WEST HARTFORD, CONN. (June 26, 2018) – Nearly 200 community members and friends of the Jewish Federation of Greater Hartford gathered to celebrate the past year’s accomplishments, recognize outstanding community service and elect new leaders at the organization’s 73rd Annual Meeting, held Wednesday evening, June 13, at Beth El Temple.
Awards and Honorees
A number of individuals and organizations received awards for their contributions to Jewish life in Greater Hartford.
Deputy Police Chief Brian Foley, Retired, formerly of the Hartford Police Department, received the President’s Award for his work to safeguard Federation's 29 historic Jewish cemeteries located in Hartford. Deputy Chief Foley served the Hartford Police Department for more than 23 years before retiring from law enforcement in April; he recently joined FOX 61 as Chief Investigator.
Volunteer David Goldfarb and Jewish communal professional Denis Geary received the Henry M. Zachs Spirit of Judaism Award for their outstanding embodiment of Jewish values. Goldfarb is a longtime member of Young Israel of West Hartford, where he serves as prayer leader and Gabbai (a person who assists with the reading of the Torah). He also works as a patient advocate at Saint Francis Hospital and other medical centers and volunteers with the Bess and Paul Sigel Hebrew Academy in Bloomfield. Geary has been executive director of the Jewish Association for Community Living (JCL), which provides supportive housing and programs for people with intellectual disabilities, since 1993. He is beloved by many in the Jewish community for his personal attention to providing top-notch services and opportunities to JCL clients and for his work to strengthen relationships between clients and the larger community.
The Commission on Jewish Education and Leadership (CJEL) presented awards to a number of local Jewish educators for creative programming and teaching excellence. CJEL’s Innovative Program and Innovative Family Program Awards went to Anita Levy and Rabbi Ilana Garber of Beth El Temple and to Barbara Fink and the religious school faculty of The Emanuel Synagogue, both in West Hartford. Several teens also received Uniquely Effective Madrichim Awards for their work assisting in a religious school classroom. They include Jared Beatman of The Emanuel Synagogue in West Hartford; Brynnen Bernstein of Congregation Beth Israel in West Hartford; Mykayla Fluster of Farmington Valley Jewish Congregation – Emek Shalom in Simsbury; Benjamin Lawrence of Congregation Kol Haverim in Glastonbury; Jordan Oberstein of Beth El Temple in West Hartford; and Lyla White of Temple Sinai in Newington.
New Trustees and Board Members
The program also recognized outgoing volunteer leaders and welcomed new Life Trustees Stuart Bernstein, Ira Feigenbaum, Evan Levy and Leigh Newman; new Community Trustees Benjamin Adler, David Benedict, Michael Cantor, Kathy Fishman, Jonathan Hoffman, Stephen Rabb, Debra Shmerling, James Shmerling and Ronit Shoham; new Board members Benjamin Adler, Kathy Fishman, Jonathan Hoffman and Stephen Rabb; and incoming Officers Carolyn Gitlin (First Vice Chair), Anne Martha Pitegoff (Treasurer) and Cyral Sheldon (Assistant Secretary).
Jewish Federation of Greater Hartford has been supporting and transforming the Jewish community since 1945. From educating children to caring for seniors, Federation touches every aspect of Jewish life here, in Israel and in 70 communities around the world.
Photo caption: Denis Geary, Executive Director of Jewish Association for Community Living, received the Henry M. Zachs Spirit of Judaism Award for his professional service to Greater Hartford residents with intellectual disabilities and their families. Volunteer David Goldfarb of Young Israel of West Hartford also received the Spirit of Judaism Award.