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Israel Bonds to Honor Western Mass. Congregational Leaders

Development Corporation for Israel/Israel Bonds will honor Western Mass. congregational leaders at its annual dinner on Thursday, May 16, at 6 p.m., at Chez Josef, 176 Shoemaker Lane. Honorary co-chairs are Joan and Michael Rosner. The cost of the event is $65 per person.  

Ambassador Ido Aharoni, global distinguished professor at New York University’s School of International Relations, will be this year’s guest speaker. Aharoni is a 25-year veteran of Israel’s Foreign Service, a public diplomacy specialist, founder of the Brand Israel program, and a well-known nation branding practitioner. He served as Israel’s longest serving consul-general in New York and the tri-state area for six years and oversaw the operations of Israel’s largest diplomatic mission worldwide. His topic for the evening will be “Israel’s Incubator Incentive Program: Its Effect on Business and Tech Start-ups.”

The honorees from seven synagogues will receive the Star of David award. The award is given to those who, in the spirit of King David, have demonstrated a devotion to the land and people of Israel through exceptional leadership and dedication. This year’s honorees are: Tikvah Crolius, Chabad-Lubavitch of Northampton; Beth Goldstein and Richard Conner, Congregation B’nai Israel; Arie Shteyntsayg and Inna Stein, Congregation B’nai Torah; Herschel Levine, Congregation Rodphey Sholom; Lois Bloom Levin and Stephen Levin, Congregation Sons of Zion; Richard Tice Alpert, Sinai Temple; and Dave Ratner, Temple Beth El. To register call Theresa Doran-Lunny at (857) 243-6331.


The Writings of Der Nister: A weekend program at the Yiddish Book Center 

AMHERST – The Yiddish Book Center’s spring weekend program “Between Fantasy and Reality: The Writings of Der Nister,” from May 3-5, will explore this mysterious Yiddish author’s work and his turbulent career in the Soviet Union.

Der Nister (“The Recluse,” the literary pseudonym adopted by Pinkhes Kahanovich, 1884-1950) was the most enigmatic figure in modern Yiddish literature. Over the course of a dynamic career, full of unexpected twists and turns, he went from writing mystical, Symbolist stories to historical realism, and transformed himself from an obscure, mysterious artist into a communal activist. Living under the pressure of Stalin’s regime, he came to believe that the writer’s mission was to become witness to the people. Der Nister’s Symbolist legacy has long been valued by scholars of Yiddish literature, but it is only recently that the richness and complexity of his Soviet writings have become more widely discovered and appreciated.

During the 1920s, Der Nister lived in Russia, Germany, and Ukraine. It was in these different environments that he created a particular style of Symbolist tales which fused elements of Jewish folklore, Kabbalah, and European mystery fiction. His writings were celebrated for their exquisite style and allegorical richness.

The three-day program will be led by Professor Mikhail Krutikov of the University of Michigan. Krutikov is Professor and Chair of the Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures, and Preston R. Tisch Professor of Judaic Studies at the Frankel Center for Judaic Studies at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. He is the author of numerous books including the forthcoming Der Nister’s Soviet Years: Yiddish Writer as Witness to the People. He also co-edited nine collections on Yiddish literature and culture and has been a cultural columnist for the Yiddish Forward since 1999.

The program includes four lectures, discussion, a film screening, meals, and more. Space is limited—to learn more and to register, visit


“Jewish Broadway” at Temple Emanuel Sinai 

WORCESTER – Temple Emanuel Sinai presents “Jewish Broadway” on Sunday, May 5 at 4 p.m. Many Broadway musicals are Jewish creations. “Jewish Broadway” will feature an afternoon of Broadway favorites sung by Cabaret professionals Monica Hatch, Marc DeMille, Ian Simpson, Leah Gibson and Joshua Rivera-Watson. Temple Emanuel Sinai’s own singers, include Cantor Rachel Reef-Simpson, Evan and Cindy Graver and a children’s ensemble. The focus will be on the Jewish composers and lyricists of Tin Pan Alley and continuing all the way to contemporary musicals. There will also be an educational component with some narration about the music and the people who wrote it. Temple Emanuel Sinai is located at 661 Salisbury Street in Worcester. Tickets can be purchase online on the temple’s website at or by calling the temple office at (508) 755-1257. 

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Jewish Family Service of Western Mass. receives $250,000 grant to expand citizenship services

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