Top stories around Western Mass for 2010.
• A large crowd attended a Nava Tehila concert at Lander-Grinspoon Academy in Northampton in January to benefit Glen Siegel and Laura Settle and their family, who lost their home during the string of fires set in the town’s Ward 3 neighborhood in late December. The arsonist was subsequently arrested.
• Boston Red Sox infielder Kevin Youkilis was voted the Jewish Player of the Decade in online balloting conducted by Jewish Major Leaguers, an organization which produces an annual set of trading cards to honor the Jewish contribution to America’s National Pastime.
• Jeff Rembrandt became assistant executive director of the Springfield Jewish Community Center on Jan. 4.
• Lubavitcher Yeshiva Academy (LYA) helped Rabbi David Edelman celebrate his 85th birthday with a mitzvah album, a song, and the LYA logo made up of 85 cupcakes.
• The National Yiddish Book Center received a bequest of $3 million from the late Mickey Ross of Los Angeles, Calif., a television writer and producer best known for “All in the Family,” “The Jeffersons” and “Three’s Company.” The biggest gift in the Center’s history, the bequest was invested in the Center’s endowment. Ross also left the Center a permanent, 25% share of his rights to “All in the Family” and other shows.
• Jewish Geriatric Services received the Leadership in Safety Award from CAN/HealthPro, an international insurance Company.
• Nadav Tamir, Consul General of Israel to New England, gave a talk on Feb. 10 at the Hatikvah Holocaust Education Center on “The Current Challenges and Opportunities in Israel and the Middle East.”
• NORTHAMPTON – Around 80 members of the Jewish community attended an evening of fun and music at the Jewish Federation of Western Massachusetts Young Adult Division Inaugural Kick-Off event last month in Northampton.
• “Israeli Umph,” a Jewish music radio program returned to the airwaves on WMUA-FM on the University of Massachusetts campus.
• Rabbi Amy Wallk Katz traveled to Israel to bring a Torah formerly of Congregation B’nai Jacob to Yedid Nefesh, a Masorti congregation in Hod HaSharon.
• Israeli choreographer Idan Cohen was artist-in-residence at the Five Colleges in Western Massachusetts, performing his contemporary version of “Swan Lake” and working with students.
• Temple Beth El began holding a series of “community conversations” to assess the congregation’s “strengths, challenges, goals and opportunities.”
• Ground was broken on the new Hebrew High School of New England (HHNE) in West Hartford, Conn. More than 200 people attended a ceremonial groundbreaking at the Mandell Jewish Community Center due to inclement weather. The new 30,000-square-foot facility is set to open in January.
• The Western Massachusetts Jewish community held its annual Yom Hashoah commemoration at Sinai Temple.
• Meredith Dragon, executive director of the Jewish Federation of Western Massachusetts led a 10-day mission to Israel. Jim and Barbara Sadowsky chaired the mission.
• The Western Massachusetts Jewish community celebrated Yom Ha’atzmaut (Israel’s Birthday) with a series of programs and celebrations.
• Temple Israel in Greenfield celebrated its 100th year as a congregation with an art exhibit and gala party.
• “Dr. Seuss Goes to War,” a traveling exhibit featuring Theodor Geisel’s anti-Nazi artwork during World War II was featured at the Hatikvah Holocaust Education Center.
• Temple Beth El held its 5th Annual Cantors Concert featuring Stephanie and Jonathan Shames.
• Cellist Matt Haimovitz performed at the National Yiddish Book Center, in a concert underwritten by the Harold Grinspoon Foundation.
• The Springfield Jewish Community Center building was renamed the Neal Webber Building at a ceremony on June 13.
• Heritage Academy in Longmeadow and Lander-Grinspoon Academy in Northampton joined together to combine resources and collaborate.
• Temple Beth El in Springfield did not renew the contract of Hazzan Steven Berke when it was up on June 30 of this year due to budget challenges.
• The “New Horizons” annual adult education seminar celebrated 20 years and honored longtime volunteer Sylvia Rosen.
• Heritage Academy in Longmeadow celebrated its 60th year with a comedy night in Springfield starring Ari Teman, Community Hero of the Year.
• Local Jewish educators were honored at the Harold Grinspoon Foundation’s annual Educators Banquet June 3.
• The three temples in Springfield – B’nai Torah, Temple Beth El and Sinai – as well as the Jewish Federation and Harold Grinspoon Foundation joined together for “Try a Synagogue” a project designed to draw in unaffiliated Jews.
• Rabbi Max Davis joined Congregation B’nai Torah in Longmeadow, succeeding Rabbi Fred Hyman.
• PJ Library was locally re-launched under the auspices of the Jewish Federation of Western Massachusetts. Rachel Berezin was named coordinator of the program.
• Leonard Nimoy signed copies of his new book “Secret Selves” at R. Michelson Galleries, where his exhibit “Leonard Nimoy: A Retrospective” was on display.
• Lander-Grinspoon Academy launched “Discovery Camps” its first foray into summer camping in July.
• Rabbi Benjamin Weiner became the spiritual leader of the Jewish Community of Amherst on Aug. 1, succeeding Rabbi David Dunn Bauer.
• The Fourth Annual Ride to Provide was held Sept. 26, raising more than $37,000 for alternative spring break/community service programs of the University of Massachusetts Amherst Hillel.
• The Jewish Federation of Western Massachusetts and Jewish Endowment Foundation held their annual meeting in Sept. 21.
• The Hatikvah Holocaust Education Center closed its doors at the Springfield Jewish Community Center on Sept. 30.
• Bea Boryszewski, the beloved executive assistant at the Jewish Federation of Western Massachusetts for the past 37 years, retired Sept. 30.
• Mak’hela, The Jewish Chorus of Western Massachusetts,, traveled to Israel participate in the Zimriyah, the World Assembly of Choirs in Jerusalem.
• The Springfield JCC formally announced that Springfield will host the 2011 Maccabi Games in August of 2011. The announcement was made at the Basketball Hall of Fame and featured Israeli basketball legend Tal Brody.
• Lou Cove, founder of REBOOT, was the guest speaker at the annual meeting of Jewish Family Service of Western Massachusetts.
• When Big Y purchased the former Waldbaum’s Foodmart in West Hartford, Conn., they announced that they would continue to carry kosher items under the hashgacha of Rabbi Yitzchok Adler.
• Ruth Webber of Longmeadow received the 2010 Kipnis-Wilson/Friedland Award from the National Women’s Philanthropy Board of the Jewish Federations of North America at the International Lion of Judah Conference in New Orleans.
• High school juniors and seniors participated in “Israel on Campus” a program designed to help college students navigate the anti-Israel bias on some campuses.
• Responding to the forest fire is raging in the north of Israel – the worst in the country’s history – the Jewish Federation of Western Massachusetts opened an emergency mailbox for donations to a special emergency fund for the fire’s victims.
• The East Coast Hazon Food Conference was held at the Isabella Freedman Jewish Retreat Center in Falls Village, Conn.
• Jewish Family Service of Western Massachusetts was selected to receive a $100,000 grant as part of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services’ (USCIS) Citizenship and Integration Grant Program.