By Laura Porter
WORCESTER – On Sunday, Feb. 26, the Temple Emanuel Sinai Brotherhood and the Irving Yarock Post #32 of the Jewish War Veterans will come together for bagels and lox at a joint breakfast program at the Worcester Historical Museum. The event has been rescheduled from December after a flood at the museum forced it to close for several weeks.
2016 marked the museum’s 140th anniversary. As part of its celebration, a special exhibit, “Worcester in 50 Objects,” tells the story of the city through the eyes of its disparate communities, both past and present.
Each of the objects, ranging from photographs and documents to menus and costumes, was chosen by a committee that sifted through the many items that followed a general call from the museum for contributions.
In total, the fifty objects capture the evolution of multi-ethnic Worcester from its industrial dominance in the nineteenth century to the “eds and meds” that are its current economic focus. Labels for each object tell the story of its particular significance in the donor’s own words.
The joint Jewish War Veterans and Brotherhood program will begin at 9:30 a.m. with a breakfast buffet, followed by a short talk by the museum’s executive director, William A. Wallace, as well as a private docent tour of the exhibit.
The Museum, which is usually closed on Sundays, has opened specifically for the two groups.
The event stemmed from the JWV’s involvement with the museum at previous programs, and Jack Reiff, Commander of Post #32 was eager to approach Bill Wallace about a program organized around the “50 Objects” exhibit.
“We are trying to promote Worcester as well as what’s going on in the area and our own activities,” he says.
They are also interested in maintaining relationships among organizations in the Greater Worcester Jewish community.
“All of our groups are getting smaller,” Reiff continues. “We’re calling up other groups to do combined events in the area.”
To that end, he approached the Brotherhoods at both Temple Emanuel Sinai and Congregation Beth Israel about visiting the historical museum. Most of the war veterans are members of one group or the other.
David Bunker, who is president of the TES Brotherhood, believes that the program will appeal to everyone.
“There are people from both the Brotherhood and from Jewish War Veterans who live in other communities other than Worcester, but everyone has a feeling that Worcester has been an important part of lives,” he says. “It’s going to be fascinating to see how 50 objects interpret the city.”
The breakfast will be a paid-up member breakfast for both the Brotherhood and the JWV. There will be no charge for paid up members of both organizations; non-paid up members and guests pay five dollars.
At press, about 50 people were expected to attend. Brotherhood has 87 paid-up members, both men and women, including 26 spouses. There are 120 veterans at the Irving Yarock post, with 30-40 active participants; a Women’s Auxiliary includes both female veterans as well as the wives of fallen veterans.
The post has regular events, aiming for active, stimulating programs geared to draw interest and attendance. Many of the veterans are older, and a particular focus has been on an annual program dedicated to World War II veterans. Locally based programs such as the upcoming breakfast make it possible for members of all ages and abilities to participate.
“If anyone knows of a vet – on active duty, retired, or if someone is connected to a vet in the family – we would love to have them contact us so they can become a member of the Jewish War Veterans,” says Jack Reiff.
There is limited seating for the breakfast on Feb. 26, so people are urged to RSVP as soon as possible. Brotherhood members should respond to David Bunker at firstname.lastname@example.org by Feb. 22. Members of the Jewish War Veterans can contact Jack Reiff at email@example.com. The Worcester Historical Museum does have a handicapped entrance in the back with an elevator, but advanced notice is required.