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About Chabad of Greater Hartford

 

Chabad of Hartford:     

Lubavitch Becomes Local

 

Thirty years ago Rabbi Joseph Gopin and his wife Miriam moved from Amherst, Massachusetts to Hartford, Connecticut. He set up shop in a small West Hartford apartment where all were welcome to come for learning, counseling or a true Shabbat or Yom Tov experience. While quarters were cramped, many took advantage of the Gopins’ hospitality in order to learn more about being a Jew.

 

Many of Hartford’s prominent citizens and Jewish leaders saw and appreciated what was transpiring and quickly became ardent supporters of Chabad’s new offshoot. With the patronage of these individuals and the regular attendance of community members, Rabbi Gopin had to quickly find a new base of operations. This was found at 798 Farmington Avenue.

 

With the new building, new programs were started. More and more people became involved in the local branch of the Chabad phenomenon. Rabbi Gopin quickly had to take on staff and associate rabbis to manage the increasing demand.

 

A few years later it was found that this house had become too small and a new building was constructed at 2352 Albany Avenue, where Chabad presently makes its home and from whence it serves the community.

 

However, Chabad of Hartford did not stop when it found a home.

Almost immediately thereafter it helped to establish another Chabad House in Litchfield County; later one was founded in New London, another in the Farmington Valley and a fourth, most recently, in Glastonbury. With these new centers the services that Chabad provides to the community have only continued to grow.

 

Chabad and the Hartford Community:

Twenty-Five Years of Success

 

The holidays never shine brighter in Hartford than when Chabad is involved. Sukkot and Simchat Torah at Chabad have become famous for the dancing that extends into all hours of the night and even into the early hours of the morning. The Community Passover Seder has become home to college students, people who cannot undertake a seder on their own and local people who like to community feeling that is provided only at Chabad. On Rosh HaShanah and Yom Kippur, Chabad is known for being the only synagogue in town that not only never charges for seating or issues tickets, but also provides home Shofar services to those in the hospital or who cannot go to synagogue. And on Purim countless businessmen, college students, and physically challenged people who could not make it to synagogue are treated to a free reading of the Megillah (the book of Esther which is customarily read on this holiday) in their places of work or residence.

 

In addition to this unique approach to the holidays, Chabad of

Hartford provides the more universal services for which Chabad had become known. Shortly after Chabad’s arrival here, adult and youth education programs sprang into place. People now take advantage of these programs every day of the week and all year long.

 

People who are facing challenges in life frequently turn to one of the rabbis at one of the Chabad centers. Sometimes the interaction takes the form of counseling, other times it takes the form of a troubled person turning to a true friend who is always willing to listen and help. Many of the professional social-work organizations find this personal approach appealing and send some of their clients to Chabad to benefit from this method.

 

Chabad has spearheaded programs designed to help the children of Hartford as well. The youth education programs and Camp Gan Israel have provided safe havens and head starts to the children of Hartford for decades.

 

For the poverty stricken of the community, Chabad has provided

endless time and dedication that sometimes takes the form of helping an individual find a job, or perhaps just providing a hot meal to a person in need. Nobody is ever turned away empty handed.

 

Chabad of Hartford Today:

Better Than Ever!

Rabbi Gopin is still at the helm of Chabad of Hartford and everybody is waiting with bated breath to see what sort of marvelous growth and progress he will bring about over the next twenty-five years. He has become a mainstay in the community and his dedication continues to produce boundless acts of goodness and kindness for our community. He has truly brought a piece of Lubavitch to our community.

 

Rabbi Shlomo Yaffe has held many positions since coming to

Hartford. He began his career as the education director of the Chabad

House and went on to run the Hartford Kashrus Commission for a period of time, to fill the role of professor at the Hebrew High School of New England, which he still does, to serve as rabbi of the Young Israel of Hartford and to serve in his present capacity as the rabbi of the Agudas Achim Synagogue. Even with all of these undertakings, he continues to support Chabad of Hartford with his insights and by continuing to teach classes in the Chabad House several times a week.

 

Rabbi Yosef Kulek leads the programming department and youth department of the Chabad House. This means that he oversees daycare,

Hebrew School, summer and winter camp and youth oriented holiday programming. In addition, he works tirelessly to provide the adults of the community with holiday services and programming.

 

Chabad in Connecticut:

New Places Every Year!

 

Rabbi Yossi Eisenbach has created a Jewish foundation in Litchfield County. In addition to what people have come to expect from Chabad, his yearly Jewish Music and Arts festival has become an enormous draw to people from Connecticut, New York, Massachusetts and beyond. Dozens of top Jewish performers have taken the stage at these festivals, and one may safely expect many more in the future. Rabbi Eisenbach doesn’t stop with entertainment though. He regularly visits those incarcerated in the various prisons of Connecticut for counseling, and to let these people know that they have not been forsaken by their community and can still lead meaningful lives.

 

Rabbi Mendel Samuels, who oversees Chabad of the Farmington Valley, has made an enormous impression upon his community. In a few short years he has gone from holding services in his basement to having over two hundred people attending his High Holiday services. His quick wit and compassionate manner have brought about amazing success that is a source of pride to the Jews of the Farmington Valley.

 

Rabbi Yosef Wolvovsky, the latest addition to the Chabad family of

Connecticut, founded Chabad East of the River in 2002. In under a year he has been able to touch many members of the community by delivering homemade challah for Shabbat and hand-baked matzoh for Passover. Chabad must have become a watchword quickly there because after a presence of less than a year, roughly sixty people attended High Holiday services with Chabad of Glastonbury. Once again, a solid foundation has been established for Chabad.

 

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