun safely. Some important factors to consider: • Are you willing to fire it? Pulling a gun on a would-be attacker can be enough to scare him or her off, but that isn’t always the case. You have to be willing to take another person’s life, if necessary, in order to keep yourself safe. • Do you understand your state’s gun laws? It’s up to you to find out what licenses or permits are required and when you can legally use your gun for self-defense. • Can you physically handle such a weapon? You need to be able to load the gun, pull the trigger, and handle the recoil. Think about your physical capabilities. • Are you willing to get firearms training? This is the best way to ensure you will be able to handle and shoot a gun properly and safely. BE CONFIDENT IN YOUR ABILITIES Self-defense for seniors can take many forms. Whether you choose to take up martial arts, learn cane fu, or take a basic self-defense class, you’ll be better prepared to protect yourself from attacks and escape from aggressors. This is an excerpt of an article that appeared in Great Senior Living (visit greatseniorliving.com).


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At 101, Romy Davis’s dream to visit Jerusalem’s holy sites comes true using cutting-edge VR technology.

By Naama Barak

Romay Davis from Montgomery, Alabama, has always loved to travel. And at the grand age of 101 she can now tick off another place from her destination bucket list, having recently visited Jerusalem’s holiest sites using cutting-edge virtual reality technology. For a little under an hour, Davis was transported to the sights and sounds of the Old City of Jerusalem, courtesy of The Holy City Immersive Experience created by the Tower of David Innovation Lab that allows users to wander through the area’s holiest sites. The Western Wall, Dome of the Rock, Al-Aqsa Mosque and Church of the Holy Sepulcher were all captured using both volumetric scanning and virtual reality filming by an interfaith team of Jewish, Muslim and Christian innovators. 3D video and audio technologies allowed the team to capture real environments in detail, and through exclusive relationships with key local religious figures they were granted access to the holy sites. These sacred sites are presented in an all-access way and are bookmarked by their holiest events: the Orthodox Easter Holy Fire ceremony celebration at the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, the Ramadan prayers at Al-Aqsa Mosque and the Priestly Blessing at the Western Wall. Davis is an avid traveler but has never made it to Israel. A community advocate, Davis is a World War II veteran, a former model and fashion designer and an employee at her local grocery store. She earned her black belt in tae kwon do at the age of 70.

Romay Davis ‘visits’ the holy sites of Jerusalem using virtual reality technology. (Photo by Amanda Roy Photography)

Romay Davis’ favorite part of the virtual Jerusalem tour was watching people pray and feeling she could reach out to touch them. (Photo by Amanda Roy Photography)

‘A marvelous experience’ She participated in the virtual tour of Jerusalem through “Wish of a Lifetime” from AARP, which grants wishes to senior citizens in recognition of their special accomplishments and contributions. “It has been a marvelous, marvelous experience,” Davis says of her virtual tour. “It is the capture of reality, that’s what it is. It makes you think you are participating. I enjoyed it like you have never enjoyed anything in your life. I’ve never seen anything like it.” Her favorite part, she says, was the prayers. “I was watching people pray. If you look at it for a long time, you’d think it was real and you can put your hand on the people, on the brick, and touch the artifacts.”


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For more information on the Holy City Immersive Experience, visit Tower of David at www.tod.org.il. This article is reprinted from Israel21c.org.

“YOUTH IS THE GIFT OF NATURE, BUT AGE IS A WORK OF ART.” …and other words of wisdom about growing old No doubt you’ve heard the latter-day expression “60 is the new 30” or “70 is the new 40” ...or some other combination thereof. Truth be told, we have no idea what exactly that means. But it seems to suggest that as we get older, we should aspire to be younger. Because younger is better than older. And maybe, in some ways, it is. To be sure, as the Bette Davis put it: “Growing old is not for sissies.” But Academy Award winning actresses aside, there are many equally famous persons who have eloquently expressed in inspirational and whimsical tones,

the trials and tribulations inherent in one’s golden years. So read on for some heartwarming quotes about what it truly means to grow older. “Grow old along with me! The best is yet to be, the last of life, for which the first was made.” Robert Browning “You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.” Les Brown “Aging is not ‘lost youth’ but a new stage of opportunity and strength.” Betty Friedan Age is an issue of mind over matter. If you don’t mind, it doesn’tmatter.” Mark Twain “Why did so many grown-ups want to be young, she wondered, when it took so long to grow old? It was like going on a million-mile road trip then wanting to turn around without getting out of the car.” Pseudonymous Bosch

“I wear my wrinkles like battle

“Never tease an old dog; he might

scars, having earned every last one

have one bite left.”

slaying life’s dragons. They boast of

Robert A. Heinlein

my victories and some defeats while their beauty is a wealth of wisdom

“The nice thing about getting old


is that you can be as eccentric as you

Richelle E. Goodrich

want, everyone expects it!” Nanette L. Avery

“Aging is an extraordinary process where you become the person you

Old age is like everything else.

always should have been.”

To make a success of it, you’ve

David Bowie

got to start young.” Theodore Roosevelt

“Youth is the gift of nature, but age is a work of art.”

“Nobody grows old merely by

Stanislaw Jerzy Lec

living a number of years. We grow old by deserting our ideals.

“In the end, it’s not the years in your

Years may wrinkle the skin,

life that count. It’s the life in your

but to give up enthusiasm


wrinkles the soul.”

Abraham Lincoln

Samuel Ullman

“It’s not the specter of aging that

“The longer I live, the more

haunts me. Rather, it’s the far greater

beautiful life becomes.”

fear of having aged and having noth-

Frank Lloyd Wright

ing to show for the aging.” Craig D. Lounsbrough “Wrinkles should merely indicate where smiles have been.” Mark Twain

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The golden years are indeed golden for so many reasons and in so many ways. They are a time of life when you appreciate and accept yourself for who you are; a time to sit back and reflect upon your accomplishments, and bathe in the cornucopia of warm memories you have collected over the years. A time when the wisdom and perspective that come with age make you better able to handle life’s curveballs. And oh yes, less we forget, a time to take advantage of the many freebies at discounts offered to senior adults only. That may not be the best part of senior adulthood…but it’s right up there. From retail and grocery to insurance and healthcare, there are all types of senior discounts to claim. Maximize your savings and make the most out of your purchases (large or small) by cashing in on them. Keep in mind that not all businesses advertise their freebies and discounts for older adults. So don’t be shy — ask. And do a little detective work. SO, WHO’S A SENIOR? Good question. Technically speaking, senior adults are cardcarrying members of Medicare. In other words, anyone age 65+. However, if you enroll in an AARP or Association of Mature American Citizens (AMAC), which you’re entitled to do on your 50th birthday, you can start cashing in on senior discounts. For all other discounts, the minimum age requirements vary based on the company or location and can range from 50 to 65 years of age. So, if unsure if you qualify for a senior discount? Don’t hesitate to ask! The following is a “starter” list of just some of the businesses that offer freebies and discounts to seniors. For a more comprehensive list of companies and retail outlets that offer freebies and discounts to seniors, visit theseniorlist.com.


While not all retail stores provide a dedicated senior discount, many offer impressive savings


with a store rewards card. And lots of shops offer weekly senior discount days.


Many companies offer free prescription drug cards that can save you up big bucks at the pharmacy. As your pharmacy if they participate in this type of program.


There may be no such thing as a free lunch for seniors, but there is a free drink with purchase at fast food outlets like Chick Fil A and McDonald’s. Many IHOPs offer a 50% off discount one night a week, which translates to one dinner freebie if you bring a companion.


Many museums and cultural attractions offer admission that’s free for discounted for seniors. Ask about a senior citizen discount at the box office. Also,

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look for free stuff at public events and festivals.


Most public transportation systems offer money-saving passes, but some are completely free for seniors. For example, there are free ride programs in Pennsylvania, Miami-Dade County, and Chicago (under certain income levels). Find out if your state is on board.


A number of agencies offer tax preparation help or counseling to seniors at no cost, as do some local accountants. The IRS offers free “Tax Counseling for the Elderly” (TCE). TCE provides tax help to individuals who are aged 60. The IRS with some private or nongovernmental public nonprofit agencies or organizations, provides training and technical assistance to elderly individuals to prepare their income tax returns.


Many cellular providers have programs to make life easier on seniors by offering free cell phone and discounted rates on phone plans. Check out your carrier today.


When you take your grandchildren with you, there are a lot more opportunities to save – and show the next generation a good time. As a general rule, many discounts that are available for seniors are also available for kids. From museums to public transportation to 2-for-1 specials at restaurants, planning ahead can lead to big savings.

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60 YEARS AND COUNTING Marriage Advice from the Greatest Generation By Nicky Blackburn

“Grandma and Grandpa, how did you meet?” It’s a classic question that young children often ask their beloved grandparents, And most grandparents relish the opportunity to share their story. But as their grandchildren grow older and become young adults and newlyweds themselves, the question often changes from “How did you meet?” to “How did you manage to make marriage still work after so many years?” After all, who would know better what makes for a long and successful marriage than those who have been blissfully wed for 60+ years – couples who have weathered the bumps, the obstacles, the twists and turns, the joyful times and the moments of sorrow. Recently, Hoffman SummerWood, a senior living community in West Hartford, Connecticut, feted five resident couples who have been married for 60 years or more at a gala anniversary dinner. While they enjoyed their special evening, each of the couples took the opportunity to share the secret — or at least one of the secrets to their success.


Saul and Susan Bloostein will celebrate their 60th wedding anniversary next month, on September 24. “You have to be flexible. Flexibility is the most important thing,” shared Saul. “You can’t just always have it your way. Now, it’s not that we don’t fight - but the next day, all is forgiven. In other words, you accept each other as you are. You just go with the flow. When she wants me to apologize, I do! Right, Su? Well…I apologize 9 times out of 10. But, well, she’s really a good kid. “It’s a tough road. But we love each other more than we did when we first married. Because you go through 60 years of happiness, sadness…you see it all. The bottom line is, you give a lot and you take a lot, and you try to be as flexible as you possibly can be and you just go with the flow.”


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Martin and Elaine Cohen celebrated their 61st wedding anniversary this past May 15. “We met on a blind date,” says Martin Cohen. “A blind date! I went to pick her up, and there she stood at the top of the stairs. I looked up at her and…well, let’s just say I’ve been looking up to her ever since.” Says Elaine: “It’s about loving oneanother, but it’s also about being committed to each other. He tells me once a day that he loves me.” And, adds Marty, “We hug; we kiss; we snuggle. We know the same songs; we treat each other as equals.” In addition, the two share many common interests. Among them: Music, their Jewish faith and, of course, their deep love for their children. Besides that, says Marty, “We complete each other. She finishes all of my...” “Sentences,” retorts Elaine with a smile.



“Marry a friend- not just a lover,” councils Stephen Goldrich, who has been married to Phyllis Goldrich for 66 years. “It can be both, but the first is more important in my estimation.” “I’ll agree with that,” Phyllis chimes in. More often than not, if you catch this couple taking a stroll down the hall, you’ll find them joking with one another and sharing lots of laughs. “It’s the most important thing in our relationship,” says Phyllis. “Someone you can rely on; someone you feel comfortable sharing anything with. Marry a friend.”

Clockwise from bottom left: Summerwood couples;Bloosteins wedding; Cohens on a bench; Goldrishes walking


“It’s a sense of security,” she says. And, when practiced during an argument, active listening “can completely deflate an argument. This way you do not deal in anger, it takes away anger by saying that you are truly listening.”

Claudette and Nouri Levy, brand new members of the Hoffman SummerWood community, will celebrate their 58th wedding anniversary later this month, on August 25. Claudette advises young couples to “actively listen to one another.” “Have fun together – because it will allow you as a couple more room to deal with difficult issues when you have a good time with each other. And at the same time – really hear each other; the act of listening in a marriage can be magical.” Active listening, explains Claudette, leaves no room for misunderstandings. When you check with your partner to clarify that you have fully understood what it is important to them, and what they are saying. When you repeat back what you have heard, you validate your partner’s feelings.


“I would say that my most important piece of advice would be to have patience,” says Lester Geller who has been married to Estelle for 73 years (yes, you read it right, 73 years!) “Be compassionate. Put yourself in the place of the other. Recognize that each individual responds differently to stimuli on the basis of their own life experiences. In addition, says Lester, it’s important to have what he refers to as “acceptance.” “By that I mean recognizing that people are different. If you love them, you listen; you empathize and sympathize with them.”


Joan Weinberg says the secret to a long and successful marriage is for the husband and wife to give a certain percentage to the marriage— and it’s not fifty-fifty. She should know. Joan and her husband Leonard will celebrate 65 years of marriage on April 28, 2022. Sharing responsibility is important, he says, but “you don’t divide the responsibility in half; you give more than half. So that when you each give more than half, you have more than enough together.”


Vol. 11, No. 3, 2021 west hartford magazine 83

To honor our loved ones With respect to tradition and heritage

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Our family has served the Jewish community for over 70 years – with compassion, understanding and dignity. Pre-arrangements and pre-paid funeral trusts will ensure complete fulfillment of your wishes. Samuel Green, licensed in Connecticut and Florida Jonathan Green, licensed in Connecticut and New York


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LION’S SHARE 860.836.6531 • lionssharefamilyservices.com

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Two generations of two separate community funeral service providers under one roof. Working with you to honor the living and the dead. Generations of combined experience and understanding of traditional and changing funeral choices for all faiths. Bridging the gap between religious and non-traditional choices such as cremation. Pre-paid funeral trusts • Chapel, graveside and military funerals Non-traditional choices handled in collaboration Teaching & performing Tahara according to traditional Jewish burial rituals 24-hour response • We accept Funeral Trusts from other Funeral Homes


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Duncaster is where I learn. Duncaster is where I play. Duncaster is where I create.

Duncaster is where

I live.

At Duncaster, our residents live life their way, every day. With a 35-year history as a not-for-profit serving the needs of our residents, Duncaster has a welldeserved reputation as the most valued and lauded senior living address in the greater Hartford region. Enjoy all the comforts of home, plus resort-style dining and amenities, and peace of mind that comes from living in a Life Plan community with a full continuum of services right on campus.

Call (860) 380-5006 or visit Duncaster.org to schedule your FREE consultation.

40 Loeffler Road, Bloomfield, CT 06002 • (860) 726-2000 • Duncaster.org

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