Vendors, organizations, and musicians gathered at the Riverfront Plaza Sunday afternoon to celebrate Earth Day. Continue reading 'Earth Day Celebration at Riverfront'»
Beginning around noon at Saint Anne-Immaculate Conception Church/Santa Ana-Inmaculada Concepcion, a procession through Frog Hollow reenacted the Stations of the Cross, primarily in Spanish, but also in French and English.
One block over the line in West Hartford, Congregation Beth Israel’s presence announces itself much like the Unitarian Society of Hartford and the Cathedral of Saint Joseph do. There’s no quietly blending in with the neighborhood; no way to pass without noticing.
Before the synagogue was here, it was in Hartford. The structure did not move, just the congregation. The original Congregation Beth Israel congregation worshiped at the former North Baptist Church, located at 942 Main Street. After twenty years in that spot, the community moved into a building constructed as a synagogue — Connecticut’s oldest one, actually — and remained there on 21 Charter Oak Avenue until 1936.
As Hartford’s Jewish community moved to the suburbs, the synagogues, one-by-one, followed.
Now, Congregation Beth Israel is the second notable establishment on Farmington Avenue (first, Tangiers) to greet folks as they venture into West Hartford.
Our two most recent visits fall into the category of “special events” rather than that of “routine service,” but no matter. Over the years we have been to CBI for regular services, special events, and going farther back, Music Together.
Many places of worship in this area seem to have embraced the obnoxious trend of bolting front doors, having everyone enter through a door closest to the parking lot. Thankfully, CBI breaks from this by admitting visitors through both the parking lot door and that which faces of main avenue. If the door is locked, ring the bell. “Security measures” seem drastic, but antisemitism is a thing. I’ve personally never had any trouble getting buzzed in.
Inside, there is a long hall with plenty of doors to choose from. Services have been held in the sanctuary, chapel, and a courtyard outside. For special events, it might not be immediately obvious where to go, since there’s likely lots of activity including children zooming around. Look for a sign or ask.
The restrooms are near the large coatroom.
Visiting a new place can create some anxieties for those who don’t want to stand out as the person doing everything wrong. So, here goes:
CBI asks people to dress respectfully, but I have seen every variation on an outfit show up, from suits to micro mini skirts with Uggs. The latter will get you talked about, but not thrown out. One step up from jeans is always a safe bet.
Nobody is forced to wear a yarmulke. For services, most men do wear them, but this is a Reform synagogue. In other words, there is a lot of tolerance about personal choices. A basket of kippot are near the entrance for anyone — male or female — who chooses to participate in this custom.
Men and women sit together, in case you were wondering.
So, back in February, on one of those cold days that came with a bonus side of drizzle, we headed to CBI for the annual Purim Schpiel. The serious message of Purim is to embrace one’s (Jewish) identity, but mostly, it’s a day for costumes, drinking, eating Hamantaschen, and in this case, watching a campy play.
Friends had been raving about the “new rabbi.” After some prodding I learned that for some this meant the Senior Rabbi, and for others, the Assistant Rabbi. Both are on the younger side. The Assistant Rabbi is a woman.
There have definitely been changes. Continue reading 'Hartford Pew Review: Congregation Beth Israel'»
- Dr. Mary Washington will be giving a lecture on Intersectionality and the Reconstruction of Identity and Social Action at the University of Hartford. This will take place at 1:30pm in Regents Commons, located within the Shaw Center of Hillyer. This is free and open to the public. Continue reading 'March 2013 Events'»
For those just tuning in, every month Real Hartford creates a calendar of events happening in the city. This is not intended to be all-inclusive– you’ll note the absence of “Ladies Nite” events. Continue reading 'February 2013 Events'»
This monthly calendar is meant to be an alternative to those automated ones you can find online that are loaded up with outdated information. You know, ones that claim events are happening at venues that closed six months ago. There is no attempt to be all-inclusive. Events that are free or inexpensive are favored, but exceptions will be made for performances, lectures, and other activities if they seem unique or high quality.
If events seem pandering (most things aimed at children) or too commercial, they will not be included.
Here are just a few things you might consider filling your calendar with this December:
- From 9-5, there is free admission to the museum galleries at the Connecticut Historical Society on Elizabeth Street. Visitors can make holiday poppers/crackers at various times. The free entrance does not include the Research Center.
- World AIDS Day will be marked by the Getting to Zero program in the Center for Contemporary Culture at the Hartford Public Library. This runs from 9:30a.m. until 1p.m.
- Today is the first half of the Hartford Prints! Holiday Printshop, a workshop during which participants will learn letterpress printing, make their own personalized holiday cards, and close out the class with a cocktail reception. This is one of those rare not-remotely-cheap ($250) events that makes it onto the calendar because the experience is unique. If all you are interested in is making cards, then this is expensive. If you want to come away with a skill you can use again and again, then the price tag may feel worthwhile to you. The session runs from 10am-5pm today, and resumes from 6pm-9pm on December 6th at 56 Arbor Street, Suite 220. For information about registration, contact Hartford Prints!
- At the Charter Oak Cultural Center, Bonita Weisman and guests will be performing improvisational dances as part of the free Havdalah service. The Havdalah service is a ritual that marks the end of Shabbat, but one need not be Jewish to participate in this event beginning at 7:30 p.m.
- Free jazz at the Hartford Public Library! For an hour, beginning at 3pm, music will be performing in the atrium.
- Annual Festival of Lessons and Carols: The Trinity College Chapel Singers, Trinity College Concert Choir, and Trinity College Guild of Carillonneurs will be giving two performances today, with Mayor Segarra giving a reading at the 4pm one. You are challenged to go and not be moved by the music, regardless of whichever religion (if any) you are affiliated with. The second performance begins at 7pm. It is suggested that guests arrive at the chapel early, as seating is limited. Continue reading 'December Events'»
A half dozen children sit silently while Keydong nuns chant. Continue reading 'Keydong Nuns at Trinity College'»
Books about urban development and growing community are often written in jargon, making the content inaccessible to the general public.
That choice in language says for whom the knowledge is intended. It says who is expected to do anything with it.
Better Together is different.
Emphasized in almost every chapter is the need for the people, for the residents, to be involved. Echoing this, it is written in plain language.
But it’s not an instruction manual. Showcased are places where community already exist, ways that empowerment of individuals has provoked social change, and where setbacks have occurred. A recurring theme is the empowerment of people who may be viewed and view themselves as powerless, such as youth, blue collar workers, and the very poor.
Published in 2003 during a time when many were struck with alienation following the militaristic response to 9/11, Better Together maintains its relevance. Continue reading 'Book Review: Better Together: Restoring the American community'»
To this day there are individuals who believe President Obama is a Muslim, and of them, those who believe this is a deficit. Every few years the American Psychiatric Association revisits the question of whether racism and other forms of extreme bias should be considered forms of mental illness, to the dismay of those who predict hate crimes being committed by those who will then be able to claim insanity in defense of their actions.
The origins of negative images surrounding Islam will be a topic for discussion this Wednesday at the Hartford Public Library. The panel discussion will include: Dr. M. Reza Mansoor, MD Founding Member of Muslim Coalition of CT; Kareem W. Shora, Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties, U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security; Rabia Chaudhry Esq, President, Safe Nation Collaborative; and Mongi Dhaouadi, Executive Director, Council of American Islamic Relations.
This discussion will begin at 6p.m. in the “Center for Contemporary Culture.” A free screening of Amreeka, a comedy, will immediately follow the discussion at 7:15 on May 23, 2012.