CHJ’s traditional summer break comes to a close with this fall 2019 issue of the Newsletter. I hope your summer was a good one. I am pleased to call to your attention just some of the exciting new programs currently planned and available to CHJ members during the 2019-2020 season. But before doing so I want to acknowledge those CHJ members who, despite the so-called summer “break”, continued to work tirelessly throughout those months to make the Havdalah service and many of the below listed programs possible. Thank you!
Menschlichkeit Award– Honoring Ellie and Dave Shafer with CHJ’s highest award for their 40-plus years of extraordinary leadership, service and inspiration to our community. Few if any, members of CHJ over the past four decades have not been positively affected by Ellie and/or Dave either directly or indirectly. A well deserved honor.
A Flood of Ideas: A Symposium on Noah, The Great Flood, and Climate Change– A major community-wide event featuring distinguished panels of scientists and clergy concerning our responsibility to serve as worthy stewards of our planet. Co-sponsored by CHJ and the Federation for Jewish Philanthropy of Upper Fairfield County and made possible through funding from the Saul Haffner Jewish Enrichment Fund. This event will be seen throughout North America via the Jewish Broadcast Service.
CHJ Oral Histories– CHJ volunteers will collect oral histories of all CHJ members who wish to tell their stories of their Jewish experience in Connecticut and particularly about CHJ and its history. To be conducted in conjunction with the Jewish Historical Society, we hope to create a fuller picture of the history of CHJ which will be archived by the JHS.
CHJ Events at the JCC of Stamford– Under the direction of CHJ program coordinator Rachel Dreyfus, CHJ will conduct several events at the JCC to enable JCC members to “sample” CHJ’s programs and people. This is a major membership acquisition initiative that we will be testing throughout the year. CHJ will again be a sponsor of the JCC’s annual Jewish Film Festival with the Connecticut debut of Leora on October 28. CHJ members are encouraged to attend, to enjoy the film and, to represent CHJ.
Holiday Festivals– This year Rachel Dreyfus will organize four holiday festival celebrations (Sukkot, Hanukah, Passover and Purim) with support from CHJ members, in addition to our other holiday celebrations. This will enable us to enjoy an extensive array of events for members to enjoy and prospective new members to sample.
Adult Ed Programming– The adult ed committee has already been hard at work in creating a very robust program calendar for the current year that will enrich, inspire and entertain.
Federation’s “Judaism: 2020” Program– The success of the Common Threads program (in which CHJ participated through the Haffner Fund-supported Yiddish Cabaret) continues with this year’s theme of “Judaism: 2020, Ancient Traditions Through a Contemporary Lens”. CHJ members have access to all events in this program, which are hosted by the various congregations. The Flood of Ideas: A Symposium on Noah, The Great Flood, and Climate Change described above is one of the kick-off events of the Judaism 2020 program.
As you can see from this small but enticing sampling of upcoming programs, there is much to look forward to. I hope you will make attending CHJ events an integral part of your plans for the coming year.
And, if you are not doing so already and especially if you are a newer member, please support CHJ’s cooperative model by volunteering to support or create a CHJ program. We need you. Volunteerism plays the lead role in creating our programs and establishing and strengthening social connections. The result is seen in our high-quality programming, low membership fees and a meaningful sense of community. The value of CHJ membership and its attraction to others to join is directly linked to our common and shared level of volunteerism.
Enjoy and participate in the CHJ season ahead. It promises to be a great one.