Harrisburg Haverim Connection

Volume I, Issue I September 2017


Welcome to our new Haverim newsletter, Harrisburg Haverim Connection, created specifically for friends of the Jewish community of greater Harrisburg. In this quarterly newsletter, we will share different stories in each issue - updates about the Jewish community, the Jewish Federation’s activities we are engaging within the community, and programs we are planning for the near future. This newsletter will include future opportunities for you to offer us your opinion about how we are doing, so we may learn about and from your experience. So let’s get started!

With Creative Curriculum, the pre-k class in the ELC this year is living under the sea. Read more below.

Our Super Sunday tri-chairs, Emily and Gregg Freeburn with their super girl. The Freeburns chaired this past Super Sunday and had so much fun, they agreed to do it again. Thank you Emily and Gregg.

Message from Dave Raffel

Shalom Haverim!


Greetings to my fellow Harrisburg Jewish Community expatriate haverim! 


When I was MUCH younger and living in Harrisburg with my parents (Maish & Harriet), I had many wonderful memories of attending High Holiday services at Kesher Israel Synagogue. A very special part of those memories for me was taking afternoon breaks during the long Yom Kippur services at my Aunt Elkie Koplovitz's apartment in the Green Street Apartments.


What great memories we all have when we were kids in the Harrisburg Jewish community. Whether it was Kesher Israel, Beth El, Chisuk Emuna, Ohev Shalom, or the Yeshiva Academy, these institutions underpinned our Jewish foundation.  Other institutions like the Jewish Community Center, Green Hills Swim Club, and Blue Ridge Country Club nourished our cultural and social lives.


The Haverim Donor Society has provided a mechanism to collectively support the development of "memories" for the next generations in the Harrisburg Jewish community! This effort has seen growing success since its inception in 2013. The pool of funds has grown from nothing to $42,250 at the end of 2016.  From this pool of funds we make a 5% distribution every year to Jewish organizations that helped provide us with the legacy of memories that we all cherish.  


In 2014 we distributed $280 from the program; this year we distributed $2,100 to the following recipients: The Silver (Yeshiva) Academy, Jewish Family Services, Kesher Israel Synagogue, and B'nai Jacob Synagogue.


Our impact is greater and greater every year, as more and more contributions are made to the program from fellow expatriate haverim.


Please consider joining me in contributing to the Haverim Donor Society and help support the great work of a whole variety of organizations that had such a major impact on our own lives. We are now making changes to the program so that it will be easier for many of you to become more involved in the decision-making process regarding which organizations receive funds from the Haverim Donor Society.


Please feel free to contact me personally at DaveRaffel@Gmail.com, or Oren Yagil o.yagil@Jewishfedhbg.org at the Harrisburg Jewish Federation for more details.

Dave Raffel

What is happening at the J...

Our Youngest of Them All 

Corinne comes in every morning, at 6:30am, to the Brenner Family Early Learning Center (ELC). She is the one who turns on the lights, opens the doors inside the center, and begins set-up in preparation for the children’s arrival. Jodie joins her by 7:00 and they begin to greet children and parents as they arrive. After 30 years at the ELC, Corinne has retired and Macy has replaced her as the first person to open the center and prepare it for the children.

Did you see the farewell video created with the staff for Jean and Corrine in their retirement? See it right here. Did you know Corinne or Jean? If you wish to send them a message upon their retirement, send us a message and we can pass it on your behalf. Send your message to Oren Yagil or call (717) 236-9555 x3299.

As the children arrive in the morning, they break into their classrooms and begin their activities for the day. The ELC is guided by Creative Curriculum, the teachers use exploration and discovery as a way of learning. For lunch, the children start with the Motsi blessing, on Fridays they hold their Kabalat Shabbat, and on Mondays the older children
in the center hold the Havdalah to begin
the week.

In addition to Jewish education exposure and the curriculum of exploration to grow and learn, Chana, our ELC Director, is very proud of the effort and focus the entire staff has for the well-being of the children. Recently the chairs in the dining room have all been changed to better seats that support posture and digestion. This approach, concentrating on the child and ensuring the highest level of quality in service, attention, and teaching has led our ELC to obtain the STAR 3 ranking we were striving for. The Center is recognized as an excellent early childhood care center and there is usually a long waiting list. Stop by on your next visit. You’d be amazed by how the place looks every day. And if you attended the ELC at that age, we would love to hear about your memories. ​

At the Harrisburg JCC:
· PJ Library Programming expanded to ages 9-11.
· Enrollment for younger ages continues to grow. 
· Family programming has been offered throughout
the year.
· We have just celebrated our 6th birthday.


A Whale under the sea in the pre-k classroom at the ELC. This curriculum of exploration encourages growth and learning. Read more above.

Did you know?
· 50% of the cost of sending Jewish children’s books to families in our
region every month for free is covered by generous donations from people like you.
· PJ Library shares stories that help young families talk about important Jewish values and traditions.


Message from the CEO

I am delighted we are starting this mode of communication with you, to include you in what we are doing, how we are doing, and what we plan to do for and in this community. With this newsletter you will get glimpses of how the community you love is doing.

We had a busy and successful year at the Federation/JCC. With programs implemented by our outstanding staff, our community partners, and our dedicated volunteers, we continued to serve as the unifying organization to ensure the Jewish Community of Greater Harrisburg flourishes. Our Synagogues have put together some amazing programs and some staffing changes in the Federation are leading to changes in how we serve the community; for example, this newsletter. Thank you for truly demonstrating that we are not just a strong community, but a family – you visit, you write, you are always family. I invite you to let me know how we can make 2017-18 even better by reaching out to me at 717-236-9555 x3104 or j.ross@jewishfedhbg.org.

With warm wishes,


Become a member of the Haverim Society and receive the Community Review newspaper every two weeks to your home. Also, and importantly, you will receive a vote on competitive grant funding for Jewish organizations in Harrisburg.

To learn more please contact Dave Raffel or Oren Yagil at (717) 236-9555 x3299 for more details.


Yom Ha'atasmaut

This year for the first time in some years, The Jewish community recognized and celebrated Yom Hazikaron and Yom Ha'atasmaut (Israeli Memorial Day and Independence Day) at the JCC. The ceremonies were structured as they are celebrated in Israel, with poems, songs, and readings. Kol Haneshama Choir (the Harrisburg Jewish Chorus) sang two songs in Hebrew. The event was free and all were welcome. We even welcomed officers on assignment in Camp Hill from Canada, Greece, South Korea, Australia, and of course Israel, to celebrate with us. We are already working to plan next year’s Yom Ha'atasmaut, when Israel will be celebrating its 70th birthday! Hope you will join us!! To read more about Kol Haneshama click here. To read more about Yom Ha'atasmaut click here.

The event was held at the JCC gym and the place was packed. One wall of the gym was covered with artwork by children from all the Jewish educational institutions in Harrisburg who drew “What Israel means to me.” All the artwork was then posted on the wall to create our own Kotel for the day. 

The JCC gym during the Yom Ha’atsma’ut ceremony.

Foreign military officers honoring Israel’s independence day at the JCC.

“What Israel Means to Me” - children’s artwork in the gym, posted on one entire wall for the ceremony.

The Senior Adult Club

As "newbies" to the "burg" and the JCC, Roberta and Melvin Krieger’s lives have taken on new meaning with the Senior Adult Club. An opinion widely shared, it is described as a godsend by many of its members.  The diversity within the Club insofar as members and its activities seems unbelievable at times, and all thanks to Cheryl Yablon, Senior Adult Director at the Jewish Federation of Greater Harrisburg.

The Senior Adult Club is very active and often its own members lead sessions, such as bridge and mahjong lessons or current events led by our very own Herm Minkoff, who likes to get everyone revved up every month. Cheryl brings outstanding speakers to talk about various subjects ranging from history, nutrition (and how to eat right realistically), to book reviews with the authors themselves.  Much of this is possible thanks to the support of our donors, who support the Club’s activities through the annual campaign.

Did You Know

Harrisburg Friends Donor Society (Haverim Society) is an initiative to engage former Harrisburg residents who are committed to ensuring the continuity of the Harrisburg Jewish community.


Seniors hard at work creating art.

Stuart Malina

In addition to fun activities for our seniors, the Club also engages in Tzedakah and Tikkun Olam. Recently, its members knitted or crocheted hundreds of bears for children in Hadassah Hospital in Jerusalem and for an orphanage for disabled children run by Catholic nuns in Lima, Peru. This summer the seniors are decorating socks to make puppets for children as well.

Recently the Senior Club was given an amazing opportunity to be part of an Artist Residency Program facilitated by Jump Street, Arts in Education.  Jump Street works in partnership with the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts to place professional artists in different settings, such as our JCC Sr. Club, for 10 classes. Artist Cheryl Kugler led our seniors in art classes they thoroughly enjoyed and did not want to end.

You can see all the masterpieces here.

What other Senior club can boast having a First Class Maestro, Stuart Malina and his extremely talented son, Zev Malina (sometimes we get extra lucky and Stuart's daughter, Sara, joins in as well) entertain club members. We are so lucky, Kein Ayin Hora (or on beyz aoyg as they used to say).

And what mother would not bring her son to play the piano. Harriet Kopp did just that! Harriet’s son, David, offers after lunch performance when he’s in town for the seniors. David Kopp, pianist, is the Associate Director of the Boston University School of Music, where he is a member of the music theory faculty. What Naches! And what great experience we can offer our seniors.

Many of the activities the Senior Adult Club offers are voluntary, but not all. Donors’ support of $100 is equivalent to ten lunch meals for seniors who attend; a contribution of $1,000 is half of what it costs to bring an artist in residency for ten sessions. There is more we want to do for our Senior Adult Club. There is more we need to do for our seniors. We hope you will consider supporting our programing for seniors with contributions and donations to the Jewish Federation of Greater Harrisburg.

David Kopp and his mother, Harriet

Harrisburg's Jewish Scouts complete their Memorial Day service project
By Benjamin Altman


On Sunday, May 21 the boys of Troop and Pack 1015 completed their yearly Veteran oriented service project. Each year just before Memorial Day, the boys put up flags at the grave sites of veterans at the Kesher Israel, Chisuk Emuna and Beth El Cemeteries. The boys then bring flags back down in November right after Veteran's day.

This year marks the 10th year that the scouts have taken care of this very important effort. As you can see from the picture, the boys and their parents are very proud of discharging this duty.

The troop would also like to remind the community that they also perform flag retirements, and so if you have a flag that is past its prime, and would like to dispose of it properly, please contact Cub master, Ben Altman for Pick up, or simply give the flag to any of our scouts. The scouts will make sure it is properly and honorably disposed. 

Troop and Pack 1015 is Central Pennsylvania only Kosher and Sabbath Observant
Cub Pack and Scout Troop. The units are sponsored by Beth El Temple and are open to boys of any faith and observance. 

The boys of Troop and Pack 1015 with their proud parents in May.

Are you receiving the Community Review? For only $50 a year, you can receive 26 editions delivered to you with stories and information about the Jewish community in Harrisburg.


"For lunch, the
children start with
Motsi blessing.
On Friday's they
hold Kaballat Shabbat."
-Our Youngest
of Them All

Read more above.


Upcoming community events this fall

October 19Joint Agency Annual Meeting at the JCC

November 5CRC Israeli Speaker Series

November 16Cardozo Society Event

Potential artist at work at the Senior Adult Club Artist in Residence program. Read more above.

Jason Weinstock and Hebrew High students off for the March of the Living trip this past April. All of them shared that it was a life-transforming experience.

Have stories for us? Want to share your memories from Harrisburg, where you are now, or just to say hello. Please reach out to Oren Yagil at 717-236-9555 x3299.


Every Thursday we post a Throwback Thursday photo on Facebook. Follow us,
like, and share.

Do you know or recognize anyone in these pictures? Let us know so we can update our records. We’ll post it in our next edition and acknowledge your help.

Please participate in our efforts to ensure the Jewish community of Harrisburg flourishes and unifies by making a gift to the Federation. Thank you.