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Images of America: Jewish Community of Hartford

Researched by the JHSGH staff

Our latest publication is a pictorial history volume which is part of the Images of America series from Arcadia Publishing. The Images of America series celebrates the history of neighborhoods, towns and cities across the country. Using archival photographs, each title presents the distinctive stories from the past that shape the character of the community today. The archival images and expanded captions in the text were complied by the Society staff and volunteers. The book highlights some of the people, organizations and institutions that have helped to shape this remarkable community. Included are interesting facts about notables such as Sophie Tucker, Norman Lear, Sol LeWitt, Kid Kaplan and many more. The evening will also feature a number of storytellers presenting their most compelling Hartford stories.

Available for purchase for $21.99.  

Revisiting Our Neighborhoods: Stories from Hartford’s Past

Edited by Joan Walden, Researched by Susan Juster Viner

In 2009 the Jewish Historical Society published Remembering the Old Neighborhood, a collection of stories about growing up in Hartford’s North End. This new anthology also includes stories set in Hartford’s North End as well as in downtown, the South End, and the West End. The 135 contributors to this collection fondly recall immigrant relatives, hard-working parents, and life during the Depression and World War II. There are unforgettable stories of family businesses, public school and yeshiva, the joys and challenges of childhood and young adulthood, and the devastation of natural disasters. The universal appeal of these stories is that they conjure up the strong and everlasting bonds of friendship, family, and community.

Available for purchase for $24.95. 

A History of Jewish Connecticut

Written by Betty N. Hoffman

During the Revolutionary War, Sephardic Jews fled British-occupied New York to become the first Jewish families in Connecticut. This long Jewish history is explored in a collection of essays by historians and community members across the state, from colonial times and the role Jews played in the Civil War to memories of summer nights at Lebanon’s Grand Lake Lodge and Danbury’s Lake Waubeeka. Join Editor Betty N. Hoffman and company as they recount tales of “Kid” Kaplan, the Meriden Buzz Saw, who became boxing’s 1925 Featherweight Champion of the World; the Lender family, who “bagelized America”; and the graceful personal service of Marlow’s Department Store.

Available for purchase for $20.00. 

A Life of the Land: Connecticut’s Jewish Farmers

Written by Mary M. Donohue and Briann G. Greenfield

This journal, the fourth in the Connecticut Jewish History Series, focuses on the lives of Jewish farmers in Connecticut and has been published by the Society with funding from the Connecticut Commission on Culture and Tourism. Co-edited by Mary M. Donohue, Architectural Historian, Connecticut Commission on Culture and Tourism, and Briann G. Greenfield, Associate Professor of Public History at Central Connecticut State University, A Life of the Land: Connecticut’s Jewish Farmers begins historically with the migration of Eastern European Jews through America’s cities and then to the Connecticut countryside. Why Connecticut? How did these immigrants operate successful enterprises with little or no farming experience? Who and what helped support and sustain them? The story of the resilience and persverance of these Jewish farmers and how they impacted their communities is told through historical data, oral history interviews and unique photo essays.

Available for purchase at $24.95. 

Remembering the Old Neighborhood: Stories from Hartford’s North End

Edited by Joan Walden

Remembering the Old Neighborhood: Stories of Hartford�s North End, is the culmination of a two year project to collect and preserve both the essays and oral histories of those who grew up in the North End of Hartford. This neighborhood was a unique multi-cultural, multi-racial and multi-ethnic melting pot. Most of the participants have since moved away, but a few still reside in the same homes in which they grew up. Some of the narrators were in their 90s and remember trolley cars and deliveries by the ice man. Younger narrators shared stories of the riots that rocked the area in 1968 and changed it irrevocably. Their lives are represented in approximately 150 entries that deal with work, play, school, world events, family, and friendship.

Available for purchase at $24.95. 



Honoring the Past: Building the Future:
The History of the Jewish Federation of Greater Hartford

Written by Betty N. Hoffman

Since 1945, the Jewish Federation of Greater Hartford has been the central address of the Hartford Jewish community. Over the past half century, scores of volunteers have worked to raise and distribute more than $200,000,000 for humanitarian needs for Jews at home and abroad. Honoring the Past: Building the Future traces the Federation’s history and highlights the people, events, and projects that have enhanced, built, and perpetuated Jewish communal life in Greater Hartford, in Israel, and around the world.

Betty N. Hoffman is Adjunct Assistant Professor of Anthropology at Central Connecticut State University, Adjunct Instructor of Anthropology and Social Science at Saint Joseph College, and Project Director of Witness to War: 1941-1945: The Soviet Jewish Experience at the Jewish Historical Society of Greater Hartford.

Available for purchase at $25.00.  


Connecticut Jewish History: Volume 1, Number 1: Jews in Connecticut Politics

Edited by Lothar Kahn and Marsha Lotstein

The first issue of Connecticut Jewish History is devoted to the Jews in Connecticut politics on the national and state level. Our political leaders were first generation Americans. From moderate Republicans to liberal Republicans, from moderate Democrats to liberal Democrats, these public servants believed that their Jewishness was somehow linked to their concerns for justice. We are grateful to the late Abraham Ribicoff, the most prominent Jewish name in Connecticut politics, for an autobiographical sketch in which he describes how his Jewishness became part of his political experience. This issue also includes a fascinating, non-political portrait of a 19th century Hartford physician, Nathan Mayer, who was a major Hartford figure, noted not only as a surgeon in war and peace but also as a drama critic and popular after-dinner speaker.

David G. Dalin is former associate professor of American Jewish history at the University of Hartford.

Lothar Kahn (1923-1990) was professor emeritus at Central Connecticut State University. Kahn was a noted author of many articles and books, including Mirrors of the Jewish Mind, Insight and Action: The Life and Work of Lion Feuchtwanger and Between Two Worlds: A Cultural History of German-Jewish Writers.

Available for purchase at $20.00. 

Connecticut Jewish History: Volume 2, Number 1: 1843-1943: One Hundred Years of Jewish Congregations in Connecticut: An Architectural Survey

Edited by John Sutherland and Marsha Lotstein

No institution has been more important in the history and development of the Jewish community in Connecticut than the synagogue. The petition by Hartford Jews to the legislature in 1843 to amend the State Constitution to permit the public worship of Jews, followed by the prompt enactment of an enabling public act, set in motion the beginning of synagogue building which contributed to the growth of the Jewish community as well as to the architecture of the state. This edition of Connecticut Jewish History is devoted to the history and architectural significance of 46 historic synagogue buildings throughout the state of Connecticut. The complete survey with research notes and photographs of each building is on file at the Jewish Historical Society of Greater Hartford and may be consulted by interested researchers. This important edition of the Jewish Historical Society’s journal serves as a permanent record of many sites that have changed or disappeared, or are in danger of doing so in the future.


Jeffrey H. Kaimowitz received his Ph.D. in Classics from the University of Cincinnati. He has taught at Miami University of Ohio and has worked in the Special Collections Department at the New York Public Library. Currently Dr. Kaimowitz is curator of the Watkinson Library at Trinity College, Hartford.

David F. Ransom, Architectural Historian, is the author of several books and articles, including George Keller, Architect, a “Biographical Dictionary of Hartford Architects,” and is co-editor of Structures and Styles: Guided Tours of Hartford Architecture.

Available for purchase at $20.00. 

Connecticut Jewish History: Volume 3, Number 1 – Witness to War 1941-45: The Soviet Jewish Experience

Written and Edited by Betty N. Hoffman, Bruce M. Stave, and Marsha Lotstein

This issue of Connecticut Jewish History is devoted entirely to the testimonies of immigrants from the former Soviet Union to the Greater Hartford area. They speak compellingly about their involvement in the four-year battle to defeat Nazi Germany, about courage, patriotism, compassion, and endurance in the face of catastrophe. These survivors speak of their involvement as members of the armed services; as military medical personnel; as partisans in the Jewish resistance; as survivors of ghettos, camps and/or hiding; as refugees and evacuees in remote parts of the USSR. They also convey the powerful identification with the Soviet Union felt by many Jews during this era and their dilemma when fellow citizens treated them as outsiders. This issue includes a brief overview of World War II in the Soviet Union allowing the readers to set these true stories into the historical context.

Bruce M. Stave is Board of Trustees Distinguished Professor of History and Director of the Center for Oral History at the University of Connecticut. Author and editor of ten books, Professor Stave’s latest book, co-authored with Michele Palmer, is Witness to Nuremberg, an oral history of those who participated in the war crimes trials at the end of World War II.

Betty N. Hoffman is author of Jewish Hearts: A Study of Dynamic Ethnicity in the United States and Soviet Union. She has conducted research in the Soviet Jewish community of Greater Hartford since 1988. Currently Dr. Hoffman is an Adjunct Assistant Professor of Anthropology at Central Connecticut State University.

Available for purchase at $20.00. 

Documentary Videos

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Pride, Honor & Courage: Jewish Women Remember World War II

Order a copy today for just $20.00

An Early History of Hartford’s Jewish Community

Order a copy today for just $20.00

The Enduring Legacy of the Jews of New Britain

The panel discussion will be broadcast on West Hartford Community Television February 10 and 24 at 9pm

Order a copy today for just $20.00