Sold-out Crowd Celebrates "Israel@75” at Hineni 2023

As Israeli singer-songwriter David Broza once sang, “This life is full of little joys / Things happen sometimes that are nice.” On a warm evening this past May, one such “little joy” took place at the Mandell JCC, where a sold-out crowd gathered to celebrate Jewish Federation of Greater Hartford’s work in the community, the community itself, and Israel in its 75th year.

Clearly in a celebrating mood, the audience of nearly 300 took to the aisles as Broza worked his way through decades of hits, including his 1977 classic, “Yihye Tov” (translated in English as “It Will Be Good”). Often referred to as Israel’s answer to Leonard Cohen, Broza’s songs are now a mainstay of Jewish summer camps and youth groups around the globe. As a testament to his staying power, teenagers and senior citizens alike joined their voices in singalongs that filled the Herbert & Evelyn Gilman Theater.

More than just an evening of music and nostalgia, this year’s Hineni celebration also honored Israel’s 75th year of independence. Federation CEO David Waren noted, “For all of Israel’s complexities and challenges, this event — and others across our region over the last several months — demonstrate our community’s enduring solidarity with the Jewish state. Since Israel’s founding, Federation has provided critical support to Israelis most in need. We are proud to stand with the people of Israel at this historic juncture.”

The evening also marked the debut of a new video series, which details JFGH’s indispensable work locally and around the world. One such video showcased the organization’s support of Greater Hartford’s most critical Jewish organizations, including New England Jewish Academy, Solomon Schechter Day School of Greater Hartford, Mandell JCC, and Jewish Family Services. Another video told the heartbreaking story of Ukrainian Jews fleeing from the Russian invasion — and the role Federation played in helping families find security and basic needs once they crossed the border to Poland. Click here to watch each of the videos in this series.

Of course, Federation is only as strong as the community it serves, and this year’s Hineni celebration also honored the generosity and support of so many throughout Greater Hartford. Federation Board Chair Dana Keller added, “Federation impacts every facet of Jewish life in Greater Hartford and around the world through hundreds of volunteers and thousands of donors. We are so grateful for the breadth of our community’s participation and support.” To make your annual gift in support of Federation’s vital work, please click here.

Above: David Broza & Trio Havana live at the Mandell JCC