Jewish Federation of Eastern Connecticut Home


Presented by Jewish Federation of Eastern Connecticut 

In association with The Garde Arts Center, Mystic Luxury Cinemas, B.P. Learned Mission and Connecticut College Hillel

The 2017 International Film Festival will feature films from Great Britain, Holland, Germany, Israel and the U.S.A. Venues will include The Garde Arts Center, Connecticut College, and B.P. Learned Center all in New London and Mystic Arts Cinema. Introducing two additional venues this year: the United Theater in Westerly, RI and the Arts at the Capitol Theater in Willimantic, CT.

Plans are to open the Festival with ON THE MAP at Connecticut College followed by a grand opening at the Garde on Sunday, June 4, featuring DENIAL with a special introduction by Professor Deborah Lipstadt. The Festival will close on Sunday, June 18, at the Garde with WOMEN’S BALCONY, an Israeli film that has been a hit in both Israel and at film festivals around this country.

As in all years, the Film Festival Committee is extremely excited to present this year's line-up of films, documentaries and shorts. The International Film Festival searches high and low for the best new cinema that our committee feels will promote awareness, appreciation, pride and diversity - not only for our Jewish community but the community at large. We encourage everyone to see as many films as possible and bring a friend, neighbor or relative to enjoy the cinematic experience. Festival programs are designed to both educate and illuminate through evocative, independent fiction and documentary films that portray the Jewish experience from current to historic global perspectives. 

The International Film Festival begins its search over the summer for new, exciting, inspiring and yes, even provocative topics. We review and discuss the films at length for several months and only when we are confident with the line-up do we make our announcement that this year's film festival is ready! 

We encourage you to review our line-up at our JFEC International Film Festival dedicated web site; watch the trailers and read the reviews. Then, come out to the film openings during the month of May and see if you feel the critics got it right with the films!

To continue on its success from last year, the Film Festival will offer "Dinner and a Show." We have called on many of your favorite local restaurants near our venues and encourage you to check back to see which restaurants are participating this year. These restaurants will be offering incentives for movie-goers to dine prior to the movie. Please check out the Restaurants tab for more information and to download a coupon.

Please continue to check back often as updates will be made here. Please don't hesitate to call on us should you have any questions and we can't wait to see you in March at the movies!

Arlene Dressler & Fay Clymer, Film Festival Co-Chairs
Jerome E. Fischer, Director, Jewish Federation of Eastern Connecticut

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) 

SO maybe you want to try something - nu? Hamentashen Recipes

by Nadine Lipman

Guinness and Baileys Brownie Hamentashen (Makes 24 large hamentashen)



¼ cup butter

¼ cup dark brown sugar

¼ cup sugar

½ teaspoons baking powder

¼ teaspoon cinnamon

1/8-teaspoon salt

2/3 cups flour

¼ cup cocoa

¼ cup Guinness stout

1 egg


½ cup butter

1 ½ cups sugar

1 egg

1 egg yolk

½ teaspoon vanilla extract

4 cups flour

1-tablespoon baking powder

1-teaspoon salt

½ cup Baileys Irish Cream

Prepare the filling: Using a stand mixer cream together the butter and both sugars. In another bowl, mix together the baking powder, cinnamon, salt, flour and cocoa. Whisk the egg and at the last moment add the Guinness to the eggs (don’t let it sit too long or the alcohol will begin to cook the eggs!)

Add half of the dry ingredients to the butter and sugar mixture and blend, then add half of the wet ingredients. Repeat this process until all the ingredients are combined. Cover the filling with plastic wrap and chill in fridge while making dough (as long as overnight)

Prepare the dough: Using a stand mixer cream butter and sugar till light and fluffy. Whisk together the vanilla, egg and egg yolk and using the mixer add to the creamed sugar. In a large bowl combine the dry dough ingredients. With the mixer on a low setting alternate adding in half of the dry ingredients with half of the Baileys until combined. Wrap cookie dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate a few hours or as long as overnight.

Prepare the Hamentashen: Roll dough between 1/8 – 1/4 inch thick and cut into circles with a cookie cutter or glass that is at least 3 inches wide. Place a teaspoon of filling into the center of each circle. Do not overfill!  Fold Hamentashen into triangles. A small triangle of filling should still be visible in the center.  Place the Hamentashen on a lightly greased cookie sheet and bake at 350 degrees until they get a little blonde on the edges (Start checking them after 10 minutes).

Coconut Cheesecake Hamentashen  (makes 24 Hamentashen)



½ cup butter

¾ cup granulated sugar

1 egg

1 Tbsp. milk

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1 ½ cups all-purpose flour

¼ tsp. baking powder

¼ tsp. salt


8 oz. cream cheese, softened

¼ cup heavy cream or coconut milk

1 tsp. vanilla extract

¼ cup shredded coconut

3 Tbsp. sugar

Extra shredded coconut

Beat the butter and sugar together until smooth. Add egg, milk, and vanilla until mixed thoroughly. Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt. Add dry mixture to wet mixture until incorporated.  Note: if the dough is too soft, increase flour amount by ½ cupfuls until firm. Wrap dough in plastic wrap and chill for at least 1 hour or up to 24 hours.

To make the filling, combine cream cheese, vanilla, heavy cream or coconut milk, shredded coconut and sugar until smooth.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Dust surface with powdered sugar or flour to keep from sticking. Roll the dough to about ¼ inch thick. Using a round cookie cutter, cut out and place onto cookie sheet. To keep the dough from sticking to your cutter, dip in powdered sugar before each cut!  Fill each round with the coconut cream cheese filling, and using your favorite method, pinch corners together tightly. Add extra shredded coconut on top. Place in fridge for 10 minutes before baking.  Bake for 7-9 minutes.

NOTE: Want to take these totally over the top? Melt some dark chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl and drizzle on top. Allow chocolate to cool and harden completely before serving and eating.

 And if you want to make something reallllly different, how about SUSHI Hamentashen, as found at:  

Of course, I add my normal disclaimer, if you make any of the above recipes and they are good, you must remember to share them with moi....Chag Purim Sameach!!!!!

How to remember, how to atone, how to forgive

Holocaust survivor Henny Simon 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.

JFEC 2016-17 Annual Campaign - Please Donate Today! 

It's Always Something. That's Why There's Federation

Lady of Gaga, Ya'ara Moses, Guest Artist at Connecticut College

Ya'ara Moses, a teacher of the Israeli dance form Gaga, is a guest artist in the College's Dance Department this semester. Ya'ara Moses, a teacher of the Israeli dance form Gaga, is a guest artist in the College's Dance Department this semester.

When you ask Ya’ara Moses what the Israeli dance form Gaga is, she puts on her hardhat.

“I like to think of it as a toolbox,” said Moses. “It’s a set of tools that you offer to a dancer and they bring out what they find.”

Then she changes her mind with a laugh. “Gaga is actually everything; it can be so many things.”

Gaga is what you make of it and what you feel in the moment, explains Moses, a world-renowned Gaga instructor. She is a guest artist in the Dance Department at Connecticut College this semester, an opportunity made possible by the Schusterman Visiting Israeli Artists Program. The program, an initiative through the Washington D.C.-based Israel Institute, brings Israeli artists for residencies at top colleges and universities in the United States.

The dancer from Tel Aviv is now a leading teacher of Gaga, a dance form she learned with the Batsheva Dance Company under the tutelage of artistic director—and Gaga inventor—Ohad Naharin. At the College, she is teaching a Gaga class three times a week and also training students to perform a well-known dance by Naharin to the Hebrew song, “Echad Mi Yodea,” for the Dance Department’s concert, Dec. 9-10.

Like many dancers, Moses started out at a young age with ballet and modern forms of dance. By 18, she was introduced to Gaga and “fell in love,” she said, and began to train at Batsheva. She was drawn to Gaga because there were no mirrors, which she said “make the world two-dimensional.”

“With a mirror, you move like how you look and not how you feel,” Moses said. “Gaga really opens up your heart. It connects you to your true passion from the inside.”

More about feeling than precision, it’s considered “a movement language” rather than a dance; a way of expressing yourself. Unlike ballet where all of the dancers are working in sync, each dancer is performing the same move but in a different way. It can be as noticeable as the quickness of a move or as subtle as the expression on a face.

“You see people for who they are. You’re not seeing robots,” Moses said.

Teaching Gaga to dancers who are trained in classic and modern dance forms, Moses said, is challenging. She encourages her students to “be soft and let go;” to initiate movement through emotion. She wants to “reach into their guts”—figuratively, of course—to help them find what’s inside.

“I want them to know they don’t have to be correct,” she said. “It’s OK to make mistakes. It’s OK to laugh at yourself and look ugly and feel something different. Connect to your instincts and be the animal you really are.”

This type of pedagogical approach has impressed David Dorfman ’81, dance professor and chair of the Dance Department, a renowned performer and instructor himself. Dorfman was the one who invited Moses to come to Connecticut College and has already seen her magnetism draw in students.

“Her manner of being overall is one of gentle generosity with moments of ferocity that are absolutely exquisite, especially when teaching Gaga,” said Dorfman, who has joined Moses’ classes to learn the dance form. “Ya’ara is an unbelievable role model for our students. She absolutely loves what she does and spreads that love to everyone.”

Moses’ reconstruction of “Echad Mi Yodea” will be highlighting the College’s Dance Department Concert on Dec. 9-10 in Palmer Auditorium.

Delegates from Connecticut College Hillel with Jerry Fischer at 2016 General Assembly

Delegates from Connecticut College Hillel participate in the 2016 General Assembly with Jerry Fischer. To read more about the experience, please click here.

Tal and Guy, 2016-17 Young Israeli Emissaries 

Tal and Guy, this year's Young Israeli emissaries, arrived on August 31 to Eastern CT. To read their updates, please click here