A look at some of the stories the Jewish Ledger covered in 2014…
On Feb. 12, the Springfield Jewish community held Community Leadership Day, an event that brought together members of the community to see how “Leader in Me” program has transformed its three Jewish day schools, Heritage Academy, Lubavitcher Yeshiva Academy and the Springfield Jewish Community Center Early Learning Center. Seen here are two students with Diane Troderman, who brought the Leader in Me program to Springfield.
The middle school students of Heritage Academy toured Israel as part of day school’s middle school “Israel Experience” from Feb. 18 – March 3, visiting sites from the Kotel in Jerusalem to Masada and the Dead Sea to the Golan and the mystical city of Tzfat.
Congregation Sons of Zion celebrated its 110th anniversary on March 16 with a Purim celebration, a performance by Mak’hela, the Jewish Chorus of Western Massachusetts, a kosher lunch and testimonials to Sons of Zion from Mayor Alex Morse, State Senator Donald Humason, State Rep. Aaron Vega, and State Rep. John Scibak.
The Western New England Region of Hadassah presented its 2014 Annual Education Day on Sunday, April 6 at the Pleasant Valley Country Club in Sutton, Mass. The event, called “Sustaining the Earth, Sustaining Ourselves” brought members and associates from all over New England together to experience a day of engagement, learning and empowerment.
The 7th annual Yom Hashoah Essay and Art Awards were presented at Worcester’s Yom Hashoah commemoration on Sunday, April 27 at Beth Tikvah Synagogue in Westborough. The Yom HaShoah Essay Committee awards young people in grades 6 through 12 for essay, poetry and art work related to the Holocaust. The event was co-sponsored by Beth Tikvah Synagogue, Congregation Beth Israel, Congregation B’nai Shalom, Jewish Federation of Central Massachusetts, the Strassler Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies, and Temple Emanuel Sinai.
On May 1, Ann Pava, national Women’s Philanthropy Chair of Jewish Federations of North America, emceed “13 Extraordinary Women,” an event of the Women’s Philanthropy Steering Committee of the Jewish Federation of Western Massachusetts that asked 13 women in the community to share their secrets to success in just three minutes, or less.
First Lady Michelle Obama (right) presented the National Medal for Museum and Library Service to the Yiddish Book Center (YBC) in a White House ceremony on May 8. Shown here accepting the award (l-r) are Peter Manseau, former intern of the Steiner Summer Yiddish Program and designated “community member” and Yiddish Book Center Founder and President Aaron Lansky.
Abundance Farm, a collaboration between Congregation B’nai Israel, the Lander-Grinspoon Academy, and the Northampton Survival Center was officially launched at a work party on Sunday, May 18 on Lag B’Omer, a festive agrarian holiday.
Steve Schuster, CEO of Rainier Communications, a Westborough-based public relations firm specializing in the hi-tech industry, was a member of the Massachusetts delegation to The U.S.-Israel Connected Summit that took place in Tel Aviv and Herzliya at the end of May. The largest economic mission to Israel in the United State’s historywas also attended by Massachusetts Governor. Deval Patrick who delivered the keynote address.
On Sunday, June 1 in Springfield, members of the teen board of Rachel’s Table held the Irene E. and George A. David Outrun Hunger 2014, their second bi-enniel 5K walk-run, at the Springfield JCC. More than 200 walkers and runners participated in the event, which raided $29,000.
Representatives of both the Jewish Federation of Central and Western Mass. attended the Campaign Chairs & Directors (CCD) Mission to Greece and Israel from July 7-13, arriving in Israel just as ceaseless rocket attacks from Gaza began and expanded bombing raids from the Israeli Air Force intensified. Shown here are Howard Borer, executive director of the Jewish Federaiton of Central Mass. and Toby Richmond, campaign chair of the Central Mass. Federation, holding up “Stop the Sirens” signs during their time in Israel.
The Worcester Jewish Community held a ribbon cutting ceremony for it’s new gymnasium this summer. Shown here, from left to right are, Howard Stempler, Worcester JCC President; Nancy Berley, Worcester JCC Past President; Emily Holdstein, Worcester JCC Executive Director; and Bob Berman, Worcester JCC Health and PE Director.
Countering anti-Israel sentiment during the conflict in Israel and Gaza this summer, both the Jewish communities in both Western and Central Massachusetts held pro-Israel rallies in recent weeks. The Jewish Federation of Western Massachusetts hosted an Israel Solidarity rally on Thursday, July 24 at the Springfield JCC, partnering with local synagogues and agencies. Deputy Consul General Ronit Nudelman-Perl spoke at the rally, providing an update on developments in Israel and Operation Protective Edge. Nudelman-Perl also spoke at a pro-Israel rally held in Worcester on July 29.
The Springfield JCC sent more than 30 local Jewish teens to participate in The JCC Maccabi Games held in Cherry Hill, N.J. The JCC Maccabi Games 16 and Under soccer team from the Springfield JCC won the silver medal. They are shown here, (top row) – Coach Tony Sendra, Joe Wint, Andrew Schreibstein, Max Vinick, Spencer Vinick, and Max Robbins. (Bottom row) – Matan Dragon, Josh Zak, Dan Draymore, Noah Skole, and Sam Freedman.
In August, Western and Central Massachusetts welcomed a new group of Israeli Young Emissaries who arrived to help strengthening the living bridge between Israel and the communities to which they have been assigned. Now in its 16th year, the Young Emissary program is sponsored by the Southern New England Consortium (SNEC), made up of 11 Jewish Federations in Massachusetts and Connecticut. The Young Emissary program is a project of the Jewish Agency for Israel’s Partnership 2000.
Photo: ye new year
UMass Hillel’s 8th Annual Ride to Provide in Amherst raised nearly $60,000 to benefit the community service programs and environmentally-friendly projects of UMass Hillel. More than 200 bikers, runners and walkers from 14 teams chose from a 5K or 9-, 18-, or 36-mile bike routes through the fall foliage of Amherst and surrounding towns. Shown here are riders from Worcester including, from left to right, Beth Whitman, Mark Borenstein, Lydia Borenstein, Sam Borenstein, and Jeffrey Borenstein.
On Nov 2-3, Jcamp180®, a program of the Harold Grinspoon Foundation (HGF), hosted more than 425 leaders from non-profit Jewish camps and other organizations during its 10th anniversary Conference to celebrate their collective effort of raising $90 million through HGF’s matching challenge grant campaign to support Jewish children’s camps across the country. Photo by Shana Sureck.
On Nov. 8, the Central Massachusetts Jewish community held “Torahthon 2014: The Search for Meaning and Purpose” at Congregation Beth Israel. In addition to 30 classes, lectures and text study sessions, the event included keynote speaker Dr. Ron Wolfson, author of “Relational Judaism.”