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PJ Library opening event: Tuesday, October 10 at Beth El, 5:30 pm

Join the PJ Library Family Day on Tuesday, October 10, at 5:30pm at Congregation Beth El for the Sukkot kick-off to the school year. Crafts, activities, and stories!

Contact PJ Coordinator Jen Zettler at for inquiries and to reserve a spot.

PJ Library sends free Jewish children's books to families across the world and eastern CT every month. We know that something magical happens when parents sit down together to read with their children. PJ Library shares Jewish stories that can help your family talk together about values and traditions that are important to you.

A program of the Harold Grinspoon Foundation, PJ Library is mad possible through partnerships with philanthropists and local Jewish organizations such as the JFEC.

Families with children ages 6 months through 8 years old with Judaism as part of their lives are welcome to sign up, regardless of their Jewish background, knowledge or observance.

Contact PJ Coordinator Jen Zettler at to enroll your child.


Special to the Leader

The Jewish Federation of Eastern CT is thrilled to welcome Eastern Connecticut’s 2017-18 Young Emissaries, Sivan Gvili and Ziv Lavi to the community on Wednesday, August 30. This is the 17th year that we have hosted Young Emissaries. Following is a snapshot of Sivan and Ziv in their own words.

Hi! My name is Sivan Gvili. I am from a city in the south of Israel called Ashkelon. My mother’s name is Gila and my father’s name is Baruch and they are the best parents I could ask for. I also have two siblings – a 20 year old brother named Aviv and a 15 year old sister named Nitzan.

My majors in high school were Biology and Arabic. I chose to learn Arabic because I think it is very important for the Israeli people to know both of the formal languages in Israel (Hebrew and Arabic.) Also, I have always liked science because it helps me understand the way nature works.

One of the things I like to do is play Lacrosse. Lacrosse arrived in Israel only a few years ago and I have been playing it for three years on the Asheklon team. I also played on the 2015 u19 world cup and on the Maccabiah this last summer for Israel under 19 national team.

I also took part in the Israeli Scouts for seven years. I worked with 5th grade boys and the special needs groups.

Another thing that filled my free time during High School was Diller Teen Fellows. Diller is a Jewish international program for teenagers. It’s a one-year program in which the fellows meet Jewish communities all over the world and also get to meet Jewish youth from six continents. I was a fellow for a year and a junior counselor for a year.

I hope that in the upcoming year I will get to know as many people from the community as possible. I would like to share my perspective about Israel with the community and I hope to do the best work I can do. I am looking forward to starting the year in Eastern CT and I know it is going to be great!!

My name is Ziv Lavi and I live in Kefar-Vitkin, which is located half an hour from Tel Aviv, near the beach. My parents’ names are Shiri and Barak. I am the oldest daughter with three little brothers – Yahli (15 years old), Libi (11 years old) and Gili (8.5 years old). My father owns a catering company for many years and my mother is a Psycho-drama Therapist but currently helps my father in his catering business.

My majors in high school were Chemistry and Biology. I chose Biology because I believe it is the best way to discover and learn more interesting facts about myself and everything that surrounds me. Chemistry interests me even more because it helps me to understand in higher levels, more deeply, the world that I live in.

I volunteered at a boys boarding school that was a shelter for kids whose families couldn’t take care of them. Talking and singing together was part of their rehabilitation. Also, I volunteered with children with Special Needs. Every two weeks we sang and had fun together. At the same time, I volunteered monthly in Schneider Hospital by singing and playing with the children in the oncology department. I was a mentor to children and helped them in different areas of life.

From first grade until this year I took part in the “Moran Choir.” As part of the choir I traveled abroad several times. During my time in different countries with the choir we made connections with the local Jewish community. We traveled to China, South Korea, France (Paris), and Switzerland (Basel.) I also went to the children’s Olympic games in Canada where we were hosted by the Jewish community of Toronto for several days.

I have been playing the piano for many years. I love listening to and making music.

I used to do sports and was Israel’s champion for middle-distance runs. I love to read books, study and explore new things.

I am looking forward to meeting everyone in the community and becoming a part of Eastern CT very soon. 

JFEC heads to Israel for another Mission led by Jerry Fischer 

This year's missionaries prior to boarding at Logan Airport; next stop Israel! 

From l-r and front-back: Alice and Barry Sheriff; Safra and Izzy Katz; Gayle and Stan Solinsky; Lori and Sonny Katz (from MN, Lori is Gayle's cousin); Jerry Fischer, JFEC Executive Director and Mission Leader; Nadine and Mark Lipman) 

How to remember, how to atone, how to forgive

Holocaust survivor Henny Simon z"l visits the Memorial Museum that was once the Jewish Landscape and Gardening School in Ahem, just outside of Hannover, Germany. Her father, Ludwig Rosenbaum, painted those walls. During the war, the Nazis converted it for use by the Gestapo. The museum recalls the history of the building. (Courtesy of Jerome E. Fischer)

Published in THE DAY January 08. 2017 12:01AM 

by Jerome E. Fischer

Are there sins so grievous that atonement is unattainable? Are there wounds so deep that forgiveness is impossible.

Given the realities of the Holocaust, I would have answered “yes” to both questions. That changed after I recently accompanied 91-year-old Henny Simon to Hannover, Germany.

The occasion was the 75th anniversary of the roundup and expulsion of the Jews of Hannover to a ghetto in Riga. The Nazis would later take many of them into the forest, line them up, shoot them and bury them in the pit they fell into, dug for that purpose.

Ludwig and Jenny Rosenbaum were Henny’s parents. Ludwig had fought for Germany in World War I and received the Iron Cross, 2nd Class, for his meritorious service. After the war, he returned to Hannover, went to school and became a master painter, qualified to train apprentices.

In 1933, the Nazis came to power. In 1935, Ludwig and Jenny’s only daughter, Henny, an athlete and scholar, was excluded from public school. On March 12, 1940, after refusing for years to believe that Germany would turn on its Jewish citizens, Ludwig received a passport and visa for Shanghai, China. On April 8, 1940, he left by way of Italy.

On Dec. 4, 1941, Jenny Rosenbaum and Henny received passports and visas to join him in Shanghai. On Dec. 7, Japan attacked Pearl Harbor. German officials cancelled all exit visas, trapping the mother and daughter.

On Dec. 15, they were among the thousand and one Jews who the Nazis rounded up, took to the small train station of Fischerhof, and transported to the ghetto in Riga. Among those murdered in the forest outside of Riga was Henny’s mother. Henny, by wits, luck, and help from friends Ursala Tasse and Margie “Putti” Israel, survived the war.

She returned to a Hannover destroyed by Allied bombing. Learning her father had reached America, she decided, after first considering Palestine, to come to America with her husband and new son and reunite with her father.

Click HERE to finish reading Jerome Fischer's recount of Henny Simon's trip to Hannover, Germany.

Holocaust Survivor, Henny Simon, 91, to Speak of Ordeal in Germany

Holocaust survivor Henny Simon of Colchester talks at her home Thursday, Dec. 1, 2016, about her experiences during World War II being expelled by the Nazis from Hanover, Germany, and her hopes for her return trip to Hanover to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the expulsion. A photo album of Simon's that was saved by an aunt lies open with a photo of Simon as a teenager. (Tim Cook/The Day)

Taken from THE DAY; click here to read the rest of Henny Simon's story.
Tal and Guy, this year's Young Israeli emissaries, arrived on August 31 to Eastern CT. To read their updates, please click here