“Good. Great. Greater Hartford” welcomes all Jews, especially young professionals and families, to the Greater Hartford area through a host of concierge-style services. Program Director Max Beede provides new and soon-to-be residents with valuable information about local Jewish life, including connections to synagogues and Jewish organizations, networking opportunities with other Jewish families, and resources to make the process of relocating easeful and fulfilling. The “Good. Great. Greater Hartford” initiative is powered by joint funding from the Jewish Community Foundation and the Jewish Federation of Greater Hartford.
As the early days of the pandemic turned to weeks and months, Robyn and Roger Marquis began contemplating a major change for their family — leaving the city they loved for the space and comfort of suburban life. “At the time, New York City was the epicenter,” recalled Robyn. “And that made everyday tasks like sharing an elevator or doing laundry in a communal setting very stressful. Between those concerns and our daughter’s experience with online learning, it felt like the right time for a move.” Originally from the Greater Hartford area, Robyn and her husband made the decision to relocate to Glastonbury with their then 11-year-old daughter, Paige. The advantages seemed clear, but rebuilding their lives in a new community would be a daunting process.
Shortly after their move to Glastonbury, the Marquis family began their search for local synagogues and Jewish organizations that matched their needs and values. As part of her search, Robyn visited the Jewish Federation of Greater Hartford website, where she discovered the “Good. Great. Greater Hartford” program. She reached out to Max Beede, the program’s director, in hopes of getting recommendations for local congregations. According to Max, his first job was to listen. “My ultimate goal is to connect new residents with opportunities and organizations that are going to resonate with them Jewishly, and that starts with getting to know them,” he said. “Once I know what a family is looking for, I can help make connections that speak to their interests and lifestyle.”
The three soon met for coffee, where Roger and Robyn shared their family’s passion for social-action projects. “In the city, our family did volunteer work together, packing lunches for those experiencing food insecurity. It was a great way for us to meet people of all different ages,” said Roger. “We were looking for an opportunity like that here.” Max recommended an upcoming event for Dignity Grows, a Hartford-based organization focused on period poverty and hygiene inequity. Together, the family attended a Dignity Grows packing event, where they met others committed to volunteerism, including the organization’s founder, Jessica Zachs. “As we learned more about the organization, we were very impressed,” recalled Roger. “The experience reminded us of what the food program had offered us in New York.”
Shortly thereafter, Max invited Robyn and Roger to meet other Jewish families at a Hanukkah party hosted by him and his wife, Marisa. At the event, they met several couples with similar interests, as well as a woman who was herself a recent arrival to the Greater Hartford area. They compared notes on the joys and challenges of relocating and discussed meeting again soon. “Max is so good at connecting people,” said Robyn. “And he’s incredibly generous with his time.”
Today, the Marquis family continues to explore Jewish congregations in the area, looking for the perfect match for their family. But as they settle into Greater Hartford’s Jewish community and build a new life together, they are quick to recommend the “Good. Great. Greater Hartford” program for those contemplating a move. “Especially if you’re coming to the area without family or other connections, the program is a fantastic resource,” said Robyn.
If you or someone you know is considering a move to the Greater Hartford area, contact Max Beede at email@example.com or 860.386.5830. You may also click here to learn more about this initiative — and stay tuned for the launch of our dedicated “Good. Great. Greater Hartford” website coming soon!
Above: Roger and Robyn Marquis with their daughter, Paige