The JFEC Solidarity Mission to Israel departed on June 28 and returned on July 14. Every one of the five participants (Nancy Butler, Renee Kohanski, David Kohanski, Marcia Reinhard and Jerry Fischer) in addition to the two community members who joined us for the flights but visited with families (Fay Clymer and Marcia Wolman) returned inspired and transformed. Click HERE to read in detail what was experienced!
June 26-27, 2015, was a very special weekend for Temple Emanu-El and the entire community as hundreds of people gathered for two incredible celebrations of Rabbi Aaron Rosenberg's retirement. After 35 years, and as the longest serving reform rabbi in Connecticut, Rabbi Rosenberg is stepping down to pursue his dream of more time with family, more opportunities for traveling, and spending more time perfecting his guitar and piano, along with his golf game and numerous other hobbies and special interests.
On Friday, June 26, the congregation of Temple Emanu-El said its goodbye with an emotional and heartfelt service, featuring Cantorial Soloist Sherry Barnes and the temple's choir and band. At the service, Rabbi Rosenberg was presented with a guitar and the congregation was presented with a portrait of Aaron taken by Brian Alpert. Afterwards, nearly 250 people joined the Rosenberg family for dinner, coordinated by Barbara Senges-Murphy. At the dinner, several speakers eloquently spoke about Rabbi Rosenberg's many warm and Hamish qualities, including retired Reverend Ken Carpenter, Rabbi Bruce Kahn, and his family, Karen, Ari, Elon and David Rosenberg. Finally, the microphone was opened to the congregation, many of whom wished to bid Rabbi Rosenberg adieu.
On Saturday night, June 27, it was the community's turn to bid farewell at a gala dinner hosted by Connecticut College and chaired by Mary Seidner and Barbara Wolfe. More than 250 people attend and were treated to a number of entertaining surprises, including a song parody of Billy Joel's "We Didn't Start the Fire" called "Rabbi Didn't Get Fired," written by Chris Rock that captured the temple's 50-year history. Jonathan Rowe hosted a "Family Feud" between the Rosenbergs and the "Putzes." Scott Zettler performed a parody of "If I was Retired" to the tune of "If I were a Rich man." The Rosenberg boys parodied Neil Young's "Old Man" with an emotional tribute to their Dad. Finally, Sherry organized a large contingent of people who helped with the year-long celebration and found many "Ways to Say Good-bye." Earlier in the evening, featured speakers included Jerry Fischer of JFEC; Tony Sheridan of the Chamber of Commerce of Eastern Connecticut; Waterford First Selectman Dan Steward; and Reverend Claudia Highbaugh of Connecticut College. Rabbi Rosenberg also received special recognition form the Union of Reform Judaism and the Connecticut General Assembly. Finally, Karen and the Rosenberg boys said their last official good-byes, and paid special tribute to the community for warmly welcoming and embracing their family all of these years.
Lastly, Temple Emanu-El's Tree of Life was dedicated to Rabbi Rosenberg by adding a dove in recognition of his 35 years of dedicated service to the congregation.
Clergy and participants came from Norwich, New London, and Groton, CT. Speakers included Rabbi Rachel Safman, Monghi Daoudi, and New London Mayor Finizio. Rev. Cornish was particularly moving: his determination to overcome his disability has inspired us all for many years, as have his preaching and playing of the saxophone.
The event was quickly organized by Rev. Wade Hyslop of Trinity Missionary Baptist Church. On Sunday, Rabbi Aaron Rosenberg and other clergy participated in a service at our local AME Church.
It was good to see the diverse communities of our region represented. More must be done to address the challenges and the dangers of racism. I think there will be follow up to the activities that have taken place in the wake of the tragic attack in Charleston, and the JFEC and all our congregations will be part of those efforts.
Jerry Fischer, Executive Director, JFEC
Rev. Anthony C. Dinoto, top right, of the St. John's Episcopal Church in Niantic, hugs Rev. L. David Cornish, pastor of the Mount Moriah Fire Baptized Holiness Church in New London, as they participate in a vigil in the parking lot of the Trinity Missionary Baptist Church inNew London Monday, June 22, 2015. The vigil was to show support for the victims and their families of last week's massacre in Charlestown, South Carolina, at a Bible study at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church. (Tim Martin/The Day)
Published June 22. 2015 8:30PM
Updated June 23. 2015 10:33PM
New London — More than 100 people joined hands outside the Trinity Missionary Baptist Church as they sang “We Shall Overcome” on Monday evening to remember the nine victims of the recent massacre at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal church in Charleston, S.C. Click here to read the rest of the article about the vigil from The Day.
This week as we begin the Book of Shemot. The Jewish Federation will be kicking off a series of weekly Torah discussions led by Rabbi Safman of Congregation Beth El in New London. The classes, which will take place every Wednesday from 12:15 to 1:15 p.m. at JFEC’s office (28 Channing Street, New London), will focus on parshat ha’shavua (the weekly Torah portion), bringing both traditional and contemporary insights to bear on the text. Furthermore, since our Sages taught “Im ein Kemach, ein Torah” (“Without bread, there is no Torah”, Pirkei Avot 3:21) the sessions will be accompanied by an (optional) dairy lunch available at nominal cost ($5/person).
Come join us for a chance to feed both your stomach and your soul. All participants are welcome, whatever your prior text study experience or skills. RSVPs would be welcomed. Please email email@example.com to express your interest.