Tara's Closet: The Fabric of Our Community

Friends, in this week's Shabbat message Pia Rosenberg Toro, president of Jewish Family Services of Greater Hartford, has some exciting community news to share! Our Federation is proud to be a funder of JFS. Shabbat Shalom. - Howard

As fashion designer Kate Spade said, "Playing dress-up begins at age five and never truly ends." Having three daughters, we play a lot of dress-up with my girls wearing various costumes, pretending to be a princess in a fairy tale, a famous rock star or a superhero. This activity helps foster imagination and creativity, builds character and encourages exploration and identity.

In this week's Torah portion, Tetzaveh, G-d appoints Aaron and his sons as priests and describes the special clothing required for this important role. Moses is told, "Make holy clothing that will give honor and dignity to your brother Aaron." As High Priest, Aaron must be properly dressed in holy garments that add glory and splendor to his work.

The message of Tetzaveh is how clothing reinforces our attitude and sense of worthiness. This lesson directly connects with the goals of Jewish Family Services' Tara's Closet, which provides free clothing to individuals and families living in the Greater Hartford area during temporary or long-term times of need. In 2016, Barbara Roth founded Tara's Closet in memory of her daughter Tara Savin. Tara was a bright young woman who suffered from bipolar disorder. She loved fashion and was all about humanity. In 2010, we lost Tara to suicide. Similarly, Kate Spade struggled with bipolar disorder, depression and anxiety and she, too, took her life last June.

This week, we started construction on a new Tara's Closet space in the Community Services Building. Clients can now easily access clothing all year long. Hours for the closet will be the same as the Anja Rosenberg Kosher Food Pantry, meeting our clients' basic human needs. Stayed tuned for our spring/summer collection dates.

Your style and the clothes you choose reflect and affect your mood, health and overall confidence. When your children or grandchildren play dress-up, you are giving them the opportunity to embrace possibility, instilling a positive self-image and self-worth.

Shabbat Shalom.


Pia Rosenberg Toro
President, Jewish Family Services

Tara's Closet has a dual mission: to provide clothing in a confidential and dignified manner while working to stop the stigma of mental illness with education and conversation. Tara's Closet will present its Third Annual Mental Health Awareness Event: Happiness Never Goes Out of Style with Elizabeth Vargas, award-winning ABC news anchor and correspondent, and Laurie Santos, professor of psychology and cognitive science at Yale University, on Thursday, May 16. Tickets will go on sale March 15.

Photo caption: A new space for Jewish Family Services' Tara's Closet is under construction in the Community Services Building.